Life in the Bike Lane column

I know that I’m a cyclist
By: Tom Frady
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If you regular readers (five) will check your archives, you will find I traveled down this bike path almost exactly four years ago. But since then, I have gained a reader (and one moved away), so it’s worth another look. 

Here are few ways that I know I’m a cyclist.  You might see yourself in some of these, or if not, this list might help you understand what goes on in the mind of the avid cyclist but probably not. Maybe.

  1. Like most riders, I have some bike friends that I don’t see “out of uniform” very often.  When I see them in real life, it takes me a moment to recognize them.  I have never seen their hair, wearing a flannel shirt or not in dark glasses.  Women are especially hard to recognize.
  2. My Facebook timeline has more bicycle shots than anything else.
  3. When I am driving and come across a pack of bike riders, I slow down and give them plenty of room, because I really appreciate it when drivers do that for my group.
  4. When I ride with a different group and am told “Oh, we’re not very fast.  You’ll have no problem keeping up” I know they are fast and I will have a problem keeping up.
  5. Our vacations are planned around charity centuries or other special rides.
  6. You would think that after maybe 1,000 post-ride showers, I would think to check my right calf for a “grease tattoo” made by touching my leg to my bike chain. But no. What doesn’t come off on my white towel stays until the next shower.
  7. I can spend as much time on “Ride with GPS” mapping out future rides as I do reading e-mails.  Doing my Christmas cards takes less time.
  8. Doesn’t everyone inflate their tires before every ride?
  9. I have embraced fluorescent colors to make me more visible during rides and those colors are creeping into my civilian attire. 
  10. I know what it means to spend hours at a time on my bike saddle and know “comfort saddles” aren’t comfortable after a few miles.
  11. I certainly have been one of the last up a hill plenty of times but I am better than I used to be . . . . most of the time.  A friend said, “It doesn’t get easier; you just get faster.”
  12. It is typical for me to have more Lycra in my laundry basket than Levis and I wear Levis all the time. And that Lycra never sees the inside of the clothes dryer, let alone a dryer sheet. Bake bike clothes in the sun or at least air dry.
  13. I don’t have a huge bike collection taking up half our garage but it was nice to get a little extra room for my bicycle stuff when I traded my pickup for a small hatchback. 
  14. I have been able to ride away from every fall or accident I have had but some of the worst have been when traveling 0 mph and just falling over in slow motion because I couldn’t unclip from my pedals fast enough.
  15. I have been asked for advice by adults interested in buying their first adult bike only to shudder when they tell me that their budget is “about $250”.
  16. After an accident or fall, no matter how bad it is, the first question is, “Is my bike OK?”  In fact, it says that on my dog tag ID. 

Tom Frady is a Lincoln resident and avid cyclist and driver.