Published: July 13, 2011

By Clay Evans

I don’t know the mysterious rider who writes under the provocative nom de plume “Spandex Sucks,” and I can’t presume to know what would motivate anyone to adopt such a public identity. I can, however, offer, six awesome reasons you shouldn’t hate Spandex:

Reason #6: It makes sense for cycling. Would you play golf in a wetsuit? Perhaps you’d like to go fishing in a coat and tie. Maybe you’d don a fencing getup to ride a horse. Like any “uniform,” every aspect of a cyclist’s gear and clothing serves a purpose—including those allegedly maddening, infuriating stretchy chamois shorts (see #5) and jerseys.

Reason #5: Bunchies. Just what it sounds like. You should be thrilled that the cyclist you’re passing isn’t plucking constantly at her buttocks, desperately trying to dislodge excess material from where the sun don’t shine, causing her to lose focus and wobble into your path, where she will become roadkill with a tragically unresolved wedgie and you, dear Spandex hater, will have a massive therapy bill trying to exorcise your guilt.

Reason #4: Your pocketbook. For some reason, the bright, colorful jerseys and shorts worn by cyclists enrage some people. But those colors are as much for you as for perky pedalers, as you’re much more likely to see them instead of running over them. Duller colors = more squashed cyclists = higher insurance rates. (At least in theory; after all, if somebody hiccups, like a good neighbor, Big Insurance is there … to raise rates.) Think of those aggravating multi-hued cyclists as the human equivalent of brightly colored, venomous insects and poisonous frogs: Stay away!

Reason #3: Ahem. Your insecurity is showing. If you hate Spandex, you might have an attitude about the sweet little old men and ladies and athletic young bucks and does who are wearing the stretchy stuff while getting some healthy aerobic exercise. Meanwhile, you’re out of breath driving down the block for a quart of milk. See any connection?

Reason #2: Logical fallacy (and misdirected projection). Do you fume that all bicyclists are a menace and refuse to obey traffic laws like everyone else does? Do you then engage in subconscious transference to rail against “Spandex” as if it were the cause? A) Yes, there are self-centered bozos on bikes—just as there are in cars and grocery store lines, and movies, and everywhere, but they are a tiny minority. And B), why yes, many such brightly attired bozos do choose Spandex-brand athletic fabric. But this is correlation, not causation.

And the #1 reason you should not hate Spandex is: Why the, um, bleep do you care? These are people, young and old, having fun outdoors, getting in shape and enjoying each other’s company. Shockingly, they wear clothes that make the activity safer and more comfortable and—the horror, the horror—more fun. What, exactly, is the problem again?

The Elevations Buffalo Bicycle Classic, which raises funds for scholarships, includes ride distances of 14, 35, 50, 70 and 100 miles. To learn more about the Sept. 11 event or to register, click here.