Thursday, March 8, 2012

You Ride a Bike, Don't You?

I was headed toward the subway platform, lost in thought, when a construction worker shouted this to me as he walked past - rhetorically and with a good-natured smile, almost as if in greeting. "You ride a bike, don't you!"

For a moment I wondered how he knew. I do not carry a bicycle helmet around. Neither do I have a U-Lock sticking out of my back pocket. Nor do I wear t-shirts with pictures of bicycles or bicycle slogans on them. And then I remembered: I was "wearing" a wheelset. A full wheelset, with tires attached. I was bringing the wheels to Framingham - an hour long trip on subway and commuter rail - and rigged up a system inspired by carrying my skates around.

Having tied the wheels together with a rope, I then slung them over my left shoulder as if the wheels were a handbag and the rope was a shoulder strap. It was surprisingly comfortable and I could hardly feel the weight, which is why I forgot about the wheels when the stranger addressed me.

Something similar happened yesterday, when I wrangled a floor pump into my handbag and walked to my art studio with 1/3 of the large, orange pump sticking out. When I stopped for a coffee on the way, the person behind me in line startled me by saying "That's quite a pump you got there!" Once I realised what he meant, I considered explaining that my hand-held pump does not fit Shrader valves. But thankfully it was my turn to order coffee just then and the person was spared that narrative.

What is the most unusual thing you've carried off the bike that distinguished you as a cyclist?

44 comments:

  1. My helmet. Got doored by a car and rode directly to my LBS, decided not to leave my helmet. Felt so wrong to be toting it around as a pedestrian (I usually leave it with the bike)

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  2. Peppy (my bicycles, let me show you thems)March 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Smugness :)

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    1. What about your cycling cap with the rainbow champion stripes and the custom cut-outs for your ears?

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  3. Not really something carried but walking into a store with just the right pant leg rolled up.

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  4. I guess drivers don't distinguish themselves that way. How could they?

    If I was going shopping somewhere by bike, I would take the seatpost with my Brooks saddle with me into the store. It is easily the priciest single part of my bike.

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  5. Chain and chainring tatoos on legs and chlotes ;?)
    badmother

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  6. it's always the cap :)

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    1. Oh right, I sometimes wear one too.

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  7. For far too many riders that would a Fred Mark (i.e. grease stain from the chain on the leg, or sometimes elsewhere on the body), but never on me, of course.

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    1. Some people around here get them permanently tattooed - you know, ironically.

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  8. Definitely a bike frame! I had my stripped frame with a trashbag around the handlebars and the seat that I took it on 3 different buses to get to Harris Cyclery and get myself a fixie to ride home on.

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  9. "That's quite a pump you got there", that's quite the line he had there. Ill have to remember that one!.
    Yellow nylon poncho, with pants legs from just above the knee to hem soaking wet. "Oh!, so you rode your bike today!

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    1. Ah that reminds me that I've worn winter cycling bibs to walk/run once. The unpadded kind. I don't think anyone recognised them as cycling-specific though.

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  10. I wandered into the local garden centre on a wet day wearing these bobby dazzlers!

    http://www.bikeplus.co.uk/images/fullsize/EagerSport_Over_shoes.jpg

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  11. I carry a set of panniers everywhere I go, because I am afraid to leave them on the bike. I think I need a better system!

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    1. They're rarely cheap, but you can get panniers that look like normal messenger bags or briefcases - or get replacement hooks/clips for panniers and just attach them to bags you wouldn't mind carrying around :-)

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  12. It seems to me if the wheels were destined for a frame in Framingham, the trip would best be begun in Wheeling, where the passerby would have said "Are those tires [pronounced 'tars' ] on your shoulder, or are you just happy to see me."

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    1. Wow, there really was a frame in Framingham : ) How could I have been blind to the literary possibilities!

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  13. Sketchbook... I was drawing a bunch of road cyclists in spandex dancing in a musical number. I think that gave it away.

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  14. I've never actually carried anything on foot that would distinguish me as a cyclist, though I've carried bike frames, wheel sets, and even entire bikes on my own bikes.

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  15. Well, I use my ancient Timbuk2 bag all the time on and off the bike, but they've crossed over into noncycling popularity.

    I've definitely carried bike parts on public transportation, and walked around with rims and tires slung over my shoulders, or a helmet slung from my bag. I've also had the rolled pant leg, but I've gotten out of the habit of thinking of those as "unusual"

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  16. A huge smile and a helmet,probably :p VERY funny post,I needed that after today,thanks :)

    The Disabled Cyclist

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  17. To avoid getting yelled at by my wife I usually have bike parts delivered to the office. My co-workers often laugh at me walking down the halls with handlebars, wheels and even frames on occasion

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    1. I've heard a lot of men do this. And I also know women who get their shoe purchases delivered to the office...

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  18. A wheelful of spokes sticking up out of my coat pocket.

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  19. Mirror cliped to my sunglasses.

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  20. I carry a canvas shoulder bag when I ride sometimes, and someone asked, in the post-office, if I was a bike messenger. I'm 60 and over-weight, I almost snorted.

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  21. My rolled up pant-leg still rolled up hours after I've been off the bike.

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  22. I had a bile frame in my messenger bag (kids muscle bike frame) on te redline coming home from my grandparents during rush hour everyone just gave me dirty looks. One smartasss said Yu are missing the wheels.

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  23. Headset press, borrowed from a buddy.

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  24. Not so much items I carry but in the past I've been spotted as a cyclist away from my bike based just on thigh muscles & the little oval tans on the back of my hands (from old-school crocheted-back bike gloves).

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  25. I carried my Miyata 1000 frame on the subway in DC to take it to a shop where I could respace the dropouts. Got a lot of strange looks and a couple of "aren't you missing the rest of it" comments. And I've lost track of how many times I've walked around with one of those metal pants clips on my ankle.

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  26. To be all honest ever really carried much that was bike related while not actually riding. Once I am off the bike the way I dress you would never guess I am a biker

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  27. No bikes that day and I was in a café with a friend talking. He was showing me his new padded shorts (which had just been bought half an hour ago) and he was explaining me how well it would protect the “sensitive” area. Four women were in the table next to us and while they were leaving one of them said: “Men! Either you got serious problems down there… or you ride bikes!

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    1. It's funny how if you hang out with cyclists you get to hear detailed descriptions of their crotch areas. Even funnier that it's a perfectly appropriate topic to discuss at lunch or over coffee...

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  28. Does my new bicycle dress count? : )

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  29. Almost forgot that I used to have a keychain made of spare chainlinks. I've replaced it now, but I miss it!

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  30. Not quite the same, but after cycling to work in my full roadie kit, I often sit working for a while to cool down before getting changed. I often get asked "Did you cycle in?" to which I always reply "No, casual dress day."

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  31. I used to have a reflective triangle affixed to my backpack and that garnered a lot of comments, though oddly no one ever pegged me as a cyclist. I'm a little obsessed with the BBC show Sherlock at the moment and I admit that I occasionally try to deduce fellow riders, a la The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist.

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  32. well, i gave lectures to two seminar groups in the row with reflective straps around my ankles. i even noticed it at one point, but then forgot to take them off during the brake :)

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  33. I recently bought a new rear rack for my bike, and since it was just before the shop closed, I didn't have time to install it before heading home. In an unusual reversal of roles, I ended up carrying the rack home by putting it over the bag I carry on my shoulder.

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