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A newbie’s absolute items list.

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

A newbie’s absolute items list.

Old 12-26-04, 02:27 PM
  #1  
Twitch Macabre
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All,
I will be buying my first bike next week. (Trek 1200) cool huh. Doctor said running is killing my knees and the cardio machines at the gym are boring the $*&# out of me. The problem is that I have no gear what-so-ever. My question is, what is needed to start me off? What I do know is this.

Helmet- so when I fall I do not split my head open.
Biking shorts- chaffing is un-cool
Shoes- the ones that clip in (side question, what is a good starter shoe? do not want to spend more that $100 bucks)
Gloves
I have a cell phone to call 911 when I crash and lying in a ditch.

Also, what kind of maintenance gear do I need? Chain lube?

I want to walk into the bike store with a good idea what I want/need. I know if I ask a sales person “What else do I need”, a big CHA$$$- CHING$$$$$ will go off in their head.

The Trek is $800. I am budgeting another $200 for gear. Can I stay in budget and get the adequate gear.

Thanks for helping this NEWB out.

Twitch
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Old 12-26-04, 02:31 PM
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for a first time rider i would recomend a cheap set of platform pedals for i while then upgrage to clip ins
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Old 12-26-04, 02:37 PM
  #3  
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$200 won't get you too far to begin with. Jersey's alone are around $60-70. Decent shorts are at least $50. Helmet at least $50 for a decent one. Also add to your list a saddle bag, spare tubes, a floor pump, a Co2 Pump to take with you along with some Co2 cartridges (buy the cartridges at walmart), patch kit (self sticky kind), Planet Bike Protege 9 cyclo-computer (cheap and really good), sunglasses, water bottle(s)/cage(s), pedals to clip into (search that subject), basic tools if you want to maintain your bike and a small tool kit to take with you, chain lube.
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Old 12-26-04, 02:40 PM
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Probably good advice to start off with toe clips and just use whatever shoes you've got. Then once you get used to the bike and decide it's something you want to stick with, drop some money on good shoes and pedals. As many will tell you, cheap shoes are expensive b/c you'll want to replace them sooner than an expensive pair of shoes that fits and feels good.

My starter list would be:

cyclocomputer ($40)
jersey ($40)
shorts ($60)
pump ($20)
spare tubes ($12)
lube ($5)
helmet (~$50)
glasses ($40 on up)
multitool ($10)
optional: seat bag ($10)

That totals up to $277. You can do better or worse depending on how expensive your tastes are but those prices will get you something decent in each category. www.performancebike.com is a good place to look to get an idea of what your options are.
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Old 12-26-04, 02:42 PM
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i wouldnt even suggest toe clips for a begginer... i really think its just better to start with just bmx style flat pedals
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Old 12-26-04, 02:45 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by dirtjumpP.1
i wouldnt even suggest toe clips for a begginer... i really think its just better to start with just bmx style flat pedals
I'm assuming he's ridden a bike before. With platforms, you can't pull up on the pedals and personally, I always feel like my feet are going to slip off the pedals over bumps, especially on a harsher riding road bike. Maybe it's just me though.
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Old 12-26-04, 02:47 PM
  #7  
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Gotta disagree with d2create. $200 will buy you a lot if you shop efficiently but the shoes and pedal combination will eat a big part of this. Performance and Nashbar have decent gear on sale at almost all times - shorts, helmets, bags, tools, pumps, computers, bottles, shoes, jackets, jerseys, etc. No need to spend $70 on a Pearl Izumi or like-branded jersey when a generic $35 model will do - and so on. Same for helmets - you can spend $100-$200 or more. But $40/$50 will get you the protection you need from the start.

Get your list together and check some sites. If you have a big chain store near you - Performance, Nashbar, Supergo etc, go on in and find some good after holiday sales or check their respective sites.

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Old 12-26-04, 02:55 PM
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yes, as 55/rad said, you can find good deals. I was just trying to give more of a worst case. Plus, I'm one of those people who likes to buy better stuff up front.

I also disagree about the toe clip thing. I started right off with clipless road shoes and speedplay pedals with lots of float. Never had a problem. Of course i did fall over once or twice but that happens to everyone. My only recommendation is maybe starting off with mtb shoes only because they are not slippery and you can walk around in them pretty normally. Most road shoes are just slippery plastic underneath and they are very awkward to walk in if you have to.
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Old 12-26-04, 03:40 PM
  #9  
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If I'm not mistaken, the Trek 1200 comes with an SPD clipless road pedal. This means you can use MTB clipless shoes. Get some ones you can walk in, that way you can actually have a destination when you ride, and you will enjoy it more and thus keep doing it.

