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  1. #1
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    Why is bicycling culture so snobby?

    I'm fairly new here and relatively new to bicycling in general. My girlfriend and I got into it about a year and a half ago here in Seattle for transportation/recreation purposes --- no serious racing or other competition. I've been into many "scenes", be it cars, or motorcycles, or bouldering, but man, I have NEVER --- EVER --- encountered the level of pretentious, exclusionary, and downright snobby behavior that bicyclist as a group exude. Of course, I have to temper this with the clear fact that not EVERY person who deems themselves a "cyclist" is like that, but by and large it seems to be the case. Maybe it's because I have been lurking on the fixie/single speed forums lately and from what I gather fixie culture is comprised of younger more brash clientele that they get a healthy dose of haterade; they seem to be bicycling culture's motorcycle equivalent of squids.

    It disturbs me because it puts the cost of entry that is at best high and at worst intimidating. My bicycling needs are mostly commuting in the city with some leisure rides on the weekends. As such, I have myself a cyclocross bike that I commute on which I threw fenders on along with a set of RevoWheels for lights during our long dark winters in Seattle. I have a mountain bike helmet. I look like I'm kluged together. Some people on forums will say I look like a tool and I've read more than a few bike magazine articles that outline a set of "rules" to not look like a newb or a rookie or an idiot. They all read like self-righteous wind-baggery. My question is always, "Who gives a ****, genius?" Why are people making bicycling this thing that needs rules to be adhered to at the risk of being ostracized and made fun of by people? Have people seriously not gotten over their bullying grade-school playground ways? Riding a self-propelled two-wheeled machine is many things. It's fun. It's good for you. It's good for traffic congestion. It's good for the environment. But most of all, it's liberating. The best part of riding a bicycle is the freedom it affords you. Why do we insist on perpetuating a culture where that liberation comes with strings? I say, don't hurt anyone and have at it. You're on two-wheels, son! You're already part of the club!

    I have recently been riding a belt-driven bike and I love it for commuting. I love the smoothness, the lack-of-noise, the lack-of-maintenance. As such, I'm converting my cyclocross back to strictly a fun bike, and will be building a bare-bones, simple, reliable, belt-driven single-speed. May go fixed in the future, but I'm gonna start off single-speed. And I'm not even a young "hipster" with facial hair! Someone call the authorities! I'm pushing my mid-thirties and I'm Asian so I don't even have the ABILITY to grow facial hair.

    And get this: I make a good salary and can afford to not kludge my single speed out of used craigslist parts.

    So then what is it? Will I be made fun of by the fixie crowd for not scouring craigslist and eBay for parts to frankenstein my bike together? Will I not be REAL enough? Will I stand against the culture that was seemingly spawned from the melding of needs of bike couriers and track racing? At the same time, will I be laughed at by the "legitimate" road cyclists for riding a ss/fixie? Because my bike will likely end up with Gates carbon belt drive (low maintenance), with both brakes preset and functional (safety), and heavy-ass gatorskin tires (commuter bike, needs to flat on my way to a meeting). The components might be higher end, they may not. They may be a mix of low-end eBay/craigslist parts and new components that will be blingy by some standards. Who knows? All I know is that I'm building a bike for my own purposes and my own usage patterns. Why the **** do people feel like they have to judge?

    As a car guy, I've always gravitated towards more simple, and raw experiences. My car history is full of lightweight sports cars. A 2nd gen RX-7, an RX-8, two Lotus Exiges, and a Subaru BRZ. My motorcycles have included a Honda CBR600rr, a Triumph 675, a Ducati 1098, and a Buell Lightning SCG. The motorcycles, especially when I jumped on a Buell probably raised a few stares from Harley types because I wasn't old and white and sport bike types because I wasn't old and white. But even so, they still gave me the two finger motorcyclist hello whenver we drove past each other. The point is this: every single machine I've owned I've loved because of their engineering and their philosophy. I valued their simplicity, their spirit, and what they stood for. I like being connected to the machine and to the road. To feel like I'm hardwired into the experience and part of the work, not just being taken for a ride. This is what I value and this is what I'm gonna do no matter what anyone else says.

