Spitting Image

Spitting Image

by / / 84 posts

When I was but a young Velominatus, my poor mother was often horrified/embarrassed/disgusted by my typical boy’s habit of sucking back the mucous from the back of my throat and swallowing it… yes, I know, now you’re disgusted too. Taking me to seek a cure from the good Dr Edwards, he let her down somewhat with his prognosis that what I was doing was actually a good thing to clear the sinuses, yet suggested that swallowing was actually better replaced by spitting the gunk out. I claimed a moral victory over mum, as much as an eight year old can over their much wiser matriarch. And so I went through my youth and adolescence into my adult years reinforced with the belief that the guttural snorting and consequent ejection of my snot rockets was in fact something to be proud of and even healthy. Not that I flaunted it, but whenever a girlfriend, mate or colleauge would roll their eyes and declare what a pig I was, I could confidently refute their assertions with the endorsement of the good doctor. I really should have had him write me out a disclaimer note to produce on cue and validate my excuse, and pinned it to the nearest wall with a sticky green exclamation mark.

Of course, it’s not the kind of habit that one just practices whenever the need arises, and carefully timed and stealthily executed ejections became the order of the day. But whenever I got on my bike, the need to clear the passages became more evident and necessary, compounded by the deep breathing and extra work the lungs and throat were required to undertake. Riding a bike and spitting seem to go together like fucking and orgasms (I’m speaking for myself here, but you get my drift). It’s a ritual that is inherent in the ranks from the recreational rider through to the pros. But even among my riding peers, there are always those who share my mother’s view that I’m nothing more than a snot riddled pig and that I should just put up with the discomfort of limited oxygen transportation and the inconvenience of a throat/nose full of lung butter.

So through necessity I’ve been forced to develop over the years a series of methods and moves designed to lessen the impact on my fellow Velominati, and still allow me to keep operating efficiently. Here are some of my top snot tips for the mucously challenged Velominatus.

  • Pick your moment: You don’t want to be cruising through the CBD at lunch hour and fire a mucous missile into a throng of suits and ties and their hot PAs/mistresses. Wait until there is a clear area with little foot traffic, and eject accordingly.
  • Aim carefully: Direct your snot scud towards the traffic side, not the sidewalk. No-one, myself included, wants to step in someone else’s golly, so if it hits the tarmac it will soon be run over by a car or washed into the gutter in the next downpour.
  • Warn your compadrés: If you are riding in the bunch and need to clear the decks, let your cohorts know that you are about to eject the pus pilot.
  • Swing out: After checking behind for your riding buddies and approaching traffic, deviate from the paceline a touch and let ‘er rip. This way the riders behind won’t have to sully their Vittorias with your tread tacks.
  • Aim low: One of the best techniques I’ve developed is the under the arm trajectory; leaving your hands on the bars, tilt your head down between your road-side arm and torso, and let fly directly at the road. This way you are not firing into the air, risking a breeze picking up the projectile and blowing any errant offspray back towards the following riders.
  • Rapid fire: Put some oomph into the ejection, keeping the green globule in a solid mass so it hits the road with a thud. It’s a rather strangely satisfying sound when you get it just right!
  • The Bushman’s Hanky: For clearing the nose. This can be a whole different ball game, and more care is often required when the hooter is in need of clearance. Place a finger over one nostril and really give a quick, forceful blow through the other. This should be done in conjunction with the swing out and while aiming low (see lead photo). Do both nostrils on the same side of your body, so as not to be firing into following riders on both sides of you.
  • Tidy up: After you’re done getting the cavities cleared, use your glove or sleeve to remove any excess that might have clung on. There’s nothing worse than looking over at the rider next to you and seeing a green soldier hanging from their hooter, or dribble flapping in the wind from their chin. It’s enough to make you barf, and that’s a fate even worse than having someone else’s snot stuck to your fi’zi:ks.

Just don’t let my mum see you.

