Hand-Me-Downs

The other day I came home to find a plastic Target bag on the bed. I first thought my wife had been out shopping and picked me up some boxer shorts. But when I opened the bag, I found something completely different.

Two bike jerseys and a pair of bibs.

“Cynthia stopped by today,” said my wife. “She thought you might like these.”

Cynthia is a friend of ours, who took up biking last year. This year, she joined a local team – the Tough Cookies – and started training seriously. For her, it was all about losing weight. Cynthia, like my wife, has had trouble finding bike clothes that fit. Her solution was to get men’s clothes.

But her training is paying off. Last week, she completed the MS 150 from Houston to Austin, which features a 100-mile leg on its first day. Her training is paying off in other ways, too.

“She’s lost enough weight that she doesn’t need to wear men’s clothes anymore,” said my wife. “So these are now yours.”

The mountain bike jersey and the bibs. The long-sleeved jersey was in the wash.

Cool. The two jerseys are technically for mountain bikers. The long-sleeved one has no pockets and a simple V-neck. The short-sleeved one has no elastic around the hem, and two zippered pockets. I’m no mountain biker, but I’ll be wearing these on shorter weekday rides.

The thing that left me a little uncomfortable was the bibs. They’re great. They’re Castellis, and I’ve always wanted a pair of those. They’re a little garish, with a broad red stripe down the leg and “Castelli” in big letters down the side. They’ve got the distinctive Castelli chamois pad, which is thinner but denser than most other pads.

So, the big question: Do I accept and wear the bibs, knowing that they’ve been cushioning someone else’s bottom? A female someone else, at that?

I hemmed. And I hawed. I found little nit picky things wrong with the two jerseys. My wife stood glaring, hands on her hips. “You’re over thinking this,” she said.

I wore the short-sleeved jersey for a short trip through the neighborhood. It fluttered in the wind, but that was okay. I wasn’t in a time trial. I was just getting in some miles on the bike.

Under the jersey, I wore the bibs.

They fit like a glove. I’m going to keep wearing them.

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9 thoughts on “Hand-Me-Downs

  1. I would wear the jerseys no problem.

    The bibs would give me pause but after you’ve worn them once they’re yours.

    Strangely the fact a woman wore them previously would make me less squeamish about wearing them. I don’t know if that says something about me.

  2. I’m with Fritz. Though I admit, as a guy it probably sounds a little weird to prefer shorts previously worn by women (as opposed to other used shorts, NOT instead of new shorts(!))

    But I might have also put them in the freezer for a couple of days. BION, I’m told that pretty much sterilizes them.

    Or at least that’d make you feel better about them.

  3. At my first mountain bike race I competed on a used bike, wearing used shoes, gloves and, yes, used shorts. I think I could only wear used shorts if I knew where they came from, and after a good proper washing. Out of all of the items you described I would have kept the shorts and tossed the jerseys. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure the only thing I wouldn’t accept used is a helmet. I can guarantee that on any given day my helmet is waayy more funky than my shorts could possibly be. Just sayin’…

      • Yeah, the pads are detachable, but the lime-green funk that permeates any well seasoned helmet is not. Somehow this modern version of The Green Slime seems to resist even the most tenacious scrubbing with antibacterial soap. No matter what, my helmet(s) generally end up in a toxic waste dump every other year or so. Hopefully you’ve had better luck.

  4. Let’s face it. When you get into cycling it seems like there is an endless amount of gear you are trying to acquire so if you can pick up some used stuff for a decent price (or in your case free) then I say all the better. I wash used clothes thoroughly then after wearing them once or twice I feel like their mine and don’t think about it anymore.

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