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My dad gets himself a bike.

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Posted by Alfie on September 06, 2021 at 14:59:29

My dad, Tony, is having a bit of a mid-life crisis I think – there is no other reasonable explanation! - and has decided that going for a morning run every day is not enough to keep him fit.

A week ago Saturday he went out early, declined all offers of any company from me or my brothers, refused to say where he was going or what he was going to do. He arrived home with a cycle rack and a brand new road bike on top of the car. He had been to the local cycle shop – he knows the owner through his Rotary Club – and bought the bike and all the gear to wear (lycra padded-seat compression tights, long-sleeve top, shoes and helmet, all in a rather smart looking dark mossy green and black with reflective stripes for visibility), goodness knows what he thought he’d look like in all that stuff; he gets twitchy about wearing compression shorts with running shorts over for our morning run, especially if we get soaked in the rain. I tried to tell him he’d feel very exposed in those tights but he just laughed it off and said I was being paranoid. The bike looked very smart but dad refused to let any of us have a ride as he claimed it had been set up for his frame and he didn’t want us fiddling with it. It is a Boardman SLR 8.9 with twelve-speeds and a black and red frame.

When mum asked him “What the h*ll did that thing cost you, exactly?” he replied “Not so much really …. I got a discount from old Harry, you know as a fellow Rotarian …….”

“How much?” mum asked again with the dreaded steely look in her eye.

“£1,500 plus the other kit.” dad mumbled “Harry threw the bike rack in as a freebie and the clothing, helmet and shoes were £90 odd.”

Mum rolled her eyes and walked away.

The next day I was ready to go for our normal run when dad appeared in his cycling kit.

“I thought I’d taker the bike for it’s inaugural ride, want to come along instead of running?” he asked.

I was a bit speechless at the sight of him all dressed up. He is quite trim for a man of his age – 40 in November – but his cycle gear made him look like a stick insect and it was so tight all over that it left nothing to the imagination, good job it was all dark colours. I guessed he hadn’t looked at himself in a full length mirror.

“Yes, OK. I’ll get my bike – but you’ll be quicker than me on that new bike of yours, I don’t want to hold you back.” I went to get my bike and at the same time slipped on a pair of tracksuit bottoms, more comfortable than running shorts for cycling.

It was damp when we set off and soon started raining, getting steadily heavier as we cycled, by the time we had been riding for half an hour it was pouring and we were both soaked to the skin and I could feel water dripping down my face from my wet hair plastered to my scalp, it was like being under a shower. Dad had tried out his bike’s speed and was way ahead of me; we had agreed to meet again at a bus stop shelter a bit further down the road from where we would start our ride home.

Dad was waiting, sitting on the bench in the shelter, and looking just as wet as me. His lycra clothing gleamed with wetness and when he stood up as I approached it was obvious that the wet lycra was clinging to every inch of his frame. He was grinning from ear to ear.

“That was a refreshing ride, wasn’t it?” he asked as I dismounted.

“Could say that!” I laughed as I took off my helmet and shook my head and sprayed water around from my wet hair “That’s better – rain keeps running into my eyes ……”

We got even wetter as we rode home and were dripping wet by the time we turned into the drive at home and went into the garage to put our bikes away.

We went into the kitchen via the back door and found mum and my brothers sitting at the table having breakfast. Dad walked in first and Gerry took one look at him and burst out laughing, whilst mum just sat open mouthed.

“What’s so funny, Gerry? Never seen anybody soaking wet from the rain?” dad asked.

“Just go and look in a mirror, I’m just amazed you went outside looking like that – you’d have words to say about being modest and not showing off if it was any of us…….” Gerry laughed.

“What …….?” dad asked.

“Perhaps you should just go and change out of that wet gear, both of you. Oh, and Tony, have a think about wearing some loose shorts over that lycra next time – I don’t mind that look ……. but others might not want to see all your charms and assets.” she laughed “You don’t want to be seen as a M.A.M.I.L. do you?”

“Blooming cheek! I’m not middle aged …..!” dad protested.

“Why else did you buy that bike, dear?” mum asked.

He didn’t have an answer for that.

As we headed off to change out of our wet kit, dad asked me “Does this really look so bad? Be honest.”

“You’ll be fine with a pair of shorts on top. Let’s just say that now it’s all too obvious that a sizeable part of you enjoys the feel of wet lycra …… go look in a mirror, dad.”

Dad didn’t use his bike for the next few days but when he did again he appeared in the lycra again, but with a pair of black gym shorts worn on top. A much better and more modest look.

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