I wasn't unprepared. At least not in every since of the word. I knew cycling gear was expensive. I knew I would need a lot of stuff. I knew I wouldn't be able to afford all of it right away.
When I purchased Lexi, I had a clear frame of mind and a goal of how the purchasing of the additional "stuff" was going to go down. I was going to start with the *essentials, then get out on the road, get acquainted with it all and from there figure out what else I needed.
- Helmet: duh, check!
- Water bottle cage (thanks Revolution for the free water bottle to boot)
- Light(s): one to see and one to be seen
- Tool bag: although I do not yet know how to use anything in said tool bag. I watched the "pit boss" at the shop change out an inner tube. But lets be real, I'm going to have to do that like 3 times on my own before I get the hang of it. So if you live in the DC area and see a girl stranded on the trail with a busted inner tube, please stop to help. I have my own tools. Which reminds me... must watch YouTube video on how to put chain back on bike. Y'all, I'm that green - I had my friends/dad do that for me as a kid. It was greasy, ew.
- Lock: I hesitated on this one because I don't plan on locking her outside at all. People do not think twice about stripping or stealing bikes in these parts. It is not unusual to see one lonesome wheel locked to a tree. However, I do ride her to and from work some days as my workouts and the Nazi guards downstairs won't let us bring our prized possessions into the office. (Even though our CEO is a borderline professional triathlete and tells us all not to leave them in the garage. Oh, he gets to bring his up...because the guards won't mess with Willy, but they fight any other employee). And while I don't think anything will happen to it in the bike cage of the garage, it's not going to be left unlocked.
- Air pump: Okay, wasn't expecting this one and it was like, the very first thing Alex (my new friend) grabbed as a necessity. And then I was all "Right, how was I going to check the pressure or keep air in my tires?" Because FYI.org, the gas station air pump doesn't work on bikes. Oh and BTW.com you should check the air pressure pretty much after every ride, and my pressure range should be around 90 to 110.
- DZNuts Chamois Cream: How can you not love the name? Marketing brilliance! Another one that wasn't on my mental grocery list; however, I only needed to hear the words "saddle sores" to put it on the counter. And I thought chafing was my biggest issue.
- Pedals: I went with clip-in or "clipless" pedals on one side and your "traditional" pedal on the flip side.
- Shoes: These were definitely not on my list. I had a pair of cycling shoe (granted, I got them in 2008 but whatevs). But, blue light special, a new pair of shoes on sale at only $25 bones from nearly $100. The shoes were literally the cheapest accessory (back light, water bottle cage and cream excluded), and again - same pair since 2008 (a very uncool pair might I add with three Velcro straps. I've felt judged in spinning class for years).
In my brief stint, here is my list of things I already think I'll be needing or wanting. Note: I didn't buy any "clothes" when I bought the bike. I already had a pair of the padded shorts. Eventually I know I'll need another pair so I won't have to re-wash the same ones.
- A jersey. Scene: Getting ready for my first long weekend ride. I've got my ID and a credit card zipped in the back pocket my lulu running tights per usual run preparation (which I'm wearing over my running shorts by the way - see below for riding tights). I've thrown on one of my Nike running shirts. I start looking for a place to put my phone (which my phone is about the size of a brick because while it is the thin iPhone 4, it is wisely and safely protected from the likes of nuclear war in it's otter box case). When I run with my phone, I hold it in my hand. (Yes, it's a little annoying, but it's also my ipod and safety blanket. I get lost, google maps. I forget to charge my Garmin watch, Nike GPS App. And for races - Chris can text me and let me know where he is spectating, you get the picture). Anyway - I have nowhere for my phone, and let's be real, there was a higher probability than not that something would happen and Chris would have to fetch me: crash/busted tire/lost/exhaustion. I obviously can't ride with it in my hand. It won't fit in my tool pouch and there are no pockets on my shirt. And even some of my running shirts that do have pockets are only big enough for GUs, ipod nanos and maybe a credit card or cash. I was at a loss. Enter jersey at the top of the need list: jerseys (while I always thought those that wore them were either professionals or pretending to be professional) are quite practical, and now I know why: pockets! Bigger pockets for lots of stuff. Unlike me relying on my tights for storage while running, it's the tops in the cycling world that carry your shiz.
- Cycling tights: As mentioned, the lulu running tights worn over my padded cycling shorts is a great temporary fix (not to mention sexy), but I'm worried I am going to wear out the seat of my beloved lulu tights, which would be no bueno.
- Gore booties/Thermo Overshoe: It only took my first time riding in to work one chilly morning to come to this expensive realization. If I am going to bike much past mid-December and even tempt the likes of Jan/Feb, these are going to have to become a reality. It wasn't even that cold out and my toes felt like they were going to fall off. Not to mention the leeetle patch of skin on my ankle that was exposed between my tights and shoes.
- Gloves: "Pshhh, I don't need no gloves. I can wear my lulu running gloves." Wrong again. Your fingers are the very first thing the wind hits as you ride. And like the toes, as an extremity they are more susceptible to feeling like they'll fall off. Not to mention cycling gloves are made with padding along the palm of your hand where you will get blisters. And they have this special little soft spot on the top of the thumb for you to wipe your face/sweat/dripping nose. Yum. Sad thing about the gloves is that you basically need two pairs: one if you plan to ride in the off-season that are warmer and thicker, another for warm weather riding that are thinner and are cut-off. So...
When I was having my "I need a jersey moment", Chris asked if Lululemon made cycling jerseys. Despondently, I responded that "No...no they don't make any cycling stuff, but I REALLY REALLY wish they would, with a cherry on top." Maybe one day. They have after all, just released dance gear.
Lay it on me riders - tell me about your favorite and must-have cycling gear.
Signed, the loan applicant,