Biking Behaviour (part 25) – The Narcissist

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There’s a chap called Narcissus in Greek mythology – you might have heard of him. He was a good looking bloke, by all accounts, but he came to a rather embarrassing end.

Upon seeing his own reflection in the still water of a pool, he fell in love with it. Unable to drag himself away from his own beauty, he lost the will to live and stared at his reflection until he died.

It is, as we all know, the ultimate metaphor for these image obsessed times in which we live.

If only he’d been around in the time of smartphones he could have got his fix of self-love via the medium of the selfie, and got on with his life; a kind of functioning narcissist, if you like.

I could, of course, throw in a few cheap zeitgeist-y gags about Instagram now, and we could all get on with our day, but when it comes to us cyclists, there’s another angle to this.

Shop windows.

I’m the first to admit that cyclists are more image obsessed than most. As a species, we are quite fond of curating a heavily filtered social mediated view of our expensive hobby.

In other words, we quite like a selfie.

This is the socially acceptable face of narcissism.

The less acceptable face is the sight of a cyclist riding through town, past a shop-front window, and angling for a decent view of the smoothness of their pedal stroke and the slimming effect of their new kit.

This is not a good look. If you spot someone doing this, you need to call them on it.

Immediately.

As punishment, they should be forced to undertake their next ride in a kind of narcissist-correction uniform; saggy, baggy bib-shorts, Pringle golf socks, and a Castorama cycling jersey from 1993.

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At this point, I need to address one or two rumours that have been swirling around: It has been suggested that I, on occasion, have been spotted dressed in my best cycling kit and gazing with longing into shop windows.

I would like to clear this up.

The truth is that yes, I have, but the window in question belonged to my favourite local bike shop. The object of my longing was undoubtedly a bike placed in that very window to elicit that very response.

The chances are, it was Italian.

If you’d looked closely you’d have seen the saliva marks on the window.

Being the father of two young boys I have not had a decent night’s sleep in six years. Any narcissistic tendencies on my part are long gone. It’s also a long time since my unfiltered face has evoked a saliva response in anyone.

So please – no more rumours.

But if you spot your friends weaving about in the road attempting the tricky multi-task of riding a bike and engaging in shop-window-self-love you know what to do.

Reach for the Castorama, and begin the intervention.

(Image: via Pixabay)

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