Coming from someone with an arthritic knee, I can say that clipless pedals are essential. My knees feel better, not worse, after I ride. If they are adusted right, and you practice someplace where you can fall and not get killed, they work great and are safe. See if your LBS will let you practice with them on a trainer.

You can get a decent pair of MTB shoes for 50-80 bucks.

Here are my essentials:

Shorts
Some cold weather gear unless you live in the sunbelt or hawaii. For really cheap: Cut the legs off of a pair of sweats and tuck them under your shorts. Cut the toes out of a pair of long tube socks and use them as arm warmers. Go to Sportmart or Big 5 and get cold weather jogging gear -- works almost as well as cycling gear at a fraction of the cost. But there is no substitute for padded shorts.
Shoes
Computer (the best and only way to maintain a pace and keep motivated. Get the cheapest one if you have to.)
Tools (min: Multitool, spoke wrench, tire removers, patch kit) You can get along with a set of allen heads to fit your bike and other regular shop tools.
Spare Tubes
Pumps (compact and floor)
Seat bag
Helmet
Gloves
Water Bottles and Cages


And if you never stray more than 20 miles from home, and have a wife who will come and get you, skip the tools, tubes, pump and just take the cell phone.

Things that can wait:

Jersey
Glasses (you don't need to get these at a bike shop if you can get them cheaper elsewhere) They just need to be decent quality and wrap close to your skulll. I rode for 9 months with a pair from Walgreens.

Cycling is a gadget monger's dream. Once can easily spend more "accessorizing" a bike than on the bike itself. Computers, for example range in price from less than $20 to more than $300. With them you are paying for features. The $20 computer will tell you how far you went, how fast you went and for how long (and do it very well), whereas the $300 computer will tell you how many "watts" you've generated which might only be important if you're training to win races.

Other accesories and components like seatposts, stems, and helmets vary in price according to weight. A $30 Bell helmet will protect your head as well as a $200 helmet, but the $200 helmet will be much lighter and aerodynamic. They actually sell carbon fiber water bottle cages at $40 each. Now, I'm sure that they look cool, but my $4 plastic ones hold my water just as well.

When it comes to clothing, price can make a difference. I buy the cheapest shorts I can find. And I'm starting to think that my ass doesn't much appreciate my frugality in this area. The same for gloves. I had some really, really cheap ones that actually made my fingertips numb.

Finally, keep in mind that ordinary every day items can double in price whenever they have "cycling" attached to them. I think a good example of this is the venerable cycling jersey. Sportsmart sells running jerseys at a fraction of the cost. They have the same coolness and wicking properties as cycling jerseys (they're the same fabric and likely made in the same factory.) The only difference is about $30 and the back pocket -- an nice convience, but not all that essential. The same holds true for glasses and socks.

The '05 Trek 1200 is a good value. But you will probably want to upgrade some components eventually, so if your budget is tight, you should think about that when you shop next week.

Last edited by MrCjolsen; 12-26-04 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 12-26-04, 04:02 PM
  #10  
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For winter on wet roads, fenders are pretty much essential. A computer is an extra.
The only cycling specific clothing which is essential are shorts:worn next to the skin, no underwear, and always use a clean pair so get a couple.
Gloves are for safety if you take a spill so you don't skin your hands.
On your top you need a few layers, a wicking inner, windproof outer and insulating middle. These dont need to be cycle specific. On your legs, use leggings, tights , tracksters or something to avoid cold knees. Shorts and jersey are summer wear.
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Old 12-26-04, 04:03 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by dirtjumpP.1
i wouldnt even suggest toe clips for a begginer... i really think its just better to start with just bmx style flat pedals
not with a road bike. its important to learn the pedal stroke habits that you'll need when you start riding farther and faster. get clipless. I'd go with a double-sided mountain bike pedal like the m520, and walkable shoes, like the shimano moutain bike shoes...MO38 I want to say? its something like that.
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Old 12-26-04, 04:05 PM
  #12  
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I have extremely good experience with Specialized shoes and Performance Forte Pro Mg/Ti pedals (light and efficient, although they're SPD)

Specialized Shoes:

Specialized Sport '05... They're about $80.00 but if you can get your hands on '04 model which is the same, you should be able to find some for less than $60.00...

