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Old 06-05-09, 03:29 PM   #1
stark23x
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Is it possible to love to ride without all the drama and cliques?

I'll explain.

I love being on my bike. Fast, slow, flat, path, street, gravel, whatever. I love that feeling. You know what I mean.

I don't want to learn the ins and outs of road racing with a team. I don't want to follow this tour or that race or learn the jargon or become a mechanic or have to justify my rack or my helmet or my god-)@#ned choice of shirt or socks or shoes. I don't want to have to embrace a pejorative term just to try to take the power away from the jerks who created it in the first place.

Reading some threads here and in other places, talking to "that type" of jerk*** LBS employees, these things tend to make me feel smaller than a gnat's testicles (do gnats even have testicles?). I feel like I'm not good enough to deign to share cyberspace, much less a roadway, with the bad-ass elite cyclists, etc. Me and my bike should stick to riding up and down my street at 9 miles an hour or something.

But I *love* being on the bike. I truly do. It is all I want to do, 24/7. I wish I weighed less and was in better shape and the weather was 68 & partly cloudy every single day so I could ride from dawn until dusk. I want to feel that all the time, and I don't care what rider moved into what place in some race in Europe or Denver or frigging Timbuktu. I don't want to join a cult of some cyclist or a brand or a certain riding philosophy. I don't want to do any labeling or be labeled. I don't want to be a snob or feel forced to join a clique just to be accepted as a rider. I just want to ride.

Example: I ride pretty much on a bike path, an "MUP" if we're being jargon-y. Couple that with the rack, my street clothes and the quality of my bike, and I am literally the lowest form of life on Bikeforums. Of course there are those who don't judge...loads of good people around this place, and I appreciate every one of you. But the bad can really wear on a person, and today it's wearing on me.

Second example: I broke a bar end yesterday on mile 12 of a 30 mile ride. The epoxy holding the bar to the mount crumbled like dust, so I guess I didn't break it, it was just crappy. I rode to the closest bike shop to try to buy a replacement, and the guy made me feel *this* big for wanting bar ends. "Bar ends? I guess. I mean, nobody uses those anymore. If you feel you need them though, we only have these." Same exact ones I had, turns out. They seemed solid enough, and cheap, so I bought 'em. BUT... Hey jerkface bikeshop guy: they help me. I've gone as far as I can dialing in my seat/stem/bar position, etc. This bike fits as good as it is going to, and bar ends give me a couple other options as to where I can put my hands. Just sell them to me without the frigging judgmental comments, okay?

Add to that the 'tude you get when you don't know certain things, and man...cycling is like hardcore anime fandom or something. Just EXTRAORDINARY levels of judgment and disdain get heaped on new riders.

I'm probably not even expressing this very well. Does anyone understand what I am trying to say (poorly)?
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Old 06-05-09, 04:02 PM   #2
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You enjoy riding your bike, that's what it's about.
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Old 06-05-09, 04:05 PM   #3
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I think that I do.

Bottom line, you have no control over the behavior of others. They're going to think and do whatever they do and you can't change them. You can, however, control your own actions. I think that it's best to just blow off all of the people who upset you. Don't respond in any way. Sometimes that's easier to say than it is to do.
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Old 06-05-09, 04:09 PM   #4
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Your doing great.
Ride safe.
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Old 06-05-09, 04:22 PM   #5
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do what you want, but it sounds like you want the world to instantly change for you. Get over yourself, ride the way you want and ignore the rest.
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Old 06-05-09, 04:29 PM   #6
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Ride a little faster, the chip on your shoulder should fall off.
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Old 06-05-09, 05:17 PM   #7
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Well I don't follow pro cycling, to me it is two totally different worlds between watching something and doing it. There are hardly any adults around me who bicycle and the closest bike shop is over 35 miles away (I don't have a lot of peer pressure to be a Lance Armstrong look-a-like). After hardly touching a bike for 8 years, I restarted a few years ago on a Huffy roadbike, wearing regular cloths. Gradually I adopted additional things that made sense to me (a non-dept store roadbike, a helmet, padded bike shorts, a bright shirt). I tried the devices that strap your foot to the pedals (for about a dozen rides) and decided to go with flatform pedals (I've never tried clipless). I just started using some weightlifting half-finger gloves that I found on clearance for $1, and I think I like wearing gloves. I know I would be considered "not-with-it" by some who are more seriously into cycling, but the non-cycling public that see me riding probably think I'm a bicycle geek.

