Friday, September 25, 2009

Autumn cycling in COMO, Part I

Fall has finally arrived and brought with it a flurry of activity around COMO. The undergrads are back in full force, hording the sidewalks with their cheap Huffys, pissing people off and prompting comments in the Tribune.

This rant was published in the September 2nd edition of the Trib.  In it, Mary and Bill are concerned that while walking on the sidewalk, they cannot "be certain not to unexpectedly swerve sideways and collide with [a cyclist] to [their] certain injury, whether the bicyclist is injured or not."  Yes of course, cyclists should not be on the sidewalk in the first place. However this editorial begs the larger question of why poor Mary and Bill are sidewinding so much?  I wonder if they are having these recurrent sidewalk run-ins outside Booches?

I'm sure many of you have noticed that no article or editorial in the Tribune or Missourian can elicit responses and comments like a cycling-related article.  Take this recent posting directed toward "new cyclists" and how they should safely turn at an intersection.

In this short piece, the author, Robert "Spokes Man" Johnson describes the confusion that is apparently paralyzing the new cyclist as they approach an intersection with the intention of turning right.  He mentions that "what irritates most drivers is the erratic behavior by bicyclists who reach a busy intersection and have no idea how to handle it."  While I agree that this is a source of irritation for motorists, I tend to think that what irritates drivers most regarding cyclists is the general concept of spandex.  A private theory of mine, I refer to this as Spandex Rage.

Motorists are not the only ones incensed by the sight of spandex.  Akin to cannibalism common to many species, spandex rage seems to have similarly invaded the inner sanctum of cycling culture as documented by this recent post on the Portland Bike Forum - the newsletter of the American cycling Mecca.

".....spandex looks like shit no matter how your [sic] built. I dont really feel like having my package on display if i want to stop for a beer along my ride. I like to use my bike to go places, places where maybe there are single women, and i like to look presentable when i get there (being a single guy). Unlike you, I think that showing off the package upon first meeting a woman is tacky. If I am up by myself in the hills i dont care what I look like, but wearing spandex in public is uncivilized." 

I'm not sure showing your package back up in the hills is a good idea either.

Back to the Trib article though.  Not only does this informative piece  expound on how to handle turning right in a tricky intersection, "Spokes Man" also provides a handy diagram:

Please note that in Option 2 (the incorrect option)  the cyclist has subjected himself to the dreaded "right hook".  This right hook is NOT to be confused with the other cycling right hook which was probably best demonstrated during the 1995 Vuelta:

True to form, this Right Hook article elicited a wide variety of responses including this one:

In this revealing response we can learn quite a bit about Ms. Damolo.  Not only did she "almost hook a guy last year on 6th street" but also is quite smitten with Mr. Freak of Nature Guy.  Apparently she was impressed by how he was "riding his bicycle - fast with no hands (pant pant), obviously showing off for this middle aged woman!  Ha Ha, I wanted to stop and tell him how sweet he looked."  A couple words of caution: first for Ms. Damolo - be careful of hooking guys around 6th street.  I have seen the fuzz lurking around this corner of town and think they might be cracking down on this kind of unsavory behavior.  And to Mr. Freak of Nature Guy:  let's get those paws on the flop and chops - OK?  I know you like making middle aged women pant - but safety first.

Not only has fall brought out some controversial sidewalk riding and hooking, but also a cornucopia of fashion mags displaying the season's latest trends.  Within many a glossy-paged PDF, one can find how the bicycle has recently become a fashion accessory.  Take this layout in Dutch magazine JFK.

I'm quite concerned that no amount of sweet fixie inclusion in these photos is going to rescue this Dutch-boy from Tool-town.

From New York based shop Dave's Quality Meats, comes a whole new fall clothing line with this image headlining the novel digs.

I'm certainly no ad-man, but contrary to the last example, I think more fixies might enhance and salvage DQM's fall fashion mag, as the majority of the remaining photos look like this:

The message here is clear, however.  More important than your fixed gear bike, or your skateboard, the true key to being a hipster is to appear vacant and confused.

Different from the aforementioned pseudo-cycling-centric installments, is the addition of a new line from a true cyclist clothing line: Hincapie.  As part of the men's Hincapie Commute Collection comes the G-coat wool jacket, tagged as "casual wool style for the street."

Certain to keep you warm on that chilly autumn morning commute, it is also available in red and would come in handy should you be planning a coup d'etat of France.

Aside from the warmth and sheer dapperness of this coat, I think it possesses other advantages which have been overlooked.   Wearing this should make the rider tremendously more visible while either speeding down the sidewalk or blowing through that right turn!  And think of the hooking potential. With the short waist, you are guaranteed maximum package exposure in your spandex, whether you are out to impress the ladies, or riding back up in them thar hills!

Pedal on!

1 comment:

  1. I'll take the G-coat wool jacket in hunter orange, please. With reflective piping.