Everyone has a fashion fantasy, even me
Woody Creek gets far more than its fair share of cyclists, a fact that creates a large amount of frustration among local residents who must drive River Road and the Woody Creek Road on a regular basis.The cyclists come in two flavors: The tourists who mount their rent-a-bikes and generally stay on the trails as they ride from Aspen and Basalt to Woody Creek, and the Lance Armstrong wannabes who prefer River Road. The difference apparently has to do with tires. A long portion of the bike trail from Aspen is dirt, quite accommodating to the rental units which are “mountain bikes” and have those fat tires. The wannabes ride the “racing bikes” with skinny tires, not particularly suited to dirt and gravel surfaces. Other distinguishing differences between the two groups are their outfits. The tourists show up in shorts and T-shirts, while the wannabes all wear those bizarre European racing outfits. Steve Bennett, an old friend and veteran Woody Creek Tavern bartender, had the following observation recently when a troop of wannabes pedaled up to the Tavern wearing their finest racing outfits: “They all look as if they ate boxes of crayons and then threw up on themselves.”Not a particularly kind observation, but a reasonably accurate one. Most of the folk who wear the European-style garb are in pretty good shape, so they appear quite comfortable in their Lycra and Spandex outfits, which I assume are relatively cool to wear. The problem is that a lot of less-than-physically-fit cyclists also wear the Lycra and Spandex, and because their bodies are less than perfect, the end result is a display of bulging parts that are less than attractive. Before I went out in public in a racing outfit, I would spend a few seconds in front of a full-length mirror. But in fairness to those who insist on wearing those gaudy outfits, they are doing the rest of us, those of us in vehicles, a favor. Because of the clothing they are wearing, they are much easier to see on the road and as a driver that is appreciated. Quite frankly, it is my opinion that people should be allowed to wear whatever they damn well please. This is America, after all, and I doubt that any of us want to wear the same uniform as everyone else, although I suspect there are those very conservative Republicans who would encourage such a move. Our clothing is something of a statement about ourselves, and there is no group more determined to make such a statement than the young. Members of AARP do not create fashion fads; such fads begin with young men and women who obviously are rebelling against their elders, against their parents, if you like. The snowboarding community is a classic example of creating a new look. For years we wore tight-fitting and outrageously expensive ski outfits and then the snowboarders introduced the “baggy look.” If your clothing didn’t quite fit, you were on the inside, “dude.” And the loose, sloppy look is quite de rigueur among many of today’s teenagers, whether they are snowboarding or not. Displaying the crack of your rear end in public seems to be a definite statement, and it is probably not one of “having pride in your crack.” It more likely is done for shock value, and if you are shocked, the teenager can claim “mission accomplished.”Speaking of skiing, it is worth remembering a time when that sport went through an extremely flamboyant period, a period when we decked ourselves out in outfits created from the most atrocious of colors. I once had a pair of ski boots that you could not look at without wearing sunglasses. The slopes looked as if they were covered with moving neon lights. It was something of an ugly time but we moved on, and I suspect the snowboarders will also.One must also believe that they will reach a point where their current look will strike them as drab and passé and, who knows, they may suddenly embrace tight-fitting outfits and spectacular colors. If adult skiers were to suddenly begin wearing dull, gray and brownish outfits, it would almost be guaranteed the young would head in another direction. It is their nature to be a tad rebellious, and I, for one, applaud them. We have gone through endless fashion fads, and there will be more to come. My own journey through fashion has been hopelessly nondescript, beginning with jeans, moving on to corduroy and then back to jeans. I was never drawn to the hippie look, although I have been accused of being one, and the disco era passed without my even noticing.Essentially I wear clothing to cover up my skinny body and to keep me either warm or cool, and considering where we live, more often than not I am searching for warmth.In the end, wear what you prefer to wear. Some of us may giggle at those wild cycling outfits worn by individuals fantasizing about being the next Lance Armstrong, but who in hell are we to giggle? Most of us have fantasies, don’t we? Granted, some daydreams can get ugly but they seem to be a natural part of the human condition.I have my own fantasies but I would consider it inappropriate to discuss them here, as this is a family newspaper. I can say they do include wearing a European cyclist’s outfit.This is the 330th article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where you are encouraged to wear clothing at all times – well, at least most of the time.
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