Weird Stuff

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Cycling is an eclectic sport.  And since the planet is full of eclectic people, it is a good fit.

I’ve had a ton of experiences through the sport of cycling that are my life memories.  Most of the big moments in my life can be attributed or connected in someway to cycling.  That really isn’t a big surprise since I’ve been competing since I was a teenager and a lot of my daily routine is involved in the sport somehow.

I was thinking yesterday about how expensive cycling clothing has become.  It seems like the evolution of cycling clothing is making more expensive stuff.  It isn’t that unusual to have cycling shorts costing close to $200.  There are lots that are nearly double that.  I’m not sure why that has happened.

If you compare the cost of cycling clothing historically to that of regular everyday clothing, cycling clothing has a huge inflation rate in comparison.

When I first started riding, a good pair of wool cycling shorts, with a leather chamois, cost about the same as a pair of Levis jeans.  Now that same pair of jeans is around $40.  And the cycling shorts don’t have a leather chamois and the other materials should cost way less than wool.

But that isn’t the point of  this post.  Thinking about the cost of cycling clothing got me thinking about selling used clothing.  I used to have a swap meet/garage sale at home when there was a race in Topeka.  I’d sell all my used stuff for next to nothing.  It is funny seeing guys out riding in my old Wheaties/Schwinn jerseys nowadays.

I was just trying to get rid of old stuff, jerseys with out of date sponsors, etc.

One time, before the internet, I got a phone call from some guy in San Francisco.  He wanted to buy some old clothing and shoes.  He said it didn’t matter what size the shoes were and the wanted either bib shorts or a skinsuit.  He asked me if I’d wear the stuff, then not wash it and ship it to him.  I thought that was pretty strange.  But he was paying me nearly full retail for the stuff, so I figured it wasn’t up to me to judge him.

I don’t remember how he paid me.  I think he sent me a check, then I sent him the clothing.  A couple weeks later, he called me back and thanks me.  He said he wanted another skinsuit and he would pay me three times what he paid for the first one.  I’m making this up, but something like $150, for a skinsuit that would have sold new for $50.

The catch was he wanted me to wear it 5 days in a row, then put it in a plastic bag to ship.  This was getting creepy.  I didn’t want to insult the guy by asking a bunch of questions, so kind of just let it drop, being very non-committal about whether I had another one to sell.

A few days later, a check showed up in the mail that was for $50 more than he had offered.  I kind of felt obligated to send him the skinsuit.  But I wasn’t going to wear it 5 days straight without washing it.  I did go out on a couple hot rides, wearing once without washing it was the best I could do.  Then I just left it on my bedroom floor for the remaining 3 days, letting it dry.  I couldn’t stand the idea of packing a stinky, sweaty, skinsuit into a plastic bag and then shipping it.

The next week I flew out to California to race and was telling my teammates about this guy.  It turned out that he had called most of them and had bought stuff too.  Then I was talking to guys from other teams and he had bought clothing from them.  It didn’t seem like cost was a factor.  I’d done alright, but some other riders had really sold the guy a ton of stuff.

I always wondered what the guy did with the clothing.  In the back of my mind, I thought that maybe I’d get a call from the SF police department asking about the bib shorts.  Saying they had found a corpse at a party with my bib shorts wrapped around their neck.

I have to say this is probably the one strangest thing I’ve come across in the sport, so far.  Maybe it isn’t that weird.  Maybe the guy was making a cycling museum or something in his basement and wanted authentic smells or something.

I hadn’t thought about this guy in a long time.  It just makes me laugh thinking back upon it.

Not my pile, but I could have one 10x as big.

Not my pile, but I could have one 10x as big.

Tucker is feeling the dog days of summer.

Tucker is feeling the dog days of summer.



28 thoughts on “Weird Stuff

  1. Telford

    “I have to say this is probably the one strangest thing I’ve come across in the sport, so far. Maybe it isn’t that weird.” In someone’s universe it may not be that weird. In my world, I’d say it’s pretty bizarre, but it’s also a darn good story and it made me laugh.

  2. Shano

    Oh man that is hilarious- And I thought my stalker was weird!
    Yep I can imagine it now – “The bib short murderer has struck again!”
    Hah! 🙂

  3. Jim

    Just my opinion but the ridiculous cost of cycle clothing (think Rapha) is directly related to the fact that people will pay it.
    Makes no sense to me but their money isn’t my money.
    There are a number of clothing companies that make a good product at a reasonable price.

  4. Fausto

    I think the price is at least proportional. If you want to spend $200-$400 you can, (and they feel great) but you can also buy for $100. The same way you could race a $3000 bike or a $13,000. Aluminum or carbon. Affordable hand built wheels or factory. It wan’t too long ago that the top wheel was Mavic Helium at $700 and now the base wheel, Zipp 303 is $2,000. Still harder to buy leg speed, big lungs, huge heart, and experienced brain. Oh, and the skinsuit? Total Silence of the Lambs with the lotion and the little dog.

