more about wardrobe: leaning slowly to the fred side
Last week I received a sample of a product called a GloGlov. The glove is designed to be worn over your regular cycling or work gloves, and has reflective patches on the back of each finger and the back of the palm. When you signal to make a turn your hand is instantly more visible to people behind you. For many reasons, it's unlikely that my shop will choose to carry this product -- it generated hoots and howls of derision when I passed it around among my co-workers. That said, I'm inclined to buy the sample and keep it for myself. Although it looks sort of ghastly, it's also kind of geeky-cool, and it would certainly come in handy during my commutes through the longer evenings of fall and winter. (The fact that my cycling buddies Michael and Kent have given it great reviews didn't hurt either.)
I have lately found that I prefer riding with big, flat BMX pedals on all my bikes, installing grip-pins in every hole and wearing flat-soled skate/BMX sneakers for maximum grip and comfort. I keep wrestling with the future of the All-Rounder. Should I strip it down and return it to the person who gave it to me, explaining that I don't ride it enough to justify the space it takes up? Should I convert it into a fat-tired, upright barred, go-anywhere bike? (Do I need such a bike when I already have the Rivvy and the cargo bike? Still pondering this one.) The truth is that drop bars work less and less for me as time goes by, and I am much more comfortable on a bike with upright bars.
This opens the door towards an eventual overall adjustment in my cycling wardrobe, and a reflection of how what we wear on the bike influences our behavior while riding (or in choosing what to ride).
How many bicyclists secretly think, "I can't wear that lycra kit while riding an upright city bike", or "I'm on a sleek road bike so I'd better put on the lycra"? Does this sort of thinking run along gender or generational lines? Is it all or mostly trickle-down from the racing-influenced bike industry and its use of racing images to market products to the masses? It's just a point of curiosity for me. Living with someone who's not a daily bike rider has certainly invited me to ask questions like this more often. (Sweetie rides her bike in pretty much whatever she pulled out of the drawer that morning, adding only a helmet and bike gloves for safety and comfort.) How many bike riders use the racing images in most bike marketing to influence what they ride and how they look while riding? How many others purposely ignore those images and go out o their way to look as "normal" as possible? It would make for an interesting study for the marketing crowd.
Anyway, the more time passes and the more I realize that I probably won't ever get rid of that thing in my middle called a belly -- or add many miles more per hour in cycling speed -- the more I realize that I'm slowly leaning towards the Fred side of things, the side that eschews the racer look and is content with whatever speed they're going at the moment, as long as they're moving forward. Perhaps by the time I turn 70 the transformation will be complete.