Too Much

11.30.2005 | 8:30 pm

It’s getting cold here in the Northwest — cold enough that yesterday when I went out for a ride, I only made it as far as the end of the block before I turned around and came back into the house, hunting for another layer up top, and some warmer gloves for my hands.

I started by looking on the shelf in the garage I have for ultra-stinky biking clothes (gloves, shoes, helmets, shoe covers). Nope, not there. I then went on to my dresser in the bedroom. The two bottom drawers are reserved for biking clothes. I found a good thick long-sleeved jersey to wear, and became hopeful that the gloves would have the good sense to hang out near the jersey.

No luck.

OK, I was getting a little annoyed. I moved over to the bottom three drawers of my wife’s dresser — yes, she has ceded the bottom three drawers of her dresser to my bike clothes stuff. The warm glove liners and one of the gloves I wanted were in the first drawer I checked; the final glove I wanted was in the second. So, in a way, this constituted a minor victory: I had found everything I wanted, but hadn’t had to check all of the drawers. This victory is augmented by the fact that I hadn’t needed to go into my "last resort" bike stuff spot: the closet.

To recap: I have a garage shelf, five drawers, and a closet shelf dedicated to bike clothes. Clearly, I have too much stuff.


What Do I Have? How Did I Get So Much of It?

It’s tempting to say I don’t know how I wound up with so much bike clothing, but that would be a lie. And as everyone who reads this blog knows, I never lie. (Unless I think it would be funny or self-serving to lie, in which case of course I’ll lie.)

Here are the highlights of what I’ve got, bike clothing-wise:

  • 3 RLX Bib Shorts: These are my favorite bike shorts for warm weather riding. They’ve seen heavy use for years and years. I don’t feel at all bad about owning three pair.
  • More than 30 Jerseys: Why do I have an obscene number of jerseys? Well, because bike jerseys have a number of unique properties that, combined, have led to what is known in scientific circles as the Infinite Jersey Accumulation Syndrome (IJAS). To wit:
  • Many races and events give jerseys away either for starting or completing. You don’t have to buy jerseys to accumulate them.
  • Occasionally, you’ll buy jerseys anyway, because you like the way they look, or you want to look like you’re sponsored, or because you want to look like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
  • You need many different kinds of jerseys to suit the weather: long sleeved, short sleeved, sleeveless.
  • Sometimes, a marketing campaign hornswoggles you into believing that their jersey material will actually make you warmer, or cooler, or whatever — even though it’s really just another minor variation of polyesther.
  • Jerseys never wear out, so you feel bad throwing them away.
  • Old jerseys cannot be converted into rags, the way cotton t-shirts can, so you can’t get rid of them that way either.
  • As discussed before, jerseys get permanently stinky, so you can’t exactly give them away.

In short, there’s nothing you can do to stop accumulating jerseys, and there’s no practical way to get rid of them. As the number of cyclists increases, IJAS is becoming a serious problem. Top scientists predict that by the year 2018, the entire world will be waist-deep in cycling jerseys. That should smell nice.

  • Biking Shorts I Never Wear: I have three or four pair of old Pearl Izumi biking shorts. I have not worn them since I started wearing bib shorts. I do not have any idea why I keep these.
  • Knickers: I have a pair of biking knickers, too. I believe my thinking was that these would be useful on the days when it was too cold for shorts, but not cold enough for tights. The thing is, days like that come once every three or four years. Plus, if I recall correctly, these knickers have the worst chamois in the world.
  • Too-Tight Tights: I bought a pair of Cannondale (Coda brand) bib tights about two years ago. This is the only cycling item I have ever bought that shrunk. Over the course of five wearings, these tights went from fitting well to being waaaaay too short for me. Cannondale has not earned many loyalty points from me this way.
  • More Biking Shorts I Never Wear: I bought a pair of baggy mountain bike shorts, about two years before they became popular. My early-adopter attitude was rewarded by a pair of shorts that rode low, and had a wimpy chamois that does not stay put. These are, to tell the truth, not my favorite shorts. And yet, I still have them. What is wrong with me?
  • "Lobster" Gloves: The idea for these cold-weather gloves was pretty sensible: Keep as many fingers together as possible, but have splits where necessary, so you can shift. The result? The goofiest-looking mitten/gloves in the world, keeping your hands in a permanent Star Trek "Live Long and Prosper" salute. They’re not warm, either. And yet, I still have them.
  • Lots and Lots of "Air-E-Aetor" Socks With Holes in the Big Toe: I really like Air-E-Aetor brand socks. They’re cool and comfortable in the summer, and warm enough to use into moderately cool weather. But I wear through the big toe well before I wear through the rest of the sock. And for some reason, I don’t throw them away. This is especially stupid, because I am constantly putting on a sock, finding it has a hole in it, and having to find a different sock. And then I do and extra-double-stupid thing: I put the sock I just took off back in the sock drawer. I need help.
  • Five or Six Windbreaker Jackets / Vests: I never wear vests. Why do I have any at all? And do I need more than 2 jackets (one to keep at work, one to keep at home)?

Here Comes the Irony

The thing is, I only rarely open these drawers at all. Since I’ve developed the technique of throwing my dirty bike clothes directly into the washing machine, filling the machine up with other clothes from around the house (with four kids, there’s always a load of laundry to do), and starting the machine (I transfer these clothes to the dryer as I put the twins down for bedtime; the drone of the machine helps them go to sleep), I’ve always got a complete set of clean biking clothes in the dryer each morning.

So yes: while I have enough biking clothes that I could wear different stuff each day for about a month, I tend to wear the same thing each day.


