It is somewhat terrifying to acknowledge that there has been a bout of Skipalottapullitis going around lately (Latin: Refusus Laborus). Skipalottapullitis is a social disease, communicable among cyclists riding in close formation. The mode of transmission is relatively well documented. Typically, the disease will be spread by a host infected with the pathogen who introduces it into a peloton. The locus (place where the infection is absorbed by the victim) for the infection tends to be at the front of the peloton, and the route of transmission is through indirect contact.
In epidemiology (the study of diseases), some diseases are spread by vectors. Vectors are host organisms that do not exhibit any of the symptoms of the disease, but which still carry and transmit the disease. Skipalottapullitis is never spread by vectors; the host organisms always display the relevant symptomology.
Symptoms for skipalottapullitis include:
- Nervousness or sweating when a cyclist finds him/herself at the front of a pack actually having to work.
- Ducking out of a rotation to avoid doing work, under circumstances where not absolutely required by fatigue.
- Refusing to pull through when a cyclist reaches the front of the pack (this symptom usually manifests itself in less severe cases as either simply refusing to pull through (i.e. adhering to the front rider) or, in more advanced cases, it can manifest itself as trying to stay on the wheel of the front rider and pushing other riders out of the way (i.e. the double rider pull through).
- Creating a wide array of situations where a rider does not have to do any work during a cooperative group ride.
- Lagging towards the rear of the pack in any instance where work is likely to occur.
- In those circumstances where an infected rider finds him/herself at the front of the pack, the rider may exhibit symptoms of confusion such as stopping pedaling, or even applying the brakes.
- The development of hoop-adhesion syndrome (also known as wheel-sucking).
Skipalottapullitis is extremely infectious and, if left untreated, can completely ravage or even kill a peloton. Early, aggressive treatment is required to eradicate the condition. If the treatment is not provided, the most advanced forms of the disease can manifest themselves. In advanced forms of the disease, even strong riders can become infected. In such cases, the hoop-adhesion syndrome often manifests itself and riders will exhibit hoop adhesion until a sprint opportunity presents itself, at which time the riders will suddenly develop the will and ability to ride quickly, sprinting away from those who did the work to get them to the sprint point.
There are circumstances where skipalottapullitis can be advantageous, or even encouraged. Social group rides with friends are not among those circumstances, however. It is highly recommended that such group rides inoculate themselves against skipalottapullitis, lest it reduce the peloton to a quivering pile of 15mph knees and elbows. Inoculation consists of conversation, creation of friendships and mutual respect, and the insertion of similar social barriers that make it obvious and awkward for the disease to be transmitted.
If you, or someone you know suffers from skipalottapullitis, get help before it is too late. Start group therapy, today.