Bicycling is serious business these days. A virtual war is in progress over space and vehicle credibility on the roads. Cyclists win some battles and lose others, but they fight on.
In the midst of all of this struggling, we sometimes forget what cyclists like best about bikes — they’re cool and they’re fun. When bikes aren’t being used for transportation, they can be used for all sorts of exciting, and sometimes hilarious, recreational activities. How a bicycle can be used is limited only by a cyclist’s imagination.
Many people who rode bikes as children can recall the adventures they had with their bikes, the games they played, and the races and contests they invented. For all who ride, young and old, a bike signifies freedom and unencumbered locomotion. All that’s required to experience the joy of bicycle creativity is a functional bike and accessories adapted to make its intended use a reality.
For instance, have you ever considered the value of wearing shoes utilizing the same anti-bacterial sugar alcohol used in gums and candies? Xylitol, which is becoming a common ingredient in athletic wear, is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants. Unlike sugar, it does not break down and can help maintain a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol can also protect teeth from decay by preventing bacteria from sticking to the teeth. It is also known for its cooling properties. Now who wouldn’t want to benefit from such noteworthy characteristics in their cycling shoes?
That’s just what the company, Louis Garneau, thought when they created their Carbon Pro Team cycling shoes. This model’s insoles are infused with IceFil® Xylitol, which reacts with thermal heat to reduce skin temperature.
According to the manufacturer:
“The insoles have Ice-Fil’s moisture control technology. The fibers react to perspiration and convert sweat to a refrigerant to keep your feet cool and dry.”
How could any cyclist complain about shoes which provide refrigeration for their feet? And, at the bargain price of $329 (USD) per pair, keeping a spare pair on hand for sweltering summer days might not be a bad idea.
Other necessary accessories are fun-to-use bicycle parking accommodations. In London, they’ve got the right idea. By installing bike racks fashioned into the shape of a car, they sent a strong message about the efficiency of bicycles. Such a design can visually demonstrate how many bikes can be parked in the space that would otherwise be occupied by a single car. As an added bonus, the rack is aesthetically pleasing, and certainly brightens up the street.
From a practical standpoint, the car shape acts as a barrier to protect parked bicycles from stray cars and offers an integrated pump. In addition, it makes the street less cluttered by grouping ten parked bicycles in one area, rather than having them scattered about the street.
When cyclists get bored, or just want to challenge themselves, they can create and engage in competitions derived from cycling. In essence, bicycles are utilized as the core of another sport or to replace a different form of locomotion in order to create a new sport.
Take, for example, the contest of bicycle umbrella jousting. Just as the name implies, this is a combination of cycling and jousting, which plays upon the commonly used theme of “bicycle as steed.”
To properly set up this contest, a jousting fence must be erected between each jouster’s course. The jousters face one another from opposite ends of the course and charge forward, using umbrellas to knock one another off of their steeds (bicycles).
Of course, to make the competition fair, each jouster must be outfitted with a regulation sized umbrella. What’s more, bicycle umbrella jousting should be a hit with the bicycle commuting crowd since no special bicycle attire is required for participation — although wearing blazers, waistcoats and trousers is generally considered good form for the men, as are long skirts or trousers for the women.
For the more athletic cyclists among us, some form of racing is a must. Anyone can race a bicycle on a paved road, a velodrome or a rocky mountain. But, that’s too ordinary for some people’s tastes.
A really good race should occur in an uncommon setting, on atypical terrain. That’s why a creative cyclist decided to race a bicycle against a non-traditional opponent.
Bicycles have raced all sorts of vehicles, including airplanes. But, these races just weren’t exhilarating enough, so a new opponent was found, one who could race with a bicycle, neck and neck, down a snow-covered mountain. This opponent was none other than a snowboard.
Given the amount of trouble most cyclists have riding in the snow every winter, a snowboard — with its gliding capability — would seem to have an unfair advantage. Still, one should never underestimate the precision of balance, nerves of steel and honed riding technique of a seasoned cyclist. The contest in question can be viewed below.
Whenever impatient motorists or rabid anti-bicyclists refer to cyclists as “snobs” or “elitists,” someone ought to point them to the creative and fun things that cyclists do when they’re not doing battle with other vehicles on the roads.