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  1. #1
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Bicycle Stink Face

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hurst
    On one of those perfect early spring Sundays, which brought all of the recreational cyclists out to play under a clear blue sky, I sat down on a bench by the Cherry Creek bike path and watched the parade. Oh, the colors. Virtually every rider that passed my position was decked out, head to toe, in bike-specific garb. On a weekday I would have seen a lot of riders wearing more 'normal' attire, office clothes, jeans and t-shirts, things like that, moving with no-nonsense purpose on a highly useful transportation facility. On this fine Sunday, most of the riders that passed appeared to be beginners who had spent as much on their bike clothing as they did on their bikes, and all with one credit card swipe during their very first visit to the local bike shop. The notion among new bicyclists -- and potential new bicyclists -- that special clothing is a necessary part of the program seems to be stronger than ever. A triumph for Pearl Izumi, perhaps not so much for the rest of us.

    Besides the clothing, there was something else that really stood out to this bench-sitter. The faces. Almost everybody that pedaled by gave me some kind of Bicycle Stink Face. BSF can take many forms. One lady rolled past, at roughly walking pace, with a look on her mug exactly like Carlos Santana in the throws of his Black Magic Woman solo. If you're making a face like that, you'd better be wearing a fringe leather vest and playing a Gibson, or having an orgasm. Or both. Otherwise something has gone badly awry. Many turned and looked at me purposefully when they rode past, not in a friendly how's-it-going manner, but a sort of look-at-me-I'm-really-pumpin-it type thing, with the face all scrunched up in the anger and pride of the effort. In some of these faces I recognized the sort of play-acting I engaged in as a teen-aged race fan, tearing up the roads with a reinvigorated snarl immediately after watching ABC's half-hour coverage of Greg Lemond battling Hinault in the Tour de France. Not two minutes after the show ended I was out of the garage on my little Reynolds 531 Trek, imagining myself soloing to victory somewhere south of Bordeaux. Young riders like myself latched on to everything we saw in those John Tesh-tinged episodes, from facial expressions to pedaling technique. The Badger, man, his bike face was one of the best of all time. Like he was about to eat his rivals, and was really happy about it.

    Everybody makes some snarly faces when they ride hard, that's just how it goes. You're in your own little world sometimes. It's been a long winter, and you're feelin' good, ecstatic to be outside getting some real exercise. Cycling is great fun, and you're loving it. I understand. The problem is, you're not really in your own little world. There happen to be other people in this world, milling about. And this Stink Face thing is usually not a friendly look. Mouth open, eyes glaring. Check me out. Check out my tonsils. It's alienating, off-putting, anti-social. If the rider is really feeling his/her oats, there is often an element of challenge and swagger to the expression, which plays to observers -- trust me on this -- as absurdly over-serious and self-important. It seems ridiculous to everybody but that individual bicyclist, frankly, when an apparent novice wobbles past at 16 m.p.h., wrapped in expensive racing gear and scowling angrily like Stephen Roche on the Poggio. It makes people laugh, and for the wrong reasons.

    Arguably, Bicycle Stink Face in its egregious form crosses the line of civility and becomes part of the problem with bicycling advocacy in this country. It's very Us-versus-Them. It ain't the end of the world, but BSF makes it easier for non-bicycists to ridicule and ignore the idea of riding a bicycle.

    When you pass another human out there, fellow bicyclists, how about taking half a moment to acknowledge their presence in a civilized fashion? Nothing fancy. Flash a little smile, a half nod. Try to change your snarly facial expression, just for a moment, into a picture of calm confidence and control, a friendly face that reflects the outright superiority of your chosen mode of travel, and humbly acknowledges your obvious lack of championship pedigree, rather than rolling past with a nasty case of needless and laughable BSF.

    Next: What the new generation of hardcore transportation cyclists can and should learn from the 'lycra-clad' sport riders they ridicule.
    http://www.industrializedcyclist.com...tink_Face.html

  2. #2
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    There's an older guy who rides a heavy bike all over Lansing. He's kinda fat, and he's definitely not wearing cycling kit. Every time I encounter him, he pumps his fist in a circular motion--like pedals--and yells "Faster!--Faster!" This is with a big grin on his face, which is the complete opposite of bicycle stink face. Every time I see him, I get a big grin too, and for a few minutes I do ride faster.

    For me, pumping the fist like cranks is the universal symbol for bike advocacy, and it should definitely be accompanied by a big grin.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Sitting examining/cataloging the faces of riders going by??The writer is a full time ah.He should practice minding his own freakin' business.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Robert Hurst is my hero.

    I'm all too familiar with the stink face on the Cherry Creek Trail.
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  5. #5
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    An excellent post. Nope, you're not an "ah" for sitting and watching the world, and thinking about it. That's the point, ain't it?

    As for me, yep, I get "kitted up," if you can count old wool jerseys from the 80's.

    thanks for a good piece of writing and levity, with insight
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  6. #6
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
    Sitting examining/cataloging the faces of riders going by??The writer is a full time ah.He should practice minding his own freakin' business.
    Tsk tsk. Watching faces is a fully human thing to do. That's how we learn about each other.

