So You Want to Be a Cyclist? Part I: Choosing Your Equipment

01.26.2009 | 8:01 am


A Note from Fatty: Congrats to my friends at Twin Six for having their clothing — jersey, shorts, and socks! — featured on the cover of this month’s Bicycling magazine. Click the image to see a larger view.

Another Note from Fatty: It’s Bloggies voting week, and I’m a finalist in the Sports category. Even more awesomely, my sister’s Pistols and Popcorn blog is a finalist in the Best-Kept Secret category.

It’s important that you go now vote for both of us, because if only one of us wins, it will spawn a terrible, terrible sibling rivalry. And nobody wants that. And hey, while you’re at it, why don’t you also vote for The Pioneer Woman — a Friend of Fatty — in all the categories she’s nominated (i.e., pretty much all of them).

Click here to vote now.

So You Want to Be a Cyclist?

It’s always such a pleasure when I get linked to by some non-cycling site like The Bloggies. I assume — quite rightly, I am certain — that you are here because you are very interested in becoming a cyclist, and would like me to tell you everything you need to know about what you need to do to join the ranks of this fast-growing sport.

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

As a well-known and much-beloved ambassador of cycling culture, it will be my honor to give you a whirlwind tour of the different kinds of cycling, the equipment you will need to purchase, and what you will need to do to get maximum enjoyment from your new hobby.

Let’s begin, shall we?

A Few Necessary Things

One of the really great things about cycling is how inexpensive it is. However, there are a few things you’ll find absolutely essential to enjoying the sport.

A Bike
Obviously, you’ll need a bike. This almost goes without saying, right? You can’t be a cyclist without a bicycle. And you can get a reasonably good bicycle for around $500. This is, in fact, an excellent amount of money to plan on spending on your bicycle…if you want to draw the scorn and derision of every other cyclist you ever meet.

That would be just awful.

And the fact is, if you spend just $500 on that bike, you’re going to find that you want to trade it in on a much nicer bike within a few months anyway.

So, you’d better plan on budgeting around $2500 for that bike.

Also, I was kind of misleading you a little bit when I talked about your “bike” in the singular sense. You can’t have just one bike; that would severely limit the grand experience that cycling has to offer. You’ve got to have your main road bike (I know I said $2500 earlier, but $3500 will get you one you really like), your rain bike ($750), your fixie ($1666), your cross-country mountain bike ($2750), your freeride / downhill bike ($3800 each if you’re going to do it right), your cyclocross bike ($1500), your singlespeed ($1200), and your recumbent ($1900, plus $75 for a good-quality beard trimmer).

That’s about $18,966, because I was just kidding about the recumbent.

A Helmet
The bike’s just the beginning of the story, though. You’ll also need a helmet, because — even though as a cyclist you are otherwise completely unprotected — safety has got to be your first concern.

Now, some people will tell you that a helmet is a good place to save money, since even the cheapest helmets must pass the same tests before they go on the market. But those people haven’t told you about the “Do you look like a brain surgery patient on the way back to the hockey rink” test.

No, if you want to be a real cyclist, you need to get yourself a nice-looking helmet. There’s an easy pair of criteria to help you discern whether a helmet looks nice:

  1. The helmet has at least 20 vents. More is better. Ideally, in fact, there should be enough vents that you have a difficult time believing that the helmet will actually protect you at all in a crash.
  2. The helmet costs at least $100.

If you are a man, you likely have never spent more than $75 on shoes before. Those days are over, my friend. To be a real cyclist, you need cycling-specific shoes. This may seem odd, since — unlike in most sports, where your shoes actually touch the ground — your shoes do nothing but get between your feet and the pedal.

You’ll be pleased to know, then, that cycling shoes are in fact the most special-purpose footwear you will ever own. These shoes, combined with special pedals, actually lock you to your bike, making it so you theoretically can pull up on the pedals as well as push down on them.

In reality, of course, their main purpose is to entertain your fellow cyclists when you fall down at a stoplight, hopelessly tangled with and pinned down by your bicycle.


Cycling shoes have stiff, inflexible soles, giving you extra power when you pedal, as well as — when combined with the hardware that locks you to your pedals — making you look ridiculous when you walk.

Important safety tip: Do not walk on concrete, asphalt, or tile when wearing cycling shoes, because you are likely to slip and fall. Do not walk on grass or dirt, because you are likely to jam up the inner workings of your cleats. Do not walk on hardwood floors, because you are likely to be killed by your significant other.

