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Old 06-17-06, 06:34 AM   #1
NOS88
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How do you "see" yourself on the bike?

Two things happened recently to cause me to wonder if others have an image of themselves when they ride. Not having many photos of myself, I was stunned to see my image in a photo taken at my youngest son's graduation last week. When did my son get to be two inches taller than me with such broad, straight shoulders? When did I get the folds around the front of my neck, and where the hell did all that grey hair come from? It used to be salt and pepper; now it's all salt. It really took me by surprise. Then yesterday, I was riding and passed a truck that delivers glass panes. It had a very large mirror loaded, the kind you might see in a dance studio. As I passed, I got a full view of me in my typical riding position. BAM... once again the image I saw did not match what was in my head. Good grief, is my position really that upright? Where did those extra folds of flesh around the mid-section come from? Could my legs possibly get any more pale? The rest of the ride I'm thinking about the image I have, or how I see myself when I'm riding. I was amazed that the image is still the same one I had of myself in my mid twenties when I used to ride 10 - 15 thousand miles a year. Physically, I'm not that same person, which I was foolishly holding on to in my mind's eye. Yet, somehow, everytime I throw my legs across the top tube, my brain turns on the twenty something tape, at least as far as my sense of what I look like.

While I recognize this might be a bit of an existential (my first wife would call it vain) exercise, how do you all "see" yourself when you ride? Is there a mental image you hold, perhaps without knowing? Or, do I need to sell off a few of the bikes so I can afford a good therapist?
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Old 06-17-06, 06:39 AM   #2
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Mirrors are your enemy.

Don't look.

Biking is my "Walter Mitty" time.
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Old 06-17-06, 06:45 AM   #3
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I see myself every day. I was the"poster child" for this publication from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

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Old 06-17-06, 07:50 AM   #4
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EVen better I have seen myself as others see me. I watch for places where two glass walls come together at a right angle. If I needed a photo I could take one.
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Old 06-17-06, 02:58 PM   #5
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Couple of years ago- I did not look too bad- Then a Picture appeared advertising my big ride the following year- and I look old and decrepid. Personally I think I was entitled to be as the pic was taken at the end of 12 hours in the saddle and 100 miles of sitting on it. Then I have pictures of me taken shortly after the start of this years ride and I do look the part of a fit, accomplished Mountain biker. Legs are taught- muscles in trim and in places where a muscle that size should not be, and I look as though I am enjoying myself.

Get two pictures taken. One at the start of a ride and one at the end. Then throw the one at the end away.
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Old 06-17-06, 03:08 PM   #6
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Whales on wheels..
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Old 06-17-06, 03:44 PM   #7
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Whales on wheels..
Okay, I give up, where's my blow hole?
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Old 06-17-06, 03:55 PM   #8
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Since I only resumed cycling about a year ago, my image of myself is pretty much a guy in his late 50's with too much weight around the middle and mostly gray hair. There is one statement that keeps me proud of my cycling accomplishments however small they are compared to others. After completing a full ride of the advanced section of a local MTB trail with a freind he told me to not feel bad about not being as fast as he was. I simply replied " and how many other 59 year olds do you see out here?" He responded "good point". So my image of myself is one of a man that does not allow age to interfere with his continuing improvment of his cycling capabilities. When it comes to mountain biking, I'm an older man playing a young man's sport.... and I enjoy that immensely.
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Old 06-17-06, 03:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by roccobike
Since I only resumed cycling about a year ago, my image of myself is pretty much a guy in his late 50's with too much weight around the middle and mostly gray hair. There is one statement that keeps me proud of my cycling accomplishments however small they are compared to others. After completing a full ride of the advanced section of a local MTB trail with a freind he told me to not feel bad about not being as fast as he was. I simply replied " and how many other 59 year olds do you see out here?" He responded "good point". So my image of myself is one of a man that does not allow age to interfere with his continuing improvment of his cycling capabilities. When it comes to mountain biking, I'm an older man playing a young man's sport.... and I enjoy that immensely.
+1, except for the mountain biking part.
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Old 06-17-06, 04:04 PM   #10
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Middle 50's guy just trying to slow down the onslaught of time...and having as much fun as I can doing it.
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Old 06-17-06, 04:55 PM   #11
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I feel your vain. I, too, have this much younger image of myself. In fact, I think I look younger when I see myself in the bathroom mirror than when I see photographs. Wedding pictures at my daughter's wedding made me realize (at 59) how grey I have become. Riding by big windows show I am not real sleek on the bike. But, every now and then, there's a good picture taken. And while I'm not catalog model, I dont' look bad (sometimes) for an old guy. But take heart in the fact that you are OUT there and 92.568% (my estimate) of 50+ers couldn't and aren't. Good riding to all of us.
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Old 06-17-06, 04:59 PM   #12
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The hardest thing about getting old - is remembering when you were young...

