Gear Prudence: My wife and I are riding a long-distance charity ride next month together, and I was really looking forward to it. But last week, she “surprised” me by showing me the two matching bike jerseys she bought for us to wear on the ride. We have very different aesthetic sensibilities and I find the jersey to be, for lack of a better term, butt ugly. How do I tell her that I appreciate the gesture but that I don’t want to wear the awful jersey she picked out? —Shirt Absolutely Mortifying, Embarrassing
Dear SAME: You don’t. You get over yourself and you wear the ugly bike jersey. Your wife went out of her way to do something nice and, moreover, by picking matching outfits, wanted to associate herself with you. Perhaps if she knew that you were such a vain loner, she wouldn’t have gone through the trouble, though I suspect this isn’t the first time you’ve rebuffed her in such a way. Does your wedding ring really give you a “mysterious finger rash” or is something else going on here?
As the Blues Brothers and those creepy twins from The Shining show, matching outfits are always cool. Sports teams wear uniforms to show mutual affiliation and shared effort, and because they probably get a 10-percent discount if they order the same shirt in bulk. Embrace your teammate status and deal. —GP
Gear Prudence: Any tips on biking over wet leaves? The bike lanes are clogged with them after fall rainstorms, and I’m worried I’m going to slip and fall. —Seeing Leaves In Piles
Dear SLIP: Foliage can be lovely this time of year, until the deciduous detritus deposits itself on the roads and trails. Unless you’ve invested in a handlebar-mounted hair dryer/rake combo (patent pending Gear Prudence Industries), riding in the fall means coping with wet leaves. To paraphrase a saying, keep your eyes clear and ride where they ain’t. Avoidance will invariably be your best strategy, but there are times when this won’t be possible. In those cases, go slower, don’t make any sudden turns or weave, and try not to suddenly accelerate or brake too much. Obviously the extent to which you can manage these things will depend on a bunch of factors you can’t control, but be cautious and keep your wits about you. If you do find yourself falling, remind yourself of the autumn weekends of your youth where you whimsically leapt into leaf piles. This won’t make the ground any softer, but nostalgia might be a fun diversion. Afterwards, report the wet leaves to 311. Public agencies can be good about sweeping, but nudge them along by reporting specific troublesome locations. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email email@example.com.