Monday morning and life is good even if I'm back at my mind numbing job after a weekend of riding. The 3 readers who read my blog know that I'm almost obsessive compulsive about trying to read the blogs of others who are nice enough to link back to the lemming. I've found some great blogs this way and luckily it's so easy to do that even I can do it.
The other day during my searches I found a post in fixedgeargallery about flatting twice and all of the riders who continued to ride right by without offering help. I realized with all of the posts I've written, I haven't fulfilled my true purpose which I have in my header "Be happy with the bike you have, ride for fun, stop and help someone that has a flat tire, say hi to someone as you pass them, ask for permission to "draft", don't be a lemming..." and as such my path to enlightenment is incomplete.
So, I present "6 Articles Bicycling or Chris Carmichael could write that would change the face of cycling forever". I've worded the title as they would need to be phrased for a Bicycling magazine article. Obviously they will need to be spun as only Bicycling can spin them, that is beyond my writing abilities.
"Stopping for stop signs, the hidden secret to increasing your maximum power" - As this article will have a little truth to it, Chris Carmichael will have to write it. The dirty truth is, I hate stopping for stop signs on a bike. You lose your momentum, you have to exert more effort to get going again, and it really sucks on a downhill. And red lights, if you are the only one there and it has a weight pad, you could sit for hours if another car doesn't show up to trip it. That said, if a car is anywhere within sight distance of me I always stop. As cyclists we always make the sarcastic argument that a car can't get to their destination 5 seconds later by giving us safe amount of distance while passing. Drivers seem to focus on cyclists not stopping for stop signs as their biggest concern. How about we get to our destination 5 seconds later by stopping for stop signs and give drivers one less thing they can bitch about us for?
"Stopping to help someone with a flat, how a 5 minute power rest can pay off big in time trial wattage" - Remember that day that you flatted? The first tube had the valve stem rip out, but you had a spare and life was good. But then you flatted again and found that your patch glue had dried out. This happens to the most prepared and it sucks when it does. A few weeks ago I had this very thing happen on a concrete bike path. With all the people I've stopped to help over the years I figured karma was on my side and someone would stop to help. 5.2 miles of walking and 37 cyclists passing me later I was home. No one shouted "got everything you need" as they sped by or even looked at me. A few even yelled, "get off the trail". This had to be the biggest fuck you I'd ever received in all of my years cycling.
More eloquantly, a quote from the same fixedgeargallery post hit on exactly what I was thinking, "Upon cleaning out my grandfolks house when they moved to assisted living places I found an old cycling encyclopedia of sorts from the early 70's. There was an entire chapter on etiquette that mentioned much of what you all are talking about. The author made the point that if one of "us" acts like a jerk it reflects on the whole of us whether we like it or not. It's amazing how people forget this so frequently in all aspects of life." Words to live by as we are out there riding...
"Say hi to riders you meet on the road, how this little known secret can increase lung capacity and make you climb better" - I understand that some people are "training" and can't have fun, saying hi might raise their heart rate out of their zone and blow their entire build period, and others must feel that they are above saying hi to someone as the other rider is not deserving of common courtesy, but good God we're all cyclists. It blows my mind when I go out for a ride and only 20% of the riders I meet, pass, or get passed by say hi, wave, or even acknowledge me when I say hi or wave. We're out there sharing a common love, at least acknowledge your fellow man and build that camaraderie even if it's just to say "sure is nice out" while you pass them. If we can't even be civil with each other, how can we expect drivers to care about us? Why not bond together as cyclists and be stronger, it starts with saying hi.
"We're all cyclists, how accepting others different than you can make the cycling community stronger" - Sure I like to poke fun at triathletes every now and then, and don't believe this necessarily applies to recumbents, but every bike out there makes us stronger as a whole. The in-fighting between cliches of cyclists is downright silly and only serves to alienate us all. Who cares if someone wears spandex, or cuts their bars short, shaves their legs or doesn't, or hucks their bike off 5 foot ledges? That person you are shunning is riding as well, they could be in a car yelling at you to get on the sidewalk, but they are on a bike, give them respect.
"Riding your bike, how this little secret is better than any bling or nutrition recommendation" - This article will never make Bicycling as it shakes the very foundation that Bicycling magazine is built upon. Charles Manson once said, "I’m the paté on the Universal cracker. I’m the grout holding your shower tiles on. I’m out of the saddle, sprinting up that hill and eating glazed donut bracelets off the right arm of Jesus", at least according to BSNYC. What he meant was that the secret of being a strong rider is that there is no secret. Strong riders don't read Bicycling and make plans to purchase the newest and lightest upgrades, strong riders don't read the latest hype and dump their recovery drink of the day for chocolate milk. Strong riders ride their damn bike, a lot. It's easy to get caught up in all of the hype, as there is a lot of it, but one day a light switch will flip on and you'll realize that the only way to be strong is just to spend time on your bike, and you'll be much happier for it.
"Hiking your favorite mountain bike trail, how cross-training can make you a better rider" - Mountain bikers are getting closed out of trails left and right. Hikers obviously have the ear of lawmakers even if their whining sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Yet even if you are the most courteous rider, all it will take is one day of hiking on your favorite mountain bike trail to see why hikers whine so much. All bikers aren't courteous and some are downright dangerous. Most probably aren't being this way on purpose, they simply don't know trail etiquette. Sadly, they won't learn it on their own, it's up to those of us who call ourselves courteous to educate them, nicely. If we don't, the whole cycling community will be looked down upon because of the bad apples, and that sucks balls.
So ends my "6 Articles Bicycling or Chris Carmichael could write that would change the face of cycling forever".
Idle hands. - Photo via Michal Giedrojc. They say they are the devil’s tool, or play thing, or something like that. Alas, my own idle hands spend most of their time eith...
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