There are a few gross aspects of cycling. You’re going to learn about them one way or another, so I might was well cover them here! In no particular order, they are:
- “Freebirding” in your shorts/bibs – when you’re riding a bike, you’re basically wearing underwear, or, if you prefer, a swimsuit. In other words, there should be no underwear between you and your shorts! This is not an option, frankly – the chamois simply doesn’t work right otherwise. …Don’t worry, you’ll get used to parading around in your underwear in public! You might even like it – trying to find the coolest, most stylish pair around, to compete with your buddies! (See the equipment section for more on shorts vs. bibs.)
- Chamois cream – along with the notion above, despite how good modern shorts and saddles are, chances are that things might get rubbed the wrong way “down there”. There are two different remedies for this: a) various salves and lotions designed to help heal your already rubbed-raw parts, and b) chamois creams that are designed to improve the functionality of your chamois (that pad between you and the seat). Not everyone uses them – or will admit to using them – but I’ve personally found benefit in both. Rumor has it that Lance himself slathers both his naughty bits and his shorts before he sets out for a ride. So why should we amateurs be any different?!
- Snot rockets – when you ride for any length of time, especially in cooler weather, you will notice that your sinus cavities won’t drain as efficiently as you’d like. Basically you’ll either get clogged up or your nose will start to run. One solution is to sniff and snort along the ride, but eventually you’ll realize that this isn’t very effective and it annoys your riding partners. The other solution is to use the terry cloth section of your gloves to wipe your nose. (yes, this is what it’s for, not for wiping your brow as the advertising might have you think!) This is marginally effective, depending on how bad you’re stuffed up or dripping! Perhaps the best solution is to create what cyclists refer to as a “snot rocket” Basically you hold one nostril closed, lean over to one side of the bike, while trying to aim away from your body, and blow strongly. If done correctly you’ll see a little projectile streaming away from you and you’ll suddenly be able to breath properly again! Word of warning, however – be very careful not to blow snot rockets on your fellow riders. This is considered in very poor taste! Also, be very careful with your balance, as all this blowing and leaning tends to make you wobble quite a bit!