Performance Forte Pro Mg Ti Road Pedal... Very good and light and you can also use them with road shoes.... and not a bad price for $70.00
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Old 12-26-04, 04:29 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
I rode for 9 months with a pair from Walgreens.
Lots of good info in MrCjolsen's entire post.

As for the Walgreens glasses, I too found a pair of wraparound Oakley type sports glasses for $12 at Walgreens. Rode with them for a long time until I finally got a better pair.

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Old 12-26-04, 04:36 PM
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Floor pump, frame pump (Blackburn), sticky patch patch kit, multi-tool or only the Allen wrenches you need (get chain tool later if not right away, but do get it), spare tube(s), under-the-seat bag to carry stuff in, clipless pedals, shoes, shorts, t-shirt or jersey (jersey pockets can substitute for under-the-seat bag some of the time or in the beginning), helmet, headband, computer, water bottle cages, water bottles, and that's the whole thang. Shop at Performance (they have a sale going right now, including winter clothing), join Team Performance which knocks about 10% off (you get 10% in points toward the next purchase, but the prices are a little higher than Supergo or Nashbar, all owned by the same guy (?)), and you get free upgrade to two-day shipping, so there's no wait.

I prefer to start new people in clipless pedals. If they are small women I may run the release tension down so they can't possibly get stuck. When people want to dab the ground they always want to go sideways and down to get to the ground, and that always gets them out of the pedals. Try that with toe clips and straps and you won't go anywhere. There's no additional risk compared with platform pedals. Just try leaning against a wall and getting in and out about ten times and you should be fine. Anyway, you've got to learn to pedal all the way around the pedal circle, and you won't do that on platforms. If you don't switch to clipless pretty soon, you will be handicapping yourself next Spring because you won't know how to pedal.

I would try to get most stuff besides the bike someplace besides the LBS, unless I was going to be doing the shop rides soon. They will take you to the cleaners on accessories. Just give them a little bite.

If you are in a warm climate and are of moderate or larger size, when you order water bottles, get the Zefal Magnum water bottles, which are reported to hold between 29 and 33 ounces (depends on who you ask). If you think that is too much water, just consider the extra weight as a training aid on hills. Staying hydrated is a significant performance enhancer (thin blood pumps easier and keeping your body temperature down with more perspiration helps too), and sometime next summer you will be glad you were carrying more water than your partners when they have to skimp to make it to the next stop and you don't.

I'm not super-comfortable with recommending a particular pedal format. There are a lot right now. I think you can't go wrong with the $30 Taiwan SPD pedals, probably sold by both Performance and Nashbar right now. You can put those on a mountain bike later, or even throw them away. I'd leave them on the top shelf in the garage as spares. This supposes the bike does not come with pedals on it.

As for shoes, I like ones that fit and have a ski-buckle closure back by the ankle. That closure is repairable and lasts forever and holds an adjustment. I'd rather get laces than velcro.

The road shoes usually have stiffer soles than MTB shoes, so if I thought I was going to be a dedicated pack-rider roadie, I'd get road shoes. If I thought I was going to be a tourist or an MTBer, I'd get MTB shoes.

I was a bad (as in not very good) bike racer back in the early '80's, and I had endless trouble with toe clips and straps. If I had known about those Cinellis M77 pedals (first modern clipless pedals) I would have bought them. My problems were:

1. Breaking rear plate on quill (what the heck is a quill on a pedal anyway, and why do they call it that?) pedals where cleat slot fit. They'd split right down the middle. 180-pounders with watts do not do well on Euro-parts.....

2. Toe clips do not come in sizes that are large enough. The requirement is that they clear the front of the shoe with the ball of the foot over the pedal spindle, and still have the slot where the toe strap goes through far enough back to keep the strap behind the knuckles on the little and big toes. On the knuckles or in front of them is bad. Lots of people don't know how they are supposed to fit, so the shoppies would offer to shim them forward so they would fit, but when you do that you also move the slot forward, which ruins the strap fit. Dumb.....I was getting ready to build my own toe clips large enough for my size 48 cycling shoes when I found some KKT XXLs that just barely fit.

