On becoming ‘that guy’

On day two of a Colorado vacation this summer, my wife looked at me, narrowed her eyes and shook her head.

This situation is not altogether different than most days in my life. I like to think of my general state as entertaining and slightly bewildering, so my wife routinely reacts like this.

“What?” I said. “What?”

She looked at my socks. I knew what was coming.

“Did you bring any regular socks?” she asked, as if cycling socks (in particular, blue-and-orange, 2008 vintage Garmin-Cervelo socks) weren’t “regular.”

“Um … nope. This is it.”

“Do you even wear regular socks anymore? Like, cotton socks?”

Again, nope. Why bother? Cycling socks are more comfortable, anyway. Besides, I’m a bike guy. And I like cool socks. Argyle? Stripes? Yep – cool.

At some point, your hobbies and interests become part of your identity. It’s like when you buy a Harley-Davidson. You automatically get a half-dozen T-shirts, a pile of stickers and at least one sweatshirt with a skull, an eagle, flames or some combination thereof. You can spot a Harley owner even if there are no motorcycles within a mile of them.

Less than two years ago I was a newspaper writer who liked bikes. Then I became I bike shop guy. And now … well, look no further than my wardrobe. It’s one cycling T-shirt after another. A drawerful of socks; tall socks, short socks, merino socks and everything in between.

I’ve spent so much time in a chamois over the past few years, it takes me a minute or two to figure out why people stare when I roll into a store in full kit. “What? What are you looking at? Oh … .”

For better or worse, I’m that guy. Even out of kit, I’m easy to spot. I think of it as a kind of secret handshake between fellow cyclists.

Just look for the socks.

5 Comments to “On becoming ‘that guy’”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jay Thomas, Jay Thomas. Jay Thomas said: @bredemske are u the voice of The_VeloJones http://blog.velogear.com/index.php/2010/10/on-becoming-that-guy/ you are a international star! [...]

  2. marcaw 22 October 2010 at 10:42 am #

    I just glanced at myself: Cyclcross t-shirt, cycling socks. I’ve been this way for years now that I think about it. Can’t change. At least I’m stable.

  3. kgil 27 October 2010 at 5:24 am #

    Damn, this hits home. “Dad, why is it all you wear are cycling t-shirts?” “Honey, do you really need to wear those socks with shorts? Do you really need socks at all?” Also, Bryan, people don’t stare at you when you walk into a store in full kit. They stare at you because you look almost as ridiculous as I do in spandex. Everybody does and it’s incrementally ridiculous the further away you get from the bike.

  4. [...] I wrote way back in October, I’ve carefully cultivated a “that guy” image. Cycling [...]

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