This week’s newsletter is a double-feature.
In the first episode we have a hotelier in North Canterbury who has taken the bold move of banning people wearing lycra from his establishment. He is pictured squatting next to a blackboard sign that praises the bicycle (as it should), but also bars entry for bike-riders wearing stretch knit synthetics. Presumably women in tights are ok, as long as they don’t arrive on bicycles.
My first thought was well, that makes a large and growing sector of the scone-eating public who will no longer visit this guy’s watering hole.
I shared it on Facebook with a snarky comment to that effect. Then I got a text from California with a link to the story in one of their national dailies. Within a couple of hours social media was clogged with regurgitations of the same image and story… the exposure this story has received could be worth thousands, possibly millions, of dollars.
That so many newsmongers picked it up and re-delivered it supports our view that there is something about cycling that really gets their collective goat. Getting about in most cities is actually faster and more convenient for people on bikes. That annoys anybody who is stuck in traffic. So do people out riding for fun, even though the inconvenience they cause is momentary and inconsequential. Bike riders running stop lights or taking shortcuts: even if all the risk in such activities is born entirely by the cyclist, it drives some people almost mad.
But it is lycra that really rips their 100% woven cotton nighties.
What is it about skin-tight fabric stretched becomingly across the butt of a harmless fellow human that causes such pain and anxiety among otherwise liberal citizens? We don’t know, but we aren’t going to stop wearing these for our road rides just because it might scare the horses.
Then there is this: some of our colleagues took part in the Rotorua-Taupo Flyer a few weeks ago, a 100 kilometre tarmac bash across the central plateau.
One of our squad slotted into a good bunch after a frantic start, then punctured. One of his friends was among the dozens of riders who streamed by as he struggled with his roadside repair.
Moving again, he got into a small group and they slowly reeled in some of the riders ahead, including his friend, and when his group caught her she was moving fairly slowly.
Afterwards they compared notes, and she was at a loss. Training had been good, she had felt good at the start, then she had stomach trouble, unusual for her. The only thing she could think of that might have caused her problems was the energy gel in her race-pack, which was a brand she had not tried before.
Our colleague held up a sachet from his race-pack. Yup, his friend agreed, that is the one.
It was a raspberry and honey scented sample of shampoo.