  5. Clifford

    I’ve heard of used panties dispensaries for fetish guys but never used bib shorts…

  6. Bill K

    Part of the problem is that the manufactures know that there are people who will pay $250-$300 for a pair of bibs. Since I hardly ever put in more than 200 miles a week, maybe I just don’t see the need. My rear seems content with the second tier bibs that our team uses. (in the $90 range)
    Just for laughs, I pulled out an old C.C. catalog from 1995 to see what prices were 21 years ago.
    P.I. was selling their Ultrasensor bibs for $90.

  7. numbnuts

    that’s friggen odd – someone would want you to wear something for days then send it to them. The most bizzare thing that happened to me – got a gun pulled on me in the park we bike at. Not sure what that guy wanted, but luckily I took off before he got the handcuffs out… his next move (he stated, I’ve been mandated by the authorities to put you under arrest as his gun was out and handcuffs in the other hand… I said, what for… he then said, get on your knees… I then took off and called the cops etc..)

    I think cycling has become way way too trendy, that’s the problem. Back when I started cycling (70s) any bike would do, as kids we had CCM choppers and BMX bikes with the fake gas tank etc… we’d bomb down the hills, hit up the trails etc… and, when our bikes broke we took out mom’s single speed commuter bike and break it next.
    Now a days, kids don’t do anything without a schedule and kids are riding 1000+ dollar bikes! some on carbon even with carbon wheels, wtf!
    Cycling in my teens used to be, pick up a cheap bike at Kmart and ride it everywhere.
    Cycling in my twenties was party the night before, grab a pack of smokes and go ride 6hours with buddies on a cheap HT. Then came racing, you need one good bike for that then crap bikes to train on.
    Now a days, I see people pulling up in 100k cars and 10k bikes… in my mind I’m saying, are you racing? why all the attention seeking? do you really need all that stuff.

    I don’t race anymore, so I still have all the bikes of the past (16 of them), but my do everything bike is a steel frame masi CX ride with 8 gears. It does everything from my 60-80km road rides to riding the trails. I’m not a glamour queen, so I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of what I’m wearing. I have my MEC shirt and a 30 dollar pair of shorts that looks like biking shorts. Does me well. If something wears down or breaks, doesn’t cost me a fortune. I ain’t out to prove anything anymore… did my time in that arena and it nearly broke me dead… doesn’t pay to play superman.
    Thus, I’m just enjoying biking now.

  8. Wildcat

    Funny! I’ll give you twenty bucks for your old Tunturi. You hate riding indoors anyway right! And I’ll throw in an extra five-spot for your Park Tool pizza cutter.

  9. Krakatoa East of Java

    “I think cycling has become way way too trendy”

    Always has been. Always will be.

    As far as Steve, I’m not surprised that a fetishist saw you as a supply pipeline. I’m more surprised that you (and your friends) kept the supply line going for so damn long BEFORE you finally got freaked out!

    I remember some junior back at the OTC who’d successfully purchased a 7-11 skinsuit off of Rebecca Twigg, and when the December camp came up, he was trying to sell “chamois sniffs” for $1 each. This junior will remain nameless, as he went on to great things in the sport.

  10. Jason

    As they say, cycling is the new golf… gotta get as much money as possible out of those doctors, dentists, and bankers.

  11. Jason

    I guess you have never watched Orange is the New Black? You guys were the prison girls and your cycling gear were the panties in this scenario.

  12. Touriste-Routier

    There is a well known collector of race worn jerseys and memorabilia in San Francisco, who has been known to get kit just after races conclude in an unwashed state. This doesn’t sound like his MO, but who knows.

  13. Levi

    And you guys make a fuss when I call you jock sniffers. Let there never be any debate, ever again…..

  14. Larry T

    They’re called “rich chamois sniffers” for a reason Steve. But at the same time I can remember guys wanting Rebecca Twigg’s used skinsuits for similar reasons.

  15. Choppy Warburton

    Maybe he’s trying to use your DNA to clone a bunch of bike racers. “Boys from Brazil” meets Team Sky.

  16. barb

    I grew up in SF, and I have to say, there are a LOT of weird people there, so much so that weird in whatever social milieu one examines, that weird within that context is almost the norm. For SF, coveting stinky skin suits are probably not that weird. For anywhere else, it sounds really weird!

  17. The Instigator

    Not the first time I’ve heard of this collector. It can’t be too difficult to imagine how he’s using all this cycling clothing.

  18. Jimmy T

    I recall hearing a similar story out of Joe Parkin back in the 90’s of a guy contacting him who wanted to buy used “unwashed” shorts/bibs from him.


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