German Bicyclists

Unless the German weather gods punish me with rain, hail, snow or ice (which sadly happens more regularly than you might suspect), I take my bike to work. Its about 6 miles through downtown Cologne and takes me about 25 minutes. My bikes breaks hardly work, the tires are notoriously flat but at least I don't need the bell (which doesn't work anyways), since the bike persistently squeaks. And since my basket is only attached with cable connectors it regularly flies off when I take corners to quickly. Apart from that, I wear my regular -business casual- clothes on my way to work.

One morning, after my trip to work I am in the elevator going up to my office when a man in complete bike outfit (aerodynamic helmet, bike (short) shorts, a super tight bike shirts, bike shoes) enters. Trying to make casual elevator chat I ask him where he comes from by bike, he then responds with a disapproving look on my asumingly unsporty business casual look "its very far by bike...its not like you would know it." Turns out he lives two streets away and needs 5 minutes longer than I do...not including the time he takes to change out of his super "cool" bike clothes and into his work clothes.

This is the thing I don't get about German bike riders: Why do they dress up in a very expensive, ineffective bike outfit to ride to the cafe on the corner for their sunday "coffee and cake"? WHY? Is it because they think dressing up like Lance Armstrong makes their bike ride a sporty tour de fource and not a mere leisure activity? Is it for the attention they get with the "clack clack" of walking with their bike shoes? Is it because they think an apparant tour de france contestant has better chances with the ladys than average joe?  Or do they just like to blow thousands of euro on the newest in ass tight padded bike pants and mike shirts?