When nature calls…

14 08 2010

When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go.

Just not right there, right now.

But that’s just what happened as I was eating my mid-ride lunch at the Flying Wedge in upscale Kerrisdale yesterday.

I was sitting at the single outdoor bistro table along the busy sidewalk, happily munching my Deluxe slice and enjoying the warm weather, when an Asian woman pushing a stroller with an infant passed by. A couple of steps behind her was a young girl, maybe three or four years old.

Suddenly the girl stopped short and looked up at her mom, in that universal, urgent way that says, “I’ve gotta go.”

The woman sternly instructed something to the girl in a language I didn’t understand. But from her tone and inflection of her voice, I could tell what was coming next.

The young girl squatted down right there in the middle of the busy sidewalk and peed!

Now every cyclist who rides for four or five hours knows the awkwardness when nature calls. But that doesn’t mean we answer that call on a busy street in front of people eating their lunch.

The UCI even has rules requiring racers use discretion when taking their “natural breaks.” cyclingnews.com used to list all the various fines and penalties levied against riders in the Tour, including those imposed for peeing in view of roadside spectators or getting caught pulling out their junk while on tv; they were usually pretty nominal, but they made a point.

While country rides afford plenty of places to pull off and find a discreet bush or isolated ditch for “natural breaks,” a solo urban ride presents challenges, like a lack of washrooms, or, even when there is a handy pitstop, what to do with the bike while inside?

Natural breaks in the city are a little less complicated when riding with someone; one person can watch the bike while the other takes care business.

Fortunately, I seem to have an iron bladder and can “hold it” when necessary. Although, I’ll admit, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of doing it “on the fly” should the occasion arise. Of course, I can’t even spit out water without making a mess of myself, so I should probably abstain from expelling any sort of liquid from my body while riding the bike…