Critical Mass Bike Ride or The One About Bicycling & Cheerleaders
Last Friday night, Chris and I participated in one of the coolest things I think I’ve ever done in Dallas. It was a group bike ride called Critical Mass. These bike rides are all over the nation and very popular in urban areas where sharing the road with cyclists is uncommon. It raises awareness for drivers and teaches you how to operate your bike at night. But those are the just the “responsible” sounding reasons for the ride. During the ride, I realized the real reasons for the popularity. There were probably over 100 people in attendance, with significant diversity of age, race, and style. I would say that white males in their 20-30’s were the largest group represented, but it was neat to feel united in our love of bike riding. This ride was akin to reliving our childhood. It had all the earmarks of the fun and excitement of riding a bike with a group of kids. We took over the streets. A couple of times, the leaders of the pack would stop cross traffic to allow the entire group to stay together. We were basically a harmless bike gang for a few hours in downtown Dallas. The thrill of it all had me giggling and squealing in delight for much of the ride. That is, until my husband got a flat.
At this point, I’d like to note that I had been looking forward to this ride for a month solid (it’s a monthly ride and it was our first time). When we began to prep our bikes for the ride, Chris discovered his 12 year old back tire was busted. He put in a new tube, but said that it was a matter of time before the tube burst because the tire wouldn’t hold up during the ride. He knew how excited I was and we decided to take the risk and go anyway. About 1 1/2 miles into the ride, we heard the ominous hiss from his tire. We pulled over and walked back to our car. I was slightly deflated (hehe) over missing the rest of the ride, but the night was mild and walking through downtown Dallas was fun.
Before I get to the part about cheerleaders, let me just say that sharing hobbies with your spouse is REALLY awesome! Wives: even if you aren’t a big fan of your husbands hobbies/interests, I highly encourage you to try it more than once. You might fall in love with his hobby, because it allows you to connect with your husband on another level. The joy I experienced on the ride was something Chris loved.
On our walk back we began to notice the streets were filled with young girls in an obscene amount of spandex and sequins. After the fourth group passed us, we guessed that there was a cheerleading competition in Dallas. Big hair, bows, ostentatious makeup and high-pitched antics greeted us every 50 feet. Then two women stopped to ask us for directions to the closest liquor store. They were obviously cheer moms, wearing too much animal print and head to-toe velour, in search of hard liquor. After pointing them in the proper direction, we continued our journey, a comment forming in my mind.
"If we have a daughter, she is allowed to do anything and be anything but a cheerleader. I can’t handle cheerleading."
This flies in the face of my vow to allow my kids to grow and pursue what they love, not what I prefer for them. But there is something extremely offensive to me about cheering. Whether it be the skin tight, abbreviated uniforms on little girls, the focus on looks and popularity, or the complete uselessness (IMHO) of the “sport” besides the athleticism and teamwork skills it builds. I just feel the negative attributes (cheerleaders tend to focus on their looks, weight and sexuality too early on) far outweigh the positives that could be achieved in pursuing gymnastics or sports. I don’t want to even touch to cliched image of the popular, sexually-active cheerleader, but cliches don’t become cliches on accident. I also don’t want to become a leopard-print velour wearing mom in search of vodka in the middle of a foreign city.
Critical Mass Bike Ride: 1