Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spandex / Lycra Cycling Apparel - Bring On the Hate

"why all the hate. At least the dude is going green. The funny thing is after many trips to Europe you see tons of bicycle commuters but none of them wear faggoty spandex."

- SuperSexyBoiGod , commenting on the Spandex Commuter vs. Electric Bike video (comment on that I used in an episode of Encounters With Rantwick.

I didn't respond to that one. I was too hurt deep inside to do so, having learned that I had been hateful without knowing it and was also "faggoty". I just crawled under the blankets and wept for a while.

"You are slow despite your best efforts to squeeze your plump body into spandex. This is something no one of your build or stature should ever try to do. The tight clothes aren't going to reduce drag...they're only displaying things to the world that no man, or woman should ever display... Clothing is comfortable but don't go out looking like Lance Armstrong unless you can pull it off."

- Dave, commenting on my How's My Driving sign.

These comments I did respond to, because that was the point of the sign. Click the link to see the whole conversation.

Thanks to comments like these aimed at me and many others on the Internet, I have come to realize that for many people, it isn't the cyclist that brings forth their ire, but rather the spandex he or she is wearing. They seem to hate it even more if you're wearing that stuff and you're not in tip-top shape, and god help you if you are (gasp) overweight. Apparently overweight people like myself have no right to wear it. I know that that most people commute in something other than the tight stuff. For myself, I find a pair of real cycling shorts with a chamois and everything the most comfortable, so that's what I wear. Here is a picture of my faggoty butt:

The thing is, many people also seem to find this pretentious somehow. Out come the "Lance wannabe" slurs and all that stuff without any provocation. I'm riding a bike with fenders and panniers, but apparently I am a Lance wannabe... I can't imagine how often roadies in full racing kit must hear (or read) that expression.

I guess that is one of many nice things about cycling in colder weather. My cold weather cycling pants are snug, but not in the same way as cycling shorts. Besides, in the cold and snow people are less likely to see me and think "look at this fatass Lance wannabe ****ole", they think instead, "look at this insane freak!" Much better.

Are we still tight? I hope so. Yer Pal,


PS - Before I decided to just use my own butt in this post, I tried to google up an image of a fat behind in spandex. I came across many of those images that say "FAIL" on them. I really dislike this whole "FAIL" thing. I mean, who do these people think they are, sitting in judgement "Failing" people they don't know in situations they know nothing about? Who's the bigger failure, people who get caught doing something foolish or looking silly, or people who sit around being nasty to strangers (or worse, "friends") on the Internet for fun?


David Spranger said...

"Who's the bigger failure, people who get caught doing something foolish or looking silly, or people who sit around being nasty to strangers (or worse, "friends") on the Internet for fun?"

Well said.

peace, david

RANTWICK said...

Thanks David!

Mighk said...

Both bullying and taunts come from a sense of powerlessness. They're suffering at the hands of someone with power over them, and need to take it out on someone else to pump up their self esteem.

Just smile and say, "It'll be okay."

RANTWICK said...

Mighk - Thanks man. No worries, I didn't really weep.

Anonymous said...

Wow, and I thought it was only drivers in Vancouver who were just plain mad!

Steve A said...

Some people just like to complain. If not spandex, they'd be moaning about something else. You should be happy you made it less stressful to pick out something about you that irriates them.

Doohickie said...

My response to those who question my manhood while I'm driving: "Real men self-propel."


RANTWICK said...

PaddyAnne - Nope.

SteveA - Yeah! That works.

Doohickie - hmmmm.

John Romeo Alpha said...

We cyclists are a tiny minority in the northern half of the western hemisphere, and what we wear to be comfortable, as well as how we ride to be safe, often doesn't make sense to the majority who don't know their handlebars from their bottom brackets. Anger grows from ignorance and a deep mistrust of anyone who is Different. We're Different. Be comfortable, and safe, I say.

Rodney said...

Makes me want to ride in my speedo next summer! Don't laugh.....I'm crazy enough to do it.

RANTWICK said...

JRA - I am being both comfortable and safe, so all is well. Different is often good with me.

RANTWICK said...

Rodney - I'm not laughing, believe me. A speedo, wielded with malice, can be a powerful weapon.

Anonymous said...

