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Are we all full of s%$#(28 posts)

Are we all full of s%$#cycleguy
Feb 8, 2002 9:47 PM
After 45 years of riding I have come to the realization that we are all full of it. We all like to think, believe, hope, dream, yada, yada, yada, that we will find the perfect ride. And then try to tell everyone else why we are right and they are wrong!! You can fill in what that is. Maybe I'm just getting old. But I'm tired of reading about the pros and cons of something that was once a simple joy when I was a kid.
re: Are we all full of s%$#xxl
Feb 9, 2002 3:01 AM
I'm still new to the Internet, but is this what they mean when they say "flame bait?"

I too feel your pain. When I see riders cruising on full-bore race rockets to do a 25-mile ride with two rest stops, I'm reminded of the person who would buy a Formula One car to run to the store for groceries. When I see the loss of standardization and compatibility (within a manufacturer, for chrissakes!), the supplanting of perfectly good and workable technologies in the lower groups by "race-proven" technologies, and the subtle demise of user serviceability, I think we're kidding ourselves.

Some dirty little secrets of the sport:

1. Very few (like, 2%) riders ever race competitively;

2. A very few manufacturers make most of the bikes out there, differentiating those with labels and paint;

3. Road bike frame geometries and angles are quite similar across manufacturers, usually within a centimeter/degree (that's less than half an inch);

4. Most bikes are hung with Shimano, so that my 105-equipped ride isn't much different from your 105-equipped ride;

However, it's still the rider's money, even if IMHO they're wasting it. After all, for merely a considerable sum of money, vs. an astronomical one, you can ride the very same ride as the best in the world; try to do that with, say, NASCAR. I will probably never be able to afford a custom car, but a custom bike is darn near within reach. Plus, techno-weinie discourse can be fun.

Still, when I hear a rider pontificating on the "best" seatpost, or about how they're worried that they could be flexing their 50-cm. Cannondale, I have to remember that it's not the quality of the bike, it's the quality of the rider. The best (arguably) to ever ride the bike also had the best advice: "Ride lots." Need one say more?
re: dirty secretsesbike
Feb 9, 2002 12:34 PM
Regarding people owning racing bikes but not racing, I think more people would race if it were more accessible. I never see races advertised anywhere. It seems like the only people who race are already kind of semi-pro. As a substitute, many competitive people turn "fun" rides like centuries or metric centuries into races. Bicycling events are most typically sponsored as "tours" where as running events for the public are much more commonly races, where people come away with times. I can only guess that is because of the greater danger of injuries from collisions from bike riding and lack of traffic-free routes. The insurance would be too high. On the other hand, many triathalons are races, and which of course include a biking portion. Maybe the powers that be in cycling should start sponsoring more events where the enthusiast can race.
re: dirty secretsnonracer
Feb 9, 2002 6:53 PM
Agree regarding points about racing. Why is it that road bikers are so uptight about people who don't race having essentially a racing bike? Millions of people have great running shoes or nice golf clubs that don't compete using them. I don't see a difference. Besides, unless you're really a pro and making a living riding your bike, I don't see how amateur racers are any different from anyone else who has a real job and likes to ride a bike for fun and exercise. Get off your high horse...
racing is plenty accessiblegtx
Feb 9, 2002 9:11 PM
it's just very competitive, and it's not the sort of thing you can just do on a whim with little preperation--like you can a running race or a triathalon. In a road race, what you do effects others, and if you aren't well prepared, you'll be dropped. Most people simply aren't interested in this vigorous of a sport.
attitudes of racersnonracer
Feb 10, 2002 8:30 PM
Thanks for your response. You just proved my point about attitudes in cycling. What, like running and triathalons are not competitive and not vigorous?? What moronic thing to write. Bike racing would be a snap to do with little preparation. You just wouldn't be that fast. Any endurance sport can be made very easy so that anybody at a mall could do it or it can be designed to test even the best athletes. That's pretty obvious, really. It's all relative.

However good you are, or think you are, I can easily find plenty of guys who will blow you away and suddenly, you're not competitive and will get dropped. I was at the SF grand prix and saw that the amatuer teams got completely destroyed by the pros and didn't come close to finishing.

