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Is insecurity the problem?(39 posts)

Is insecurity the problem?NRG2Go
Sep 9, 2002 11:01 AM
I have been a competitive rock climber for a number of years. In the climbing community everyone is positive. Always trying to help and always wishing the best even for a competitor. The talk is positive not negative. Although we notice nice equipment we realize that it is the abilities of the climber that make him or her great, not the equipment.

In the biking community the opposite seems to be the norm. Everyone likes trashing on the other person and trying to make himself or herself seem better than they are. It appears that most believe it is the equipment that makes the rider and not the rider. Just read some of the posts under bike pics, you even trash another riders pride and joy.

This has been bothering me ever since I started biking a couple years ago. What gives? Is this mentality caused by insecurity, marketing or a little of both or what? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
my ramblingsSteve_0
Sep 9, 2002 11:27 AM
Being a self-proclaimed triathlete... i spend time in swimming circles, running circles, cycling circles, and tri circles.

The swimming groups and the running groups are the most supportive; never heard a word of criticism... only support at all times. Swimmers, for the most part, will hang around until the last swimmer is out of the water; offering words of encouragement as he exits.

Its not uncommon for the back-pack runner to cheer on the race leader as they meet at the midway point. Racewinners also tend to recognize the back-packers are actually working harder, for longer, than the front-packers, and respect them for that.

Nothing but respect on all sides of the sport. Notice the entirety of equiment for these two sports is a pair of goggles and a pair of shoes.

Enter cycling. Lots of toys. Lots of styles. Lots of cliques. Lots of marketing. Lots of excuses.

Only serious riders should be on the roads; shouldnt wear team kit; should wear team kit; diamond frames; compact frames; campy, shimano; blah blah blah.

Tri-guys are middle ground; Usually very supportive (much more than cyclists), but still envy the technology (enter trigeek terminology).

All of these sports truly require little skill to participate. Sure, some are naturally gifted athletes; others work their a$$ off to overcome genetic shortcomings,
but all in all, no skill required.

Add a piece of equipment to the equation, though, and the focus instantly moves from individual talent to physical possessions.

Yes, i think insecurity has a lot to do with it. Probably jealously too.
What about groups like Bikes Not Bombs and Transportation AlterOld_school_nik
Sep 10, 2002 6:09 AM
-tives - these groups represent the best of cyclists they are helping the world to be a better place - not just for riders but for people in general (in the case of Bikes not bombs) and all pedestrians including runners (int he case of Transportation Alternatives)-

So yes, just because of couple of insecure yahoos on these boards don't represent very well - don' tthink for a second they speak for all cyclists.

get lost!mr_spin
Sep 9, 2002 11:30 AM

Maybe the problem is that you are taking far too small a sample. If you generalize about the bike community based on comments made about pictures of bikes, you are going to end up really, really skewed. Think about what percentage of people who ride a) know there is a forum for posting bike pictures and commenting on them, and b) bother to post comments. I'd say it is so small it is statistically insignificant.

You can say the same thing about this forum or any other.

Maybe the climbing community is so lovey-dovey because there is no place to post and comment on pictures of ropes, ice picks and carabiners.
My point exactlyNRG2Go
Sep 9, 2002 11:38 AM
Your message topic and the tone of your message is exactly what I am talking about. Too much hostility! Why are you so angry? Can't we all just share the joy of biking?
yeah, but what to you wear when you ride? n/mSteve_0
Sep 9, 2002 11:43 AM
:) n/mNRG2Go
Sep 9, 2002 11:47 AM
Mr. Spin sarcasticly illustrating your point...check the : )Scot_Gore
Sep 9, 2002 12:12 PM
Mr Spin wasn't angry. He was joking with you and then proceeded to give his perspective about the small sample size (this board) you're using to draw your conclusion.

The small sample size I choose to use are the number of people (strangers mostly) who pull up next to me and say "Nice Bike !!!!". An even smaller sample of the population, but I'm sticking to it. :-)

Not true - I must disagree...jose_Tex_mex
Sep 9, 2002 12:48 PM
Sorry Spin,
I have been cycling for years and have only a core group of friends to ride with. The % of snobby, elitist clyclists I have encountered is higher than in any other sport I have participated.

