First let me start this post by saying that I may be wrong. Given that cycling to me is a very personal thing that I take seriously (in the same way that some people take football seriously and could recount the names of the players in their favourite team) I’ll admit my ability to be objective about things relating to bikes is difficult.
So here’s my thought for the day: I think that the majority of people who commute by bike to where they work do so in their work clothes. I am not therefore , talking about the minority of cyclists who ride all year round in any weather and have all sorts of specialist and expensive gear for the job. For this very reason bike clips were invented to stop your Paul Smith suit trouser legs being shredded in the chainset. This is also why many cyclists want mudguards and a pannier rack and a bell and lights and a pump and a toolkit and a spare tube and pannier bags and… all sorts of other accessories that I would either never fit or only fit when it was absolutely necessary.
Yesterday for the first time ever I rode to work to my office job in effectively work dress. Trousers, shirt, tie, etc. Admittedly I wasn’t wearing a suit and the trousers were a pair of chinos that double up for hiking duty, but nonetheless it was a momentous event in my cycling life. Predictably it rained, for which I was prepared – with my smart casual ventile jacket. This was utterly useless in preventing my arse from getting soaked by spray of the back wheel.
Even after riding at a pace which could be descried as sedate (but felt glacially slow) I arrived at work hot and bothered, needing to cool off for a good ten minutes – even after taking off my merino base layer. At the end of the day I waited until it stopped raining before even considering setting off for home. At a set of lights as I started my singlespeed big ring charge off from the lights, sandwiched like the unsavoury filling between a double decker and a couple of black cabs, my chain came off.
I had to coast sheepishly in front of the bus to the side of the road and then get oily fingers sorting it all out. I am in no rush to do it again. In fact I have no intention of doing it again (ever). Quite how people do it every day I have no idea, but there must be some very sweaty people in offices up and down the country. I’m just glad I’m not one of them.