Have you ever been told to take a good look at yourself? Usually it infers that you need to smarten up your ideas, get your shit together, shape up or ship out. If Viagra eyedrops had an advertising campaign, (or indeed existed), their tagline would be: “Take a long, hard look at yourself.”
Most Cyclists need to take a long hard look at themselves. Ourselves. We could do a lot better in the public relations sphere if we took more care to use our playgrounds, ie the roads, as road users rather than pseudo-racers. And we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves every time we kit up and head out the door for a ride. Because what you see in the mirror is what others see also, and we should present ourselves as smart, tidy and sensible, rather than walking fluoro billboards or wannabe Pros.
The mirror is one of the most overlooked pieces of a Cyclist’s kit, and one that needs to be looked into a whole lot more than I suspect it is, going by the rolling messes I see out on the roads on every ride. Of course I’m not endorsing a Rule #66 violation, no sir. Offensive attire isn’t exclusive to the slovenly who go shopping in their tracky pants and Crocs, or the mostly smartly-dressed professionals who top off their neat-pressed pants or skirts with a fucking sleeping bag. You’re not George Costanza, so don’t bother.
It shouldn’t be necessary to tell you how to dress for the ride; you should know that yourself. That’s why The Rules were forged; to educate, yet sometimes to berate is necessary. If you are too clueless to put a helmet on your head level, to wear clean and matching kit, or to buy a pair of socks that don’t expose your fucking ankles, you’re either a hopelessly sloppy individual or a completely lost cause. These are the type of people who go out to dinner with their partner or take long haul flights while wearing rolled-up denim shorts, boat shoes and a t-shirt. Even if you have such little respect for yourself, you, as a member of society, should at least show some for those who have to encounter you.
Let’s smarten things up people. I know for the main part I’m preaching to the converted here, but it’s our duty to spread the knowledge and help ourselves by helping others within our ranks. It’s easy. Pick and choose kit carefully, pre-plan well in advance so you don’t end up just throwing whatever isn’t dirty on, and make sure it’s all adjusted properly. And if you’re in with a show of winning a Monument, straighten up that goddamn helmet!