    And I wouldn't put it past anyone else to do the same for themselves.

    But being in the cycling world starts to make you think twice about the choices you make for your own ride. Not only that, but HOW you ride. How FAST you ride. How you ****ing dress when you ride. And I hate it --- I don't hate cycling --- I just hate the holier-than-thou attitude cyclist cop to others that aren't like them.

    I'd like to say that I'm sorry that I wrote a long rant as one of my first posts. But I'm not. I feel like I should get this out there before I started posting in earnest so that if people start giving me flak about what kind of wheels I decided to put on what frame because they can't get outside themselves I can point them to this post and tell them to **** on their father's dicks.
    /rant

    Last edited by no1mad; 07-29-14 at 03:22 AM. Reason: letting the censor to do its job

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butters32 View Post
    I'm fairly new here and relatively new to bicycling in general. My girlfriend and I got into it about a year and a half ago here in Seattle for transportation/recreation purposes --- no serious racing or other competition. I've been into many "scenes", be it cars, or motorcycles, or bouldering, but man, I have NEVER --- EVER --- encountered the level of pretentious, exclusionary, and downright snobby behavior that bicyclist as a group exude. Of course, I have to temper this with the clear fact that not EVERY person who deems themselves a "cyclist" is like that, but by and large it seems to be the case. Maybe it's because I have been lurking on the fixie/single speed forums lately and from what I gather fixie culture is comprised of younger more brash clientele that they get a healthy dose of haterade; they seem to be bicycling culture's motorcycle equivalent of squids.

    It disturbs me because it puts the cost of entry that is at best high and at worst intimidating. My bicycling needs are mostly commuting in the city with some leisure rides on the weekends. As such, I have myself a cyclocross bike that I commute on which I threw fenders on along with a set of RevoWheels for lights during our long dark winters in Seattle. I have a mountain bike helmet. I look like I'm kluged together. Some people on forums will say I look like a tool and I've read more than a few bike magazine articles that outline a set of "rules" to not look like a newb or a rookie or an idiot. They all read like self-righteous wind-baggery. My question is always, "Who gives a ****, genius?" Why are people making bicycling this thing that needs rules to be adhered to at the risk of being ostracized and made fun of by people? Have people seriously not gotten over their bullying grade-school playground ways? Riding a self-propelled two-wheeled machine is many things. It's fun. It's good for you. It's good for traffic congestion. It's good for the environment. But most of all, it's liberating. The best part of riding a bicycle is the freedom it affords you. Why do we insist on perpetuating a culture where that liberation comes with strings? I say, don't hurt anyone and have at it. You're on two-wheels, son! You're already part of the club!

    I have recently been riding a belt-driven bike and I love it for commuting. I love the smoothness, the lack-of-noise, the lack-of-maintenance. As such, I'm converting my cyclocross back to strictly a fun bike, and will be building a bare-bones, simple, reliable, belt-driven single-speed. May go fixed in the future, but I'm gonna start off single-speed. And I'm not even a young "hipster" with facial hair! Someone call the authorities! I'm pushing my mid-thirties and I'm Asian so I don't even have the ABILITY to grow facial hair.

    And get this: I make a good salary and can afford to not kludge my single speed out of used craigslist parts.

    So then what is it? Will I be made fun of by the fixie crowd for not scouring craigslist and eBay for parts to frankenstein my bike together? Will I not be REAL enough? Will I stand against the culture that was seemingly spawned from the melding of needs of bike couriers and track racing? At the same time, will I be laughed at by the "legitimate" road cyclists for riding a ss/fixie? Because my bike will likely end up with Gates carbon belt drive (low maintenance), with both brakes preset and functional (safety), and heavy-ass gatorskin tires (commuter bike, needs to flat on my way to a meeting). The components might be higher end, they may not. They may be a mix of low-end eBay/craigslist parts and new components that will be blingy by some standards. Who knows? All I know is that I'm building a bike for my own purposes and my own usage patterns. Why the **** do people feel like they have to judge?

