Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Imelda Marcos

So I was all ready to go for a quick spin in the lanes before work this morning as is my customary wont. I even had my helmet by the door filled with a hat, two inner tubes, tyre-levers, a small multitool and a 15mm spanner. In short, I really was ready, no wasting 15 minutes searching for a tyre-iron or an Allen key today. I just thought I'd wait until the sun came up.

And then the temperature started to drop perceptibly. You could see the numbers dropping on the little Desktop Weathernetwork widget, and those things aren't exactly real-time! The CBC was in full Chicken Little mode, but one thing one learns as a cyclist is that when it comes to weather many folk are prone to exaggerate, just a tad! It's nearly always too hot, too cold, too windy, too icy and it nearly always isn't. When someone says "it's treacherously icy down there" you'd expect a full NHL-legal playing surface complete with face-off circles and blue-lines when in fact (most of the time), all there is is a frozen puddle or patch of leaves. Not today! As I watched, the 4C and drizzle (eminently ridable, 70" fixed, mudguards and Marigolds) turned into OC and snowing quite nicely than-you-very-much.

This changed the co-ordinates of the ride on cost-benefit graph. All of a sudden the prospect of getting creamed by someone freaking out in the snow without winter tyres or getting doubly creamed by a big black truck which thought it was immune to the elements outweighed what pleasure I'd have got. So I thought of Sean Kelly, poured a second cup of coffee and decided to run the 3K to work instead. Not for training you understand, just to get there. You see, all my pretty-boy clothes (and shoes) were in my locker at work and short of driving to work naked, this was the only way I was going to get to the college.

They say you know you're a cyclist (or a runner or a triathlete for that matter) when you don't mind walking into work dressed in tights like a superhero! I know that I do (I'm not sure what my superpower is but I have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with cookies and mince-pies). I remember when I first got into this gig being embarrassed being seen at work in tight shorts and I used to leave with my jeans over my shorts and take my jeans off 300m down the road where no-one could see me! That was over 20 years ago. Nowadays, I clearly have no shame (speaking of which, if anyone has Elastigirl's number could you pass it on?)!

When I jogged up to the institute steps this morning a colleague said "ah, so you got a puncture this morning". I evidently looked non-plussed (and BSNYC wasn't even the vicinity). Does anyone else have this problem, being associated with people (co-workers, neighbours, distant relations) who aren't able to differentiate between cycling gear and running gear? To us it is so easy; how could we ever confuse a CWX tights, HRC jacket, backpack and Mizuno Ascends combo with a Sugoi midzero tights, jacket with pockets in the back, Chrome bag and clip-cloppy "not trainers" shoes ensemble?

I can see how to the unitiated it is confusing. To them it's all tight bottoms and not-so-tight tops in shades of fluorescent and since wool jerseys went out of vogue the textiles aren't activity specific. Plus, some items, like vests, hats and gloves can do double duty (triple if you're cross-country skiing) and the socks are always white. But really, if they want to know the difference, all they have to do is look down, way down. As my compatriot Imelda Marcos once said, it's all about the shoes!


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