A Cyclist's Lament: Where's my groin? (a true story)
September - 3 - 2009
It was Saturday morning and Dick needed to find a bike shop. Saturday was his big riding day, but he’d been having a problem riding longer than a half hour at a time. The riding trail was 17 miles, a complete circle around the state park, but after a couple of miles his bottom began to get sore and his groin would disappear, figuratively.
The first thing to do in a situation like that is to start adjusting things, if you thought to bring a wrench along. The seat could go higher or lower. You could tip it down, up. You could readjust the handlebars, bring the shaft up and straighten your back, or lower it and bear down into the wind.
It seemed like such a compromise though. There’s a point where the bicycle just looks ridiculous, tweaked into an unnatural relationship with the rider. And then, you yourself look funny too. You become a spectacle, food for ridicule. You become unfashionable, and society isn’t kind to those who are unfashionable.
Dick didn’t care about fashion. His bottom hurt. His skin was raw. His nuts were numb from mashing flesh against his symphsis pubis.
He needed to spend some money.
He walked into the bike store and asked the salesman if he could show him a nice soft bicycle seat, detailing to him the problem so he could make a proper recommendation.
“You know what you need to do…” the salesman said. “You need to smear Vaseline on your rear end. And some of these tight bike shorts. Seventy bucks, they’re on sale. That’ll take care of it.”
“Take care of what? I want a new bicycle seat.”
“Naw, the seat’s not the problem. You need some Vaseline and some new shorts.”
“Do you sell Vaseline here?”
Dick suddenly remembered that he needed to be somewhere, the Target store down the street where he’d seen a billowy, Rubenesque bicycle seat hanging on a rack. There was a nice sheepskin cover for it too. It would be the perfect alternative to straddling a brick for 17 miles.
He took it home and set himself to installing it. First he’d need a cold beer from the refrigerator there in the garage. Then he’d need to pop off the old seat and put on the new one.
It looked right. Now it needed to feel right. He got on and off, rocking back and forth, doing the hula, The Twist, the Hully Gully, until it was just right.
Now to lift it onto the car rack and drive to the park for a test ride.
One mile. Trees blurred past as he floated on the bloated sheepskin covered pillow between his legs. Five miles. He still had nerve sensation below his waist. It was a feeling he hadn’t had in a long time. The wind roared, whooshed, whispered in his ears when he turned his head this way, then that, watching the trees blur by. Seventeen miles. Roar. Whoosh. It was the sound of success. It was the sound of relief. It was the sound of peace of mind… minus the petroleum jelly in the pants.