Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Before leaving for work today, I heard on the radio that the projected temperature is supposed to reach 100 degrees Farenheit...which is something like 311 Kelvin (which sounds horrible) but only about 38 Celsius, which sounds a lot more pleasant.  Regardless, it's hotter than two field mice screwing in a wool sock today...which is clearly what prompted the attire (or lack thereof) of the individual I passed this morning.
What is it about a male cyclist sans shirt that makes it seem like he might as well be riding completely naked?  In other contexts, a man in public removing his shirt can be entirely acceptable if not expected.  Take roofers, contractors and Chippendale dancers.  What happens then, when a dude climbs upon two wheels that suddenly makes his shirtlessness seem entirely inappropriate?  How thin the line is between going topless and simply unzipping your jersey entirely, which, of course, is the in vogue alternative.

Well, for one, there is the safety issue.  If this guy kisses pavement doing 26 mph, he's going to have a lot more road rash without the jersey.  And then there is the protection from the sun and the more efficient cooling that a jersey can actually provide.  But these are his problems, not mine, the passer-by.  In considering what I find so distasteful about going half-commando, I have decided that the visual abomination of a shirtless male cyclist  must fall into one of three categories:

#1:  You're a pro....Yes, everyone respects your dedication, but still thinks your chicken chest is a little creepy....even if it does sit atop legs that can carry you over the Alps AND the Pyrenees.

#2: You're not a pro....and you are a little doughy....but you try to cover it up with a flashy pink backpack, some ankle socks and knee pads...still - put away the moobs. 

#3) You're completely ripped....Come on, man - most of us look like one of the aforementioned two and we don't need you throwing your well-defined pecs and six packs in our face all the time.  We're insecure enough as it is.

Of course, what may be the greatest injustice is some combination of the above....like a sleeveless jersey that is fully unzipped displaying the guns and ammo belt.  This smacks of some kind of perverse burlesque peep-show on wheels...like the perfect fluff to adorn what has become the Playgirl of cycling periodicals.
I can't say too much.  I still subscribe to it.  And this morning when I got to Grindstone to run with the COMO CYCO dog, I went shirtless displaying my own personal combination of insults #1 and #2: chicken chest with ill-defined moobs....don't even ask me how I manage to pull that one off.  I think I even got the stink eye from a female runner on the trail.  I wonder if she has a running blog and bitches about shirtless male runners? 

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