03 September 2018
Dear Ground Effect People
I am writing with a complaint of sorts. It's about my favourite bike shorts (MFBS), they are starting to fall apart. The stitching is giving way in four separate places and the synthetic chamois is worn through. I am quite distressed about this state of affairs as my MFBS and I have been through a lot together over the years.
A current picture of MFBS
A little background to my situation - my wife purchased said bike shorts second hand on Trade Me about eight years ago (so I am afraid I don't have a receipt). To be fair to you guys, they were showing some outward signs of wear at that time and I estimate they would have been about 4 or 5 years old even then. Initially I felt a bit awkward about wearing another man's shorts, but decided to give them a go. Up until that point, I had mostly been attired in imported Italian lycra, which was lighter but a bit fragile by comparison. Once I got accustomed to them, I loved MFBS from Ground Effect and used them on most rides, both on the road and on the MTB. I also have a pair of your baggy shorts but frankly the lycra is more comfortable on the bigger rides (while the baggies are more comfortable for everyone else when I visit the pub or café after a shorter ride).
Since having them, MFBS and I have shared many adventures, we have ridden the Heaphy about five times, the Old Ghost Road three times as well as over a hundred laps of the Dun Mountain Railway.
MFBS and I on the Heaphy
While this is intended as a complaint of sorts, I thought I should throw in a quick thank you for helping out with firming up the middle section of the Heaphy a few years back with generous contributions toward track work, it is so much less muddy and more ridable these days.
Right, back to the protracted complaining. MFBS and I have toured the shingle roads and bike trails of Otago, the hills and heat of Tasmania and the peat and heather of the Scottish Highlands. These shorts have accompanied me for hundreds and hundreds of hours and well over ten thousand kilometres in the saddle.
MFBS and I at the top of the Omarama Saddle, Otago
MFBS and I in the Scottish Highlands on a 2000 km tour
I have also chosen my GE shorts over my lighter weight lycra for a number recreational events in the last few years. They have accompanied me on dozens of training laps of the Takaka Hill (my favourite road hill climb). I've worn them on The Grape Ride, Le Race and even the Milk and Honey Race.
MFBS and I trying to look serious on the Milk and Honey Race
While I am on the subject of recreational events, I must take another break from complaining to thank you for your support of local rides with the generous donation of prizes. I have been lucky enough to win Ground Effect gear, not once but twice. This wasn't achieved through being the fastest rider on the day, it was through strategic entry into obscure categories that no one fast would enter. I wear the GE top I won most days for winter commuting and my son makes good use of some shorts that are a little smaller than MFBS. On an earlier Harbours Ride I managed to score a generous GE voucher that my lovely wife utilised, I think it temporarily softened her attitude toward my ongoing obsession.
Clearly my complaint is not one of unreasonable failure of MFBS, the opposite is true. I think that they have lasted unreasonably well. As an old friend of mine says, "Quality lingers long after the price is forgotten". In this case you guys have just gone too far! The essence of my complaint is that MFBS have lasted too long and this has caused me to forget that they would ever wear out. Now that I realise their final ride is approaching, I would like to claim emotional damages. It has hit me hard. I know this all sounds a bit crazy and even as I write this I remind myself that I prefer logic and science over invisible forces and the imaginary powers that may be possessed by an item of clothing (to assist MFBS defy the ageing process).
For the first few years I checked them for further wear and tear but they seemed not to change. After awhile I stopped checking and forgot that they would eventually deteriorate. It seemed as if they were made out of some magical, stretchy and bulletproof fabric like the suits worn by the family in 'The Incredibles' movie. I know that this is not the case now. That 'The Incredibles' is a kid's movie and a cartoon should have been a clue. There is no such fabric, I get it now!
I am a bit of a cheapskate, but I'm not aiming to score any free stuff with this complaint. I have already scored free Ground Effect gear as a result of your support of recreational events and have benefited from your contributions toward track development. I do think you should consider issuing a warning with your bike clothing regarding its durability however. You could include something like this:
Alternatively you could provide a 'wear guide' as follows:
So as I save my MFBS for extra special occasions and come to terms with their new ceremonial role. I guess I will just have to look back on the good times and move forward (on two wheels). Although I am a little cross with you Ground Effect people, my feelings are bittersweet in reality. I should probably just be grateful for the things I have done and the places I have been with MFBS.
Billy from Nelson
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