Monday 14 October 2013

Cringe-worthy commute

Ryan Beggs is still on his bike 

Here at BikeSA, Ryan Beggs is our new hero for two reasons: he does a mammoth 100km round trip cycling commute AND he is willing to publicly humiliate himself to give us a laugh, and some inspiration.

He has been brave enough to share this horrifying commuting incident with us - thanks Ryan! If anyone can better it, we’d love to hear the story...

“Ever had one of those private cringe worthy undignified moments you’re still trying to forget? I have one of those, except I was dressed in Lycra in the middle of stationary peak hour. 

My once weekly bike commute begins at 5am from down south. I travel along the Veloway, going through the city, then onwards through Collinswood, Clearview and ending up at work at Parafield Airport. It's a long drive and a long ride - about 100kms there and back. 

I never thought I would be riding to work. 50km one way just seemed too far. However with modern technologies in bikes now days’ making them cheaper, lighter, with very little rolling resistance and some fantastic cycling infrastructure the ride is very easy to achieve. My commute by bike only takes me 20 mins longer on a Thursday night than it does by car! 

When I first started commuting three years ago it was on a mountain bike with skinny tyres. I was not willing to commit financially to my new hobby. Just in case the love was lost. It was not lost. 
I soon found myself upgrading everything. Including my clothing or if you’re a cyclist your 'kit'.

I went from T shirts to jerseys, supermarket helmet to a bike store helmet, sneakers to cleats, and finally board shorts to lycra shorts. To wear lycra you have to have a sense of humour. It is one of the most undignified sporting apparels - especially on me.

So I was riding home from work in my new lycra shorts trying to stay incognito in the traffic. It was peak hour on Goodwood Road. I was sat on my bike out the front of the pub at the lights waiting patiently for the lights to turn green. There were a few punters out the front who sounded like they were going to need a lift home; I think driving would've been beyond them at that time.

The lights turn green and It catches me by surprise, I stumble on the pedals and slip, getting my new lycra shorts caught on my seat. I get frustrated and stamp on my pedals, standing up on the bike to take off quickly. The punters give off a deafening roar, they whistle, they clap. Horns start honking and drivers start to join in on the fun. I think why? My stumble was barely noticeable!

I feel a breeze. I look down. My lycra pant waist elastic is caught under the front of my seat. I am doing a mid peak hour accidental front and rear nudie ride down one of the busiest arterials in Adelaide.

I squirm to un-hook my pants. I hear threads snapping. This is not a good place to be. I take a breath, wait for a clear metre to take my eyes off of the road, look down and with one hand (whilst semi-standing/squatting on the bike) unhook my lycra shorts.

Now, the thing about peak hour is that you generally stay with the flow of traffic, leap frogging each other as you go. I was still getting wolf whistles as I was climbing up the northern end of the veloway 20+KM's later. I don't commute along Goodwood anymore. I still wear the lycra though."


  1. Well done, my 90-96km daily commute is fraught with danger from the Southern Expressway works. Negotiating pot holes filled with loose gravel, deep puddles (after it's rained) with earthy bottoms and frequently changing detours. Emails to the works committee are pretty much ignored. Interesting how they don't value OH&S for cyclists as much as the girls doing the roadworks.

  2. As a casual cyclist, I know well the perils of committing to lycra... that time when you are talking about cycling, and the other person realises that you are THAT person who wears lycra. The uncomfortable lull in the conversation as you psyche yourself up for yet another explanation of why lycra is functional, not fashionable, and why your friend's 5km bike rides in jeans doesn't compare to your 100km rides in lycra.

    We feel your pain.