It is an impressive sight; the cyclist’s peloton, so organized, so smart, pedaling in sync along their preplanned route. The heads are down, the matching uniforms are on, their sleek racing bikes working together like a machine. All its riders are effectively anonymous, disguised in their superhero gear.
Then one by one they turn off towards home. The team of riders gradually diminish and what I am left with is my fifty year old father with helmet hair, beads of sweat trapped between his wrinkles and misplaced clingy Lycra revealing a whole lot more of my father then a daughter should ever be privy too.
My father is a cycling Dad and they are a certain genre of people. They like to wear tiny clothes. They like to always have a stubble to give them that rugged outdoor demeanour and they love their bike more than their own children!
Da’s cycle may not be until 4pm but he is suited up in his lycra shorts, neon jersey and yellow super specs by 9am. He puts on his special shoes with its pedal clefts and walks around the house for hours on his heels so as not to damage them. He retrieves the bike from the garage where it is hung on the wall, high up so as his children cannot harm it. Then he parades around the yard pretending he is Chris Hoy or Nicolas Roche, sucking in his flab and thinking he is shit hot. He is not.
The appeal of the gear is that it does not hold water and it is less wind resistant than say a tracksuit. The Lycra acts as a second skin to prevent chaffing and its tightness lends support to your muscles. For maximum effect it is to be worn without underwear. Why god, why?
My father added; “The padded pants keep our piles in place, and if you don’t have piles, cycling will soon sort you out.” Charming.
Instead, my hypothesis, based on years of observation is that they wear it because it makes the old men feel like the pro’s and it makes the young lads parts look bigger.
On several occasions, I have had the privilege of leading my friends into the house and having them burst their shite laughing at my Dad pulling a Michelangelo’s David pose in his cycling gear. Now, I can handle it, at sixteen though it was just cruel.
The best is when Aldi and Lidl have a limited time cycling sale and I get to accompany him. Queues of middle aged men can be seen fighting over tight neon tops, the likes of it wouldn’t be lost at a gay pride parade. I park the car and get the trolley while he dives into the tussle.
Yet it is amuses me to the point that I wouldn’t change it even if I had that sort of power. It provides my family with hours of entertainment and a constant material for jeers. However, if he dares to progress to the pointy helmets that shaves milliseconds off your riding time at the sacrifice that you look like you got your head stuck in a bedpan, or begins to shave his arms and legs so as he is more aerodynamic, then I am out of here.
Therefore, fathers listen up and listen closely if you have children young or old, save the Lycra for the saddle. Once you dismount the bike, cover it up, we will all thank you for it!