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  1. #1
    Senior Member jboyd's Avatar
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    I am a Noncomformist Clyde and that is good for me.

    A few years ago like most here, I wanted to buy a bike and get back into riding after a few decade away from two wheels. I found this forum and was inspired by the stories and accomplishments, as well as the level of support and a minimal amount of judgment.

    I bought a bike and started riding. The first thing I noticed, was all the chatter about how far and how fast. I felt I was missing out, so I went to the bike shop and bought the best wireless computer I could afford, and started charting my rides on a spreadsheet at home. Time, Temp, Dist., Ride Time, Avg speed & fastest speed and route. This became an obsession for 3 years in a row, but each year had its own focus.

    Year one, I was only concerned about my average speed of my rides. This caused me to pick specific rides and repeat them over and over to try and better my average speed and total ride time. I noticed that near the half way mark of the riding season, I was hating riding. Mad at myself if I was slow one day, or mentally could not handle a head wind, knowing it was going to screw up my spreadsheet entry.

    So, I decided to stop worrying about speed, and only concentrated on distance, regardless of the time it took. My mileage doubled from the previous year, but I again found myself mentally struggling with the fact that I was again chasing something. I had posted one time that am not the type of person that likes to set goals or compete with myself, and I got a fair amount of flack for that statement. Well, after 52 years, I know me, and I was right. I started to not look forward to each next ride, because it felt like I had to one up myself and if time would not allow, or some other factor impeded my ride, I again had a negative feeling when I made the spreadsheet entry. During this evolution, and to further give example of my anarchist nonconformity, I gave clipless pedals and shoes a 700 mile test and in the end, made the decision that if I never use them again, I will probably be fine, and went back to pinned platforms and never looked back.

    Year three rolls around and I decided it was time for a change. I changed bikes and went the opposite of what most do. It seemed that everyone was wanting and or getting road bikes so before I bought my current bike, I did the following. I thought maybe I am missing something here. I bummed a nice road bike from my LBS for a week (them thinking they were going to sell it to me) and decided to give this a try. After a 140 miles of watching my front tire and the pavement roll by, and not being as impressed with my speed or distance as I thought I would be, bored our of my skull, thinking "so this is road biking? I just ride a bunch and I am done? Where is the adventure in that?" So I took it back and ordered my GT PEACE 29er, and knew what and where I wanted to ride.

    So, here I am in year 4. I ride a fully rigid 29er mountain bike with pinned platform pedals. I have a computer, but it just sits and runs and maybe collects some total mileage data, but I really don't care if I ever reset it. When the battery dies, I may just chuck it. So far this year, I have ridden some amount of hours, and some distance, at probably less then 8mph average as 90% of my miles are on single track dirt trails and fire trail double track. My bike is dirty as hell. There are leaves and stick in my spokes, and when it comes time to change out my knobby tires for my summer slicks, they will be my big fat balloon big apples at about 45-50 psi with no concern for energy efficiency or speed.

    I found my biking nirvana. For me it is riding without people, in areas that others would never take a conventional bike. My hours may be spent at 7mph on a fast day, but my smile factor is so off the chart this year compared to the past three. I am a back roads badass, an urban ninja, riding golf cart paths in pitch darkness of night or plowing through piles of leaves in the fall. I don't have a number on my back and no one is waiting for me with stopwatch at the end of a ride.
    http://www.homeairdirect.com Hey! It's What I Do

  2. #2
    Degenerate Grouch xray1978's Avatar
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    I hear you. I can get awfully obsessive about mileage and speed when I ride my road bike, thus making myself miserable. This is why I never use a computer on my bike, I would just drive my self nuts obsessing during a ride.

    In reality, my favorite bike is a cruiser I have set up into a quasi klunker. It can do it all, street, trails, groceries, ect. It has a super high smile ratio too, that is, when ever I ride it, I have a big dumb smile. That is the way you are supposed to look on your bike right? When I am on the road I see few roadies with big dumb smiles, maybe they should try a klunker like mine.

    Anyway, I am glad you found what works for you. It really is about the time you spend in the saddle being happy.

  3. #3
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    Riding is supposed to be enjoyable. If something is detracting from the enjoyment change it or get rid of it. Even if others say you need to have it.
    We have met the enemy and they is us.

    Pogo

  4. #4
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Bingo. Absolutely. Starting my fourth year as well, and I find I just enjoy the ride - not the stats. I don't care how far I go, just how I get there, and how comfortable I am when I arrive. Glad you could find the same thing - it's a great spot to be in!