A Second Helping of Irony

OK, I’ll say it: there are more bike clothes I really want right now. Specifically, I’d really like to get a couple pair of windproof, water-resistant bib tights for cold-weather commuting.

These would make a terrific Christmas gift, for example (size Medium). 


And Now for the Part You’ve Been Waiting For…

For today’s Banjo Brothers Bike Bag Giveaway, tell me one or more of the following:

  • Recommendations for what to do with all this stuff I’ve accumulated
  • Impress me with how much bike stuff you have
  • Impress me even more with how little you have, in which case by all means, explain your brilliant strategy for keeping your bike stuff from taking over the house

PS: My review of The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles is up on Cyclingnews now.


  1. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 11.30.2005 | 8:51 pm

    I ride in sweats or fleece shorts because I’m just now getting to a size that I might be able to find a pair I can wedge my keester into! I’ve gone from 8X to 3X in size and not much longer til I can get some decent cycling togs!I NEEEEEED Chamois! If you can imagine what my can feels like after 30 miles in the saddle without a chamois and a seam rubbing in just the wrong place, you’d take pity on me and suggest that they need to make a size of cycling shorts bigger than 2X! Or to be more exact, 1.372X claiming to be 2X::GRIN::! At last I’m getting there and I’ll wear my tight cycling shorts with extreme pride as I know where I was and where I am now! I do wear a helmet and gloves, but that’s about it for my gear for cycling! Does that qualify as impressive in not having a lot of gear?(HOPEFUL!)

  2. Comment by Unknown | 11.30.2005 | 9:00 pm

    you should keep all your stuff in one of those really big fox bags. remember at frank’s bike shop, when we would offer ricky any amount of money to see if he would fit into the fox bag? he never took the money, but we all knew he’d fit, and then the zipper would mysteriously break.every year i break out a pair of those knickers, and about 10 miles into a ride, remember that they have the worst chamoix ever. it must be like childbirth, where that pain recedes over the summer. and yes, i just compared riding 10 miles on a road bike with a bad chamoix to childbirth. my wife doesn’t read elden’s blog.

  3. Comment by tayfuryagci | 11.30.2005 | 9:04 pm

    I have one simple recommendation for all that stuff: Give some to me! I especially need: A long sleeve jersey, some good socks, a windstopper jacket.So you want me to impress you? I don’t know if I can but here goes: I only have two items of bicycle clothing: A no-name tights and a t-shirt with the name of a local MTB team on it. (Pitbull MTB Racing) Thats all I have. Ok, I have other stuff I can wear but they aren’t bicycle clothes. A pair of old jeans or a worn out wool sweater don’t exactly count as cycling apparel. So that’s all I have. Probably there will be a bunch of people coming and claiming that they don’t have anything and they REEAALLLY don’t have anything but I know you won’t buy that. Let Fatty be the voice of justness and give the bag to whom deserves it!

  4. Comment by Unknown | 11.30.2005 | 9:08 pm

    T-Shirts, Specifically cycling t-shirts. more pecifically, event t-shirts. I will never, ever again in my life have to buy a t-shirt (except the under dress shirt kind). Average 20 events a year for 5 years and 1.5 people doing said events (my wife does about half of them) That is upwards of 150 t shirts, in addition to the ones that bike reps are always giving me and those cool ones i have bought in the past for no apparent reason, you know 24 Hours of Moab you used to pay 120 bucks and had to buy a T-shirt, and I did, and that sweet Chris King Coffee t-shirt and better living through sealed bearings t-shirt. Add this to the 6 Rubbermaid storage drawers systems, 4 duffle bags and 3 piles of bike clothing (Jerseys, Shorts, arm warmers, jackets, knee warmers, etc…) I am pretty sure i could clothe a small army of skinny freaks. Racing for a team and getting 2-4 new pairs of shorts, jerseys and socks every year does not help. I like the Detroit styled planned obsolesance of some of the clothing manufacturers, but some of them just won’t fall apart. You musings continually remind how much my passion is not just a hobby, it is an all encompassing obsession.

  5. Comment by Andrew | 11.30.2005 | 9:48 pm

    Too many clothes is a problem? What next, Too much gold in Ft. Knox?One reason for the accumulation of clothing is the "buy low, buy high" syndrome. My first pair of bike shorts cost $30 and weren’t worth a crap (yes, I still have them). My second pair cost $60 and were a lot better. My third pair cost $90 and are hugely better, but I feel guilty wearing them because I suck as a rider. I’m saving money for my fourth pair which will cost me $120. Then I will never ever use the other three pairs. But I won’t get rid of them. Why would I do a thing like that?

  6. Comment by Zed | 11.30.2005 | 10:17 pm

    I don’t have too much of anything cycling related. The only jersey I own was given to me as a freebie from my LBS after I wrote a story about his custom bike business for the newspaper and he got a few bike sales off of it. The only bike shorts I have are a pair of crappy-chamois Fox Racing shorts that I got for Christmas two years ago. So about your Cannondale tights that are too tight–how tight are they exactly? Tight enough to fit a guy whose waist is only size 28? You didn’t sweat on them too much did you? Do they stink? As to the rest of the jerseys, did you see Nikared’s post about his $16,000 Christmas present? I’m sure those folks need cycling jerseys too … OR you can throw your own Fat Cyclist Annual Race some time, and we can all come to Washington and compete. Afterward we can have a competition to see who can successfully take the stink out of your jerseys. After applying that person’s method 30 times over, you can give the jerseys away as is most fitting. (Meaning, don’t give one to me because there’s not much of a chance of it fitting) …OR you could create a Fat Cyclist Foundation (you know, like all the pros have) for the benefit of cyclists who want to lose weight. When they reach 50 pounds of loss, you can give them a jersey from your closet. By then, they’ll have sweated so much they won’t care that the jerseys stink like someone died in them.