You have nothing to worry about:

As you can see, I usually keep the bike shorts under regular shorts.
Responses usually run the gamut of "Good for you!" (sometimes with applause) to "OMG get off the road and never show your face in public again, you freak!" (or words to that effect)

RANTWICK said...

JTGYK - Hey, ride on! I think that you ride despite patronizing BS or angry BS is awesome. My eyes were immediately drawn to the Pannier, to be honest. Ortlieb. yesss.

Anonymous said...

Cheapie Nashbar Waterproofs I got on sale. They're surprisingly good.
I must say I was shocked to the core when I first saw the pic. I've been commuting (and riding in general) for 3 yrs. It's one of those situations (as my Dr. said)where I'm healthier than I look. :-)

Anonymous said...

As for the responses...I figure: "f**k'em if they can't take a joke."

RANTWICK said...

Huh! Spoofed by Nashbar!

As for the rest, agreed. Especially the healthier thing. I haven't lost any weight since I started riding seriously again about 5 years ago, but I feel way better.

GreenComotion said...

Patrick Maan,
Wear what works for you Mon Ami!

If fat people shouldn't wear spandex while cycling, what about beer guts hanging over some people's jeans?

Peace :)

JAT in Seattle said...

I know I'm late to comment here, but I've been thinking about this a lot. Every time there's a story in our local newspaper website that invovles bicycling, inevitably there will be a troll comment that includes a snide spandex put-down. Cyclists are then put on the defensive and feel a need to address the comfort/practicality/wicking qualities of their cycling wear.

Somehow the lycra really offends people, and they feel free to comment, yet no-one questions those who choose to drive to their job downtown in a sportscar or a jeep or a pick-up truck despite the crawling pace of gridlock, or the smooth pavement or lack of a load to carry (other than the one between the driver's ears...)

Now I recognize Mr Rantwick actually invited comments with his how's my driving sign, but those of us who dress to ride have all heard (and read) the abuse.

Believe me, Mr Motorist, I'm far more offended by the little chromed plastic tag on your vehicle reading V-8, or Hemi, or Triton, or that sneaky greenwashing offender Flexfuel than you are by the sight of my lycra clad butt, so shut it already!

The Clog said...

That picture was like watching a hippo chew on a candycane.

Anonymous said...


" watching a hippo chew on a candycane"

Harsh...but true. :-(
Yeah...That's my ass.
Glad I didn't see a pic until after I lost 40 lbs (started at 400lbs).
The shock was so bad after seeing it for the first time, I seriously thought about quitting. Then, I figured, "At least I'm out there doing something. Suck it up and screw whatever anyone else thinks."

For the thoughts were along the lines of two pigs fighting in a sack.

RANTWICK said...

Screw what everybody else thinks is right, man. I thought I was the king of Internet diplomacy, but you topped me there JTGYK. Well done.

Clog, I don't ever want to be some sort of censor because I think that sucks. That said, the regulars here are always pretty respectful and supportive... I would appreciate it if you joined them.

Kokorozashi said...

Heh, I am way behind on the internets! However, I just wanted to say that I have nothing but love for *any person* of *any* size who has the cajones to get out there dressed in spandex.

Last week I gave a 10-minute presentation in my psych class on benzodiazepines while wearing bike tights and a hoodie. I figure, the more I wander around in lycra, the more people will get used to it and get over themselves.

Well, that and I'm too lazy to change my clothes for a 1.5-hour class when I'm just going to get back on the bike afterwards!

Anyway, if you don't mind me saying so, you look much better in lycra than Dave-the-Driver suggests.

Also, a big 'Amen!' to Doohickie!

christopheru said...

I have long since given up caring what other people think about my cycling gear. When the weather turned colder this fall, I commuted in lycra leg warmers, mtn bike shoes with duct tape over the vents, lyrca cycling shorts, mtn bike shorts over them (I wanted pockets, and warmth), a cycling jersey, a long sleave thingy, and an EMS jacket. It looked totally ridiculous, and did not match well, and I could not care less if I tried. I just smiled to myself when I got comments (and I did) and thought about how happy the riding made me.

Silliness should not be responded to:)

Anonymous said...

I think your have a hot ass and it looks good in spandex bike shorts! Wish the pic was bigger so I could see more of your rump in them! ;)

RANTWICK said...

Yikes! Thanks. You have a very rare appreciation going on there. Might want to seek some help.

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