A Very Special Relationship

Most cyclists would agree that there are some very special relationships in their lives. There is the relationship with their bikes*, of course. And the relationships with their favourite local roads or trails. A rider learns their moods, and their differing characters over time, and comes to an understanding and respect of a very deep and meaningful kind. This understanding is rewarded with those riding days where bike, terrain and rider work harmoniously together and produce crisp, bright memories of effortless speed to be cherished for years to come.

Oh, and I understand some riders have relationships with other humans too.

But the relationship I’m writing to talk about now is another, with which most riders will be familiar.

It’s about the legs.

Yep, the engine room. The pistons. The guns.

A year or so ago, my legs were merely the flabby white things I walked around on. Then I got back on the bike and I started to receive messages which I’d not heard for over ten years – since last I’d turned a pedal in anger.

Some of the messages were unsubtle, to be sure, pain being the main one. But also my legs started communicating back more subtle signals. It might be good to eat now. Maybe take a rest day soon. Take it easy on this section and let me recover. OK, go ahead and SMASH. You’re an idiot for forgetting to bring an electrolyte drink. Please slow down on this descent, I’m scared. Now I’m bleeding and it’s your fault, moron. That kind of thing.

So, like most cyclists, I now have a rich and complex relationship with my legs. They tell me things. I tell them things. They propel me onwards, and in return I nurture them and feed them, and care for their wounds. Every now and again, I sneak a look at them in a mirror or a shop window and say, internally, “coming along nicely”. Occasionally, a non-cyclist clocks me doing this and there’s a moment of “you’re weird”.

Normals in fact find this all a bit dysfunctional. But normals don’t count.

Besides,  I was a full-time athlete** in a former life – a rock climber – and I had this kind of relationship with my arms and upper back. So I understand.

All of which circuitous preambling brings us to the Cellarbrations Race Team. They’re a newly formed road team in my local area, and a friend of mine is co-directeur and rider.

They’re been getting a bit of local press due to the fact that one of their riders, Greg Burgett, has an abnormal relationship with his legs. Specifically, that he’s a roadie but doesn’t shave.

This is a clear and unconscionable violation of Rule 33.

Now, I myself also do not shave – opening a possible route to accusations of hypocrisy – but there exists a known and pre-existing exception to 33, namely that I primarily ride mountain bikes and am thus allowed both hairy legs and baggy shorts***. However, for a newly formed NRS-focused team to have their smooth-legged symmetry bespoiled by a single yeti must not be allowed to stand. In Greg’s place, I would wield the razor in a heartbeat.

So, I’d encourage you to click “like” on the CRT Facebook page in order that Greg may face up to his obligations tout de suite.


* “Bikes” is always plural. Remember the n+1 rule.
** attempted full-time athlete, to be technically correct
*** so there. Ignore the fact that I do occasionally take the road bike off the turbo trainer to pop some Strava trophies.

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