Time For Some New Gear

Byron Kidd
I've had a pair of Perl Izumi cycling shorts for almost 10 years, the mountain biking type which look almost normal except for having a padded bum. Over the last couple of weeks they developed a pair of holes, one in each butt cheek which progressively grew larger to the point that if it weren't for the internal lining and pad they would have been deemed obscene.

I'd been meaning to drop into Y's Road in Shinjuku to grab a new pair for a few weeks, but family commitments meant I never found the time. By Monday my shorts had all but disintegrated, so during my lunch break I rode on over to The Trail Store, a shop specializing in MTB and downhill bikes and gear in Setagaya.

It was my first visit to The Trail Store. Usually it takes a few visits to a new shop to establish an understanding with the staff that you're serious cyclist and expect to be treated as such. But this time the fact that I had ridden the ass out of my shorts immediately earned me the respect of the shops owner.

I planned not to spend any more than Y10,000 but after trying on a few pairs I eventually settled on a pair of Oakley MTB shorts way over my budget. I justified my purchase with the knowledge that all the expensive gear I had bought in the past was still going strong despite constant use, while the cheaper stuff had fallen apart years earlier.

In addition to a ratty 10 year old pair of shorts I also have a ratty 8 year old saddle. It looks terrible with its cover all worn off, but is still comfortable enough and I had grown quite fond of it over the years. Like my worn out shorts my worn out saddle was kind of a status symbol. I had ridden my saddle to dust. Besides the sight of it bought down the entire value of my bike, thus making it a great anti-theft device.

After purchasing my new, more expensive than expected, shorts and returning to the office I realized that the holes in my old pair had been caused by constant rubbing on some old seams on my rapidly decaying saddle. Wearing my new shorts on the old saddle would do nothing but shorten their working life .. not something I wanted as I had planned to spread the cost of the shorts over a number of years.

So, having already gone over budget purchasing the shorts, on the commute home I swung by The Trail Store again and picked up a new saddle for just over Y10,000.

By the end of the day I had gone roughly 3 times over budget, but as my daughter noted when she saw my ride the next morning "Daddy, it looks like a new bike." And indeed it does.

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