  5. #5
    Neil_B
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    I feel like the poster-person for non-conformism, since I taught myself to ride as an adult, and disappointed everyone along the way who tried to mold me into a roadie.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jboyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    I feel like the poster-person for non-conformism, since I taught myself to ride as an adult, and disappointed everyone along the way who tried to mold me into a roadie.
    NON-CONFORMISTS UNITE!!!! But not like all together, because that would be really uncomfortable for most us and would breakdown our non-conformity
    http://www.homeairdirect.com Hey! It's What I Do

  7. #7
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    I have always getting to that point in my mind as the zen of bike riding. Riding to ride. I do have goals but my goals are no longer speed or distance but to be in good enough shape that when I go on my tour that I enjoy myself.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  8. #8
    Senior Member MVclyde's Avatar
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    That's the beer and fish tacos talking.
    My stable:
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    Surly Cross Check (commuter)

  9. #9
    Senior Member NOLABill's Avatar
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    Great thread!! Good on ya for finding the happy place.

    I'm still relatively new on my journey--started a year or so back with a new hybrid, after not having gotten on a bike in 10-15 years (and even back then, not much to write home about riding wise).

    I know I have a tendency to let the A-R gene take hold--to the point where I could very well obsess about daily performance, etc.--I did this a lot when I was running all the time.

    So this time around I'm trying to be a realist--I'm 54; I've recently dropped a bit of weight, but I still hover in the 190s--so no matter what I do, I doubt I'm going to be giving Lance anything to lose sleep over

    But I like to ride--and so I'm concentrating on just enjoying the bike and the time I get to spend on her. I do think in terms of some goals, but they're loose--I want to build up to 2, maybe 3 hour rides. I know the cycling is good for me, and I figure the longer I can go, the better off I'll be. But it's gotta be fun for me at this point--it can't all be work/goals.

    Bill

  10. #10
    Senior Member rockdog's Avatar
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    Excellent post. I've never put a computer/speedometer/odometer on a bike and may never do so. I go fast enough to stay upright (most of the time) and far enough to have fun. I just like to ride my bike, way too much according to my wife. I used to wear my heart rate monitor while I was on the bike but have even been skipping that so far this year. Those night time golf cart path rides sound awesome, if there was a course near me I'd give it a try.

  11. #11
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    I tracked my mileage for a year. That satisfied my curiosity and I stopped after that. Only my roadie has a computer. I don't need them on my mtb and fixed gear.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



    We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!

  12. #12
    Senior Member jboyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockdog View Post
    Those night time golf cart path rides sound awesome, if there was a course near me I'd give it a try.
    Disclaimer****** It Ain't legal, so I have to tell ya it is a bad idea.........But it is AWESOME. Especially when there is just enough moon that you can discern the path from grass. One night I hit a wheel barrel that was sitting in the middle of the path on the 3rd of the back nine.
    http://www.homeairdirect.com Hey! It's What I Do

  13. #13
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I ride in a long distance club with some nonconformists. None of these new-fangled craybon feeber frames and components or fancy pants index shifters built right into the brake levers. Downtube friction shifters on frames from the 70s. Brake levers with the cables sticking out the top. The top, I say... up where everyone can see them. And flat pedals with metal toe cages and leather straps. And woolen shorts and jerseys, as if they've never heard of lycra! Unpadded, crochet cotton-back gloves, too; as if you could still ride without gel padded gloves and dampers under your bar-tape.
    Sure, they have a computer. It's on their desk at the office. No need for a miniature one on the bike: Just a watch and a reasonable idea of how fast they're going at a certain cadence in a certain gear. Eventually, they'll get where they're going. No need to crunch a bunch of data to scientifically quantify "how much" fun they had riding their bike.

    Sometimes, it's just fun to get out and ride. Not training. Not errands. No specific point or purpose in mind. Just get on your bike and end up where you end up, then turn around and go home.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  14. #14
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Biking is all about what is personally enjoyable while staying healthy.

    I couldn't wait to get my Garmin for Christmas. I still drag it along on my rides, but now its to see if my heart is staying healthy, not to compare my rates vs the rest of the world. One of my most enjoyable rides was just looking at new stuff and finding a sandwich shop that I had never heard of. Ended up riding for 5 hours. The wife was pissed.

    BTW-if us non comformists unite, would we create a false conformity, I'm confused.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Hill-Pumper's Avatar
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    I read this and it sort of puts in perspective what I have been going through lately. I am in my third year and really have lost some of my motivation to get on the bike this year. Granted, the weather here sucks so far, but that has not stopped me in the past. Last year I rode two century rides, did over 1200 miles which was a vast improvement from the year before. Now I find myself wondering what is next. I have some great trail riding less then 10 miles from my house that seem to be calling to me. My old ridged fork mountain bike has been collecting dust for the last two years waiting to be ridden. Don't get me wrong, I really love road riding, but I think that there is some FUN to be had out on the trails that I am missing.

