As I mentioned earlier one of the good and bad things that comes from an epic trip is that you are forced to rank all your clothing as equipment. Perhaps it is unique to my industry but we call it toteming. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but at the end of the day you have to declare Jim is better than Carl. The implications of this can be a raise for Jim or a job hunt for Carl. Hard decisions have to be made.
After returning from Italy I realized that while I had some really good garments, I also had some older, crappier items that really should be chasing their own “golden sunsets.”
I hate to admit that I have inherited a pathetic-post-depression-generational-frugality hangover that drives me to use the last dime-sized scrap of soap until it vanishes and wear my clothing until it develops holes and to ride in my shitty bike kit in order to preserve my good stuff for God-knows-what.
This all came to a head recently when I was enduring a ride in a pair of bibs that were sliding around causing all manner of grief. The jersey was flapping like I was wearing my dad’s old shirt. While still on the bike I thought about it and figured the bibs were nine years old. I came home and after washing and air drying them (yeah, I know) I threw them in the trash. I then took a hard look at what was still in my drawer.
I emptied the drawer and made four piles; keep, sell, Goodwill and trash. There were only a couple items that might actually sell and not that many were worthy to live another life via Goodwill. The pile of stuff that was ready to become landfill was second only to what I would keep. Jerseys with exhausted elastic and bibs with disemboweled chamois pads lay dead on the floor. I briefly considered a funeral pyre to honor them for their past service.
The question of why I would wear old jerseys and shorts that no longer fit or were torn or just plain worn out is one I don’t want to answer. Perhaps the more precise and scary question is why I would consciously decide to leave a good jersey and bibs at home and wear inferior clothing? I did it time and time again.
I still have a drawer full of bike kit and my fastidious laundry habits with regard to my cycling attire means I can’t ride enough to run out of bike clothing. The good stuff doesn’t appear to have any separation anxiety issues over the loss of the old stuff.
Oddly enough I referenced a quote from the Spartan cyclist of our team; KB who has historically embraced a monk-like cycling wardrobe. On our Portlandia adventure I believe his luggage contained only some dental floss and a cycling cap. “Good clothing just makes riding more fun,” he shared on a recent ride.
Okay. I’m down for fun.