by Rich Testardi, Jack Dingler, and Ken Kifer
Rich Testardi wrote:
Hi. My name is Rich and I'm a transcon-holic. I started riding 20 years ago as a boy --
10 miles here, 10 miles there, on weekends... I really never thought anything bad would
come from it -- it was just like a game... The next thing you know, I was riding during
the week, missing work, even missing T.V. sitcoms in the evenings. And I was even
convincing my FRIENDS to go with me... It was an addiction and I didn't even know it.
All of a sudden, a three speed roadster wasn't good enough for me anymore... So, I
borrowed a ten speed from a so-called friend... One thing led to another and, before I
knew it, I bought my OWN 24 speed mountain bike with twist grip shifters... I honestly
thought the fresh air and thrills were all that mattered. I was out of control --
especially on the long rocky descents... I began hanging out with people who wore bike
shorts, gloves, and even helmets... I began to think that was all normal.
Of course my co-workers tried to help me get back into the 40 hour work week and
evening sitcoms, but I was convinced I knew better. I thought I had found true peace of
mind, but I know now all I had found were some technical challenges and cheap thrills...
Anyway, last summer it all came to a head... I never even saw it coming... I really
thought I was still in control... Anyway, like I was saying, last summer it all came to a
head. I left my job and took THREE MONTHS OFF just to ride and ride. No T.V., no work, no
nothing. I just wasted and peddled away. To be honest, some days I didn't even have a
DESTINATION... I'm so embarrassed. And the WORST thing is that I thought it actually felt
GOOD at the time, and I even believed in my so-called friends encouragement... I was THAT
I got back to work afterwards and I honestly couldn't even see WHAT was so IMPORTANT
about work. I actually thought I would like to NOT WORK! That was when my boss finally
called Transcon-holics Anonymous and my healing began.
The first thing they did was separate me from my bike and so-called friends. It was
hard at first, I have to admit, but after just a few months of shock treatments intermixed
with video tapes of mid-day talk shows, I began to see the soft blue glow of the tube...
Then they started easing me back into work -- a short phone conference at first, then a
meeting or two, and finally multi-day touchy-feely offsites. It was so strange. I had
completely forgotten the warm glassy-eyed look of my co-workers as they nodded off in the
back of a meeting room...
As I started nodding off myself, I knew I was on my way home, and my transcon days were
Jack Dingler replied:
Man, didn't anyone ever tell you that there are ways to beat the system?
1. First off, find a safe place to park your car and bike, near your workplace. Then
commute to your car by bicycle and then drive your car the 1/4 mi or so to work. This way,
no one will suspect that your slipping back into your old ways.
2. Sneak your sports drinks in using a thermos or carry it on a nondescript lunch bag.
You can probably fit a Camelback into a briefcase.
3. Rewrap your Power Bars so that they look like Snickers. Bring some real Snickers in
case a coworker wants one. Don't leave any Gu Gell wrappers, or the like, in the waste
4. If you must take biking mags or catalogs to work, insert them into boring looking
trade magazines so that it looks like your researching. If you drool on the pages, they'll
be even more impressed with your dedication.
5. Never forget to change all of your clothes when getting ready for the office.
Wearing Sidis into the office is a dead giveaway that you've fallen off the wagon. Be
careful with the sunglasses too. Don't take the hat to work.
6. Make sure that you never wear anything that might not cover unusual tan lines. Some
of your office mates may have been trained to watch for little details, such as these.
7. When climbing stairs with office mates, act like it's difficult. Get winded, try to
make your face turn red. Showing any superhuman abilities like climbing stairs with ease
is a sure giveaway that you are a cyclist.
8. Be sure to act droopy and half asleep when you get to work. If you're too alert,
some people might get suspicious.
9. Occasionally make up some story about something that you saw a cyclist do. Faking
derision will be tough, but we all have to make sacrifices for our addictions.
10. Wear baggy clothes. Don't give anyone any reason to believe that you are fit.
11. If #10 fails, don't say, I work out, jog, swim, etc... Next thing you know, a
coworker will call you on it. Your form will suck and they'll suspect that you might be
cycling again. How many times have had a friend come along on a ride, bragging all the way
to the start, only to wander all over the road and quit five miles into the ride? You
probably won't look any better pretending to be a tennis player. Blame it on your genes
and change the subject.
12. When people tell you they called, drove by, your car was there but you didn't
answer, just lie. Say you were out with your grandma. You were sleeping, drunk and passed
13. If someone calls right after you've finished a ride and they ask why your out of
breath, say, I thought it would be you, so I ran to the phone...
14. When people comment on your weight, blame it on a high metabolism. respond with,
"I wish I looked healthy like you, everyone thinks I'm anorexic."
15. If you're caught. Don't blame it on an evil twin. That never works. Admit your
weakness, blame it on stress and don't get caught again.
Television will be the tough part. You'll need to pick a series of show that are to be
your favorites. Try to pick shows that don't interest your coworkers but try to pick inane
ones so that you'll still fit into the herd. Then you'll need to come up with a means to
keep up with the shows without watching them. Web pages and TV and cable guides can all be
used for resources. Unfortunately, you can find yourself entrapped by your own deception
if you offer an opinion on a show that didn't actually air due to a game overrun, special
report or Presidential Address. For this reason, don't volunteer to much information.
Chances are, if you pick the right shows, you won't need to talk about them anyway. If
discussing television is unavoidable, you might invest in one of those little radios that
pick up TV stations so that you can listen while you ride.
Hope this helps.
Ken Kifer replies:
Wow, Rich and Jack; you have really helped me see the light. You know, I wouldn't tell
this to another living soul, but I too have betrayed the American work ethic by enjoying
cycling. Oh, I try to cover it up the best I can; I moan and groan about how I'm too poor
to get my van fixed, or I talk about my tendency to fall asleep and wander off the road
when driving (the next thing I know, they're telling me not to drive), but I know they see
through me. For one thing, when I come in in the morning, I am bright and cheerful and
friendly. My cheerful mood spoils their whole day. And then at lunch time, I quickly wolf
down my meal, eating twice as much as they do and looking slim, while they have to
ponderously and slowly chew their ways through their greasy meals, and then slowly raise
their ponderous bodies from their chairs. Then, in the afternoon, when it's time to go, I
skip out of the building light on my feet, feeling gay. That's a terrible way to act when
every other decent soul is complaining about tired legs and feet. It's no wonder no one
I just really need to change my ways before it's too late. Someday, everyone else I
know will be dead and gone, and I'll feel young and healthy. Won't I regret it then!