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-   -   It's not the bike, it's the rider. (https://www.bikeforums.net/general-cycling-discussion/1170097-its-not-bike-its-rider.html)

Skipjacks 04-08-19 07:34 AM

It's not the bike, it's the rider.
 
Yesterday I took a rail trail ride.

I'm not the best rider on the trail but I do a lot more passing than I get passed.

Yesterday though I was behind a guy who I couldn't pass for anything. Dude was just a stronger rider than me, hands down.

Here's the fun part. He was at least 20 years older than me. He was wearing a button down shirt that was ballooning up in the back from all the air it was catching like a sail so you know that was adding wind resistance. And he was riding an old bike from I'm guessing the 80's that had this horrific metal on metal clanging sound like something important was about to fall off the bike.

In other words...old guy who scoffed at aerodynamics on an old broken down bike could not be passed.

The bike wasn't helping him. His boat sail shirt wasn't helping him. His age wasn't helping him.

But he didn't care. He wanted to go a certain speed and he wasn't letting anything stop him.

It was awesome.

4 miles I chased that guy trying to see if I could get by him. His cruising speed was my top speed.

Funniest part was we passed at least 5 or 6 guys younger than me who looked in better shape than both of us on $2000+ bikes dressed like it was the Tour de France who we passed like they were sitting still. (But that's just mildly amusing. They were out there having fun so good for them)

Anyway, this older guy handed me a humbling but fun lesson in cycling yesterday. All the better bikes and fancier components and aerodynamic clothing (and apparently youth in general) means nothing if you don't improve the engine.

He also made me feel A LOT better about getting older myself, proving that getting older does not require you to slow down. And that made me feel good about life in general.

Not being able to pass this guy was the best lesson in life I've had in a while. And it was the most fun I've ever had feeling like a slow poke!

indyfabz 04-08-19 07:47 AM

Subscribed.

Ironfish653 04-08-19 08:05 AM

You met Fred.

I have one who lives somewhere near me. Dude with white hair, looks about 70, rides a 90s -ish Schwinn MTB, in jeans and topsiders; goes by my house almost every day. I see him all over the place, he probably does about 2-3 hours and about 30- miles a day based on where and when Ive seen him.
When hes in my neighborhood, hes doing about 18-19 mph, and looks like hes hardly working.

Skipjacks 04-08-19 08:10 AM


Originally Posted by Ironfish653 (Post 20874820)
You met Fred.

I have one who lives somewhere near me. Dude with white hair, looks about 70, rides a 90s -ish Schwinn MTB, in jeans and topsiders; goes by my house almost every day. I see him all over the place, he probably does about 2-3 hours and about 30- miles a day based on where and when Ive seen him.
When hes in my neighborhood, hes doing about 18-19 mph, and looks like hes hardly working.

Oh I didn't even mention that part!

When this dude finally stopped he calmly got off the bike looked like he was walking out of church. Completely collected. Wasn't even breathing hard.

Meanwhile I've got sweat pouring off me and and was struggling to catch my breath.

travbikeman 04-08-19 08:21 AM

I'm always getting passed up by these guys! :):foo:

Especially on trails that have a lot of neighborhoods connected to them. Like the York Heritage rail trail.

burnthesheep 04-08-19 08:27 AM

Probably cross-chained and rubbing on the FD. If the bike was that old, it was a lazy person not to manually trim the FD position, as back then it likely wasn't indexed.

Next, lots of folks abide by the MUP speed limits and use them to get from one crappy part of town to some decent road riding. Not all roadies hammer MUP's for workouts. Some do. Most local groups who do group rides on them post a 15 to 16mph target pace. As MUPs aren't for hard workouts or speedy work.

I've had folks try to latch on after I've gotten onto the MUP after spending 70 odd miles and 5000 feet riding road earlier. It's my last 3 miles home to cool down, I'd like to relax. It's a kind of like GTFO. Either fall back or go by with enough to stay away. Not blow up 3 minutes later and have me go around again. I've probably just had lunch/dinner and a beer after the A/A+ ride and don't feel like fooling around with anyone. I'm sorry that my Z1/Z2 cruise is someone else's PR. I'm just trying to get home so I can get a shower and collapse on the couch.

Now, you wanna have fun.........it's pure joy calling out "passing" if you're out doing time-trial work open-road and pass by the local A/A+ group ride. You'd think they saw an e-bike.

badger1 04-08-19 08:41 AM


Originally Posted by indyfabz (Post 20874791)
Subscribed.

Spring is in the air.

livedarklions 04-08-19 08:46 AM


Originally Posted by Skipjacks (Post 20874768)
Yesterday I took a rail trail ride.

I'm not the best rider on the trail but I do a lot more passing than I get passed.

