In 30 years of riding, I’d never succumbed to the temptation to shave my shave my legs.
Somehow, it just never seemed necessary.
Even if club riders sometimes rolled up next to me at red lights, and seemed to find me somehow lacking after gazing at my hairy calves. And my manly leg fur sent a clear and concise message that I was not one of them.
I could live with it.
Besides, I always assumed that, minimally hirsute though I am, it kept my legs a little warmer on those cool winter days.
But for the past year or so, I kept thinking back to one particular ride early last year when I gouged my calf on the chainring, resulting in a half dozen rivulets of blood streaming down my ankle to pool in my shoe. And found myself attempting a dry field shave with a dull penknife, in a vain attempt to get a bandage to stay on long enough to make it home.
So one day this spring, I carried a razor into the shower with me, and stepped out with legs as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Okay, maybe a scarred and stubbly baby’s bottom, as it took me more than a few weeks to get the hang of it.
Funny thing is, the shock and awe I anticipated from family and friends never materialized. In fact, no one even noticed. At least, not until I mentioned it; then I got that classic double take as they looked me up and down, finally noticing my follicle-free lower extremities for the first time.
And to be honest, it really didn’t seem to make a difference.
I’ve thankfully managed to remain upright all summer and keep my epidermis blissfully intact; my first aid kit coming out of my bike bag only to patch up the occasional tourist who failed to negotiate a sand-covered curve.
Not that I’m complaining.
Though I have complained loud and long about this year’s endless winter, as the temperature seldom rose above the mid-60s on the coast, even on days when the rest of the city sweltered. Not that anyone could do anything about it, of course.
It just seemed like a waste of a good shave.
So now L.A.’s summer, such as it was, seems as if it’s nearly over. And it already feels like an early fall, even if that should still be weeks away.
I’m not sure if I’ll keep it up this winter, or let my hairy calves return until I confront the question of whether to do it again next spring.
Although my lack of leg hair didn’t seem to make me feel any colder, even on those frequent cool and cloudy days when I found myself donning winter riding gear in the middle of summer.
But it did seem to buy me a little street cred, as more than one rider swathed in spandex pulled up next to me and glanced down, then gave me a silent nod in recognition.
I guess I can live with that.
Mark Cavendish finally cracks the finish line in stage 12 of the Vuelta, edging Tyler Farrar in a mass sprint to the finish, and sets his sights on the green jersey for the overall points winner. Milam rider Roy Sentjens gets the boot from the Vuelta after a positive drug test; maybe we should level the playing field by making doping cyclists compete on these.
Make your reservations for the 2011 and 2012 US Championships. And not surprisingly, the Amgen Tour of California is a money losing proposition, as many cities are being priced out of hosting a stage.
Decorate your bike for the Bicycle Beauty Pageant, 8 pm to midnight on Saturday, September 18th, at 3191 Casitas in Atwater Village. Your $10 admission benefits CicLAvia and includes one free beer; free admission and a beer if you enter the pageant.
In LADOT Bikeways news, former bike rack meister Carlos Morales is now the new Bicycle Coordinator in Omaha, while LADOT Bike Blog offers the full story on the disappearing Westholme sharrows and LADOT’s promise to get them back ASAP.
And speaking of LADOT BB, it now includes up-to-date information on current bike lane and bike path projects. Hey, Rita Robinson, isn’t it time to offer that guy a real job? He’s way too good to risk losing to somewhere else.
Like, uh, Omaha, for instance.
Apparent anti-bike L.A. Councilmember Grieg Smith proposes throwing a Neighborhood Council road block in the city’s biking infrastructure plans; intriguingly, bike advocates aren’t entirely opposed to the idea. It might be interesting to know what the NCs think about it; maybe you can find out on Saturday at PlanCheckNC, when Neighborhood Council members meet with officials from the Planning Department over coffee and cookies.
L.A. Creek Freak spots new light poles along the L.A. River Bike Path in Elysian Valley. The LACBC’s BiciDigna Bike Repair Co-op receives a $5000 grant from REI. Travelling the country and sampling different bikes and riding styles along the way. Bike San Diego says that city needs a bike attitude adjustment to catch up to Long Beach — or even Tijuana, for that matter. A week after I took a writer to task for advising cyclists to avoid road rage by never, ever doing anything to piss a driver off, he offers advice for drivers — and gets it right this time. The good news is traffic deaths fall to their lowest level since 1950 and bicycle fatalities declined 12% last year, the bad news is 33,808 people — including 630 bicyclists — still died on American roads last year; the question is why? Turns out, bicycling isn’t as scary as you might think. How to bike with your dog. Why buy a custom bike when you can DIY? While L.A. dithers on bike share, Des Moines moves forward; we also continue to fall behind in infrastructure as even Missoula cyclists get their first separated bike lane. Advice for Houston’s bike riding bank robber. A bike lane grows in Brooklyn. Note to New York Post: Cycle studs? Seriously? TV’s latest dancing, pre-law midriff-baring cheerleader is an avid, helmet-less cyclist. More reports on the latest rides from Eurobike, including fixed gear bikes, mountain bikes and new Colnagos. It’s official: the world record for biking around the globe is now 163 days 6 hours and 58 minutes. Hangzhou China offers to lend 50,000 bikes to 1,200 cyclists for their annual bicycle touring day; for the math challenged among us, that works out to nearly 42 bikes per rider.