    As for bicycle stink face, now that Robert has brought it to my attention I'm aware of how often I see it. Roadies on country roads are prime examples, but maybe they're just upset because I'm passing them on my mountain bike and I'm 30 years older than them.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  7. #7
    zac
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    That's a somewhat poor attempt at "BSF" or bicycle story fiction. What struck me apart from it's lame attempt at humor (as was my own) was how made-up it was.

    Please!?

    zac

  8. #8
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Great bit by Robert. Bicycle stink-face. Love it.

    My wife says I need to inject a little more humor in my pieces. I'm just too dam ernest in 'em.

    She's says I'm a funny guy, I should use it more.

    I think my humor lies in more in the sarcastic vein, and that's easy to lose (or offend) in translation.

    Maybe I should use humor in a self-effacing way. That would elicit a more favorable response.
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  9. #9
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    So, in addition to what bike we ride, what clothing we wear, the purpose for riding; SOME wish to further divide cyclist into what face they express. All for the purpose of further deriding other cyclist that do not fit into our own social class of cyclist.

    So some say they want more butts on bikes, but all they do is ridicule other cyclist not like them.

    I wonder what type of face zoobombers had on while they cycled through the shopping mall and while talking back to the security guy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gi8t9snZIs

    Lots of good advocacy in the OP’s quote, right?
    Last edited by CB HI; 04-19-10 at 04:38 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    I think I can see a stink face in your post....
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
    [SIGPIC]http://www.wulffmorgenthaler.com/striphandler.ashx?stripid=57f6ca71-73a8-42a3-acc4-29e6d333df27[/SIGPIC]

  11. #11
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    More like Foo face for Foo thread.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    So, in addition to what bike we ride, what clothing we wear, the purpose for riding; SOME wish to further divide cyclist into what face they express. All for the purpose of further deriding other cyclist that do not fit into our own social class of cyclist.

    So some say they want more butts on bikes, but all they do is ridicule other cyclist not like them.

    I wonder what type of face zoobombers had on while they cycled through the shopping mall and while talking back to the security guy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gi8t9snZIs

    Lots of good advocacy in the OP’s quote, right?
    I'm with CB HI here. Caring about "stink face" is as stupid as buying bike shorts with your bike. I usually agree with Hurst, and I think this post is supposed to be a light hearted "hey, you look silly." But it's pointless.

    Besides, "race face" is an important cycling skill .

  13. #13
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    "An excellent post. Nope, you're not an "ah" for sitting and watching the world, and thinking about it. That's the point, ain't it?"
    Nothing wrong with people watching, but making fun of them because of their clothes and faces makes him a full on ah.


    "Tsk tsk. Watching faces is a fully human thing to do. That's how we learn about each other."
    Sure it is human, but making fun of them is ah-ism. See, I learned from his writing that he is a snobbish ah human.

    He is soooooo cooooool he has to make fun of less cool folks.

    Jesus, if he is what passes for a good writer in bicycling circles no wonder cagers want to run us over.

    Well off to the levee-first put on with the spandex and race face.
    Last edited by phoebeisis; 04-19-10 at 04:58 PM.

  14. #14
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crhilton View Post
    Besides, "race face" is an important cycling skill .
    Of course, who could ever forget "The Look".
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7THIhZEP4QM

  15. #15
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    What a bunch of grouches some of you are. Robert Hurst wrote a funny commentary about the faces of roadies on his blog. And he's right! I know I'm guilty of the bicycle stink face along cherry creek myself.

    Loosen up and laugh a little at yourself.

    (Not sure why it ended up in A&S, but there you have it)

  16. #16
    Senior Member Laserman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Of course, who could ever forget "The Look".
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7THIhZEP4QM
    A video of Lance riding without a helmet??
    You trying to make the helmet nannies soil their underwear?
    Set phasers to butt-whup!

  17. #17
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I'm smiling most of the time, because I just ride along and listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Sometimes people probably think I'm nuts, if I'm listening to cartalk or something and laughing out loud.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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    He started with this-making fun of new riders for wearing bike "stuff"

    "most of the riders that passed appeared to be beginners who had spent as much on their bike clothing as they did on their bikes, and all with one credit card swipe during their very first visit to the local bike shop. The notion among new bicyclists -- and potential new bicyclists -- that special clothing is a necessary part of the program seems to be stronger than ever. A triumph for Pearl Izumi, perhaps not so much for the rest of us."

    Wow, really funny stuff! And they used "a credit card swipe" really original line. What, no one uses cash?

  19. #19
    Que CERA, CERA jefferee's Avatar
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    I wonder if, somewhere on pedestrianforums.net, anybody ever posts essays lamenting the pervasiveness of running-specific clothing, the Running Stink Face, and how both of them cause transportation pedestrians to be taken less seriously by the general public.

