In my constant circulation amongst the cycling crowds, I always find some really fascinating and insightful people to talk to. What most intrigues me, as well as entertains me, is the inevitable discussion that leads to a dissection of the sub culture of cycling. It is so fascinating to hear the partners of cyclists discuss their perspectives on the sport and how it has bombarded their world. Some are cyclists themselves, so understand the time vacuum that cycling creates and the many quirks that go along with it. Others are so enthusiastic about their partners cycling efforts that they put me to shame, and some just blow with the breeze, dabble in a bit of casual cycling, attend a few races, but are mostly grounded in the big wide world that exists outside of cycling.
Whichever camp these partners live in, we are all bonded together by one thing that has wrapped itself around us like a sleeping bag – cycling. And each of us has our own unique understanding of it as we encounter different aspects, involve ourselves in different ways and experience different events in the life of a cyclist. Along the way I have heard some interesting philosophies, stories, comments and grumbles all linked to cycling. I thought I might share a collection of these words of wisdom with you here. They span various aspects of cycling and collectively paint a fairly accurate picture, well, so I think.
On Tan Lines
“It takes a long time and lots of effort for tan lines like that to be formed. They are carefully nurtured and sculpted with the specific tools of a helmet, gloves and kit. It’s the tattoo of a cyclist.” “Sometimes it’s hard to tell at a glance if they (cyclists) are clothed or not with those perfectly formed tan lines creating an illusion of a matching beige shorts and shirt set.” “Those tan lines act like a guide for how to get dressed for a ride, from the exact spot your knicks need to sit on your thigh, to where to place your helmet strap.
On Leg Shaving
“I am still baffled at the mystery behind the leg shave? No-one seems to
be able to give me a straight answer. The question is always met by a mumbled response that makes no sense and completed with some comment about going faster – honestly? How much can leg hair slow you down?” “Cyclists shaving their legs is the last act before the tribe of cyclists welcome you entirely into their pack. Just as the newbie gets used to wearing Lycra, the pack goes – you thought putting that Lycra on was hard and uncomfortable? Well now you need to shave your legs. It’s like the final part of the initiation ceremony” “I realised something was wrong when leg maintenance became more of a priority for him than it did for me.”
On a Cyclist’s Uniform
“The winter kit of a cyclist is like a jigsaw puzzle of human body parts – arm
warmers, gloves, singlet, jersey, knicks, booties, leg warmers, vest – it never ends – Why doesn’t someone just make a full body suit for winter cycling?”
Our holidays now only happen if they coincide with a race somewhere.” “There is an ongoing debate in our household about whether or not the cyclist should be able to take his bike on holidays” “Taking the bike on holidays is like taking another person on holidays. You have the bike, and then it requires about three extra luggage items of its own – wheels, helmet, pump, water bottles.” “Not even the celebratory event of Christmas could convince the cyclist that it might be okay to have one day with no cycling this year.”
On the Spending
“If I need to know anything about which local bike shops are around I just refer to the comprehensive list of them on my credit card statement.” “One bike is worth more than our car. Actually, one bike is likely to be worth more than most of our combined household items.” And last, but definitely not least, my favourite one of all. This comment captures what deep down, has so many cyclists hooked on the sport……… “This whole cycling thing sounds like something I could enjoy myself – All it seems to involve is seeing the sights, coffee, weekends away, hanging out with friends and shopping.” passionate about it really. It’s no wonder they are all so passionate about it really.