People get into cycling for different reasons, but what’s as interesting as the things that get people into it are the things that get them out of it. Have you ever noticed that there will be someone who’s “all in” for several years and then suddenly they just vanish?
Over the decades I’ve come up with some key markers for people who may not be sticking around.
- People who ride to race. Cyclists who get into cycling from the “sport” vector eventually burn out. No matter how good they are or how quickly they progress (and often because of it), they eventually realize that THIS is as good as they’re ever going to be, and from their vantage point that’s not good enough. For these people, if you’re not winning, you’re a sorry, worthless, rusted out Campy Nuovo Record derailleur spring.
- People who love equipment. Cyclists who are infatuated with the stuff and the clothes (incredible, I know, to be infatuated with clown suits) usually quit when they’ve bought everything there is to buy. Top of the line, of course. Closet full of Rapha, garage full of the sickest frames, a wheelset for every dining occasion, these collectors eventually get bored and turn their gaze and their checkbooks somewhere else.
- People who love “the group ride.” These riders are blown away when they discover the “wonderful cycling community” and make every ride, every function, every tryst. Then one day they realize we’re the same bunch of assholes they see at the office, only we’re wearing clown suits instead of Armani ones. Boom. Gone. See ya.
- People who are snobs. Snobs master everything and do everything at least once. They race, they cruise, they tour, they MTB, they ‘cross, and they have the sickest 1936 Schwinn Excelsior Motorbike, lovingly restored … the only common denominator is that they do it better than you. Then that moment arrives when they get out-snobbed and snap! There are suddenly three shit-tons of great deals on eBay.
- People who have The Big Crash. These riders happily pedal along, sometimes for years, thinking that catastrophic injury happens to other people. Then they get run over by a mobile coffee roaster and can’t walk right for sixty months. Significant Other points out insurance benefit limits, the downsides to unemployment, the relative safety of golf, and that’s all she wrote.
On the flip side, there are some people who never, ever stop cycling. They’re just as weird.
- People who love riding around. They don’t care on what or where or how fast or dressed in what. They may be faster than a midnight roach under the spotlight of the cracked fridge door, or slower than the apartment handyman when your fully loaded toilet blows up. Doesn’t matter. They just love to ride.
- People whose lives are a living fucking hell on earth. These people know that the only escape from hell is on a bicycle. They do triple centuries, double Iron-Persons, and RAAM. You can have their bike when you pry their cold, dead testicles (or labia) from off the saddle.
- Drunks. Drunks love bikes. It’s pretty darned simple. No one knows why.
- People who are super cheap. Nothing is cheaper than biking except walking and being dead. When done properly, riding actually puts money in your bank account. (We’re still working out the details of this and will let you know when it’s perfected.)
- People who never grow up. Sound familiar? I knew it would.
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