    As a car guy, I've always gravitated towards more simple, and raw experiences. My car history is full of lightweight sports cars. A 2nd gen RX-7, an RX-8, two Lotus Exiges, and a Subaru BRZ. My motorcycles have included a Honda CBR600rr, a Triumph 675, a Ducati 1098, and a Buell Lightning SCG. The motorcycles, especially when I jumped on a Buell probably raised a few stares from Harley types because I wasn't old and white and sport bike types because I wasn't old and white. But even so, they still gave me the two finger motorcyclist hello whenver we drove past each other. The point is this: every single machine I've owned I've loved because of their engineering and their philosophy. I valued their simplicity, their spirit, and what they stood for. I like being connected to the machine and to the road. To feel like I'm hardwired into the experience and part of the work, not just being taken for a ride. This is what I value and this is what I'm gonna do no matter what anyone else says.

    And I wouldn't put it past anyone else to do the same for themselves.

    But being in the cycling world starts to make you think twice about the choices you make for your own ride. Not only that, but HOW you ride. How FAST you ride. How you ****ing dress when you ride. And I hate it --- I don't hate cycling --- I just hate the holier-than-thou attitude cyclist cop to others that aren't like them.

    I'd like to say that I'm sorry that I wrote a long rant as one of my first posts. But I'm not. I feel like I should get this out there before I started posting in earnest so that if people start giving me flak about what kind of wheels I decided to put on what frame because they can't get outside themselves I can point them to this post and tell them to **** on their father's dicks.

    /rant

    if i weren't so snobby i would actually read through your rant...

    all kidding aside -all i say is just ride - people are people - there are some that are nice and there are some that are a*****es...

    regards,
    Trek800Antelope
    Last edited by no1mad; 07-29-14 at 03:26 AM. Reason: letting the censor do its job

  3. #3
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    I agree. People are people. Some are good peeps. Some feel like they need to crap on other people's parade. I have that same response when the whole driver's versus bicyclists debate pops up.

  4. #4
    Senior Member pvillemasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butters32 View Post
    My question is always, "Who gives a ****, genius?"

    But being in the cycling world starts to make you think twice about the choices you make for your own ride. Not only that, but HOW you ride. How FAST you ride. How you f ucking dress when you ride. And I hate it --- I don't hate cycling --- I just hate the holier-than-thou attitude cyclist cop to others that aren't like them.
    Uhm, I guess you do.
    I certainly don't, I do what I want.

  5. #5
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    I do?

  6. #6
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    Years ago at another bike forum (not this one) I departed because it seemed that a majority of the members were graduate students in exercise physiology or what ever the f**k and too many of their responses began with something like: "I'm a graduate student in (name the science) and yada yada..." along with a whole page of physiology geek stuff. And I was just looking for a simplified answer to my question. You'll also find snobs in all hobbies and groups and I just learned to let it go and gravitate toward other members who seemed not so "ivory tower".

    Oh, I forgot to blow by schnoozola. I have three, almost four degrees, have graduated from the University of California, the California State University and I'm also a chiropractor. Excuse me while I go quaff another Bud 16 ouncer.
    Best,

    -T

  7. #7
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    I'm a graduate student in psychology and the reason bicycle culture is so snobby is...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    I'm glad you have a girlfriend.
    That must ease the pain.

  9. #9
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    Just do your thing and ignore them. As with any sport or hobby, there are always elitists and dentists a plenty who squander their $10k+ bikes with less than a handful of rides for months.
    It's the lure of technology, reminder of youth, and showing off that attracts everybody including the aforementioned sort.

    Most importantly, do not let those few snotty a-holes represent us. It's just like reckless and careless dbags spoiling the modified car scene and giving us a bad rap (nice cars BTW, I'm a subaru guy who currently has a 2jz FD in the works).
    As always, the number of nice and down to earth people outnumber those.

