Why Bikes Like Beer, Volume 3, Issue 1: The Paradox of Guilt

You know those rides when you stop every two miles because you swear that a quiche riding a tricycle could beat you, so surely your brakes are rubbing, because you can’t possibly be riding this pathetically without an external reason?

And you know how when you look down at your brakes and sure enough, there’s daylight, you either A.) assume it’s your tire going flat; B.) invent a headwind that you know isn’t there; or C.) wither in self shame because you are actually that pathetic?

But inevitably, you check your tires, and everything’s fine, dammit! Yes, it’s time to admit that you just suck big fat hairy goat eggs. And you are not worthy of your bike’s time.

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You did this to me, bike? Why!!!

Did you know that your bike is doing this on purpose?

It’s the truth. “But I fill my tires and check my brakes before very ride!!” you say,”and I keep my bike clean, the chain lubed, and even hug my bike!”

Come on, do you really think your bike can be bought off that easily? Please.

It is simply your bike’s way of keeping you in your place, of making you feel guilty, just often enough, that you don’t get too lazy.

Any of the following are signs that you have fallen victim to a bicycle-induced guilt trip:

  • You feel like garbage, so you’re out for an “easy” ride, but when the baby boomer couple riding the comfort bikes with seat bags that could easily accommodate a small ungulate passes you, you can’t quite admit to yourself that you weren’t exactly riding at an “easy” pace,despite your legs burning slightly.
  • You’re riding along, wondering why it feels like you are wearing a corset because you can’t get a deep breath, until you look down and see your muffin top bulging out of the gap between your jersey and shorts like botulism in a can of cherry pie filling, and realize that in fact your pasty gut is literally getting in the way.
  • You are so frustrated with how slow you are going and how crappy you feel that you are literally sobbing and mumbling ill phrases, yet instead of giving it up as a bad job like you should, you just keep pushing harder, thinking “I’ll show this bike who’s boss.”
  • You’re simply walking by your bike, and it gives you “that look,” and it ain’t a “come hither” look. It’s a look of pure disgust, even pity. Your bike is simultaneously depressed and deeply disappointed that you have let yourself get to this point, and you feel such powerful shame washing over you that you actually call in sick to go ride your ass into a BMI of 24.9 or less.

By doling out regular helpings of guilt and shame, your bike is all but guaranteeing that you will not become complacent and let yourself get to the point where you actually are as fat and lazy as your bike has led you to believe.

Sounds sick and twisted? Maybe, but you know it works. How many times have you been bike-shamed and actually started riding less?

What’s important to remember is that your bike knows just how much of this belittling you can endure. However, don’t go thinking you’re privy to what’s going on in the moment. Your bike is prepared to shut you down faster than Lehman brothers if you get too cocky. If you take nothing else from these forays into bikepsychology, take this: never, ever intentionally piss off a bike. You cannot win.

Just go ride more. Eventually, you’ll experience the bliss of bike love …

2 thoughts on “Why Bikes Like Beer, Volume 3, Issue 1: The Paradox of Guilt

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