This post may push peoples' buttons. I don't mean for it to. But I had a great conversation last night with my longest running friend about riding and the gear that goes with it, and I figured I would share some thoughts.
One thing that comes up in conversation with these guys (and others), is why I don't wear lycra shorts, a bikey jersey and clipless shoes. What's even more surprising to people is that I actually do own all of those things. And though my cycling buddies rock the spandex kit and swear by it all, I just choose not to utilize them.
Because I ride a lot. A whole lot. Are these guys getting more mileage than me? Some weeks, yes. But sometimes I ride more. But the mileage isn't the factor. For me, those fancy clothes cost a lot of money and wear out just as quickly as any other garment. A pair of bibs and a jersey don't serve me any better than my faithful cut-off camouflage pants and a t-shirt. They just don't. I don't need a maxi-pad under my butt and I don't need fancy pockets on my back. My wallet, keys, Leatherman, work badge and cell phone go in my pants pocket... even for a 30 miler... even for a 50 miler. I genuinely believe that any sneakers, any short and any shirt work fine.
The other side of it all is rooted in convenience. Unless I were to invest a great deal of cash in lycra and whatnots, I wouldn't have enough gear to stay fresh for daily riding. If I did two high mileage rides a week, I'd wear that stuff. But I ride daily, a couple times a day. So when yesterday's clothes are still drying from the rainstorm on the way home, I just grab a different pair of shorts and a different shirt. The dirty ones go in the laundry. Not the special laundry. The laundry regular laundry. And there's plenty of old t-shirts and shorts laying on the floor of my closet. No special attention require.
And the fancy clippy shoes? I use them on my mountain bike. The Troll only gets ridden for one purpose. It rides dirt and nothing else. But my other bikes are grabbed at varying times for varying reasons without much planning or forethought. The rides just happen. So I steer away from shoes that have one purpose. I usually wear the shoes that I'll be wearing in a meeting, minutes after I get off the bike. Simple.
How did I arrive here? The more I ride, the more generalities I see in my gear. The more miles, the more weather conditions, the more temperature variations, the more destinations, the more purposes of riding mean that specialty equipment doesn't serve me well.
What about you? How do you feel about cycling specific clothing? And know this... I really don't have an opinion of what you should do. This is what I've found works best for me. But if you're into that stuff, that's great. You're probably riding your bike a lot and I think that's peachy keen. It's the experience that matters, not the fashion choices. That's why you'll find me riding in a Bob Ross t-shirt and Jordache sweatpants.
But I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Get out there.