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)?