Open Letter To Our Spandexed Friends On Two Wheels

Dear Biking Enthusiast,

First, thank you for not running me entirely off the bike path today and every day I am tooling innocently about on my large, heavy beach cruiser. I know what fun it is for you to sail past at perhaps five to six times the leisurely pace which allows me actually to enjoy my surroundings. I know you delight in coming up stealthily behind me on your almost diaphanous bicycle that looks as though it would surely not hold your weight if it were at a standstill. Some law of physics (Schprocket’s Theorem?) must prove that bodies in motion can bear an onus many times greater than bodies at rest. Whatever.

Another scientific issue I would kindly like to draw to your attention to is a matter of acoustics. When you are wishing to indicate to me that you are coming to pass, the timing of your brusque “ON YOUR LEFT” barked at roughly the decibel level of a Boeing 747, is important. You might want to call this gently out before you are on my left. When we are side by side on the path and you turn your head ninety degrees to the right and blast directly into my left ear, it would seem to me a bit late. Yes, you are indeed on my left, but do you have to blow my head off, shocking my central nervous system into involuntarily pulling to the right in abject and sudden terror?  

I realize and bow to your obvious superiority! Look at those calves protruding like vertical shoeboxes! Look at those quads pulsing like stereo speakers and those hamstrings bulging like mighty fists. It’s terrific that you don’t let it bog you down that your upper body is deeply reminiscent of a T-Rex. Those cute tiny little limbs and shoulders, and chest caved in from hours of hunched, neck-breaking contortion!  

How is that you achieve these magnificent Olympian bodies? By riding 60-70 miles a day? Do you have a life, one wonders, off your $750 sculpted French bicycle saddle? Stop reading if I’m wrong, but do you, with your 84 speeds, pedaling like a hamster on cocaine in a wheel on your seven-ounce velocipede, work harder in twenty minutes than I do on my fifty-pound, gear-free Flintstone-cycle in the same twenty minutes? It takes you fifty miles to get the exercise I get in five. Efficient you are, and yet wasteful too. If one wants exercise, one uses weights, not balloons. There’s a minor concept called resistance. However, there is probably nothing more satisfying than to be able to announce loudly in public wherever you go that you have ridden such-and-such ridiculous number of miles. What an accomplishment! The applause is probably worth all that time.

Also, sharers of the bike lanes, I might add that I am often doing something useful on my bike:  going to yoga, going to the grocery store, going to visit my friends. I ride to an actual, practical destination and then ride home. Your $9,000 French and Italian hybrid bike seems an awfully expensive toy. However, I realize it is a very shiny possession which arouses envy! And you need it to accomplish those weekly transcontinental rides.

Thank you for your kind attention and for hearing out my humble suggestions for happier journeys together! I know that deep down, somewhere in your spandex, you want to be good partners on our lovely paths. The skateboarders, the six-year-olds with their trainer wheels and bells, the rollerskaters, elliptical riders, tricyclists, unicyclists, and the scooter folks all join me in welcoming you to the diverse world of wheels and in thanking you for your politesse! Can’t we just all play nice?

On your right,
Francine Magee


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