The first rule of Fart Club is that you never talk about Fart Club. The second rule of Fart Club is that you should never fart while bicycling in a group — unless you can figure out how to do it and not get caught. (For you Chuck Palhaniuk purists, when CP wrote Fight Club, he was talking about fighting, not farting, so rule two is what I say it is.) The latter is a taboo subject (tab-poo?), but I’m gonna go ahead talk about it. But I must include this disclaimer: I’ve never farted on a bike ride, like ever. I’m too classy. This is all data I heard from other people. Anyway, I’ll understand if this ain’t yo cuppa tea, however, I think you’ll find it refreshing. If you don’t, well, to quote the Fresh Prince of Belair: “Yo homes, smell ya later!” I hope you’ll stick around. Like a bad, well, you know…
Now to clarify, when I say peloton (you say what?), I’m not just talking about professional bike racers. I mean any group of riders, from a 100-person critical mass, to a dozen social riders, or just a few friends. The goal is the same: to pass wind without your fellow riders knowing it happened. Or at least knowing it was you. If you can expel gas without anyone quoting the song by Lynyrd Skynyrd — “Oo-oo that smell!” — you’ve passed muster.
The third rule of Fart Club is “s/he/they who smelt it, dealt it.” Yes, this one is an oldie but goodie that we all should know, but it applies to biking so bears repeating. If you shout out, “Eww, man, who farted?” there’s a very good chance it actually WAS you, and even if it wasn’t, people will immediately be suspicious. So don’t go there. But it’s ok to cast aspersions on others silently by using body language. In the afterglow of your colon blow, look around at other riders with a grimace on your face, nod at the person next to you, and maybe do a nose pinch. Subtlety is key.
Now, if you really do have to float an air biscuit, you have several strategies you should try to employ. Chief among these should be obvious: drop off to the back. Maybe even stop and make it look like you have to pee, which is totally acceptable. Or if it’s a fast ride with some piss nazis who will drop you (like a hot bottle of urine), fake a mechanical. A gearing problem makes sense as a logical explanation. Let the flatulence fly, and when you come back to the group, say something like, “Oh, dude, my derailleur limiting screw must be coming loose, cuz my chain ain’t grabbing right!” Easy peasy, greasy squeezy!
But what if you’re in the middle of the pack and can’t do that when the gaseous vapors insist upon making a hasty exit from your derriere? Well, here is where your years of practice as a pro pooter come into play. Now, you’re in luck if you can tell it’s going to be an SBD — silent but deadly (if you don’t know that, where the hell have you been, you amateur fartist?).
The trick here is to let ‘er rip whilst casting aspersions on adjacent riders. You can give some side eye, maybe make like you just ran over a dead armadillo and try to maneuver to the side, cough loudly, or just start talking. Any of the above distractions should do the trick to at least create some doubt if anyone does catch a whiff of your foul intestinal combustion and tries to blame you.
From here, we move into AAA territory – advanced asshole aspiration. The best way to cover up a loud anal burp is to time it just right. Assuming you can control your sphincter and have been doing your Kegels, wait for a car to pass. Or maybe a semi, if it’s a Big Ripper. You’re on a trail, or a country back road with no traffic, you say? Then you’re going to have to hope for a caw-caw of a predator bird, a stiff wind, thunderstorm, sonic boom, or multiple loud conversations. And be sure to disguise your bum lift by stretching your legs a bit before and after liftoff.
If none of those distractions are happening, you can always take a chug of water and fake like you’re choking on it. They’ll all be so distracted they’ll hopefully overlook (oversmell?) the fart. If someone does still happen to hear (then smell) l’esssence du merde, you can deny it or just blame it on the choking and laugh it off. “Are you sure it wasn’t Jeff? He had that bean burrito at the rest stop. I was so busy trying not to die from choking, I didn’t even notice!”
There is one other possibility, but it’s highly risky and impractical since you’ll be seen. But it’s so over the top the fart will be forgiven. Get you one of those gas grill clicker lighters jobbers and put it in your bike jersey or backpack. If you should let one slip, hold it up to your bum and fire it up to burn off the gas. I don’t recommend it, especially if you’re wearing flammable lycra, so do this at your own risk. You’d be the first to do this and survive, except maybe those guys on Jackass.
If it’s just you and a buddy, you’re, um, shit out of luck. They’re going to have to suck it up. So to speak.
Lastly, back to rule two: If you don’t eat a bunch of crappy food right before your ride, and hopefully have moved your bowels pre-ride, you should be good to go. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of poot. Am I right or what? I should know, because actually when I said I’d never done it, I was too embarrassed to tell you…
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