Since my friend Dug Anderson convinced me to sell my sports car and buy a mountain bike about ten years ago, I have owned and sold 8 different bikes, some of them costing more than $5000. I’ve owned and discarded untold quantities of bike clothes — in fact, I still have 4 dresser drawers full of bike clothes. I’ve tried numerous kinds of pedals (Ritcheys, Speedplays, Crank Bros, Time), lots of different racks, and all kinds of on-the-go food.
I have been, in short, a good little consumer.
Most of that stuff is either gone or in storage now. There are exceptions, though: Things that have lasted a long time, or have been so good and useful that I’m happy to replace them when they have worn out. Here are a few of those things.
- My Ibis Ti Road. Already mentioned this in a previous post, but to my eyes, this titanium beauty just keeps getting better and better. Someday maybe I’ll replace the scratched decals, or maybe I won’t. $4000 for this bike was a bargain.
- My Shimano Road Shoes. My road bike shoes actually pre-date my Ibis Ti Road bike — I got them when I bought my first road bike, which means I’ve been using the same road bike shoes for 9 years. And it’s not like I’ve been really kind to them or only worn them occasionally. And while the red mesh has faded to a rosy pink (not so manly), the shoes are still just fine. Comfortable, functional, durable.
- Specialized Armadillo Road Tires. Ask anyone who rides a road bike: you’ve got to pump up the tires pretty much every ride to keep them at >100psi, and you’ve got to plan on fairly frequent flats. But with the Armadillo tires, I’m not having to put air in the tires more often than once per week, and I haven’t had a flat all season. I don’t even swerve around glass anymore; I just ride through it, knowing that my tires aren’t going to get punctured. The Armadillos definitely have their downside — they have terrible road feel — but I’m willing to put up with that.
- My Melanzana jersey. Matt Chester gave me a bunch of hand-me-down jerseys when he moved from Salida, including a pullover T-shirt style jersey made by Melanzana. I don’t know why he gave it up (I think he got too skinny for it), but it’s my favorite jersey ever. This year when I go to Leadville, I plan to bring some extra money for spending at the Melanzana store.
- RLX bib shorts. I don’t like baggy shorts on a bike, and I don’t like the way regular bike shorts bind around my waist (because I’m fat). I’ve done countless endurance rides in these bib shorts, and love the way RLX bib shorts keep my stomach from jiggling too much. From what I hear, RLX is defunct, so I’ll have to look elsewhere next time I want to buy bib shorts.
- Oakley Racing Jackets. I wear prescription glasses for driving and biking. For years and years I couldn’t find prescription glasses that worked for mountain biking and road biking. But these do. Get the frame from Oakley, discard the lenses they come with, and have your local Optometrist put in transition prescription lenses, in the lightest, most shatterproof material they’ve got. Voila, you’ve got biking glasses that adapt for the light conditions, don’t fog, and are super-light. Also, incredibly expensive.
- Giro Atmos Helmet. This thing was stupid expensive, and I’m embarassed to have purchased it. That said, it’s soooo light and comfortable. A few times I’ve reached up to check and make sure that I’m actually wearing a helmet.
- My Brian Head 100 Jerseys. During the summer, it looks like I wear the same jersey every day. That’s because I have 4 identical "Brian Head 100" jerseys, which you get for completing the Brian Head 100. They’re comfortable, they fit, and they’re no uglier than any other bright-blue-and-orange jersey.
- My wedding ring. About 5 anniversaries ago, my wife surprised me with a plain titanium band as a replacement for my original wedding ring — a polished white gold band with diamonds. "Now I know you better," she said. "This is more your style." You know what? The more this thing gets scratched and scuffed, the better it looks. A perfect present.
You know what’s interesting? No electronic gadgets made my list. Considering how much I love my toys, that’s a surprise.
Today’s weight: 178.4