Sunday, April 15, 2007

Gear displacement

I've been on a bike-gear acquiring tear lately. It's hard to say why. Logically, I know I'm only compensating for my current cycling inabilities. And psychologically, it hurts to watch this stuff linger unused in its original packaging. But emotionally, it feels so good to receive shiny little bike pieces in the mail and dream of a parallel universe where they're getting all that shine scuffed off on mud-soaked trails (or roads).

My recent purchases include a seatpost clamp, several water bottles, tire levers, tire pump, bike shoes and clipless pedals. This is my first clipless system ever. I have come out strongly against such a system in the past. I do not like the idea of being attached to my bike. But, then again, I do not like the idea of being detached from my bike, either. Clipless may aid an eventual transition back to cycling. And they may help better align my pedal stroke. So I placed an order for Look pedals and some skinny, ugly roadie shoes. When they came in the mail, I was so excited that I wore them around the house for an hour.

Also arrived recently in the mail were a couple of pairs of Ergon grips. Mr. Ergon himself sent them to me. Honestly, I was more excited about the idea of Jeff Kerkove offering to send me something than I was about the gear itself, but they do seem pretty cool. My hands regularly lose circulation and go "dead" when I ride for long stretches of time, so I'm excited to try them out. Someday.

Then, today I was struck with - in several separate instances - urgent desires to go out and buy a new seat, a new bike rack, and a short-sleeve jersey. I don't currently own even one short sleeve jersey. I need one, I reasoned, for my trip to Utah. Ha! That trip's in just over two weeks. What are the chances I'm even going to be bipedally mobile by then, let alone be up for a long enough ride to necessitate sweat-wicking technology? I'm better off spending my spare cash this week on a hair cut and a 40-ounce bottle of SPF 45, which is something I really will need for a week in Utah (but don't think merchants actually stock in Juneau.)

Even though Geoff's birthday was the other day and I didn't have any other ideas for a present, I have purposely been avoiding the local bike shop. I'm concerned I'll walk out with the latest carbon-fiber bank-account-drainer. I'm lucky that I live in a small enough town that I couldn't find a Pugsley if I wanted to. But why must eBay have such a convenient payment system? And why is Nashbar having so many great spring sales? Wait a minute ... free shipping? Must ... close ... Web ... browser. Now.


  1. Be careful about your cleat alignment if you are concerned about your knees. Float is generally more of a friend than enemy.

  2. Life is better clipless. Who needs clips? Racers trying to pull every second? Yes. A biking journalist on sometimes icy patches? No!

    Go clipless. Falling over before you can get your foot down stinks.

  3. Wow! Biking in Alaska! It must be treacherous to say the least but exhilarating no doubt. Good luck and stay safe.

  4. I've always wondered why they call clipless pedals "clipless" pedals. After all, aren't you "clipping" in to those things when you engage the cleat? ;-)

    I think you'll like the Look pedals on your road bike; that's what I use. As one poster already said though, don't use them on Snaux bike when you're riding the ice in winter.

    And as another poster said, be careful w/ that cleat alignment. If you get it wrong, cleats can be worse for your knees. I'm experiencing a knee problem somewhat similar to yours, and I recently found that my knee was sore only after riding my mtn bike. I discovered the reason for that was that I had installed the spacer rings btwn the pedal and the crankarm back when I originally put them on, so my alignment was off just slightly. It's always the little things...

  5. kerkove is a piece of work.

    you'll love the ergons...

    peace out, yo!

  6. Wow. serious confusion about which is which. Toe "baskets" are toe clips. Hence, no basket = clipless. "Cleated" might make more sense. SPD's Jill, they are the utilitarian, moderate float, easy to disenage mtb'ers option. Enjoy the Looks though, cause that's whatcha got.

  7. Sounds like somebody's got Bike Brain! My husband and I always buy more gear when we can't ride.

  8. Nice picture !!!

    Greetings from Quebec, with winds of 90 km/h !

  9. Cool blog. I really like the picture.

  10. Heeeyyy...My hands go numb on long rides, too. I always thought is was a shoulder thing.
    What's the good part about Ergon handlegrips?

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  12. And here I was thinking it was just me who was getting sucked in to the vortex of bike gear. Enjoy!! And yes, float is good for bad knees. I speak from experience. Float good.

  13. Lovely blog! I enjoy your photos, and your writing reminds me in many ways of my mother - a competitive mountain biker who is known to forgo several luxuries so she can buy a new biking shirt.

  14. Hey Jill, I too just bought my first pair of the clips, been using toe baskets for years. All my riding freinds have told me once you switch you never go back - but I have seen everyone of them come to a stop, not be able to unclip and fall over- severe laughter and pointing ensue's on my part, guess its my turn. I did get a shimano set that is a clip on one side and an open faced pedal on the other, may come in handy.

  15. Greetings from New Zealand Jill, I love your blog and stop over quite often :)
    For those of us who have been to Juneau (I visited in 2001) and love the place, could you maybe let us know where you took all your beautiful pictures? Keep blogging!!

  16. Oh -- I fell when I first got those clipless pedals. I think everyone does that. I did it in front of the sag station and roadside rest area and half of the Pheonix Sheriff's department when I was waiting to photograph the leaders of the Tour de Phoenix.

    It's always nice to get up to a big round of applause though.

  17. Another bicycle addicted here..from germany.

    This blog is really good. I am always happy when I read a new post...thank you so much.

    I have an invitation for cycling in Alaska too but...Kodiak Island. Is it really worth trying to bike there?? Seems quite a small island...

    Would love to know how you finally got along (or didn't you??) with those clipless pedals. I have never used 'em but constantly keep thinking about buying some for safety reasons and because I think they should be more tight and there wouldn't be any possible waste of traction/power anymore.

    ...sorry for my poor english...I am trying and trying ;-)
    greetings from Bremen/Germany

  18. Seems like many have warned against clipless pedals and your knees. I would like to echo their warnings. I LOVE my clipless pedals, however, I have used a series of Look's and Shimano pedals and have always had knee pain. I bought a set of Crank Bros Egg Beaters and the float they afford was just the thing I needed. No knee pain with these. Lots of float and easy entry and release...and Nashbar has them on sale now for $40.

    Keep this in mind if you have pain with the Looks. They are great pedals, but not for everyone!


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