Yesterday though I was behind a guy who I couldn't pass for anything. Dude was just a stronger rider than me, hands down.

Here's the fun part. He was at least 20 years older than me. He was wearing a button down shirt that was ballooning up in the back from all the air it was catching like a sail so you know that was adding wind resistance. And he was riding an old bike from I'm guessing the 80's that had this horrific metal on metal clanging sound like something important was about to fall off the bike.

In other words...old guy who scoffed at aerodynamics on an old broken down bike could not be passed.

The bike wasn't helping him. His boat sail shirt wasn't helping him. His age wasn't helping him.

But he didn't care. He wanted to go a certain speed and he wasn't letting anything stop him.

It was awesome.

4 miles I chased that guy trying to see if I could get by him. His cruising speed was my top speed.

Funniest part was we passed at least 5 or 6 guys younger than me who looked in better shape than both of us on $2000+ bikes dressed like it was the Tour de France who we passed like they were sitting still. (But that's just mildly amusing. They were out there having fun so good for them)

Anyway, this older guy handed me a humbling but fun lesson in cycling yesterday. All the better bikes and fancier components and aerodynamic clothing (and apparently youth in general) means nothing if you don't improve the engine.

He also made me feel A LOT better about getting older myself, proving that getting older does not require you to slow down. And that made me feel good about life in general.

Not being able to pass this guy was the best lesson in life I've had in a while. And it was the most fun I've ever had feeling like a slow poke!


I've been that guy--I used to pass people as you describe riding on a Walmart cruiser and an old comfort bike. The trick is that, at least for me, aero doesn't really kick in as a huge factor until I hit about 20. I could cruise at 18 or 19 on those bikes very steadily for many miles in the flat. Hills and going above 20 are really where your legs pay for those bikes, and when I started doing centuries, I ended up needing to step up the quality of my bikes a little bit.

MUPs vary a lot, BTW. There are sections of them where I feel like going above 15 mph is definitely unsafe, other more rural ones, where I won't even think twice about the safety of going 24. If I know a path well, I'll know where there are long straightaways with great visibility and other sections where there are curves, obstacles or too much traffic to ride fast.

indyfabz 04-08-19 08:51 AM

I had sort of the opposite experience a few years ago. I was doing a morning ride one Friday in preparation for a Sunday century to Brooklyn. Mr. Flintstone pulled onto the trail a ways in front of me. I kept my pace and started to catch him. When I got somewhat close, I slowed down because I didn't want to draft. The fact that I caught up to him must have triggered 'roid rage because Fred lifted the pace. I stayed with him but kept my distance. He was not happy and lifted the pace even more, trying drop me. I stayed with him, still keeping my distance until I finally turned off the trail to climb a hill and head back home.

You can read all about it here:

https://www.bikeforums.net/general-c...ke-me-mup.html

jadocs 04-08-19 08:52 AM

So what was the cruising speed? We have several in our area like that as well.

Skipjacks 04-08-19 09:06 AM


Originally Posted by indyfabz (Post 20874898)
I had sort of the opposite experience a few years ago. I was doing a morning ride one Friday in preparation for a Sunday century to Brooklyn. Mr. Flintstone pulled onto the trail a ways in front of me. I kept my pace and started to catch him. When I got somewhat close, I slowed down because I didn't want to draft. The fact that I caught up to him must have triggered 'roid rage because Fred lifted the pace. I stayed with him but kept my distance. He was not happy and lifted the pace even more, trying drop me. I stayed with him, still keeping my distance until I finally turned off the trail to climb a hill and head back home.

You can read all about it here:

https://www.bikeforums.net/general-c...ke-me-mup.html

I've had similar happen. Most memorable was a guy who was doing everything he could to pass me while I was riding casually. Whatever...I don't care. He was totally safe about the passing so good for him.

But once he burned his legs out trying to pass me he got in front of me and slowed down. And of course we were approaching 9 bazillion pedestrians on the other side of the trail so now I was stuck behind his slowness. Now I cared.

As soon as we passed the pedestrians I went back to cruising speed and blew by him. I looked back and could see him trying to catch up again but within a quarter mile he was long in the dust, never to be seen again.

When riding a trail full of other cyclists, you can't be upset if you're not the fastest rider out there because there is ALWAYS someone faster than you. And you shouldn't feel bad if you're slower than most because there is probably someone slower than you out there too.

You have to be happy with your pace for your own reasons. You can't be concerned with everyone else's speed (except to make sure you are passing safely)

fishboat 04-08-19 09:07 AM


Originally Posted by Ironfish653 (Post 20874820)
You met Fred.

..being an older guy myself, with all kinds of time to fully understand what matters..and what doesn't... if the term "Fred" has to be used, then I'd say who's wearing the label depends of one's point of view.

