well the good weather has finally arrived and as such so have the hordes of gleaming carbon pavement crawlers. Yes I am a believer in the old strength in numbers idea, surely any increase in cycling is a good thing but in this case I may be wrong.
My mileage is slowly coming up with the longer warmer days and I must admit my last trip out was fantastic, a mix of busy roads and quiet country lanes and not a bit of hassle from any driver in all of the 4 hours it took me. Its almost as though the sun has some profound affect on people forcing them to take their time instead of rushing to the office or home and just enjoy being out. It proves people can still be decent we all need to just slow down instead of spending so much time in our heads.
If this is the case though and were all a bit more leisurely in the sun it gave me more time to notice something. The groups of lycra clad roadies and mountain bikes which haven’t seen a drop of rain grace their paintwork wobbling along pavements and over crossings which can only be harmful to the image. Yes I understand if you have a child with you why you wouldn’t want to risk the road and I think most people would turn a blind eye to a parent and child enjoying a day out especially if pretty much walking speed, but please if you can get on the road. The same people can be found 5 miles down the road stuck outside their local cafe or pub without even breaking a sweat to earn their cake and coffee, trying to live up to some continental image the cafes now try to cater for almost like middle aged hipsters.
This brings me to my point, over the winter id obviously been off a while due to the crash but I started again a few months back with the intention of building up for the summer and luckily a few people wanted to join the club. This was ideal as my fitness was back to zero so we planned some routes and got out. Now with the warm weather other people have started turning up for club rides and to be honest ive found myself doing more solo trips or just with the original starters. One of them even saying how “our group now feels like a club in a club”.
Cafe stops are now filled with talk of how much people have spent on their kit or 3rd carbon bike this year, instead of laughing about life.
Yes people should enjoy money they’ve worked for but I cant stand middle class ways. Even worse working class people who outright believe their middle class or try to keep up with the others.
Where has peoples pride gone why cant you just be happy being yourself and not have to keep up with the Joneses latest kit and gadgets, all that does is suck the fun and heart out of cycling which is the one reason why we all keep at it.
My dad was a cyclist in the 70’s and 80’s and tells me of how he rode 100 mile trips on a single speed bike he built from salvaged parts. At one point fixed a broken chain by riveting it with a brick at the road side, which he carried on using for later trips. This seems to have been the norm when talking to some of the older fellas in the club. People just going out because they enjoyed the trip, and some even then clocking up better times than people on carbon now.
Council estates are no longer that any more each house having to have a better front than the last and who has the most or best car parked out front and the majority of people now don’t even speak to their neighbours. I used to say that I have never met a cyclist I didn’t like as they all seemed to share the same ideals that you join clubs for the friendship and laughs being a welcome break from work but its quickly becoming the golfers new sport.
I have thought of quitting the club scene as this “out do” attitude is not what I signed up for, but I know like the lads who started in winter there are still the odd few decent people. That’s what keeps me going… plus the fact that come next winter those who have all the gear no idea will be too scared their carbon will turn into wet noodles and we wont be seeing them for a while.