Friday, June 17, 2011

Your CRACK is Showing!

There are plenty of expressions familiar to the experienced cyclist. For example, you know to say “on your LEFT” when you’re forced to pass someone in close proximity on their left so they don’t walk or ride into your path. (You also know to expect the newbie or drunkard to get confused and drift to the left rather than move right or stay steady.)

Other handy expressions, which should always be shared loudly enough to be clearly heard over the wind and traffic noise, include:

  •  “Runner up!” when a runner is approaching your fast-moving peloton in the bike lane. Smart riders gently drift left a bit to help avoid a collision.
  • “Hole!” when a pothole or crack large enough to cause trouble is looming ahead. The riders who want to keep their collar bones intact make sure they have both hands on the bars when this is heard and prepare to “bunny-hop” the obstacle. The new rider who doesn’t care if all the riders behind him spend the night in the hospital will prepare to swerve wildly to avoid the obstacle, sweeping at least one rider’s front wheel with his back wheel in the process.
  • “Your crack is showing!” when the spandex on the back of a cyclist’s shorts has worn thin enough to reveal the rider’s butt crack while riding. The smart rider will quickly look away from the wardrobe malfunction to avoid nausea and vomiting in the peloton.
Once upon a time I thought that last expression might be inappropriate, and it may not be familiar to every cyclist. I became more comfortable using this expression after my wife subtly mentioned that my SDBC team shorts were wearing a bit thin. I looked in a full-length mirror at my derriere while crunched in a riding-like position, then fell into shock. “That’s my ASS!” came out of my mouth loudly and involuntarily. I felt like writing a formal apology to my fellow club riders and a formal complaint to Pactimo (our clothing provider). After one short year, one panel of these shorts essentially became transparent. I wish someone had mentioned this to me earlier, but I understand. I once noticed some guy in our club who apparently wanted to hang onto an old version of our club’s logo shorts even if they were barely hanging onto him. His hairy butt showed through so clearly that nobody could ride right behind him. It was a sickening sight but nobody was brave (or nice?) enough to kindly suggest he check out the transparency level on his shorts when he got home...or at the next bike shop we passed.

Now I’ve been on both ends of that equation. I’ve checked all my shorts and from now on if you hear someone yell “Crack!” get some clarification. Cracks in the road can be called out as “Hole!” and if your hole is nearly showing then “Your crack is showing!” is perfectly acceptable.