So what is the point of setting that line of getting dropped at a certain level to then exclude everyone else from racing? I think I like the approach of other sports in welcoming all participants. I say if you're 70 and have two hip replacements, then come on out, you're welcome. Cycling may not enjoy it's currently popularity after Lance retires. He's proving to be a Micheal Jordan/Tiger Woods type in becoming a cultural icon that draws people to the sport. I think everyone who likes bikes would benefit by promoting the sport for everyone. Your bikes and bike products will be cheaper because there will be a larger market, and there will more and more effort to build bike paths and make bike commuting easier. If in 10-20 years our country were much more biking oriented, that would help cut our dependence on foreign oil. Getting off the juice, I believe, will go a lot farther towards ending terrorism than anything else.
Racer's replyallervite
Feb 11, 2002 10:43 AM
I agree with you that cycling events are too competitive for "Joe Suburb" to jump into. I do some running and there is a much wider range of talents in the foot racing world. I have seen fairly talented riders get whooped in their first Cat 5 race, where you can run 10 minute miles in a 10K and have plenty of people behind you (even though there are many in front of you).

However, what is wrong with the century (tour) concept. So what if guys are trying to break the 5 hour barrier. Let them go.

You mentioned the SF Grand Prix. Did you know there was a citizens ride before the pro race? There were a lot of riders there.

Are you saying there needs to be another Category? There is too much Sandbagging? The sport needs to be promoted better?

Putting on a Pro road race is much more involved than putting on a 10K at the local jogging trail. Adding Citizen races requires more personnel and more money. That is why there are no citizen events at NASCAR. It is just not feasible. Running races are fairly easy to incorporate everyone. Cycling is tougher logisticly.

However I would like to see more true beginner races.
Racer's replynonracer
Feb 11, 2002 5:21 PM

I agree with what you said. I have never tried racing, but my sense of it is that it is waaaaay too competitive for "joe suburb" and too competitive even for a good century rider. You even said that yourself.

I guess I started my rant because I dislike the elitism that I see in road biking. One of the above respondents said it is a "dirty secret" that most biker rides never race. I think that is refective of an arrogant attitude throughout cycling that is different from other sports.
For instance, while I try to match my ability to my equipment, so that as I improve I can reward myself with better stuff, I see no problem with average riders having great bikes. And as I said above, in almost every other recreational sport, you see tons of people with the best tennis rackets, shoes, skis, golf clubs, etc, etc. who are never going to use them in competition and nobody anywhere else I can see has a problem with that.

Second, I think that elitism is holding back cycling from being more popular. Cycling has been around forever, but I would venture that the average person knows more about triathalons than bike racing. And that's because they promote their sport better and many people have a friend or know someone who does them. And when you actually compete in something yourself, even if you totally suck at it, you come away with knowledge of how the sport works and a deeper appreciation of the athletes who excel at it. That is a big reason why football, baseball, and basketball are popular. Almost all of us played them growing up. George Will once said that we are all failed baseball players. Imagine if the organizers of baseball said that it is "too competitive" and that only the outstandingly athletic kids could play it. Do you think that the excluded kid would ever be interested in watching pro baseball, knowing nothing of the complicated rules and strategy?

I think they should have races where you show up, sign a waiver, no USCF card, no nothing except a bike and a helmet and off you go. Maybe you and your friends could register as a team, and later you can find out how you did in your age group. Wouldn't be great to hear people talk about how they are the "GC" rider or the sprinter or the domestique for their team? Maybe if that kind of racing got started cycling would receive attention even when an American isn't winning the tour every year.
I am usually full of it hehe (nm)Woof the dog
Feb 9, 2002 4:14 PM
re: Are we all full of s%$#Joe Horton
Feb 9, 2002 3:49 AM
Could not agree with you more! The amount of subjective and utterly unfounded opinions in here on who's bike is the best and why is completely staggering. It really makes yuo wonder if any of these guys actually ride their bikes or just serve as marketing tools for different companies.
re: Companies MUST keep customers confusedbikejack
Feb 9, 2002 5:26 AM
You are right ~ but the reason is the bike companies have it in their interest to keep bike buyers confused. Most the bikes are so close in spec and quality and ride - that knowledge by buyers would drive down prices ~ Why should a Trek, cannondale, Motobecane, or Specialized be different prices? No good reason. How about Bianchi, Mercier, and LeMond ? These three build about the exact same steel bikes - but prices vary a lot. LOOK AT COMPUTERS - everyone knows that they are the same and that drives prices down! DELL sells on-line and is the biggest - since customers know what they are getting -- Why are so few bikes sold on-line - customers are confused and think only dealers can help them. anyway, sorry to go on ~ I just think a little reasoning would get us all better deals
It's called marketingMcAndrus
Feb 9, 2002 3:41 PM
I'm rapidly earning a deserved reputation here as a windbag so I'll just plant the thought and see if anyone else picks it up.

