So much about cycling is personal. I try to remember that when someone asks me for advice about a piece of equipment or a great route. Too often, I express an opinion, unsolicited, that fails to consider what someone else might like, how someone might be different from me in fundamental ways.
I went for a ride with my wife this morning. She wanted to do an easy spin on the road, 20 miles. I mapped a 40 miler. Why did I do that? It came good in the end. We did 20 and had a nice time together, but she doesn’t want to ride what I want to ride.
Then there are shoes, helmets and saddles.
I sometimes get asked about these things, and I always preface my responses with something like, “Well, we’re all shaped differently, and what works well for me, might not work for you. I can tell you what I like, but you should really just try a bunch of things for yourself and figure out what’s best for you.”
I like Mavic shoes. I like Giro helmets. I like the Specialized Romin saddle. None of these would have been my first choice stylistically, probably, but these are the products that have worked the best for me, because of the shape of my feet, my head, my ass.
You can extend this line of thinking to bibs and jerseys and gloves, to bikes and to group rides. Some fit better than others, depending on how you’re constructed.
This week’s Group Ride wonders what you think is the MOST personal element of your cycling? What is the one product, shoe, helmet, saddle, glove, etc., that you find indispensable to your comfort and performance on the bike? Do you give others advice on these things? Do you take advice from friends or shop folk?
Interbike is busy putting all the new bling in front of us, and I find myself rapt, except that for every stylish jersey or shoe I see, I wonder about fit. I wonder about wear. I wonder if it’s really me.