I really love the rugged, whimsical designs of those earth-tone and camouflage jerseys favored by mountain bikers. But don’t get one for me, even if it’s my birthday. One small detail keeps them from being the perfect gift:
I Will Not Wear Them.
Call it paranoia if you want; I view it as being “cautious.” It’s all about being seen on the bike.
I’ve been this way ever since the morning in 2005 that I came within inches of being flattened by a pickup whose driver then asked, “But where did you come from?” as I picked bits of asphalt out of my shoulder. My bike had been totaled. Fortunately her bumper had knocked me off the bike, before she ran over it despite her brake-squealing attempts to stop. I just got a little road rash.
I had thought I was pretty visible on that ride, in my abstract royal blue/purple/bright yellow jersey. But a lone cyclist is so small that if we want motorists to see us, our visibility needs an extra boost.
Now, every time I get ready to ride, I look through my selection of jerseys with survival — not fashion — on my mind. Cool retro design in navy and rust? No. I have not put that jersey on since the crash. Solid white? Too bland; too close to the color of the pavement. My favorite red one with the bold Austria-esque “Republic of Anaerobia” emblem? Better, but even red isn’t very eye-catching at a distance. Maybe if I’m riding with a group. And if it’s really sunny. I’ll also wear my gradient blue & white with a bit of intense red-orange on the back, again on a bright day.
What about cloudy days? Ah, then I pull out the big guns: the retina-searing fluorescent tennis-ball yellow, or the sleeveless day-glo orange. Now we’re talking! I also have a bright turquoise that I feel pretty safe in. You wouldn’t expect blue to be especially visible, but Brent wore a shirt that color while we were in the redwood forest in California, and I could easily spot him through the trees from fifty yards away. They aren’t perfect: the turquoise and orange ones have only one pocket, while the fluorescent one is baggy and tends to annoy me by flapping. That’s a small price to pay for reducing the chance of ending up as roadkill, but still. My choices seemed pretty limited and kind of boring.
Brent has a racing jersey from B&B, our local bike shop in Cedar Hill. I admired their design: kelly green with both black and white for contrast. Pretty bold, but… I mostly ride through wooded areas, and just couldn’t bring myself to wear a green that so closely resembled the color of trees. Last Friday, though, Brent came home from work via a side trip to B&B. He had brought me a women’s B&B jersey. Same design in a particularly lurid, disturbing sort of lime green instead of the darker green.
And right there, in front of his visiting mom and sister, I shouted, “Honey — that’s the most obnoxious color I’ve ever seen!” Then I threw myself into his arms and went on, “Thank you SO much! I love it!”
I wonder why Mom and Jennifer seemed “visibly” puzzled.
Thanks for reading!
PS: It’s coffee time with Rachel Anne and the Company Girls. Come over and join us!