La Vie Velominatus: Flemish Tan Lines

A select group of people appreciate this look.

Clouds hang heavy in the sky, plump with a rain which contemplates the opportunity to hurl itself towards the Earth below. I get the sense that we wait for each other, the Rain and I; the rain relishes the opportunity to soak my clothes and skin, seeking to corrode my resolve while I cherish the opportunity to prove to myself that it will not be shaped by such things.

As a kid, I had an illustrated book of Aesop’s Fables. This time of year, I’m often reminded of one fable in particular, that of the Wind and the Sun. As the tale goes, the two are in the midst of an argument over which is the stronger when they spot a traveller on the road below. The Sun suggests that whichever of them can cause the traveller to take off his cloak will be declared the winner. The Wind blows and blows with all its might but the traveller only pulls his cloak closer. The Sun, on the other hand, beams with all its yellow glory, and the traveller soon finds it too hot for his cloak and discards it.

Aesop’s moral was that kindness is more effective than severity, but that sounds a lot like it would require introspection to really digest. Instead, I like to think of myself as the traveller and my resolve as the cloak; the worse the weather, the closer I pull it to me and the more determined I am to hold my course. In fact, this concept extends to any hardship in life; the greater the challenge, the stronger my determination.

So there we are, the Rain and I, waiting for each other; me with my cloak and the Rain with its severity. At this time of year, when the skies have turned grey but the chill hasn’t yet arrived to keep it company, I enjoy waiting for the rain to fall before embarking on my rides. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the questioning looks from the neighbors who descend from their homes in coats and hiding beneath their umbrellas for the journey from front door to automobile; they serve as further evidence that the public still has some distance yet to cover before understanding the Velominatus.

The rain pours down and in minutes soaks my clothes. Rain drops drip from the brim of my cycling cap; when I clench my fist, water steams from the fingers of my gloves. The roads are soaked; both the rain and traffic cast debris towards the gutters. My path crosses between the two and the grit and dirt afloat in the rain water are flung onto my machine and body.

When I return home from the ride, the evidence of my journey is carried in my clothing which is heavy with water and debris. Overshoes and knee warmers, once removed, reveal my Flemish Tan Lines via the clean skin beneath.

Perhaps Flanders is a place not defined by the borders between people, but between wool and flesh. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

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187 Replies to “La Vie Velominatus: Flemish Tan Lines”

  1. @IcemanYVR

    @Giles

    @IcemanYVR Fixed your post, but “done right, they don’t look that bad on a rain bike“.

    @Deakus

    @Giles

    @IcemanYVR Fixed your post, but “done right, they don’t look that bad on a rain bike“.

    Now I’ve got visions of people with trouser clips, bowler hats and mudguards on Crits! Even I can’t condone that…;)

    Yes to both of you… I did in fact mean “RAIN” bike… cycling version of a freudian slip ;)

    Is a Rein bike a LOOK 695 in Cofidis colors?

  2. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers

    Yeah, probably going in the penality box for this one but, come on Frahnk, they are Flemish Tan Lines, right?

    She must have needed someone to help her get the kit off without disturbing the tan lines. Where’s the sign up list?

    Yeah, must have been awwwful to have to carefully peel her out of her kit like that. 

    I have already signed up for the next ten times, so get in line.

  3. @Buck Rogers

    Hey, I’ve got an idea: post a picture you think is going to land you in the penalty box, and then KEEP FUCKING QUOTING THE WHOLE THING. OVER AND OVER.

    That said, they are indeed great FTLs.

  4. @minion

    @Oli

    @scaler911

    @frank

    You ride in the rain? Loons. That’s quality time you could be sitting around inside with a cup of hot chocolate admiring the pristine lines of your clean, dry bike while another’s manhood slowly withers and dies inside you. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as owning a wardrobe of pristine, clean new rain kit and never, ever using it but knowing you could if you ever – and I really mean never – rode in the rain.

    I’m off the the Rapha shop to buy some Tweed armwarmers and mustache embrocation for an upcoming Whiskey and chappettes ride. Course I’ll get to wear my Llama skin Cagoule if it rains but I won’t be going outside, no sir.

    fixed your post

  5. @Buck Rogers

    @Nate

    @Buck Rogers

    Yeah, probably going in the penality box for this one but, come on Frahnk, they are Flemish Tan Lines, right?

    She must have needed someone to help her get the kit off without disturbing the tan lines. Where’s the sign up list?

    Yeah, must have been awwwful to have to carefully peel her out of her kit like that.

    I have already signed up for the next ten times, so get in line.

    I might add, that this can’t be the only angle that was shot. There’s a photographer somewhere with some great shots on his hard drive. (In my best Beavis voice :hehe, hehehe, You said “shots” hehe, “hard drive” hehe hehe).

  6. @itburns

    @minion

    @Oli

    @scaler911

    @frank

    You ride in the rain? Loons. That’s quality time you could be sitting around inside with a cup of hot chocolate admiring the pristine lines of your clean, dry bike while another’s manhood slowly withers and dies inside you. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as owning a wardrobe of pristine, clean new rain kit and never, ever using it but knowing you could if you ever – and I really mean never – rode in the rain.

    I’m off the the Rapha shop to buy some Tweed armwarmers and mustache embrocation for an upcoming Whiskey and chappettes ride. Course I’ll get to wear my Llama skin Cagoule if it rains but I won’t be going outside, no sir.

    fixed your post

    Nicely done. Nicely done.