And how much do these very useful shoes cost? Anywhere from $150 – $500. A bargain!

Oh, and you’re going to want different sets for your road and mountain bikes.


You might assume that you should be able to wear any clothes when riding a bike, and you would be right! However, you would also notice that your normal natural fiber clothes start to chafe a bit after you’ve ridden for an hour or so.

And they start to get soaked with sweat.

And they billow in the wind something awful.

Which is why you need to buy extremely bright, form-fitting polyester and lycra clothing, including:

  • Bike jerseys: Bike jerseys are designed to fit you very comfortably, as long as you are a professional cyclist with arms in an advanced stage of attrition. Otherwise, you might find them a bit snug. And, after wearing them a couple times, you might find them a bit stinky. Don’t try to get that stink out. It’s your street cred. Also, try to get a jersey that advertises your favorite consumer product. And finally, since bike jersey pockets are otherwise impossible to get to — they’re in the back of the jersey — you may want to have your elbow hinges replaced with ball joints.
  • Bike shorts: Bike shorts have the distinction of being both the world’s most and world’s least comfortable clothing, depending on what you are doing at the moment. If you are on a bike, the big diaper-y thing between your nether regions and the saddle clearly falls into the “boon” category, and the lycra wicks sweat away as it stretches to accommodate the motion of your legs and your — let’s face it — unnatural sitting position. Once you’re off the bike, however, the diaper becomes dank and cold and starts breeding bacteria so fast you can actually hear the cells divide. Plus, thanks to muscle memory from when you were a toddler, you will be unable to prevent yourself from walking with a distinct waddle. The shoes will augment this motion.
  • Layers upon layers: You never know when the weather might change. It could become wetter. Or drier. Or colder, or warmer, or windier. Non-cyclists might simply live with these kinds of changes up to a point and then — if the weather got bad enough — go home. Cyclists, however, are prepared for any shifts in the weather. Hence, you are going to need to not only own, but carry with you at all times, each of the following:

    • Arm warmers
    • Knee warmers
    • Extra gloves
    • Vest
    • Wind jacket
    • Rainproof jacket
    • Shoe covers

And how much should these clothes cost? That’s easy: simply take the cost of an ordinary, comparable article of clothing, then imagine that article of clothing encrusted in diamonds. But still washer-safe.

Emergency Repair Gear
Once you’ve got your bike and clothing, you’re almost ready to ride! But not quite. Because while Cyclists celebrate the simplicity and efficiency of their machines (more on this tomorrow), the reality is that bicycles are required by law to break down every nine miles.

So as to avoid being stranded, you need to make sure you always have the following with you when riding your bike:

  • Patch kit
  • Tire levers
  • Extra tube of glue for the patch kit because the first tube of glue has certainly dried out
  • Extra tube for when the patch still doesn’t hold (true fact: in the history of cycling, only four field-applied patches have ever held)
  • Spare tire
  • CO2 tire inflator system
  • Mini-pump for when the CO2 system doesn’t work
  • Frame pump for when the mini-pump doesn’t work
  • Cell phone for when the frame pump doesn’t work
  • Set of allen wrenches (metric and the other kind…non-metric?)
  • Spoke wrench
  • Duct tape (3 rolls)
  • Extra rear derailleur (better safe than sorry)
  • Road flare
  • First Aid kit
  • Change of clothing
  • Pillow
  • Road atlas of the world
  • Pistol and ammo, just in case you find that you need to live off the land for a while
  • 5-gallon jug of water
  • Acetylene torch and welder’s goggles
  • $500 in cash in case you need to buy a cheap used car to get yourself home
  • Something to read
  • Russian phrasebook in case you get very, very lost
  • Extra Powerbar

These are, of course, merely the bare essentials. If you’re going to be out for more than a couple of hours, bring everything else you can imagine possibly needing on the road.

Depending on the size of your jersey pockets, you may want to invest in a pannier setup.

Almost Set
With these simple and inexpensive purchases made, you’re ready to ride.

No, I was just kidding. You’re not even remotely ready to start riding your bike. Before you dare embark on the simple, carefree cyclist lifestyle, you must first understand cycling culture, etiquette, training techniques, nutrition, and a few other simple, intuitive cycling fundamentals.

