December 9, 2023

That Really Bunches My Panties by Brendon Marks


It’s common knowledge that running takes off body fat like a knife. But running is not for everyone. Some people fall into one of the “terrible too’s”: “Too old,” “too wimpy,” “too decrepit,” and have to find an alternative.  Biking appears to have gained some followers in recent years. For those contemplating a venture into that exercise arena; I have taken the liberty of doing some research.
Making the observation that most bike riders are skinny would lead one to believe that bike riding makes one skinny.  Maybe it does, but there are other factors to consider.
The design of a good bicycle more or less demands that the rider be skinny to begin with. Placing extreme pressure on that tiny little seat for any length of time will almost guarantee that it will have to be surgically removed. This prospect itself is bad enough, but dragging the bike through the revolving door at the hospital emergency room is nearly impossible.

You also must consider those pencil-thin, tiny little tires pumped up to seventy-five pounds per square inch or more.  At that pressure they are harder than a week-old biscuit, so the concept of ‘pneumatic’ is lost on anyone who could be classified as ‘chunky’.  Those neat little hand-pumps that attach to the frame are another source of joy. Whenever you see one, you know it’s never been used: A). It won’t fit your particular valve stem without the adapter you left home because you didn’t know what it was, or B). they are designed for a single use.  They will either self-destruct or be flung into the next county from frustration.

And there’s the cost factor. If you want to be cool, the old three-speed that’s been hanging from the ceiling of your garage for twelve years won’t cut it.  Even the ten-speeds are passé.  Eighteen to twenty-one speed bikes are now popular and you should be prepared to pay twenty-five to fifty dollars per “speed.” Opting for one of the new light-weight, space-age alloys drives the price even higher.

The reason for so many gears is that regardless of how steep the terrain, changing to a lower gear allows the rider to maintain a constant number of pedal revolutions per minute. However, if you live in an area so flat that shopping mall speed bumps show on topographical maps, you can probably manage with fewer gears.

The amount of energy expended is also a factor of the number of pedal revolutions per minute.  Studies have concluded that sustaining ninety revolutions per minute for twenty minutes three times per week is optimum for caloric consumption without causing loss of consciousness.  A twenty-one speed bike offers the possibility of varying this effort, (on level ground), from one revolution per minute to approximately nine hundred.  A word of warning:  At maximum rpm, friction alone will set your shorts on fire or at minimum, they will become semi-liquid and after cooling will, when removed, provide a cheaper alternative to a Brazilian bikini wax.

As with many seemingly simple activities, it’s more complicated than you would think. You can’t just buy a bike and ride it anywhere. Apparently it is illegal to ride a bike in your own neighborhood. The people you see riding in your neighborhood are not your neighbors; they have driven there from somewhere else.  This is a carryover from the gym workout concept: You must burn a petroleum-based product immediately before any exercise activity.

Therefore you must buy a rack for your car, load your bike and drive at least forty miles to ride in another locality.  The racks are available in two different types: one that mounts on the roof or the type that hangs on the back of your car.

The roof rack automatically peels the bikes off when you enter your garage, but the other type does not engage this automatic feature until you close your garage door.

If you do decide to take up biking, be very careful around city buses. I have seen many of them with one or more bikes impaled on the front.  I can only imagine what happened to the riders.

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