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Short Story 

Bicyclists take license in dressing, riding badly.

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Local male bicyclists are up in arms about proposed new legislation that would ban form-fitting spandex bike shorts. Mike Funk, president of the Foothill Bicycle Club, led an angry contingent of male bicycling enthusiasts'all wearing tight, black shorts, as they staged a “ride-in” on Main Street last Monday.


Funk, who looked fetching in his Xenon bib shorts decorated with green DayGlo reflective piping, invited onlookers to examine his shorts, calling special attention to the ergonomic elastic seat and the moisture-managing mesh insert. Many observers averted their eyes and some made involuntary sounds of disgust, but a brave few looked on with fascination as Funk extracted from his crotch a damp Pearl Izumi 3-D stretch chamois, the latest in bike under-apparel.


“This nifty chamois prevents chronic microtraumatization of my perineum,” Funk explained. “And, as you can see, it’s gender specific for a precise anatomic fit.” Funk proceeded to expound on the virtues of his anatomy-friendly chamois but some in his audience thought he got a little carried away when he demonstrated how he applied Flanders Buttocks Ointment to his posterior crevice.


“I’ve found Flanders to be more effective than the popular Greyhound Juice as an anti-friction emollient,” Funk said, as the remaining crowd scattered. After re-inserting his chamois, the irrepressible Funk joined his fellow cyclists as they pedaled toward Gallivan Plaza, where they dismounted and strolled without apparent shame in their form-fitting shorts among the noontime visitors.


The cyclists received a mixed response from downtown workers enjoying the sun and munching on their sandwiches. Some just shrugged their shoulders, others made cringing faces, and still others stared and made random comments.


“I think they look cute,” said a well-groomed young man who identified himself as an ad exec. “I think they look silly,” said an attractive woman who works as a secretary in one of Salt Lake City’s major law firms. “I think they should go home and put some pants on,” said an older woman.


There were a few tense moments when the cyclists were confronted with a group called Citizens for Decent Public Attire. The CDPA, which has been instrumental in pushing the legislation banning bike shorts, is led by an energetic retired nurse named Verna Tillis, who always carries with her several pairs of men’s baggy khaki shorts.


When Verna offered the baggy shorts to the scantily attired male cyclists and urged them to cover up, several of the cyclists brushed her aside and vociferously asserted their right to wear gender-specific anatomy-friendly shorts anywhere they wanted to.


Harold Pratt, a riding buddy of Mike Funk, told Verna that society would be better off if everyone wore bicycle shorts all the time. “What you see is what you get,” Pratt said. “Riding bicycles is just an excuse for me to squeeze into my Optima shorts and strut around places like Albertsons or Starbucks. I can’t tell you how free and relaxed I feel in my tight shorts. People give me dirty looks all the time, but I feel sorry for them for being so uptight and having issues about their bodies.nn

Later in the afternoon, after the cyclists had gone home to launder their chamoises, Tillis sat down with reporters and elaborated on her beef with bicycle riders.


“Quite frankly, once the bill banning bike shorts passes, I expect the road behavior of bike riders will improve. Ever since these guys put on their yellow- or pink- or red- or whatever-colored jerseys and their tight shorts, they’ve been flouting the rules of the road, zooming right through stop signs and riding two or three or four abreast in clear violation of the law. Go look at the Utah Traffic Code if you don’t believe me. I don’t know why cops aren’t handing out tickets left and right.


“In addition to the secret thrill of wearing the tight shorts in public, these bike riders'almost all male, I might add'dressing up in multicolored outfits makes these guys feel like they’re competing in the Tour de France or something. They think they own the road. I feel bad for the innocent bike riders who get hit intentionally by idiot drivers'these drivers are cowards and criminals.


“But I tell you what I’m afraid of. Sooner or later, a big group of cyclists will come zipping through a stop sign, as they always do, and a car will plow into the intersection. The carnage won’t be pretty.”


D.P. Sorensen writes satire for City Weekly.

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