A large bug hit me square in the face while I was cycling yesterday. This isn’t what my post is about, but I found myself so utterly taken aback by the experience, I had to write about it. That is all.
So the other day I did that thing that I’m always making fun of Super Fit people for doing: I went grocery shopping in my workout apparel. Even worse, I strutted around the health food aisles in my ‘ever-so-flattering-bike shorts’ and felt self-important. You know, the usual.
After I stopped laughing at myself about this, something occurred to me: I haven’t touched upon the subject of Bike “fashion” yet. (Astute readers will notice that I put fashion in quotation marks, because biking apparel is ridiculous, expensive, and did I mention ridiculous? But, to other cyclists you will seem super kewl!)
The Bike Itself
Go on to any cycling forum and you’ll find what I refer to as “Bike Porn”. Literally pages and pages of pictures of road bikes. Road bikes leaning against a shed. Road bikes leaning against an apartment wall. Road bikes sending you ‘come-hither’ looks as they lean against a rack.
You know, really titillating stuff.
The thing is cyclists love drooling over bikes. It’s almost as fun (and pretentious!) as riding your $10,000 roadie down the street. Seriously, sometimes I literally just stare at by bike leaning against the wall for a few minutes. This is a thing that I actually do.
Protecting one’s skull has never been sexier! I never realized how intricate helmets could get until I entered my local bike shop (LBS). Back in the olden days, when I rode my bike as a child, you just sort of grabbed a slab of plastic and crammed it on your head. And, that’s if you even wore a helmet at all.
Now they’ve got super-duper vents! Aerodynamic designs! Plastic cranks to adjust the fit!
Even weirder, is that–unlike in pretty much every other sphere of society–it’s actually COOL to wear a helmet. Mind-blowing, really.
Shirts, Jerseys, and Bibs, oh my!
Perhaps the most hilarious thing about cyclists is that we don’t seem to realize how ridiculous we look. Like at all. While
normal homo sapiens people see a cacophony of bright colors, Cat Woman-esque spandex, and probably way more of our derrieres than they’d ever desire, we see pure fashion.
I mean, sure, technically the bright colors prevent us from becoming road kill and bike shorts keep our buttocks from permanently callousing, but let’s be real: It’s kind of fun to be so goofy and self-important at once. Do I really need to wear a professional cycling jersey and biker-gloves on my recovery ride? Probably not. But, then how would every one be able to
gawk at me admire my sense of style?
Although I touched a bit on this already, bike shorts really do deserve their own section. First, in our defense, let me reiterate again, how awesomely effective they are. They’re super comfortable and help avoid chaffing in places that you never, ever want to chafe. Further, anyone who’s ridden on those skinny, hard bicycle saddles for more than ten milliseconds would be willing to throw her wallet at them. Trust me.
But….yeah, that’s about as much as I can defend these things.
I mean, they’re essentially the equivalent of wearing Spanx or super-long boxer briefs out in public. Even more, the padding leaves this really ‘sexy’ diaper-like shape on your backside.
(A cyclist’s response to whether he has purchased everything necessary to ride)
Cyclists are essentially scrawnier, tackier versions of Batman. They run around in uber-expensive, skin tight apparel, and yield flashy gadgets. And, sure, Batman saves lives or whatever, but does he get to wear cleats?
Seriously, it is a-mazing the amount of gadgetry you can amass in cycling. Considering that I am both a beginner and a quasi-broke graduate student, my arsenal is a bit thin. But, there is an endless series of gear you can buy. Bike computers, tool kits, overly complex watches and heart-rate monitors, hydration packs…the list goes on.
And, to top it all off, you get wear super-trendy shades. (No, really, wear shades, because bugs can and will hit you in the face).
So, the next time you see a cyclist’s rearend as he’s spinning down the road, remember: We only look ridiculous to 99 percent of the world. The rest of mankind thinks we look pretty snazzy 😉