Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More tips for starting cyclists

11. You can bike in anything. Seriously, you can. You don't need spandex shorts, much less a full kit (that's what it's called, right?). You can cycle in whatever you got in. Shorts are awesome. Pants are cool too, but you might want to roll the right leg to keep it out of your chain. Skirts, dresses? Go for it! But maybe point your knees in, if modesty is a concern.

12. That goes for shoes too. Despite being consistently told that I need "real shoes", I will frequently cycle in flip flops and it's fine. Your feet aren't going to be cursed by the bike fairy (though, to be fair, after a while the pressure under your foot will get uncomfortable). Ballet flats? Just don't let them fall off. Anything that secures to your foot? It's awesome! You sure as shit don't need to go clipless.

13. Bike grease is a part of life. Live it, love it, embrace it. You spend any quality time on a bike, you and whatever you wear will get stained with bike grease. I think the mark on my right calf is permanent at this point. No, I don't know how to get it out of clothes—I wear it as a badge of pride.

13. Brush your damn teeth. And go to the damn dentist. Not related to cycling, you say? Every penny you spend fixing what should have been preventable is a penny you don't get for your bike. Suck on that!

14. Cyclists in Dallas are awesome. As Janice would say, the greatest people you will ever meet. So get on a bike and go meet them.

15. Look out for cars. Because you can't trust them to look out for you. In a battle of bike vs car, the car always wins. You may be in the right (and your family might make a bundle suing the ever-loving pants off the driver) but that doesn't much matter as you're doing your best impression of road kill.

16. Be ready for bruises. You will crash, not an if but a when. It's gonna happen. Whether you're just being a fool or your front tire catches in trolley tracks or you're taken out by a fellow cyclist or (god forbid) you're hit by a car, that bike is at some point going down. It doesn't hurt as bad as you think it will. Usually. So wear a helmet.

17. Be ready to stink. Especially in the summertime, in Texas. Like the bike grease, just embrace it. Jus' let it happen. Or take up smoking. It'll mask the smell some. (is that why so many cyclists smoke?)

18. Learn to fix a flat. Yes I know it's a duplicate. Now that I've done it, I feel like I have the right to post it again.

19. Carry a spare tube. More duplicates, this time for added emphasis. Without one, you are dead in the water. I lost mine (how, I have no idea) and now I feel totally naked. It's like leaving home without my cell phone.

20. You can wear headphones. I finally drank the kool-aid. Used to be I associated cycling and headphones with all things stupid after seeing some 'tard roll by at night, no lights, no helmet, headphones in. But really? I pound out some serious speed with 'Black and Yellow' in my ears and I'm not going to be ashamed of that. And neither should you.


  1. 11. TRUE, but it is a lot nicer if you wear warm clothes when it is cold and cool clothes when it is hot. Shorts really don't work when it gets below 50.
    12. TRUE, what is more, as I validated this morning, you can even wear cleated cycling shoes in toe clips with no problems at all and still look "cycling geek" when you walk into the office
    16. TRUE, but it is sad to say that most of my cycling bruises occur on bike paths
    18. TRUE, but this is also a good reason to have a spare bike, so you don't have to fix that flat before you even leave home. Procrastination is not always bad
    19. See 18
    20. TRUE, as long as they don't make you get silly (in which case, you should also leave your car radio off), but you also ought to be prepared for people to tell you you are going to GO TO ("inappropriate term").

  2. 18 again - don't ask why I happen to answer this one this way today of all days.

  3. Carry TWO spare tubes. I have had several days when I end up with two flats. One day I even got simultaneous flats.

    Two tubes - or a tube and a patch kit.