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Risking his neck
Driving around town the other day, I found myself in a bad mood.
I was running an errand that all but demanded four-wheeled transport, but the conditions — there was about 14 feet of snow on the ground, and it was cold and blustery, and I was still in the throes of a kick-to-the-head upper-respiratory infection that I’m finally starting to think I’m over — would have kept me off my bike anyway.
I spied a guy on a bike. Good for him, I thought.
I drew closer, and my admiration turned to … morbid fascination.
The dude was rockin’ a scarf.
Now, I like a warm neck as much as the next guy. I’ve worn all manner of garments and apparatuses to keep warm during cold-weather commutes — lobster-claw mitts and balaclavas and ear warmers and insulated geegaws and doohickies — and while not all have necessarily been bike-specific, all have been bike-appropriate.
I’ll admit I’m a bit predisposed against guys wearing scarves. I reckoned if men are going to wear neck insulation, they should go ascot or go home, and if I man is considering wearing an ascot … well, no man should wear an ascot unless he’s a proper Brit.
But, whatevs. That’s in non-bike life.
On the bike, a scarf is just about the most ridiculous — not to mention dangerous — garment available, with the possible exception of skinny jeans on hipster men. But, again, that latter bit is personal bias.
Maybe I’ve seen “Faces of Death” or “Pet Sematary 2” one time too many (which, come to think of it, would be once, combined), but all I could see was that scarf flapping in the chilly bluster, flapping, flapping, licking at the back tire like a snake’s tongue, flapping, licking … then wrapping, wrapping itself around the stylish (but warm-necked!) scarfee’s rear wheel. He tumbles backward off the saddle, his airway constricted, fingers scrabbling at his throat, eyes bulging with fear … and I can look no more.
OK, that all happened in my head.
In real life, the dude crossed Clinton Parkway without incident, said scarf flapping — not licking — in the breeze.
I turned around as quickly as I could, but Sir Scarfsalot was nowhere to be seen. I didn’t want to be a know-it-all, but I thought I should warn him of the inherent dangers of be-scarfed cycling.
Or at the very least, I’d let him in on the wonders of … the turtleneck.