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Cycling 101

A few months back, RJ and I signed up for a sprint triathlon which takes place next month. As part of our training we have to learn to successfully manuever road bikes. As is his custom when taking up any hobby, RJ decked himself out the best he could for this adventure. Here are a FEW of his new toys:

A bright red bike, some snazzy biker shorts, an aerodynamic helmet, special sweat-letting socks, two waterbottles (plus holders) and an emergency bike kit (see just under his miniature seat) which contains a CO2 cartridge, an extra tire tube and a tool for removing flat tubes.

Not shown are his alternate bike pump and special truck bike racks.

In case it wasn’t clear, he also got clips put on in place of his pedals. He assures me that these, along with the shoes (shown below) make riding much easier because all of the movement of your leg is productive. Since you’re attached to the pedal you not only push down but you also pull up.

These special shoes are a lot like ski boots in the way that you put them on. To get them off you turn your heel out. I have several friends who’ve fallen over on their bikes because they weren’t able to “clip out” fast enough. RJ assures me that this will not be happening to him and I agree…he’s done beautifully on our two rides.

These should give an entirely new meaning to the phrase “bike shorts.” Our friends assured us that the tiny road bike seats could only be tolerated when wearing something akin to depends. So we both invested in these special fashion statements. As a female, walking with all that bulkiness is uncomfortable but not altogether unfamiliar. To my companion though, the feeling is quite unique. This next picture will better illustrate the reasons for his discomfort…

Nice. I think my shorts resemble the uterus-shaped pancake shown in the birds & bees video back in 5th grade. I’m not sure what the strategy is with RJ’s but we won’t think about that for too long…

And if all that wasn’t too much information, this next little ditty should put us over the top…the biker’s best friend…Body Glide. That’s right. I imagine you can guess what this is for. The guy at the store recommended that we apply it directly to the “padding” on our shorts. Ugh.

Lest you think that I came away empty-handed, I would like to introduce you to my biking gloves…yet more padding to protect my precious hands from callouses. Please notice the dainty grey flowers because there is nothing dainty about this next photo…

And there I am…in my helmet from Academy, my 3 yr old running shoes (with pedals, no less) on my borrowed bike with only one water bottle. It’s a good thing I got a fancy no-sweat shirt for Christmas otherwise I’d pale in comparison to “The Cyclist.” If he were here, I’m sure he would point out that I am indeed pale, but that’s beside the point. By our second ride, I think all of that stuff was weighing him down because yours truly beat him by 1/2 a mile.

Despite the disparity in our riding conditions we both had a great time. Now we’ve got 3 weeks left to master shifting (which takes quite a bit of skill) and build endurance. Wish us luck!

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