Robot’s Useless Reviews – Legs

The human leg is a miraculous machine, a double pivot that creates power by levering the body’s own weight against the ground, or a pedal interface, which might be connected to a bicycle, the better to move you in a large circle-like route that takes you away from and then back to your own home.

The leg and its muscles can refuel on the go, like a fighter jet or a great white shark. With relatively little effort, your legs will carry you everywhere you need to go in a day, unless where you think you need to go is a very long distance on a bike, in which case, your legs will exact a toll that would make the operators on the New Jersey Turnpike blush.

Legs are undeniably good to have, but all legs are not created equal.

My legs, for example, are relatively short, hairy, and bowed. At the cycling version of Hogwarts, the magic hat would probably have put me in Gnarnia, the trail-riding house, even though I’ve pretended for certain periods that I was a roadie. In the end, I wasn’t competitive enough to ride road bikes, and not enough interested in the advanced grooming rituals practiced by true adherents. My legs should have told me where I belonged a long time ago. Maybe they did, and I just wasn’t listening.

After all, Jens Voigt said, “Shut up, legs!” Having said that, other than a predilection for coffee and a keen interest in watching Jens Voigt wreck people in breakaways, Jens and I don’t have much else in common. Maybe he’s not my spirit animal.

A bike fitter once asked me if I’d broken my left tibia at some point. He was walking behind me at the time. I said, “No, why?” And he said, “Because I’ve never seen one curved like yours that hadn’t been broken.” I told him a story about my Welsh grandfather, so bow-legged that his cattle dog could run between the old man’s legs without touching either one.

But I digress.

Here are some of the problems with legs, in their current design iteration:

  1. There’s no direct fuel input port. Having to shovel all manner of food, either natural or engineered, into a auxilliary port where it has to be processed into glycogen, which then goes into a general-purpose circulatory system is inefficient. I need to be able to pour Full Gas Coke directly into my quadriceps, do not pass Go!, do not earn $200.
  2. Why so hairy? There are fleece pants now. Since this stupid pandemic started, I’ve scarcely taken my off. My legs are so hairy that shaving them puts me at risk of bleeding out, the death of a thousand, follicle-shaped cuts. And then that stuff starts to grow back, I could grate cheese on my shins. Come to think of it, that’s a YouTube channel the world might need.
  3. They’re not replaceable, like aluminum derailleur hangers. Even as I type, my legs are husks of their former selves, driven to absolute lactic threshold and beyond. This would be a great time to pull them down off the back of the couch, detach at hip, and replace with a fresh and ready pair. Is this not the future? When does the future arrive? We’ve all been waiting so long.

If you are not like me, if you are more like my neighbor and riding “pal” who has longer levers and one of those vaguely equine asses that drives them, you may not be nodding your head along with my tepid evaluation of legs, as such. If so, I suspect you occasionally start sentences with the phrase, “When I was still racing with the Cat 2s <chuckle, chuckle, chuckle>,” and probably even know what your VO2 max is. I’m not saying we’re not friends, I’m just saying I don’t even know how to play this Quidditch game you seem to be so good at.

Afterward: I’m 49 years-old and really have no business making Harry Potter references. The tortured C.S. Lewis joke at the beginning is more in tune with my generation, but hey, this is The Cycling Independent. We’re clued into the here and now. Kanye for President 2020! What? Oh.

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