The similarities and differentiation of products even within a single product type like bicycles can be staggering. It's like the recent non-cycling discussion of toothpaste. Why are there 15 brands of Colgate? Who the ---- needs 15 different kinds of one kind of toothpaste? No one.

One of the keys to a free market system is marketing which is a never-ending pursuit to match a buyer with a product. Which is also why there's such a wide differentiation of bicycles and bicycle components.

Anyone else want to go into more detail? TJeanloz you're the right guy for this, I think.
I don't know about yougrandemamou
Feb 9, 2002 5:33 AM
but I'm not and from the gist of many posters they are not either. Many responses are balanced and well thought out. Some are not. These people are pretty easy to sniff out. Been riding since 84 and know a fair amount about bikes but I'm by no means an expert. Where I feel I have something of value to add I do, where I don't I keep my mouth shut. Not everyone feels the same way. But I have learned alot especialy about new equipment.

I hang out here because I like bikes. I also hang out at a couple of LBS with others who like bikes. I like riding, racing, working on and talking about bikes.

O.K. I admit it i am a BIKE GEEK. But so are most of you. No place else to discuss the relative merits of CF seatposts my wife and kids certainly don't care.
I don't know about youRayBan
Feb 9, 2002 7:11 AM
I'm with you (and I think I found my perfect ride ;) )
true, and from this forum i have learned to spend less not morejohan burnt eels
Feb 9, 2002 7:22 AM
many posts here have had me rationalise my bikes, my ability and the need to stick with what i have as spending more will not increase my ability or my bikes performance and hence "cycling pleasure".

there are often people who post with sobering and pro-thrifty comments. and like grandemamou has said if you dont dig a post ignore it, read the ones of interest to you and if there is something that you know or have had experience with by all means share it with the world as it may be of particular interest to somebody.

as a matter of fact ideas and concepts posted here are making me go from 20 gears to maybe 12 or 14, from integrated shift/brake levers with indexing to downtube frictionless, and im even soon to go from tubulars to clinchers.

i used to ride a track bike for race training many years ago and from posters here offering their opinion and espousing merits of fixed gear i was easily able to build up my own cheap fixed gear road bike - now that seriously added to my pleasure and i spend a lot more time on the road revelling in its simplicity and thriftiness of purpose albeit basic. i think of the ride and not the bike.

also knowing which names/posts actually have merit to their words and generlly offer good thought and comment from their experience with a lot of thought put in - even i want to grow up to be like GRZY, and Jordan can take a back seat.

some dumb posts can actually be funny. and high end bike porn is not a bad thing - i go to classic car meets and race car museums but i could never own one - does that make my interest futile?
You sound like a man...Lone Gunman
Feb 9, 2002 5:57 AM
that needs to venture into the world of yesteryear, vintage of the type you rode when it was simpiler. Try finding the bike that you thought was top of the line at that time and enjoy the moment of riding it again.
re: Are we all full of s%$#Steve H
Feb 9, 2002 6:36 AM
I seem to remember the same discussions at ten years of age. Who has the fastest bike was always a question. We discussed the differences and what made the fast bikes fast. We defended our sisters virtue, our dogs, and our bikes relative worth. Arent we still doing that? As I see it, we just haven't grown up, hope we never do.
...But your screen name is Cycleguy!MikeC
Feb 9, 2002 6:43 AM
If you want the simple joy of cycling, you don't need to spend time on this Web site, and you don't need a bike-themed "identity."
I have a real life, with a job, wife, kids, and other interests. But I love to ride, I always want to ride better, and I enjoy the elegance of good bike gear. Much of the most expensive bike gear is like the most expensive audio equipment. It's all about taking something AWAY, so that there's as little between the rider and the ride as possible, while good audio gear is about just hearing the music, not the speakers, amps, etc.
I don't think that enjoying the design and execution of a perfect piece of hardware and loving the purity of riding are mutually exclusive.
...But your screen name is Cycleguy!Val Ripken
Feb 9, 2002 7:21 AM
I think its great discussing bike gear. I also think many guys take these discussions way too seriously. In the endgame it ultimately comes down to the motor under the hood. A couple weeks ago I saw a guy on a mountainbike which had to be pushing 24-25 pounds absolutely dust a group of 3 roadings on a concrete road near Valencia, CA. This guy was wearing regular beach shorts , a tank top and had hair longer than my sister. I bet that guy doesn't spend much time arguing in here over the benefits of carbon seatposts, he's out riding.
yes and noTig
Feb 9, 2002 8:43 AM
I'd love to enjoy the past years of just getting on a bike and riding when it was pure and simple. But wait, I still get on a bike and ride, pure and simple. I look back and the only time I haven't had at least one bike around since I was 5 were a few years in high school. I think most of the contributors in here have similar experiences as well.

