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Has Your Attitude Toward Cycling Changed Over the Decades?

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Has Your Attitude Toward Cycling Changed Over the Decades?

Old 10-23-22, 11:32 AM
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Has Your Attitude Toward Cycling Changed Over the Decades?

Obviously not for new cyclists, but thought it would be interesting to hear how people’s approach have changed, or not, and why. For you toll mongers, label this thread as you will, but I could not care less.

For me, like running, cycling in my 30s and 40s represented pushing boundaries and gaining accomplishments. Whether it was increasing distances, average speed or climbs I gained a lot of satisfaction. Perhaps it was because my work life was fine, but wasn’t providing real tangibles other than monetary. Of course being able to eat seemingly endless quantities of what ever I wanted to eat didn’t hurt either. Always being achievement driven is part of my DNA which is either a good thing or a curse, since it always meant never settling. Never got into competition other than with my cycling club mates, but that was friendly rather than blood and guts. Just didn’t want to commit more time to get into Cat racing. Always enjoyed the feeling of giving it my all and getting stronger for it as well as feeling pleasantly exhausted at the end.

Fast forward 30 years, and after a hiatus off the road bike for 10 years then getting back after it with the start of the pandemic, I tired to get back into my old ways. I pushed myself hard but recovery took longer which was very frustrating. What I was easily able to do in the past in terms of a day’s ride - 70-80 miles, just seemed like way too much. Now if I do 50-60 I feel like I have pushed it beyond my comfortable 30-40. When young I would attack every hill and now I pace myself, resigned that if I give it too much my energy reserves will be depleted over the long run. I am slowly coming to terms that enjoyment in my 60s means not having to flog myself but doing what I consider a fair distance at a fair average speed (about 15-16) and stopping a taking pictures and enjoying the scenery (which I would never do before since it would ruin my average speed). <-crazy now.

Perhaps I am slow to learn or mature or both in my approach toward cycling. I find that with Strava, following cyclists 20+ years younger still pushing, or Zwift with people running at 250+ Watts it is just a trap that burns me out or sets me back. It has been a tough transition to being slower, lower mileage, etc, but at least I still have the sport I love and am gaining some new appreciation for less performance driven aspects. Will I give up on being as fit as I can be? No way. But that just helps me to climb and get to the places I want to go without beating myself to death. Yes I occasionally slip back into my old ways and go to beat my peers in a Strava segment, but then I go back into crusing rather than flogging mode.

Highlight: Cycling in Italy with Mrs RSbob in the Sienna area. Low light: Riding a metric century up and down a 3000’ mountain pass in the driving rain and having two flats.

So what’s your story? Have you changed or have you remained constant?
Road and Mountain 🚴🏾‍♂️

Last edited by rsbob; 10-23-22 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 10-23-22, 11:43 AM
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I'll be 60 yrs old in a few months, and my approach is the opposite of yours: since partially retiring five years ago (and fully retiring this year), my mileage is higher than ever, and I am back into training hard and racing regularly. I'm the oldest person in our small group ride, and I take some pride in (mostly) keeping up and occasionally nabbing a local Strava KOM. I figure I've got only a few more years of this before injuries and old age start to seriously hamper me, so I'm going to make the most of my remaining time.
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Old 10-23-22, 11:46 AM
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I'd break it into three categorites:

Transportation, Fitness, REcreation & Leisure. I'm not including racing as I never had any desire to do that.

Transportation. i used to bicycle to school all the way through college, and I used to ride to work a few days a week, that ended when I retired a few months ago. I still occasionally ride to the stores when I need a few small things.

Fitness. Probably the biggy for me. Its always been part of the fitness mix and has grown as I've gotten older (got to preserve those joints from jogging!). I also do stair climbing (I walk up while skipping a step then back down step-by-step, repeat until exhausted; great HIIT). Bicycling is probably the biggest here (aerobic) doing regular 20 mile rides, and occasionally a 30-40 mile ride.

Recreation & Leisure. PRimarly bicke touring, I now like to do credit-card tours and hub-spoke tours. HAven't done any in a few years due to the pandemic, so have to restart this.
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Old 10-23-22, 11:52 AM
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I get your question. Over decades? Of course my attitude changed. Ater all, I am human! My attitude toward racing changed when that was still important to me, same for commuting and especially touring as of late. But fun and fitness are still the motivators. I get burnt out on riding in circles, no matter how beautiful the scenery, and have left the sport for about year several times. Now it is my goal to see as many of the unspoiled places near me as possible, preferably for the first time, while mounted on a bicycle. An over-nighter really opens up a lot of great routes for me. That type of bike exploring has always been in the back of my mind, but as I enter the last years (decades? Very doubtful) of riding I have in me, I find myself trying to maintain fitness for adventure riding.

