As people who ride bikes, we often stand out from the mainstream. If we’re not wearing lycra or hi-viz or funny cleated shoes, we’re riding around places where most people drive by incognito. On a bike it’s easy to feel conspicuous, which amplifies those awkward moments that most of us have shared.
Like forgetting to unclip and falling over in front of people you want to impress. Or yelling at a driver who cuts you off and realizing it’s a co-worker. Or looking down at your pants leg at work at lunch and seeing it’s still tied back. I’ve done all these, plus getting my skirt caught in my saddle in front of Toys R Us today.
But the good thing is that we’re all in it together, whether we’re Cat 1 racers, hardcore mountain bikers, dedicated commuters or simply ride around town with our kids. We’ve all looked foolish because of our bikes.
At the Silicon Vally Bicycle Coalition Winter Party last week, we played a little party game where we shared our favorite personal awkward moments. Here are some of my favorites:
Loss of Coordination
I was riding in Belgium, using clipless pedals for the first time with a new boyfriend. I fell over in slow motion and couldn’t get unclipped. I was flapping around like a fish in front of him, plus a busload of tourists. – Helena
I was riding with friends from San Francisco to San Jose when I hit a patch of dirt, slid and crashed. I tore open my lycra shorts and spent the rest of the long ride mooning 30 riders. -Mike
When I was 16 I assembled a coaster brake bike with the ashtabula crank backward. I jumped on for a test ride, pushed down on the pedals and went flying over the bars at 2-3 mph. – Dave
Foot in the Mouth
I yelled “Hi” and waved at my mom on the sidewalk. Except it wasn’t my mom. -Ann
I was a teenager and thought I was hot sh** tooling around on my new bike. I noticed a cute girl across the street. I let my gaze linger a bit too long and hit a parked car. I slide up the back window, over the roof and down the windshield. She didn’t even give me first aid. – Chuck
I was riding with a big group for the World Naked Bike ride and wasn’t paying attention, missed a turn and found myself alone–and very naked. -Anonymous
Outclassed by the Competition
I rode through a flock of geese thinking they would fly away when I got close. But they were too busy eating so when they finally noticed me, instead of flying away five or six of them kept trying to bite me. I had to get off and run away. – Ian