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  1. #1
    TB Player A F Baker's Avatar
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    I looked out my front door this morning and saw a large group of cyclists getting ready for a ride through my town. Each person who met across the street this morning was wearing a jersey, they each had really expensive road bike, and almost every person generally looked good (not that I noticed) in lycra. So I started thinking about my own attempts at becoming a cyclist. I don't quite feel comfortable wearing a jersey, I have a hybrid bike that I ride about 60 miles a week, and although I have very strong legs and not a lumpy butt, I wouldn't dare wear lycra.

    I've only been riding daily for about 5 months, and my daily commute to work is less than 10 miles. I've lost about 25 pounds, dropped my resting heart rate by about 20 beats per minute, and I feel much better since I've been riding every day.

    So why should I be discouraged that I don't look that those cyclists who met in front of my house this morning? Why should I care that I probably wouldn't be able to keep up with those guys who ride 150km every weekend (due mostly to the type of bicycle that I have)? Maybe someday in the future I'll want to ride ride with the road warriors (I'm sure that's not what they call themselves), and if I continue to ride everyday I'm sure I'll start to look more like them than I do right now.

    I can justify my low mileage every week by saying that I'm only doing it beacuse I enjoy it and I'm getting healthy, but for some reason I still feel discouraged.
    Last edited by A F Baker; 04-22-01 at 09:31 AM.
    'No other folk make such a trampling,' said Legolas. 'It seems their delight to slash and beat down growing things that are not even in their way.'
    The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings
    JRR Tolkien

  2. #2
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Buddy, A.F,

    I know how you feel, man! One morning on my commute, while tackling a long, tall hill with extra weight on the bike, a guy in lycra standing on his pedals passed me. He stayed standing all the way up to the top. I was impressed!

    But I have to be me, not someone else. You know?

  3. #3
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    AF,
    No I would not feel discouraged at all. In the summer when I MTB I can be seen in plain shorts, and hiking boots. In winter it is sweats and some type of wind breaker. I do have some polypropylene under garments but it has not gotten that cold here except once. I mainly had this stuff when I lived in Va. I would not even be concerned about getting taken on a hill or anywhere else. From what you described you are doing just fine. Keep it up.

  4. #4
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Yup, I agree. Keep it up, you're doing great!

    Pete

  5. #5
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Keep it up for sure! I am one of those lycra spankys on my longer rides, but on my commute (a 32km round trip) I wear normal street clothes. I don't have one of those ultra-expensive bikes.

    The thing is, I lose nothing. Heck when one of them passes me, it's "expected". When I pass one of them, however (which seems to be happening more and more often), I get a hell of a lot of satisfaction out of it. The longer you commute, the more it will be that way for you I expect.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
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  6. #6
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    I only do about 10 miles/day these days, but once, "between contracts" I was doing 50-70 miles/day on an old 5 speed sports bike. I used to ride with a touring club and chose the "easy riders" section. On ride, I tailled a bunch of guys twice my age (ie over 60). They burnt me out after 15 miles.

    Ride at your own pace, in whatever clothes you want to. As long as you are enjoying yourself, you dont have to measure up to anyone elses standard. Imagine how those "road warriors" would fare mixing it with pros on a mountain stage.

  7. #7
    TB Player A F Baker's Avatar
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    It isn't that I want to be anyone but myself, I just want to be able to ride with those guys at some point. It seems like I have so far to go. Something I did notice yesterday, however, was that those guys were all at least 15 years older than me. Maybe after 15 years of commuting I'll also have chicken legs and a body type like PeeWee Herman.


    When I was in college I was riding a Nishiki bike that didn't really fit me. I only liked it because it was fast and I could afford it. I showed up at a Saturday ride with http://www.bgcycling.org/ and I was completely left behind since I couldn't keep up with the lycra boys (they weren't wearing lycra then). I don't remember how long it took me to find my truck since I didn't really know the city that I was in. That was 10 years ago, but I think the feeling of abandonment is still there.
    'No other folk make such a trampling,' said Legolas. 'It seems their delight to slash and beat down growing things that are not even in their way.'
    The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings
    JRR Tolkien

  8. #8
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    If you want to improve skills, strength and endurance, there's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't require lycra, either. A good way is to join a bike club. Most are pretty accepting of new members, and they will ride you all over the place. The hard-core road warriors are in racing clubs, anyhow, so you won't need them.

    Then, someday, you'll spot your garishly clad victim up the road, and dust him in a blur of speed - on your fat tires and all.
    Last edited by Oscar; 04-30-01 at 12:38 PM.

  9. #9
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    Here's more. My brother was training for a 500-mile AIDS ride. Some gonzo-weenie types were giving him grief for riding a mountain bike with a t-shirt and cutoffs. By the time the ride started, he gave in to wearing proper cycling shorts, and put road slicks on the mtb. He finished in good form right up there with the weenies.