Skipjacks 04-08-19 09:11 AM


Originally Posted by jadocs (Post 20874899)
So what was the cruising speed? We have several in our area like that as well.

About 18mph on the down slopes

About 15mph on the up slopes.

Not that I was counting.

But I'll tell you...this guy didn't slow down to 15mph in the up slopes. That's when he pulled away.

Skipjacks 04-08-19 09:19 AM


Originally Posted by indyfabz (Post 20874898)
I had sort of the opposite experience a few years ago. I was doing a morning ride one Friday in preparation for a Sunday century to Brooklyn. Mr. Flintstone pulled onto the trail a ways in front of me. I kept my pace and started to catch him. When I got somewhat close, I slowed down because I didn't want to draft. The fact that I caught up to him must have triggered 'roid rage because Fred lifted the pace. I stayed with him but kept my distance. He was not happy and lifted the pace even more, trying drop me. I stayed with him, still keeping my distance until I finally turned off the trail to climb a hill and head back home.

You can read all about it here:

https://www.bikeforums.net/general-c...ke-me-mup.html

The creepiest thing that ever happened to me on a long ride was last summer.

It was that random day where I was the fastest guy on the trail. (It was a slow day. Not very crowded. I wasn't Mr. Racebike or anything). But that detail is important to the story.

At the start of the trail this very distinctive kid asked me for directions. Larger kid. Ratty Metallica t shirt. Day glow yellow mountain bike. Very memorable. I gave him directions and rode off away from him.

Anyway the entire day I didn't get passed by anyone. Not a single person.

About 7 miles up the trail this same kid is sitting on a bench ahead of me. I think...that's odd as I roll past him and keep riding.

At 11 miles there is another rest stop and there is the same kid again sitting on another bench...like he'd been there for an hour.

Freaked me the eff out.

There is no possible way he was riding on the cross roads as it would be at least twice the millage to pass me on the winding hilly streets that meander around the relatively flat straight line rail trial.

I still think about this incident. I still can't explain it.

I'm sure there is some logical explanation for it but I can't figure it out.

fishboat 04-08-19 09:21 AM

I ran across three guys last summer on a local MUP. I was on the very tail-end of a 60 mile day and was feeling ok about still cruising along at 16-18mph when a hear a humming-thrashing sound from the rear. I look in my helmet mirror and see three guys roaring down me..I (briefly) picked up the pace a couple mph..about all I had left..and it didn't matter. The 60s+ old guys blew by me at mid-20's mph and all three were on very old mountain bikes. Semi-knobby tires and all. It wasn't a sprint on their part as they kept that pace and pulled away from me for a long ways. All I could say was a somewhat awe-struck, "damn!"

livedarklions 04-08-19 09:36 AM


Originally Posted by Skipjacks (Post 20874956)
The creepiest thing that ever happened to me on a long ride was last summer.

It was that random day where I was the fastest guy on the trail. (It was a slow day. Not very crowded. I wasn't Mr. Racebike or anything). But that detail is important to the story.

At the start of the trail this very distinctive kid asked me for directions. Larger kid. Ratty Metallica t shirt. Day glow yellow mountain bike. Very memorable. I gave him directions and rode off away from him.

Anyway the entire day I didn't get passed by anyone. Not a single person.

About 7 miles up the trail this same kid is sitting on a bench ahead of me. I think...that's odd as I roll past him and keep riding.

At 11 miles there is another rest stop and there is the same kid again sitting on another bench...like he'd been there for an hour.

Freaked me the eff out.

There is no possible way he was riding on the cross roads as it would be at least twice the millage to pass me on the winding hilly streets that meander around the relatively flat straight line rail trial.

I still think about this incident. I still can't explain it.

I'm sure there is some logical explanation for it but I can't figure it out.


I've watched a lot of TV and can answer it--evil twin.

Skipjacks 04-08-19 09:40 AM


Originally Posted by livedarklions (Post 20874988)
I've watched a lot of TV and can answer it--evil twin.

Couldn't be. The second kid didn't have a goatee. And if TV has taught me anything it's that the evil twin always has a goatee.

I had been leaning towards ghost.

I've been too chicken to check old newspapers to see if there are any stories of kids being killed while biking to Metallica concerts in the area. :D

livedarklions 04-08-19 10:05 AM


Originally Posted by indyfabz (Post 20874898)
I had sort of the opposite experience a few years ago. I was doing a morning ride one Friday in preparation for a Sunday century to Brooklyn. Mr. Flintstone pulled onto the trail a ways in front of me. I kept my pace and started to catch him. When I got somewhat close, I slowed down because I didn't want to draft. The fact that I caught up to him must have triggered 'roid rage because Fred lifted the pace. I stayed with him but kept my distance. He was not happy and lifted the pace even more, trying drop me. I stayed with him, still keeping my distance until I finally turned off the trail to climb a hill and head back home.

