In a recent post, I channeled Jerry Seinfeld and talked about some of the fun idiosyncrasies of swimmers in the style of his popular “What’s the deal with…?” routine. Well, now it’s time to turn to cyclists, the second discipline in the triathlon trifecta.
So without further ado, here are a few questions I’d like to pose to my fellow riders now that I’ve immersed myself in the cycling culture during training. For instance…
What’s the deal with aerodynamics?
Ok, I know what it is and why it’s generally important. But spending thousands of dollars in an obsessive quest to shave off mere milliseconds? Sure, I get why the pros and age-group podium contenders do it, but let me be clear — I’m talking about us middle-of-the-pack racers here.
I’m competitive and I want to improve as much as the next person, but there’s a point where it starts to get a little silly. After all, as I overheard recently at a bike store, “The least aerodynamic part of the bike is the rider, and there’s only so much you can do with that.”
What’s the deal with “bike love?”
I never quite understood affection toward an inanimate object…that is, until I met Winnie.
My trusty Cannondale commuter got me through several sprint-distance triathlons just fine, but once I set my sights on longer races, I knew that an upgrade would be inevitable. What I didn’t expect was that my feeling toward biking would turn from ‘meh’ to maniacal as a result.
Quite simply, it was love at first sight. Not only is she beautiful, but every new adventure we tackle together has also been full of pure joy and exhilaration. Our relationship has been moving along quickly, but I’m hoping (with more time together) we can go even faster because I’ve got a good feeling about this one…
What’s the deal with clipping in?
Just like aerodynamics, I understand the reasoning behind it, but still think it’s a funny concept. Especially the fact that falling over in slow-motion while clipped in is a rite of passage for many athletes.
What’s the deal with helmets?
Nope, I’m not talking about those oddly-shaped aero ones (although that could be a whole other blog post); I’m talkin’ about the fact that while bicycle helmets do a good job of keeping our skulls intact in a major crash, they do almost zilch to prevent concussions and other significant brain injuries.
Wait — what?!
Yep, I didn’t know that either…until a friend of a friend at a bike store mentioned it during our conversation about cycling gear. This article in Bicycling Magazine is a must-read on the topic; it goes into detail about bike helmets and the current state of the industry with respect to research on concussion and brain injury.
The article’s author puts it perfectly: “The choices cyclists make with their money matter. You can pretend to protect your brain, or you can spend more money and get closer to actually doing it.”
What’s the deal with the etiquette (or lackthereof)?
Finally, from feelings of intimidation when walking into bike stores to feelings of indignation upon being yelled at by cyclists while running and trying to share the road, I found it tough, initially, to develop the warm-and-fuzzies toward a culture that felt, well, kind of cold compared to running.
Luckily, however, my stubborn streak kicked in…along with a healthy dose of curiosity and a determination to succeed. So, sure, I’ve still got days where I suffer from major imposter syndrome (a “runner in cyclist’s clothing,” as I call myself), but it’s usually overridden by those feelings of euphoria mid-ride.
And for every person who went whizzing by without so much as a, “You ok?” while my girlfriends and I were on the side of the road trying to troubleshoot our first tire change, there have been others who warmly welcome newbies with open arms. Case(s) in point: my Coeur teammates, who patiently took me on my first long ride (clipped in, no less) — not to mention Gethyn, my “bike matchmaker” from Hank & Frank Bicycles, who helped me navigate the first-real-bike-purchase process.
Thank goodness for them — otherwise, there’s a good chance I might have been trying to compete in next month’s triathlon on my old mountain bike!
Any other cycling eccentricities that make you go ‘huh?’