I will cover these tomorrow. I know you’re excited.


  1. Comment by Jean Roberts | 01.26.2009 | 8:18 am

    Long time reader, first time commenter. One word. Priceless!

  2. Comment by Jason | 01.26.2009 | 8:19 am


    Thanks for providing the break-down of the requisite items to be a cyclist. This may in fact save my marriage as I can now demonstrate to my wife that my cycling obsession is normal and the amount of money I spend to support my addiction is in fact healthy.


  3. Comment by Tim E | 01.26.2009 | 8:24 am

    Fatty, you exagerate. It took 8 full months before I bought the second bike to replace my starter bike.

    And you forgot arm warmers, gloves, long sleeve jerseys, sleeveless jerseys, sunscreen, tights…in fact, I think the “Layers and Layers:” paragraph is missing. Plus there are spare wheels, cassettes, and of course the many seats you will buy to find that perfect fit.

  4. Comment by ibike | 01.26.2009 | 8:24 am

    nailed it with that post fatty. It makes me sick that you actually correct

  5. Comment by Mark | 01.26.2009 | 8:28 am


    Come on man, I thought we were buddies :)… Recumbents are real bikes too! And you cost is off by another $1,500 or so…Wait, maybe your cost is right..We’ll use your estimate as the “girlfriend/wife awareness price” and then we can spend what it takes! I love it when a plan comes together :)

  6. Comment by WheelDancer | 01.26.2009 | 8:41 am


    Please refrain from posting something this funny so early in the morning. Not only will I have to clean my monitor and keyboard, getting coffee up one’s nose from spontaneous laughter is far worse than most other beverages. I only ask as a public service…

    As for the costs, I think you have it pretty close but you did leave out the cost of counseling when you realize that people are in fact looking at you as you walk through the lobby at work after your morning commute wearing tights stuffed with diapers clicking along in what appears to be tap shoes. It’s part of the adjustment to the cycling culture.

  7. Comment by annette | 01.26.2009 | 8:50 am

    great stuff!

  8. Comment by MikeonHisBike | 01.26.2009 | 9:00 am

    Great post. I guess I can’t claim I’m a true cyclist because I only have two bikes. What a rookie I am. This gives me something to work on. Also, what about the love hate relationship with saddles?


  9. Comment by JamieM | 01.26.2009 | 9:09 am

    And to think I was thinking about starting this spring! I have a bike from ‘93 that I thought would be just fine. But I don’t know how to fix a flat and I am too fat to be able to balence AND take along all the emergency stuff. And I was just concerned with how to prevent my butt from getting sore ( which has always been my ride-stopper). Thanks for writting this and make me give-up before I start!
    BTW – What is the difference in the bikes and do any of them accomidate a baby seat?

  10. Comment by Jenni Laurita | 01.26.2009 | 9:23 am

    What about the $600 computer with GPS/power meter/et al?
    And how could you leave out the butt balm?!

  11. Comment by Daddystyle | 01.26.2009 | 9:46 am

    So that spare BB I carry is necessary. With about $30,000 in bike hanging the garage I guess our family has arrived, Hard to believe we got into cycling because we foolishly thought it was a cheap sport

  12. Comment by fatty | 01.26.2009 | 9:52 am

    tim e – you’re right, i put in the stub for the paragraph and then forgot the details. nice catch (and now you know how i write/think: outline first, then sentences).

    jenni – you’re right; the gps/power meter / HRM / odometer are critical. as is the spalm. i expect there are other things i forgot, too. i look forward to cyclists like yourself enumerating that list in today’s comment. i have a feeling that list is gonna get kind of long.

  13. Comment by Julie | 01.26.2009 | 9:57 am

    Thanks…that was a great way to start the week!

  14. Comment by Al Maviva | 01.26.2009 | 9:59 am

    Dude. No mention of embrocation, no Brave Soldier, nothing about the cost of shaving your legs, nothing about race entry fees or ‘charity century’ entry fees (same thing but with slower riders), a Thule bike rack this is actually a roof rack under a cross bar rack under a bicycle rack (yes, that’s right, the three rack rack system for one bike). And what about the social cost when your friends figure out to a high probability your religion and personal grooming habits just looking at your new lycra clad self? And this hasn’t even touched on insane impulse buys so mandatory for cyclists, like carbon fiber water bottles, wheels and key rings, plush $700 Rapha scarves made from the armpit hair of newborn stoats, and the like. Not to mention the cost of a $750 plain jane black Electra that you can ride to the store once in a while to show people the cost-efficiency of using a bicycle for utility purposes…

    I’m afraid you are misleading these Noobies.

