At one point, before boys came into the picture in any significant way, I couldn’t choose between two girls. One was blonde, cute, and down to earth; an awesome athlete that was blessed with the ability to pick up any sport with ease and lived in jeans and sneakers. The other was a raven-haired socialite; typically snobby and beautifully oblivious to the consequences of her actions but somehow someone you couldn’t hate. Oh, and it just so happened that the two were best friends.
I am, of course, talking about Betty and Veronica from the Archie Comics [am I showing my age by admitting this? FYI, I was not born in the 40’s]. As both girls vied for the true affections of Archie, I faced the same indecision as Archie did. There’s a little bit of what every girl wants to be in each of those two girls. Archie’s inability to pin down his own feelings never helped matters either.
I haven’t cracked open an issue of Archie in forever, but it was the image of Betty hopping on a skateboard that popped to mind when I clicked on a tweeted link the other day. “The Fixfixfix just got a little risque!” Superb Bicycle (a.k.a. Jason) twittered. Curiosity and the desire to prolong procrastination had me clicking the provided link; good thing I wasn’t in class because a beautiful topless girl posing with a bicycle wheel popped up.
Intrigued, I did a little more digging. The site consists of galleries of attractive girls posing provocatively with bicycles, some more dressed than others, complete with cheesy captions like [for the topless girl] “after all that action in the hot sun, Victoria decides to relax inside.” It’s one of those “shit, why didn’t I think of that?!” sites that fill a predictable [and potentially lucrative] void in a world where girls – especially attractive ones willing to take off their clothes – are a rarity.
But that has me asking the age-old question: is that really what guys are looking for? The girls featured on Fixfixfix are sexy, no doubt…but some of the bikes clearly don’t fit them, and most are dressed in the kind of thing that not only would make cycling impossible [platform heels + toe straps = disaster], but also embarrassing. Because whatever the girls are wearing [or not] on top wasn’t ever built to keep things safely tucked in…especially if you’re anywhere close to the drops.
So as the Betty in me scoured pictures to find proof that these girls don’t really ride bikes, the Veronica in me asked if that even really mattered. Everyone is attracted to beautiful people, and finding some excuse to discount some biologically lucky human being because I wasn’t so biologically lucky was simple insecurity, that Veronica voice said. She’s gorgeous, it doesn’t matter if you can ride better or harder than her, the voice continued, guys [will always] dig that, get over it.
A part of that’s true. And not just for those of us who aren’t blessed with perfect proportions and an ideal bone structure. Riding my bike everywhere means I dress for comfort. That consequently means that I’m bound to be grittier and far less sexy than the specimens on display at The Fixfixfix. My version of relaxing after “all that action in the hot sun” consists of trying to gimp into the shower after a long ride to scrape off the dirt and sweat that’s caked onto my face. It’s way less glamorous than topless play with a bare wheel. And sadly, it’s always going to be.
But a part of me – perhaps my inner Betty – is proud that it is that way. Cycling is stunning because it’s so difficult, and captivating because the pros do it with such ease and grace. Getting up a few hours earlier than you have to in order to squeeze in a ride or time on the rollers/trainer before work, spending half of your weekend on your bike [and the other half recovering or eating], committing to riding a set number of miles a week, even in 20 degree weather…we all go out of way to schedule life around our bicycles, and it’s not easy. Yet the routines that to any sane person seem a bit extreme are ones that I couldn’t live without. The permanently scarred knees, spectacular crashes, and blurry-eyed morning roller sessions all attest to dedication that goes beyond simply dropping trou in front of a bicycle. And for me, anyway, that’s what makes cycling so sexy.
Or so I told myself as I snorted at a picture of yet another topless girl, dirt smeared around her breasts, in Sidis, standing in front of a Surly 1×1, the latter proudly and prominently sporting…flat pedals.
Hey, I never said there was no Veronica in me.