  10. #10
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Oscar
    Here's more. My brother was training for a 500-mile AIDS ride. Some gonzo-weenie types were giving him grief for riding a mountain bike with a t-shirt and cutoffs. By the time the ride started, he gave in to wearing proper cycling shorts, and put road slicks on the mtb. He finished in good form right up there with the weenies.
    Oscar, I read the funniest thing about a guy named John Stamstad, a true biking madman. Someone said about him: they all laughed at John, showing up on his "city bike," after which John "put the wood to them."

  11. #11
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    I think they're "road warriors" if they're friendly, but lots of Lycra-clad riders with expensive bikes are more properly termed "snobs." It all depends.

    However, I have to put in a good word for Lycra. I vowed I'd never be seen in it--not just because my body is far from shapely, but because of the snob association. But midway through my commuting career I purchased Lycra-Spandex cycling shorts and tights (one pair of the tights has a "wind front" to protect against cold breezes)--and, as they say, I never looked back. So much more comfortable than anything else I'd worn! Never mind if I look laughable. Comfort is important, and it's Lycra for me--for that reason.

  12. #12
    TriBob
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    A F,

    You have already made great improvements. Take your time and enjoy yourself. One day you will see those guys on the road and find yourself keeping up with them.

  13. #13
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    that's right. and just remember, they put on those lycra shorts one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.

  14. #14
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    There are many types of cyclists, each with their own goals. You have to discover your own reason for cycling and your own goals. It doesn't make much sense to compare yourself with other cyclists unless you're competing, or for the fun of it.

    I cycle to get to my destination, so I usually cycle alone. This is not conducive to racing, except maybe against cars, or myself. My focus is my own ride, not competing against someone.

    Occasionally I try to pace myself against another cyclist, which is fun, but it's never planned. But as for racing, I don't have enough time away from my family for that.
    I just enjoy cycling whenever I can do it.

    But it does seem like it would be a blast to get in a group and ride like h***!
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 04-23-01 at 06:02 PM.

  15. #15
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I generally like to challenge myself against stupidly long rides. I am always amused by the "road warriors" who hurtle along at around 45km/h and never ride more than 20km in a day. Heck, if they want a challenge they should come on one of my rides sometime.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  16. #16
    TB Player A F Baker's Avatar
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    Ba-Dg-Er, thanks for the confession. The intent of this thread was definitely not to make a road warrior feel bad about how he/she chooses to ride. Thanks anyway for the pledge of help to the struggling newbie at your next club ride.
    'No other folk make such a trampling,' said Legolas. 'It seems their delight to slash and beat down growing things that are not even in their way.'
    The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings
    JRR Tolkien

  17. #17
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    AF,
    Yeah, those guys have been riding for years. One of these days you will be able to ride with them if you want to.
    When I started commuting I just wanted a little exercise and maybe make a little contribution to the environment. In these 7 months I have lost about 25 pounds without really dieting, but have trimmed down even more than that amount of weight would suggest. I still have 30-40 pounds to go, but I am very encouraged.

    As I got more fit, relativelty speaking, of course, I started thinking about improving my riding, ie, faster and more efficient, just for my own satisfaction so I started reading more about technique. I still don't consider what I do "training", but I focus on pedal cadence and mechanics and see gradual improvement. I am even thinking about entering some races for the fun of it next year, by which time I should have lost the rest of the weight and improved my conditioning. I know from my reading and advice from others that between now and then, I also need to make a point of doing group rides to get used to riding close to people.

    I used to say I would not wear lycra, but maybe I will at some point because people say it is more comfortable. I did buy a pair of decent padded shorts a size too small because they were on clearance at a very good price. I also bought a couple of plain inconspicuous jerseys because they were at a very good price and made of Coolmax, a fabric I like a lot. I don't wear any of them yet, but I will in the not too distant future. Mainly, I don't want to look incongruous. I mean, picture a FOBGOB (fat old balding guy on a bike) wearing pretty pink Deutsche Telekom kit. Sorry to put that image in your head, but you get the idea.

    At this point my objectives are continued gradual weight loss and gradual cycling improvement. Everything else will come in time.
    Regards,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  18. #18
    Senior Member mwmw's Avatar
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    I go to great lengths NOT to look like those goofballs with the styrofoam bait buckets on their heads. I ride my comfortable hybrid 40-50 mi/day, often average 18-20 mph, smokin' cigs and jammin to the headphones at full volume. I hate exercise, but at 46 I'm in better shape than I have ever been(not many guys can say that at 46). The only problem is that the new technologies in fabrics sure do keep you cool, especially here in the AZ desert. I just wish you could buy them with buttons and a cigarette pocket.

