A Great Relief

01.3.2006 | 4:06 pm

[Editor's Note: First, a warning. Today's entry is about peeing while riding a bike. If you find the premise of today's entry distasteful, you probably won't find the actual entry all that tasteful, either.]
[Another Editor's Note: Bob of Bob's Top 5 wrote the below entry; I, meanwhile, wrote an entry for him. I think Bob makes an excellent Fat Cyclist. In fact, I'd go so far as to say he's even fatter than I.]
Today was going to be the day that I peed while riding my bike. I know what you’re thinking: Why? In case I ever get called up to ride in one of the tours, that’s why. The last thing I want to have happen is to be riding for Team Phonak during one of the 6-hour stages of the Giro d’ Italia, only to realize that I didn’t know how to urinate while bicycling. I just know what would happen. I’d overhydrate and then try to hold it in. Soon, I’d drop to the back of the pack, clenched and sweating, and then I’d just let go. Riders would make fun of my soggy shorts, and I’d start crying.
No, I want to be ready.
But how do I go about this? On the bathroom wall of my favorite bike shop is a poster of a rider holding another rider’s seat; a third rider is holding the second rider, and the first rider is making a beautiful stream away from his bicycle. Getting help seems like a good option. Should I ask someone to hold the back of my seat? If so, what accent should I use? I do an OK breathless old man impersonation ("Young man, I’m about to soil my trousers. I need help!"), and my Spanish accent is OK, but I think the British dandy would be the best approach, given the awkward nature of the request. Oh, or maybe go back a few centuries to Elizabethan times:
"Good sirrah! I am ill at ease! My full bladder bespeaks a most disquieting pain, a pain at once nightmarish and exquisite. My body cries out to me as if bedammed for nigh this fortnight. Were that it were not so! Perchance thou couldst hand my seat whilst I heed the beckon of nature’s most insistent call. Prithee, answer man!"
No, I knew I had to be realistic. I wasn’t riding with a buddy, and I wasn’t about to ask a stranger to help me, accent or no. If I was to go through with this, I needed to do it alone. Besides, you know those urinal troughs in seedy downtown bars and old baseball parks? Those make me nervous, especially when there’s a line. No one wants to hear the guys muttering behind him: "How long has that guy in the green fleece been standing there? I don’t see a stream. Hey pal! What’s the problem? Maybe you should step aside and figure it out while the rest of us go about our business." This was going to be awkward enough without dealing with performance anxiety. I needed privacy.
I also needed some advice. So I went to the library. Ha! Just kidding. Here are the three rules I learned from the Internet:
Rule 1: Make sure you’re safe from legal repercussions.
Urinating in public may violate indecent exposure, public nuisance, and disorderly conduct laws. In some states, you can become a sex offender for urinating in public. You don’t want to have to knock on your neighbors’ doors and notify them of your status. It’s awkward.
Rule 2: Make sure you’re riding on a slight decline.
If you’re going too fast, you don’t want to lose control of your bike. If you’re going too slow, you don’t want to have to pedal midstream. You might as well just stop and get off your bike.
Rule 3: Learn the proper technique.
Extend one leg and rotate the opposite hip towards the extended leg. Free your member from the top or bottom of the shorts, and let it flow. Tap as necessary.
After doing my research, I decided it would be easy. It even looks easy.
Notice the varying techniques used by the cyclists. The Postie is using the over-the-shorts method, while the guy in the green jersey is using the under-the-shorts method. See how the right leg of his shorts is rolled up? Easy enough. I was all set. On the way into work, I found a nice, remote location with a slight decline and got ready to go. That’s when I learned one more rule to successful relief on a bicycle:
Rule 4: Make sure you really need to go.
The first time you try this, understand that Nature doesn’t just have to be making a polite house call, ding-dong. Nature needs to be banging on the door with an oak cudgel, shouting and threatening to breaks windows.
After work, I didn’t stop by the bathroom on my way to the bike cage, and I downed two bottles of water. I was good and ready. Almost too ready. After a painful twenty-minute ride through traffic, I finally got to a trail where I could get on with my business. I don’t want to go into the details of my experience, but let’s just say I learned two new rules:
Rule 5: Account for shrinkage.
You may not have as much capacity for extension as when you started the ride.
Rule 6: Once you start, don’t stop until you’re done.
It doesn’t matter if you think you see the lights of an approaching car or an oncoming cyclist. Stay committed. Otherwise, you’ll finish your ride with a soggy bottom.
And if You’re a Woman…
I have neither information nor advice for you. I’m sorry.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 01.3.2006 | 4:48 pm

    I am glad you are there for us, FC. Willing to go that extra mile to take on those difficult issues.

  2. Comment by Kelly | 01.3.2006 | 5:05 pm

    Perhaps this is your answer to my boob/bra story. Today I’m in a horizontal resting position because of a back injury. And I wanted to get in one more ride before returning to school. :-(As I sit here and read stuff from my favorite bloggers, I must admit that after this post… I have to pee. Kelly

  3. Comment by joan | 01.3.2006 | 5:17 pm

    Lars – I agree – it’s Fatty’s unwavering pursuit of perfection and his willingness to literally put himself out there that keeps me coming back.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 01.3.2006 | 5:36 pm

    Best. Blog. Entry. Ever.