  16. #16
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Let's all take the "Non-Conformist's Oath". Repeat after me:

    I promise to be different!
    (repeat)
    I promise to be unique!
    (repeat)
    I promise not to repeat things other people say!
    (repeat)

    I like having cyclocomputers on my bikes primarily for the general info they give but don't pay much attention to them during a ride. I'm also looking forward to getting my new rigid MTB out on some trails this year and also use it to do some cruising with my wife so she can get back on her comfort bike. I'm in it for the exercise but it's got to be enjoyable or I won't stick with it.
    Last edited by CACycling; 04-14-10 at 02:06 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jboyd View Post
    I felt I was missing out, so I went to the bike shop and bought the best wireless computer I could afford, and started charting my rides on a spreadsheet at home. Time, Temp, Dist., Ride Time, Avg speed & fastest speed and route. This became an obsession for 3 years in a row, but each year had its own focus.

    [...]

    I found my biking nirvana. For me it is riding without people, in areas that others would never take a conventional bike. My hours may be spent at 7mph on a fast day, but my smile factor is so off the chart this year compared to the past three.
    You mean you weren't tracking the Smile Factor (TM) as a column in your spreadsheet?

    It's good you found your cycling nirvana. That's the real goal, and you passed the test. You also learned why it's the goal; if you aren't having fun, it's a chore, and after you wind up dreading it, you'll start looking for excuses. There's nothing worse than not wanting to do something you're passionate about, because of the particular way you're going about it. Keep that smile on your face!

    But you might want to hold on to the bike computer. It's really nice to have an odometer, and to know your speed.

    Finally, I'm shocked that you went to the effort of tracking this manually in a spreadsheet. That's a Hurculean effort you went to! If you ever have a reason to want a table with all that data in the future, though, consider getting a GPS ( it doesn't have to be bike specific, and can even clip to your belt ) which can export the data into your computer, and this can be accumulated into a free database. It sounds like you won't ever want this kind of info again ... but if the need crops up at some point, I wanted to suggest a less time-consuming way to go about it.

  18. #18
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jboyd View Post
    I found this forum and was inspired by the stories and accomplishments, as well as the level of support and a minimal amount of judgment.
    Oh, we are judging you but just keeping to ourselves

    Seriously though, the cycling is all about enjoyment. If you are not having fun then why bother with it. Congrats on finding your nirvana. I borrowed a saying from a book on homebrewing(I know you like beer) and adapted it to cycling. The book saying was. Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew. For cycling I have. Relax. Don't worry. Just Ride!

    I have alway marched to the beat of my own drum. In the past i have been accused of being weird(actually my kids tell me that sometimes) and I just come back with "Not weird, but unique" How did they know whether I was on the cutting edge or not? So all the conforming tossers can kiss my.....but I digress.

  19. #19
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hill-Pumper View Post
    I read this and it sort of puts in perspective what I have been going through lately. I am in my third year and really have lost some of my motivation to get on the bike this year. Granted, the weather here sucks so far, but that has not stopped me in the past. Last year I rode two century rides, did over 1200 miles which was a vast improvement from the year before. Now I find myself wondering what is next. I have some great trail riding less then 10 miles from my house that seem to be calling to me. My old ridged fork mountain bike has been collecting dust for the last two years waiting to be ridden. Don't get me wrong, I really love road riding, but I think that there is some FUN to be had out on the trails that I am missing.
    Mountain biking is a blast. I ride roads for training and get dusty for adventure. I think its good to mix it up.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  20. #20
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    What I hardly do, but think is really fun is to ride at night, a short hop to the ice cream shop, something fun and not thinking of training.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    I like riding on the road. I like road bikes. I like indexed shifting. I like my cycling shoes (they art MTB spd's) and my clipless pedals. But when I ride, I've never found myself focusing on the front wheel. I like to enjoy the scenery. I like riding out on country roads with low traffic. I like to go fast downhill (I don't really care if I know how fast I'm going.) And even though it's painful, I enjoy the feeling of conquering a hill. So, I don't know if I'm a conformist or non-conformist... I haven't labeled myself yet.

  22. #22
    billyymc
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    My favorite statistic on my bike computer is Top Speed!! Because whenever I leave the house, I have a long steep downhill in any direction....just coasting without pedaling I hit about 43 mph : ) I'd like to say it impresses the chicks, but my wife just thinks it's crazy.

    Besides that, the only stat I care about anymore is the cumulative distance. I just like to know how far I'll ride from the time I put the skis away until the time I get t hem out again. But I don't have computers on my mountain bike or my ride around the neighborhood with the kids bike.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Pfishingruven's Avatar
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    This is good information for a noob! It is so true. I found myself agonizing over time and distance however, I only started riding because I enjoyed it so much with the family. Unfortunately, with my weight and being out of shape, I haven't been able to ride with the family. I just can't pull the kids. So, I am using a computer to get myself back on track and back in shape. I also have a goal of riding the NYC 5 Boro Tour next year and the computer is just a tool to make sure I am training properly.

    Like any hobby, some people like all of the technical issues and having every bell and whistle...and that is fine. Others just like it for the simplicity or enjoyment they get out of it. That's why everyone should bike however they would like to, whatever makes them happy and feel good. That is the most important thing!

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