Monday, June 8, 2009

Is The Spandex Really Necessary?

I am not a urologist. But those are some pretty mess up looking moose knuckles. I think the beans got twisted over the frank for a couple of those guys.

I have a stomach ache, for some reason.

So I was driving up Big Cottonwood Canyon rocking out to some Journey (that's how I roll) and had to swerve into on-coming traffic several different times to avoid hitting bikers. Now the only gripe I have with bikers is with the ones that insist on riding side by side so they can chat, oblivious to the train of cars stuck behind them. That is bush. Bush league. But that doesn't happen that often. It's a fine way to get fit and enjoy the outdoors. And it's certainly exhilarating to zoom down a canyon road going 40 mph. But I do have the following question for any reader that may know the answer.

Does the neon yellow spandex outfit make a difference?

I'm sure there are several functional advantages of the fully decked out spandex suit. And far be it from me to spout off, criticizing something I know nothing about. But can you no longer ride a bike and simply wear a pair of shorts and a t shirt? Will you be laughed off the road by the team in the the full on matching Tour De France garb complete with fake sponsors? I like to go hiking. But do I change into lederhosen and massive crampon-ready boots every time I head up a trail? I'm sure there are some nominal performance advantages that would come from nut crunching green shorts / suspenders and those cool gray hats with the feather in them. But I keep it casual. Pair of shorts, some running shoes and a non cotton shirt. I do sport some under armor compressions shorts, otherwise my inner thighs would burst into flames from the friction. (That last line was for the ladies.) But I don't dress up in a costume. I don't wear something that screams to everyone at 7-11 "Yeah, I'm a hiker. That's right. I care about my health. And nature. So suck it."

Taken out of the biking context the "Lance Armstrong" is a pretty silly look. And you know what? Within the context of biking, it's still a silly look. Especially for the portly biker. And there are a lot of them. Now I have nothing but love and sympathy for any fatty magoos out there trying to get back to their playing weight. It's a struggle that I am very aware of. But because I'm currently fatter than I want to be, I am also conscientious of looking like a big fat guy. Take this picture my friend Brianna took in Moab a few months ago. You'll note the day-pack fastened underneath my manly girth. It's like you came up to me a squeezed every ounce of cookie dough that was there, isolating it just for the camera. Not flattering. Brianna, seriously you gotta warn me before you take these pictures so I can suck it in. But now imagine I was sporting skin tight Lycra in a "look at me" shade of neon green. Or pink and blue.

That's what you call ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag.

Look fatty magoo bikers, you have realized that it's gone too far. You're too fat and you're ready to do something about it. You're committed enough to buy a $2,000 plus road bike to really get back into shape. Good for you. But don't forget to hide your shame. Seriously. For the same reason you don't take your shirt off when you run in the park, you'll want to avoid the "Lance Armstrong". You are not him. It's a great goal to have. But until you're a little closer to it, try wearing a poncho. Maybe a classy moo moo. Sure you may have a little more wind resistance with all that floral print flapping in the breeze but dude, you're 250 pounds trudging up BCC. You're not going to notice.


Gregg said...

Curse you for putting that picture at the top. Some things can not be unseen.

Scoosba said...

Most of the spandex type shorts have nice padding that really helps prevent chaffing on a long bike ride. There are however a wide assortment of non form fitting cushioned shorts that offer the best of both worlds while adding minimal drag. Unless you really are in a race I agree wear some normal shorts.