    Now leave me alone. I have to get back to work so I can pay for my new stoat hair scarf, and the matching moderate-cold-weather-stoatskin winter/rain training cycling shoes.

  15. Comment by Aaron | 01.26.2009 | 10:14 am

    Funny thing is, all the non-cyclist reading this, think you’re probably exaggerating. You also forgot the 5 different sized backpacks for mountain biking. You know, depending on how long the ride is, the type of trail, and whether or not you need to carry armor.

  16. Comment by Lizzylou | 01.26.2009 | 10:19 am

    And of course you need to color coordinate all of your attire with you frame. Don’t forget that import thing to consider when purchasing duds.

  17. Comment by Bill | 01.26.2009 | 10:30 am


    Never have truer words been written.

    My wife now even thinks this is funny, after we spent $500 for her hybrid a couple of years back and now have dropped $1000 on her entry-level road bike. She can’t believe the difference.

    And as we just spent Saturday morning at REI loading up on layers of clothing that were on sale.

    I got a great deal on a cycling jacket, which also came in handy for a long run that night. So it made even more sense, since I could use it for multiple activities. Unlike my cycling shoes.

  18. Comment by scrod | 01.26.2009 | 10:37 am

    It has been a long time since I have seen a fair, honest assessment of the true cost of a sport.
    Certainly there are other things, as the aforementioned heartrate monitors, racks and such – but you have captured the essence of cycling.

  19. Comment by Canadian Roadie (posing as a mtn biker) | 01.26.2009 | 11:16 am

    I was so excited when I bought a jacket that can double for cycling AND running. However, it’s only good for mtn biking, as the colours are a little too natural for my road bike. I have a team jacket for the winter road riding but it can definitely NOT be used for mtn biking. Huh, I’m starting to think it’s all a conspiracy to keep the economy going.

  20. Comment by russ | 01.26.2009 | 11:25 am

    Don’t forget the cost in personal pride when you have to explain to your significant other/workmates/alleged friends why you shave your legs even though the chance of you getting fast enough to receive any aerodynamic advantage is as remote as my wife waxing my legs for me.
    It’s a high cost my friends and not all are willing to make the payment.
    Ride on fatty

  21. Comment by biking dude | 01.26.2009 | 11:30 am

    Just like a comment before this one, I’m still cleaning my computer screen when I laughed.

  22. Comment by matt | 01.26.2009 | 11:42 am

    man all this jibber jabber anf fatty didn’t even get to the goal, nay holy shrine of biking, riding to the coffee shop and sitting. oh, to attain that is to know true happiness.

    good post

  23. Comment by Rob | 01.26.2009 | 11:51 am

    Literally LOL….”because I was just kidding about the recumbent”.

    And btw….Al Maviva HAS to be BSNYC.

  24. Comment by leroy | 01.26.2009 | 12:05 pm

    Speaking of Twin Six and cycling necessities ….

    Just got my wooly Fat Cyclist jersey this weekend.

    In the words of Borat: Verrry Nice!

    Sadly, it’s just too cold to wear it at the moment.

    The hot water circulating system vest that attaches to my frame mounted, pedal fueled generator might stretch the woolen jersey.

    May have to wait until July to wear it.

    That’s okay, don’t have time to tailor the jersey anyway.

    Still busy trying to explain to family why the leather face mask from LL Bean I got when living in Vermont years ago is necessary cycling attire in Brooklyn and not at all creepy in a Texas Chain Saw Massacre kind of way.

    I keep pointing out that it doesn’t scare the family dog.

    And honestly, isn’t that the only test real cyclists apply to attire before venturing out in public?

  25. Comment by Richie | 01.26.2009 | 12:11 pm

    I thought you said kneewarmers were stupid……….I’m glad u’ve come around to accepting that they’re a useful piece of clothing:P:P Loved the post!!

    WIN SUSAN!!!

  26. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.26.2009 | 12:18 pm

    the beard trimmer – priceless, Fatty, and so true

  27. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.26.2009 | 12:21 pm

    and Al – good call on the humor value of stoats – they work just as well as weasels, perhaps better.

