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.