Monday, October 5, 2009

Spandex Rage

Previously, we touched upon a topic here at the Columbia Missouri Cycling Cooperative that cyclists deal with consistently and today I would like to explore it further.  I'm speaking of Spandex Rage

Obviously, not all cycling subcultures have decided to squeeze their thighs into the shiny world of form-fitting apparel.  To the contrary, in an attempt to separate themselves from the conventional cyclists, the hipster biking counterculture inentionally does not wear spandex or anything close to it.  But as a roadie, try showing up to Thursday night sprints wearing your Abercrombie and Fitch khaki cargo shorts and Vans and just see what happens to you.  Or better yet, try something like tweed:

No matter how accepted the use of spandex has become within road, mountain and cyclocross cycling communities, there are clearly spandex infractions committed by those recreational cyclists that have no reason for wearing skin tight outfits and are attempting to simply dress the part.  Thus, within the cycling community itself, we discriminate against one another if our clothing choices don't match the type of bike we are riding.  That said, the deepest sense of disgust seems to be directed at the Lycra-clad cyclist from motorists and pedestrians, which as lead to my theory of Spandex Rage.  I submit that the sight of an individual perched on a bicycle saddle while wearing brightly colored, skin-tight clothes initiates a loathing in some motorists not unlike what a bull must feel when staring at the red cape and golden epaulets of the matador.

Speaking of red, it may not be the color of choice for male bibs shorts.

This theory was recently validated by an article written by student reporter Jordan Wyner and published in the Columbia Missourian in June entitled "Another one rides a bike."

Ms. Wyner (pronounced as "whiner" I'm guessing?) who is an undergraduate and public safety reporter for the Missourian starts her article:

"I no longer hate bicyclists.
Before last Sunday, I was one of many who thought of bicyclists as an annoyance. I didn't understand why I had to share the road with them. Frankly, I didn't want to." 

So I'm left pondering what the qualifications of a "Public Safety" reporter are for the Missourian?  Deep hatred of the roughly 10% of the Columbia population that rides bicycles and thus relies on public safety?  I wonder if the Missourian also has a "Pets and Animals" reporter that goes around kicking puppies.  I don't know about anyone else, but I can sleep better at night now knowing that little Jordan no longer hates me.  Thank you, oh generous Jordan, for you magnanimity.

Jordan Wyner, Columbia Missourian

And despite the transformation Jordan undergoes through the course of her article from cyclist hater to hipster wanna-be, she still throws a jab at us:
"My aversion to bicyclists has been in the making for years, the result of a number of close calls and cyclists who aren’t going fast but feel the need to wear brightly colored aerodynamic clothing. The latter irritation isn't likely to go away, but that’s another story for another day."  
All I can say is how grateful I am for the promise that Jordan will continue her rant and exploration of her own brightly colored Spandex Rage for another day.  Ms. Whyner, I wait with baited breath.  Until then, suck on this:

Apparently, other communities have also experienced the phenomen of Spandex Rage and have resorted to taking action.  According to this report, one county in Texas has passed an ordinance outlawing revealing sportswear under the pressure from an organization called People Against Naught and Titillating Sportswear, also known as (did you guess it already) the PANTS organization.  Patty Winters, president of PANTS was quoted as saying:
“There are certain things we just don’t need to see in public. Most joggers and cyclists dress appropriately. But every once in a while you’ll get these showoffs who wear the scantiest spandex you’ve ever seen, getting all up in their nooks and crannies and whatnot. Nobody needs to see that, least of all our children.”
 Nooks and crannies indeed.  I'm not sure of Ms. Winters' physique, but am guessing she has more nooks and crannies in one non-cycling, cellulite-rich thigh than all of the scantily clad cyclists in Texas.  Spare your children from that.  What Ms. Winters doesn't want you to know about is her 2007 Halloween costume:

Lastly, from online Montana magazine Outside Bozeman, comes one more example of Spandex Rage which appears in an article titled Living with Lycra.  Author Drew Pogge writes the following with tongue possibly in cheek - but also being grazed by teeth gnashing with a hint of true feelings to be sure:
"Roadies are disgusting. No, I'm not talking about the too-cool stoner hippies who follow crappy jam-bands around and eat a balanced diet of Hong Kong acid and organic granola. I'm talking about a far more foul, offensive, and degenerative social misfit: Cyclists.

It's scientific fact that 99.8% of people should never, ever, under any circumstance wear lycra. Especially attention-grabbing, brightly-colored lycra. So why does nearly 100% of the amateur roadie population insist on donning belly-fat-squeezing, frank-and-bean-enhancing, ass-crack-sweating "cycling apparel"? Seriously. Spandex is gross, and I petition that people wear it only in the privacy of their own homes, or at German raves, where it's appropriate."

Consider yourself gored by the Spandex Raging Bull, cycling world.

The rage is real.  Know the warning signs and get educated to avoid its sharp horns!  Be on the lookout for overweight drivers of SUVs munching on doughnuts and plucky undergrads feigning journalistic skill by trying to be snarky.  And for all those suffering with Spandex Rage.  Get help any way you can - or we will be forced to unleash the Cipollini Muscle suit on you:

 Pedal on!


  1. I just bought my first pair of padded bike shorts. The kind that make you look like you are wearing a diaper. Too bad they are a somber black. (I almost said a funereal black, but I can't see me wearing these to a funeral. Unless it was my own.)

  2. Rock the chamois diaper - be proud of it! And if you can actually ride your bike to a funeral - then I think you should rock the chamois there as well.