  10. #10
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    My god, how long did that take to type? I

    Hey I've noticed people being rude on this forum, but it's usually in response to a really stupid question or statement or someone saying something completely false.
    Because I've seen those same ride people be very helpful to people needing advice. Easier said than done, but just don't worry about any of the people hating.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leukybear View Post
    Just do your thing and ignore them. As with any sport or hobby, there are always elitists and dentists a plenty who squander their $10k+ bikes with less than a handful of rides for months.
    It's the lure of technology, reminder of youth, and showing off that attracts everybody including the aforementioned sort.

    Most importantly, do not let those few snotty a-holes represent us. It's just like reckless and careless dbags spoiling the modified car scene and giving us a bad rap (nice cars BTW, I'm a subaru guy who currently has a 2jz FD in the works).
    As always, the number of nice and down to earth people outnumber those.
    Your 2jz swapped FD sounds like it's going to be a beast. Have you been getting much flack from rotary purists? I'm currently wrapping up a pretty involved engine swap myself. Honda k-swap into a Lotus Exige. Talk about a money pit...

    For those of you wondering why I posted the rant... I was just doing my usual perusing of the forums this morning and came across a thread where someone had decided to build up a State Bicycle Undefeated frame with a bunch of nice parts and people kept giving him sh it for it. It just rubbed me the wrong way how people just wouldn't let him be.

  12. #12
    I don't get out enough polishmadman's Avatar
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    Maybe its the people you're trying to ride with. Try finding a group that is more like you. If you're not decked out in lycra, spent thousands on your bike, or hell, want your bike to be as light as possible. Then expect them to feel elitist toward you. Not sure who might be a better fit? Keep looking and screw the a-holes.
    12 Schwinn Tourist, 90 something Gary Fisher Marlin (Ss conversion), ?? Bike E RX

  13. #13
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butters32 View Post
    Your 2jz swapped FD sounds like it's going to be a beast. Have you been getting much flack from rotary purists? I'm currently wrapping up a pretty involved engine swap myself. Honda k-swap into a Lotus Exige. Talk about a money pit...
    I've been out of car forums as of late but my gearhead buddies have been egging me on to finally work on the blown FD which was sitting in the corner of my garage gathering dust.
    The 13b in it was literally driven to the ground and rotary parts were more than I would like to spend on a project car atm (I recently got a CPO e92) and I got a good deal on the 2jz from a friend of a friend who had a baby coming and had to clear out his projects. Conversion is done but it's sitting on jack stands atm waiting for new hubs and driveshafts because the old ones were seized together when I went to replace the bearings.
    Long term goal: 20b conversion

  14. #14
    one life on two wheels cobrabyte's Avatar
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    there isn't really one cycling culture, that's why BF has so many sub-forums. Some have a frat boy culture thing going on, others are more relaxed. There's likely a group of riders in your area that have the same approach to riding that you do, but I doubt you'll find it at the roadie club rides.

  15. #15
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    Ha! I think this is my favorite post on this forum.


    I agree wholeheartedly with the OP. Those who disagree have probably removed all their reflectors, dork discs and front breaks while wearing $300 cycling specific glasses and would buy Jan Ulrich's urine if it was labeled as cologne and rub it into their saddle horns to impress their other prissy man panty wearing butt sniffing cyclists.


    I think it's a combination of the gear & the Euro-worship of the sport in general.


    I convinced a marathon running buddy of mine to go riding with me a few years ago. He hadn't ridden in over 10 years. He dragged his old Diamondback out of the garage, cleaned it up & started riding. To this day, he's mesmerized by the snobbery of the sport. With marathons, the runners have this great bond, no matter skill level. There really isn't much gear to speak of, so there's no gear to be snobby about. All there are are PRs and tactics, and they're not shared in the "I'm better than you" mindset, but in the "this is what worked for me, what works for you" mindset. If you want to see the stark contrast he noted, try hanging out at the beginning & end of a marathon & then go hang around the cyclists at a crit or even just a weekend group ride. It's the difference between walking into Cheers & having everyone shout your name vs. walking into a bar with a State jersey on & realizing everyone else is wearing a Tech jersey. Oops.