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Old 10-23-22, 12:12 PM
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No change over the last 50 years at least. It's always been, and still is, for fun, transportation, touring, fitness, economy/ecology, personal challenges. I met my wife on a bike and we're still cycling together 40+ years later.
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Old 10-23-22, 12:56 PM
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My racing years were from my teens through my 30s, both road and mostly mountain bike.
My 40s were all about urban fixed-gear and long out-of-state mountain bike trips.
My 50s were more focused on commuting, charity road rides, and CX.
Now in my early 60s, I'm into gravel, ATB dirt, and urban assault.

The one constant throughout has been my love of BMX and singlespeeds.
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Old 10-23-22, 01:02 PM
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Absolutely! I first started at the age of 12 when my father started getting into it and the whole family joined in. Shortly after, I started racing. My focus was then on training and making it to the Olympics (never even got close). I stopped riding when college got too busy, then started up again after graduating, but this time for recreation. I still noted my average speed and tried to go longer and/or faster. Got up to a double metric in about 7 hours. Having children once again had me finding little time to ride and I gave it up until I realized how out of shape I had gotten. Started riding again, but don't want to spend that much time away from my family and am still overweight and slow, so I'm just trying to get a decent workout now.

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Old 10-23-22, 01:10 PM
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I never had any interest in racing or competitive cycling or trying to compare myself to other cyclists. My cycling journey started in 2007 with mountain biking and gravel riding and eventually longer distance cycling which involved road, gravel, singletrack and all kinds of different trails....I still ride the same way today. For me cycling is all about adventure and exploring, enjoying outdoors, fitness, health, clearing my mind from daily stress, I was also a daily commuter for 12 years but I stopped commuting and put that on hold for now.
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Old 10-23-22, 01:18 PM
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Yes and no. The competitive drive vs others isn't now tr near 70. (Well, rabbits up the road on a climb are still rabbits and I sometimes still chase them.) My rides are often completely no-competitive even against myself. But still, I rode Cycle Oregon a month ago for a rather hilly version on a steel fix gear, not the ti fix gear which has done it 5 times. And this despite injuring myself doing things that were fun 4o years ago but now hurt me. (Muscling over a tiny rise on my big down hill gear, pulling groin muscles I had to nurse and ride around over the next two months.)

CO was hard. Hard even though two of the days I rode as "rolling recovery". But rolling recovery only goes so far at 70 yo and fixed with 4-5000' of climbing. Two of the days were hard enough to feel like post very hard races years ago. After CO I have struggled to do enough to keep any of that fitness. The balancing act of muscle tear recovery is still going on.

The reality is that I have to back off. And that what I give up doing I may never be able to return to. I expect to be playing that balancing act between injury and rides hard enough to fuel my love of cycling hopefully for decades.

All that said, I'm going to jump on my ti fix gear and go for a ride. Later.
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Old 10-23-22, 02:39 PM
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You could care less? How much less?
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Old 10-23-22, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You could care less? How much less?
Beat me to it. If he could care a LOT less, then maybe he cares a lot? But if he could care only a little bit less, then maybe he doesn't care much. Hard to tell.
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Old 10-23-22, 02:49 PM
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I might be a little more nice and polite when coming upon walkers and slower cyclists as I age. I give them time to react to me before I pass them instead of just blowing by before they are aware I was even there.
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Old 10-23-22, 02:58 PM
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I think OP's correct, he could care a lot less. His worries seem endless..

Last edited by shelbyfv; 10-23-22 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 10-23-22, 03:12 PM
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1. Fitness is like the stock market, you take the stairs on the way up and the elevator on the way down. Took me a long time to understand that consistency month to month and year to year with slowly increasing loads and not too many zeros is what drives performance, not a quicky 4 week training plan. It takes a long time to build but very short period of time to lose. So, I am much more risk adverse on the bike keeping speeds down and staying off gravel on my narrow tired road bike.

2. Don't like group rides anymore, used to like them.

3. Used to love watching the Pros but Lance aka negative 7 ruined that for me. I hate to think they are all doped up but that is what I think

4. I dream more about touring far away places whereas in the past decades, I would just go. I dream about cycling Sri Lanka, India, NZ again.