My advice is to not worry about conforming to all the rules of the "elite" bike culture, but to take from it what is useful (and interesting) to you personally.
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Old 06-05-09, 05:22 PM   #8
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Is it possible to love to ride without all the drama and cliques?
Yes, focus more on riding and less on the internet circus that is bikeforums.com
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Old 06-05-09, 05:23 PM   #9
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As much as your post kind of comes across as a whine-fest, I find myself agreeing with what you are saying, to some extent.

Just as with anything else, there are a lot of tools who ride bikes, but there are some good folks out there, as well. Most everyone has been talked down to in a specialty store at some time or another (not just bike shops).

Enjoy what you love about cycling and ignore the haters.
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Old 06-05-09, 05:26 PM   #10
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Smile when you ride.....

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Old 06-05-09, 06:37 PM   #11
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Do you need to a hug? HTFU. do what you want. No one really cares that much.
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Old 06-05-09, 06:46 PM   #12
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We like riding.

I don't care how you look.

Cheers!

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TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...
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Old 06-05-09, 06:54 PM   #13
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Keepin' it real Stark 23! Good on ya! Keep having fun.
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Old 06-05-09, 09:30 PM   #14
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Hang in there. I've gotten grief at the local bike shop for looking for parts that are a generation or two behind the trend. I like to work on bikes. Always have from the time I was 6. If you don't, fine.

The bike that gets ridden most in my collection is my $25.00 Schwinn ATB. Got rear rack & milk crate for muh stuff. Works good with regular street clothes. My road bike & mountain bike have clipless pedals. Different bikes for different rides.

As your ass hardened from riding, so shall your self-esteem. Soon, you shall be looking down at everyone else cuz they are doing it wrong. Works for me.
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Old 06-05-09, 09:41 PM   #15
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How do you think most of the "hardcore" cyclists got started in the sport?

A: By ignoring the haters.
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Old 06-05-09, 10:40 PM   #16
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Thanks for the advice, folks. I know I was awfully whiny there, and not really expressing what I wanted to without the whine. I guess it was a combination of a few bad experiences over the last few days, me letting them get to me and the damn rain today. Damn you rain!

I will take the good advice and throw out the bad. Ride my ride, right? Who cares if I dress like a moron and use gear the LBS guys think is dumb. Hell they sold it to me, right? So tomorrow the sun will be out, and I will spend the morning cleaning the bike and the afternoon riding it.

10 Wheels, that pic is *awesome* squared. A picture is worth a thousand words indeed.
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Old 06-05-09, 10:57 PM   #17
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Thanks for the advice, folks. I know I was awfully whiny there, and not really expressing what I wanted to without the whine. I guess it was a combination of a few bad experiences over the last few days, me letting them get to me and the damn rain today. Damn you rain!

I will take the good advice and throw out the bad. Ride my ride, right? Who cares if I dress like a moron and use gear the LBS guys think is dumb. Hell they sold it to me, right? So tomorrow the sun will be out, and I will spend the morning cleaning the bike and the afternoon riding it.

10 Wheels, that pic is *awesome* squared. A picture is worth a thousand words indeed.
You know most of us started out simply with some bike we just thought we wanted. We didnít care what we wore or where we went just as long as the bike did what we wanted it to do. Racks or baskets or trailers were either bought or made and we didnít care what others thought and we didnít ask.

But the fact that you found this forum indicates you either want more information or more communication from other cyclists. It is there the infection starts. Someone who has been riding for a lot longer than you doing the things you are doing, utility, sport, recreation or whatever will make a suggestion that you try and it works. Maybe your bike breaks down or gets ripped off and you start thinking about another one and you ask one of these people and that suggestion works. Then you decide you want to ride farther, or tour or even Mountain Bike and the N+1 bug gets you.

If you stick around long enough someone newer than you will ask a question you have already had experience with and you will look back and think, ďI remember when bike riding was that simple to me.Ē By then you will have bike shorts and shoes and your favorite tires and saddle.

