Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 71
  1. #1
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    In the drops.
    My Bikes
    Too many and not enough
    Posts
    4,994
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    How do you explain this sport to friends/family/coworkers?

    Like all Roadies, we are such devoted fans of cycling that we want to share it with everyone we meet and educate everyone who asks about it. We want to explain why we have adapted our life around a niche sport that no one understands.

    My girlfriend didnít appreciate the sport. At her first bike race, she turned to me with eyes of stone and said, ďTo be honest with you, it looked like a bunch of guys riding around in circles for a couple of hours. I was bored out of my mind.Ē

    I knew exactly what she meant. At first glance, that's what a bike race looks like. Itís fast and it looks very dangerous, but without some sort of commentary, she would never feel the same hook that we've all felt.

    Itís a sport thatís full of jargon and nuance. Very tough to explain.
    So my question is this:

    How do YOU explain it?
    And how do you keep their attention?
    Is there a single source that covers it all?
    A book you regularly recommend?
    Is there a magazine article that spells it out adequately?
    OR do you just tell them to watch Breaking Away?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    328
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't try to explain it because unless one has actually done it then they couldn't possiby appreciate the nuances. As far as watching a bike race, well I rank it right up there with watching golf, baseball, tennis, bocce, marathon running, chess, cricket, paint dry, grass grow.............

  3. #3
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    My Bikes
    2 many
    Posts
    13,745
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    Like all Roadies, we are such devoted fans of cycling that we want to share it with everyone we meet and educate everyone who asks about it. We want to explain why we have adapted our life around a niche sport that no one understands.

    My girlfriend didnít appreciate the sport. At her first bike race, she turned to me with eyes of stone and said, ďTo be honest with you, it looked like a bunch of guys riding around in circles for a couple of hours. I was bored out of my mind.Ē

    I knew exactly what she meant. At first glance, that's what a bike race looks like. Itís fast and it looks very dangerous, but without some sort of commentary, she would never feel the same hook that we've all felt.

    Itís a sport thatís full of jargon and nuance. Very tough to explain.
    So my question is this:

    How do YOU explain it?
    And how do you keep their attention?
    Is there a single source that covers it all?
    A book you regularly recommend?
    Is there a magazine article that spells it out adequately?
    OR do you just tell them to watch Breaking Away?
    If you have trouble keeping their attention, change the subject. Some people just don't want to know.
    The best result I know of is to invite them on a ride on a perfect day. If that does not do it for them, don't try to explain it.
    Or........
    If your audience is male, start with the subject of spandex and females on bikes.

  4. #4
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Schertz TX
    My Bikes
    Old ones
    Posts
    2,480
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I try to give a breif explanation of; 1. What is involved in positioning, 2. How the draft plays into tactics, 3. How riders with different strengths will approach a race very differently. If they are still interested then a breif explanation of Team Tactics is also helpfull. Throw in a few NASCAR references, (I see similarities in draft dynamics, esp if it is a restrictor plate race), and you are all set.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    915
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't. All they know is that I commute to get some training miles. Fully dressed in my team kit. They know that is not something they could do out of the blue. And my sister thought that if I keep on training and racing I could ride the Tour. I didn't bother to explain anything to her. They all wonder why and how I have 23" quads and weight only 130 lb.

    For your girl friend, have her standing close to the finish line in an upper cat race. She would feel the draft of the pack as they fly pass her. If that's not enough, have her witness the chaos during a field sprint and to witness a crash. Riders and bikes flying every where.

  6. #6
    Ready to go anywhere Csson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    .se
    Posts
    313
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    A book you regularly recommend?
    No, but if I would it would be The Rider. It almost made me climb Mont Aigoual a few years back (if only I had had more time when I was in the area).

    I have had the "Why don't you ride Tour de France?"-comment as well... I don't know what to say to that.

    /Csson
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
    I took the one less travelled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
    (R. Frost)

  7. #7
    Senior Member collegeskier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Evanston, IL
    My Bikes
    Felt F5, Fuji Robaix Pro and a KHS Mountain Bike
    Posts
    817
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think the best thing to explain is the sprint finish in last years TDF with Armstrong, Kloden, Basso, Ullrich, and Landis. I guess depending on who you are explaining it too. But I thought that was really interesting not only the actual action but also story and the tatics. I mean when it comes down to it cycling has everything that most other sports have.

    The right place to start might be what sport do you like and why. If they like college basketball for the upsets and the Cynderilla teams then you have got Vockler. If like sports for strategy then you have got strategy all over the place, you just have to understand it. If you like great feets get on a bike and climb a mountain, or try to cruise along at 25 mph for a hour, then watch and realize what they are doing is really impressive. If you just like action and hitting well group sprints and track racing and the occasional crash. It has got it all. Of course my brother says unlike NASCAR you feel bad when someone crashes since you know it hurts

    Although this is all coming from someone who likes to watch curling.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rich007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    NJ/NYC
    My Bikes
    2008 Salsa Fargo
    Posts
    420
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    And how do you keep [get] their attention?
    Just to describe to uninterested folks how hard it is to do the Tour...

