That’s me on the right, with a beard that got about two months longer than that before I shaved it. This was taken at a wedding in November 2006 with my brother, striking an odd GQ-esque pose.  [Larger and more beard-ilicious version here.]

When we read about the Fred phenomenon, a thick beard is often mentioned with cargo pants and sandals. I’ve been referred to as a Fred more than once, and I was wondering: Whence the cycling beards?

For myself, they keep me warm! I grow my famous (infamous to ElRo) Winter Beard every year, much the same way that some animals produce their winter coats. I have a modest beard currently, which means only moderately shaggy and somewhat “well”-trimmed. I let it get nice and full before the holidays but went beardless for a week or so around Christmas because I was being an idiot and forgetting that I don’t drive and still need to get places all winter. I immediately noticed how cold my face was getting on my bike, so I grew the Old Man Winter Beard back in ASAP. Now I seldom need a scarf wrapped around my face, though it is February now, not January, so maybe it’s just not as cold. But I do get very red cheeks where there is no beard.  I’m rosy and raw today from this week’s wind.
This is me on moving day from Southern Illinois in a hot day in August 2006, with the beard I had to trim for my doctoral dissertation prospectus defense a few days before.  This was the trimmed start of the bitchin beard in the first photo.
It’s probably in poor taste for me to post photos of Zack from last winter without him knowing, but I was incredibly impressed with the vigor of Mr. Zack’s beard. I’m sure it kept him warm on the food drive we helped with, which is coming up again in the next two weekends.
I shouldn’t tease about beards because Mr. Dan has a job which dis-allows him to grow a beard. But he’s a handsome guy and looks nice without it.
How about all you cycling folks? Who rocks beards to keep warm? To savor the flavor of coffee or good beer? For religious, fashion or health reasons?