// General // Technique

  1. @Nate
    Code fail, dammit.

  2. @Ron

    Woah, that seatpost clamp/area in gold for Sammy Sanchez is the first sharp looking thing I’ve seen on an Orbea.

    …)))) so true !

    that’s the very reason i took this shot…))))

  3. @minion
    I just shot sodapop out my nose reading that. Nice work, sir!

  4. @frank

    I dare not read through the posts here as this has got me just a bit queazy pre-breakfast, and knowing that ‘Clops has posted several times, and I’m a little bit afraid at what that could mean, based on his propensity to post pictures of his own underwear and snotcycles without such a perfect forum.

    One thing to add, however, and maybe its in @bretts list but I just didn’t understand the translation from Oz to English, but when you’re stuck in the bunch or can’t swing out of the line but have to blow, just squeeze your nose just above the nostrils and blow low onto your own self. You’re washing your kit later anyway. RIght?

    Pussy.

  5. @Daccordi Rider

    The pissing thing has always interested me and I assume they get it all over themselves, I can’t work out any way that they can’t! Perhaps they have long hoses. Any advise to the contrary appreciated but I think I will continue with stopping.

    The Mrs Daccordi was 2 years into her cycling career before I taught her the Bushmans blow, now I just need to get her to warn me it’s coming when I am drafting.

    Speaking of long hoses. Check out the podium picture of Wiggo here.
    http://www.steephill.tv/2012/criterium-du-dauphine-libere/photos/stage-01/

    Love to know what the podium girl is thinking. Captions/thought bubbles anyone?

  6. @Ron
    That Orbea is part of a large Basque cooperative is also rather cool, if you ask me. Yes: I know the bikes are made in Asia, but workers owning the means of production and all that—I like the premise.

  7. @wiscot

    @Daccordi Rider

    The pissing thing has always interested me and I assume they get it all over themselves, I can’t work out any way that they can’t! Perhaps they have long hoses. Any advise to the contrary appreciated but I think I will continue with stopping.

    The Mrs Daccordi was 2 years into her cycling career before I taught her the Bushmans blow, now I just need to get her to warn me it’s coming when I am drafting.

    Speaking of long hoses. Check out the podium picture of Wiggo here. http://www.steephill.tv/2012/criterium-du-dauphine-libere/photos/stage-01/

    Love to know what the podium girl is thinking. Captions/thought bubbles anyone?

    “Fuck, not only has he got ginger sideburns and a rolled up sock down the front of his bibs be he also has tats on his hands. I have to kiss that? Oy!”

  8. @minion
    I just shot sodapop out my nose reading that. Nice work, sir!

    @the Engine

    @wiscot

    @Daccordi Rider

    The pissing thing has always interested me and I assume they get it all over themselves, I can’t work out any way that they can’t! Perhaps they have long hoses. Any advise to the contrary appreciated but I think I will continue with stopping.

    The Mrs Daccordi was 2 years into her cycling career before I taught her the Bushmans blow, now I just need to get her to warn me it’s coming when I am drafting.

    Speaking of long hoses. Check out the podium picture of Wiggo here. http://www.steephill.tv/2012/criterium-du-dauphine-libere/photos/stage-01/

    Love to know what the podium girl is thinking. Captions/thought bubbles anyone?

    “Fuck, not only has he got ginger sideburns and a rolled up sock down the front of his bibs be he also has tats on his hands. I have to kiss that? Oy!”

    Goddamnit, did you *have* to go there?

  9. @Xyverz

    @minion
    I just shot sodapop out my nose reading that. Nice work, sir!

    did you shoot that over the shoulder or under the arm?

  10. @frank
    Hate to force you to get elbows deep in this thread, but I did make a polite request for an edit to one of my posts?

    Don’t forget to wash your hands. And apologise to Bretto’s mum.

  11. @wiscot
    Bloody hell, Twiggo thought that stage was exciting too.

    Podium Girl “Farkin Hipsters”

  12. @minion
    Which post is that, sugar tits?