There are many boards for climbers. One of them I have been on myself. I could not believe how many people actually welcomed me to the board and the sport. They even offered to meet with me and train. On the other hand, my first instance to many cycling boards was met with flames or no response.

IMHO - rock climbers don't have the negative attitudes too many cyclists have nor do they judge others by how deep their pockets (gear) are. I entered their sport by spending $250 and was as equipped as their pro's.

BTW - The rock climbing board did not know what a troll was nor did they have another word for it.
Not true - I must disagree...NRG2Go
Sep 9, 2002 12:53 PM
Hi Jose. When do you want to spend a long weekend riding and climbing?
- Gee NRG2Go, I hardly know you...jose_Tex_mex
Sep 9, 2002 1:07 PM
Actually, I plan on heading out to Allamuchy during the fall and bringing my mtb bike and rope. I hear there are some good climbs and the mtb is pretty good - no crazy ascents.
Did some bouldering in Central Park not too long ago - it was worth a good laugh to see the people I cycle 150 miles with to get smoked in about 3 minutes of climbing...
the writing is on the wallmr_spin
Sep 9, 2002 1:44 PM
That's hilarious. The climbing board didn't have a word for "troll." That's like the Eskimos don't have a word for "war." I doubt it.

Bitch bitch bitch. Whine whine whine. I'm tired of people coming here and complaining about groups as a whole. I've encountered snobs and elitists everywhere I've ever been, doing all kinds of sports and activities. I don't make sweeping generalizations about the sport or activity as a result.

Look, if climbers are better people and non-judgemental, the message is clear: hang out with climbers. If your cycling friends are snobs and elitists, maybe you should find better cycling friends. You will become co-dependent if you don't. Or stop cycling if what you say is really true. Why hang out with people who bother you?

Supposedly Eskimos have a hundred words for snow. I always wondered why. I mean, how many words do we have for sky?
(I Can't Get No) Satisfactiontz
Sep 9, 2002 11:52 AM
I believe Dr. Z. Freud: is all about sex. Those who constantly separate people into "us" and "them" (freds, posers, lousy shirtless triathletes, etc., with "us", of course, beinng superior in at least some aspects) have some problems with their sexual lives.
People who have no problems with that just enjoy the sport and don't give a damn about what others think about their ONCE jersey.
As of friendliness among rock climbers - these people have to RELY on each other. When you are tied to someone with a rope, you have to TRUST that person...
lmao. nmfbg111
Sep 9, 2002 1:22 PM
(I Can't Get No) SatisfactionThe Human G-Nome
Sep 9, 2002 4:18 PM
hope you didn't pull a muscle reaching for that one :-)
my psycho-babble on the subjectdzrider
Sep 9, 2002 11:57 AM
I come from a tennis background. Tournament tennis players make bicycle racers look like one big happy family. On the other hand, randoneurs are far less competitive about speed and equipment than triathletes, whom I find somewhat better than bike racers.

I think the difference comes from the personality types attracted to sports that deal with people as opponents. In a marathon, triathlon or time trial every participant gets a time that allows them to feel the satisfaction of bettering a personal goal regardless of their place in the race. In a bike race, this isn't so and in a tennis tournament to quote Jimmy Connors "There's 127 losers and me." Sports that only reward winning appeal to athletes who see their competitors as rivals or the enemy not as people who share the same passion. Add pride of ownership to the mix and the egos can really run wild.
Don't you just love gross generalizations!Len J
Sep 9, 2002 11:57 AM
Let's see.....In my life, I've heard

-All Rock climbers are supportive
-All runners are positive
-All Bikers like to "trash... on the other person and trying to make himself or herself seem better than they are"
-All Golfers are overweight has beens that can't remember what a real athelete is.
-All Horseback riders are stuck-up snobs.

I was a competitive runner, Roller Blade quite a bit, Golf, Cycle, Horseback ride, White water canoe, Kayak. In each of the sports I've participated in, I have experienced all manner of stereotypes as well as all manner of both great people & a@@holes. Which of the people that I meet should I extrapolate over the entire population? (The nice ones or the aholes?)

