Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rules of engagement by Sir Eddy Price......

Folks- Don't ever question a Price when it comes to cycling.

The large group that cycle in formation through Aptos every Saturday morning around 8:30 am appears well organized-but it is not. The riders gather from disparate origins at O’Neil’s near the yacht harbor each Saturday at 8:00 am for a 40 to 85 mile ride that is fixed by tradition. They are bound by no written rules, they carry no clipboards, they hear no whistles, and no one is in charge. They live instead by an unwritten code more stringent than anything that could be put on paper. This unwritten code of conduct extends to behavior; ride a straight line, don’t overlap someone’s rear wheel, stop at all signs and lights, ride to the right of the roadway, and point out hazards on the road to others, the code extends to safety; ride single file, wear a helmet, don’t brake suddenly, never lead unless you know the way and finally, the code extends to attire; wear cycling shoes, shorts, jersey, gloves and of course a helmet.

Thus, when a neophyte appears and violates any part of the code, peer pressure is unleashed. One such person wobbled in on an old Peugeot cycle with aerobars several years ago, demonstrating an earnest desire to ride with the best, but showing he knew little about how to dress for the occasion. As he rode through the peleton (moving formation of cyclists), mutterings from the group yielded such labels as “”warning”, “danger” and “hazard”. But safety was not the issue, appearance was. This neophyte was wearing jockey shorts under his Lycra bike shorts and the outline of his undergarment showed through for all to see.

This was more than the unofficial “monsignor” (Kelly Robinson) of the group could handle. The normally mellow and docile “old man of cycling” or OMK (Old Man Kelly) who always had an encouraging word for the new rider in the group blurted out “panties in the pace-line”. The phrase was picked up by others in the group and it spread like wildfire through the pack. In time, the violator became acquainted with his transgression and took corrective measures, but it was too late. Even after becoming an accomplished rider, even to the point of challenging the most experienced riders on the hills of San Andreas road, he had earned a nickname that stuck early and would never be removed. He is now and will be forevermore known as Underwear Man.

-Eddy Price

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