Every bike commuter knows the usual suspects along the daily route to work: the “racers” who don’t want to be passed; the people who insist on being halfway through each intersection before the light actually turns green; the people who ride for a week or two at the beginning of each summer and then are never seen again. There’s a variety of bike-commuter stereotypes.
Today, I pay tribute to Mr. Skin.
No, not that Mr. Skin. (In case you missed the movie "Knocked Up," that link is NSFW.) I’m talking about those guys—and it’s pretty much always the male riders—who seem to think a bicycle can’t be ridden without exposed arms and legs. They’re the guys you see cruising to and from work looking underdressed after most of us have started wearing jackets, tights, ear warmers and full-fingered gloves.
When I’m wearing wool socks and have my jacket zipped up, and I’m cursing myself for having left my arm warmers at home, I have a hard time believing the guy in shorts and a T-shirt isn’t freezing his ass off.
Can these guys not afford decent clothing? Are they suffering from the same arrested development that makes high-school kids refuse to wear coats in 5-degree weather? Do these riders have some natural resistance to cold?
Not bloody likely. At 40 degrees, if you’re riding 15 mph, the wind chill makes it feel like 32 degrees. That’s the freezing point of water and, if I recall the details from biology class, water makes up some really freakin’ huge portion of the human body. That means 32 degrees feels cold on exposed skin.
But keep up the tough image, Mr. Skin. Keep flexin’ those exposed muscles as you pedal through the falling leaves in the autumn air. The rest of us will pretend not to see the goosebumps.
But I'm still gonna laugh a little after riding by going the other direction.