MEN COULD NEVER get into Pilates. Why? Not enough stuff to buy. How many yoga mats and pairs of Thai fisherman pants can you have? That's why blokes love cycling. Ride for an hour, come home and then spend five hours trawling the net for the perfect high-modulus-weave carbon-fibre seat post.
Is it my imagination or is the world being taken over by Lycra louts with their arses in the air, their handlebars on the bitumen and their anti-erectile-dysfunction gel inserts firmly installed?
My partner is mad for it. I realised this, not when I woke one morning to find "boys from the bunch" drinking coffee and comparing pubic bone heights. And it wasn't when he sat up all night watching the Tour de France in full cycling gear complete with silly little cap, saying the word "peloton" a lot. I realised he was obsessed when he wheeled out his bike and sheepishly asked, in a "Does my bum look big in this?" voice, "Are these carbon-fibre shifters too much with the silver alloy components and the shallow-bend handlebars?"
I smiled, backed away slowly and ran screaming: "FREAK! FREAK! THE MAN IN THE LYCRA WITH THE SHAVED LEGS IS A FREAK!"
At 8am in his bike gear he's not going anywhere, he's "just done a quick 100 kilometres in a bunch with Cadel Evans". This from a man who used to drive up to the shops to buy his family-size block of Cadbury Dairy Milk.
Suddenly it's all bike bling and cycling porn. Our bedroom is knee-deep in magazines with articles like "Hot Pumps, Top Routes and Tight Quads!", "Chicks Who Like Their Saddles with Titanium Rails" and "Check out the oversized tubing on that, lads!"
Some Christians have the letters WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) tattooed on their wrist. My partner has the letters WWLAD (What Would Lance Armstrong Do).
Cycling keeps you fit, saves the planet and gives men the opportunity to wear fluorescent yellow. But, man, is it boring to watch. If you don't believe me, check out Cycling Central. "Coming up in today's exciting show: people riding up hills, people riding down hills, and some people riding slightly faster than others." It's the difference between watching a sport and a game. Cycling is a sport. Golf is a game. Put that on your knicks, Bracksy.
There is no larger distance than the distance between people who would rather poke themselves in the eye with a pencil than watch this and cycling freaks. There's no biffo, the bingles are few and far between and when they happen you actually feel them because everyone has been eight years old and come a cropper fanging down a hill.
The "exciting attacks" look like one snail going a little less slow than the other. If you know your pubic bone height, tune intoCycling Central and you'll thank me. Also a great watch for the cycling obsessed is Sooty Park. It's a magazine-style cycling show that covers everything from couriers to recumbents. Less bling, more fun and a few laughs. Kind of the poor man's bicycle version of Top Gear.