I should offer a few definitions early to avoid any un-necessary law suits.
The art I refer to is fatty’s art. It is legendary and while many people are stuck in the category of self-publishing dribblers, fatty has managed to trick a reputable organisation into publishing his dribble. The life I refer to is my own. And today’s subject is bike snobbery.
When I read what fatty had to say on the subject I understood the subject at a clinical, logical level. But I am an all smiling, all trusting mummy’s boy. I never consciously practiced bike snobbery, even in the days when I had the best equipment and was arguably the fastest man on the Saturday morning coffee ride. And I never saw it happen. Maybe I was too far up the road and all the nastiness was happening out of sight behind me. But these days I ride a different road with different companions than 17 years ago, before “the ambulance ride” (pre-emptive parentheses – within a week the ambulance ride will be the headline, now back in your cage Elden).
SNOBBERY – Fatty wrote it, I saw it, I felt it.
On Saturday morning, my wife packed miss 4 and mr 7 in the car for swimming lessons and I got my bike with mr 10 on mr 7’s machine. It’s only 9 miles to the pool. We got a bit rushed at leaving time so soft tyres, a squeaky chain and too low seat were the order of the day for my young apprentice.
We travelled some back roads through our estate, then a bike path alongside the motorway, all nice and flat but into a stiff headwind. We reached suburbia and as we were going down a bike path alongside one of the local schools, two riders in matching knicks and jerseys, tanned, slim and ripped, passed going the other way. They saw dad in baggy pants on a reasonable machine with his son on a squeaker. But we were on the correct side of the path wearing helmets, so there were friendly and enthusiastic greetings flying all over the place.
No snobbery there.
After swimming, my wife took all 3 children for an afternoon at nanny’s house. I rode home alone to study (blog) and mow (blog). As I was approaching the bottom of the only hill in the 9 miles (half a mile at 8 percent) home I saw some riders catching me. I kept glancing back to put in a little surge and stay with them for a chat. As they caught me I heard gears shift and as I surged they both got out of their seats and accelerated too. I didn’t have a child with me to protect me this time.
I was judged. And I was found wanting.
I have now received adequate motivation from those snobs to go beyond half a sit-up in the morning and half a sit-up at night. There’s currently a hundred pounds of surplus that stopped me from chasing them down and setting them straight, but I now take fatty as my inspiration. I shall go immediately to the tattoo parlour and have a black bar installed across my face so that all who see me shall know me as a disciple of the fat cyclist. I shall fear naught but failure (and rain and leaves).
Here’s a P.S. for Afghanistantastic: When you get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she’s dating a sissy.