Gear Prudence: I work at a pretty stodgy place and we’re required to wear suits every day, even Friday. I still bike commute, and 90 percent of the time I can ride in my work clothes. But other bike commuters think I’m going to be slow just because of what I’m wearing. At every red light, they ride in front of me, only to have me immediately blow past them once the light turns green (I ride fast). How do I get them to stop to stop making assumptions about my speed based on what I’m wearing? —Speed Unrecognized, I Throttle Ultimately Past
Dear SUITUP: It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that people use clothes as a visual shorthand for a whole host of assumptions, and bike commuters are not exempt from this kind of judgement. But lycra no more equals a guarantee of swiftness than a suit does sluggishness. The relationship between clothes and bike speed isn’t causal, and even if the assumption proves right more often than it proves wrong, it’s still just a guess. Conveying information about your intended pace is no easy task, and you’ll have to overcome the sartorial clues that suggest slowness. Perhaps your tailor can embroider your latest Strava KOM onto the back of your jacket, or sew some appliqué lightning bolts onto the sides of your trousers. You could switch to a time trial helmet. Or mutter, “I’m fast, actually,” when they roll by. If you confound their expectations enough, GP is sure other bicyclists will be more than happy to keep their distance —Gear Prudence
Gear Prudence: Like most people, I have keys and I’m used to keeping them in my pocket. But when I bike this is really uncomfortable. I’m thinking about getting a carabiner and clipping my keys to my belt. But can I really? That’s a very particular look and I’m not sure I can pull it off. —Could Latching Items Pantwise Prove Yucky?
Dear CLIPPY: Before taking such a momentous step as [checks notes] clipping your keys to your belt and displaying them to the whole world (or to the people who happen to see you during your bike ride), pause to consider the implications. No longer will your keys be tucked away in your pocket digging into your thigh, or maybe scratching your phone, but instead will be dangling freely, exposed to the whooshing air, and jingling with each bump. Sure, you’ll be more comfortable, but what will people say? Will they say something like “huh, I have no opinion about how this person carries their keys since it is of absolutely no consequence to me”? Or will they say something like “huh, this seems like a fairly utilitarian solution to key portaging”? The mind reels. —GP