Selling Myself Short

After crossing the Rubicon of Schlubbiness by riding around with a hole in my pants I decided I should try to wade back to the well-dressed side of the river for my next ride. Fortunately, Vulpine–whose current marketing approach is based on proving that they can make even a dirtbag like me look presentable–had just sent me a pair of their so-called “Gravel Shorts:”

Our toughest and most versatile shorts yet, perfect for all types of cycling, not just their namesake. Cruise down city streets or single track, or just wear them to grab a beer with your mates.

Made with 4-way stretch Ripstop fabric the Gravel Shorts are flattering and hardwearing. The diamond gusset takes pressure off the seat bones, with no seams to chafe. Useful deep pockets, plus a zipped coin pocket on the front, will ensure your valuables stay safe and won’t move around uncomfortably.

We’ve officially reached the point in cycling where the word “gravel” has lost all meaning and can be removed from any and all cycling-related prose with absolutely no ill effect. “Gravel shorts” are just shorts… “Gravel bikes” are just bikes… “Gravel” rides are just rides… And so on. If we don’t collectively recognize this and cease and desist any and all use of the word “gravel” immediately in relation to bikes, by next spring you’ll be talking about how you took your gravel bike to the gravel bike shop and then bought a gravel bike water bottle which you used on your gravel ride during which you stopped at the gravel cafe and enjoyed a gravel coffee before taking a gravel piss and then continuing on your gravelly way. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s not the way I want to gravel live.

Name aside, they seemed like very nice shorts, and I paired them with my Vulpine Merino Polo in an obvious and arguably pathetic attempt to redeem myself for my sartorial transgressions of the day before:

Though I kept one (well, technically both) feet in Crazy Town by wearing my Barry Wicks Clown Shoes, as well as the chapeau jaune indicating that I am in fact the race leader in the Tour de Doofus.

When you’re all dandied up you can’t ride just any old bike, so of course I went with my Rivendell:

Between my wardrobe, my bike, and the “compliance ascot” I wear just in case I decide to stop somewhere for a gravel coffee, I daresay I cut quite the figure:

Especially when you consider the power-clashing that was happening below the knee:

My standard-issue 20-miler takes me through one of those suburban villages that always gets written up in the New York Times, and I rode with the confidence that my “Tennis, anyone?” ensemble would not mark me as a threat to the locals:

Though I needn’t have worried, because the lawn signage indicated that I belonged there:

In fact everyone belongs there, just as long as they can afford $1.5 million for a home and $52K a year in property taxes, which is what the house across the street with the Sotheby’s sign in front of it is going for–though in recent years signs announcing how inclusive they are have joined the signs announcing to passers-by which security system they use, so there is that.

(No, I don’t think buying an expensive home in the suburbs makes you a bad person, and yes, I’m sure the people who post these sorts of lawn signs truly mean it. I’m just a blogger who’s obligated to point out ironic juxtaposition wherever I find it, try not to overthink it.)

As for the shorts, I didn’t really get to try them on actual gravel, but I did take them on dirt, which is the next-best thing:

When it comes to non-lycra shorts, my two (2) priorities are: A) Comfort; and II) Front pockets that allow me to carry my wallet, my keys, my phone, and a mini-pump without having to worry about: i) said items falling out; ii) said items flopping around awkwardly; iii) said items stabbing me in the genitals. I’m pleased to announce the Vulpine Gravel Shorts satisfied all of those criteria (I did roll them up a bit to satisfy (A), since I find a short that stops mid-thigh allows more mobility), and that I intent to wear them regularly going forward.

So there you go: two days of shorts content. Now that’s what I call semi-professional bike blogging!

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