  7. ok this is not sexy like the girl with the paint on mud, but here in Belgium this is what a Flandrian in training looks like after a road ride ion November

  8. @Beers Approx 1200mm (avg annual) in the TN/KY region where I ride. Nov-Jan appear to get ~90mm avg monthly precip. Have a beautiful day going on outside right now. I am heading out for a couple hrs and looking to go over the top on my 2000 miles (3225km) for the year. 

  9. As previously advertised, it was an awesome day to ride in the Cumberland Mtns.  Saw way too many people getting their X-mas lights up on their double-wides and inflatable Santa’s out in the yard w/the hounds and sporting chickens.  Not me though.  The  temp was 22.38C, and perfect for 94.61km & 744m total climbing over 3hrs 45min. It was enough to go OTT on my year-end goal.  To be honest and forthcoming, that total includes a couple pancake rides on the greenway, a few MTB rides, and some CX training. So, I’m still short by a little less than 500km for some true rule 5, laying down the V,  riding.  Still have a few weeks left to throw it down, but it is clear I will need to make a real plan next year to increase the time/distance in the saddle.  This year’s numbers just sort of developed w/ a little bit of half-assed comittment, but I’m still feeling warm and fuzzy anyway.

  10. Don’t know if anyone has posted this elsewhere yet:

    EPMS positive, outrageous MTB rear mudguard present, facial hair replete. I present WinterWiggo for your viewing pleasure. I’m happy to say that I ride in the the same area as him and my Sunday club runs visit the same cafe as he does (see this months Cycling Plus – I’ve never seen him in there) so I’m in full agreement with the need for a mudguard but surely Team Sky can splash out on something a) more subtle and b) more effective!

    Great to see him back on his bike despite his recent injuries.

  11. @heinous

    Don’t know if anyone has posted this elsewhere yet:

    EPMS positive, outrageous MTB rear mudguard present, facial hair replete. I present WinterWiggo for your viewing pleasure. I’m happy to say that I ride in the the same area as him and my Sunday club runs visit the same cafe as he does (see this months Cycling Plus – I’ve never seen him in there) so I’m in full agreement with the need for a mudguard but surely Team Sky can splash out on something a) more subtle and b) more effective!

    Great to see him back on his bike despite his recent injuries.

    He looks hella fat.

  12. @frank

    @heinous

    Don’t know if anyone has posted this elsewhere yet:

    EPMS positive, outrageous MTB rear mudguard present, facial hair replete. I present WinterWiggo for your viewing pleasure. I’m happy to say that I ride in the the same area as him and my Sunday club runs visit the same cafe as he does (see this months Cycling Plus – I’ve never seen him in there) so I’m in full agreement with the need for a mudguard but surely Team Sky can splash out on something a) more subtle and b) more effective!

    Great to see him back on his bike despite his recent injuries.

    He looks hella fat.

    They must have reinflated him post tdf. It looks like he put on 30lbs, looks like a normal guy befitting the epms (but not the mtb fender doo-hickey).

  13. @heinous

    Don’t know if anyone has posted this elsewhere yet:

    EPMS positive, outrageous MTB rear mudguard present, facial hair replete. I present WinterWiggo for your viewing pleasure. I’m happy to say that I ride in the the same area as him and my Sunday club runs visit the same cafe as he does (see this months Cycling Plus – I’ve never seen him in there) so I’m in full agreement with the need for a mudguard but surely Team Sky can splash out on something a) more subtle and b) more effective!

    Great to see him back on his bike despite his recent injuries.

    I also note that he hasn’t burned the toe strip on his Bonts – maybe he has  man who cooks his shoes for him

  14. @Deakus

    @DerHoggz Shit I like her better all mucky, she looks about 12 years old when cleaned up and much of my appreciation vanished instantly!

    No kidding!  Damn, you know you are getting old when 19 year olds start looking like they’re twelve.  I walked around here on campus and everyone looks like they should be in junior high, not college!

  15. hey guys,

    i would never – ever – install a silly mudguard like wiggo’s but have been looking at this

    any one here knows about them??

    they say that, being dutch, they know about rain, and i tend to believe it.

  16. @xced

    hey guys,

    i would never – ever – install a silly mudguard like wiggo’s but have been looking at this

    any one here knows about them??

    they say that, being dutch, they know about rain, and i tend to believe it.

    The Jockinese know all about rain, but mudguards on ya road bike is still a Minus.

  17. @xced and @strathlubnaig

    The point of the Fendor-Bendor is that it is an effective fender that is only there when needed. The rest of the time you can carry it along in your (saddle)bag or jersey pocket. It makes quite a difference on those fall rides if you can keep your chamois dry, with something that you can take with you but can forget about while cycling…. until it starts raining.

  18. @WIT

    @xced and @strathlubnaig

    The point of the Fendor-Bendor is that it is an effective fender that is only there when needed. The rest of the time you can carry it along in your (saddle)bag or jersey pocket. It makes quite a difference on those fall rides if you can keep your chamois dry, with something that you can take with you but can forget about while cycling…. until it starts raining.

    “in your saddle bag” …. the admission of EPMS usage is in contravention of the masterbation principle!

  19. @Deakus

    @WIT

    @xced and @strathlubnaig

    The point of the Fendor-Bendor is that it is an effective fender that is only there when needed. The rest of the time you can carry it along in your (saddle)bag or jersey pocket. It makes quite a difference on those fall rides if you can keep your chamois dry, with something that you can take with you but can forget about while cycling…. until it starts raining.

    “in your saddle bag” …. the admission of EPMS usage is in contravention of the masterbation principle!

    its made me so blind I can’t even spell it now!  masturbation principle

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