3. No leather or synthetic strap available back then, including the Alfredo Binda Extra laminated straps, would last more than three weeks with pulling up on hard hill climbing. I'd just rip the teeth through the leather until they had cut matching grooves, and then they wouldn't hold any more. I did buy a set of the Performance plastic ratchet straps right at the end of the toe strap era, and I think they would have lasted a long time, but I had already moved into Looks. Before that I had ended up doing just what the trackies do, using TWO straps per side, looping the second strap through the back plate and around the shoe and back. Strap problem solved, but I was still breaking pedals......took longer to get out, too.

The second day Look pedals were available in Dallas-Fort Worth, I bought them. By then I wasn't discovering I was going to be a bad racer any more, but I knew that since they didn't have the back plate that kept failing on the toe-clip-and-strap pedals, they wouldn't break like that.

I hate toe clips. The durn things were torture devices, with hard metal always going after my foot and straps crushing my knuckles if the toe clips were too small.

I used Looks for a long time, but I eventually decided the plastic cleat was a safety hazard unless you replaced them early in the wear cycle. After you have broken the tab on the front of the cleat once or twice with full-power uphill standing sprints with lots of pulling up, you won't want to do that again. I'm not as strong as I was when I was younger, but I trust the metal SPD cleat and the cleat and pedal design to keep me in when I want to be in, and to let me out when I want out.
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Old 12-26-04, 05:18 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad
...$200 will buy you a lot if you shop efficiently but the shoes and pedal combination will eat a big part of this. Performance and Nashbar have decent gear on sale at almost all times - shorts, helmets, bags, tools, pumps, computers, bottles, shoes, jackets, jerseys, etc. No need to spend $70 on a Pearl Izumi or like-branded jersey when a generic $35 model will do - and so on. Same for helmets - you can spend $100-$200 or more. But $40/$50 will get you the protection you need from the start...55/Rad
All 100% spot on. If you have a "superstore" type store near you (Performance/Supergo/Nashbar/REI), they'll always have decent stuff on the clearance racks for cheap. Height of cycling fashion? No, but sounds like you want to be a rider vs. poser. Nothing wrong at all with high-end gear, but doesn't sound like it's where you want to be with a $ limit.

The only thing that I might add is that the glasses are really indispensible. If you have about $20-30 left after some of the higher priority items, look for sales at Performance where they have optically correct glasses with multiple interchangeable lenses. More important if you ride at night, winter or dusk at all because the clear and yellow lenses really save and protect your eyes. Nothing worse than crashing after taking a bug in the eye at speed. Clipless is also a really good thing, but just make sure you practice entry/exit somewhere other than traffic and get REALLY comfortable with this before you take to the streets. Low end SPD and Look have been around awhile and are generally cheap and reliable. Try on as many shoes as you can regardless of price (so you know what the comfort range is) and spend more of your proportional budget on the shoes than pedals and your feet will thank you. Also practice anticipating slowing/stopping and unclipping well in advance at first. Sudden stops and panic are what make you fall over.

Last edited by Steelrider; 12-26-04 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 12-26-04, 05:43 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Twitch Macabre
Biking shorts- chaffing is un-cool
Here we go with this mythical chaffing syndrome. You're buying the shorts cuz you wanna look like lance..........sheesh.
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Old 12-26-04, 06:00 PM
  #17  
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"Here we go with this mythical chaffing syndrome. You're buying the shorts cuz you wanna look like lance..........sheesh."

So, you went ahead and got those body modifications for harem guard duty, hmmmm?
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Old 12-26-04, 06:05 PM
  #18  
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A lot of good info (except for 53-11 as usual). This should be a sticky...
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Old 12-26-04, 07:07 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by SDS
"Here we go with this mythical chaffing syndrome. You're buying the shorts cuz you wanna look like lance..........sheesh."

So, you went ahead and got those body modifications for harem guard duty, hmmmm?

P.S. Cycling shorts are not a must have! Stop the Lies!!!!!!!! Get the right saddle. Chaffing is caused in part by poor air flow and circulation which is exacerrabated by the tight shorts! Not improved by the tight shorts.

Why are cycling shorts really worn? TDFer's and other pros at competitive events wear them for the slight aerodynamic advantage and other psychological reasons. That's is why they are worn!!!!!! Because they are tight they cause chaffing....the padding etc. is meant to offset the nasty side effect (chaffing) of their tightness.

P.S. SDS, Good joke about the harem duty. But women wear them too.

