Just recently the concept of Points Of Contact came to my mind. By that, I mean the points where we contact the bike with our bodies: gloves/grips/bars, shorts/saddle, and shoes/socks/pedals. I list the entire suite of items in each POC (Point Of Contact) as they all need to be considered. Now, sometimes we agonize over one thing, such as which bar sweep and rise is perfect, but then buy whatever glove is on sale.
Or perhaps we may do the same for pedals and get whatever shoes the bike shop has in stock. We may not think about socks at all. Got gym socks? Got game.
So recently I have been reminded to pay attention to all the parts of the POC. First there was the new grips on the SS, the Ergon GA1 grips. I am still checking them out, but so far I am quite surprised at how much difference the shaped grip has made in the area of bike control.
Another example was the recent Demo Days where I was un-lucky to ride a few saddles that were not WTB products (OK, the Specialized ones were pretty good too). But the ones from the Bontrager line of stuff were pretty horrible IMO and the fizik saddle on the Giant XTC 29er 1 has Marquis De Sade stamped on it.
Then, the Swiftwick Socks arrived at the house. Wow, I already had discovered I liked Specialized shoes, but I was using and being pretty happy with whatever cycling sock I found as I went along. the Swiftwick Merino wool blend is like a snuggly blanket for your feet.
It can be a lot of trouble and some cost to find the products that work for you. I have 4 pairs of baggies but only the Specialized Demo short is the comfy one for long days. Of course, it was the last one I bought before I found that out. Now I know.
I probably would not have bought a fancy grip like the Ergons, but I am glad I won them as it has been well worth trying.
It can take time to find what works for you but when you do, you will have added one more piece to the puzzle of improving your performance. The end result is a much enhanced cycling experience. If you are just left with uninhibited pedaling (other than your fitness...or in my case, lack thereof) then the ride is better, faster, richer. Who would have thought that socks could do all that?
"Please don't let me die."
4 years ago