    Even here... or especially here... just suggesting that something - anything the pros do doesn't apply or make sense for the amateur rider will get you bashed & ridiculed. Got reflectors on your bike? You must be a moron. Got a dork disc? Weirdo. Use tire sealant? Idiot!


    While they're doing their best to make other people feel less, I just keep seeing that quote that one of the moderators has in their signature line... something to the tune of "a bicycle forum is the only place a cyclist can make himself feel tough." How true! I kinda' feel sorry for those guys... ruining a fun activity by taking it way too seriously.


    Now, pardon me while I go install my 3rd kickstand.

  16. #16
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roopull View Post
    Ha! I think this is my favorite post on this forum.


    I agree wholeheartedly with the OP. Those who disagree have probably removed all their reflectors, dork discs and front breaks while wearing $300 cycling specific glasses and would buy Jan Ulrich's urine if it was labeled as cologne and rub it into their saddle horns to impress their other prissy man panty wearing butt sniffing cyclists.


    I think it's a combination of the gear & the Euro-worship of the sport in general.


    I convinced a marathon running buddy of mine to go riding with me a few years ago. He hadn't ridden in over 10 years. He dragged his old Diamondback out of the garage, cleaned it up & started riding. To this day, he's mesmerized by the snobbery of the sport. With marathons, the runners have this great bond, no matter skill level. There really isn't much gear to speak of, so there's no gear to be snobby about. All there are are PRs and tactics, and they're not shared in the "I'm better than you" mindset, but in the "this is what worked for me, what works for you" mindset. If you want to see the stark contrast he noted, try hanging out at the beginning & end of a marathon & then go hang around the cyclists at a crit or even just a weekend group ride. It's the difference between walking into Cheers & having everyone shout your name vs. walking into a bar with a State jersey on & realizing everyone else is wearing a Tech jersey. Oops.


    Even here... or especially here... just suggesting that something - anything the pros do doesn't apply or make sense for the amateur rider will get you bashed & ridiculed. Got reflectors on your bike? You must be a moron. Got a dork disc? Weirdo. Use tire sealant? Idiot!


    While they're doing their best to make other people feel less, I just keep seeing that quote that one of the moderators has in their signature line... something to the tune of "a bicycle forum is the only place a cyclist can make himself feel tough." How true! I kinda' feel sorry for those guys... ruining a fun activity by taking it way too seriously.


    Now, pardon me while I go install my 3rd kickstand.
    I found this a nice post to read. Just along w/ the 1st one.
    Just do your own thing and learn/ train to do it well. I'm pretty sure dropping someone with a substantially more expensive bike than you and putting them in awe and decreasing their self-esteem all while increasing yours outweighs the lack of a "bond".

  17. #17
    To be continued Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Welcome to general cycling.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
    Words and Stuff.

  18. #18
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butters32 View Post
    I'm fairly new here and relatively new to bicycling in general....
    Well, what sub-culture isn't snobby. I think you are begging the question, "Why care?" You wrote more than a half a dozen ranting paragraphs; why are you so worked up? ... that's a healthier question for you to ponder.

  19. #19
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roopull View Post
    Ha! I think this is my favorite post on this forum.


    I agree wholeheartedly with the OP. Those who disagree have probably removed all their reflectors, dork discs and front breaks while wearing $300 cycling specific glasses and would buy Jan Ulrich's urine if it was labeled as cologne and rub it into their saddle horns to impress their other prissy man panty wearing butt sniffing cyclists.


    I think it's a combination of the gear & the Euro-worship of the sport in general.


    I convinced a marathon running buddy of mine to go riding with me a few years ago. He hadn't ridden in over 10 years. He dragged his old Diamondback out of the garage, cleaned it up & started riding. To this day, he's mesmerized by the snobbery of the sport. With marathons, the runners have this great bond, no matter skill level. There really isn't much gear to speak of, so there's no gear to be snobby about. All there are are PRs and tactics, and they're not shared in the "I'm better than you" mindset, but in the "this is what worked for me, what works for you" mindset. If you want to see the stark contrast he noted, try hanging out at the beginning & end of a marathon & then go hang around the cyclists at a crit or even just a weekend group ride. It's the difference between walking into Cheers & having everyone shout your name vs. walking into a bar with a State jersey on & realizing everyone else is wearing a Tech jersey. Oops.


