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Old 12-18-12, 08:37 AM   #1
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Grant Peterson's "Just Ride"

My wife was shopping for stocking stuffers at the local book store (Yes, we still have a bricks and mortar one) and brought home Grant Petersonís book "Just Ride". I have to say that it was a short, easy and enjoyable read. As most of us know, some of Grantís ideas are controversial. And, while I donít agree with all of them, it was still a fun read. I found myself putting the book down, jumping on my commuter bike and just cruising around the neighborhood - without making any changes to clothing, destination in mind or desire to keep track of mileage or how long I was out. That short 15 minutes was refreshing. Two hours later, I did the same thing. Yesterday, I did the same thing three times, and today Iíve already done the same thing twice. So, his book reminded me of what I used to know: riding a bike doesnít have to be a sport, training, transportation, a test of fitness, or any of that. It can be a simple pleasure, much like taking a coffee break. I know many of you ďknowĒ this in the active sense that you ride without fuss and fanfare on a regular basis. For me, however, I've not ridden this way in years. Itís turning into a nice way to bring a bit of respite into full and challenging days.
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Old 12-18-12, 08:55 AM   #2
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Of course, if you're riding one of his $2k Rivendells, so much better for him....
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Old 12-18-12, 09:35 AM   #3
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I guess it needs to be said there are a dozen threads dedicated to Peterson's arguments. I think it's more interesting to ponder how the NASCAR mentality overtook bike riding, why millions of dollars, perhaps billions, have been invested in the pursuit of convincing you that you are not a cyclist if you are not cruising at 20mph in a skin suit with crazy expensive gear and a computer measuring every possible aspect of your ride. That is a fascinating mindset, and I think it has made Grant a little neurotic explaining why his view is so different.
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Old 12-18-12, 09:51 AM   #4
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The Bike Show Podcast had an interview with Grant Peterson re his book. Worth a listen.
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Old 12-18-12, 10:15 AM   #5
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Cycling is pretty broad based and it's easy to get lost in your own little corner. I remember reading one of GP's missives years ago to the effect of "bikes with brazed-on centerpull brakes haven't been built in decades". The constructeur-connoisseurs in his audience lapped that up - but actually, that's a pretty common brake style on BMX-freestyle bikes.

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I think it's more interesting to ponder how the NASCAR mentality overtook bike riding, why millions of dollars, perhaps billions, have been invested in the pursuit of convincing you that you are not a cyclist if you are not cruising at 20mph in a skin suit with crazy expensive gear and a computer measuring every possible aspect of your ride.
On pretty weekends where I live, the neighborhoods and paths will be well tracked by young and old folks on bikes who have never heard of Grant Peterson, Eddy Merckx, Mark Sanders or Fred Birchmore. They'd surely see as little need for a Rivendell bike and Musa clothing as they do for a Power meter and Di2. No doubt they'd be surprised and amused to find out they need to be convinced of anything about riding their bikes.
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Old 12-18-12, 10:38 AM   #6
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On my ride this morning--It was going to be a smell the roses ride. First sensible distance ride for a long time and there is no way I am a competitive cyclist. Wasn't long though before I was checking cadence- checking that the legs were working by the feel of the leg muscles and that the Lungs were working hard enough to say that they were in the working zone.

That was on the road bike. I Often get the "Hybrid" out for small local trips though and they are taken at a leisurely pace just to make the trip quicker than walking. Surprising how often that leisurely 2 mile ride into town gets extended into 10 miles --just because I am enjoying the ride.
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Old 12-18-12, 10:58 AM   #7
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I wonder if Grant has ever ridden a recumbent?
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Old 12-18-12, 11:21 AM   #8
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I stumbled on that book by chance a week ago and checked it out of the library. I agree with a fair amount of what he says, although I have experimented with skipping the padded bike shorts and have concluded that he is wrong about them being a waste. I also like riding clipped but my wife and I ride SPDs with one platform side so we can jump on our bikes for spur of the moment neighborhood trips. For those, and for grabbing a DC "CABI" bikeshare for a quick ride downtown, I go for regular shoes and clothes. I will also be posting pictures of our N+2 custom steel sport touring bikes when they arrive in the next coupe of weeks.

