Confessions of a gear junkie

Can Brandon Kirk go cold turkey or will he be hitting the trails next weekend decked out in pink and purple body hugging lycra?

I have a confession to make – I have way too many bike clothes. Not only that, but I still want more!. Three pairs of gloves, three pairs of shorts, and countless socks and jerseys … I could probably not wear the same combination twice for a great deal longer than with the clothes I wear to work. It’s gotten to the point where I have to keep some of my shorts and jerseys in the room where I hang my bikes because the closet is full.

Sad really, but I’m not as bad as some riders who even coordinate their shifter cables with their ensemble. I remember when Downhill riders used to be the ‘hard’ version of a cross-country mountain biker, swearing off razors and lycra for baggy shorts and flat pedals. Now they wear coordinated pastel colour schemes to match their bikes - there’s even a leopard-skin print on some pro-endorsed 5.10 shoes.

In the old days, my mountain bike kit used to consist of any shorts not made of denim, a t-shirt, tube socks and old tennis shoes. I’m sure most people I ride with started out the same way, but now it seems like you’ve got to be decked out in whatever the magazine fashionistas have determined is the ‘look’ for the season or else risk looking like an amateur. And I’m every bit as guilty as the super-flash downhillers for turning up my nose at riders wearing basketball shorts.

The other day, I read something in a bike magazine that said “Pink is the new white.” Not that I even read bike magazines that often any more – aside from paying double the cover price as you do in Hong Kong, I end up spending money on something I never realized that I needed. And that’s exactly why I end up buying more cycling kit – because it’s there, and because I’m stingy enough with my lunch money to be able to afford it these little necessities. How far have we fallen from the simplicity of throwing an unshaven, armour-less leg over a rigid steel bike and heading for the hills? Somehow I must wrench myself from the base of worldly desires that have been preventing me from fully enjoying the transcendent experience that is mountain biking.

So I’ve decided to quit, cold-turkey – no more bike bits or kit until Christmas, unless something breaks catastrophically and prevents me from riding, full-stop. Hope to see you guys on the trail – I’m headed off to Sham Shui Po to oogle some camera accessories that I’ve just got to have for Saturday

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