You can read all about it here:

https://www.bikeforums.net/general-c...ke-me-mup.html


There's a stretch of the Minuteman trail going into Bedford MA that is a perfect place to really open it up. It's a straightaway that goes through a swampy area, so there really isn't any cross traffic and you can see people about 1/3 mile ahead with no problem. I've had people accuse me of trying to drop them or get all indignant because they were right behind me when I started going about 5 mph faster because I know I just started that stretch.

When I get to Bedford, I'm usually about 75 miles into a 100 mile ride, so I usually stop at the depot to use the bathrooms and fill my water bottle. One time, I ran the hell out of the stretch, and then pulled into the depot parking lot. About 30 seconds later, a woman comes up to me and said "oh, there you are, sneaking off" implying that I had worn myself out trying to drop her. I didn't have the heart to tell her I had no idea there was anybody behind me, and thanked her for the chase. I then vaguely remembered that someone had rung a bell like they were trying to pass right as I had sped up a few miles back.

Point of the story is that none of us know what's going through someone else's mind as their speed varies. She liked thinking she had tired me out, I let her believe it.

I don't know if my '94 Allez qualifies as Fred gear, but my tshirt, white hair, cargo pants and sneakers definitely did.

livedarklions 04-08-19 10:09 AM


Originally Posted by Skipjacks (Post 20874995)
Couldn't be. The second kid didn't have a goatee. And if TV has taught me anything it's that the evil twin always has a goatee.

I had been leaning towards ghost.

I've been too chicken to check old newspapers to see if there are any stories of kids being killed while biking to Metallica concerts in the area. :D

Was he riding a Phantom 309?

Whenever possible, a Red Sovine reference is a good plan.

jadocs 04-08-19 10:16 AM


Originally Posted by Skipjacks (Post 20874956)
The creepiest thing that ever happened to me on a long ride was last summer.

It was that random day where I was the fastest guy on the trail. (It was a slow day. Not very crowded. I wasn't Mr. Racebike or anything). But that detail is important to the story.

At the start of the trail this very distinctive kid asked me for directions. Larger kid. Ratty Metallica t shirt. Day glow yellow mountain bike. Very memorable. I gave him directions and rode off away from him.

Anyway the entire day I didn't get passed by anyone. Not a single person.

About 7 miles up the trail this same kid is sitting on a bench ahead of me. I think...that's odd as I roll past him and keep riding.

At 11 miles there is another rest stop and there is the same kid again sitting on another bench...like he'd been there for an hour.

Freaked me the eff out.

There is no possible way he was riding on the cross roads as it would be at least twice the millage to pass me on the winding hilly streets that meander around the relatively flat straight line rail trial.

I still think about this incident. I still can't explain it.

I'm sure there is some logical explanation for it but I can't figure it out.

Glitch in the Matrix

Skipjacks 04-08-19 10:24 AM

[QUOTE=livedarklions;20875042 I've had people accuse me of trying to drop them or get all indignant because they were right behind me when I started going about 5 mph faster because I know I just started that stretch.[/QUOTE]

I've had that happen, where someone gets mad because they can't pass you.

Like it's my fault they are slower and I should just slow down so they can feel better about being able to pass me?

People are weird. No one wants to take any personal responsibility anymore. Everyone wants to just be granted equal results without doing equal the work.

I couldn't pass the old guy in my story in the OP. I'm sure as hell not mad at him about it. It's not his fault he's a stronger rider than I am.

Skipjacks 04-08-19 10:25 AM


Originally Posted by jadocs (Post 20875062)
Glitch in the Matrix

This is better than any answer I've come up with to explain it in the last year.

rumrunn6 04-08-19 10:26 AM

lol, yup they're out there. last one was a big guy wearing a long black overcoat smoking what smelled like a cigar. I did pass that guy & as I did I said "nice smelling cigar!" but he said back "nope just a home rolled cigarette" ...

ThermionicScott 04-08-19 10:33 AM

Some of my most thrilling rides when getting back into cycling at age 28 were when I was trying to keep up with the 60-70 year olds in my club. Man, they could haul ass, and you wouldn't have suspected it just looking at them. It gave me a lot of respect for them, and also hope that this was a sport that could be good to me for a long time. :thumb:

indyfabz 04-08-19 10:37 AM


Originally Posted by Skipjacks (Post 20874956)

I still think about this incident. I still can't explain it.

I'm sure there is some logical explanation for it but I can't figure it out.

Too much LSD during your college years?


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