  7. Comment by Space | 11.30.2005 | 11:01 pm

    First time posting here for me, but I have been reading every day for months.Wow, a lot of really gross people post on your blog. I can’t believe people want to wear your stinky old gear.I have two jerseys (one short sleeve, one sleeve-less), three pairs of shorts, one pair of tights, one pair of zip on lower legs for using with shorts, three pairs of socks, and one jacket.I really don’t have much bike gear and I would like more. When I read your post, the first thing I realized is that we might be stink compatible! Think about it: when you sweat or do other stinky things, you don’t really notice it much, but others suffer. Well, if we happen to be stink compatible, I should be able to wear your old gear without getting all grossed out. My wife might never come near me again, but hey, this is free gear we are talking about.So please send me a sample of your stink as soon as possible so that I can test it for compatibility.Thanks for the fun blog.

  8. Comment by Cycle | 11.30.2005 | 11:03 pm

    How Little I Have (or How Cheap I Am):* 1 jersey I’ve had since 1991 (It doesn’t stink. Really)* 1 pair of tights – $10 (1992)* 1 pair of bib shorts given to me by a friend when my shorts disintegrated (1997)* 1 pair of fingerless gloves – $15 (2000)* 1 helmet – cheap yet effective (2002)* 1 Pearl Izumi jacket – $5 at a thrift store (2003)* 1 pair gloves also used for shoveling snow – $8 (2004)* 1 pack of non-biking-specific socks – $9 (2005)My bike is as old as my jersey, and it doesn’t stink either.My minimalist strategy is accomplished by not spending any money on equipment until it is clearly evident that I will likely experience chafing, serious injury, excessive cold, death or any combination of these. Also, I never take promotional water bottles. They’re free because their only true function is to take up space. Another method I employ to keep from getting overrun by clutter (bike equipment or anything else), is to have a "Halfway House for Unused Stuff". If I haven’t used/worn/needed something for six months, I’ll store it in the garage. If, after another six months, I still don’t miss it — it goes.

  9. Comment by Bryn | 11.30.2005 | 11:37 pm

    Im pretty sure that i have a fairly decent chance of taking the title for the least amount of bike related clothing. Heres my list- One pair of cheap black knicks that have the worlds worst chamois and the tightest waistband that usually give me a good case of stomach cramps- One pair of half fingered gloves- One short sleeve Fox racing jersey with a zipper pocket in the back- One primal wear short sleeve jersey- One pair of old black glovesThat’s about it. The good thing about not having heaps of cycling clothes is, as fatty said, u can wash a pair after using them one day and get them out of the wash the following day for another ride without having to worry about choosing clothes for the day. Honestly, i need a new pair of pairs of shorts or bibs. The ones i have now are SOoooo bad. At least i can say i have a much better bike than my clothes display, lol. I hope i now at least have a small chance of winning this comp. Im waiting for the day where u have a subject i know really well so that i can actually win the banjo brothers bag.

  10. Comment by Unknown | 11.30.2005 | 11:40 pm

    I’m not the strongest rider on the trail, but I can guarantee that I’m the best-dressed. That’s because I devote precious time – time that could be spent riding – on shopping for clothes that make me look like I’m a better rider than I am. I have it all: the camouflage shorts with coordinating jersey (the rear zipper pull has a matching camo print), the Fox shorts and 3 jerseys, all of which highlight the subtle gray microfiber of the shorts, and even a Hawaiian print skort that I wear with a sleeveless teal jersey. On second thought, that might underscore that I’m not a strong rider. I have a Pearl Izumi jersey that had the original tag on it when I bought it for $3.99 at Goodwill. Amazingly, I found the matching jersey at Salvation Army for my husband, though he refuses to wear it if I’m wearing mine. (Both stink-free, I might add.) I have a jersey that someone insisted I have when I was walking around innocently at the Sea Otter Classic a couple of years ago; I think it advertises the 24 Hours of Something-Or-Other. I have leg warmers. Multiple helmets. Crash pads (that have really been crashed in). Socks to match everything. If one were to judge me by my bike and clothing alone, I’d be a hell of a rider. If they watch me ride, they’d see that I’m just okay.

  11. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 1:03 am

    I’d like to credit other posters with not reading your last post ‘Cycling Stinks’ before suggesting that you give your handmedowns to them. Rather than address my personal biking wardrobe (unimpressive in light of your 30 jerseys), it’s probably to the benefit of a man with four kids to figure out how to make more space in the house and find something to do with those clothes. I mean, really, aren’t you even a tad bit ashamed? Your options, I’m afraid, are rather limited. There’s the stock answer: put your pile of unused shorts and your multitude of unworned tops in a pile in a backyard. Not YOUR backyard, think more along the lines of of a hated enemy (or key competitor). Then burn them. Polyster, lycra and elastic are sure to have a unique smell. But that’s cliche. There’s the concept of giving these clothes away to charity – but we find ourselves back to that touchy issue of reused clothing, clothing that’ve been sweated in (plus, didn’t you mention one of them had the Reese’s logo on it?) and, well, clothes that carry your cooties. Very uncool to pass cooties while being charitable. Clearly it’s your duty to keep these jerseys and to do something meaningful with them. I’ve read your tales. You truly seem to have amazing experiences. You are a superhero to all us lame non-Lances out there. A superhero with a name – Fat Cyclist. A superhero who looks like an averago Joe when he’s on the street, fighting flat tires and errant vans that run you over before going to church. You can’t wear a superhero’s uniform, I get that. But maybe….perhaps the solutions is…Isn’t it time you had a cape?Just a thought. Your last option is to throw ‘em in the trash and never look back. By this time next year, you’ll realize you have a new collection of unhip, uncool and perhaps M&M inspired jerseys to keep you feeling like a well fashion-heeled bicylist.

