Friday Group Ride #381

Friday Group Ride #381

It was an odd place to ride to, this small college on Boston’s north shore, but I plotted a route that strung together unexpected urban bike paths, connecting roads that ribboned along lakes and ponds, a few sprawling residential neighborhoods, and only one or two traffic-choked main thoroughfares. It was a long ride to take on after work, too, into the dark. And it was summer, so it was warm out. I arrived sweaty.

I’d been invited as a guest speaker by a friend of mine who teaches there part time, a graduate-level seminar, probably 15 students. I’d told my friend I’d be riding up, and she said, “That’s a long ride,” and I said, “I need the miles.”

I walked in, tapping across the linoleum floor in my road shoes with a fistful of paper towel from the men’s room down the hall, furiously mopping my face. Class was already in progress. I looked absurd. I felt sort of stupid. But I needed the miles.

I’ve had this same experience a few times riding my bike to the beach to meet my wife and kids. Ever try to walk on sand in road shoes? Ever ride home in bibs wet from swimming in the ocean?

This week’s Group Ride asks, what’s the weirdest place you’ve ever worn cycling kit? How did you feel at the time? How did people react?

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  1. Chris

    I rode to a college final exam in a downpour, leaned my bike against the wall just inside the door and plopped (literally) into a desk in soaked tights and thermal jersey. My yellow rain jacket hung from the saddle of my filthy race bike and my attention was divided between the essay exam, the black puddle forming around my shoes and the matching puddle forming under the bike. Two hours later, I handed in a soggy exam book and carefully clacked my way out into the night, scared to death I would eat it on the linoleum floor.

    Nobody said a word. I love Northern California.

    1. Winky

      I wear my kit in Home Depot quite often. I tend to drop in to pick things up on my way home from work.

  2. Dave

    7 weeks ago I had arguably the worst crash in all my 35+ years of riding. I hit a dog and landed hard, suffering a separated shoulder. After riding home my wife drove to me to the local ER in a tiny hospital in rural North Texas.

    Walking through the halls in lycra, sweaty jersey and road shoes drew more attention than I’m accustomed to for sure!

    1. Winky

      Sadly, I’ve also spent a few extremely painful spandex-clad hours in the emergency department after dislocating my shoulder on some ice.

  3. Les.B

    Few years ago the City of LA hosted a Bicycle Day celebration on the lawn in front of
    City Hall. I wanted to attend because a favorite band of mine was performing. Plus, I ride bicycles.

    That same day the LA Metro was offering free fare to people with bikes. Since I never rode the Metro I decided to do my first Metro ride and go to the celebration on the same trip.

    I pedaled to the Metro station in Redondo from home in Torrance and caught the train. Turns out the car was jammed full of commuters with standing room only. So there I was in my lycra at the front of the car in full view of commuters in their dowdy work clothes, suits, etc.

    The most self-conscious I’ve ever been, hahaha.

    The guys looked like, “I’m not looking, I’m not gay” and the women were more like, “Oh, give me a break”.

    The celebration was nice, I got to meet band members.

  4. Winky

    A downtown tattoo parlour. I went there straight from work in full spandex club kit, to meet my wife who was having a tattoo done. Also, in business meetings with clients. They are used to me now. No-one thinks anything of it (that they say, anyway).

  5. Michael

    I rode out to meet some archaeologists at a site in the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin. I did not have a car, so had to ride. I strapped some tevas (not OSHA approved!) to the seat rails so I could walk around when I got there. It ended up being a good visit, for about an hour, so they could show me what they were doing and we could look at future work together. We walked all the trenches and did a quick canvass of the area. I also made a friend who became a running partner. Lycra is not terribly warm when you are stopped, so I left, shivering, on my bike when it began to rain.

  6. Steve

    Work. Twenty years in a law firm setting and then I went to work for a bike company. Sort of defines culture shock. When I announced that it was the first time in my career that I wore shorts to work there was much rejoicing.

  7. Roger

    Once went for a dirt ride on my cross bike up Waddell Creek north of Santa Cruz, it had been raining and was very muddy and cold enough for Jacket and Kinickers. My wife, who was working in Italy, called me post ride and said, since you are in Santa Cruz, can you go to the Boardwalk and go to a beach glass show for me to look at a present for a friend and get a book on collecting. She is an avid beach comber and has a huge, (imagine several 5 gallon buckets at least) of beach glass. So I walk into the exhibit area in the board walk covered with mud from head to toe, including my face. At least I had cross shoes on… Being Santa Cruz, I think nobody really even looked twice. I have also forgotten a change of clothes more than once at work, but at least I was not muddy too.

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