Riding a bike can be a great social endeavor—most of my friends are people I’ve met through cycling. But if you’re not in it because you love it, you’ll never stick with it. It certainly won’t help you make friends outside of cycling circles. Consider the following social ramifications of being a cyclist:
- You’re considered weird if you’re a man and you don’t shave your legs.
- You’re expected to wear stretchy pants.
- Weighing 80 kilos or more is considered “big.”
- You have no qualms whatsoever about stretching in public after a ride, even if that stretching occurs while waiting for a table at a crowded downtown restaurant.
- You store tires, wheels, and perhaps even complete bicycles in your basement to protect them from the temperature extremes in the garage.
- You genuinely believe that a really good bowel movement can give you a competitive advantage.
- You know what carbon fiber is and can bore people at parties talking about the relative merits of unidirectional versus woven layups.
- You drive a station wagon and will only ever drive a station wagon because you can fit your bike in the back without removing a wheel.
- You envy Andy Schleck’s body.
- You weigh your portions and count calories but don’t consider that an eating disorder.
- You’ve lost brain cells as a result of tubular glue fumes but consider it a worthwhile tradeoff for the ride quality and performance advantage of a high thread count tire.
- Your tires have a higher thread count than your sheets.
- You genuinely believe that you can ride your bike during lunch and nobody will notice the way you smell all afternoon. Either that or you simply don’t care what you smell like all afternoon.
- It looks like you’re wearing a white t-shirt when you have your shirt off at the swimming pool.
- You don’t find it the least bit embarrassing to have your bike in your cubicle next to you with your sweaty, stinking clothes hanging over it so they’ll be somewhat dry when it’s time to commute home.
- You still work in a cubicle rather than an office because you’re more focused on getting your Cat. 3 upgrade than getting a promotion.
Bottom line is that if you ride your bike worried about what other people think, you wouldn’t ride your bike for long. I make fun of people who wear pro team kits in plus sizes.
Or who spend a ton of money on a Pro Tour spec bike when what they really needed was a coach and a nutritionist. But if fantasizing about being a pro* by wearing their kits or riding their bikes is what motivates you to ride, who cares?
*We all do it. Don’t lie.
Riding a bike is like Duke Ellington’s philosophy on music: if it feels good, it is good. So find what works for you and stick with it. Evidently, frequent commenter Lifein360 feels good on a regular basis when he wears Saxo Bank and Cervelo team kits. I’d take that over a spoonful of Nutella any day.