  5. Comment by Unknown | 01.3.2006 | 5:43 pm

    For what it’s worth, I only ever saw guys in races doing the ‘pull it out the leg of your shorts’ method. And all your advice is spot-on. I don’t know why, but I never had to do this, even in races over 100 miles. I guess I don’t drink enough water.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 01.3.2006 | 6:03 pm

    see, this is why we read the fat cyclist. insightful, ground-breaking posts like this are the meat, the grist, the very raison d etre of the fat cyclist. at risk of waxing sycophantic, bon mot.if you had two naked lesbians peeing while riding a bike, i would call you the howard stern of cycling blogs. for now, i’ll simply keep calling you fatty. but in a good way.

  7. Comment by Curtis | 01.3.2006 | 6:59 pm

    I just read this at work and had to close my door because I was laughing too loud/hard.I just usually pull a Benny Hill (cue the music) and waddle off into the woods.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 01.3.2006 | 7:18 pm

    This is one of those things you always wonder about, but are afraid to ask.In the German documentory "Hollentour", there are scenes of stationary urinating. Made me wonder how common the moving variety is. I also seem to remember that in one of the stages of the 2004 tour, Ullrich needed a BM but the peloton would not slow. He was "assisted" by a team car. Perhaps this could be your next challenge.Allan.

  9. Comment by Unknown | 01.3.2006 | 7:28 pm

    Okay, so I tried it like you suggest. It doesn’t work at all. God! You’d think the girl in the next cubicle over would be more understanding. Besides, those shoes couldn’t have cost more than $20. 50 bucks, my butt.

  10. Comment by Unknown | 01.3.2006 | 8:08 pm

    First, ewww. Second, methinks that conspicuously absent is the treatment of "windage" in the on-the-fly pee break. Something like:Rule 7) Only pee from your bike with a stiff (no pun intended) wind at your back.I envision an excess amount of friendly fire when engaging in the headwind relief.

  11. Comment by Andrew | 01.3.2006 | 8:42 pm

    Once this problem is disposed of, would you tackle the proper ettiquette for the launching of snot rockets? This has been a source of heated discussion for my local mountain biking society (KyMBA).

  12. Comment by Unknown | 01.3.2006 | 8:43 pm

    hee,hee,hee. that’s some dang ol’ funnystuff man, i tell you what. and yes girls,shrinkage does happen to make thingsmore difficult.

  13. Comment by tayfuryagci | 01.3.2006 | 9:17 pm

    weirdest fatty entry ever. funny too. in a weird way of course. and ewwww.

  14. Comment by Unknown | 01.3.2006 | 9:59 pm

    Fatty…You should have learned this years ago….really… I think you probably already knew, and were just practicing your fiction for us. Peeing on a bike comes as naturally as throwing fish.Note on the "Above shorts" vs. "Below shorts" technique…that depends on how low your waistband is, or whether the bibs are cut low in the front…generally, because of the, uh, er…angle of your, uh, er…"johnson", the above shorts method is the most simple, or least likely to cause uncomfortablenesstype stretching.I can’t wait for the "how-to" notes on taking a quick #2 while on the bike….Actually saw that once in the Tour of Mexico…a long time ago…

  15. Comment by Unknown | 01.3.2006 | 10:30 pm

    Oh..stop…stop…I have to pee. You are too funny, Fatty!

  16. Comment by Sydney | 01.3.2006 | 10:51 pm

    have you ever thought about peeing into a waterbottle? the link below is a step by step description of how Robbie Ventura did it during the 2003 USPRO Criterium Championships when he was with the US Postal Teamhttp://www.visionquestcoaching.com/2003-DownersChamp.asp

  17. Comment by Donald | 01.3.2006 | 11:57 pm

    EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW, too hardcore fatty!lmao

  18. Comment by Unknown | 01.4.2006 | 12:16 am

    While waiting at the start of the Soldier Hollow MTB race this past summer Kenny and I got to see how the women handle the situation. A certain Utah pro female mountainbiker just squatted at the start line by the side of her bike and peed right through her shorts, not black shorts either but bright red ones, got on her bike and started with the rest of her group. It left no doubt in my mind that she would have done it while on the bike in the race. After the pain of climbing for several minutes I had forgotten all about the incident at the start when right in front of me, there she was just standing out of the saddle for a steep section, practically in my face I tell you, so close I could smell it. Only this time the wet spot was now a reddish brown wet spot because of all the dust. I passed as quickly as I could.

  19. Comment by Unknown | 01.4.2006 | 12:16 am

    There is a lot of documention of women peeing on the go in races. PBP 1995 was won by a French woman who didn’t stop for nothin’! Apparently the odor was something else as were the streams of fluid flying through the front pack. I have to admit that I have tried it(as you did) and it is quite unpleasant and needs an urgent laundry load upon arriving home, never mind the shower.

