Mar 182013

I have recently taken to the idea of a Sunday morning ride.

For the last three Sundays I have ridden one of my bicycles around 22-25 miles on one of a variety of loops in the area. I am not the only one, there are a lot of people out riding. I often catch up with a group or a couple of riders and tag along until we go different ways or I run out of legs, or they drop back. Regardless on my previous couple of rides on my road bike there has been a level of camaraderie among the riders. We all speak to each other and often wave.

What I did not realize is that you need to be a part of the clique. If you are riding a road bike or in my case a ‘bitsa’ Tri-bike, then fellow roadies will wave and smile and encourage you to join them.

Now try exactly the same ride on a mountain bike, albeit one with city tires.

On Sunday I rode a slightly different loop, my usual loop sees me riding north, then east, then south and then west to get home, this time I followed the north trail and it took me towards the cost (west) before I eventually turned left and headed homeward. At about the twelve mile point I encountered a group of riders, they were all in their 30’s and 40’s and all riding multi-thousand dollar road bikes.  They were all dressed in various team replica gear, cycling shoes, ‘sponsored’ helmets, the works. As I moved through the pack I said ‘good morning’ to the rider that I was alongside. They pretty much all look away, or straight ahead or otherwise ignored me. At one set of lights I turned to the rider that pulled up alongside me said ‘I guess I am the odd one out huh ?’ He said ‘you could say that’ and looked away.

The reason that they ignored me is simple, I was not conforming to the rules.

  • First of all, wearing plain, non-team cycling gear seems to be bad. Virtually all of the riders that I encounter on a Sunday morning ride appear to wear heavily branded riding gear. My riding gear is fairly plain and a little beaten up, with barely a logo in sight. Except perhaps on my socks (Nike) or my sneakers (Asics).
  • Secondly, the bike I was riding is not made out of carbon fiber, actually it is not even a road bike. This weekend I rode my mountain bike running on ‘balloon style’ city tires
  • And platform pedals
  • And disk brakes
  • And really wide bars
  • And it was pretty dirty

Because I do not need to clip in and because my drive-train is very well tuned and has some very nice ratio’s I can leave the lights like a rocket, zipping through 8-10 gears like lighting. I often find myself crossing intersections as fast, if not faster than many cars. Compared to the pack that takes forever to get moving, get clipped in and over the intersection. What this means, is that I can overtake most packs of rides from a standstill and reach my cruise speed (18mph) way faster than the pack. Which again, probably annoys them.

So, it seems that there is still a huge hatred of mountain bikers among the roadie crowd.

When I ride my road bike, I encounter a very different attitude. Almost everyone will smile, say ‘hello’, compliment my bike etc. I often find that I am riding in a pack or with others and there is always a cheery greeting.

I love to ride my bicycles and to me it is not what you ride, it is that you are riding something and having fun. Of course, now that I have found that the ‘true roadies’ dislike those of us that like to ride in the dirt occasionally, I will be ever more inclined to annoy them. My mountain bike is way under geared at present, so I have just ordered a close-out crank-set that will take it from 22/34 2×10 to 22/32/42 3×10 and thus increase its top speed from about 22mph (cruise at 16-18) to probably 30ish with an increased cruise….. This will give the roadies even more to worry about.

While on the subject of close-out deals, the crankset is a 2012 model that was reduced from $499 to $89.97. The crank-set is a very highly rated (Shimano XT) item that is now outdated by one that is 14gms lighter 2013 version. I have no idea how Amazon can sell something so good, so cheap.  Regardless I am happy and my bike will be faster and a tad lighter……

Lookout roadies, here I come……


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