Maybe you should just ignore this post and think about it in a year or two. Donít ask how I know.
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Old 06-06-09, 12:45 AM   #18
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Ride my ride, right? Who cares if I ...
EXACTLY!!!

If someone were to snub my ride, I'd just smile ...

because I can only ride one bike or trike at a time, as I have several of each back at home.
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Old 06-06-09, 01:45 AM   #19
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Of course it is possible to love riding without the cliques. And having N+1 whatever isn't absolutely necessary. But the shorts make it more comfortble, the shoes make it more efficient, a better bike rides better. I started out just wanting to ride my pos bike to and from work and go on little rides with my gf who got gifted a nice new Trek (i hate her for it sometimes). Now I'm the one wrenching on everything (badly at times, but can't really hurt the Big Blue Roadbeast), getting the clipless shoes, and saving every little bit of money I can for a bike that will be nicer to ride than a steel/aluminum mashup from the 80's. Seriously, any nice new bike will weigh like 10 lbs less than this thing. But, it's gotten me started, and the more you learn, the more you want.
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Old 06-06-09, 02:06 AM   #20
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My opinion on detractors of riding a bicycle - regardless of being a clique-freak or a Granny from the Beverley Hillbillies?

Read my title under my avatar.
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Old 06-06-09, 03:05 AM   #21
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If the LBS gives you grief, take your business elsewhere and tell them why.
And stay out of the Advocacy and Safety forum if you don't want drama.
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Old 06-06-09, 06:42 AM   #22
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It really sounds to me that you have more issue with your shop than with other riders. Street cloths on bikes are ok if you're comfortable and the seams give you no chaffing issues. Once you start riding more than 20-25 miles per ride there's alot to be said for some Performance Century Shorts. I ride with whomever I choose. I wear what I like.
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Old 06-06-09, 08:16 AM   #23
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It is somewhat coming from inside you and I don't mean that in a harsh way. In your second post you say, 'so what if I dress like a moron'. You are guilty of judging yourself harshly in that statement. We all have some of it in us, humans evolved that way. We find things we have in common with others and then exclude others- it doesn't matter what group of people, everyone does it to some extent.
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Old 06-06-09, 10:01 AM   #24
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I say, ride it, and avoid forums or consulting the internet about it. Even if they don't drive you nuts, they will make you develop a hate for the whole cycling scene - like a club that you wouldn't want to be in. Just ride and enjoy yourself.

Assuming you are positioned reasonably well on a bike that fits you, you can ignore everything else. Need pointers on something, just go to the library and look at any of the published books on it. Most of what made sense was already written by the mid-1980's anyway. Good ones that come to mind are LeMond's, Richard Ballantine's older editions, and Forester's Effective Cycling.

There is a cycling life that is one of a more simple lifestyle, with rides that are both fun and stimulating, but which give you time to appreciate your environment. Then there is the testosterone-charged world of the performance and competition enthusiasts (who tend to dominate forums, websites and bike shops). Choose what you will, but choose wisely for what matters most to you. There is no law that says you can't just ride solo if you're not a joiner. I'm not, and I prefer to ride as I do. Riding is my meditation time. It's what keeps me sane and alive, because, I really don't need to make my cycling another source of stress.

Last edited by Longfemur; 06-06-09 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 06-06-09, 01:39 PM   #25
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I agree that forums like this do nothing to help my cycling. And I have to remember not to let them hurt my attitude toward cycling.

I ride with a large social club on the weekends, and we have none of the bizarre and elitist cliqu-ish stuff that (so far) I have found only online. Arguing about what you shouldn't wear? Sorry, I've never seen it in real life. Our club has riders in matching outfits down to the socks, and riders in t-shirts. And nobody seems to care. There are a few that follow racing, but they don't push it down the throats of those who don't.

With that said - I do look online when I need to learn something. Maintenance issues mostly. There are many good web sites like Sheldon Brown, Park Tool, Bicycle Tutor, etc. And when I'm still not sure, I come here and usually find no agreement about the right way to do anything. This helps me to walk into the bike shop and ask intelligent questions, ask for exactly what I need. So I follow the Mechanics forum here pretty well, but the rest of them? Not so much.
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