Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bicycle gear

I've been cycling to work since I last blogged. It's been great.

Cycling involves a fair bit of delusion. I pretend I am saving money by riding in. True, I am no longer paying bus fare, and we are down to 1 car.

But that ignores a key part of the equation. Bike gear. There is an astonishing array of items cyclists can spend money on. I've been restrained since mother's day, when I caved in and bought clipless pedals and shoes. They are amazing.

Now I have a dilemma. For my birthday I got a new to me bicycle, picked up cheap at a garage sale, that I tested by riding in today. I wasn't sure what I was hoping - that it would be so much better I could justify spending money on it? That it would be so much worse I could let my daughter use it? It turns out to be a very decent little commuter bike, surprisingly fast, with great brakes and the noisiest gearing I've ever used.

So here is the dilemma. To make the bike suit me, it needs a new seat ($23), new pedals ($44), new tires ($46) and of course a spare tube ($3). Not a huge amount of money. But the bike itself cost $85, which is an amazing deal for a mid range Bianchi, but spending nearly double fixing it up when it's virtually unridden seems frivolous.

I also thought about the gear I have.

3 pairs of cycling shoes, ranging in age from 2 months to 20 years.
2 cycling jackets
1 pair of cycling shorts
Many t-shirts
4 panniers - maybe 6
Several lights, bells, reflectors not including those already on bicycles
2 pairs cycling tights, both over 20 years old and in excellent shape if you ignore the hole
Helmet - only 1, the old ones get tossed

I haven't got cycling jerseys or other cycle-specific tops - really, how much lycra can a middle aged woman wear? And I am considering getting baggier shorts, the lycra ones, while comfortable, are, well, lycra. Tight shorts with a padded butt may not be my best look. Although I like to think I speed by so quickly no-one can tell.

Like I said, cycling involves delusion.