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Summit Up


Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column wondering about Lycra®.

Our first question is whether it needs to be capitalized, as in Gore-Tex, Band-Aid, Dumpster and Google, to name just a few of those brand names that are used so commonly in every day speech and writing, but have somehow managed to hang on to a special status calling for capitalization.

We’d look it up in our trusty Associated Press style manual, but we’re running bleary-eyed on a mere half cup of coffee this morning and flipping through that formidable tome seems daunting at the moment. But instinct says go with the caps, so there you have it. We’re pretty sure our highly trained editors will let us know if we’re wrong.

What we really want to know about Lycra® is why cyclists are so into it. It seems you can’t just go for a bike ride anymore these days in cut-off jeans and a tank top.

Noooo, that just won’t do. You gotta have a shiny, eye-dazzling, body-hugging shirt, and the more the colors clash, the better. Kelly green, purple and neon yellow … sherbet-orange, powder- blue and neon-pink seem to be some of the faves out there.

Not only that, but it seems that advertising some miscellaneous product is part of the deal. We’re not even sure you can buy one of these shirts without a corporate logo.

Man, those companies must be laughing all the way to the bank. Not only are they getting free advertising, but people are actually paying to wear their cheezy commerical message.

We’re all about color, so we don’t want anyone to take offense, After all, this is coming from someone who enjoys (discretely) wearing tie-dye socks.

But we just don’t get it. When you go to the pool at the rec center, are the swimmers wearing the latest Michael Phelps-style wetsuit to do their laps?


When you go skiing, is everyone wearing a one-piece downhill suit a-la Bode Miller? No!

Do the many runners out there feel the need to wear the latest Usain Bolt-type track suit? Not so much.

So what is it about cycling?

Don’t get us wrong. We enjoy a good bike ride as much as anyone, especially if it involves a pub at either end, or a beer garden somewhere along the route. Why, just a couple of months ago, we rode bicycles for a whole day, circumnavigating an entire island in the process.

We wore our street clothes, rode bikes that had chain guards and luggage racks, cruised past windmills and lighthouses. We stopped for apple pie and washed it down with coffee and a liquor made from special herbs that grow only in the unique coastal dune shrubs of the island. And when we stopped in at the harbor bar for this libation, we fit right in, without feeling like space invaders from another galaxy. At the end of the day, we were tired and happy. We felt like we had a workout and that we covered some ground, saw some sights. And we didn’t need Lycra® to do it, not one little bit.

We’ve heard rumors of issues like chafing, but we know from personal experience that it’s possible to ride a bike all day in regular skivvies and street shorts without experiencing any significant discomfort.

As well, we understand the basic physics of aerodynamics, but really … how important can it be to shave a millisecond off your time as you pedal up Vail Pass with your friends?

So, readers, here’s your chance to chime in and really let us have it. We know we’re asking for it, and we know there are people who probably have strong feeling about Lycra®, one way or the other. Send your best Lycra® stories to, along with a picture of your favorite and brightest Lycra® get-up-and-go suit and, who knows, you might find yourself gracing the pages of your favorite free daily newspaper. And most of all, tell us why you think Lycra® is de rigeur these days. We really wanna know!


We out, searchin’ for some Spandex.

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