For indoor riding purposes, it's nice to have a rubberized floor, a mirror (cyclists are a vain lot, right?), the option to not schmutz up our condo, and the company of others. Of course, sometimes the company of others is a bit of a curse. I see some absurd things happen in that gym. In the past, I vowed to write down the oddities so I could periodically report them here. Never happened. Since the start of the year, I have noticed one fellow who deserves some attention.
He's definitely a newcomer to the gym, as are so many folks this time of year. As I packed up my belongings last night, I counted 18 other people in the facility. Two weeks ago on any given weekday at 7PM, there would be, at most, five other people working out. Anyhow...this newcomer is pretty non-descript. Nothing too wild and crazy, or hilarious, about his sessions. The only thing out of place...a large, black tattoo on his left cankle. Now, I got nuthin' against tattoos. Heck, the more I watch Project Runway (did I just admit that out loud???), the more I'm pondering inking up. Here's the thing about his large tattoo... This dude in the gym has the Puma corporate logo inked on his cankle! What? And so I direct you to the title of this post.
Who has that degree of brand loyalty? I should note that no visible apparel on said gym go-er sports the Puma logo. Maybe he's got some Puma compression shorts kickin' under his Nike basketball shorts, but I can't confirm that. So...how does that happen? What compels a person to permanently scar themselves with a company's graphic symbol?
Truth is, the Puma logo isn't the worst example I've seen of this dramatic and risky behavior. Evan and I saw a particularly egregious example on Beach Drive. Last summer, killin' it with some 1 minute, Zone 6 efforts, we rolled up on a cyclist with the Specialized 'S' on the back of his leg (calf region). It was big. It was red. It was all Specialized! If I remember correctly, much like Puma dude, Specialized man wasn't even repreezentin' with his equipment and apparel choices. I think he was sportin' a Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team branded Trek and a full Discovery kit. I didn't inspect closely, but I suspect Specialized man was rockin' a Specialized water bottle. I'll give him a bit of credit there, but that choice was probably accidental (and practically unavoidable). Check the underside of most of your water bottles and you'll note Specialized has a corner on that market. Anyhow...I can only guess he like Specialized stuff enough to get the tattoo but NOT use their gear. Go figure.
This got me thinking about brand loyalty...particularly as it relates to cycling. Where do I come down? I'm a creature of habit. Heck, E&K got me the Obsessive Compulsive Action Figure for the holidays. I don't mess with the things that work well for me.
And so I noticed all my accessory bicycle parts (bars, stems, and seat posts) are Ritchey. I think it's fair to say I've got some serious loyalty there. My first proper road bike was a Ritchey. I've got a pair of their wheels. I've got three of their saddles and I have a stockpile of other random Ritchey stuff for any future bikes. The stuff makes sense. Good design. Light weight. Unassuming aesthetics. Phenomenal price point (save their carbon stuff). Cool as it is, would I ever get a tattoo of the Ritchey logo (see below) on my cankle or chest or arm or ass? Mmmmm, no.
Additionally, I have a pretty comfortable relationship with my Mavic wheels. All the reasons I love the Ritchey parts apply to my Mavic stuff. Mostly, the Mavic goods stand up to abuse (not that I give them much), last a long time, and are pretty easy to service. They are quality products that have served me right to date and will, I'm sure, into the future. Is there a Mavic tat' in my future. Naht bloody lahkly!My point? I've got some favorite products and manufacturers...yes. Am I soooooooo devoted that manning up to be their roving billboard from now until the grave sounds like a good plan? Nah. It'd take a heck of sweet sponsorship deal to get me to that point. Who knows, maybe you'll see me with a big ol' GamJams image running the length of my leg this season! Stay tuned.