Monday, March 17, 2014

Naki Kyotu

Frugal cycling. Guess I try to be as frugal with cycling as I can. Just like with any other 'hobby' activity, the companies market a cornucopia of must have gear that no cyclist can be without...until next season when the newest must have item hits the market.

Out of cheapness, frugality, or just plan being broke I've been able to avoid most of the temptation to buy the newest doo-dads and instead have been able identify what I really must have, adapting something to the use for a while and then later buying a specified product, when it makes sense.

Lights are one important accessory when riding in winter in Alaska. I started bike commuting with a cheap, dim light on my handlebars, something you'd get at Wal-Mart that is really meant as a safety light, not something to actually light your way. This I added a camping and hiking headlamp that he'd had for a few seasons. And it worked. Well, enough that I didn't run into anything. I couldn't really see all that well, but my route was somewhat lighted, so it wasn't a huge issue. Then my route changed and my needs changed. So I found a bright flashlight and adapted it to my needs and got a new headlight that was brighter. And this worked for a time. Now my needs have changed again and I have purchased a powerful, bike specific light.

One does have to wonder if I would have saved in the long run by going with the bike specific light I have now from the start. I suppose, but for me the whole point was to start bike commuting to save money and had I bought everything that the companiestold me I needed to buy to commute by bike when I fist started, I would not have been able to afford the startup cost.

I'm also quite opposed to specialization I want gear that I can generally use for other activities. I don't want to spent 300 bucks on a pair of winter cycling boots that aren't good for wearing while hiking or standing out in the cold and helping at a ski meet. There are exceptions, of course. A bike helmet generally doesn't have use elsewhere. Chamois are nor good formula else than riding, but when I can, I try to go for the multiuse items.

So what's the point I'm trying to make here? Just that is possible to star cycling for transport without making huge investments in gear first. It is possible to really enjoy cycling year round with a minimal investment. You don't need multiple bikes and a different set of clothes every weather combo. Just go for it and see.

And, by the way, I'll be chatting with the guys from the sprocket podcast tonight. Exciting times

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