  28. Comment by Photoqueen | 01.26.2009 | 12:30 pm

    So the internet is a funny thing. A few years ago – before anyone in my world knew what blogs were – I ran across this website on MSN called Random Reviewers. It was really funny, and I read it often.

    And then one day the guys writing it stopped writing it. I was bummed but I have to admit, I eventually moved on.

    And I started reading lots of other blogs. Like The Pioneer Woman, for one.

    Today she mentioned your blog and your name (Fat Cyclist, not Elden) sounded familiar – so I clicked over. I was thinking I knew your name from my friend Tam’s blog.

    But now I realize I know you – or at least I think I do – from Random Reviewers.

    More importantly to you, my husband mountain bikes and wants to lose weight, so I think I’m going to suggest he read your blog.

    That’s all.

  29. Comment by Lynette | 01.26.2009 | 12:41 pm

    The truth in it is what makes it so funny! Great post!!!

  30. Comment by allison | 01.26.2009 | 12:45 pm

    I am very much looking forward to tomorrow ;)

  31. Comment by KanyonKris | 01.26.2009 | 12:51 pm

    I’m sure the bi-cycle curious will appreciate this article. So many intros coddle the newbie, you give them the full fire hose.

    $1666 – yes, fixies are evil.

  32. Comment by Di | 01.26.2009 | 12:59 pm

    “I was kind of misleading you a little bit when I talked about your “bike” in the singular sense.”

    This is so true, it’s not even funny. :?

  33. Comment by Jillian | 01.26.2009 | 1:08 pm

    I came over from Pioneer Woman today cause she mentioned you. Great post!

    You forgot sunglasses and the ungodly amount of money spent on electrolyte powder, gu, cliff bars, and whatever else you seem to think you need to stuff into your pockets.

    I didn’t think people shaved their legs for aerodynamic reasons. I thought it was more an issue of road rash with hairy legs is much more painful than road rash with shaved legs.

  34. Comment by DougG | 01.26.2009 | 1:20 pm

    I just spent $350.00 on brakes for my mountain bike. Way more than i would for my car and those aren’t even top of the line brakes! It wasn’t too long a go that $350.00 for a bike would of been painful to spend but now I do it without even thinking about it. Almost like buying a coffee at Tim Hortons!

  35. Comment by MOCougFan | 01.26.2009 | 2:07 pm

    Great post. I’m guessing you have at least 4 different STYLES of Camelbacks as well. And you can’t just buy gatoraide. Gotta buy Carbo Rocket.

    This is why I’m poor.

  36. Comment by CoolScreenNametoCome | 01.26.2009 | 2:27 pm

    Cycling shoes are the only purpose specific shoes you own? Let’s see, there’s ski boots (downhill and nordic) and the downhill ones will cost more than your first car or third bike. If you are cyclist, you obviously like to suffer, so you probably have a pair of tele boots too. You like to cross train so there are soccer shoes (outdoor and indoor), Golf shoes, for time when you feel the need to become insanely frustrated while wondering aimlessly through the brush and trees that surround the golf course. Climbing shoes, because you once were smitten by a woman that liked to do that – too bad you are acrophobic. Running shoes because sometimes you like to go slow while suffering, or heaven forbid, your a tri-geek, in which case you have more running shoes than one of those sex and the city woman has Manolo Blahnik’s. The last time I bought a pair of dress shoes was 1987.

  37. Comment by kellene | 01.26.2009 | 3:15 pm

    You forgot to mention the collection of matching socks one must have that run at least $10.00 /pair. Also the savings account set aside to pay for the emergency room visits that will occur. And the special foods one must carry to stay appropriately nutritioned! And for us women folk…the great biking jewelry we must buy!
    Yup…a very cheap sport! I still see it as cheaper than therapy!

  38. Comment by bikemike | 01.26.2009 | 3:33 pm

    Elden, don’t forget to inform the newbies how much “A Luxury Body” upgrade will cost.

  39. Comment by Mike Roadie | 01.26.2009 | 3:47 pm

    And I always thought it was my wife who spent all the money……sheesh, it was ME all along!

  40. Comment by Kathleen | 01.26.2009 | 3:47 pm

    Oh dear, after one year of road cycling I’m slowing acquiring all the bits and pieces that I thought I *need*…but now it seems I remain woefully behind all you serious cyclists. I am, however, on my second large container of HEED – so that must mean something!