"Everyone likes trashing on the other person and trying to make himself or herself seem better than they are. It appears that most believe it is the equipment that makes the rider and not the rider." Read what you wrote. Statements that include "Everyone" are very off-putting (to me anyway).

My experience is that most sports have thier share of insecure people. I wouldn't judge the cycling community by the people who use an annoymous internet site to trash others bikes as representative of the cycling community in general. Of all the sports I've participated in, cycling seems to have the most genuinely helpful people involved. Get a flat sometime in an organized ride and count how many people offer help. Breaqk down on a busy cycling street & see how much help is offered.

I learned a long time ago that generalizations are a weak response to limited data points and tend to limit the possibilities for meeting an exception. I try to form a decision about an individual based on that persons actions, not what group he belongs to.

I know why....No_sprint
Sep 9, 2002 12:00 PM
It's because in rock climbing when you use inferior gear, you end up rockkill.

Therefore, the equivalent of of all Shimano users are all no longer around or alive to fuel some good Campy v. Shimano type flame wars. :)

It's all just like real life, a microcosm. Why else would the prophet Rodney King's words echo so loudly? *Why can't we all just get along*
re: Is rock climbing competitive in nature?triple shot espresso
Sep 9, 2002 12:02 PM
I think not.

The inate competitive nature of the sport of cycling creates and nurtures the attitudes that you're whinning about. I would ride with anybody on this board, share a water bottle with them, lead them out for the city sign sprint and give them crap the whole time for riding a Trek instead of something Itailian.

If you look at other highly competitive sports like basketball or football trash talking has risen to an art form. But that's all it is, talk. Cyclists love to trash talk but also watch out for their own. Whenever I get a flat every cyclist that passes me offers assistance.

Pure recreational riders are handled differently. I always encourage those folks because I respect the fact that they are on the bike at all.

Face it, cycling stirs the competitive nature in people, if you don't like I can jam a rainbow up my butt and talk pretty to you if that's what you're looking for.
LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!! nmNo_sprint
Sep 9, 2002 12:15 PM
re: Is rock climbing competitive in nature?Geardaddy
Sep 9, 2002 3:25 PM
Of course it is! Rock climbing used to be my main thing, and it has it's share of cliquey-ness and poser-ness too. When I got into climbing, it was before the advent of indoor climbing gyms. The local crags were not crowded, and there was a whole granola-deadhead-peace-and-quiet-in-the-wilderness attitude. It was very friendly, and people cared about "red pointing" and how much chalk they used. Then lycra wearing, bouldering, and "hang dogging" on massively bolted routes became the big deal. Finally, indoor gyms hit the scene, and soon snot nosed skinny kids (who otherwise would have been riding a skateboard somewhere) started showing up to knock off the 5.12s! The next thing we knew is that you'd have to get to the crag by 7:00 AM, or everything would be "roped up".

All that being said, rock climbing I think is quite different from cycling in that there are no excuses. You find out very quickly what you can and cannot do, and it is very humbling. Equipment really doesn't matter that much at all (I've seen some people do some wicked routes wearing Chuck E Taylors). It's pretty hard to ignore someone's ability when you see them put together the moves on some route which you have attempted and failed on many times before.
re: Is rock climbing competitive in nature?The Human G-Nome
Sep 9, 2002 4:24 PM
share a water bottle with them>>>>

re: Is rock climbing competitive in nature?The Human G-Nome
Sep 9, 2002 4:27 PM
yes, actually, i'd prefer the rainbow thing. go ahead.
re: Is insecurity the problem?joekm
Sep 9, 2002 12:12 PM
I have seen this on the messageboards. On the other hand, I just joined a local bike club and did my first group ride with them last week. Everybody in that group was pretty supportive as far as I could see. The problem might be that there is a little more room for ego's and over-estimation of one's abilities when it is less likely that they'll have to back it up. I also use to fence sabre and that could get a little "elitist" as well. However, generally by the first point, both fencers know who's full of s--t and who's not.