  13. @minion

    @frankHate to force you to get elbows deep in this thread, but I did make a polite request for an edit to one of my posts?
    Don’t forget to wash your hands. And apologise to Bretto’s mum.

    @frank
    I think it would be an excellent use of your time to go back and edit one of Minion’s posts. I mean, I go back and read his old stuff all the time. And I sure would hate to go back and read an old one that was inaccurate. Please Frank, do us all a favor and help out Minion.

    And by the way, GO CADEL!

  14. @wiscot @Daccordi Rider

    Must be a superstition thing with Wiggo.
    If you do well, don’t wash your kit you wore on that day/event as you’ll wash out the ‘goodness’ out of it.
    If you’re going well don’t cut your hair?
    By the end of the tour Wiggo may likely end up looking like this;

    or this;

    At least Robert trims his sideburns!

  15. @sthilzy

    He is a Pom, washing day is Friday I believe.
    Not sure which Friday of the month but probably one of them.

  16. @frank
    Reply #42. it’s probably the funniest thing I’ve posted on this site but was accidental and unintentionally rude.

  17. @Marcus

    @minion

    @frankHate to force you to get elbows deep in this thread, but I did make a polite request for an edit to one of my posts? Don’t forget to wash your hands. And apologise to Bretto’s mum.

    @frank I go back and read his old stuff all the time.And by the way, GO CADEL!

    See when you write stuff like that you can hardly consider it my fault you’re becoming stupider. Supporting Cuddles FFS.

  18. @minion
    When have you ever worried about being rude to Marcus. I reiterate: hilarious.

  19. @silkrider

    @Xyverz

    @minion
    I just shot sodapop out my nose reading that. Nice work, sir!

    did you shoot that over the shoulder or under the arm?

    Sorry, I was laughing too hard to pay attention… Had I been riding, my bars would’ve been covered in sugary goop.

  20. @the Engine

    @Pete F

    @the Engine
    Wobble to the right during snot rocket? Clear sign for unbalanced core strength. Work needed here…

    Could be – I suspect that core strength issues may be at the root of my back problem. I’ll use the leftward snot bias as evidence in my talk with the physio.

    Late breaking news: the physio says that there’s no soft tissue damage, no herniated disc and (if I can hack the indescribable pain) I can get back on my bike.

  21. love this article (I’m a female cyclist). Got the advice from my cycling brother when I started cycling to snot under your arm, unless you were in a race in which case getting the guy on your wheel in the glasses was all part of the sport (and I still stayed with it…and did some racing!). Used to cycle with another girl we all called snotser behind her back (not somewhere you wanted to be actually) as she would persistently snot over her shoulder while in a group and you’d feel spray (ewww) on your face, know it was landing on your bottles etc… tried to have a quiet word with her one day and was told in no uncertain terms to f**k off… charmer…

  22. @winterdancer
    Welcome first off. I have a couple of female riding mates who can snot it up with the best of them, and use good technique; makes me feel better doing it myself in front of them. The ‘snotster’ sounds like a lovely lass though!

  23. In cold weather when breathing hard, exhaled air picks up temperature and moisture from the lungs.  The surfaces of the nose are cold.  Water condenses on those surfaces and creates the massive volumes of snot.  Science.  Gross science, but science.  I’m a one hole out the nose snot shooter.  Since I ride alone mostly it’s no problem.

  24. Great tutorial on this subject released yesterday:

  25. Awesome article.  Well written with equal parts science and hilarity.

    If you have spit to spare in the saddle then you’re not working hard enough…period.

    Snot is a different story though.  We called it the “Nose Jet” when I was a kid – and I’m proud to say that I’m really fucking good at it.  One hand leaves the bars to plug the noncritical nostril.  I look slightly back and aim under the arm and towards the hip…I give myself a  4 or 5 inch window to fire through and never miss.  I’m surprised I’ve never cracked the pavement.

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