  41. Comment by joe blow | 01.26.2009 | 4:48 pm

    This is why I quit biking during the recession and took up a less expensive sport – polo.

    The “beard trimmer” crack was hysterical. And right on.

  42. Comment by bikesgonewild | 01.26.2009 | 4:59 pm

    …well, ok…being firmly entrenched in this enjoyable activity, that all seems very real to me…when do we get to the funny stuff…

  43. Comment by Dustin | 01.26.2009 | 5:03 pm

    One word, Hilarious.

    It inspired me to put the email I had been forwarding to anyone who asked for help up on the web –; and reference your website of course.


  44. Comment by Jenni Laurita | 01.26.2009 | 5:11 pm

    I don’t know what’s up with voting for the bloggies- I attempted twice to vote and never receive the confirmation email. (Yes, I checked spam and my email address was correct.)
    I wrote to the support link and said I was having trouble voting, they said they verified my vote for me. Just saying there’s something not working quite right over there…

  45. Comment by USAFANARC | 01.26.2009 | 5:51 pm

    My co-workers are wondering why I am laughing uncontrollably.

  46. Comment by emetski | 01.26.2009 | 5:57 pm

    An Instant Classic. Can’t wait for Part II. I was already laughing out loud when I got to the Recumbent line and continued laughing to the very end. Thanks! Like Jenni I had trouble voting. I couldn’t get it to work using Firefox but when I switched to Explorer it worked fine. I have no idea why. (p.s. I posted a link back from my site – cycleski.blogspot and referenced a couple of other favorite fatty posts from the past. I hope that’s ok).

  47. Comment by justrun | 01.26.2009 | 6:31 pm

    Haha! Nice.
    My first, and only, bike was $1000. Thanks to my Karma, I’ve spent almost as much in patch kits.

  48. Comment by Rachel | 01.26.2009 | 7:16 pm

    I just wanted you to know that I’ve only just been reading for about a month, but of the blogs I subscribe to, yours is the one I either read first because I can’t wait to see what you’ve shared or save for last because I know it will be entertaining, insightful, educational, or all of the above.

  49. Comment by Dobovedo | 01.26.2009 | 7:45 pm

    Where’s the funny part? I usually look for a funny part in your blogs. Didn’t see a funny part.

    Oh wait… the slam on ‘bents. That was funny.

    The rest was just too true to be funny.

  50. Comment by Debamundo | 01.26.2009 | 8:08 pm

    Classic post today! If people are wandering over from the bloggies to decide who to vote for, you’ll get votes with this one for sure. Hilarious.

  51. Comment by Evan | 01.26.2009 | 8:31 pm

    Now that’s rich!

  52. Comment by BamaJim | 01.26.2009 | 8:34 pm

    My wife says you forgot the “expensive” lights you end up getting for a Christmas gift after crashing at night (in a slight rain) and getting a concussion and broken collarbone.

    Win Susan!

  53. Comment by Penny | 01.26.2009 | 9:07 pm

    Wished I read this BEFORE I started cycling!

  54. Comment by PoomSira | 01.26.2009 | 9:33 pm

    Ha! Ditto, Penny.

  55. Comment by Lee Tako | 01.26.2009 | 10:25 pm

    So funny, and too true.
    Having gotten back into cycling this past year, I’m avoiding buying cycling related things, and concentrating on the riding. But, my Fat Cyclist jersey seems to propel me up mountains, and I fear I may NEED the shorts if I truly aspire to be a good climber.
    Looking forward to the next installment.

    Win Susan!

  56. Comment by LuckyLab | 01.26.2009 | 10:54 pm

    You really didn’t touch on the next level where you have absolutely no clue how much the bike cost. You know, the one where you’ve upgraded the dang thing part by part and have left the prices somewhere deep in your memory, in a dark corner with the recurring nightmare you had as a child, so you can go ride the thing without sobbing uncontrollably every time you hit a rock.

  57. Comment by Dan O | 01.27.2009 | 3:01 am

    Great post.

    My neighbors have commented on why my bike and clothes all match – yet in normal life I dress like a slob.

    Never mind the collection of bikes hanging in the garage. Meanwhile, the car sits outside. I guess that makes sense, since some of the bikes are now worth more then the 17 year old car.

    We’re all loopy. Join the club.