I'm just getting back into cycling and I never rode competitively but I imagine it's the same deal. Once you're on the road riding with all these people whom you've told that you typically do 30 mile training runs at 20+ mph, you need to eiher back it up or face the inevitable karmic re-alignment.

IAW - it doesn't mean a thing until you're on the road.
Honestly, I've never seen this in reality.Alex-in-Evanston
Sep 9, 2002 12:12 PM
Only on this board, in anonymity. Spending too much time here will give you the impression that cyclists are jerks. We aren't.

Agree, message board not reality. Generally, best crowd I knowNMSpunout
Sep 9, 2002 12:31 PM
I think a part of what is experienced as snobbery is somebill
Sep 9, 2002 12:33 PM
lack of social skill among some (emphasis on some; certainly not all, but some) cyclists that maybe even is concentrated in the upper ranks of this basically solipsistic sport. You spend a lot of time by yourself. You have to be comfortable spending a lot of time by yourself. You may even be so comfortable spending time by yourself that it means you are uncomfortable spending time with others.
There is some amount of teamwork, of course, and in a paceline you are placing a fair amount of trust in others, but for the most part you are more or less battling yourself, by yourself. If you are not battling yourself, you are battling the image of the guy up ahead who ... just ... does ... not ... seem ... to be ... struggling ... as much ... as you are ... darn him. It doesn't preclude friendship, but it doesn't necessarily cultivate it either.
Then there are the the people that are really good at this, who have this have fight in them that expresses itself in loving pain (beating themselves up; you know, self-flagellating) and/or hating to be bested.
These are not necessarily the friendliest of creatures. Not that these are bad people, mind you, but, when you add to this the trepidation of the novice, who wants to be welcomed and reassured, it's not the easiest mix.
Bunch of claptrap, no doubt, but I think that there's some truth in it somewhere.
Another example.SnowBlind
Sep 9, 2002 12:36 PM
On all the IS (computer) related board we pose,flame, evangelize, and generally act like morons towords each other (except me, I am a perfect gentleman).

BUT, you get us together in a workspace or an event (ok BS and posing go up at a conference), and generally we are generous to a fault. Part of the mystique of being a Systems Administrator is that crusty, cranky, why-are-you-bothering-me attitude.
In part it is to keep away the Project Managers and other management types. But if a cow-orker comes to me with a genuine question and a problem (not, "what's the status") I am going to help them as much as possible.
And for the same reasons I have handed a new, perfectly good tube in exchange for a flatted one with those damn threads on them, because the other guy was a cyclist, in need, and he asked nicely.

Having said that, to much static (negativity) to noise (good advice) ruins what were once good sites, like this one.
RE: cow-orkerczardonic
Sep 9, 2002 1:22 PM
Was that intentional, or a freudian slip? Just curious.
A DilbertismTig
Sep 9, 2002 1:48 PM
Those who subscribe to the Dilbert Newsletter and are therefore members of the DNRC (Dogbert's New Ruling Class) know about inDUHviduals and cow-orkers. Check out the "True Quotes From Induhviduals" in the most recent newsletter at for some humorous fun.
Strange how you ignored all the many positive, helpful postsTig
Sep 9, 2002 1:40 PM
First, ignore the trash talk in the bike picture posts. That stuff isn't representative of anyone but anonymous cowards and losers. Go over to the car pictures if you really want to see some trash talk!

Yes, we've all seen negative posts and reactions in here. If they were the majority, I doubt most of us would come back. Yes, we've all seen a few elitist attitudes out on the road. Does it represent the cycling community as a whole? Not even close. Everyone chooses to see what they want, but to ignore the big picture makes such judgments inaccurate and biased.

My experiences with other cyclists these last 15 years on the road have allowed me to meet many wonderful people. I've been fortunate enough to ride in many parts of the US as well as Europe and Mexico. Even the people who first appear to be snobs end up being decent people once you get past the outer shell, which is usually just shyness. When someone falls or flats you'll see plenty of supportive help out there. It doesn't take a problem to bring out the best either. The many kind words and helpful advice that go around are quite common. I can most likely count the negative people and experiences I've experienced or witnessed. The positive experiences I've seen are in the thousands and are beyond counting. Even in the middle of a race, I've seen people give encouragement to riders who are getting tired and want to drop.