5. I stop on training rides now and sometimes even take a photo to send to my wife.
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Old 10-23-22, 03:18 PM
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When I started, about 48 years ago, cycling was a very important part of my life. But so was school, then work and marriage and kids and all the stuff that goes with being a grown up.

Now....cycling is my raison d'Ítre. Retired, house paid for, kids grown up.

Cycling and beer drinking. Yep, that's it. Oh, and watching football. Definitely watching football.
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Old 10-23-22, 03:20 PM
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In college and in my 20's was on a track, I was sponsored by a couple shops in the Columbus area, then the Army after I got and moved to Germany I raced CX for a regional team in Stuttgart. I PCS'd back to the states in 2017 that killed my mid-pack CX career, now I ride bikes with the parts I choose. I enjoy going slow and seeing things whether it's my commute, a city tour, a credit crd tour, or simply riding to the Rhein and people watching.

I've been pseudo fast, I've inhaled dirt, I've hucked the local trails no matter where I've lived now I enjoy cycling without goals or computers though I do feel the need for some SSCX so next year I may compete in the beer leagues but that'll 100% depend on the home situation.
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Old 10-23-22, 03:21 PM
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Attitude? No. Ability? Yes. My only change is accepting that stuff I used to be able to do will never happen again. But then again, there are still moments of pure pleasure. Today, I was riding along a beautiful local road that I never tire of. It is not far from my home in the suburbs, yet it is a beautiful winding tree shaded country road. So, as I am riding along a guy pulls up beside me. I used to ride with him quite often a few years ago. He developed a distaste for group rides, found them risky. (he sells insurance), so he stopped participating in our club group rides. I would still see him often out on the road, often riding in the opposite direction. About 3 weeks ago I saw him again and turned around to talk. Turns out that he had a heart attack awhile ago while out riding his bike. He called it a "widow maker". The only reason he survived was that a passing paramedic witnessed his fall, stopped, and started CPR while asking another passing cyclist to call for help. Luckily, this happened within 1/2 km of the closest fire station which had the life saving equipment needed to save his life. He should buy a lottery ticket with luck like that . But, I went out on a tangent. He passes me today and makes a friendly insulting comment to me(good friends sometimes do that). He asks me where I am going and I explain that I have a slightly unconventional plan to finish my ride, planning on doing a gravel path shortcut to get back to my route home. I ask him "do you want to see it?" He is riding a road bike with 700 x 32 tires that can easily handle this path and we do it.
The very best things for me about cycling then and now are the friendships I have made. I may not ride the way I did 20 years ago, but sometimes I can pull a rabbit out of my hat. I used to tell people 10 years ago "I can be just as good as I ever was, just not as often". Sadly, I cannot be sure if that quote is original to me or something I heard someplace
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Old 10-23-22, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
...For you toll mongers, label this thread as you will, but I could care less.
What you really mean is that you couldn't care less. Look up the meaning.

In answer to your original question: no, my attitude towards cycling has not changed that much.

When I got my first summer job, I cycled to work. After work, I would take the long way home by going through the park drive in Stanley Park.

When I was bored, I would go out for long rides to UBC.

When I got my first full time job, I did cycle to work a few times. Then as one changes jobs and a gets a family, cycling was put on the back burner until I got a Burley bicycle trailer.

When I got my last job, which was much closer to home, it took me 14 years to find a safe way to cycle to work which I did for three years until I retired.

Now I cycle for recreation and going to the gym. So throughout my life, I had always considered cycling as a legitimate way to get to work.
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Old 10-23-22, 03:41 PM
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I didn't start being a roadie until I was 50. From early 20's to then it was all Career.
To start with, it was just being able to do it, i.e. ride up a hill.
Then it was trying to ride longer distances until I could do a flat double.
Then it was trying to get fast.
Then I got fast and started leading rides. That was a fun period.
Then I got slower, stopped leading rides and started to rando.
Then I got too slow to have fun randoing - I'd disappoint myself.
Then I found a slower group to ride with but kept doing the long hard rides, but not over 150 miles.
Last year was maybe my last RAMROD, but I'm only about 3 years from being as old as anyone gets who finishes.
I'm not sure what's next. I see my cardiologist tomorrow.
I really, really don't want to go electric.
I'm heading for the gym when I finish this post.
I identify with the OP, someone I'd enjoy riding with.
Results matter
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Old 10-23-22, 04:01 PM
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Attitude Change

I never raced but always tracked my speed and
rode 50+ miles a lot. Having the latest technology
was important too . Now at 75 I am happy to just
be able to ride a conventional road bike. I check
my speed a couple of times a year. And I donít
care if I have the lightest bike or latest technology. I am not a retro grouch, but if my
components are working ok I see no need to
upgrade. Bill
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Old 10-23-22, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
Got up to a double metric in just under 6 hours..
Holy ****. Solo or in a group? Either way, thatís impressive.

Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You could care less? How much less?
Yep. One of the most frequently misused statements in our language.
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Old 10-23-22, 04:19 PM
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I have had little to no interest in racing since I started riding 55 years ago at the age of five. In my teens and twenties I did really a lot of rural highway rides, mostly solo but a fair number of group rides.

When highway traffic speeds increased and rails to trails started to be an option in the early nineties, I got a rigid frame MTB and pretty much abandoned road riding ever since. I only use roads to get to or connect between trails.

Iíve always done some mix of stuff to stay fit but not as much cycling when the kids were little. Over the last six years itís been cycling more than anything but now Iím finding that running is happening regularly and cycling is once or twice a week, which works great.

Riding single speed for a few years was great fun and really simplified my thinking about a lot of stuff but it ruined me for hill climbing. I have no patience to stay in the saddle and use low gears.

Another change is that I donít really ride in groups any more. Partly I donít want to draft and reduce the workload and partly Iím safer not being in close proximity to other riders for long periods.


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Old 10-23-22, 05:02 PM
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In all seriousness nessÖThis die hard roadie dipped his toe into the loaded touring world in Ď99-Ď00, ended up doing about 10,000 miles then went back to road riding. Picked up loaded touring again in Ď09 and mixed it with day road rides. My pendulum has swung back to loaded touring big time. I think Iím bored with road riding even though I have a library of great routes. I also like the non-riding stuff that goes along with touring, like cooking a nice dinner and reading by the campfire. I think to myself, ďIíve done all this using my bike.Ē

Just got back from an overnight that culminated with the Phillies making it to the WORLD SERIES, BABY!
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Old 10-23-22, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Holy ****. Solo or in a group? Either way, thatís impressive.
Actually, I misspoke. The time for the century part was 6 hours, but the group I rode with decided to add a 20-ish mile ďwarm upĒ, which I believe took us a little over an hour as well. But yeah, it was with a group and I was sucking wheel much of the time. Plus it was almost pancake flat.

Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Yep. One of the most frequently misused statements in our language.
It's like riding a bicycle
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Old 10-23-22, 06:07 PM
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I used to race informally and ride socially with the neighborhood boys in grade school back in Chicago the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was freedom and fun! Then I got my driver's license and only rode occasionally until after college in Iowa, when I started swimming and I thought cycling would be a good complement to that. I rode mostly solo from then on.

I was a fair-weather 3-season rider in my 20s In Iowa. I didn't know much about bikes, I was just happy to ride, it simply felt good, like when I was a kid.

I moved to Colorado Springs when I was 30 and biking got big for me. I began riding to work almost every day because that's how I worked fitness into my schedule. Weekend rides got longer, and the milder winters (compared to the midwest) meant I could ride year-round. I had my Schwinn Cruiser Supreme from Iowa, put knobbies on it and rode in the snow.

Because I mostly rode solo, I learned very slowly about bikes and biking until I discovered bikeforums in 2006 or 2007. Then my real cycling education began.

Even though I was still mostly a commuter with weekend rides, I learned how to make the most of my bike for the riding I did, which by then was a 1997 Nishiki Blazer MTB. I dispensed with the knobbies and put smoothies on. I learned to dress better for the weather. I learned a better way to commute and better logistics for carrying and changing clothes. I learned better lighting strategies and better safety strategies. I started to add bikes to my stable.

All through my 40s my goal was to achieve a general fitness level. Then at 48 I slipped a disk in my neck and was off the bike for over a year. Once the pain wore off (after 6 months) The experience of being so totally out of shape for the first time in my life was frightening. I roared back with a vengance and something to prove...BUT...

I also became a little more circumspect and gun-shy. No more straining as hard as I could against the bike. Building cardio was good, but no more trying to wring all the power I could out of myself.

And now at 60 I am still commuting (after an 18 month break where it was just fitness rides). I missed 3 weeks this summer due to Covid, and am now a week into recovery from hernia surgery, and should be back on the bike commuting in another three weeks...although I may try to ride after two.

The wife and family come first, but biking is 2nd. I enjoy the health benefits of riding which helps me enjoy my family better. As do the mental health benefits of riding. Even after all these years it is still freedom (from driving drudgery) and still fun!

Last edited by BobbyG; 10-24-22 at 05:46 AM.
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