On a slippery slope to comfort

If the natural evolution of a cycle-person is to recognise the greater value of comfort and usefulness over speed and appearance, then I may finally be reaching an age of maturity. However, it is entirely conceivable that I’ve unfortunately become just a nerd on a creaky old bike. This week was my first experience of riding with mud-guards and panniers and allowed me to carry and keep dry my laptop, clothes and shoes along wet and muddy roads. However, judging from my colleagues’ reactions at seeing my road bike adorned with its new accessories, I may have committed a crime against style equal to wearing socks and sandals in public (I regularly wear socks and sandals around the house but this is actually a form of domestic haute couture).

From my experience of cycling there appear to be two main kinds of riders – those who shave their legs, wear skin-tight aero suits and spend a fortune on reducing weight to increase speed, and those who have hairy legs, beards and creaky, heavy bikes and spend a fortune on ‘useful things’ like¬†powerful lights, racks, bags, mud-guards and reflective clothing, thus increasing weight to increase comfort. I had hoped that my latent cycling prowess would allow me to justifiably become the former, but unfortunately I may just be on the slippery slope to the latter.

With all of this in mind, I’ve decided to embrace it and will now present the mundane effectiveness of my latest cycling purchases, illustrated in the following uninteresting photos of inanimate and stationary objects:

1. Bike with new nerdly equipment following a wet and muddy ride

2. close-up photo of mud spray to emphasise muddiness of roads

3. socks turned down slightly to emphasise presence of mud spray across hairy legs and shoes

4. photo of seat of cycling shorts. Clean as a whistle and not a speck of mud in sight

In addition to this increased cycling comfort I also had the opportunity to wrinkle my nose and waggle my bearded chin at a couple of mud-soaked cyclists riding without mud-guards. It’s possible that they may have called out “did you forget your basket, old man?” but it was quite difficult to hear over all the rattling and creaking coming from my bike.