I’ve always said there was no better feeling than taking that maiden ride with newly taped set of handlebars. That “all is right” sensation the first time I roll out of my garage with hands on fresh new tape. So grippy, so padded, so clean! I even feel faster, fresher, and re-energized. To me there is no better return that comes from such minimal investment. It’s like stepping out of a shower and putting on a fresh new pair of clean white cotton underwear.
Of course there is nothing more pristine than a stark bright wrap of FIZIK white. So pro and so GO! But as much as I would like to elevate every part of “my on-bike ride presence’ the white tape is not quite me. I really do wish I could pull it off. My problem is that not only am I a heavy Eddy, but I am also known in some circles (especially to those who enjoy recounting tales of my heavier past) as “sweaty Eddy”. And I don’t have to tell you what the combo of that and road grime does to the stark white of a virgin set of freshly wrapped handlebars.
I know it is only February but it is getting closer to the beginning of the outdoor road bike season. That’s why I put an order in for some nice new tape. Arundel Gecko tape. I generally avoid spending more than 15-20$ for a roll of tape and having been happy with Arundel tape in the past I assume this is a safe bet. I’ve also heard it’s grip is on par with the Lizard Skins. It will be the first step as prep for my new season of riding since I missed all of last year’s road rides. And, there is no better way to celebrate this new season that to treat myself and hit the first ride with freshly wrapped handlebars.
I’m not sure why but I have this pet peave about letting others wrap my bars. Probably because it is the one part of my bike that is so obvious to me. Literally, right under my nose and in the palm of my hand. So I insist it is done exactly to my spec. It’s what I focus on, It’s what I will notice most if it is not done cleanly, properly, evenly and flawlessly. It can also be the single most annoying distraction while I focus and crank my way through the pain cave.
It’s what I will notice most if it is not done cleanly, properly, evenly and flawlessly.
As we creep toward the start of the season, I encourage you to give yourself a fresh new treat. Hit the ipod play button and then spend a a few enjoyable minutes pampering your bike. Whether you are used to taping your own bars or if you are new to the process, I thought it was a good time to share this little gem with you.
It’s a favorite video of mine showing a Team Milram mechanic doing a proper tape job the pro way. What I love about this video is the bad Italian pop song over powered by an annoyingly grating sound of the team’s compressor. Not sure why, but the raw unprofessional quality, sheer noise factor, and intrusive pop up windows in this video is what makes it so bad yet simultaneously so genuinely authentic!
Take note at the 40 second mark how to apply the figure 8 wrap and then toss those 2 silly little pieces of tape that are included in your bar tape package! Then, the next time you offer to help a friend wrap his or her bars you can casually unroll the perfect figure eight and watch your cred easily bump a couple of notches just for flashing that little bit of bar wrap brilliance.
And remember, it’s important that you learn to wrap your own. After all, you would never let your mom help you put on your underwear would you?
After all, you would never let your mom help you put on your underwear would you?