Why Men Ride Bikes: Razors and Bags
Have you ever wondered why men take up cycling? I used to think it was because they wanted to stay fit, be sporty, or maybe use a mode of transportation that was better for the environment. But recently I’ve concluded that it’s really about leg shaving and the pursuit of the perfect bag.
When brevet season started this summer, Felkerino got really excited. I thought it was because he was looking forward to the group events and putting in some longer miles on the bike. When he gleefully informed me that he was going to shave his legs before the first brevet, I realized that the main reason for all his pre-ride energy was that he got to shave his legs. He defended his leg shaving by saying it was to keep his legs from getting gritty and full of bugs, but I think he just likes feeling those silky smooth cycling legs.
Recently, Felkerino built up the latest addition to the Dining Room Bike Shop, a Rivendell SimpleOne. The build turned out beautifully, and I could tell after his first test ride that he was in love with the fit and look of this bike. But something was amiss. Felkerino originally affixed an Ostrich bag on the front rack, but after a couple of test rides he decided that the size of the bag did not suit him and he “needed” something else.
The next thing I knew, Felkerino was lost to the internet, obsessively questing for the perfect front bag for his SimpleOne. “This bag is too big. That one is too little. The one at this store is too black. This one doesn’t have enough pockets. This bag has too many pockets. Mary, what do you think about this bag? I’m in bag hell.”
After Felkerino resolved the quandry of the front bag, he turned his attention to the rear. Suddenly the Berthoud bag was too small. He tried a Carradice, but that was a little too big, not quite right for the SimpleOne. Another Ostrich bag later… now the bags are just right. For now, anyway.
All the sturm und drang Felkerino put himself through over a front bag perplexed me, but eventually I concluded that one of the reasons men take up cycling is to buy bags. It allows them to indulge the secret jealousy they harbour regarding all the great purses that surround them.
At first the bag-obsessing distressed me, until I realized that I could stroll into the Dining Room Bike Shop and use at least one of them for my own bag needs. I love this marriage!
Felkerino isn’t the only leg-shaving, bag-obsessed male cyclist I know. Take a look around. You’ll see.
Some men who ride bikes love to shave their legs and obsess about bags. If you call them out about it they are sure to provide another reason for their cycling obsession (getting in shape, going car-free, etc.), but those are just by-products of the source of their real cycling enjoyment. It’s about the bags and the shaving.
Pay extra attention on your commute or, even better, a brevet start. And, if you are a male cyclist who is reading this blog in between your frenetic Carradice, Sackville, and Acorn bag internet searches, ruing the fact that you won’t need a razor for the winter months, give it some thought.