Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Many Different Uses of a Car

You can sometimes tell alot about people by the type of car they choose to drive.I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee. It is essential having four wheel drive in our Siberian type winters in the North Country. Some people don't want to spend all their money on an expensive car loan so they make modest choices purchasing a vehicle that will get them where they want to go. In certain parts of the country people seem to drive a status symbol to reflect their economic prowess.

I've also noticed that the bumper stickers people display on their automobiles tell alot about their politics; whether their child is an honor student, and what college they attended. Probably the funniest bumper sticker I have read had the initials PETA and below that it said "People Eating Tasty Animals", not exactly politically correct but still funny anyway. I'm not too enthusiastic seeing New York Yankee logos on the back windows of pick-up trucks because I am a very loyal Red Sox fan. My daughter gave me a Red Sox licence plate holder for Christmas this past year and I display it proudly.

Have you ever casually gazed inside any of the parked vehicles near you as you walk by? No, not to see if it is unlocked so you can steal stuff but just idle curiosity. I have a rather quirky co-worker who has the most interesting items located in plain site in the back seat and storage area of his little Subaru. Today I noticed he had a rather large guitar amp speaker in his back seat. Not long ago he had an agricultural feed/grain bale in the back. I have also seen him ride around for a few days with a chain saw back there. Maybe he was hoping to meet up with Jason. He once told me he had a cake plate leftover from a birthday party over a year ago that remained in his car until he was looking for something else and discovered it, eureka! There are many random items, pieces of paper,this and that. It scares me a little.

On the opposite end of funky items people ride around with in their car are those people who are neat freaks and you can tell they keep their car vacuumed and detailed reflecting pristine conditions. No eating or drinking in those cars. My car does not contain anything extraneous nor do I let any empty beverage cups or wrappers linger for very long. In the winter I may keep an extra blanket or snow boots in the back in case I ever get stranded in a snow drift. There is however a fine layer of accumulated winter grunge covering everything and the floor mats are a bit disgusting.

I realize that for some people who spend extended time in their automobiles on their commute to work that they might be given a waiver because they probably eat and do various other things while they are trying to drive.I once knew someone who was very focused on practicing time management and he used to dictate case notes into his small hand held recorder while driving down the road. The secretaries in the office use to laugh hysterically as they attempted to listen and transcribe his dictation.If I had tried that I think I would have landed in a ditch. Many states have now promulgated laws prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving which is supposed to help reduce car accidents. I'm sure there are plenty of other things to distract drivers.

I have had several uncomfortable experiences riding in other people's cars that have resembled the inside of a trash can with no place even to plant one's feet while attempting to balance myself in the passenger seat while sharing space with hockey equipment and old fast food wrappers still containing bits of french fries.Up until that point I had considered that person relatively sane but had to reevaluate that assumption when she asked me to scrounge on the car floor mat for spare change to pay the toll.

I think cars should be exclusively utilized for driving somewhere not storage compartments on wheels for random things we don't know what to do with.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bicycle Pants

While out driving around in my car today I observed several bicycle riders pedaling down the road. I laud them for their profound dedication to exercise. It must be very enjoyable taking in the scenery while biking.

There is one thing though that I am curious about. Do you have to wear those silly pants in order to be considered a serious bike enthusiast? If I happen to see someone riding their bike and enjoying themselves and they are not wearing the bicycle uniform does that mean they are not serious bikers? Does it have anything to do with how far they go on their outing? If someone were just recreating and riding for a few miles for some fresh air and exercise when is it a "must" to suit up in the bike pants? Are the bike pants unisex or are there special ones for males and females? Logically, you would assume their would be, since there is a different part of the anatomy to take into consideration. Speaking of naughty bits, it appears that the buttock area has a layer of padding most likely providing a cushion and comfort to the posterior. It's probably a good idea.

The material these bike pants are made of seems to be some type of stretch-leotard spandex. Since they look tight fitting this might involve some type of aerodynamic design. I am also fascinated by the shape of the helmet which looks like it is aerodynamic too. The cone shape at the back of the hat makes the head look misshapen. Have these people ever taken a look at themselves in the mirror without a chuckle? When did they make the conscious decision to go out and buy themselves special bike pants and funny hats? Did they want people who saw them riding their bike to think, "oh yeah, there goes a serious bike rider".

If it is cold out or if it is windy do these pants keep you warm? It doesn't look like they keep you warm but maybe it helps cut down the wind resistance but does that really matter unless you are participating in some type of organized road race? It looks like there may also be a reinforced area in the inner thigh which might help reduce chaffing. Someone once told me that your butt and other anatomical areas grow a little sore after balancing on a hard banana shaped seat for long periods of time. Maybe that seat is where they should really get some soft padding. Do the bikers know that the way they perch on the little bike seat actually makes their posterior look rather large? I don't think people with large bottoms would look very attractive in these bike pants but then again the serious bikers who ride longer miles probably have minimal body fat.

Lance Armstrong has certainly helped biking gain in popularity. He certainly is an amazing athlete after overcoming testicular cancer and coming back to win the Tour de France several times. The French hate him but then the French hate everyone.Maybe they are the ones who have conspired to make the bike riders look ridiculous in those costumes.