  12. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 2:00 am

    Put a wastebasket in the vicinity of your sock drawer. No one darns socks anymore, so you have to throw them out.Or you can cut off the tops of the socks (if they are the ribbed kind) and use them for wrist warmers or ankle warmers.Give the holey socks to someone who makes Dammit Dolls. They work well for some versions.Give the holey ones to the crafty wife of someone you don’t like. She has to be the sort who will hang onto anything that could possibly be used to make something. Like egg carton lampshades, for instance.Stuff one sock inside another so the holes don’t line up and use them to polish things or dust things, discarding them afterwards.Call the Relief Society… they might have a use for them.Leave a huge bag of them in some location where the homeless congregate. I don’t recommend handing them to a specific person because some of them get quite testy if you seem to be trying to help them. I know… I tried to give out blankets, etc.Sew up the holes and then make rice bags or cow corn bags out of them (for heating up in the microwave for aches and pains). Take all your other unwanted stuff to a thrift store and donate it. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.Hugs,MuMo

  13. Comment by Big Guy on a Bicycle | 12.1.2005 | 2:53 am

    What to do with your stuff: Either erect a shrine to cycling, or donate it all to the Smithsonian with the understanding that they will erect the shrine (use the second option only if you don’t have room in your own place for a shrine).How much stuff I have: I have two full drawers, plus a closet shelf, plus a spot in the laundry room just for shoes, plus a laundry basket of stuff that I can’t find room for in the drawers, plus a large cardboard box of old stuff in the basement that I’d love to get rid of without throwing it away, but I don’t think the Salvation Army gets a lot of call for cycling gear. I think I will eventually just have to use it to build a shrine.But I still need: A new winter jacket, a helmet liner, new shoe covers (preferably waterproof, as the current ones sadly aren’t), and a balaclava.Allow me to mention that my wife also has two drawers full of bike stuff, and she only rides on the back of a tandem maybe twice a month. And she needs winter gloves and some tights.

  14. Comment by Paul Beard | 12.1.2005 | 3:02 am

    I believe I have so much cycling clothing because:1) It technically doesn’t wear out. I get a new pair of club jersey & shorts each year. The old shorts then gets used only on club rides until the they wear enough that someone on the club ride describes the mole on my butt. These shorts then get used under tights or on the indoor trainer. I can hear my mom asking if I would want to be seen wearing them when the ambulance has to cut them off.2) I’m in search of the perfect cycling clothing. I own 4 shoe covers – neoprene (too warm and the zipper drops), rubber (constricting near the top of foot), toe cover (spring only), fabric sock-like (not warm in rain) and rubber-fleece (current favorite). I own 5 hats – standard cap (good in warm rain), wool (too warm and scratchy), Craft hat (too warm and bunches under helmet), Sugoi (doesn’t cover ears) and Louis Garneau (current favorite). This goes on and on with tights, gloves, socks, etc., etc.. Why don’t I throw out those that I’m no longer using? See #1.

  15. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 3:23 am

    I generally ride buck naked, except for a pair of Shimano mountain bike shoes, and a diamond plutonium encrusted Assos jockstrap. As the ad said, "when you are truly ugly slow rider with excessive trust funds, you needs go for the excellence: Assos." Nahh. Truth is, I have a bunch of Performance jerseys because they are the only people who make jerseys in Car Cover sizes. I’ve dropped from "Suburban" to "Miata", but the bigger ones are still good over a long sleeve T-shirt. I have a bunch of shorts, and honestly, the Bellwether shorts are by far the most comfortable and durable ones I own. All the others, including the Nike / Specialized Vurry Spensive Bib Knickers are starting to look like Cat Eye tail lights when I stand up – two bright white patches on either side of the chamois. Some Performance tights that are too short in back, giving me PlumberButt when I ride. A couple pairs of Nike compression shorts that I wear over the tights, knickers, and shorts to try to beat the rub spots, because $8 compression shorts are easier to replace (and much more durable for some reason) than $59 bike shorts. Two pairs of shoes, one MTB pair for the MTB & Fixie, one road pair for the Giant. One helmet that smells worse than the cats’ litter box after a week on vacation and the neighbor kid fed them only JujuBees and hard boiled eggs, lots of pairs of gloves with Permasnot Protective Covering (TM). A half dozen pairs of DeFeet and Sock Guy socks. A King of the Mountain TDF cap. Five or six old bandanas that I usually wear under the helmet, since I’m generally too embarassed to wear the King of the Mountain polka dotted hat, including one bandanna that I think came with a roach clip at an Outlaws show in ‘82 at Weedsport Speedway. And a ton of $5 Wal Mart polyester T-shirts which make great base layers, and best of all they don’t make your nipples bleed.

