Friday, May 23, 2008

Commuting via Bicycle...aka The Race of the Carnivors

Nearly a month into my regular commute via bicycle I have discovered something about human nature.

My commute is just over ten miles each way.  There are nearly a dozen other like minded people that I see on their two wheeled conveyances every day.  Of those people, some are wearing their work clothes, jeans or slacks and a shirt and jacket, as they pedal away.  Those folks obviously aren't planning to sweat a whole lot or haven't much distance to go, probably both.  They cruise along at a fairly modest rate of speed and make eye contact passers by, often smiling a greeting in that brief second of familiarity. A couple look like construction workers and a few seem to be university professors (the University of Alaska campus marks the half way point of my commute).  Generally they seem like nice folks.

The second group consists of a couple of moderately overweight gents trying to burn pounds and save a few quid to boot.  Those folks are wearing gym shorts and t-shirts with sweatshirts or rain jackets over them and helmets.  They look like chubby Rocky Balboa characters pumping up and down the series hills across the city.  I belong to this group. 

Between my bicycle, my backpack of sweat-free clothing, lunch, and laptop, and my body I am pulling nearly three hundred pounds over those hills on a $250 Schwinn Mountain Bike I bought at Costco Warehouse last summer.

Others among my fellow cyclists are a group I call "The Overtakers" are clad in the neo-traditional cycling enthusiast garb of skin tight neoprene with butt pads and inner thigh protector.  They all seem to be rail thin and have those aerodynamic helmets and space aged looking Tour de France shades on.  Their bikes tend to be the $1500 and up models with tires the thickness of spaghetti and handlebars that reach down below their knees.  

The primary purpose of their six-thirty am cycle outing seems not to be commuting to work, rather they are there to overtake and humiliate any poor sap not as fast or flashily adorned as they. 

Every time I see them they are pumping their legs furiously, like the pistons of a train enginge.  Usually they are actively in the process of overtaking or passing some member of the other two groups.

They also never smile...or even look remotely at peace with themselves.  The closest I have seen to pleasure on the parts of their face I can see below their shark-like body armour and vestements is something akin to blood-lust.

Their cycling style cries out "I am strong!  I am fast! And I look damn sexy in this extremely tight fitting very unflattering body suit that makes me look like an emaciated version of Schwarzeneggar in Running Man.  Love me or get out of my way!"

As for that skinny little Overtaker lady who passes me every morning at Tudor road pumping her legs like giant carnivorous beast is chasing her down the road.  You don't have to impress me...I'm married.

Anyway...that's my rant for today.

Basil Sands

Who Dares, Wins

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