TCI Friday

Baseball is the great American pastime, but way more people ride bikes. If you tune into a baseball game, especially if you haven’t watched one for a long time, one thing that might strike you (not literally I hope) is the amount of spitting going on. I don’t know what baseball players have in their mouths. I don’t know what they eat and drink, but whatever it is, it must leave an awful taste behind. Those guys are veritable fountains of saliva, and I’ve never seen a thing like that in a mall, by the food court. It’s just not appetizing.

It’s doubtful our friends at Shimano knew they’d find themselves juxtaposed with content like this, but they’ve stuck by us this season anyway. What a bunch of absolute peaches.

But many cyclists are spitters too. And that’s before we even get to the topic of snot rockets. Quite how TCI Friday, and the Friday Group Ride that came before it, have never addressed the topic of bike-related expectoration mystifies me.

Confession time: On the bike, I spit AND blow snot rockets, and I’m not sure how I became that person.

If your estimation of me, as a person, has just gone down, that’s good news. It means it was much higher than I had suspected previously. You’re probably right on the money now.

I don’t think I was always a spitter on the bike. I think I learned that from other people I rode with. Their spitting gave me the license to spit. Scientifically speaking, exercise does lead to the secretion of a certain protein that makes our saliva thicker, which in turn makes it harder to breathe. So there’s a reason. Some people will take a pull on their water bottle, filled with carbohydrate solution, and then spit that out without swallowing. This is called ‘carb rinsing’ and what it does is fool the brain into thinking more fuel is on the way, which allows the body to more work, basically overriding the governor upstairs trying to get us slow down and rest.

I should note, for posterity and in the interests of being scientifically consistent, that during the pandemic I made a concerted effort to eject potentially virus-riddled effluent much less often and certain never within the view of innocent passersby. I’m not a monster.

This week’s TCI Friday puts it on the line: Are you a spitter? What about snot rockets? Or are these habits just too gross and possibly part of the reason the non-cycling world takes such a dim view of those of us who would dare to ride a bike?

Look, we know you love TCI, but if you REALLY cared, you’d buy a t-shirt AND wear it, because that’s how humans demonstrate love in 2022 or whatever year this is.

Join the conversation
  1. rides in be says

    Occasional and somewhat random spitter. I ride with several guys who work for NASA or Space X. And my wife is also a runner who spits and keeps it up when I can get her in the bike. In this realm all character judgements are based on ‘how’ not. ‘If’ you let it fly.

  2. Jeff vdD says

    Spit: no
    Snot rocket: yes
    Pee: never while riding

  3. tcfrog says

    Spit and snot rockets galore. But I do make sure that nobody is behind me when I do it. I usually ride solo, but if I’m with others I drift off the back to eject the troublesome secretions, and I also make sure to check for cars and pedestrians to avoid any collateral damage.

  4. Pat Navin says

    Love the Pudge shot. I would also love to be able to blow snot rockets, but I broke my nose a number of times playing rugby and my nasal passages are all out of wack. So I spit. Plenty. These days, I mostly ride by myself. I always check nearby walkways to make sure that I don’t gross out local folks out for an enjoyable run.

  5. trabri says

    Pro hockey players spit a ton too. It makes it hard for me to watch. I rarely spit and snot rockets usually end up on myself so I don’t.

  6. TominAlbany says

    Yes and Yes.
    Like all noted, I’m careful about when and where.

    That shot of Pudge. Man, it broke my heart when he went to Chicago and ended up playing over half of his career there.

    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      @Tom and Pat – I know Pudge went to Chicago, or rather, I know it intellectually. But to me he’s never not a Red Sox.

  7. johnnieraz says

    If you think baseball is bad then you’ve probably never been to China. You’d have to rewrite that sentence about not seeing it at the mall. Bad habits are another reason I ride alone. But I don’t spit, even at the mall

  8. dr sweets says

    Spitting: Only discretely off into trail side underbrush.
    Snot rockets: Nope. Too much of a mess. I’ll remove a glove, blow my nose in my hand and wipe it on a tree/rock/bush and keep going.
    Chewing gum: I know you didn’t ask, but…Oh hell no! Disgusting! Actually I was broken of any desire to ever want to chew gum back when I was a day prep school and getting caught chewing gum meant automatic detention. They actually used to say to us that chewing gum was a sign of poor breeding which is not likely said nowadays even if the punishment remains. Still, watching (or listening to…even worse) people chew is nasty. Plus, ball sports? Meh.

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