Friday, August 28, 2009

A Dog On The Carpet, A Fish In The Air

I want to say you look like a dog scooting across the carpet desperately trying to get a dingle berry out of his fur, but I can’t. I keep it bottled up, because when it comes down to it, I should just be glad there’s another soul out there on a bike. I see riders all time, usually older more portly gentlemen, riding road bikes with their knees sticking out to the sides and their hands on the tops of the bars doin’ the poop scoot boogie. I try. I try so hard to mentally put a smile on my face and say way to go! So, glad you’re out there riding your bike, enjoying the outdoors, and losing a little weight. Then I see the knees akimbo, the hands close to the stem, and the legs wildly spinning two gears too small and something gurgles up inside that makes me want to roll up to them and say, “for goodness sake man, look at your reflection in the storefront windows. Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” Your riding looks like a dog trying to get a poop out of it's fur! But, I’m a non confrontational man. A wussy trait I know. One day they’ll have the revelation or someone with bigger stones than I will approach them.

That’s how it happened with me. I used to scoot across the roadway knees pin-wheeling to either side of the bike. Then one day a veteran racer on a group ride said, “Eh, Joe your knees are sticking out. Get your knees in, like this. It’ll make you more aero, efficient and faster.” I saw some truth in that. Who doesn’t want to get faster and use less energy doing it? Looking back I’m sure it was all a diabolical plan so he wouldn’t have to be on a group ride with someone who rode like a dog with a rear-end issue. I wrote about the experience in a previous post here.

Sorry. I know I shouldn’t cast judgment. Maybe the big-boy thunder thighs can’t come any closer to the top tube. Maybe the larger belly in tandem with the thighs causes an inability to put hands on the hoods or in the drops. I’ve never spun a mile in a large man’s chamois. It could physically be impossible. That’s why I dare not approach and instead take the long slow road of hoping that when the butt scooter loses a few pounds and ends up riding with some veteran riders that osmosis will take place, he’ll take note of the knees and slowly they’ll migrate toward the top tube.

There are so many ins and outs, dos and don’ts and unspoken “rules” of cycling, the fact that anyone new to the sport can pass the scrutiny of veteran riders is nearly impossible. There’s always be poofy jacket guy, seat bag big enough for an Everest expedition guy, and too much reflective flair guy. However, that’s true with any sport. I’m sure my golf swing looks like I’m shoveling a pig pen. No doubt my basketball lay-up has all the grace of a fish being thrown on the Seattle dock. Certainly I’m not the person to be dispensing cycling tips.

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