  16. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 4:35 am

    In a beautiful example of cycling synchronicity even though I’m on the other side of the world to Fatty last night I got the bike clothing vibe and went through my two drawers and one shelf of stuff. Here’s some of the highlights and reasons why they can never be thrown out: – A 12 year old club jersey. I won races wearing that! It doesn’t matter that the stretchiness of the fabric has long gone and it hangs off me like a…….12 year old jersey. I’ll frame it!- a replica St Raphael jersey as worn by Jacques Anquetil in the early 60’s. Say no more, in these days of corporate sponsorship and gaudy jerseys the simple, elegant design is a breath of Gaullic fresh air (is that an oxymoron?).- a Ceramiche Ariostea jersey as worn by Mo Fondriest in the early 90’s. Who cares if it has lime green and red checks? Its Italian!- a Bike Outpost jersey from Nevada. The only chance I’ve had to experience mountain biking in the US was at Red Rock Canyon. A memento of a great day.Shorts are another story. You people should know that lycra does wear out, particularly in the above chamois rear area. I often go for early morning or evening rides and the angle of the sun at those times illuminates places where the sun doesn’t (and should never) shine if your shorts are worn out. Do your fellow cyclists a favour, don’t wear old shorts!On the subject of recycling/reusing stuff here’s something a mate of mine used to do with much loved but worn out shorts. Carefully remove the chamois by unpicking the stitching and then reuse the chamois in another pair of shorts. Alternatively you could use the chamois to wash your car or bike. Think of the anti-corrosive properties of those cooties!Ciao.P.S. Fatty when are you going to hit the track on the Bianchi? I can’t wait to read about your experience in the purest form of cycling there is.

  17. Comment by Georg | 12.1.2005 | 5:15 am

    I live in Clearwater, Florida. I commute 15 miles to work and join the local (recreational) club for rides on the weekends. Here’s what I use: – I alternate using two pairs of shorts, two jerseys, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of socks, two headbands.- In Winter I use a pair of long pants, one fleece jacket and/or a Goretex windbreaker. Btw, this evening was the second time this fall I had to use the windbreaker over top a short sleeved jersey.- I have one pair of Shimano shoes.- I have one bike (Fuji Finest AL).- I have one helmet.I own a couple of more jerseys, shorts and socks for backup.I’ve been living in Florida for almost three and half years now and have quite grown to liking the riding conditions here. It still amazes me to be able to ride in short gear in late November, because……before moving to the US, I lived in Germany. Never really owned special bike clothes there. All riding was done in civilian clothes. Riding in below freezing temperatures wasn’t a problem for me. Only thing I avoided was when it snowed or rained.In Florida I miss some decent mountains. I don’t miss the drizzling rain that could last for days in Germany.Georg

  18. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 5:50 am

    I have 1 fast tri suit. 1 pair of bike shoes, couldn’t attach my feet to the pedals if i didn’t. Havent figured out how to screw cleats into my joggers yet, and my cooler esky style helmet, the outer plastic shell fell off. All other clothes worn while riding are non cycling clothes and double up for everyday life. I get a lot of weird looks at my local race, don’t know why? The only other cycling thing is the bike and bike accesories. (I’m not tight just currently in enough debt after buying the bike, atleast it’s new.)

  19. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 5:55 am

    I’ve been reading this blog for 6 months, and this is my first time posting. (I’m stealing my bf’s MSN log in) I’ve had a point of contention with you Fatty, which has been growing for the past several weeks; now I feel that it’s time to speak. Even though I’ve never commented on your blog, and you probably don’t know that I exist, clearly you’ve been picking these bike bag give-away topics with the sole aim of excluding <i>me</I>. I’ve never had a bad bike repair experience, never done anything extremely stupid on a bike that I would do again, I’ve never had a bike stolen, and I’ve never even touched a bike rack. But you picked all of those topics with the express purpose of excluding me, didn’t you? But today, I will remain quite no longer. I will not stand for your excluding me anymore. Today is the day I take my stab at winning the Banjo Brother’s bag, even though I don’t really have much to say on this topic either.First off, I win the least bike clothing contestI have a helmet, and fingerless gloves. That’s it. I don’t really think I count though, because I’m not really a cyclist. I’ve been bike commuting to school for the past 5 years, which means I ride an average of 15 miles a week during the fall and spring. Since I wear my school cloths when I do so, I have no need of any other bike clothing. One summer I biked 30-50 miles a day, but I did that in normal clothing too (cotton t-shirts and shorts). So my lack of accumulated bike stuff is not because I have found some way to fight off IJAS but because there has never been any stuff to accumulate. I don’t know, maybe you will find it impressive anyway, and I will win the bag.Advice on what to do with your stuff part IIf the socks really aren’t worn out except the toe, you could darn them (it would be the environmentally friendly/fiscally responsible thing to do). If I were you, I would wear the socks anyway ignoring the holes. But maybe there’s something about bike shoes that makes this a worse idea than with regular shoes. If you really aren’t going to wear the socks, then get them out of your drawer (you already know you should do this) and take them to your garage where you can use them for rags for things like cleaning your bike and glovies for handling greasy tools. As for everything else; if you haven’t worn it much (ie it doesn’t stink) and you aren’t going to wear it again (every 3 to 4 years *does not count*) then donate it to charity. If the other stuff you won’t wear again stinks too much (have a non desensitized person, not yourself, check this) then throw it out. The way to stop the IJAS is, quite obviously, to stop getting jerseys. When races offer you free stuff, don’t accept it, unless you are actually going to use it. If you feel some obligation to accept it, but aren’t going to wear it much, then pass it on before you stink it up.At last we get to the real point of my postI don’t really think I will win the bag, but that wasn’t the main goal of this post (if I do happen to win it tho, sweet). I’m looking for some advice about the very subject that your entry covers. You see, your blog, along with OIFS and MinusCar (so don’t give yourself too much credit) have inspired me to become a cyclist: I want to commute year round, and I am currently building myself a road bike (I’ve previously only had hybrids or clunkers). The problem is that I live in the great state of Iowa, where it is currently a toasty 20 degrees out. I want to get some actual cycling equipment that will keep me (relatively) warm and dry. I’m wondering what all I should get, and also what the differences between men’s and women’s bike clothing is. I can guess at the umm anatomical differences in the shorts/tights. But it seems like I will have trouble finding stuff for myself in women’s bike wear since from what I’ve gathered browsing around, manufactures think that the tallest woman cyclist is 5’6". I’m 6’ and it seems to me that having 3-4in of exposed leg defeats the purpose of cold weather tights. Does anyone have any suggestions? Also, I have another idea for where Fatty’s extra stuff can go: any little used (and therefor non-stinky) stuff, like some of the extra windbreaker jackets would be going to a good cause if donated to me. I know several other people have already tried this tactic, but you should be impressed by how I put up a lot of filler before hand, and slowly drew you down to the beg, kind of like leading Rocky to an endurance race (or a lamb to slaughter, but I repeat myself). Of course, the lots of filler makes this a very long post, which could be very annoying, instead of impressive. In that case, I apologize. After looking this post over again, I realize that it is super long, and probably is annoying. Oh well, since I already went to the trouble of typing it, I might as well post it.

