Monday, May 18, 2009

Einstein & The Theory of Cycling Relativity

Sticking my knees out I pedaled wildly, mocking him from behind.  A kid on the sidewalk raced ahead of our approaching group herking and jerking as our racer group peloton noodled through a historic small-town downtown.  Even though he didn’t see me thrashing around mimicking his moves, imitating how goofy he looked especially in front of others was a dufus move on my part.  He was just a kid having fun on a bike.  Sorry kiddo.  It only took me a few seconds to realize my childish and arrogant indiscretion.  Before we reached the corner, I settled in and encouraged him to keep it going.  I think its super cool when kids who see the weekly group ride roll down their street jump and pound on the pedals to race the group to the corner.  Beats getting throttle blasted by a teenager in a diesel pick up truck any day.

Just this past Sunday we rolled by what seemed to be 15 people riding recumbent tri-cycles on the bike path.  One is usually an oddity.  But, by the time we hit Milford, passing one after another tri, it was clear that our traditional road racing bikes were the minority.  I thought they looked like cool little Indy car versions of bicycles.  Up near Devou Park this past Monday three kids raced my wife and I up a steep little street.  In a cute little moment, she egged them on, gave ‘em a run for their money and pipped ‘em at the crux of the climb.  Every so often, I see a mammoth man getting a good sweat going while riding an old mountain bike as the tires cringe under his weight.  Then there’s the occasional bike rider with a 12er of Bud Light in one hand and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.  There’s as many different types of riders as there are types of bikes.  I’ll never mock a single one of them again.  

I try to give as many bike riders as I can a wave or a head nod.  When I see a bike rider at the side of the road I try to stop and lend a tube or at the very least slow down ask, “You okay?”  Just because my shorts match my jersey and my bike weighs 15 pounds, doesn’t make me a higher level of cyclist than others.  When it comes down to it, racing bikes is not the pinnacle of bike riding.  Enjoying yourself is, Einstein.


Anonymous said...

i like this, joe -- and it's true. i've caught myself going into an exaggerated mockery of someone's riding "style," only to snap out of it and feel like a heel. i try to tell myself "if they're pedaling on two wheels, it's all good." of course, that leaves out the recumbent trikes, but i try to grandfather them in.

jake daniels said...

i can relate to what your saying. i used to get pissed with other cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. i cycled across colombia and equador in 2007 and the local kids would cycle along and try and keep up. it was fun racing them. everyone used to shout 'viva italia' for some reason although we are english. i was riding an improvised tour bike hybrid type thing but always tried to keep up with the road bike cyclists on the hills which was impossible. all the cyclists in the know would nod or wave as you passed them. the locals in the equadorian andes all rode bmx bikes and grabbed onto the back off lorries to take them up the hills. I think cycling is a great way of life and the best way to see any country.