Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mr. Skin

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.

9 comments:

JordyB said...

You've read my mind! I do ware shorts still on the way home, but start out cold and finish warm. Holding out just a little longer to keep some skin exposed!

bicyclesamongus said...

I guess I'm one of those riders you call "Mr. Skin". Not for the reasons you mentioned however. First let me say that I am a year round bike commuter in Anchorage for 5 years now, with a 14 mile round trip to work and back- 5 to 6 days a week. Of course I also ride for leisure so that pretty much puts me on a bike all the time. I dress light (especially in summer) because I heat up easy and don't like feeling too hot. In winter, I cover exposed skin with no more that 2 layers so I can at least remove one if I get too warm. So there you have it. One guy who doesn't fit your preconceived idea of how cyclists should dress. I would bet that even the muscle showers, dress the way they do mostly for comfort. (I guess, I don't know **that guy**)I silently laugh at the dude who in the middle of June at 530am, is in black spandex from head to toe including ear warmers and full finger gloves when it's 55 degrees out. Perfect weather imo for shorts and a short sleeve jersey.

Love your blog...keep up the good work.

RANTWICK said...

Another Mr. Skin here. I ride all year round, and get into warm weather leggings, layers, goggles and all that as the winter progresses, but when Fall comes I'm always slow to adjust properly. Maybe I just don't want the ideal cycling weather to end...

Strangely my captha word is "pantseen"! It's a sign...

Notorious T said...

bicyclesamongus, you do pretty much the same thing as me. I was still wearing shorts a week or so ago, and I typically use two layers in the dead of winter. But I've long though some guys look a little crazy riding in shorts and shirts when most others have started layering up. I ride all winter and dress about like most of my friends, so I think I'm pretty normal, in terms of tolerance to chilly air.

Julie said...

Mr. Skin is hot.

Debbie said...

I'm sort of humiliated that I didn't know what nsfw meant until I googled it. It's a sad day when I'm less cool than Tim.

Notorious T said...

You can't be cool AND and a crazy cat lady, Deb. Sheesh!

sean said...

Tim, you're a wuss. Shorts are fine at 40 degrees up here. My legs almost never feel cold. There's a rider like bicyclesamongus(name makes me think of Lord Humongous from The Road Warrior on a bicycle) here in the valley that was covered head to toe, even sporting a balaclava, on the warmest days we had this summer(remember when it was warm in June?). It was mind boggling.

bikegirl said...

Okay, I'll weigh in. On Sunday, biking from Serenity cabin back to the trailhead at Eklutna, it was snowing! Light flurries & some big, wet flakes.
Mr. Skin came riding up the trail, going the opposite direction. His legs were red! Brrrr!
I kind of laughed.