Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Being One of the "Cool" Kids

I told you all earlier this week about doing a 200K that started with about 30 miles on Hwy 41. A few friends who know this stretch of road have since commented to the effect that, basically, I must be a suicidal maniac.

Well, maniac is a possibility. But suicidal? No, no, no. You see, the trick is to just not be cool.

Now, let's face facts: It's hard to be cool and be a randonneur. The cool kids all either ride bikes that look like this ...

Or this ...

They may even look a little like this ...

But that's stretching it a bit ... and I'm not just talking about the waistband of those shorts.

Cool kids don't use Gatorskin or Armadillo tires, or anything puncture resistant like that. They use the skinniest, lightest tires around, and they never have big bags full of tubes and tools and a patch kit on their bikes. This is because their rides are usually close enough to home that if something breaks they can call someone to pick them up, or just walk. Were I to call RandoGirl from Chokoloskee and tell her I had a flat tire and she needed to come pick me up, I am pretty sure that her reaction would be ... well, let's just say "unenthusiastic."

One thing that the cook kids never use, however, is the dorkoscope.

This is what I call the little mirror that either hooks onto the frame of your glasses or attaches to your helmet. I call it the dorkoscope because, when positioned properly, your shoulder or ear or something is in the mirror as a frame of reference -- hence, you are always looking at part of the dork.

The dork is you. Was I being too subtle there?

Anyway, when you ride with cool kids, they will smirk and point at guys with a dorkoscope. The cool kids may be willing to wear lycra that's two sizes too small and thinning around the buttocks (you know who are you), bright red shoes, and argyle socks that almost come to the knee, but would never be caught dead wearing a dorkoscope.

Which is ironic, really, because I've had times when the dorkoscope probably kept me from ending up dead.

I have a friend who's a cool kid. That friend often gets on me about riding with an iPod, even though I only put one earbud in, and that's on the right (non-traffic) side. I can hear traffic just fine.

But try to get that friend to wear a dorkoscope? No way. Why not? Well ... just, uh ... no way!

Another cool kid friend told me that he won't use a dorkoscope because it blocks his vision. Look at the above picture again. What, exactly, would be blocked by that dorkoscope? Maybe a low-flying duck, or some redneck's spit cup. Big deal.

So, when you see RandoBoy out on the road, you'll probably see him wearing a dorkoscope. He flies his dork flag proudly, knowing it keeps him safe.

As for Max Watzz ... well, he's still cool. Dumbass.


  1. After that explanation, I'll have to go and get me one!

    1. This one is common in a lot of bike shops:

      It holds up pretty well, although eventually one of the little plastic tabs on the part that holds it on your glasses will break. If you carry a couple of rubber bands (as all good randonneurs should), you can hobble it back together for another few hundred miles.

  2. I'm not sure I'd want to be able to see myself in my "dorkoscope" as I'm using a full duty rain jacket, pants, and helmet cover for 100 miles of brevet rain-riding, with temps in the 40's. The less I'm reminded of how uncomfortable I am during those moments, the better.

    The mirror on the end of my drop bars may have to suffice.

    1. I have that on my touring rig. It's almost as good. Almost.