Because I Am a Cyclist

Because I am a cyclist I have dirty hands. I can’t be bothered to pull on latex gloves before I commence to wrenching, and it seems no matter how much degreaser I work through my oily digits, I still end up with every crack and crevice of my winter-blanched skin outlined in black. I do the best I can to hide this at business meetings, but in the end, who cares? I am a cyclist.

Because I am a cyclist I don’t smell that great. To shower as prodigiously as I ride would leave me in a more or less permanent state of prunishness, which, on balance, would be slightly less attractive than my persistent odor.

Because I am a cyclist, I know things about materials science and nutrition and psychology.

Because I am a cyclist I perceive the distances between things differently than other people. I think more about effort than parking. When someone refers to a hill as steep, I know exactly how steep it is. I am fully topographic.

Because I am a cyclist I am keenly attuned to the weather. I know which way the wind blows. I understand the dew point and its implications for perspiration, hydration and recovery. I know when the snow will fly and how deep I can let it get before escape (from work) becomes impracticable. I understand how wet “really wet” is, and know that I can clean the road grime from my calves in the sink, as long as I get to work before most everyone else.

Because I am a cyclist I watch sporting events on crappy internet feeds from foreign lands, in languages I can’t speak. I look forward to races that most of my friends haven’t heard of, in cities approximately 0.1% of Americans could find on a map.

Because I am a cyclist I know that when I am suffering I am learning things about nutrition, psychology, weather and most importantly, about myself, that I could not learn without smelling bad, having dirty hands, being dry, in a car, on the couch, in front of a baseball game.

That’s just how it is. When you are a cyclist.

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33 comments

  1. randomactsofcycling

    Because I am a cyclist I read obscure Blogs with strange names and get excited about the next component that will save me 38grams when I could just eat less and lose 10kgs.
    Nice work Robot!

  2. Carl

    I’ll admit that I did pack some neoprene gloves in my seat bag — not to keep my hands from getting dirty, but to keep my gloves from getting dirty. It didn’t work – changing a tire easily shreds the gloves. Oh well, it’s dirty work.

  3. EH

    no no no on the cleanliness, you can’t let that slip.

    but amen on the internet feeds, looking forward to races in places no one has ever heard etc:

    In the UK i spent sunday aft watching the best flanders for a few years but then i came back from cyber-belgium and rejoined the mainstream world where the blanket sports coverage was of a footballer swearing, with commentators, politians and experts being asked for their opinions, yawn…

  4. Dave S.

    Because I’m a cyclist and I bike to work everyday I also keep baby wipes handy in my office, and I don’t work at a daycare.

    On cleaning your hands and calves at work… unscented baby wipes my dear friends. I have a 16 month old at home and have learned that baby wipes will clean muck, grime and grease off of absolutely anything. You can clean a bike chain with them too. And somehow, they’re also able to get almost all the black crud out of the cracks in your hands, almost.

    Great piece of writing Robot ,a really fun read.

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  6. Loving the Bike

    I love it….great post.

    I think we all can relate very well to all you included in this post, plus the great suggestions of your readers who left comments as well. Yes, we are cyclists and because of it we see the world in a different (and better) light.

    Darryl

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  9. Chris

    So true. You missed the bit about being prepared to ride in any weather but not happy to mowthe lawn unless the sun is shining and there is no chance of rain. Wives tend to pick up this contradiction

  10. Kevin

    I can relate to the internet Feeds about obscure cities. I was working on a t.v. show and the sound girl was from Koksjide Belgium. She was intrigued that I knew the town was on the coast and had sand dunes. However she wasn’t aware of the the Cyclocross racing that happens there. I think i got all the grease off when I showered last night. Commuted to work twice this week 11.5 miles arrived sweating profusely .

  11. Brian Stephens

    Because I am a cyclist, my wife says our bathroom smells like a locker room. Well, that’s where I hang my cycling clothing to dry. That “stink” never quite goes away.

    Because I am a cyclist, I can anticipate a driver’s next move. It helps me ride and drive better…go figure.

    Thanks for the great post.

  12. Rodrigo

    Because I am a cyclist I will receive weird looks from the doorman and receptionists when emerging at 5AM in a deserted hotel lobby, in full team kit and a nice titanium travel bike, as I cannot miss my training rides just because of that 2 day business trip…

  13. Daina Kalnins

    I don’t race..never have. But I ride.
    I don’t ride fast. But I ride.
    I don’t always ride when the weather is cold or raining. But I ride.

    I get chain tatoos in the weirdest places. Cause I ride.
    I eat what, where & when I want. Cause I ride.
    I see and feel the world deeply. Cause I ride.
    I love to climb. Cause I ride.
    I love the freedom … when I ride.

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  15. Trudgin

    I love this… Non riders just don’t get it! They all just look & say why??

    Hills do still scare me, but when you crest them… There is no feeling like it

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