Are You Too Emotionally Attached to Your Sports Equipment?

Our editor names her bikes and feels guilty when buying new shoes. Weird or normal?

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The New Shoe (and Bike) Blues

There she sits in the corner of my apartment. A nameless new Cervelo. Her black and grey aero frame sleek and sexy. She’s faster than I am, this I know. When I ride her for the first time this evening, I’ll join the ranks of sketchy riders who own a bike other roadies would consider above our ability level. I don’t care. I do care about hurting the Silver Bullet’s feelings.

A hunk of paint-stripped aluminum doesn’t have feelings! you say. You’re probably right. But the Bullet and I have spent an absurd amount of time together. I rode my first century, double century and ultracycing race on that bike. I got doored on that bike. We have a history—the Silver Bullet has a name!

They're looking at you! Photo courtesy of minorissues on Flickr.

I feel the same way when I buy new running shoes. But I ran Ironman in these shoes! I ran my 10K PR in these shoes! I can’t just replace them! I don’t name my shoes like my husband does (he magic markers names onto them according to the major race he trained for and ran in them, like IMAZing for Ironman Arizona), but I do grow attached to the two lumps of dirty mesh and rubber.

When I walk in the door with a shoebox under my arms, I feel a bit guilty—until I put on the new pair. So clean! So supportive! The old shoes replace my old old shoes in my closet, the old old ones get donated and so continues the circle of running shoe life.

But the Bullet stays.

Being an endurance athlete is complicated.