October 10, 2005


Well, this marked the beginning of a new week, and the end of weekend #2 off the bike. Ah, burnout prevention. Well, it DOES work -- I had almost zero guilt as I slept in for the second Sunday in a row, and simply enjoyed not doing much of anything. Well, ALMOST not much of anything -- between a birthday party and a lot of pre-winter house cleaning and yard work, I think I still ended up getting something of a workout, but it didn't involve the bike. Weird.

But, yeah - the anti-burnout thing is working, and it's essential to keeping the passion fresh; by the time next weekend gets here, I'll be more than ready to mount up and pound out 50 miles or more. Which really sounds nasty if taken out of context.

ANYways.... we are knee-deep in the fine days of early fall -- lows in the 40's, highs in the 60's, just like nature intended. Ahhhhhh...... bliss. Logistically complicated, from a clothing standpoint, but still blissful.

Ah, clothing issues - how to dress warm, and not look like a freak. You know -- I've tried it; I've tried to keep things simple by sticking to a standard, street-clothes type of bike-wear for commutes, but I guess I just know what things COULD be like. I have something to compare, and that makes it hard to keep things simple.

What am I talking about???

Talking about those ultra-cool messenger types that are able to log mileage in jeans and a t-shirt. Baggies, hoodies, Chuck Taylors. You know the type -- I admire their style, but no matter how I try I can't pull it off. I blame the 'roadie' culture -- I started out wearing what I was 'told' to wear, from marketing, TdF videos, and following the lead of every other road cyclist out there when I started attending group rides. Basic black lycra shorts, with pad. Jersey. Some sort of headband or doo-rag. Gloves. Whether or not that makes me a 'joiner', one thing is true: technical fabrics SPOIL you. When you know beyond a shadow that wearing a ridiculous, tight-fitting jersey with the corporate logos actually DOES keep you dry and cool when it's 95ºF outside, you will never ride wearing a t-shirt AGAIN. Trying to go back to that t-shirt, simply to satisfy some sense of belonging to a group that you clearly DON'T belong to cannot be done! NOR should you try -- you either start out that way, or you don't; and true legacy members of that group can smell you a mile away. "hey, didn't he used to be a roadie?"

I tried once, wearing a pair of camo baggies on a ride -- it was a short coffee ride, so it was the perfect distance. Not only did I end up with a saddle sore in a weird location, it ended up raining on that ride -- really hard rain. I was SOAKED and COLD. The Lycra that I was used to never made me feel that way -- wet, yes, but never cold, and I never got that feeling like I was losing my pants, either. I felt warmer before the rain started, and I felt a little less self-conscious when entering the coffee shop, but that's about the only things I got out of it. I'll probably never wear them again.

I'm very much function before fashion, which puts me in my on special group, I suppose. I ride a fix, but I don't dress like I ride a fix. I like to ride competitively, but I don't race. I carry a messenger bag, but I'm not a messenger. I have one bike with 9-speed STI which has a drivetrain you could eat lunch off of, and I have another bike with fenders and stickers which hasn't been cleaned since I built it up. Do I have a problem with any of this? Not really: not being able to be pigeon-holed is one of my defining characteristics, I suppose.

The point is, no matter how you end up as a cyclist, be your own cyclist. If you stray from yourself (like I did with those pants) you pay the price. If you wanna run a Brooks saddle on a bike with full Dura-Ace, go for it. If you want to wear baggies and ride your titanium Seven on a week-long tour that way, do it.

Smile about it.

They will stare, and mumble.

Let them. Ride like you do, and make no apologies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Man this hits home...I have begun to retrofy my bike and make her my own. Relfective stickers, fenders ALL year, anything to make the distance between myself and the weight weiners. I'm more interested in the ride than the 20 grams I may have saved by the latest fad bling. Nevermind that fact that it would be so much easier to gain speed for these guys if they lost the engine weight vs the bike weight.

G-day dude.