Maybe you need to ride with a better group, or maybe I've been extremely lucky? Maybe its because I'm surrounded by good ol' Southern Hospitality. No matter, cycling (like all things in life) is what you make it.
Strange how you ignored all the many positive, helpful postsThe Human G-Nome
Sep 9, 2002 4:43 PM
sometimes people forget that just because you're in your bike, that doesn't make you magically become a cyclist. if you were an asshole off the bike, you'll be one on the bike as well. if you were a nice guy, nine times out of ten you'll be the same on your bike. also, alot depends on enviornment. as i live on a VERY touristy street that hard to even walk down on weekends, i can't smile at and say hello to every passerby. i do well just to keep my head down and make it thru. it can be this way on a bike as well depending on where you live.

Are you making fun of me? nmirregardless
Sep 9, 2002 3:43 PM
Maybe, but why wallow in it?Leisure
Sep 9, 2002 9:01 PM
When I started mountainbiking I saw that attitude all over the place. Who knows where the hell it started, but who cares? You can complain about it, or maybe, just maybe, you can do something about it. Go out and set a good example of what you think good sportsmanship is. Because while some riders out there seriously have the kind of attitudes you're talking about, my feeling is that probably most of the riders acting that way are really just afraid that you're going to cop the attitude first and think they need to beat you to the punch. So when I went out riding, I always took the initiative, saying hello, waving, making some light-hearted conversation to remind them I'm not out to prove they don't need to prove anything to me. Maybe it's setting a good example. Maybe it's making other riders not feel defensive. No matter what, I'm trying to set a positive tone, and almost all riders will reciprocate. The ones that don't usually either stay silent or find a way to embarass themselves - not my problem either way.

Tell you what, I keep seeing less and less attitude overall each passing season. More and more riders are actually taking the positive social initiative with me when they pass me! So is all this "setting a good example" maybe rubbing in? I don't know, I don't want to claim anything so self-important. But I think when even one person takes the trouble to lighten up his interaction with each person he meets he makes a difference. Some of those s/he meets will see it and take up the cause, and the better our community becomes.
Sep 10, 2002 2:47 AM
I totally agree with you . We get comments from other cyclists on this forum telling people why they can not wear team clothes all the time . They called they Fred if they do . I had people ride right next to me just to see what kind of bike I ride without saying a word to me . What is up with that . I , for one , couldn't careless what you ride and wear . The important thing is you are out there riding .
Heard a funny quote about that the other day...Silverback
Sep 10, 2002 7:58 AM
The Tour de Peninsula, a piddling (33-mile) group ride south of San Francisco, brings out a lot of Sili Valley rich guys with their $4,000 bikes, inflated sense of self and 19 cents' worth of knowledge. At one of the rest stops, a group of them swept by--too cool to stop on such a short ride--and blew at about 30mph through a crowd of casual cyclists who were pumping tires, eating oranges and gasping that they'd ridden almost TWENTY MILES already. It was just arrogant roadie pr!ck behavior of the worst kind.
As they rolled on out of sight, a woman standing near me said, "This is the only sport where you see more @ssholes than downhill skiing."
Rich guys in $4000 bikes...lanternrouge
Sep 10, 2002 8:33 AM
They seem like great ambassadors for the sport...NOT

As for the woman's comment "This is the only sport where you see more @ssholes than downhill skiing." -- you might mention that unless you are in the lead all you will ever see are a bunch of @ssholes.

(only if she could see the humor in it though)
ROTFLMAO!! Good one! nmbnlkid
Sep 10, 2002 9:25 AM
re: Is insecurity the problem?TrekFurthur
Sep 10, 2002 10:49 AM
I just read an article in a climbing magazine about two big-wall, Yellowstone hot dogs--they did NOT have nice things to say about each other. Also, I climb indoors during the winter as crosstraining; although I have never had other climbers be openly rude to me, I have been completely ignored, as in they wouldn't even look at me or my group.

In conclusion, there are butt-heads everywhere.