  20. Comment by Chris | 12.1.2005 | 7:20 am

    I’m pretty sure I can win the least bike clothes part of the dealio. I don’t have anything. I don’t even have a bike. Wait, I do have some half-gloves which I use to chop wood with. It IS getting cold here in the Northwest. As a matter of fact, we’re supposed to get up to 8 inches of snow tonight here in Sandy. Those bike half-gloves give me the grip I want without making me lose said grip.My exwife had some padded tights/shorts once upon a time. She looked incredibly good in them too. Which is one reason she’s now my ex…One of these days you’ll have a contest which has a real bike as the prize. I’ll put up a post that will let me win and then I’ll have a bike to go with my chopping gloves.

  21. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 12.1.2005 | 2:00 pm

    I was tidying up in the shed last weekend and discovered a veritable treasure-trove of antique cycling memorabilia.There is enough complete ensembles for autumn weather for me to ride 19 consecutive days without doubling up. As with all closet audits the last week or so would be an ill-fitting un-matched hodge-podge. And I will run out of socks a bit earlier. I also knew I owned 4 pairs of cycling shoes. 2 with Look cleats for the road bikes and 2 with old slotted cleats for the track bike (UG, big thighed sprinter keeps tearing look cleats out of pedals so reverts to clips and double straps to preserve manhood). But in the clean up I found 3 more pairs of retired shoes. All 3 have traditional slotted cleats, but I challenge you to find anyone alive who remembers all leather (yes soles too) shoes by Detto Pietro with nailed on cleats.

  22. Comment by tayfuryagci | 12.1.2005 | 2:09 pm

    hey spacecow, I won’t really wear them! I’ll sell them on eBay as "authentic fat cyclist gear" and make huge bucks. then I’ll be able to buy every bike with the name Surly on it. Especially a Pugsley. I’m real smart aren’t I?

  23. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 3:25 pm

    I can’t really expect to win the bag – I don’ t have near the greatest or smallest amount of associated paraphenalia that others do. What I do have is a bunch of stuff that I don’t need now. I grew up in Colorado and then moved to Montana for 7 years (for graduate school). During that time I accumulated a LOT of cold weather gear. I rode nearly everyday in Montana – even when it was -20F. I even rode once at -40 (hey, I don’t need a unit – -40F is -40C). Yes, it was cold. Yes it was probably stupid. Yes, I’m sure some parts of my anatomy have never truly recovered. Now I live in Virginia, in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains (where "mountains" is used loosely here relative to my previous homes). It gets cold here, but it doesn’t get COLD. So I own all kinds of super duper "you will be warm" clothing with no use. People here think it’s cold when it gets below freezing. I’m starting to feel comfortable then! What am I going to do with thermal windproof tights and my lobster gloves? Right now they sit in a drawer awaiting a freak Arctic cold front to pass through. Maybe it will even happen someday….About the lobster gloves – I did find they kept my hands warmer, but I bought them without thinking. While riding in the super cold, I always rode the mountain bike. As Fatty noted, they come in the "live long and prosper" shape. I didn’t even begin to think that I use my middle and ring finger to brake on my mountain bike, but those fingers are separated by the lobster claw. Dangit! First time I got out with them and tried to brake, I crashed (hey, it was icy/snowpacked – and it’s hard to be coordinated with your body weight’s worth of clothes on). I wore them rarely after that. They worked fine for the road bike, but I did find them a bit bulky and uncomfortable on the hoods.

  24. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 3:49 pm

    I have way too many bike clothes. I have my first helmet I ever bought, and every one in between. I have at least 4 pairs of shoes that don’t fit just right and I will never wear again (but I might need the spare cleat on them…). I have jerseys and shorts for every team I have ridden on for the last ten years, about 20 jerseys from NCVC, my latest (and favorite team). And what is probably my first pair of gloves ever. Since they look like my other various Pearl Izumi gloves, it’s only once you are riding that the heat activated stink reveals itself the first time you go to wipe your nose. It’s a wonder that I haven’t wrecked recoiling from that horror.But I also have too many cats. And a cabinet that has many of these old clothes piled on the bottom of them. Which has a door that doesn’t quite shut right. Which must make it look like a litter box. Opening that cabinet revealed just how bad cycling clothes can smell. Cycling clothes do not ever lose any smell that has made it’s way onto them as you have noted, even after repeated washings. So these will never be worn again…ever….by anyone.I still have them, in that same cabinet, in my garage, with the door tightly sealed shut now. Why do I still have them? Why have I not taken that cabinet out back and burned it to the ground? Questions worthy of Plato.

