Stale Product Reviews!

Pretty much every morning I take a spin up into the suburbs, where the deer resolutely do not give a fuck:

Even though I’m as used to them as squirrels by now, I generally stop to take a photo, and as I withdraw my phone from my pocket I think to myself, “I could be taking out a gun right now, you stupid asshole.” Yet invariably they just stand there, masticating.

It’s officially hot now, which is my least favorite weather for cycling. Heat just makes everything feel soft and mushy, including my legs. Also, I perspire so much that my bicycles are literally corroding beneath me. In fact, I’ve been riding my plastic bike this week for that very reason, so I guess it’s now my Dedicated Sweat Bike.

At this point I might as well just ride with one of these:

I’m honestly surprised that Rivendell haven’t made one of these in waxed canvas or Ventile.

Another problem with heat is that I can’t wear a cycling cap, since they immediately become saturated with sweat and the brim basically starts gushing perspiration right onto my top cap. (That would explain the state of the Engin.) And with no cap, there’s nothing to tame my unruly mane (or what’s left of it) while I ride, which leaves me looking windblown and insane. Oh sure, I could wear a helmet, but then the scolds will have won! So instead I turn to my trusty M Frames:

[Your eyes! The goggles do nothing!]

No, the inset image in the lens is not some sort of futuristic smart-glasses technology; it’s just the reflection of the image on my phone…which in turn has an image of me in my own phone…which in turn has an image of me in my own phone…ad infinitum…which is totally trippy:

Right. So I’ve had those M Frames for at least 20 years now. I probably bought them to match my yellow bicycle, which is pretty embarrassing. To this day, the M Frames are my only cycling-specific glasses, for the simple reason that I’ve been unable to lose them. When I first got them I thought they were super cool: so light…so aerodynamic…so annoyingly un-foldable. But then Lance Armstrong kept winning the Tour de France in them and wearing M Frames began to feel corny, like wearing a Pearl Jam shirt. So I moved on to other cycling glasses, which I systematically lost, one pair after the other. Vexingly, I’d go digging through my stuff, looking for whatever bug-eyed goggles I’d been sporting most recently, and instead all I’d be able to find were those goddamn M Frames! The only reasonable explanation I could come up with was that these ugly-ass spectacles were eating my other glasses.

So that brings us back to riding on hot days. When it’s too hot to wear a hat, and I don’t feel like donning the polystyrene dunce cap–but I also don’t want my hair sticking out every which way–what I do is I wear the M-Frames in my hair like one of those plastic ladies’ headbands. It’s a move I picked up from Mario Cipollini:

And yes, if sunglasses moves are the only thing you’ve picked up from Mario Cipollini, you can consider yourself lucky. Anything else would probably require penicillin.

Also, I do even wear the M Frames over my actual eyes sometimes. I like to think maybe they’ve been around so long they’ve become cool again, though I doubt this is in fact the case–or at least not the case when they’re on me. I’m also still on the original lenses, which are all spotty now (probably due to living in my sweaty hair), but I can’t see the spots when I’m wearing them, so who’s the man now, dog? Speaking of sweaty lenses, one of the many stupid things about the M Frames is that the shape of the lenses coupled with the silicon nose piece make it almost impossible to wipe them off with your jersey while you’re riding. And of course if you are wearing a helmet and you want to take them off your face you’ve got to turn them upside down and stick them into your helmet vents just so, and you look pretty stupid when you don’t pull it off and they’re sticking out of your helmet all willy-nilly like someone was playing Pin The M Frames On The Fred with your head.

So there you go, a review of a 20 year-old pair of sports optics. You won’t find that on Cycling Tips!

And while I’m reviewing old stuff, let’s talk about the Outlier summer shorts I’ve had for eleven freaking years:

Do they even make these shorts anymore? I have no idea, though if not I assume they still offer something pretty similar. Outlier sent me these shorts back in the summer of aught-nine, and I promptly took them to Manhattan Beach and spilled Snapple on my crotch:

Admittedly, I was way too uptight in those days to appreciate the whole idea behind these shorts, which was that you could go commando in them and ride to the beach on your fixie in them and then go swimming in them and then meet people for drinks in them, all without changing. See, for me, in 2009, for cycling you wore bib shorts, and for going to the beach you wore a bathing suit that went down to your kneecaps because you were self-conscious about your pallid and shorn legs.

Since then, however, I’ve come around. Not only have I been riding in them, but I’ve also been swimming in them; for example, I wore them for all my vacation rides last week, and yes, I’ve also been wearing them to the beach. (I wore them to the beach today in fact, because finally, eleven years later, I’ve become exactly the kind of asshole who goes to the beach on a Wednesday.) So I’m here to admit that I finally get it, and to acknowledge that they’re an excellent garment. In fact, the only issue I’ve had with them (apart from having to stitch up the crotch a few years back) is one that was entirely my fault. What happened was, I was riding around with my phone in my pocket, and then after the ride I discovered that, in addition to my phone, I also had like half a pound of sand in there from the last time I’d been to the beach. The upshot of this was that my phone’s charging port got packed with sand, and I very nearly lost the use of my phone for the duration of my vacation, though I did eventually manage to get the charging port working again by cleaning it out with a toothpick wrapped in Scotch tape.

In retrospect, a week without a phone probably would have been the best thing to happen to me in awhile. Regardless, if you’re going to live the one-pair-of-shorts-to-rule-them-all lifestyle, just make sure you turn the pockets inside out once in awhile.

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