    Even here... or especially here... just suggesting that something - anything the pros do doesn't apply or make sense for the amateur rider will get you bashed & ridiculed. Got reflectors on your bike? You must be a moron. Got a dork disc? Weirdo. Use tire sealant? Idiot!


    While they're doing their best to make other people feel less, I just keep seeing that quote that one of the moderators has in their signature line... something to the tune of "a bicycle forum is the only place a cyclist can make himself feel tough." How true! I kinda' feel sorry for those guys... ruining a fun activity by taking it way too seriously.


    Now, pardon me while I go install my 3rd kickstand.
    Who removes front brakes?
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  20. #20
    Senior Member danmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Who removes front brakes?

    OMG, you still have your front brakes!!!??? Stick to the MUP, Fred, and ride your dork-disced, reflector-laden hybrid to your heart's content!

  21. #21
    Senior Member pvillemasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roopull View Post
    I convinced a marathon running buddy of mine to go riding with me a few years ago. He hadn't ridden in over 10 years. He dragged his old Diamondback out of the garage, cleaned it up & started riding. To this day, he's mesmerized by the snobbery of the sport. With marathons, the runners have this great bond, no matter skill level. There really isn't much gear to speak of, so there's no gear to be snobby about. All there are are PRs and tactics, and they're not shared in the "I'm better than you" mindset, but in the "this is what worked for me, what works for you" mindset. If you want to see the stark contrast he noted, try hanging out at the beginning & end of a marathon & then go hang around the cyclists at a crit or even just a weekend group ride. It's the difference between walking into Cheers & having everyone shout your name vs. walking into a bar with a State jersey on & realizing everyone else is wearing a Tech jersey. Oops.
    Have your buddy show up to a marathon training run in hiking shoes, cutoff jeans and a tank top and see the reaction he gets. Probably similar to the (imagined) treatment he got at the group ride.

    I have a couple of other hobbies and I don't see much of a difference in the way newbies are treated there vs. cycling. People always talk about how snobby the other people are, and IMO it's mostly in their own minds. If a guy on a nice bike came up to your Diamondback buddy and said that he's got guts riding 50 miles or whatever on that bike, just trying to make conversation and be nice, your buddy would probably talk about the snob who dissed his bike. (I'm assuming it's a Diamondback mtn bike with knobbies) Same story everywhere and in every hobby.

  22. #22
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Who removes front brakes?
    Not "brakes." Roopul clearly typed "breaks," meaning he was talking about removing broken stuff.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I think that there's truth in OP's statement, but not enough to make it true.

    In the early 80's Mrs. Grouch and I had a lot of kids and not much money. I pieced together a tandem bicycle from a Schwinn Twinn coaster brake frame into a 60 pound 10 speed so we could ride together. We took it on a quite hilly 2-day ride in the St Louis area. The only other tandem on that ride was ridden by Lon Haldeman and Susan Notreangelo of RAAM fame. At the overnight, Susan looked us up to encourage us for attempting such a ride on a less-than-ideal bike. That's not snobbish.

    There were some skoffers too but I don't think about them anymore.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  24. #24
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    The OP has a good point. In many bike forums there have been hundreds of threads pointing out what he finds to be true about many cyclist. So many seem to feel they are "the ones" that define what a "real" cyclist should be. Fortunately they are in the minority, but appear to be a majority because they are so vocal.

    Just remember most people that bike are just common people that enjoy a great sport. We, and I include myself in the group of "common cyclist" pretty much disreguard what the "real" cyclist blather. My advice is do your own thing, and ride the way that you personally enjoy. I ride both a recumbent bike and trike. I ride where I want to, at what speed I want to, using what ever gear and cadence feels right. I advise you do the same, and dont listen to or be put off by the snob cycling "culture".

  25. #25
    Senior Member linnefaulk's Avatar
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    There are snobs everywhere. You just need to do what you want and find the right people.
    sharon
    when did I become vintage?

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