Becoming a real cyclist. (or....Insecurities regarding bike gear)

FYI: This is more pontification than anything else. I am no where near being a real cyclist yet - this I know. Riding on the road makes me a nervous wreck. I know of three people who have been hit by cars while on their bikes - one of them with injuries so terrible it hospitalized him for over a month. And his accident happened on a college campus where car speed limits are 25mph. Therefore, riding on a country road in G-ville where the speed limit is 55 but people actually drive 75 is in no way on my list of things to do for fun on a Saturday morning.

Yet, I see lots of cyclists - and I mean LOTS of them - in my community every weekend. They all have their super cool branded cycling jerseys and go out for what I assume are 200 mile country jaunts with their other awesome cycling buddies (remember, this is my POV). G-ville has some amazing topography - lots of hills, beautiful scenery, etc. If I actually gained the confidence to ride the terrain in my own community, I really could become a good cyclist. I have a fantastic area to ride. I just have to get over my road biking fear - and one other obstacle. At least it's an obstacle as I see it.

The gear. All the "cool kids" have these branded sweet looking cycling jerseys. I've looked these things up online - they are $60-100+ a piece. WOW. I know I love my gear and my cool running tech shirts. My drawer may be filled with an abundance of wicking tees, but every single one of them is a race shirt. I haven't bought a single one. When I go out for a ride, I pull on my tri shorts if they are clean (if they aren't, I opt for my second hand umbros) and a tank top. A $5 target special tank top. I think I'm the only biker I have ever seen wearing a tank top.

Anyway, I am realizing this may be a cyclist culture thing. So give me the scoop - when are you required to move into expensive jersey land? As silly as the question may be for an experienced cyclist - why is it the norm? Do they make you fast? Do they cool you? warm you? Honestly, I am really curious.

Beyond my lack of cool bike gear (I also use a freebie University of Toronto press for my water bottle - classy), I ride on the bike path or the sidewalk if its big enough. The cars scare me. I know you aren't supposed to ride in sidewalks in most places, but I would much rather get a talking to from a police officer than smacked by some teenage jerkoff on his cell phone speeding down the road at 70mph. Le sigh. Someday I'll get there - maybe?

And does my Target Schwinn helmet make me look like a 12 year old girl???


Tracy said...

When I took a beginner's cycling class - for beginners! for learning how to ride on the streets! - they suggested we look into getting a jersey. The only compelling reason they gave was that they all have pockets on the back, which I could see being useful. But not $100 useful!

Paul said...

Can I go first this time, or is Ed supposed to go first? Cycling clothes are pretty functional, or at least they're meant to be. They wick sweat, don't catch (much) wind, hold supplies, are longer in back to CYA, have pads in the seat to PYA and avoid rubbing special parts with seams. I guarantee it's much more comfortable to ride with jersey and shorts for almost any length of time.

Yeah, they're expensive, but that's why steep and cheap and bonk town were born:

Both do one deal at a time super cheap. They especially have lots of stuff for women for some annoying reason. You could also check out sierra trading post, which has good equipment for a serious discount. So, there you have it.

M said...

Paul - you have quite the wealth of knowledge. Thank you for these awesome sites that have the wherewithal to offer greadt deals on prodcuts and cater to women more than men. Perfecto :-)

If I see a jersey for $25 or less, I just may bite. Cause pockets rock. Tracy - I agree. One can never have too many pockets.

64 CLASSIC said...

I'm going to check out Paul's two sites. Definately agree with other posts that its about pockets and being functional.

Very interested in your Veg diet. I am pictured on my site about to attack a side of ribs. Sorry!!

Great blog!