    The OP reminds me of all the "nasty roadies don't wave at me" threads in Road Cycling.
    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMantra View Post
    Cycling (taken to the typical roadie extreme) causes you to cough up your own soul as every fibre of your worthless being sings in choral agony. Once you embrace the pain everything is dandy.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by crhilton View Post
    I'm with CB HI here. Caring about "stink face" is as stupid as buying bike shorts with your bike. I usually agree with Hurst, and I think this post is supposed to be a light hearted "hey, you look silly." But it's pointless.

    Besides, "race face" is an important cycling skill .
    What is stupid about buying bike shorts with your bike? Just because is isn't your worldview? I guess I am going have post over in the clothes thread....just as it had died out.
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  21. #21
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    A nice little essay. "Bicycle Stink Face" -yep, I've seen it. Probably made it on more than one occasion, too. Though the first time my wife came to watch me do a bike race she asked, "Why are you the only one smiling?" I think that either my grimace resembles a smile from a distance or every lap I saw her I didn't want her to know how much I was suffering so I threw her a big smile.

    I'm pretty old school- I'm a wave or thumbs up rider because my riding dates back to a time when to see another adult on a bike was like finding a long lost relative. I can recall a time when we would chase down other riders going the opposite direction just to find out who they were and where they were riding to/from.

    The only thing I took issue with was this:

    when an apparent novice wobbles past at 16 m.p.h.,

    I wish I could claim to ride at 20 mph + at all times but 16 is just fine... especially on a bike path.

    And 16 mph is hardly "wobbling" speed. Secondly, how does he know it's not some randonneur making their way back from a 250 miler? I'd hate to be judged by my speed after having hammered 100 miles into the wind with another very hilly 40 to go as I toodle along on the Norwottuck Bike Trail for a stretch on my way to my house on the other side of the state. I probably look like any "newbie" and I guarantee you I'm making the "stink face" big time and can often barely lift my hand for a wave. Last thing I need is for some fellow cyclist sitting on a bench watching me go by mocking me for not maintaining an impressive enough speed to warrant the cycling specific clothing I am wearing, which I find comfortable on such a long ride.

    Which brings up this point for Robert to consider- all events are relative to the observer. The observer is a part of the event. I'm curious what kind of face he was making as he watched all these cyclists go by. Perhaps at some subliminal level they each felt they were being judged by the observer by the side of the path and put on a little extra speed or put on their "stink face" in response to his judgmental gaze.

  22. #22
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laserman View Post
    A video of Lance riding without a helmet??
    You trying to make the helmet nannies soil their underwear?
    Every chance I get.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    I wish I could claim to ride at 20 mph + at all times but 16 is just fine... especially on a bike path.

    And 16 mph is hardly "wobbling" speed. Secondly, how does he know it's not some randonneur making their way back from a 250 miler? I'd hate to be judged by my speed after having hammered 100 miles into the wind with another very hilly 40 to go as I toodle along on the Norwottuck Bike Trail for a stretch on my way to my house on the other side of the state. I probably look like any "newbie" and I guarantee you I'm making the "stink face" big time and can often barely lift my hand for a wave. Last thing I need is for some fellow cyclist sitting on a bench watching me go by mocking me for not maintaining an impressive enough speed to warrant the cycling specific clothing I am wearing, which I find comfortable on such a long ride.
    Years ago I left one of the top ranked women cyclists in America far behind. But we both knew why as we chatted a bit when I first caught her. She was cooling down at the end of a long hard ride and I was out for a short fast flat ride.

    BUT I can beat her straight up on an open decent! (On a technical decent she drops me like a bad habit).

  24. #24
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jefferee View Post
    I wonder if, somewhere on pedestrianforums.net, anybody ever posts essays lamenting the pervasiveness of running-specific clothing, the Running Stink Face, and how both of them cause transportation pedestrians to be taken less seriously by the general public.
    I have never, ever seen a runner smiling while doing the activity; maybe they smile later when looking at a mirror or a scale. Same observation applies to everyone else temporarily subjecting themselves to an unpleasant chore/exercise (i.e. weight lifting, bicyclists in "training" mode and calisthenics) in order to smile about the benefits derived later.

    Lucky for me, I never adapted the masochistic attitude that pain IS gain, or that bicycling requires maximizing performance at the expense of comfort and pleasure WHILE cycling.

  25. #25
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jefferee View Post
    I wonder if, somewhere on pedestrianforums.net, anybody ever posts essays lamenting the pervasiveness of running-specific clothing, the Running Stink Face, and how both of them cause transportation pedestrians to be taken less seriously by the general public.
    During my lunchtime run, I decided I would watch all the other runners and see which of them were judging me for Runners Stink Face and might hurry back to their computer to nag about me wearing runners specific shoes, shorts and a synthetic shirt rather than the requisite steel toed shoes, blue jeans and a dirty cotton shirt.

    Sadly my plan went bad when I missed two of the other runners faces. I am able to at least describe their kit. One was wearing a black jog bra and matching running shorts and sort of had that big plastic style bounce in her run. The other was wearing a bikini top and form fitted short-shorts. She had a more natural bounce in her running style.

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