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Old 12-18-12, 11:38 AM   #9
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Purchased the book a few months ago on Amazon and found it to be a refreshing look at cycling overall. I get the feeling he has a compulsion to tell the world cycling is about more than some well off dudes in spandex. Good for him!
The general population around here thinks old guys on bikes either can't afford a car/truck or lost their license for DUI. If his missive is to entice more people to the cult, more power to him. My old Raleigh "Sprites" are an excellent standin for a $2K Riv.
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Old 12-18-12, 11:58 AM   #10
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I enjoy a ride that is as fast as I'm able to ride which is not very fast at all. More often I enjoy the equivalent of wheeled strolling around town, the bike path or Colt State Park. In town, many older homes are historic from colonial times with signs showing the dates and the name of the builder. Other rides at the state park or along the bike path have considerable bird or boat traffic as would be expected along an estuary. These rides are relaxing and soothing.
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Old 12-18-12, 12:29 PM   #11
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I'm forever amazed by how long it takes me to get ready to go riding, especially on wet/rainy days. I've got the t-shirt and shorts on, then comes the long tights, the socks, the jersey, the long-sleeve wool jersey layer if it's 3 deg C or colder, the rain jacket, the shoes, the shoe covers, the cap and helmet, and the gloves, and then I'm ready to ride to work, or out training. If I need to drive somewhere, I just get in the car and go; no special preparation necessary. So Grant probably has a point there. However, I sure wouldn't want to attempt my 20-km commute on a cold and rainy day in anything less than the above. I'd be hypothermic and uncomfortable within the first 30 minutes!

I think a lot of what he says is the typical reaction to the lycra subculture. Anytime you go to a bike advocacy/urban cycling lecture or function, the moderator always makes the snide joke about "MAMILs" (middle-aged men in tights), which gets kind of thin after you've heard it the past five times. There appears to be a lot of misplaced resentment coming from "ordinary" riders, which I think is just the normal resentment "commoners" hold for "elites." Well, most of these lycra-clad guys are just not that "elite." After you've ridden a bike for over 40 years, some clothing is just eminently more practical than others, and it's worth the extra time to get into it. Maybe you can get away with everyday clothing in Walnut Creek, CA, but such is not the case in Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver!

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Old 12-18-12, 12:38 PM   #12
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Luis,

Hear, hear!

My response to "Just Ride" was in thirds: a third violently agreeing, the next third didn't care, and the last third violent disagreement. But when my commute is over 5 km, and it's 80F with dew on the grass in the summer, or freezing in the winter? I'll wear what I need to in order to ride comfortably on the bike -- and it's not seersucker!
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Old 12-18-12, 12:40 PM   #13
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l reaction to the lycra subculture. Anytime you go to a bike advocacy/urban cycling lecture or function, the moderator always makes the snide joke about "MAMILs" (middle-aged men in tights), which gets kind of thin after you've heard it the past five times. There appears to be a lot of misplaced resentment coming from "ordinary" riders, which I think is just the normal resentment "commoners" hold for "elites." Well, most of these lycra-clad guys are just not that "elite." After you've ridden a bike for over 40 years, some clothing is just eminently more practical than others, and it's worth the extra time to get into it. Maybe you can get away with everyday clothing in Walnut Creek, CA, but such is not the case in Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver!
Yes, it's usually the people who solely ride MUPs and the sidewalks, have few cycling skills much less have a clue about their legal obligations and other users, think they know everything about cycling when they don't have a clue, and get all huffy when someone points out they aren''t the only bicycle riders in their world, and their opinions and agendas are miniscule in comparison to the broader picture.

The trouble is, and I have had this happen, they tend to influence decisionmakers such as councillors and legislators, to the point that bad facilities that serve no-one are planned or created. They are the bane of professional bicycle officers...

As to Peterson, he's entitled to his opinions, but they aren't necessarily right. And I often wonder about the market at which his comments are aimed
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Old 12-18-12, 01:06 PM   #14
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A friend of mine mailed me Grant's book and I had a great time reading it (quick read for sure!), whether or not I agreed with him on any particular point. I do generally agree with his "un-racer" philosophy, but it doesn't take into account all those of us who enjoy going as fast as possible . . . but not racing.

I first met Grant back in the 80's when he worked for Bridgestone, then again at the Interbike Show a couple of years ago. Great guy, and I wish him nothing but success with Rivendell Bicycles and his assorted accessory and clothing items.