As for body image - give it up & just don't worry about it. You are what you are. If the young laugh at you, laugh back with the knowledge that when they're your age, they'll probably look MUCH worse than you do now!

The fact that you bicycle probably puts you in the top 10% for health. fitness, and looks of all folks your age. You want to be in the top one percent? Get lipo, plastic surgery, a kelp-only diet, a tanning bed, and a trophy girlfriend. That'll make you better looking. Think that'll make you happier? I didn't think so either...
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Old 06-17-06, 05:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by FarHorizon
The hardest thing about getting old - is remembering when you were young...
You want to be in the top one percent? Get lipo, plastic surgery, a kelp-only diet, a tanning bed, and a trophy girlfriend.
Hey, a trophy girlfriend, now that's the ticket! But I don't think the wife would be to excited about that.
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Old 06-17-06, 07:05 PM   #14
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I don't look at reflecting glass windows or stainless steel tankers that pass as I like the image I have in my head, thighs like Jan Ullrich, a waist like Georgie, a pedaling stroke like Ivan Basso's, climbing skills like Lance. Then again, maybe I'm living in a delusional world of my own.
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Old 06-17-06, 07:14 PM   #15
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I don't look at reflecting glass windows or stainless steel tankers that pass as I like the image I have in my head, thighs like Jan Ullrich, a waist like Georgie, a pedaling stroke like Ivan Basso's, climbing skills like Lance. Then again, maybe I'm living in a delusional world of my own.

It is a great place to live. I've been there.
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Old 06-17-06, 07:19 PM   #16
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I think pictures are downright deceiving!! I feel like a 30 year old in a 50+ year old body!!!! That's my image and that's all that counts as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 06-17-06, 07:43 PM   #17
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Fat slob oozing out all over the recliner on my recumbent. bk
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Old 06-17-06, 09:33 PM   #18
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Why do you guys and ladies think I never submitted a picture to the 50+ Rogues Gallery? My appearance is too gruesome to live with!!!
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Old 06-17-06, 10:19 PM   #19
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Lean, Fit, Aging Hipster Dufus
riding a recumbent. And having fun!

Got several thumbs up on my bike
today when I rode into the bowels
of Los Angeles. It is all good.
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Old 06-18-06, 01:28 AM   #20
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hmm..drove my niece up from Irvine today; that LA air is THICK! My lungs hurt just being there.

I see myself about 10 years younger on a bike. Hey, a few weeks ago a 30-something roadie passed by and called out, "Hey, girlfriend!" lol. Helmet and sunglasses can hide a lot!
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Old 06-18-06, 05:18 AM   #21
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I see myself as an older guy with a younger heart and the willingness and ability to hang on to an important piece of my youth.

I guarantee you that most of us look better because of cycling than we would have without it.
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Old 06-18-06, 05:19 AM   #22
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I guarantee you that most of us look better because of cycling than we would have without it.
Now that is a real scary thought! Hey guys and gals, PLEASE keep up the bicycling.
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Old 06-18-06, 06:23 AM   #23
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I see myself as a kinny young guy fighting like heck to get out of this body.....
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Old 06-18-06, 08:00 PM   #24
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I actually think the vast majority of bike riders look pretty good, no matter what their age. Maybe that's so I can think I look pretty good too! Oh well, even if I don't, I still feel pretty good and that's what counts.
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Old 06-18-06, 09:50 PM   #25
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How do I see myself when I ride? A trained circus bear on a bike.
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