  58. Comment by buckythedonkey | 01.27.2009 | 4:37 am

    Vintage Fatty! What a great post. Well, except for:

    > I was just kidding about the recumbent.

    Sorry mate, but I’m not buying that.


  59. Comment by Al Maviva | 01.27.2009 | 5:51 am

    >>>>and Al – good call on the humor value of stoats – they work just as well as weasels, perhaps better.

    Clydesteve, yes, this is a truth I know from childhood. When I first read “Wind in the Willows,” it became instantly clear to me that while weasels were amusing, picked on, somewhat small, energetic creatures that were good for a laugh, when the weasels needed somebody to pick on, or somebody to make jokes about, they picked on the stoats. Each obviously felt picked on by Toad when he made his revenge and retook Toad Hall, but the stoats were at the bottom of everybody’s pecking order. Poor, funny stoats.

    The relationship between weasels and stoats is comparable to the relationship between roadracers and recumbent riders.

  60. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 01.27.2009 | 6:01 am

    There are places where you can cut costs. I failed to specify which hospital I wanted to be taken to the first time I broke my collarbone. I ended up in a facility where resources (doctors and beds mostly) were so strained that I was issued a calico sling, 2 codeine tablets and a certificate for a week off work. It saved me thousands in surgery and associated costs which I can now spend on other forms of medical intervention for the assymetrical shoulders I know own.

  61. Comment by Christa | 01.27.2009 | 6:52 am

    Wow – and I who biked for three years on my bike I bought second-hand for 100 bucks! As long as you’re good at patching it up it’s a lot cheaper than all the color-coordinated shing-dangs…

  62. Comment by spkell | 01.27.2009 | 8:40 am

    Tires! road bike: training tires, reinforced winter tires, race tires (or, perhaps attendant wheels for training, winter rides, racing);
    Mountain bike: hard pack race tires, mud tires, off-season tires;
    This does not include all the tires you will try for two weeks and decide they are too slow/too washy/too heavy/too little grip/too much grip/too low volume/too high volume . . .
    at last cound I had 12 MTB tires from 4 brands in varying states of wear in a pile in my garage. That is not couting the six tires mounted on the three mountain bikes (xc ht, ss, xc fs)

  63. Comment by spkell | 01.27.2009 | 8:42 am

    I seem to have a block: c-o-u-n-t. a mea culpa

  64. Comment by Isela | 01.27.2009 | 10:34 am

    Just what I needed to read right now :). Even my cough doesn’t feel so bad anymore :)

  65. Comment by Ablejack | 01.27.2009 | 4:21 pm


    Not feeling a lot of love for us guys who eventually pass you. Albeit, it may take a few days in the saddle and a few nights in the tent.
    /By the way, All bike clothing is made only of wool.

  66. Comment by ferret | 01.27.2009 | 5:10 pm

    Nailed it, although I think weasel fur is far superior to stoat when it comes to avoiding chafing.

    Which reminds me of the the old chestnut.

    Q. What’s the difference between a weasel and a stoat?

    A. One’s weasely recognised and the other’s stoatly different.

  67. Comment by Rox | 01.27.2009 | 11:19 pm

    Great post Fatty,
    Don’t forget the workstand, the truing stand and the various tools like torque-wrenches. You will think that you are smart enough to fix your bike but you will end up getting it so out of whack that you have to take it to the shop and say that your “friend” tried to fix it for you. Also, you are required to subscribe to at least 7 diffent cycling magazines, read them constantly and leave them all over your office desk and break room to try to convince your fellow workers that you are indeed a true cyclist.

  68. Comment by cyclegoddess | 01.29.2009 | 12:17 am

    i thought that cycling would cure me of my clothes shopping addiction.
    I now have enough seasonal cycle clothes, to fit out my own shop.
    I havent even got to buying a second bike( Ive bee riding for a tear) and feel like Santa left ne off his list( cant afford it).
    But like all cyclists, when told by husband that he would divorce me if I bought a carbon bike, 5000 or up, I thought, gee I’ll miss him!

  69. Comment by Angela | 01.29.2009 | 1:57 pm

    I found your site today through PW. My husband and I have attempted to take up cycling since we got married (just last April). I’ve laughed my hiney off reading your site so far today. I’m sure that will help with my biking. I can’t wait for my hubby to check it out when he gets home from work today!


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