  25. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 4:12 pm

    As someone said above, something to contribute. First, as long as you have the space, no need to reduce the amount of stuff. Once your wife needs those drawers back, then start culling.I am in an apartment, so therefore, not much bike stuff.3 lycra shorts (1 pair only goes under Marmot pants)1 helmet (7 years old)Diadora shoes with the lining ripped out (more comfortable)1 pr Marmot insulated pants1 pr Louis Garneau fingerless gloves1 pr North Face polartec gloves1 Columbia Titanium fleece1 Jersey (rarely worn)My wife gets on my case about the number of shorts I buy, but then I remind her that they usually get returned. I enjoy reading the blog. So at what point do you become the not-so-fat cyclist?

  26. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 4:21 pm

    When the Spring riding season begins, I buy a whole new set of riding gear for the year. I then wear the same clothes every ride, whether I have had the chance to wash them, or not. Your little treatise on riding gear funk was fairly lightweight where mutant, otherworldly funk is concerned. But I digress.I store them in exactly the same place always. When I wash them, I never mix them with other clothes. I take them straight from the dryer to back to their place in the car. That way, I am never without them. If, by and by I should lose a sock to DDSS (dryer disappearing sock syndrome–hey, all of those acronyms you have been coming up with need to go into the glossary of mockronyms), I simply discard the orphaned sock and buy a new pair. I ride barefoot until I can actually remember to buy a new pair.I always carry a jacket with zip off sleeves on my Camelbak, and arm and leg warmers in my Camelbak until the weather is not a question anymore.At the end of the riding year, whether they need it or not (?), I have a ceremonial burning of the year’s riding attire. I have actaully been contacted by Air Quality Control inquiring about the "toxic gas" from the fire. I always tell them, "It’s okay, it’s organic polyester."

  27. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 4:38 pm

    Hey, great article, Brother.I would love to see those early bicycles.

  28. Comment by Evia | 12.1.2005 | 4:54 pm

    You know, you could take up sewing and convert those jerseys into a nice useful blanket. You could use the shorts for borders of the squares and only use the most interesting designs of the jerseys. Shoot, why not include pockets and zippers so you have a place to hide your snacks while laying on the couch watching tv. You’d use your old cycling clothes, stay warm inside and have snacks at your fingertips. I may have to make one for myself!!

  29. Comment by Gillian | 12.1.2005 | 5:56 pm

    you win the prize for the longest comments. I don’t cycle – the road to work is a highway with no shoulder – and your stinky comments are sort of convincing me that perhaps this is good . . . :) You’re a fun read.

  30. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 6:24 pm

    Fatty:Is it possible we’re related? And how can so many people who post to your blog call themselves cyclists when they own so little in the way of critical cycling attire?Before I launch into my list, let me first explain that I’m both a bicycle commuter (about one hour each way) and a long-distance nut (a.k.a randonneur, though I don’t live in Seattle, and I don’t own a blue wool jersey). Plus, I have a thing about wearing dirty shorts and jerseys, so I always carry a second set of bike clothes to work, which means I have an excuse for owning a lot. Also, I’m a wuss when it comes to cold weather, so I own way too much in the way of arctic expedition-style clothing, even though I live in sunny California.Feet. I have three pairs of shoes that I actively use: two older sets for commuting, and one good pair (Sidis) for the weekend bike. To my credit, the commute shoes used to be my good weekend shoes long ago. About six years ago, I made the switch to a mountain cleat/shoe system (Bebop) from my old Look pedal system, so I also have three pairs of road shoes with Look cleats. For some reason, I keep thinking those shoes will come in handy, even though none of my bikes have Look pedals anymore. (And, yes, I still have two pairs of Look pedals in a plastic box somewhere in my garage.) I’m also pretty sure I still have at least one pair of flat, uncleated so-called touring shoes. And if that weren’t enough, I have three pairs of booties, each with one broken zipper; one unmatched bootie, whose mate was apparently lost while traveling; and one pair of "toe covers" that I bought last weekend on a whim. I can tell from the way the toe covers stretch to fit over my shoes that they’re not going to make it more than a couple of months. But last night on my commute I came up with the bright idea of recycling my old broken booties into more durable toe covers by cutting off the heels. Of course, if I do that, I’ll have to buy another pair of booties. Oh, and I have one other pair of booties that are way too small — I think I bought them on sale — so they’re in great shape. They look so darned good I can’t bring myself to throw them away, but of course, there’s no way my feet are ever going to shrink to the point that these slick booties are going to fit. And if they did, I’d need new shoes.Shorts. I really, really like Blackbottom shorts, but the chamois gets mangled in the dryer, so I have to hang them up to dry. This is my excuse for needing the 18 pairs I have. Now, before you declare this excessive, let me explain that I divide my shorts into those that MUST be worn under tights and those that must NOT be worn under tights. I have a theory that wearing tights over shorts makes the shorts wear out prematurely and also causes that ugly sag in the lycra that makes them catch on the nose of the saddle. So, I have 10 pairs of shorts that are old and damaged in some way — tear in the seam, "threadbare" patches, saggy bottoms — and I wear these under my tights in the winter. If I want to, I can commute for a whole week before I need to wash any shorts! I also have eight pairs of good shorts that I use in nice weather and with leg warmers for summer commuting and weekend rides.Leg coverings. I have one good pair of leg warmers. I used to have two good pairs, but I trashed the zipper on one of the second pair in a sleep-deprived moment on the Gold Rush Randonnee last summer, and I’m still heartbroken. I haven’t tossed the bad pair because I keep hoping there’s some way I can have the zipper repaired. For colder weather I also own three pairs of very warm "triflex" tights and three pairs of basic polypropelyne tights. These occasionally develop rips and tears, and I’m pretty good about mending the holes in these, which is probably why I only have six pairs total.Jerseys and undershirts. Like you, I have a pretty good collection of event and club jerseys — maybe 25 or 30. I probably wear about half of them regularly. The other half I don’t really like for a variety of reasons, but I guess I keep them in case I change my mind. I also have about six warm, fleecy long-sleeved jerseys for commuting in the cold before dawn and after sunset. But warm jerseys aren’t enough: I must also have nice, soft undershirts to wear next to my skin. I think I have about a dozen of these. I still own and regularly wear the very first cycling undershirt I bought back in 1988 from the Missing Link bike store in Berkeley. It was made out of this newfangled stuff called "Thermax" and was quite expensive for the time. The undershirts seem to be the worst for collecting offensive odors, but I combat this with an elaborate washing routine involving two rinse cycles, Gain detergent, vinegar and fabric softener. This keeps my dresser drawers from smelling bad, but the odors seem to come back about 30 minutes into any ride. Oh well.Outerwear. I actually prefer windvests to jackets for most situations, but it took me years to figure that out, so I have about four vests I wear regularly along with maybe six windbreakers and three cycling-specific rainjackets. I probably have 15 pairs of gloves when you count padded cycling gloves, liner gloves, thick gloves, and my favorite, "glo-mitts" from REI. These are fleecy short-fingered gloves with a pullover mitten that you can pull back when you need to get into your pockets. They’re a great invention, and I own at least three or four pairs. For the head I have two helmets, one that’s bare for summer/weekend riding, and one that’s got a helmet cover, headlight, fleecy earwarmers and mirror attached for winter riding. I only have three or four warm cycling-specific hats because I don’t like to wear a hat on my commute — I get "hat hair," which for me is about ten times worse than "helmet hair." I could go on, but I won’t. And please, don’t ask me about my collection of bike lights or water bottles or punctured inner tubes or….[screech]Amy

