Watching the Tour de France, you might reasonably come to the conclusion that all cyclists are dangerously thin, in their early 20â€™s to early 30â€™s, and can ride their bikes for up to three weeks without a rest.
The reality is a little different. Most of us are middle-aged. Most of us need to lose weight. If you want to become a bike enthusiast, you may as well learn how to be middle-aged, too, or at least act that way. Here are some helpful tips you can use:
- Wear a long, loose-fitting jersey. A long, loose-fitting jersey will hide both your behind and your belly. This will make it impossible for others to recognize the fact that you are overweight. Because you are the only person who has ever thought of wearing loose clothes to camouflage extra weight.
- Spare no expense in making your bike light. If you can find a way to reduce the weight of your bike by 20 grams, itâ€™s worth the cost. Period. And donâ€™t think about the fact that dropping 10 pounds from yourself would be much safer and less costly. Thatâ€™s not relevant.
- Get a triple chainring on your roadbike. It’s not because you don’t have power in your legs, it’s because you want to spin a higher cadence up the hills.
- Obsess endlessly about equipment and technique. These are the keys to going faster. Those who would say that riding with more power simply donâ€™t understand the complexities of riding.
- Buy a helmet without many vents. If they canâ€™t see through your helmet, they canâ€™t see your male-pattern baldness, can they?
- Learn the fine art of anti-trash-talk. Describe your potential ailments at the beginning of each ride. Be careful not to be too concrete about whatâ€™s wrong, because itâ€™s always possible youâ€™ll have a good day and wonâ€™t need to refer back to your pre-ride excuse.
- Yes: â€œWeâ€™ll have to see how long I can ride; Iâ€™m still recovering from a cold.â€
- No: â€œI may have to break off early; I had a lung removed earlier this week.â€
- Corollary to anti-trash-talk rule: All ailments are things that have happened to you, not things you have done to yourself. For example:
- Yes: â€œMy tendonitis is acting up.â€
- No: â€œI failed to stretch and am paying for it now.â€
- Start riding your road bike more, and your mountain bike less. Explain that this is because you like the rhythm of the road, or because it builds your fitness better. Do not acknowledge that you feel completely pounded after mountain bike riding, and are afraid youâ€™ll break your hip if you fall.
- Stop shaving your legs. Describe it as a “silly custom, and I’ve got better things to do with my time.” Under no circumstances admit that you can no longer reach down to your ankles, nor that shaving your legs underscores the fact that you have varicose veins.
- Let everyone know that â€œIâ€™m just taking it easy today.â€ All cyclists know that some days are for going out hard, some days are for resting. When you ride with someone else, tell them youâ€™re just resting. Then ride at 80%. If the group still drops you, wellâ€¦you were just resting. If you manage to hang with the group, then youâ€™re a strong rider even when youâ€™re resting. And â€“ trust me on this â€“ nobody else has ever used this excuse, so everyone will believe you.
- Dispense advice to younger riders. Tell them their seat is too far back. Tell them theyâ€™re pedaling squares. Tell them they need to ride with their hands in the drops. Tell them to stop accelerating during their turn leading the group. Kids love to be taught, and never get tired of hearing your wisdom. Really, itâ€™s the main reason they ride at all.
Finally, I’d like to point out that I have discovered these tips purely by observing other cyclists. None of these apply to me. Nope. Not even one.
I have to go now.