Last edited by 53-11 alltheway; 12-26-04 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 12-26-04, 08:16 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by 53-11 alltheway
Why are cycling shorts really worn? TDFer's and other pros at competitive events wear them for the slight aerodynamic advantage and other psychological reasons. That's is why they are worn!!!!!! Because they are tight they cause chaffing....the padding etc. is meant to offset the nasty side effect (chaffing) of their tightness.


Although a better saddle may help, until you find the right one which takes a lot of time, cycling shorts (tight or baggy) make the ride A LOT more comfortable especially on long rides. Long times in the saddle can really make your butt sore so spend the money on good shorts. Don't cheap out here.
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Old 12-27-04, 08:43 AM
  #21  
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I second the specialized shoe recommendation. I got a mtn bike stiff-soled shoe (road shoe with treads on the bottom) for $75 from a local bike shop.

As to priority of add'l items, I would put them as follows:
1. helmet
2. glasses (wind etc. in your eyes can limit your visibility and thats a bad thing.)
3. Flat repair provisions (seatbag, tubes, co2 or pump, patchkit.) BTW, if you get a pump, make sure it can handle the high pressure required to inflate road tires. (I learned the hard way).
4. (tie) padded shorts (baggy or tight)..Either way, you will have a sore bum for a bit. The padding helps keep the pain down to a tolerable level until you acclimate.
4. (tie) cycling gloves (esp. at first. They help you maintain grip when you sweat)
5. Shoes (stiffer sole improves efficiency)
6. Pedals (I like spd's even for road use. To start I recommend one of the mtnbike platforms with the spd cleat inside. That way you can ride the bike with or without the shoes.
7. Computer. You don't need a computer to cycle. It certainly helps you keep track of miles and speeds etc, but for the most part, it doesn't matter a whole lot. When you do get one, I suggest one with cadence. I particularly like the Astrale-8. Cheap, has cadence, is wired so no interferance with HID lights or HRMs.
8. Jersey/non-cotten activewear shirt. You can start off with t-shirts just fine (I rode my first 800 miles before getting a jersey), but make sure the weather is warm since you will sweat and then the shirt will not help you retain heat. Otherwise, wear a windbreaker or a wind resistant pullover to help keep you warm.

I also agree with others that you could easily spend over your budget, and that you will have to do some smart shopping to get in on budget. If possible, I'd up your budget, or I would buy in phases: 1-3 first, then the two 4s, then 5&6, then 7&8 etc to spread out the costs but still keep you out there in the meantime.

Welcome to cycling. If you haven't already, try to find a local bike club and go on the rides. Its a great way to meet people and learn about the sport.
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Old 12-27-04, 09:18 AM
  #22  
kaisersling
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you can find shoes($50), jerseys ($15 and up), gloves $10 and up, shorts $15 and up etc. etc. etc, at online retailers like bikenashbar.com, performancebike.com, supergo.com....for a beginner there is no reason to spend a ton of money on the clothing until you figure out what you like. You can get very nice jersey for $15 on sale on one of the above mentioned site.
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Old 12-27-04, 11:07 AM
  #23  
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I haven't taken the time to read everyone's reply, so sorry if I'm being redundant, but I'm planning on picking up some pepper spray before my first ride this spring. No need to get intimidated by some jag in a car who thinks he owns the road and wants nothing more than to prove it. If anyone with such an attitude ever gets out of his vehicle and wants to pick a fight, they'll be sorry.

I'd never go out of my way to antagonize anyone, but there are some people that don't need help getting riled up. Just be cool, and know that you've got a friend in your back pocket.
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Old 12-27-04, 03:03 PM
  #24  
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I'll prbably get ridiculed for this but....

www.nashbar.com They have a returns section. All of the returned items are guaranted to be 100% as new. I've bought several things that were returned and they were just as if I ordered them new (minus about 20%).
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Old 12-27-04, 05:10 PM
  #25  
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I would absolutely start at the clearance rack of your local Performance for shorts and jerseys. If the policy is chain wide, you get a clearance price on the first piece and half off the clearance price on the second. Everything they don't sell ends up there eventually. I have seen jerseys go from $70 main floor items to $50 cleance rack from one week to the next - get two and one of them is $25. Wait another two weeks and the clearance price is $35.

Stuff you absolutely need to start? Something to attach to the pedals if they are clipless and a helmet. The other stuff is optional (and some will even say the helmet is optional). Having said that, MrCjolsen's post was excellent and what most serious riders will need.
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