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PS: l reaction to the lycra subculture. Anytime you go to a bike advocacy/urban cycling lecture or function, the moderator always makes the snide joke about "MAMILs" (middle-aged men in tights), which gets kind of thin after you've heard it the past five times.
MAMILS are actually Middle-aged men in Lycra.
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Old 12-18-12, 01:24 PM   #15
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convincing you that you are not a cyclist if you are not cruising at 20mph in a skin suit with crazy expensive gear and a computer measuring every possible aspect of your ride.
Where do you hear this stuff?
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Old 12-18-12, 01:25 PM   #16
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MAMILS are actually Middle-aged men in Lycra.
That's you and me, my friend!
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Old 12-18-12, 01:45 PM   #17
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Grant Peterson is one of my least favorite cyclists. One read of his book and it quickly obvious that it would be far better if we all quit riding bicycles and go for electric scooters. Think of it, they cost less than a Rivendale, require less effort to ride and you can ride them in dress shoes or heals. Everything he suggests in his book can be accomplished with an electric scooter with the exception of not shifting to climb hills. They even have fewer gears like he loves.
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Old 12-18-12, 01:51 PM   #18
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As a longtime Bridgestone RB-1 rider, a charter member of BOB and an early subscriber to the Rivendell Reader, I have been aware of, a fan of and in some ways influenced by Grant Petersen for more than two decades. I learned much about casual riding, relaxed positioning, leather saddles and obsolete yet superbly functional components from him. My Casseroll remains my most "Bobish" bike and I often ride it in whatever clothing I happen to be wearing, but most of my riding is on more modern bikes with more advanced components and done while wearing more activity specific attire. I have just found that to be what I mostly enjoy and what works best for me while I'm doing it. I found the book refreshing, amusing and interesting, but at times I was put off by Grant's tone. Sometimes he seems to be suggesting that the way he rides is superior while I see it as just another variety. But then, they didn't coin the term "retrogrouch" to describe him for nothing.
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Old 12-18-12, 03:14 PM   #19
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Someone had to do it; might as well be me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Coi86g8bxE8

That is all.
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Old 12-18-12, 03:43 PM   #20
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As a longtime Bridgestone RB-1 rider, a charter member of BOB and an early subscriber to the Rivendell Reader, I have been aware of, a fan of and in some ways influenced by Grant Petersen for more than two decades. I learned much about casual riding, relaxed positioning, leather saddles and obsolete yet superbly functional components from him. My Casseroll remains my most "Bobish" bike and I often ride it in whatever clothing I happen to be wearing, but most of my riding is on more modern bikes with more advanced components and done while wearing more activity specific attire. I have just found that to be what I mostly enjoy and what works best for me while I'm doing it. I found the book refreshing, amusing and interesting, but at times I was put off by Grant's tone. Sometimes he seems to be suggesting that the way he rides is superior while I see it as just another variety. But then, they didn't coin the term "retrogrouch" to describe him for nothing.
I guess I should have prefaced my post with the title, "Rant" because you may be right, it is tone. He sounds like a salesman trying to sell you what he has not what you want or need. (To me) Yes we all know there are simpler ways to ride a bike but there is no reason to try and say every other cycling expert/instructor/trainer is wrong. There is no reason to deny tried and true cycling methods that have helped so many to improve and enjoy their cycling experience. He even talks like a salesman/politician in his book. He says forget about pedaling in circles and just mash down. (Chaper two or three I believe but before he said we have too many gears.) Later on he says we have to unload the trailing foot, just what is the difference between pulling up and unloading the trailing foot? " No think you Grant, I don't need a magizine subscription to life as a Rivendale sales person." So you are right it is more how he presents his ideas than what they are, the tone I find offensive. I have met several of my cycling heros like John Howard and have found their advice hard to follow. But none of them have sounded like Grant writes. I used to feel a bit like this with Zinn untill I heard him speak about other materials other than steel having a place in the bicycle world. It is one thing to have a preference, it is another to lobby that your preference, Grants, is the only true preference. IMHO There now, I almost feel better. I now just feel that if Grant recommends it then that is 180 out from what will work for me.
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Old 12-18-12, 04:34 PM   #21
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That's you and me, my friend!
So true big john! A MAMIL = Middle Aged Man in Lycra whereas (maybe?) MAMILS is a Middle Aged Man in Lycra Shorts. Maybe.

