There are few persons, that know better the contrast between wealth and poverty, of being a superstar and a simple man, than Sixto Díaz Rodriguez (Sugar Man). With his songs the son of mexican immigrants cynically portraits society and raises important questions. One of them: What is true luxury?
And you measure for love by the sweet things you’re told.” Like Janis – Rodriguez
Uli Fluhme, CEO of GFNY, the world’s biggest international cycling marathon series, certainly knows how to put together a great race, but he also recognises that life is about more than watts and performance gains. In 25 years of road cycling, Uli has discovered the essential luxury items that any cyclist can both afford and own. You might look longingly at that new carbon frame or those high-end wheels, but as always in life, it’s the small things that create true (cycling) happiness. Here are his 9 luxury tips any cyclist can enjoy:
1. Ride Naked (Cost: free)
In case you were hoping for something different, we’re sorry. In this context “riding naked” means riding without a computer, GPS or power meter giving you a great sense of freedom. Uli has been riding naked for 20 years, there was only one exception: in 2012, Uli’s team was sponsored by a power meter brand. Alas, it was wasted on him as he only ever used the clock on it. After all, how else would he know when it’s time to head back home?
A new chain (Cost: $30-50)
When it comes to how often you should replace your chain, suggestions from manufacturers vary between 2,000 to 5,000km. It obviously also depends on how much you’ve cycled in bad conditions. Few things feel as great as having a new chain.
Top Tip: Get a decent chain tool so you can change your chain yourself. If you change your chain often, it’s wise to change the sprockets every 2-3 times as well. If you don’t change your chain on a regular basis then it’s probably a good idea to change the sprockets at the same time.
New tape (Cost: $5-20)
Old bar tape is disgusting (think bacteria). Fit new tape more often than you think you should. It’ll feel like a million bucks. Buy a couple of rolls of cheap tape and practice putting it on yourself. Once you have mastered it, play around with various types to find out which style you like.
Razor (Cost: $10-20)
There are various ways to de-hair your legs, but for the shavers out there: invest in a good razor and replace it often. Smooth legs are key for a lot of cyclists and nothing is more frustrating than giving yourself a sub-par shave with visible amateur cuts (despite your best efforts).
Headgear (Cost: $10)
A cold head on a descent is an awful feeling. If in doubt, bring a neck warmer (brand name: Buff) to any ride under 20°C/70°F.
Sandwich (Cost: $2-5)
Specific nutrition might be necessary in short races or during short, intense training sessions. That said, as a cyclist you’ll spend most of your time at lower intensities. Avoid eating pre-packaged food. Instead, treat yourself to small sandwiches with peanut butter or cheese. In winter, Nutella is a winner.
Mint tea (Cost: $0.50)
Racing might require a traditional sports drink but we recommend doing most of your training on plain water. If you get sick of the lack of taste, try mint tea, a favourite among pros.
Heat up your feet (Cost: $10)
The idea of wearing socks over cycling shoes may seem odd but the Belgians discovered many decades ago that it’s a cheap way to get some added warmth without the bulk of neoprene overshoes. Another slimline option is to use toe covers to prevent chilly toes.
Ok, you probably won’t buy a Dollar or Euro and want to own it. But it’s always good to have one in your pocket. Because that’s the money that will buy that essential espresso in a remote bar after travelling to Spain or Italy to escape the grip of winter.
Words: Uli Fluhme Photos: Valentin Rühl