  31. Comment by Unknown | 12.1.2005 | 7:47 pm

    Fatty–I have been, I feel, maligned as material for your brunt-of-all-the-endurance-racing jokes. In fact, I think I now know how Tonto, Laurel, and Costello all must have felt. Ellie, a first-time commenter said the following: "…kind of like leading Rocky to an endurance race (or a lamb to slaughter, but I repeat myself)." How could something like that be considered funny? Do you feel no responsibility for the minds you are shaping, man? Is this some kind of sick, twisted attempt to goad me into another endurance nightmare? And Ms. Ellie, shame on you.

  32. Comment by Brie | 12.1.2005 | 10:51 pm

    This late post is to add to the collectionI have 1 pair of :shoes, shoe covers, knee warmers (though they act as leg warmers because I am so short), arm warmers (had to be replaced after crash – better a hole in the right warmer than my arm), full fingered gloves, bib knicks (a very recent purchase as difficult to find for a girl – want to get more am so hooked!)1 of:wind vest, long sleeve bright fluro ‘rain’ jacket2 pairs of :fingerless gloves5 pairs of: knicks (4 body torque, 1 cannibal – Oz designs – top marks for body torque knicks – if girls are having trouble finding a nice pair give these guys a go)8 of:jerseys – one team replica (and a rather old team I am told), one leaders replica (pretty pink Giro – who could say no), 2 sleevless and 4 non descript ones9 of:tri tops (all from races) – my version of an undershirt for jerseys Then there is the socks…

  33. Comment by Unknown | 12.2.2005 | 12:25 am

    *hangs her head in shame* I’m sorry Rocky, I don’t know what came over me. Reading FC for too long must have infected my brain. From now on I will limit my metaphors to being afraid of pine needles and eating disgusting mayo + peanutbutter + god knows what else combinations :)

  34. Comment by Loes | 12.2.2005 | 3:07 pm

    Make a big fire and burn all your useless cycling stuff. And dance around it.For my cycling equipment I prefer quality over quantity.I don’t have a lot of cycling clothes, and if I’d have a lot, I’d probably always wear the same clothes unless they’re being washed. I’ve got leg and arm warmers, 2 pairs of race gloves (one old pair I never use anymore), 3 helmets (okay, one of those is my brother’s but he hardly ever needs it, and another one is my old helmet which I never use anymore), 3 short sleeved jerseys (one for inline skating which I hardly ever use nor for cycling, nor for skating, one CSC jersey I got for free, but it is like way too big, and another one of my club), one long sleeved jersey, 3 pairs of glasses (one really cheap one, one I accidentally dropped which caused the glasses to break, and a brand new pair), some undershirts, I’ve got three bib shorts (one I never use because I don’t like it, one of my club and another one of Giordana). There are still many things I need like winter gloves, but I want to buy too many other expensive things so I’m almost always broke. But I’m getting new clothes from my club anytime soon. At least, I hope so.I keep my stuff in various places, my helmet lies on my computer, my glasses either in my skate bag or on my desk (which is next to my computer), my gloves and my leg and arm warmers I keep next to my wardrobe (I also keep my shin protectors for skating there), the rest of my cycling clothes I do keep in my wardrobe or on the ground. And I keep my shoes in the garage.My helmet is on my computer so I can stare at it (I love my Bell Sweep, it’s just so cool), my gloves and arm/leg warmers are next to my wardrobe so I can easily get them when it’s cold (I don’t only use them for cycling), my glasses are usually in my skate bag because I usually tend to forget them when I go skating and when I’ve gone cycling I usually put them on my desk. My clothes are in my wardrobe because I usually keep my clothes in my wardrobe, but it’s a big mess so I can’t always find my stuff, so I throw them on the floor sometimes knowing that I’d need them anytime soon.I never think when I put my stuff somewhere, they just automatically end up in certain places, or they get lost.

  35. Comment by Unknown | 12.2.2005 | 9:40 pm

    "But I wear through the big toe well before I wear through the rest of the sock"Have you tried cutting your big toe nails?Cheers,Chris


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