Friday, March 26, 2010

What's with "toy bike" riders? (Part 2)

Several years back, when the economy was good and companies could afford newsletters and such, my employer's newsletter had a feature story about a gal in the office, who was a competitive cyclist as a hobby. She was a "roadie," riding her bicycle in races all over the western U.S., including a grueling race in the "top of the Sierras," in California.

Up until then, I just knew her as a face in the elevator.

The next time I saw that face in the elevator, I congratulated her on her prowess.

I also mentioned that I had a friend who once a year, did an informal Boise-to-Stanley ride with a group of local cyclists. (For those not familiar, it's about 130 miles between Boise and Stanley, over several high passes and with thousands of feet of elevation change.)

She "pooh-poohed" the Stanley ride, saying it was beneath her... way too easy for somebody at her level.

Then I asked her if she ever rode her bike to work.

She looked at me like I'd just gotten off a spaceship from Neptune. Apparently that, too, is way too easy for somebody at her level.

What's with the literally thousands of local riders who squeeze into their stretch lycra for an evening or weekend "team training ride" (training for what?), but who'd never even think of riding to the office? What's with the hordes of mountain bike enthusiasts who carry their bikes to the foothills in their pickup trucks and on their bike racks for playtime, but drive to work every day, or down to Albertson's for a half-gallon of milk?

Brock Yates, a legendary automotive columnist, once wrote, "I think bikes are terrific. I own several of my own, including a trendy mountain style, and ride them for pleasure and light exercise. A spin down a quiet county road (sans one of those goofball brain-buckets, of course) with no ambient sound except the wind whistling through the spokes and the muffled rustle of the tires on the pavement (and my heavy breathing) produces real pleasure. But the notion of transforming this recreation into a mode of mass transit is PC looniness of legendary proportions."

It would seem that many other quote/unquote "hardcore" bike riders agree with him.


bob t said...

All of my riding is for transportation and none is for recreation. So I'm the opposite of most "roadies".

I have no problem with any type of cyclist as long they follow the rules of the road. We're just different branches of the same tree.

Nate said...

Agreed on the different branches of the same tree comment. I race road and mountain and also commute to work a couple days per week. I know a lot of "roadies" who commute on bike.

Unknown said...

Thank you, I'm glad I'm not the only nazi on blog spot :)

Clancy said...

My personal order of biking styles.
1. Transportation
2. Pleasure/family

But I must still have the "toy bike" problem. I have 10-14 bikes including the wife and kids. I like to build custom's and sometimes fix and flip to fund the habit. Plus it is fun to ride a different bike every day. ;)

Bikeboy said...

Don't misunderstand, people! I'm NOT suggesting that "toy bike" riding is wrong in any way! On the contrary - a major reason to do ANY riding is the pleasure and emotional satisfaction that's inherent in the activity.

THE POINT is... I'm a little baffled at the large percentage of bike riders out there whose use of bikes is totally confined to recreational activities. Did the thought never occur to them that even grownups can get from Point A to Point B on a bike? Are the obstacles to transportation cycling insurmountable? Is it "beneath them" to use a bike for transportation?

Marcus said...

"toy bike"...nice

I agree, some will spend 6,000 + on a TT bike, and turn their nose at a stroll to the local grocery store. But we are all in this together, they'll come around.

Hal S said...

One of my favorite quotes is from veteran bike columnist Maynard Hershon:

"Its an old roadie prejudice; we ride from the door."

Unfortunately, that quote is not so true anymore.