You know you are old when you fondly remember:
- toe clips and leather straps;
- down tube gear shifters; and,
- wool cycling shorts with suspenders.
I’m so old I remember these things. At the time, they were the best. Toe clips and leather straps made certain the balls of my feet were always over the pedal axles and enabled me to pull up with one leg while pushing down with the other. Down tube shifters were conveniently located so I could easily change gears, particularly when cycling on the drops. And my wool shorts had chamois liners, and I looked so “cyclist” when I had the narrow, striped, clip-on suspenders on.
My how things have changed.
Now we wear clip-less pedals. What? We clip in. Oh! There are no toe clips. How confusing.
We have integrated brake and gear shifters on the handlebars enabling us to simultaneously change chainrings and cassette gears.
And, we wear hi-tech, lycra bibs. More integration. More comfort.
Undoubtedly, these improvements make cycling safer. We change gears without removing our hands from the bars. And, we clip in and out of our pedals by simply rotating our feet.
Do I miss toe clips, down tube shifters, and wool shorts? Not for a moment but the technological improvements have made me a better cyclist. I am pleased to have experienced the evolution. It makes me appreciate the changes more. The irony is that this technology is making a comeback. There is a growing number of millennials choosing to ride single-speed, steel frame bikes with toe clips. They are even wearing cycling caps. These young people are making both a political and fashion statement as they navigate the city on their “fixies”.
So maybe, just maybe, I’m not so old after all.