  19. #19
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    Just a quick story in reply,

    I do not consider myself a bike snob, however I may be turning into a roadie more and more every day. I started riding when I was 4 and never really stopped. But I always rode for fun or for commuting never really for competition. Recently I have been training harder than ever. I decided it time to get serious about getting in shape. Anyway I thought I was doing pretty good and I went on a group ride in the Texas hill country. I rode this area before and was able to climb every hill on an old 30+ lb bike. Well I was riding with an obviously bigger stronger rider and we came up to the hilliest part of the ride I got out of the saddle to climb, well about halfway up I had to walk it. WALK IT. I have never had that happen. I was dizzy and I thought I would faint. My riding partner was long gone. At a break stop I caught up with him we chatted and he rode along side for awhile. He said in a very casual manner, "dont hit it too hard too early". Well the next day I figured out what he meant. I blew myself out trying to keep up with him. The advise was invaluable. The next day I went out on my own and tackled every hill. The Moral to the story is: Don't be dicouraged by the lycra get out there and do it. There are lots of good riders who will give you advise and pointers, there are also some who will take great pride in dropping you. Just make a list and pay them back one day, both types.

  20. #20
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    I've only ridden in a group a couple of times, though I hope to start doing it regularly soon.

    One time I was riding in more-or-less downtown Kansas City, and came upon a group of cyclists. I asked one if they were with the KC Bicycle Club; no, they weren't, but he told me what group it was. They seemed friendly, so I rode along with them for awhile--and I was dumbfounded to find myself riding 30 mph to keep up with them at one point--I'd never done that in my life! They lost me soon after that, but I remember the experience as testimony to the power a group can exert on my abilities.

    Not that I want to make a habit of riding 30 mph.

  21. #21
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    Originally posted by Ba-Dg-Er
    Don't get discouraged by these "road warriors"
    I see no reason to get discouraged by someone who can outpace or out distance you

    I have been riding for about 15 months now and have made a lot of progress going from my first ride of 2 miles to daily rides of 15 to 45 miles and having completed century rides and this summer participating in a MS150 ride

    When some rider (be it what you guys are calling lycra rode warriors or the local guy on his full suspension cutoffs bandana or t-shirt) passes me it just shows me that i still have some where to go

    When i first started riding daily there was a guy (full suspension rider above) that would pass me on this big climb almost daily
    i kept at it and after awhile we stayed closer and closer and soon i was even able at times to beat him up the hill

    I was never discourage by him more correctly i was inspired by him

    To all you guys that are faster then me and can out distance me (and there are still a lot of them) feel free to blow past me i enjoy being motivated to ride faster and further

  22. #22
    Senior Member claude's Avatar
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    I remember a family story being told in my childhood days that an uncle of mine from north Italy (dead now, bless him) is said to have raced and won -- on a lady's city bike. I always like to remember that whenever I feel discouraged by the road warriors!

    claude

  23. #23
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    AF,

    There's nothing to be discouraged about. You aren't so unusual. I know at least one person in this forum whose been there . And (fact of life) you will always be able to go out and find people who can ride faster than you.

    Not all the road warriors are "poseurs," and not all "poseurs" are true road warriors. I read a story about an avid cyclist in the bay area (Eric House) who basically blew away everyone in a century, riding in an oxford shirt. I guess he was making a statement.

    Bottom line: pick your goals, move in that direction, and give it time to happen. When equipment (bikes, gear, etc.) become a significant limitation, upgrade. Ride bike and have fun.

  24. #24
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Ah, man, you can't buy your way to fitness. Clothes and gear and expensive bikes don'e make riders strong.

    Don't be intimidated by the show. Now, if you are discouraged by cats who can really fly on a bike, that is another story.

    I was in Italy last week I was in a car aand saw some racere style cyclists all decked out and bent over their bikes riding on a busy road. A little farther ahead, there was an old man wearing woolen tweeds, a croanie hat and riding an old upright roadster.

    We stopped for a coffee and then continued on our journey. We passed the same group of cyclists again and guess what... The old guy on the roadster was still leading the techie goobers.

    Anyway, the speed demon riders aren't trying to discourage you. Be motivated by their excellence.
    Mike

  25. #25
    TB Player A F Baker's Avatar
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    SO maybe I was trying to get ahead too fast in my quest for good health. Tonight I saw a woman pull out on to the road in front of me on her bicycle. She was at least 10 to 15 years older than Pete's teeth, but she looked like she was in good shape. When I first saw her she was about 75 yards ahead of me on a moderate hill. I couldn't help it. I stated to pedal faster, and in no time, I zipped past her. I even had my son with me in his bicycle seat on my back rack. As pulled beside her I gave her a smile and said hello, and continuted to fly up the hill. When I was far enough away from her I started to breathe again.

    BTW, I've lost an additional 10 pounds since I posted this thread in April. Maybe the few extra pounds weight loss has helped my hill hoppng.
    'No other folk make such a trampling,' said Legolas. 'It seems their delight to slash and beat down growing things that are not even in their way.'
    The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings
    JRR Tolkien

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