|No one ever said that riding a bike was clean.|
Last week there was a fairly large email thread that I was a part of weaving it's way through about group rides and etiquette. Most of the talk was about coming up with a system to help people understand where rides were going, how difficult and how long they going to be. And all that is well and good but the idea of etiquette got me thinking. I've talked before about the top ten rules for riding in a group. In fact it was my very first post (As I squint off into the distance.). But something I didn't touch on in that post were snot rockets and spitting. Both of these things are important tasks for riders to master because lets face facts. The human body is a leaky, wet and runny mess. And that's before burritos...
Snot Rockets: This is an invaluable tool to have in your arsenal. Not only to keep snot from running down your face but also to help you breathe better. And anyone who has been gnawing on the stem for more than a few seconds knows that you want all the air you can get.
First, please, if you're in a group don't just let it fly. If you can. Roll out towards the yellow line (If it's safe to do so.) or drift back to the back of the group.
Second, when you are about to blow. Do so in a downward direction. Look down at your top tube and blow under your arm (The pic above does a good job illustrating this.). I can't tell you how many asshats I've seen on rides just turn their head to the side and spackle my bike, myself and everyone around them with their own personal rinse. It's nasty... If you can't leave the spot you are in (A good example is if the race is on and you're hanging onto the wheel in front of you for dear life.). Then point your head down and farmer blow into your glove. I know it's gross, but I'd much rather deal with my own mucus than have the poor bastards behind me deal with it. Like I said, no one ever said cycling was clean.
Of course if you are truly old school and carry a handkerchief then I guess you've got you're own problem solved (You gentleman you.). I personally have never carried one. Mostly because I have never had the need to bestow a token of my gratitude to some handsome knight that has saved me from a fate worse the death (Hmmm... Maybe I should start carrying one...). But kudos to you people that do.
Spitting: A lot of the same rules apply to spitting as snot rockets. Being away from people when you do it if you can... Look down and to the side instead of just turning and letting it fly...
A couple of tips that I would suggest as well is to put your arm down on the side you are leaning over to spit so that any mist is somewhat blocked by your arm instead of giving the person behind you a shower. My SSHW likes to spit down and in front of her (Like your front wheel is the spittoon.). Which I don't think is a bad idea either.
Bottom line with all of this is be courteous. Think about others before you think of yourself. It only takes someone else's loogies to land on your legs or feet a couple times to understand how important this kind of etiquette is.
Thanks for reading!
Rubber side down,