Or how does one fall into the road cyclist prototype. I'm talking mainly technology obssesion, spandex wearing and clipless shoes.
I start this thread because since riding in a group, I'm questioning the three. I ride an early nineties light steel bike, with no clipless pedals, and I don't have the maillot or pants. I started riding in a group, a couple 100 km rides, and suffered a lot to stay with them, after the ride they told me that clipless pedals would help me stay in the group when they cruise at fast speed. (I was struggling a lot more in the flat than on the hill parts).
So I browsed through the pedal/clipless threads here, and came to the conclussion that clipless provides no significant improvement other than keeping the feet on proper place on the pedal. Now, I wear this:
Because I have had my feet sliding from the pedals indeed, and foud that the shape of this sole (possibly just one of the slots/carves on the sole, not two) does make my feet grip better to the pedal and does well to avoid sliding.
I'm a student so I'm not wealthy, and I rather not buy some pedals and shoes just to check and see no real improvement. But what is more, I use the same bike to commute and to go on longer routes, and I don't see myself going to class or part time job with cycling shoes, or get the platform/cleat pedal combo.
But I also wanted a jersey after those rides, to keep the cereal chocolate bars in the handy pockets, and the pants with cushion, and what is more, I wanted a better, lighter, shifters in brake levers, bike.
I was / am, seriusly considering spending some of my savings in this, that is, in the full equip for a road cyclist, expecting to be able to ride at the other riders pace in an easier way. But I'm afraid that the main reason that I lagged and struggled was that I am just not as fit as them in regards to longer cycling. I live way uphill and daily climb some 6 km in 5-10 % steep, in town, and I usually go on longer routes (30-50 km) some evenings and weekends, but I reckon they are simply more fit.
Now, thinking of buying a new road bike, I would be afraid of leaving it on the city street, so that implies keeping two bikes. For the new bike, I feel weird to get a 1500€ bike and equip it with platform pedals, so I should get clipless, and get shoes, and then, I feel like I have to buy also jersey and pants, and then I started thinking that this is a bit like internet explorer in windows, it goes bundled, you must go with cleats and spandex, because everyone else is doing so, so it must be better, but if it was not that significantly better it is a bit weird, at least to me to just wear this, maybe with a couple pockets on the side:
and keep the cereal bars / banana in the pockets. And to wear just a tight fit tshirt. Because when riding with the road cyclists, I could not help but feel like in a way I'm telling them "stupids" if I can go with older bike, daily clothes and sneakers, and keep up with them, then why the expensive gear??
They were the first to tell me, "don't worry the important thing is the legs", but after a couple of rides I feel like if I want to get regular, I should get the complete set, which I woulddefinitely do if I had more spare money, but, at the point I just refrain from going with them, until at least I equip my bike with cleats. Then I see they are not that much better.
Which leads me to peer pressure, and vendor interest in this pressure. I wanted to purchase one of the cycling jerseys they offer in strava for completing a challenge, come on! 140$ ! seriously ridiculous.
So I'm sticking to riding alone or with my girlfriend, though I really liked going in a group, a lot faster, getting to know new routes, easier to go farther... it's only that either I get the uniform-proper bike, etc, or I feel very self conscious and uncomfortable for a while.
Then again, I see really weak riders riding awesome stuff, and get self conscious again when easily leaving them behind on a climb.
Maybe it's me, yes I'm shy, and I don't like to be the center of attention which inevitably you are when you look so different to the rest of the group, if for a minute. But also, to be honest, I am competitive, and love to fill my ego with this underdog turned to be strong things, of course.
Well, I don't know, I don't wwant to be peer pressured into buying expensive stuff that will not really make a big difference, I don't want to be regarded as "the one who thinks he's better than us" by riding my crap bike on a tracksuit and sneakers and keeping up, and whatever, possibly this is a non issue, but the truth is after a while, I didn't really came back to the group, which is a pity. I guess I'd rather go to the psychology exhange, or does this happen more than I imagine?
Thanks for the patience. It's good to be able to say this to strangers. The question, mainly, would be, do you feel there is a definite peer pressure around this things? or a definite selling interest from shops? have you ridden with no uniform on uniformed groups, or being in a group you have someone without the standard equipment? should I care less?