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 natureâ€™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 youâ€™re going too fast, you don’t want to lose control of your bike. If youâ€™re going too slow, you donâ€™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.