Your Guide To Summertime Bike Rides

With summer thrashing upon us in rays as searing as solar stalactites, many of us are forgoing our weatherbeaten copies of Infinite Jest and our local coffee shop haunts for a breezy cycling journey through the verdant landscape. You might not imagine there are, embedded within this quintessential summer ritual, a lot of rather dire do’s and don’ts one must conform to in order to enjoy oneself. They are as follows.

1. Wear Flexible Attire. The obvious choice for the rollicking cyclist would be jorts, and while those frayed britches may accentuate your furry thighs like nobody’s business, they can be a bit constrictive on steep inclines. Allow me to be so brash as to suggest a sleeker, sadly less vintage alternative. Unlike the wrinkled housewives with absurd predilections for sporting spandex as they trundle through Whole Foods (absently filling their carts with morels and gin), on the bicycle path, stretchy shorts are perfectly acceptable. You may even marvel at their comfort on your nether-regions. Soft!

2. Know Your Terrain. This is of paramount importance for drunken riders. If you are planning on traversing a picturesque path of primarily flat ground for a clandestine photo op, then, by all means, have a few oatmeal stouts before you head out. Yet, if you foresee your presumed pleasure cruise taking you furiously pumping up rocky embankments: dress lightly, drink water instead of beer, and, in the name of Lance Armstrong’s fettered testicle – wear a helmet. You don’t want to end up looking like Peter Jackson in Bad Taste with that flap’o’scalp that kept flumping open and cramping his style.

3. Avoid Hallucinogens on the Trail. This may seem pretty much a given, but you have to admit the light filtering through the cavernous overhang of unknowable leaves (you Botany majors aside) would look pretty alluring under the influence of a couple windowpane doses. Obligatory Anecdotal Evidence That This Will End Badly: A tripping acquaintance struck off from a party and ended up waylaid at a pastoral field (later discovered to be a cemetery) by a pair of police adamant at getting to the bottom of why his pupils looked like portholes into a spacecraft the likes of which even the most stalwart microbial warrior would have qualms about entering. Their roadside interrogation led him to somewhat cavalierly offer, “Listen, officers, I don’t want this to end in bloodshed.” He was unceremoniously taken back to the station, shown to a cell for an indeterminable period of imposed meditation and had to ride home (still coasting the cosmic firestorm, mind you) at dawn… some sixteen miles back to civilization. Can you say existential meltdown?

4. Temper Headphone Usage. We seem to have stumbled on a theme. Distractions can be pretty damaging. I, for one, see biking as an excuse to exercise my transcendent longings and want to distance myself as far as possible from technological tendrils. I usually leave my Droid at home (which, admittedly, inspires a feeling not unlike postpartum depression…) Aside from distancing yourself from the freedom of the forest, or wherever you choose to ride (even urban canyons incite some kind of inner-peace), the iPod can keep you from hearing, say, an approaching bus full of passengers praying their driver will jump the proverbial shark (increasingly unhinged as the goddamn A/C went out weeks ago, we can only guess he has been building up to chaos on recent jaunts, swerving to hit small animals/running red lights) and turn you into a splattered ditch sculpture akin to that poor baboon in The Fly.

5. Maintain Your Lane. Again achingly obvious, or so it would seem. Aside from that grizzled, bus driver described above, many drivers loathe roadside riders if only because they are inherent foils for their own insecurities as not only drivers but humans as well. Here’s why. When tumbling over hills with their children shrieking above the in-van TV’s new Pixar movie’s raucous (and psychologically rattling) climax, desperation comes into the minds of even the most well-adjusted adult. When said driver, already nearing catatonic despair, crests a hill to see a young ruffian, bearded, or with flowers in her hair, sporting jorts, swerving, tripping, clad in humungous headphones, and, in other words, FABULOUSLY OBLIVIOUS, they will no doubt lapse into a nostalgic torpor in which their own youth can come catapulting in across sodden, brain-dead terrain of office protocol and sour diaper changes, and they will realize, inevitably, that they have failed to reign in the shape of their own momentum, have failed to convince themselves they put off finishing Infinite Jest for a reason – let alone putting off their own unfinished novel, and, lulled by the children’s cries, they will pull around you on the blind hill, yearning for an oncoming bus driver to slam headlong into them. Or they’ll simply perform the white-knuckle wedge-to-the-wheel maneuver and pass, letting the thoughts of a misplaced youth spill out the open window with the Parliament Light they wish they could still smoke and might yet, if the occasion strikes, alone in the garage, admiring the rusted fixed gear hanging ever so precariously over the recycling bins and folded bounce house with its stitched midsection. Don’t make their lives any harder. Transcend safely. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Wasabean

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