Grown-up toys


My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we’re finally allowed the luxury of having grown-up toys. Our grown-up toys? Bikes, and cycling accoutrement. While other people our age are buying big-screen TVs and  recliners with cup holders, and taking it easy sitting around their patio fireplace with a Bud Light, we’re accumulating  bikes and, well, bike stuff. The list of gear you can get these days for cycling reads like the list of spam combos  from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But instead of “…there’s egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam…” its:

There’s bike shorts and jerseys, and bike socks and shoes; bike helmets and seat bags and tire levers;  bike tires, bike tubes, bike lube, bike goo, bike arm warmers and knee warmers and bicycle gloves; bike bike bike bike bike stuff forever. (Sorry Mel!)

The list goes on. Between us we’ve got enough bike shorts to dress the US Postal Service team.  Reach carelessly into a certain kitchen cupboard and you might bring down a cascade of bike water bottles upon your head. We’ve got bike computers, bike tools, and bike bags. The more we ride the more we worry about safety, so now we’ve both got bike lights. (Really, it’s a good idea. You don’t want to get run over, especially at our age.) Chest straps from heart rate monitors are perpetually draped on the shower rod to dry. We have to keep the bike computer away from the laptop or the wireless internet will change the mileage. Used CO2 cartridges rattle around in the recycle drawer, not used for vitalizing beer kegs, but for filling flat tires. We could bike with the bare necessities and still get there, but the accoutrement make it so much easier. After all, we’re not getting any younger.

There’s bike food. Hammer Gel. Sports Beans. Shot Bloks. Cliff Bars. Luna Bars. Need I say more? Yum.

Who says we look ridiculous? (© Huffygirl 2011)

Then there’s bike clothing. I have a jacket whose only pocket is  on the back. There was a time I would have thought that was crazy, but not now. It’s great exercise, trying to reach back there and get things in and out of your pocket. I swore I’d never wear “those shorts” until my first long ride in regular shorts. And jerseys. “Why do you need a special shirt to ride a bike?” I used to think, until I found out that those T-shirts I was wearing flapped in the wind, slowing me down, and how are you supposed to carry your food and Kleenex without any pockets? Our oldest son, looking at pictures of us in our biking clothes, says “Why don’t you wait until you’re wearing something less ridiculous looking to take your picture?”

Of course we don’t buy all theses things – they make great gifts. Who wouldn’t want to find a bottle of Chain Lube and a Quick Stick  in the toe of their Christmas stocking? Our kids sigh as they stand at the counter in the bike shop and dutifully ask for whatever the current bike gadget is that we need, while their contemporaries are getting their parents sensible gifts like slippers, chocolates and spa packages. Hey, I loved the headlight and Blinky  my son got me! Sigh. I guess we are just refusing to grow up, and by implication, grow old. Better than sitting in the hideous recliner with the cup-holders I say, or slogging around the nursing home with walkers. We intend to go out with our boots on, although they’re actually bike shoes.

(Disclaimer: In no way does Huffygirl mean to insult persons who sit in hideous or non-hideous recliners, either with or without cup-holders.)

© Huffygirl 2011

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13 thoughts on “Grown-up toys

  1. Wow! I didn’t realize that you needed so much equipment to ride bikes. But, biking seems like a great way to stay fit. Maybe my husband and I should get our bikes back into working order.

    • Well, actually there’s some equipment you don’t reallly NEED, but there are some things that make life easier if you’re doing any long distance biking. If you’re changing a tire by the side of the road and still have miles to go, it’s nice to shorten the ordeal with a Quick Stick to take off the tire, and a CO2 cartridge to fill up the new tube – things like that. But if you’re doing a few easy miles around town on a trail, you can get by with a water bottle and helmet. Good luck on getting your bikes working again – it’s always fun to have those things to do together.

  2. A trip to the bicycle section of REI is nearly as exciting as a trip to Cold Stone Creamery. Funny how much money one can spend. I remember the only bike accessory I needed as a kid was a clothespin and a playing card to clip in the spokes. Times have changed but it is still so much fun. Enjoy!

  3. Good for you. At MY age, I tried a swinging treadmill and put my knees out of whack. The most exercise I get now is putting three plates of dog food and a large bowl of water on the floor twice a day for my three adorable (but needy) Shih Tzus. And even then my back gave out one day, so I rapidly learned about squats when putting down dog dishes. lol

  4. Rich and I have been toying with the idea of biking. We don’t have a tv or a recliner, but we have become too sedentary in recent years. Biking would be fun. I just hadn’t considered all the “extras” that might be involved. Thoroughly enjoyed this post! :-)

    • Thanks Cecelia. You don’t really NEED all sorts of extra gear – if you just want to tool around your neighborhood you just need a decent bike with some gears, helmet, and maybe shorts and gloves. The gadgets and gear become helpful when you do lots of long rides. The clothes are about maximizing comfort and aerodynamics; helmets and lights for safety; some emergency equipment so you don’t get stranded – an extra tube and tire levers or quick stick, a small pump and/or CO2 kit, and a small bag to carry phone, money, insurance card and snacks. We generally stick to 25-35 miles rides for fun, and occasionally do some longer rides for challenges. Let me know if you start biking – I’d be interested to hear how it’s going, and can offer my humble advice if you need it. I had a great bike guru who gave me lots of advice when I started and it was definitely helpful. Plus he teased me enough about my old “huffy” that I finally got a decent bike – and the name for my blog!

  5. You rock, Huffy! Stay fit and happy. Many of those kids buying their parents slippers and chocolates will soon be buying them The Clapper and Medical Alert Necklaces for when they’ve fallen and can’t get up. Though I must say, that bath tub with the door is kind of cool looking. ;-)

    • Maybe your kids will get you the bathtub with the door someday Margaret, if you still want it by then. The people getting out of them in the ads always look so happy and refreshed!

  6. Pingback: My doctor’s office thinks I’m fat | Huffygirl's Blog

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