The annual consumerist assault of Christmas is once again almost upon us. But this year it has resulted in a moment of enlightenment. A family member recently asked whether I wanted anything, and not content with my uninspiring suggestions of socks, books or beer, they delved deeper and enquired whether I needed any cycling stuff. My response surprised them and me: “No, I think I’ve got everything I need”.
This is truly a watershed moment, and also a point which I thought no cyclist could ever reach.
In truth there are three elements to this ‘achievement’. Firstly I am consciously trying not to acquire more superfluous stuff in my life, secondly I already own a ridiculous amount of cycling stuff, and finally I have recently started unashamedly introducing normal, non-cycle-specific clothing and equipment into my cycling.
It all started with regular t-shirts. Initially these were still ‘technical’, ‘wicking’, etc. designed for running. But they didn’t have pockets on the back or a zip down the front. And they didn’t cost silly money either. When you’re riding to work with panniers which can carry clothes, keys, phone, laptop and an arsenal of p*ncture repair items there really doesn’t seem much point in pockets on your jersey. Lately, with the dark winter evenings the running t-shirts have transgressed to high-visibility, construction worker tops. I have no shame.
The next development was wearing normal woolen socks while cycling in winter. Amazingly they didn’t cause me to fall off my bike or my toes to drop off. And they kept my feet warm too.
But the final nail in the coffin appears to have been using inexpensive baby nappy-rash cream as a substitute for the exorbitantly priced designer chamois cream. Again, it didn’t cause me to fall off my bike … or my bum to catch fire.
So before I be given a congratulatory pat on the back for denouncing the influx of further cycling stuff into our household, it should be noted that I own too much already. And I have no shame in finding ignominious alternatives.