To look at someone and not judge them by their appearance is a unique gift indeed. I am not unique in this respect. Therefore, despite my best intentions to be a humble, open-minded cyclist, I judge riders by what they wear. Sometimes, cruelly so. I estimate their personality through the narrow lens of a simple head to toe once over and an ear for their introductory line. It's eery how similar my imagined person is to the real one.
First Impressions: Wears Spiderman underwear on lazy Sunday mornings, LOVES chocolate, gets a crimson moustache when drinking juice, has a wife that LOVES chocolate, always cleans his plate, walks bike across streets and intersections, knows a guy that has a friend that "raced" with Lance, favorite movie is Look Who's Talking.
Opening Line: "I have to go potty."
First Impressions: Reads the Wall Street Journal, has a bra on the front of his SUV, drinks a skim, extra whip, triple pump, double shot, caramel macchiato with four sugars, refers to his bike as "she", pays a guy to mow his lawn, doesn't own any tools, will be in the hospital in three weeks because he "never saw that fucker coming", favorite movie is Die Hard
Opening Line: "On your left!"
First Impressions: Virgin, has a bad case of the Powerbar shits, has lots of excuses for lack of results, chain has 10,000 miles on it, 30 minutes to change a flat, never buy a bike from him, bitches about his sponsor's lack of charitable swag, wore Crocs "way before anyone else", impressed by anyone with an SRM, favorite movie is The Fast and the Furious.
Opening Line: "Can't talk. Training."
First Impressions: High school physics teacher, still wears the shorts he bought with the helmet, will only fix bike with found parts, wears sweatpants when cold, wipes nose with nasty old handkerchief, has business card with the title "Tinkerer/Inventor", hangs out with other bearded folk, favorite movie is Back to the Future.
Opening Line: "I bought this a long time ago and it still works."
First Impressions: Dines regularly at Old Country Buffet, has a saddle bigger than most 5 year old children, really likes the idea of a recumbent, wonders why more people don't put flags on their bikes, rotates helmet backward to protect the back of the head better, doesn't get why bikes need "all those speeds", always shifts at worst possible moment, prefers milkshakes to beer, gummy bears serve as energy food, favorite movie is Garfield.
Opening line: "Mind if I tag along?"