In either case, we are guilty as charged.

Unless . . . we're too old to be "Middle Aged" which would make us ROGILS! Or . . . Really Old Geezers In Lycra Shorts!

First read about a MAMIL in Cycle Sport, which is a British magazine so probably Stapfam is familiar with the term.

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Old 12-18-12, 05:38 PM   #22
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My wife was shopping for stocking stuffers at the local book store (Yes, we still have a bricks and mortar one) and brought home Grant Peterson’s book "Just Ride". I have to say that it was a short, easy and enjoyable read. As most of us know, some of Grant’s ideas are controversial. And, while I don’t agree with all of them, it was still a fun read. I found myself putting the book down, jumping on my commuter bike and just cruising around the neighborhood - without making any changes to clothing, destination in mind or desire to keep track of mileage or how long I was out. That short 15 minutes was refreshing. Two hours later, I did the same thing. Yesterday, I did the same thing three times, and today I’ve already done the same thing twice. So, his book reminded me of what I used to know: riding a bike doesn’t have to be a sport, training, transportation, a test of fitness, or any of that. It can be a simple pleasure, much like taking a coffee break. I know many of you “know” this in the active sense that you ride without fuss and fanfare on a regular basis. For me, however, I've not ridden this way in years. It’s turning into a nice way to bring a bit of respite into full and challenging days.
I did that today for really the first time. And it was great!

It was getting late in the day and I was having some trouble with the bike -- I knew it was too late to both get it fixed AND do my usual routine of putting on the car and trucking it out to the trail so could do my usual 25 - 30 miles...

So, just to get a ride in (regardless of how short) I jumped on the bike and rode it down to my trusty and dependable LBS. They got everything working like silk again. So, I drove it home.

But, like Stapfam: that just wasn't enough. So I dropped some stuff off and headed back out and just had a really nice little ride...

... I gotta do more of that!
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Old 12-18-12, 06:38 PM   #23
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I wonder if Grant has ever ridden a recumbent?
If he did, he'd probably never admit it. He is, after all, in the business of selling custom retro upright bikes.
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Old 12-18-12, 07:47 PM   #24
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Grant's book has changed a lot of cyclist's attitudes, in my case, for the better. Others were offended by his book or just shrugged it off. It's all good. Some people like The Beatles. For others, they are a way of life.
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Old 12-18-12, 07:48 PM   #25
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Yes, it's usually the people who solely ride MUPs and the sidewalks, have few cycling skills much less have a clue about their legal obligations and other users, think they know everything about cycling when they don't have a clue, and get all huffy when someone points out they aren''t the only bicycle riders in their world, and their opinions and agendas are miniscule in comparison to the broader picture.

The trouble is, and I have had this happen, they tend to influence decisionmakers such as councillors and legislators, to the point that bad facilities that serve no-one are planned or created. They are the bane of professional bicycle officers...

As to Peterson, he's entitled to his opinions, but they aren't necessarily right. And I often wonder about the market at which his comments are aimed
They also influence the traffic engineers and planners and that is a real problem. When the newbies design our cycling infrastructure it is like having the passengers who travel on commercial planes design the airport runways and taxiways and designate the operating rules for the air traffic controllers and pilots. They just don't have the knowledge and experience to do the job right. Locally, these types of folks redesigned some roadways on the west side of the local university. The resulting mess caused a local cop to opine about the need to set up a kiosk with accident forms and a cyclist was killed by a train because they didn't build the crossing properly (no lights, no view down the tracks and he had a hearing problem). Even the large percentage of local cyclists who are new to riding bikes have recognized how dangerous the "cycletrack" set-up is; they are flocking to a parallel road even though using it involves going over a small hill.

I am troubled by the Balkanization of cycling that has been occurring this past decade or two. I know modern equipment plays a role here, but it is sad to see so many subdivisions among cyclists. Many of us have been riding our entire lives and have raced bikes in various formats, done endurance rides, toured (loaded and credit card), commuted, recreated, ridden off-road, ridden tandems, ridden for utilitarian purposes and whatever other divisions people want to create, including many combinations of the aforementioned divisions. In my opinion, there is no single correct way to ride or single correct clothing/equipment. If the rider is enjoying what he/she is doing and isn't endangering anyone else, then it is being done well.
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