If you’ve been listening to our Paceline podcasts, you’ve heard me talk about some older bike gear, a Walz wool hat and a pair of SIDI mountain shoes, that I love, not only for how well they work, but also for their durability. If you haven’t been listening…what? You’re too good to listen our podcast?
Yeah. OK. I buy that.
In this age of disposable crap, I have come to love the stuff that lasts, the stuff you can fix when you break it. Maybe I’m wrong, but it sure does feel like the bike industry has put out a lot of proprietary and non-repairable product in the last decade. I’m not saying those products are bad, functionally. I’m saying that I don’t like things that aren’t upgradeable, upcycleable, and or just durable.
I don’t want to be old man steel, but it bears saying that I saw a Phillips 3-speed on the curb the other day, and the frame was intact. A fresh chain and a pair of tires, and that thing was good to go. It was built about 70 years ago. So…
Some stuff, we use up. We wear a pair of shoes until the tread disintegrates or one toe pokes through the top. We shift a derailleur until its jockey wheels fall out. We rock our favorite jersey until it has wicked its last drop of sweat. And that’s fine.
Every product has a lifecycle, and what I know from spending a bunch of years selling bikes is that few riders focus on anything other than what a bike is when it’s new (or new to them). They don’t think about what that bike will be in five years, or ten. Another thing I know, based on my coterie of cycling friends, is that they’ll still have that bike in both five years and ten.
This week’s TCIF asks, what is the good stuff? What’s something you’ve got that has proved not only outstanding, but outstandingly durable? Do you consider long term value when you buy a thing? Are you a “mend and make due” sort of person? Or a lover of shiny new objects?