Thursday, July 6, 2017

The internet steers us wrong

Last weekend was beautiful. I rode fifteen easy miles on Sunday, followed by five hard miles. Of course, I rode the hard miles very slowly; I'm no fool.

Speaking of fools (great segue, right?), I've started to read a lot of Internet opinion on biking. Articles with titles like "Why you must ride the Baja Divide (even though you're out of shape and ill-prepared)" and "You don't deserve to own a bicycle unless you race every weekend!"

All right, those aren't real articles; I made the titles up. But I did read something that made me laugh, and though I don't remember the title, it was largely about mistakes (or "faux pas") you could make while cycling. The article enumerated such unforgivable social infractions as wearing the wrong socks or wearing your glasses incorrectly (with the stems inside the helmet straps). This made me wonder: where are the articles that stress the importance of not letting your attention waver when you're cycling? Or not challenging cars to some sort of "who owns the road" duel? Or not acting as if everybody is in your way simply because you're in lycra on a full carbon bike?

My point -- there is a whole industry built around convincing people that the most superficial things about cycling are somehow very important, while ignoring things that are very important. The single most important thing about cycling to my mind is getting where you're going safely. It doesn't matter how good you look. It doesn't matter how cool your bike is. Nothing actually matters more than staying alive through your ride. Even having fun is secondary, if it distracts from the effort needed to keep yourself breathing.

Yeah, I know that most everyone knows the things I've written above. But it feels like very few people keep those things in mind while they're riding.

And that is today's frivolous opinion.


  1. To take your idea a little further...I agree that the number one priority is be safe, however if cycling is not fun anymore and we fear for our lives then why should people ride? Part of the joy of cycling (in my opinion) is riding where it feels safe so great infrastructure is paramount to allow that comfort, then it's fun because there is less worry. It's a cycle. Great infrastructure equals safe, fun riding. :)

    1. Your point is taken. I think what I was ranting about was the risks taken by many riders. We have fun, yeah, but some of us ride recklessly when we do it. I'm aware I sound like a cranky old man...and I sort of am...but if I have to stop having fun to prevent myself from getting killed, I'll do it. At sixty, I've realized I'm not invulnerable.