Tour de Farce

by Tom Swift

At what point did it become the case that nearly every weekend road warrior who bicycles now wears attire as if they were coming over the Pyrenees in the Tour de France?

Used to be that people who enjoyed bicycling would, you know, put their butt cheeks on their bicycle seats and start peddling. Not any more. First, it seems they must change into form-fitted, aerodynamic attire. This would, of course, include shorts tight enough to reveal one’s religion and jerseys peppered with sponsorship-suggesting insignia. And then there are the helmets. Some sporting minute rear-view mirrors, all are decal-laden.

This Saturday morning ride down the River Parkway is brought to you by Cervélo.

That trip to the light rail station was made possible by Trek Bicycle Corporation.

In America, circa 2019, brand names are our tribe markings in far more than just bicycling. Certainly. You see brand ID on gym bags, on sneakers, the front of T-shirts, and the back of those ever-ubiquitous leggings. That’s just for starters. Yet it seems there is a special form of tribal pride practiced by bicyclists. They seem to seek something more than merely to pledge allegiance to Cannondale. Few people who play weekend softball wear full uniforms, stirrups and all. No one I know shows for pickup basketball by first pulling off tear-away pants to reveal full-on tank-top and shorts combos. Breezers are simply not worn for shinny hockey.

By contrast, the impression one gets while dodging the waves of cyclers on the way to the grocery store, the gym, the pet supply, is that most bicyclists are dressed as though they are doing nothing less than going after another article of clothing: a yellow jersey.