Nobody likes bike people. I’m not even sure bike people like bike people.
Nonetheless, I have recently become a bike person. As an occupant of the fantasyland known as Silicon Valley, I have company perks that would make the average American worker cringe, explode with envy, and/or punch me in the face. One of these perks is a bike-borrowing program.
Through the wit and ingenuity of some HR person somewhere, my company gives a select group of employees (via lottery) a bike to ride to work. I agree in return to make said bike part of my commute at least once a week.
Having recently turned 40, I’ve been doing odd things like collecting all the old thrash metal records I owned as a bepimpled teenager. Apparently I’m not the only one, because those hunks of vinyl are insanely sought-after and expensive on eBay.
Another mini-midlife crisis move: I bought a fixie (look it up) even though I don’t live anywhere near Venice Beach and I haven’t been a hipster for several months. I’m so over that. At least I was until I saw that the coffee shop up the road now has Stumptown Coffee. That’ll make my goatee grow, alright.
The fixie awakened within me a childlike desire to pedal myself around. But the hills were alive in my area, so I desired gears.
Now I ride a bike to work. And I’m not talking about any kind of lollygagging here: It’s 13 miles each way, through the treacherous streets of Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto. I weave through hundreds of $2 million 1,200-square-foot crapshacks, all manned by malevolent private-school kids and their latte-swilling mamas, on my way to my campus. Yes, we call the place I work at a “campus.” Eichler rolls in his grave.
Once I strap on my ridiculous, District 9-like bike helmet, I’m transformed into a smug, judging pedant. Look at you in your Prius, sucking from the shuddering grid. Undoubtedly that Tesla’s battery was charged by dirty coal. I’m my own grid, punks.
My old-ass legs are saving the planet so your kids can spend all your lucked-into money at their safety school without gagging on the putrid filth of the lurking planetary exhaust cloud. Colby! Ha! So expensive, so useless.
I’m struggling to find the line when it comes to attire. How much bike gear constitutes a full transformation? I’d prefer to remain a cycling dilettante, a guy who likes a little exercise and a little good-for-earth behavior, but doesn’t overdo it.
Thirteen miles requires bike shorts, I’m sorry to say, but I wear real shorts over my bike shorts. Safety mandates the helmet and the less-than-fashionable functional sports shades. It’s just good common sense to have flashing lights on the front and back of my ride. Saddlebags carry my stuff. I need my damn stuff! My hands would hurt if I didn’t wear these silly fingerless gloves. Seriously.
However, I will never pry my paunch into a spandex getup bearing multitudinous inane and random logos of anything. I mean, come on—I don’t live in Woodside.