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« British Justice: As it pertains to cyclists | Main | Chaos »

Piss Stop

When nature calls, man must answer. When you gotta go, you gotta go. “How do cyclists pee while racing?” is a question that gets asked a lot during online searches; it seems people are curious, and in many ways fascinated.

It is not uncommon for a professional bike race to last six hours or more, few other sporting events last that long without a break, and so other sports don’t have to deal with this issue.

First of all it is quite easy to ride a 100 mile race without the need to urinate, so the question of how do female racing cyclists do it does not arise as often because most women’s races are under 100 miles. A 100 mile professional race is a little over four hours, and remember cyclists are losing a lot of fluid through sweat.

Sometimes a cyclist will urinate while riding, see the picture above where another rider gives a friendly push so the peeing cyclist can coast. Notice the rider pushing is not even on the same team. Cycling is a different sport in so many ways.

Cycle racing is as competitive as any other sport, just not all the time. Races are long, and there is an atmosphere of comradely, respect, and friendly cooperation.

Many sports are played one team against another. Cycling is also a team sport, but there are many teams in the same event. A cycle road race is not, attack, attack, all the way there are quiet moments when the pace is moderate. This would be a time to pee.

Alliances are made between rival riders on different teams. These are unspoken alliances that simply occur because it is to everyone’s mutual benefit to work together. Forming a pace-line with each rider doing a short “Pull” at the front while the rest ride in each other’s slipstream making less effort.

A pace-line like this will form in a breakaway group, a chasing group, or often when one rider stops for a pee, others will stop because they can then form a pace-line and catch back up to the race. (See top picture.) It would be considered bad form to attack when guys have stopped to urinate.

One also has to realize that professional cycling is traditionally a Continental European sport, with the big races held in countries like France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy.

Britain and the US have only come onboard in more recent times. In places like France, Belgium, etc. the culture is different. People are less inclined to be offended or freak out if someone (Especially a man.) is seen urinating in public.

It is not unusual, on a long drive, for European motorists to simply stand by the road side (His back to the road of course.) while taking a leak. Therefore no one thinks it peculiar if cyclists do the same.

In France for many years now there have been public urinals for men (Above.) that used to have a minimum waist-high cover around it, in case of accidental exposure.

Modern street urinals have dispensed with even that. (Picture above right, and below.)

In Britain and the US it seems we are still stuck in the Victorian era, and normal bodily functions are taboo. 

We can’t even call a lavatory or a urinal by its proper name, and instead call it a “Toilet” in the UK.

Even this term is too strong for the US where it is called a “Rest Room” or “Bathroom.”

The act of urinating is referred to as “Going to the Bathroom.” I once heard a lady say that her dog picked up a toad and the toad “Went to the bathroom" in the dog's mouth. Think about it: how ludicrous is that statement? I have never seen a toad in a bathroom, much less a bathroom inside a dog's mouth.

So if you are a recreational rider in the UK or the USA and you need to take a leak, I suggest you find a bush or a tree to go behind. You may look like a professional cyclist but this is not France or Belgium. At worst you could get a ticket for public urination.

At the very least you will offend someone, and give all cyclists a bad name. Look on this small inconvenience as part of the price we pay for freedom. I am being facetious of course.

Above: Just imagine if these kind of urinals were used at all outdoor events, festivals, and rock concerts etc. How much cheaper, less space required, and leave the enclosed "Porta-Johns" for the ladies. 



Reader Comments (11)

A good reason to wear clothing that stretches!

April 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSJX426

Those outdoor urinals are creepy.

April 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd

Only creepy to an American or Brit who have been raised to think that urinating is something we should be ashamed of.

April 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Note that in some states in the U.S., public urination can get you on the sex offender list.

April 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

A male dominated society may make it "ok" to pee in public. The last picture says it all. Guys thinking peeing in public is funny.
Peeing in a remote place is the most common acceptable behavior when relieving yourself, otherwise hold it.

April 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteralex

We could sure use the outdoor urinals pictured from France here in LA. I see people "relieving" themselves all over the city. I have even caught a woman pooping behind my work. And she wasn't the least caring or concerned about cleaning it up. Guess who got that job.....? I think we should have these all over just so people have a place to empty their bladders. Women, of course, should get an enclosed version too ! As for cyclist's I agree you should try to find some type of privacy, but if you really have to go.... do so. Unfortunately the US is still stuck in the past and someone might be offended.....LOL!!! Oh please, give it a break ! We have too many other problems to deal with. Great post Dave! Thanks.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

I like the idea of having outdoor urinals. It wouldn't bother me. It seems like an especially good idea for concerts and festivals.

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul S

Good article, Dave, and a topic that gets very little attention. But there's no reason why women can't "stand and deliver," too. I've written a column for Paddling.net on this very subject. It's titled "May Wee?" And my answer, of course, is "Yes, We Can!"

April 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTamia Nelson

Outside Vauxhall (London) train station they now have a public urinal in full view of the general public. I was quite surprised by this!

May 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNick

Peru is where I have seen people least concerned about urinating in public. At a large road junction I saw a man talking to a policeman then walking out to a patch of gravel which had formed in the middle of the road and pissing there in full view of everyone.

June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom

The portable outdoor urinals are catching on slowly here in California. I saw one at a construction site a few weeks ago. I think that they are fine and serve a much-needed purpose. Many men are not concerned with privacy when they need to pee, and will gladly use an outdoor urinal (me included!). The men's rooms at work have a urinal and a stall, and the door does not lock. When the door opens, the urinal is the first thing that you see. I overheard one of the guys in sales saying that he would feel awkward if he were using the urinal and someone else walked in. I chuckled to myself as I wouldn't care in the least. There have been a few times that it's happened to me. Once, there were 2 female coworkers passing by just as a guy opened the door. The 2 women instinctively looked in when the door opened, and there I was. I smiled and they both looked away. Makes me laugh! Everybody pees. It's no big deal.

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrett
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