By Christopher Cudworth
We have read quite a bit on this blog about getting down close to the road and really studying the surface we ride upon.
We have celebrated tarsnakes together, and even their wintry cousins, the snowsnake, of which there haven’t been too many this year here in Illinois. The snow either fell too fast or too wet or too thick. Any potential snowsnakes got buried well before they could crawl across windy Route 38 like they usually do, out Elburn way. (That’s the country around here.)
Shedding their coats
But now the seasons are changing here in the Land of Lincoln, and with the springtime some people out there apparently think it’s high time to start shedding their coats, as we enter what ought to be called Rubber Season.
That’s what we find when we run and ride on a Sunday morning or a Tuesday afternoon. Someone’s been out having fun in the car and tossing aside the evidence. Condoms. Weenie jackets. Prophylactics. Doesn’t matter what you call them. They’re always sort of shocking when you find them used and discarded. Even an empty condom package has a story behind it. We dare not imagine it. Not on our own. Too often we are jealous creatures.
Too close encounters
Running along some street in a suburban neighborhood you look down in the half dark of dawn and think, “What’s that?” And then you realize. Someone actually threw that thing out the window. But why? And when?
Teenagers, one must suspect. The Trojan ads all target teen-aged men and women, plus a zillion college students, all doinking their way through Handsome High and the University of Sex Ed. Word has it it’s not that hard to get a passing grade, although the movies Superbad and American Pie might beg to differ.
Of course teenagers don’t have college dorm rooms so they go out and do it in a car and that’s the other thing one finds a lot while out running and riding. Quite a few cast aside panties.
Between the condoms and the panties lining the roads in our region of the country it is a wonder anyone between the ages of 16 and 18 actually ever learned how to drive. It’s hard to hump over a stick shift, is it not? Someone’s trying. And succeeding, from the looks of things.
Are cyclists just human condoms?
All kinds of narratives emerge when you’re out riding your bike all dressed up in an expensive cycling kit, only to look down and see the closest cousin to your body condom spandex, a tube of spent-looking latex, lying there on the ground. Makes you wonder: Am I just a human condom?
There are certainly days when you don’t feel that much better than that on a bike. You start out all erect and proud at the start, but when you turn into a stiff wind your energy goes blammo. Looks like you’ve blown your load of glycogen on a false flat and a high gear. Good luck holding someone else’s wheel now.
Runners really have to watch out where they’re stepping some days, for fear of causing some strange sort of street explosion by coming down flat-footed on one of those little ribbed condoms perched on the white line of the road.
But pity! the barefoot minimalist who neglects to look down often enough to avoid stepping on one of those squirmy condoms left on the street. That will bring out the caveman or cavewoman in you, for sure.
God forbid that a used condom should get flipped up by the back wheel of your bike and land on your bare neck. There are some people who might choose to ride to their own death at that point rather than come to grips with the truth in what they feel.
Don’t blame me for this blog, I’m just a journalist doing my job…
Don’t try telling me that only I have these strange thoughts, and that the rest of you are innocent of such considerations. It’s my job as a journalist of the highest caliber to warn you of such dangers as tarsnakes and, dare we say it, rubbersnakes on the road.
After all, we do run and ride the same roads, you and I. So now you have fair warning to beware when the rubber hits the road. Just step over it. Keep calm and carry on. It’s only teenage wasteland.