I would see them everywhere. I would mock them silently from my car.

“Spandex geeks!”

It was like a racial slur no one would ever hear. I would see them riding along and wonder where they were going? On the road one minute, and disappearing into the Park Avenue woods the next. They sucked; I was stuck in traffic. I hated them.

Who did they think they were? They can just cross the road and jet into the woods like we aren’t here.

My career as a drummer ended; it was a pretty good run. No MTV but I traveled around the world. Another entry on my “almost” resume.

Alright, I would get a bike but I would never wear that stupid stuff they wore. I would never be one of them. I got the Kona I could afford. I rode three miles and vomited. I repeated the process for several days. I was out of shape. Apparently drinking beer and playing “Cure” covers was not a good fitness plan.

Slowly things came around. I could ride a while without wanting to die. Then one of them would pass me.

“Why do they have to go so fast?”

They were such assholes. They cared not about the woods and birds and the nature all around them. They were sinners in the temple.

I ordered a pair of Lycra shorts from Campmore, you know, just to prove how stupid they were. Then a couple jerseys from Nashbar. The truth set me free. I had the kool aid and it was good! No more riding sores. I wasn’t as hot. They still rode away from me at an alarming pace.

By chance I rode with some guys I saw once in a while out on the trail. One of them was from the bike shop. I found my way in like a reporter into a Montana militia. I became one of them but the transition took a long time.

One day I went by a guy with denim shorts, a cotton tee shirt and a confused look on his face. He barely made it off the trail before I went by him. His bike was cheap and too small for him.

“Thanks Man!” I said to the dork in the Levis shorts.

I am lucky that cycling found me. I am lucky I have a crew. I rode in the woods in the dark tonight. I hope I am never one of “them” again.

Guest Blog by W.B.

5 Responses to Perception

  1. Good post. It makes me remember how difficult the transition to cycling clothing was for me. I was especially perplexed that Juancho would wear that shit, given his scorn for almost anything shiny.

    I can also remember the moment I “got” it and finally understood all the fuss. I was on the short loop run at Munson in the Tall Pine short-cut area and finally got the feel for going as fast as I could in the woods. It came over me in a wave that this was about as much fun as I was going to find anywhere, and at the time I had no idea that an entire culture came along with it.

  2. I was working in at a local skate shop(boards not blades!)and had gone over to one my surf/skate buddies’ house. He had this big, knobby wheeled bike in his living room. “What the hell is that?” I asked. And it was over. I still blame/thank him for having an object in his living room that completely redirected my life 18+ years ago.

  3. It’s funny how you assume that anyone who would wear skin tight crotch buldging shorts and polka dotted shirts are just doing so because they want to look like they know what they are doing and don’t mind intimidating or disgusting you in the process.

    Then one day you feel the pad upon your bum and your top breathes and wicks away your sweat and the idea of how absurd you look is like moot.

    yee haw, move aside clide

    on a related note, I recently got a new front shock and bottom bracket on my old, old, old cannondale F1000. I went from 44 to 30 years of age instantly and for my ride durations except even better because I wasn’t wearing panty hose back then.