We know, this seems a little wild… but right now—the offseason for most of us—is the best time to start your gear wishlist for next season. Now is a great time, because you just emerged from your actual racing season and you know exactly what worked, what didn’t, and what needs replacing. Let it go until March, and you’ll be racking your brain to remember if your bike needed recabling, or if those running shoes really were comfortable in-race. Here, we’re digging into all the reasons you should be thinking ahead to next year’s gear right now.
Gives you time to budget
It goes without saying that athletic gear can be expensive. And replacing big ticket items like bikes, watches, computers, wheelsets, cycling kit, and now, even running shoes can add up and you can easily be looking at wanting to spend thousands before your next season even begins. So, to have your list well in advance is important because it gives you time to work out a reasonable budget.
Gives you time to shop sales and used
On the note of a budget… End of season is prime time to start watching the used marketplace for gently used gear that’s being posted. There are also a lot of end of season apparel sales (and even end of season sales on 2021/2020 shoes and other things that will have new iterations launching soon). This is the best time to grab those pieces of summer gear that are on sale for cheap. But make sure that you like the things you’re getting: Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean it shouldn’t fit well, be a color you like, and actually fill a need that you have. Don’t just shop sales for the sake of shopping sales: If you’re prone to overspending in these situations, make a list first, then only allow yourself to buy things you’ve noted.
You should be going through your gear anyway
You know what I’m going to say: This time of year is yet another prime time to go through all of your gear and get it clean and organized, especially if you’re finishing up your season. (Check out my entire piece on how to do that here.) Bonus: You might be able to sell some of your old stuff so that you can build up your bank account for those things you want to buy new!
Go through the small stuff too
It’s tempting to focus on big ticket items like watches and bikes, but check to see if your kit is getting frayed or worn out, if chains or cables need replacing, if shoelaces should be swapped, etc. This is a great time to make small repairs and deep clean EVERYTHING! And you may realize after cleaning and repairing and reorganizing that your old stuff is actually not bad. (That’s happened to me before: Cleaning out my drawers and simply paring down, then folding everything neatly, made my old running gear feel a lot more boutiquey without actually buying anything new!)
It’s a great time to go to a bike mechanic
Done racing and in your offseason? Take your bike in to get a bit of TLC from your mechanic during a less hectic time of year for them. If you don’t need your bike ASAP, your mechanic can take his or her time with getting it fixed up, doing things like recabling and checking over your frame. It’s a much better time to take it, compared to when you’re stressing out because your race is in a few days!
You may be able to swing some of it into holiday gifts
If you have a partner, parent or spouse who you exchange gifts with during the holiday season, help them out by giving them a few helpful tips on what to buy that you actually want. Note: Even small stuff like socks or a favorite snack can be great stocking stuffers to ask for (or give to a friend). I love a good sock or snack swap with running or cycling friends rather than getting everyone random stuff.
Timelines are super drawn out now
Here’s the real thing for 2021: Most bikes are backordered. Many shoes and watches now take months to ship. And don’t get us started on bike components! So, the sooner you get an order in—especially for something like a bike or a drivetrain—the better the odds that you actually get it in time for next season.
You don’t need to buy ASAP to list ASAP
As we said in the beginning, you have the best idea of what you need while the season is fresh in your mind. So make your list now, even if you won’t start buying anything for a while. We don’t think you need to get everything right this second, but we’re firm believers that the less rushed you are trying to get your gear together for next season, the less expensive and stressful it will be!
Want more on how to tame your gear? Check out our book, Becoming A Consummate Athlete, right here:
Images by Jody Wilson