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Does my bum look big in these bike shorts?

by Pamela Blalock

OK, men.... We all know the answer to this question, right? No guy in his right mind would ever suggest a female looked anything other than microscopically petite in any pants she models for him. It would just be plain rude to suggest otherwise.

Well... Sunday, near the end of our 145 km tandem ride, we encountered an apparent Living Brain Donor*. Granted I have no relationship with the guy and can't actually make his life miserable in the way his partner might, but what was he thinking?

We were riding the tandem, and let me point out that we were not on our touring beast with panniers, but our lightweight go-fast purely unladen machine, when a passenger in a car hurled abuse out the window directed toward us. Poor thing - he didn't realise they were approaching a red traffic light. So when we pulled alongside, we asked for clarification.

So first he tells us we should pull over - apparently suggesting we ride in the ditch. But this is where it gets weird. He then says we should get a regular push bike**, since our tandem takes up so much room on the road.

I looked down at Mr. Living Brain Donor and noticed that his derriere filled the passenger seat in the car quite thoroughly, and asked if he was actually suggesting that we were wider than the regular push bike, and went on to point out that my bum was significantly smaller than his.

It goes without saying that it was lost on Mr. Living Brain Donor that two regular push bikes would take up more room than a tandem. He went on to suggest that we had no rights since we didn't pay petrol tax. Of course it would be lost of him to suggest that we pay precisely the amount warranted by the wear and tear we cause to the roads with our tandem bike, and if everyone were on push bikes that we wouldn't have to resurface or widen roads, or do whatever else the powers that be might do with that petrol tax. And I didn't get into the whole issue of how petrol tax only covers a fraction of roading costs.

Because really how much of a meaningful conversation can one have at a traffic light with a Living Brain Donor. I took solace in the fact, that he and the other lugs in the car seemed to be headed to the local pub filled with pokies, whose proceeds, in part, sponsor our local cycling club. It does pain me to know that my tax dollars will someday fund his heart bypass (NZ has public health care), but I still enjoyed my strawberry and pineapple ice cream reward for riding 145 km while still comfortably fitting into my size small women's bike shorts.

*Living Brain Donor - not future brain donor, not brain donor recipient, but actual survivor of brain removal
**push bike is the term kiwis use to refer to non-motorized two wheeled machines


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