  20. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 01.4.2006 | 12:19 am

    Sydney, whatever you do, don’t confuse the water bottles, or you might get a terrible surprise then no, that isn’t lemon flavored power aid!

  21. Comment by Robert | 01.4.2006 | 12:55 am

    I want more scatological humor!

  22. Comment by Unknown | 01.4.2006 | 1:41 am

    Good work Fatty.Perfecting this skill could very well be the difference between a 9:01 and an 8:59 time in the Leadville 100.Chris

  23. Comment by Unknown | 01.4.2006 | 3:39 am

    I can pee on the bike – or pee off the bike – anyway, can/do, but it takes me slow long to relax enough that by the time I’m peeing I’m at a standstill. So, I’ve really lost time while relaxing slowing relaxing looking over my shoulder relaxing peeing poorly ….I tell you.John

  24. Comment by Unknown | 01.4.2006 | 3:58 am

    Gee whiz! I’m waiting for Part 2 (not to be confused with Number Two): Drive side vs. non-drive side.

  25. Comment by UltraRob | 01.4.2006 | 4:06 am

    This entry brought back memories of a cross-country race at Crested Butte back in the early 90s. Back then regular NORBA races were 3-4 hours and over rough, technical courses unlike the buffed, "2 hours if-you’re-lucky" races most of the time now-a-days.I was way out on the course and it was cool and damp and I just had to go. I waited until I hit a fairly smooth section of jeep road with just the right downhill grade. I was relieving myself and came around a bend in the road. There in front of me were 3 college age girls hiking up the road toward me. I will never forget the look of total shock on their faces.

  26. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 01.4.2006 | 5:26 am

    Al – what where you doing in the ladies?juspasenthru – I believe the phrase is "How to expectorate in the peleton?" There was an article in an Australian Cycling Mag a year or so back about it. I’ll dig it out.philly jen – And I quote "Gee whiz!" Was there a pun intended? And part 2 shall never happen. Left or right is determined by the prevailing wind. If you get my drift.Fatty – A truly noble undertaking, to research the tough topics for your readers. Three cheers for tasteful coverage of a potentially sordid topic.

  27. Comment by Carolynn | 01.4.2006 | 6:45 am

    Aren’t you worried about what your mother would think about your talking about such things in public??????

  28. Comment by Unknown | 01.4.2006 | 9:26 am

    Can I propose a Rule 7. Not suitable for Spinning class. I am now banned from the gym.Tim

  29. Comment by Unknown | 01.4.2006 | 1:58 pm

    Mike, that wasn’t in the restroom, it was in the secretary’s station outside my office. Some people are so intolerant…

  30. Comment by Unknown | 01.4.2006 | 3:16 pm

    After reading the editors comments…. I have to say I am shocked. SHOCKED!. You think you who your FC is and who your Top5Bob is and then one day..<sniff> ……idontknowyouanymore

  31. Comment by Unknown | 01.4.2006 | 4:03 pm

    1990 – Technical Writer: Word Perfect1992 – Technical Editor: Word Perfect Publishing1993 – Title Manager: Que1994 – Web Developer: Novell1999 – Editor in Chief: Fawcette Technical Publications2002 – Editor in Chief: Informant Communications2004 – Senior Development Audience Project Manager: Microsoft2005 – Managing Editor: MSDN Online2006 – How to Pee While Riding a BikeProgress, my man. Progress.

  32. Comment by Unknown | 01.4.2006 | 8:41 pm


  33. Comment by Stephen | 01.5.2006 | 3:57 am

    Although this is not something I would ever even CONTEMPLATE doing, it was still a most informative blog entry, and I will file it away with all the other stuff in my brain under the ‘Useless but Humorous’ category.I think if I WERE going to attempt this ( I can’t believe I’m even SAYING this), I would definitely go with the under-the-shorts method. Aside from the shrinkage issue already noted above, there is also the drippage and leakage issues, neither of which were discussed in the article, but which I am certain are indeed issues. Particularly for those of us who are of an age where our bladders are the size of cashews, and our prostates are the size of softballs (pun intended).All in all, a most enjoyable and edifying entry. Now, after reading this, I am certain that I fully and completely understand why I am NOT a ’serious’ cyclist…

  34. Comment by Courtney | 01.5.2006 | 9:35 pm

    Fortunately, I’ve never even thought of this problem, but I am now very interested in watching competitive bike rides. Who would have thought that cycling, of all sports, would afford me an occasional penis shot?I am suddenly intrigued.

  35. Comment by Officer J W | 03.30.2006 | 12:42 am

    HAHAHA this is the best blog EVER!!

  36. Comment by Stan | 04.2.2006 | 9:55 pm

    Well looks like gd ol rule 1 caught me again ! and indeed it is awkward poor miss hambutson next door wont let me urinate again!  oh thankyou sir fat cyclist for your advice on this pressing issue :)stan <3


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