Sep 292011

A couple of days ago I chicked a guy.

That is to say, I overtook and passed him climbing a hill on the way home.

Wearing a skirt.

Mind you, only one of us was aware this was a race. He looked as if he was taking it fairly easy going up the hill when I first saw him somewhere around Sherman Avenue and maybe 7th or so. I caught a glimpse of him as I turned right (south) from 5th.

Now, I’m not fiercely competitive in many aspects of life. I like to support and encourage and see someone go on to greater things. But put someone’s back ahead of me on a bike and I spin faster. Can’t help it.

So I pegged away up the hill at least 1-2 miles faster than my usual climbing pace, which isn’t very fast given that I try not to sweat on my work rides wearing regular clothing. If nothing else, he was motivating me to put more workout value in the ride and that was an acceptable outcome.

I began to feel the gap closing, kept gaining, and finally passed him (ah, sweet victory!) a little above 10th, calling out “On your left!” with a smile in my voice and a song in my heart as I pedaled past. He didn’t chase me down and catch me before I reached my turn another six blocks up and I felt pretty triumphant, all in all.

Whether this particular terminology–which I learned from my husband when I caught and passed a guy who had passed me on a long climb on the Old Palouse Highway–is sexist, I forebear from judging.

As a feminist who never stopped using the F word to describe myself, I figure I can claim the word “chick” or “girl” (spelled, however, with a vowel and only one R—I did major in English) if I want to without giving up my independence.*

Earlier this summer, I executed an even better “chicking,” if that’s the right verb form (hey, wait, I majored in English—it’s right).

That time it was a guy who did look like he was trying, bless his barrel-chested heart, in his workout clothes pegging up the steep overpass on the Centennial Trail that takes you over Hamilton.

I breezed past him without breaking a sweat in my flowered skirt and high heels. I figure with the skirt and heels that’s at least a triple chicking.


*I would argue, however, that this is one of those terms that I can claim as a member of the group described–not one of those terms it’s okay for an outsider to apply in an attempt to bond or in a lame effort at cool hipness.

Posts in our 30 Days of Biking Blogging Inspiration & How-to Series for Sept. 2011 30 Days of Biking

  1. 30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It!
  2. Why We Ride/Resolve to Ride–A Blogspedition
  3. Preparing to Commute by Bike: Get the Worry out of the Way
  4. Buying a Bike for Commuting: Some Questions and a Blogspedition
  5. How to Bike Commute: Getting the Gear Together
  6. Bike Commuting 101: Carrying Stuff
  7. On a Roll with Wilma Flanagan
  8. 30 Days of Biking: Week One Report
  9. Ride with your Community: SpokeFest Rocks!
  10. There and Back Again: How to Pick your Bike Commute Route
  11. Intro to Bike Commuting: Route Selection Part 2
  12. More Bike Commuting Route Selection Tips: Part 3
  13. Thinking Like a Driver vs. Thinking Like a Bicyclist
  14. Biking as Downtime and other Musings on Overproductivity
  15. 30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report
  16. On a Roll with Katherine Widing
  17. I Shouldn’t Assume
  18. Falling Down on Your Bike. It Happens. To Grown-Ups.
  19. Pretty Handy, Gloves. The Blogspedition Assumes You’ll Get ‘Em.
  20. What to Wear for Your Bike Commute? Clothes.
  21. How to Get a Dropped Bike Chain Back On, Grease-Free
  22. 30 Days of Biking: Week Three!
  23. It’s All in the Attitude
  24. Things I Now Do on My Bike Without Having to Think About It
  25. Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Risk and Trust
  26. More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Friendliness and Openness
  27. Even More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Tolerance, Humor, and Persistence
  28. Bicycling Rites of Passage, Spokane Style
  29. Dear Reader, I Chicked Him
  30. 30 Days of Biking: Final Report!

Your Turn

  • Does your competitive streak emerge when a rider passes you or you see someone ahead?
  • Are we all in secret races with each other all the time? (If so, what do we get when we win?)
Sharing is karma--pass it along!

Reader Comments

  1. I could just be utterly non-athletic, but from what I know, we women have to work harder to get into the same physical shape as our male counterparts. So go you, Barb!
    It tends to take me by surprise how in shape I’ve become just from riding my bike (with a pannier and sometimes a child) around town! I tried to haul said child up the west side of the south hill in 85 degree heat and just about died, but if it had been just me, I would have been fine.
    In contrast, I used to dread going up the slightest inclines, such as that west-to-east Spokane grade you like to mention.

    I am not an athlete. I don’t do training – I likely never will.
    I think it’s pretty darn awesome that commuting has brought me to a point where I can just hop on my bike and ride 50 miles, with 1000 feet of nearly continuous ascents, on a whim.

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