We ALL love riding. Instead of banana seat Schwinns, we have jobs that allow us to indulge ourselves in what we think is the neatest thing since our first bike. Our technical sides drool over cool carbon fiber bits like we drooled over the newest toys before Christmas when we were 7. I hope I never grow up past that point! I also hope I never lose the love of pure and simple riding, be it on a 40 pound cruiser, an MTB, or the latest high end road bike.

Why do so many make a big deal over one part/groupo/frame material/brand over another? That is a strange but common part of being a man... having to be right! Hell, we all have that in us to some extent, including women. We all like to have the remote control, too!

Why do so many spend so much time here writing so much? Look at the busiest times here and you'll see it is done at work. Many are techno bike weenies. Many just want to get out and ride. Many don't have people to talk bike stuff with. COWorkers and spouses just don't understand our fascination with riding and bikes. So, we come here in droves. Some spouting BS, others thoughtfully explaining real info, and many more reading, learning, and hopefully laughing as well. This is where the power of the internet comes to light. So many people from all over the world can pick up useful tidbits of money and time saving data. They can get a variety of answers to their questions to make informed decisions. This place is about sharing. We share our experiences with one another. Sometimes we are wrong in out answers, sometimes right.

So, are we all full of sheeite? Yes and no.
Take a look at RivendellKEN2
Feb 9, 2002 10:11 AM
If you don't know about it, have a look at Owned and run by Grant Petersen, formerly Bridgestone guru and all-around techno-luddite. They have some beautiful retro products, but what's more they show a real appreciation of the bicycle art and its simplicity. Not pushy but singing the praises of older less-complicated technology.
Excellent post,Crankist
Feb 9, 2002 12:26 PM
excellent replies.
Mike C: I also fell deep into audio, and let me say that the plunge into
eqiupment and the study of that excellent hardware ironically and sadly interfered w/my enjoyment of the music - to a large degree. I have since simplified to an integrated amp (OK-Krell) and have re-directed my focus to the music.
I see that same cheez-whiz on the horizon for biking. The distinction of priorities must be marked between bikes and biking. If for a while it's bikes, then this is not necessarily a bad thing, just part
of an obsessive personality ($3000 pool cues!), and also part of trying to fully understand the sport. Like audio equipment and pool cues, it salves the ego to be able to knowledgably decribe unique characteristics and esoterica is it comes up in conversation or in print - and let's face it -most expensive stuff is far better than the crap. And so cycleguy, I can (for now) defend bikes over biking knowing that those "complications" are still part of the joy for me. The single speed is still
b over
the horizon.
Have Fun, Mike
Back to bed GrampsOuch
Feb 9, 2002 9:07 PM
Who's "we"?
You're a fool if you've continued to read about the pros and cons to the point where you're wasting space ranting about it.
My advice is to get the hell out of here and ride. Unlike most of "us", you don't have very many rides left in you.
Maybe your solution is...DINOSAUR
Feb 10, 2002 9:44 AM
I think you'll find the answer in your own post. Stop reading about the pros and cons of cycling and start riding your bike like the simple joy you had when you were a kid...
You are a heretic, you must read this!!!!Woof the dog
Feb 10, 2002 7:50 PM
Cycling is a great sport, where you actually can attain a pretty damn high level, short of becoming a pro. And you actually get to race with the pro's in some races! Tell me, is there any other sport where you can do that? Damn football or baseball are obsolete in that sense: they are team games, with teams playing against each other - I don't see too many people jumping in to play with the pro's. Everyone knows how it is: you play in highschool, maybe college, get out of college and start playing a "fantasy" football...on a couch. "Where is my clicker?"

