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Gear Prudence: I’ve been getting into cycling a lot more over the past year, and my wardrobe has both grown and evolved. Recently I was looking to buy my first cycling cap and as I perused various websites, my wife looked over my shoulder and gasped. “Those are so dorky!” she said and asked me why I would ever think of getting one. I told her that there were lots of reasons, but I’m wondering if maybe she has a point and I’ll look like a total bike dork if I buy one. What should I do? —Cancel A Purchase?
Dear CAP: You should buy one and look like a bike dork. Because if you are sitting on the couch nonchalantly browsing cycling caps, you are already an irredeemable bike dork and you should accept that. That your wife only now expresses concerns is surprising.
You can make claims about the functionality of cycling caps, like how they keep your head warmer or cooler, keep the sun from your eyes, and wick away sweat, making you .4 percent faster. None of that really matters. You wear a cycling cap to show that you’re a self-selecting member of a (not especially) exclusive club. Any dork can ride a bike, but only a true bike dork will wear headgear that advertises it. —GP
Gear Prudence: I was sitting in Five Guys the other day at the window and I noticed a guy standing by my bike. He circled it and got up pretty close, but he didn’t touch it and then left. I don’t mean to be paranoid and maybe he was just admiring my nice bike, but it seemed suspicious. How do you tell the difference between someone scoping out your bike because they admire it versus someone looking to steal it? —Wrong Or Right, Reasonably Yucky
Dear WORRY: GP has this same problem at the National Gallery. Is that man gazing intently at the Monet to admire the brushwork or is he about to purloin it and escape via means of Rube Goldbergian subterfuge? Maybe GP needs to stop falling asleep with The Thomas Crown Affair on, but you could also benefit from further circumspection.
If it’s a nice bike or one that’s rare or particularly well-appointed, expect admirers. D.C. is full of bicycle aficionados who think nothing of gawking. If your bike is crap, reserve slightly more suspicion. If you see a person in a “Bike Thief Palooza 2012” T-shirt with bolt cutters or an angle grinder, assume the worst. Based on what you’ve described, GP doesn’t think you should assume the worst. If he didn’t touch your bike and it was just a momentary linger, it’s impossible to disambiguate his intentions. And since ultimately nothing happened, don’t dwell on it too much. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.