From: khuon@BOGUS.DOM (Jake Khuon)
Subject: Re: What a loser!!
Date: 3 Jul 2001 19:27:18 GMT
Organization: Global Crossing Telecommunications Inc.
Reply-To: "Jake Khuon" <khuon@BOGUS.DOM>
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### On Tue, 03 Jul 2001 11:59:27 GMT, ebab...@care2.com (Eric Babula) [EB]
### casually decided to expound upon rec.bicycles.misc the following
### thoughts about What a loser!!:
EB> So, you're commuting home from work, and you see this guy on a bike,
EB> trying to do the same. You are decked out in your cycling clothes, and
EB> he looks like a slob. You are cruising along on your road bike, at
EB> about 22mph, as you fly past him. What goes through your mind?
EB> This guy:
EB> Age: mid-30s.
EB> Bike: Trek 800 Sport MTB (under $300 for the bike) w/ knobbies,
EB> Blackburn rack on the back, with a green backpack strapped to it with
EB> bungie cords.
EB> Clothes: Giro helmet, Bell gloves, Target-brand cheapo sunglasses,
EB> Nashbar cycling shorts, old white volleyball t-shirt, and Vans sneakers.
EB> Speed: about 16mph on a flat stretch.
That was me at age 20 on my Nishiki Ariel (okay... a little more than $300
pricetag but that matters not... it was still not ultra high-end) in college
going from one class to the next. Or it was me a little younger at age 16
on my Specialized HardRock going home from school. Or it was me a little
older going to get groceries.
As a matter of fact, it's been only recently that I've been able to afford
higher end cycling gear. And you know what? I used to ride my bike way
more back then than I do today. I never kept track of miles or times or
whatnot. Why? Because I was simply attempting to ride... whether it was to
get from point A to point B or to ride for fun.
I didn't care that my helmet was pretty much the equivalent of a chunk of
styrofoam from the bottom of a refrigerator carton with a lycra cover and
virtual no ventilation. I remember having to beg my parents to buy me a
helmet which I ended up paying for myself (this was years before most people
regarded helmets as necessary cycling equipment). They didn't think it was
necessary because I wasn't a racer. I felt it was necessary and to me,
that's all that counted. I was glad I had a helmet and was quite happy with
what I had.
My cycling gloves were thrown in by the bikeshop when I bought my
Specialized HardRock as an incentive to get me to buy more accessories. I
estimated their value at the time to be about five bucks retail.
Sunglasses? I just wore my regular glasses... didn't even think to look
into buying cheapo sunglasses although I probably should have. They can
make just about any size and shape prescription lens as long as you have the
frame. Both my regular prescription glasses and my prescription sunglasses
now are built using standard cheaper aviator sunglass frames which is great
if one of them breaks since everything is interchangable.
My riding shorts (semi-baggy non-lycra) were purchased on closeout and I
talked the salesguy at the shop down in price because he couldn't move small
sized men's cycling gear... especially ones that didn't have team logos and
weren't really professional-looking riding shorts. For a long time, these
were the only pair of dedicated cycling shorts I owned. So oftentimes, when
they were dirty and, I just wore regular shorts.
Much like my cycling shorts, I only had one jersey for a long time. Jerseys
were and still are expensive and t-shirts were and are plentiful. I still
sometimes ride with a t-shirt today if I'm not doing anything extensive. I
still don't do laundry often enough to keep my cycling apparel ready at all
My cycling shoe selection started out with $12 Payless "tennis shoes" mated
to platform pedals. They worked fine. When I tried toe-clips, the laces
would get in the way so I picked up an ourageously expensive (read: $40)
pair of Avia cycling shoes with the smooth tongue flap on closeout. They
also worked fine but I got a lot of comments about them when I wore them off
the bike. When clipless MTB pedals came along, I waited about a year for
prices to come down and picked up a closeout set of Shimano M100 shoes for a
whopping $60 along with M535 pedals (also about $60). I still have the
M100s today although the soles have worn a little thin but they're good
backup shoes in case my Sidis haven't completed dried out the next day.
My cycling budget although a large portion of my living budget was nearly as
large is it is today but I do believe it offorded me adequate happiness. I
didn't have the over-$1000 bike or the flashy jersey and shorts with
European team colours but my riding experience was nonetheless enjoyable.
Does that mean I was not a serious cyclist? In my book, any serious cyclist
is one who gets out and regularly rides either because they have to or they
want to. It doesn't have to be for any particularly reason. It doesn't
have to be for any reason at all.
EB> So, what do you all think of a guy like this, when you see him?
EB> Complete loser? Nice bike (sarcasm)! Man, I blew by him! Can't he go
EB> out and buy himself some real clothing, like a Cannondale jersey (or
EB> other brand) and bicycling shoes? And, what's with the MTB tires, if
EB> you're using that piece of junk to commute to work? And, for God's
EB> sake, get yourself some panniers for that rack!
I think, "I hope he's having as much fun riding as I am." The only time I
feel sorry for another cyclist is when it's obvious they are not having fun
or are not enjoying the ride. It may be because they're not happy with
their cycling equipment either because it's not performing well or thdey're
just not comfortable on it but that's a whole nother issue. Bottomline, if
they're not happy, that's sad because cycling should be a happy experience.
As long as they're happy, all is right in that corner of the world.
EB> Or, do you give him a nod, and praise him for at least being out there,
EB> giving it a try?
I praise him for being out there... no "least" or "giving it a try" involved.
EB> Would you even associate with this guy, if he were to show up at a
EB> bicycling function, like a (name of city) Bikes to Work Week event?
EB> What do you think of guys like this?
I once stopped off at a pathside park to munch on an energy bar and watch an
inning or two of a little league game. Sitting at the edge of the fence was
another cyclist who seemed to be doing the same. He looked exactly like the
guy described above. He asked me about my jersey because he wanted to know
if it was good for the varying climate we get around here. I told him I had
only been out for a few hours today but that usually if I ride with it in
the morning, the short sleeved jersey is a bit cold at first but as the day
warms up, it is fine. He asked me where I got it and I told him I ordered
it from gear.com because it was cheap and they had good deals on other
things. He said he didn't have a computer but knew some people who did and
would check it out.
After talking with him some more, I found out that he has no family. He
lives on a relatively small but sustainable income. He bikes to work and
back. He can't afford a car so instead concentrates on equipping himself
and his bike with not necessarily the best but adequate equipment. And he
rides from dusk till dawn anytime he's not working. Cycling is his freedom
just as it is often to me. He takes a fishing pole with him and fishes
along the rivers when he gets tired of pedalling. He described his regular
routes to me and from what I gathered, this guy must put in around 500 miles
per week if not more. This guy wasn't homeless... he wasn't really a slob
either... he was however a happy cyclist. He even offered me some smoked
salmon he had purchased earlier that day from a local grocery store. Just
then the cellphone in my camelbak rang. It was my wife asking me where I
was because she was hungry and wanted to go out to dinner. The sun was
starting to set and I was already an hour late (yes, he did have lights -
not a klieg status dual-beam setup or anything but I'm sure they worked
fine). I bid the man goodbye and wished him a happy ride. He thanked me
for the conversation and said he had another couple of hours to go until he
got home. And as I rode home myself, I just hope he praised me for at least
being out there, giving it a try.
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