Saturday, April 30, 2011

8am Rides are for the birds.

My sister said that she saw a group of riders on a road near her house on Saturday morning. She wondered if I was in that group.
"What time?" I asked.
"I was on my way to work, so it must've been around 8:30am."
Oh, hell no.
It's April 30th. At 8:30am, the temperature was 37 degrees. Later in the day, it's going to be sunny and 65. Am I the only one who thinks it's absurd and ridiculous to ride when it's cold on a day that will eventually be warm?
We've been wearing three layers since November. Finally, we have a day that will only require one layer. Why would you mess with that? Why would you willingly hit the road wearing full gloves and a thermal helmet liner?
One argument I've heard is: if you ride early, you have time to get house work done later.
Another argument I've heard is: there's less traffic at 8am.
Listen up, you fools:
1. There's less traffic... for about an hour. And your ride continues for three more.
2. Riding produces a wind chill making it feel COLDER. Working around the house, doesn't (unless your fertilizer spreader moves at 20mph). Do your house work in the morning when it's cold.
3. If you ride long and hard like you're supposed to, you shouldn't have the energy to do those chores. That's the best part of the whole design: you ride so hard from noon to 4pm that you're forced to sit on the couch and watch golf from 4pm to 6pm. Why would you mess with that?
You might see me out at 8am (unlikely) if it were 80 degrees in the morning with a projected high temp of 120 in the afternoon. But you will never see me in a group that rides at 8am.
Feel free to leave a comment telling me how refreshed and revived you feel after your morning ride at 37 degrees, but I'll remind you that you rode indoors on your trainer all winter when you had several opportunities to feel revived and refreshed with cool temps.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What is it that makes people hate us?

I was riding along minding my own business, the story begins.
On a four-lane boulevard. Sunday afternoon. Very little traffic. Almost none. I have a huge tailwind, so I'm cruising along.
As I pass through a green light, a shiny new Lincoln pulls up to the intersection from my right. The driver looks to his left and sees me coming. He hesitates at the red light. If he had to wait a full second I'd be surprised. I was past him very quickly.
He pulls out after I pass, and he takes the left lane. He passes me without incident.
He gets stacked in the queue at the next red light. I catch up. He's #3 in the left lane. I'm #1 in the right lane.
Once we get past the red light. everyone in this queue is going to make a "Michigan Left". Not me. I'm going straight.
So far, we're all behaving ourselves nicely.
The light turns green, and we all proceed forward. Actually, I go forward, and they move into the center turn-around lane/taper.
Then I hear someone laying on the horn.
Immediately, a cyclist is trained (through past experience) to think one of two things: 1. It must be a friend that's giving me shit, or 2. Am I in danger? Personally, they come in that order to me. Some people may do them in reverse order. I contend that if someone has time to honk, I'm in no danger. (It's the dog that doesn't bark that bites.)
I look over my shoulder and see that I'm all alone on this two-laned boulevard. And the guy in the Lincoln is now flipping me the bird.
Perfect.
I laugh. It's funny.
(What does that gesture really mean? It's the most over-used, worthless gesture known to man. It ranks dead last among all gestures. Among my favorites are the "knife-to-the-throat" gesture that means: you're going to pay for that (though probably not with a knife because I hate the sight of blood). I also like the "pointing-at-my-eyes-then-at-you" gesture that means: I'm watching you. - Do people who wear glasses use four fingers to point at their eyes? They should, right? - And finally, I love this one: point two fingers at the ground and swing them back and forth slowly. This one means: you'll hang for that.)
I'm following all the rules of the road. I've impeded no one's movement. I'm not an issue to anyone in the world at this point. But he had to express his unhappiness with me.
Of all the reasons that we find to hate each other today - and believe me, people love to hate - some people just do it for the sake of doing it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chamois cream?

I am dead set against the use of chamois cream. I'm also dead set against the NEED for chamois cream.
My club's clothing manufacturer produces a pair of shorts with a chamois so rough it could strip paint from patio furniture. (For all you non-cyclists in the audience, the chamois is that padding sewn into our shorts that makes our shorts feel like a diaper when we're standing. They're also supposed to buffer us from the constant friction when we're pedaling.)
When I asked my teammates (loose interpretation), they all seem to agree that the shorts are comfortable, but that you also need to use a cream of some sort. It boggles my mind that a majority of riders willingly accept this as normal.
Call me 'old school', but I prefer the days when actual chamois was used. Today, everything is synthetic. No problem, but can't we synthesize something that is more butt friendly? When did clothing manufacturers decide that it was OK to make shorts with abrasive pads in the arse requiring the use of a cream with the stupid name of DZ Nuts or Butt Butt'r?
I recently tried to buy a new pair of shorts, and the sales person handed me a tube and told me, 'you'll need some of this'. Oh no I won't, sir. Not at $18 for four ounces, I won't!
So let me get this straight. Now I need to purchase - at regular intervals - a tube of this slimy crud and apply it to my jibblies and hidden quarters prior to EVERY ride? And wash it off my hands?
No thank you. I refuse to add yet another step in the dressing process.
So let me ask you: which camp do YOU reside in? Am I the only one who finds this to be completely stupid?