We spend a small enormity of time waiting. We wait for lights to turn green. We wait for riders to arrive to the ride. We wait for riding partners to finish repairing a flat or mechanical. Due to various practical considerations including the perceived notion that armchairs don’t stuff well into jersey pockets, we generally find ourselves doing our waiting astride our machines rather than more customary accommodations.
Like all Cycling activities, waiting must be undertaken with utmost attention to style and class, with the principles of Casually Deliberate applying in spades. This presents a number of technical challenges, however. Noting that we are clad in full-body spandex, ballet slippers, and what amounts to a hollowed-out coconut on our heads, the matter of looking cool is complicated not insignificantly when seeking to appear at ease perched upon the crossbar of our bikes, a device more likely to be used to provide sterility treatment than comfortable seating.
Take, for example, this photo of Faboo, Burghardt, and Huevo Rancheros. Motorcus and Burggie are using my preferred method of extending the right leg while resting the topmost portion of the hamstring on the top tube just fore of the seatpost. I prefer this technique not only for its obvious casual nature, but for its numerous functional qualities. First, having the right leg, not the left, extended ensures we don’t inadvertently apply the Cat 5 Tattoo. Second, it ensures our hamstring doesn’t become a hamstrung should the right foot suffer unexpected slippage.
Huevo, in contrast, is using an entirely unorthodox approach adopted, I’m assuming, from riding his skuut. Knowing he’s had some work done in the region, I suspect it might be more comfortable for him than for anyone not similarly unaltered and it is with that consideration that I strongly recommend this approach be avoided.
A broad glance at the riders in this photo reveals myriad examples of Waiting Properly while employing subtle differences in execution. The similarities are clear, however:
- Under no circumstances is one to look straight ahead or focus on a single object, however interesting that object may be. Instead, always look up or down, or try looking thoughtfully into the distance; just because you’re a Cyclist doesn’t mean you’re not also concerned about world issues.
- Just like in band photos, never smile unnecessarily. Sure, you enjoy cycling, but your bike isn’t telling amusing anecdotes. Also don’t frown, because that’s depressing. Accepted facial expressions include keeping a straight face or grimacing because of how hard you just drilled it coming up to the light.
- Decide what to do with your hands. Rest your elbows on the tops of your bars, lean with your hands on the hoods on locked elbows, or sit upright with your hands loosely draped in your lap. Experts may mix and match.
- Waiting at a cafÃ© while sipping an espresso and perusing the morning paper may be done while leaning against the toptube of the bicycle, but risks include having the bicycle roll to the right or left unexpectedly, resulting in the obvious undesirable effects.
- Waiting at a cafÃ© may also be undertaken while the bicycle has been lovingly leaned against a nearby wall. In this case, however, one must be careful to read a French daily.