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Life in the Bike Lane column

We’re all quirky

By: Tom Frady
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Anyone who is an avid anything has a few quirks, habits or special language related to that avidocity (I may have just made up that word). 

My wife is an avid quilter. She has all these strange rulers that apparently do more than just measure stuff. Her sewing machine (well, at least one of them) costs about the same as a good used car.

The avid cyclist is no different.  While my wife might run back into our burning house to save her sewing machine or quilts, my first question to the fire captain will be, “Did you save my bike”?

Similarly, a cyclist will transport his expensive ride in a car that costs less than the bike.  Some (OK, me), look only at body styles that can carry a bike inside when it is time to buy a car.

Cargo shorts are dorky. All those pockets, flaps and zippers. Bike jerseys are cool with all those pockets, flaps and zippers. 

Remember those leg warmers women wore in the ‘80s?  (Uh, oh.  I just realized you would have to be about 40 to remember.)  I always questioned their efficacy, even for dancers, from whence the trend started. 

But leg warmers and arm warmers make all sorts of sense for bike riders, especially on days that start cold and end up less cold. Leg warmers are little more than tubes giving a layer of warmth from above the knee to the ankle. They are easy to remove and store in an above-mentioned jersey pocket.

Most of us obsess about our weight. Cyclists do, too.  Only we obsess about the weight of our bike. The avid cyclist will pay hundreds of extra dollars to get a bike that is 40 grams lighter. Twenty-nine grams equal one ounce. This is a symptom of OCD:  Obsessive Cycling Disorder. It is, of course, cheaper to just lose some weight from your body.  But at least that 40 grams won’t come back.

Everyone has an imaginary friend, right?  Right? The cycling world has an ever-increasing world of GPS units that double as social media (Garmin and Strava).  Garmin has a “virtual partner” that you can race at any time.  You can adjust how fast the partner rides, so you can beat him.  Strava lets you choose a particular hill, for instance, up which to race.  Your time is recorded and ranked with everyone else on Strava who has raced up that hill.  It becomes an obsession for some (not me!) to move up that leader board.  Of course, Garmin and Strava talk to each other, your phone and home computer. 

Some riders (OK, me) will ride around the block to add a 10th of a mile to a ride to make sure it shows up as 50 miles on the aforementioned Garmin and Strava and personal charts.

Some riders (OK, me) who don’t care if a striped shirt doesn’t go with plaid cargo shorts, won’t wear a mostly-yellow jersey with shorts that have a blue logo. 

Some riders (OK, me) who follow a pretty healthy diet at home think nothing of eating a strawberry/hazel nut cream-infused donut with extra frosting and topped with powdered sugar and washed down with a soft drink in the middle of a ride.

But it’s all OK.  For many (OK, me) cycling is more than just a hobby, it’s a passion.  I hope you have a passion, too.  And a few quirks.

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