There are many benefits to car-ditching and riding your bike mostly everywhere. One of those benefits is realizing how useless most bike stuff is.
When you ride your bike to get around instead of for fun, it quickly becomes a pain in the ass. Before you go anywhere, especially when you live at the pinnacle of a 2-mile climb that REQUIRES YOU to go up Basswood/Shorewood, you carefully analyze a) whether you really need to go, and b) whether you need to bring the things you are thinking about bringing.
As a leaky prostate ex-masters racer-turned-commuter, you quickly learn that you don’t need all of the essential stuff. This morning we went to the Eliel Burrito Ride, a kind of bacon-and-egg precursor to the Nosco Ride tomorrow, and yes, we went in a car, and no, I didn’t drive, and no, IDGAF if you think that’s cheating, Gus.
I took my commuter bike which doubles as my BWR DNF bike. I took it because the Burrito Ride was only thirty miles and I can ride it with tennis shoes, which means I don’t have to travel with two entire wardrobes. The ride was amazing and fun, but below is a list of useless bike racer shit you can leave at home unless you are racing, doing some gnarly ride, or going to a costume party.
- Tight jersey. These make you look fat and they are uncomfortable. You don’t need them when you are riding 15 mph and chatting with ex-pro Brad Huff. Opt instead for: Floppy wool jersey or t-shirt or tank top.
- Cleats and ballerina slipper bike shoes. These hurt your feet and ruin the best part of the ride, which is the pre-and-post when you are standing chatting or walking around with a burrito and beer in each fist. Opt instead for: Sneakers that let you look normal, walk normal, easily hop on/hop off, and don’t sound like a herd of reindeer on a glass floor.
- Helmet. Okay, I admit I wore mine but only because it was going to frighten all the children if I didn’t. Opt instead for: Jaunty cloth cap or flowing locks if you have them.
- Barbie food. This stuff is good in a pinch on the Pacific Crest Trail when you’re out of food and about to eat your dog, but for 99.9% of all rides you don’t need gels, Gu’s, electrolytes, electro-shocks, whatever. Opt instead for: Two hydrogen atoms for each atom of oxygen.
- Tights. More vaso-constriction down there, pain to the soft parts, and a major hassle to remove quickly when your prostate starts to leak. Opt instead for: Pants, short when warm, long when not.
- Fast tires. Studies show that you can’t go fast with a flat tire. Do you really need the Vittoria Paperthinz made of silk and hummingbird feathers? Opt instead for: Gatorteeth Heres-da-Beef commuter tars, 75-psi, lined with Kevlar, and studded with more thick ribs on the tread than a Trojan.
- $7000 e-drivetrain. Sure, the new 13-speed e-Tapped that now lets you roll a 9-tooth cog with a 54-tooth chainring is sexy. Not. Opt instead for: Mechanical shifting which always works. Sexiness points if you can do it with downtube shifters. Break-the-Stravver points if you can do it with a lever to manually shift your Campy front der.
There ya go. Yer now ready to actually enjoy yer ride!
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