    Even though running consecutive marathon is probably harder (purely physiologically), I often like to compare the Tour de France to running consecutive marathons over a period of three weeks with two days off... That usually gets the attention of even a someone who is a complete cycling ignoramus...

  9. #9
    Industrial Strength BS hoodlum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    My Bikes
    Cervelo Soloist, QR Kilo
    Posts
    324
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have some framed Tour and Giro pics up in my office and at least once per week some asks me, "Are you going to be in the Tour de France?" It is amazing how little of a grasp some people have on this sport.

  10. #10
    <>< SoonerBent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Oklahoma City
    My Bikes
    RANS Tailwind
    Posts
    768
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Don't bother. If you have to explain it their not going to get it anyway.

    SS

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Queen Stage
    Posts
    134
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    As a female cycle racing fan, here are my thoughts:

    I know Bob Roll is an acquired taste, but his 2004 Tour de France book is a good general introduction and pretty digestible. I love his other books, too, but maybe not as a first course.

    The Rider, mentioned by a previous poster, is one of my favorite books, and I would recommend it too...

    When I was first learning about racing I found the live reports from cyclingnews.com to be very instructive about the color, culture, and strategy of racing from start to finish. (Velonews.com has live reports, too, but without the Aussie cheek.) What you see on TV is so truncated. Maybe pick an exciting stage that's still online and let her see how it unfolds.

    Also, one aspect that can be compelling is the landscape of the course...watching the Grand Tours is like touring the countries...with the Giro coming up in May, you have the perfect opportunity to point this out. Show her the pictures of Milan-Sanremo on cyclingnews, some of them are breathtaking.

    And, lets face it, most pro racers are exceedingly fit young men and they just look so happy on the top step of the podium. I mean, Petacchi, Boonen, Voeckler, even Cipo--what's not to like?

    Koko.

  12. #12
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    My Bikes
    Lemond Victoire, Cannondale.Mountain Bike, two 1980s lugged steel Treks, ancient 1980-something Giant mountain bike converted into a slick tired commuter with mustache handlebars, 1960-something Raleigh Sports
    Posts
    2,722
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I tell ya what works for me. I just put OLN on TV on Sunday afternoon at 5:00 pm. Very shortly thereafter my wife runs screaming from the room.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mnutini's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    179
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    I tell ya what works for me. I just put OLN on TV on Sunday afternoon at 5:00 pm. Very shortly thereafter my wife runs screaming from the room.
    OLN's coverage almost has me running, screaming from the room. Just say "pushing the pedals in anger" one more time.

  14. #14
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    My Bikes
    Lemond Victoire, Cannondale.Mountain Bike, two 1980s lugged steel Treks, ancient 1980-something Giant mountain bike converted into a slick tired commuter with mustache handlebars, 1960-something Raleigh Sports
    Posts
    2,722
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mnutini
    OLN's coverage almost has me running, screaming from the room. Just say "pushing the pedals in anger" one more time.
    Just wait til the Tour Day France.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mojo GoGo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    My Bikes
    Specialized Allez, Madone 5.2
    Posts
    581
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mnutini
    OLN's coverage almost has me running, screaming from the room. Just say "pushing the pedals in anger" one more time.
    I'm part of a small group of cyclists where I work who have brought in their beater bikes and trainers so we can group ride over lunch. Our favorite line is from last years (I believe) TDF "... Jan Ulrich, a beast of a man".

    As for how I explain biking (as I don't race), I tell people it's my mental health time and that I like to ride around in brightly colored underware
    Ciao,
    Mojo GoGo

    For too long have we sat under the thumb of mankind.
    Now is the time to OPPOSE that thumb!


    I'm not fat, I'm a sprinter!

  16. #16
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Catching his breath alongside a road near Seattle, WA USA
    My Bikes
    1999 K2 OzM, 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte
    Posts
    12,155
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have tried to explain cycling and it's very hard to do. There are a few solid rules but generally bike races are not as constricted by artificial rules as those found in say ball or court sports. The things that get done are usually done not to satisfy some rule of play but to satisfy some laws of nature. To understand what happens in a bike race is to understand more of the physical and pyschological world as it relates to cycling. To some people, especially cyclists, understanding what happens in a race is intuitive but to others, it becomes a study in the sciences... something few people are prepared to do when all they want is some visual entertainment. Cycling is a sport of doing and unless someone has ridden a bike, it's very hard for them to get in touch with the sport of bicycle racing. They don't have to have raced but there's just something enlightening about riding a bike that goes a long way to help lay the groundwork for understanding the whats, ifs, whens and whys of bicycle races.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    5,251
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The most popular sport on TV is "Pro Wrestling". Perhaps there is merit in failing to be popular.