Cycling is a great uhm... 'participatory' as well as individual sport where if you ride long enough, you can be really good, and you don't need a friggin team. It actually goes back to a thread we had long time ago: just how do we define an athlete? Someone with a good hand-eye coordination or good lungs? Or both? I don't know, but I certainly don't enjoy watching fat baseball players standing around chewing gum. It better be a sugar-free gum, or they'd be spending big bucks on fake teeth. Or maybe it is tobacco they are chewing?

Cycling gives you everything you need: a healthy obsession (unlike drugs or excessive amounts of booze every friday night), motivation to get off that couch. It keeps you in shape and makes you aware of many issues in society that other "types" of people ignore. Look, I could go forever with this list.

I could be impartial, however, and say that cyclists look like they were in the concentration camp - where is that upper body? In other words: if you get into a bar fight and you are a cyclist, probably the only thing you could do is ride or run away lol....over-exaggerated? sure, but somewhat true nonetheless.

As regarding to all the debates on whats a better equipment - I like talking about stuff like this. Its like Ying and Yang - the world of simple boring downtube shifter and what not oversimplified fixies that some heretics here submerge themselves into could not have existed without the world of beautiful paint jobs and staggering variations in design and componentry choice. I can concentrate on both: riding my bike and talking about it. Like that stupid commercial says: "what am I on? i am on my bike blah blah blah." I log in 10 hours on average per week in training (which is a lot by my standards), and I get to argue on the internet too. Life could not be better!

So much for your 45 years of experience. I am pretty sure my experience will continue bouncing back and forth between the two extremes.

Wow, thats a lot of typing.

Woof, the grade-A-honey licking dog.
re: Are we all full of s%$#Leisure
Feb 10, 2002 9:24 PM
Yes, but it's all to a matter of degree. I may be completely full of s%$# most of the time, or mostly full of s%$# all of the time, but I would take serious exception to someone saying that I was completely full of s%$# all of the time. Even if it were true.
I think way too many people take things way too personally. Most of the people on this site are consummate shoppers with mildly different priorities and tastes that sometimes get blown out of proportion. That's about as far as I choose to interpret some of the arguments and flaming that goes on. It's alright to have different tastes, but when someone spouts off that "my frame has 0.02% better such and such so your frame's a pile", you know s/he's taking things way too seriously. Okay, so it's pretty much always "he". No big whoop, love your stuff for what you got it for, drop the info you don't need and everything else is just education.
Speak for yourself, please...Tim
Feb 11, 2002 7:34 AM
Please, don't say "WE are...". I am not full of it. Collapse all the threads and don't read the forums.
Let the people do what they like. Everyone has a right to a hobby they enjoy, so let people argue over frame geometries, component groups, etc., etc.
Yes, very few people actually NEED multi-thousand-dollar bicycles. Just as nobody needs brand-name clothing, luxury cars, you name it. If this is what brings joy to people lives - let it be so.
If you are "confused" about bicycle parts - do your own research, you're all literate people [you can use a computer, that is a good sign]. Same goes for racing events - nobody will invite you to a race. You have to find your own way in. I just don't believe that there is absolutely no information out there. You just haven't looked hard enough.
If you are sick of bicycle talk - don't waste time on this forum, and go for a ride. Or pick a book. Have you read any of Naipaul's works yet?
And finally - speak for yourself. Separating people into "them" and "us" is the major cause of bloodshed on this planet.
A little disconnected, chaotic posting - sorry. I just get angry when people start throwing words like "they", "the racers", "we, cyclists" around.
what a response, touch a nerve maybeFishwheel
Feb 11, 2002 10:14 AM
You all jumped on this guy pretty quick eh? I think he has a point. Like most things it's a matter of degree. Telling others about your bike, seeking others opinions etc.. is good. But, I don't know, cyclists are weird. Debating items, or preaching from a very limited experience base seems par for cyclists. Also, cycleguy never mentioned money, just the quest for the perfect ride and preaching to disciples. Yet several responses needed to justify spending lots of money on cyling gear, which is something I would criticize, but he didn't.