My mountain biking partner and I looked at each other in disbelief after watching two alabaster-white butt cheeks sitting on a slab of leather connected to flailing legs, sail through the intersection. This took the cake! Snaking through single-track, we've viewed bodies that should never, ever be paired with spandex and sniffed body odors of folks who missed that morning's dose of antiperspirant. But try as we might, we'd never, ever seen a 6' 2" guy cause a 10-car pileup while riding a bike on city streets sporting some fine-looking dreadlocks wearing only a thong and a smile!
This got me thinking about comparisons between the two recreational loves of my life: Camaros and cycling. While one mode of transportation is seen as a rich man's sport and the other a poor man's, there are distinct similarities and differences between the two. For instance, both require specialized apparel. I mountain bike in various terrain, and like all contact sports (Yes, for me mountain biking is a contact sport. Just ask the trees, rocks, ruts, and occasional patch of poison ivy, as I've met them all.), I wear the appropriate gear: padded spandex covered by rip-stop baggies and even light body armor if conditions warrant.
Setting my bike on fire was briefly considered after foolishly following my group up "The 1800," a four-mile ride from sea level up, up, and more up to a "little" rise 1,800 feet...you guessed it, UP. But as we usually don't mountain bike in the midst of a forest fire nor pedal fast enough to cause one, Nomex apparel isn't required. A good helmet for bicycling costs about as much as one for racing, which bites, as I like to be color coordinated. I have six. You do the math. And for cycling, spandex understuff and the proper fitting and form of the chamois is critical. The chamois, you ask? That's that little strip of padding inside the spandex shorts that cushions your sensitive girl and boy parts from saddle pressures. There's foam, gel, combination of foam and gel, anatomically-specific, and layered—all different flavors, fit, and style of chamois. Hmmm...this may be a new thing for endurance racing at Daytona.
For the Camaro, it's basic stuff as I (and you should, too, if you track yours) have a new three-layer Sparco one-piece suit. Depending on the suit you have, you might need fire-retardant "underwear" which are thick, long-sleeved and long-pantsed apparel that itch like mad, make you hotter than a hot flash, and generally something worn when racing in Antarctica. Word of advice here...get the three-piecer.
Now for the shoes...I will quit Camaro competition when my stash of Pilotis are done and worn out, but for mountain biking, my Five-Tens will last forever. There's two types of footwear: flats like my Five-Tens and the dreaded, evil clipless anything. I ride in platform pedals as I'm a big chicken and don't want to be (almost) permanently connected to something that has a mind of it's own with multiple personalities to match. With clipless (and I have no idea why they're named this as you are clipped IN. There is no LESS.), you are mechanically locked to the bike pedals with these little mushroom-shaped metal thingies screwed to the soles of your shoes, which then snap in to the special $130 pedals. You can (usually) get out if you twist your foot like a reverse pretzel but this is often done after you have crashed, the bike upside down, you on your back in great pain on a spiked Manzanita bush, and both feet still locked in, pedaling like mad, with wheels spinning in the air. Which was moi last November, at night. The text message to Dave (the hubby) was "I crashed. The bike is OK." This has never happened in the Camaro, and the only injury I received when tracking one was a blister on my finger.
I've saved the best for last, as there's this stuff we coat our backsides with that prevents rashes, zits, and boils from the hours we spend in the saddle. This creamy substance has clever names such as Butt Butter, Assos Cream, Joshua Tree Salve (I hope it's the name of the person that made the cream and not made from the actual tree), Ride Glide, Chamois Butt'r, Booty Balm, Butt Paste, dzNuts, Century Riding Cream, and my absolute fave, Hoo-Ha Cream! And we ride commando! Even though he occasionally rides with me, Dave has drawn the line at everything in this paragraph! This is absolutely, positively NOT done with a Nomex driving suit. Ever! And if you do, I don't want to know about it.
As for the weirdest thing I've ever seen while driving. That's easy, while heading up a local freeway in 180-degree weather, I spotted a red convertible ahead. The driver was wearing this white, funny-looking, flappy thing on his head, and as I got closer I glimpsed the fly. Yes...he was wearing a pair of (hopefully clean) Jockey shorts on his head. This was easy to explain, however...he was driving a Mustang!