  18. #18
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Fairfield, OH
    My Bikes
    2011 Bianchi Infinito, 2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker
    Posts
    3,076
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    The most popular sport on TV is "Pro Wrestling". Perhaps there is merit in failing to be popular.
    I'd rather be popular. Gonna have to work on my smackdown.

    I find that despite it's simple appearance, cycling is flush with aspects that can attract a greater range of folks than many other sports.

    In competitive cycling, there different styles like road, mountain, track, and cross. There's climbers, sprinters, rollers, randonneurs, and others.

    There's cycling for fitness. What other activity can a lazy, overweight guy take up that allows him to keep his HR up to 150 or so for 2-4 hours, take in some scenery, and clear his mind?

    There's commuting which connects you to better fitness, relieves you of expenses for parking and gas, lessens your impact on the environment, and clears your mind.

    There's touring which does the same as commuting but at greater distances, improves your fitness, and helps to take in some additional scenery.

    Personally, I think that if you can't find something in cycling that you find compelling, competitive or otherwise, then you won't find it anywhere else you look. All it takes is a bike and a willingness to try new things.

    Try a sprint. Can't dial it up to 40mph? Now watch Petacchi and Boonen duke it out and appreciate what a sprinter can really do.

    Climb that little hill over there. How many times did you stop? Now watch Armstrong, Heras, Basso, and Ullrich level a mountain at 15mph that you'd stop on ten times as much as that little hill.

    Ride out from home far enough to get lost and have to find your way back. Know what home means when you have to decide to take a turn or continue going straight (I love this feeling).

    Cycling beats all. It can be meditative and solitary or collective and social. High intensity or lilting. In the moment or over the horizon. Against the clock or without a second hand.

    To conclude, my suggestion is to start a newbie with a bike and casual ride. Interest in more esoteric facets of cycling (e.g. Armstrong/Simeoni feud) will follow given enough time.

  19. #19
    Senior Member rich007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    NJ/NYC
    My Bikes
    2008 Salsa Fargo
    Posts
    420
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    ^^^^^ Well said, really well, gcasillo...

  20. #20
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    In the drops.
    My Bikes
    Too many and not enough
    Posts
    4,994
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yes, but given one chance to hook someone into the sport (as opposed to the gutter), what do you have them read?

    How do you explain the bonk?
    The criterium?
    The paceline?
    The desire to spend 5 hours driving to a race that lasts 90 minutes and you have absolutely NO chance of winning?

    Is there one source that wraps it up in one read?

    I'm hearing a collective "no", and I'm noting that in many cases, we've given up trying.

    I'm not being critical. On the contrary, I'm going to endeavor to remedy the problem.

    Thanks for your responses. Keep 'em coming.
    Stay tuned.

  21. #21
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Catching his breath alongside a road near Seattle, WA USA
    My Bikes
    1999 K2 OzM, 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte
    Posts
    12,155
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't think reading about cycling is going to get them hooked.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  22. #22
    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Riverside, California
    My Bikes
    Trek 2100 Road Bike, Full DA10, Cervelo P2K TT bike, Full DA10, Giant Boulder Steel Commuter
    Posts
    6,025
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I agree all the way with ^^^^

    The only way to understand is to go to a race and see what it is like. Someone who likes auto racing can like bicycle racing much easier...
    Just your average club rider... :)

  23. #23
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    In the drops.
    My Bikes
    Too many and not enough
    Posts
    4,994
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    So 58, let me ask you to clarify: you're saying that someone can pick up all those things simply by watching a race?

  24. #24
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    4,316
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I had no one to explain racing to me. I just picked it up as I went along.

    But it appealed to me right away and I was willing to take the time to learn. If someone has no immediate interest in the sport it's pretty tough to get them to care. For instance, I detest baseball. You can explain to me the intricasies of the game until the cows come home but I'm still not going to like it.
    i may have overreacted

  25. #25
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Fairfield, OH
    My Bikes
    2011 Bianchi Infinito, 2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker
    Posts
    3,076
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you're talking strictly racing/competitive cycling and getting someone interested in that, then you're dealing with the same problems other sports have. If people don't know the nuances of the sport, it'd better look fun. The only way I think you can make bike racing look fun to the average Joe is track cycling. Phil Liggett has said so himself. It's condensed and high-speed with a stadium atmosphere. Much more conducive to a TV type audience than road racing. Cyclocross could fare okay. Mountain might be too spread out and its technical aspects are probably going to be lost on most folks.

    I think bike racing can take off in the States if more velodromes are built. Get kids to a velodrome and bike racing could blossom. Like Laggard said, and I'm the same, bike racing is something some folks like right away, but it takes time to really understand it.

    EventServices, you pitching a TV show or book deal? These are the questions I'd ask if I were doing so.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •