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Withering Glance: Putting the pedal to the Lycra

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK
  • Star Tribune
  • April 14, 2012 - 6:32 PM

RN: Is it just me, or has apparel for the well-outfitted bicyclist become, well, a bit much?

CP: It's just you.

RN: I don't know. You gave a squadron of them quite the disapproving look last Saturday, during our post-yoga Moose & Sadie's breakfast.

CP: My admiring look just comes across as disapproving. It's my default facial expression. But I would remind you that plenty of automobile drivers are wearing perfectly ridiculous outfits as well. We just can't see them.

RN: Proving, once again, that there is a god.

CP: As for the bike get-ups, my faves are the ones that resemble a NASCAR driving suit, only shrink-wrapped. Same profusion of logos, colors, decals, patterns, zippers -- but all in skin-hugging Lycra. Often hugging a good deal of skin.

RN: It's like going to the beach and, wouldn't you know it? The one guy sporting a Speedo is inevitably the one guy who should so not be poured into a few square inches of taut, chlorine-resistant fabric.

CP: The most obvious two-wheeled offenders are those who travel in large packs. In suburban Chicago recently, I saw a half-dozen men doing their best Occupy Starbucks routine. As none were perspiring, I guessed that they had traveled a mile or two on their composite tri-bikes, in booties and hoodies and aerodynamic helmets, to enjoy a no-foam latté and a nice Saturday chat.

RN: Speaking of the pack mentality, I will admit to getting a kick out of the Birchwood Cafe's eye-catching bike-team togs. I spy them everywhere. It's better advertising than a platinum-level sponsorship on Yelp.

CP: Seeing that club riding en masse on the Midtown Greenway is like something out of a Ridley Scott movie. Only gayer.

RN: And then they all wisely head back to the restaurant and carb load on big-old sticky caramel rolls and waffles.

CP: Clicking and clacking across the floor like so many top-heavy Fred Astaires.

RN: The last time I was at the B'wood, admiring their collective athletic zeal, I did have more than one I-see-London-I-see-France-I-see-a-biker's-underpants -- and more -- moment. Yikes.

CP: The hipster bikers, in their tattoo-baring hemp capris and porkpie hats, can be just as annoying as the Tour de 50th and France ones. Still, even the worst of them are better than the angry motorists who take joy in cutting us off, honking or flipping us the bird to exercise their King of the Roadness. Oops. Have I revealed too much?

RN: Hardly. Although the rogue bicyclists who ignore the rules of the road aren't exactly model citizens, either. Shame on their recklessness and moral superiority. Not that I haven't pedaled through a few stop signs over the years. Don't tell anyone.

CP: When I'm biking, it's as if I'm in a magical time of yore before stop signs were even invented.

  • Email: witheringglance@startribune.com
  • Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib

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