When Thomas (not his real name) originally contacted me he informed me he was a member of a local bike club and that there was a situation which has occupied the club’s board for several months. On Saturdays, member and non-member cyclists gather at a local pool to participate in group rides of varying speeds. On one of these group rides, a non-member cyclist swerved to avoid an object in the road. A member cyclist behind reacted and crashed. Strong opinions were on both sides of the issue. One of the board members has insisted that the board as a whole send a letter to this individual, asking him not to ride. Same member has even suggested taking legal action against this cyclist. The cyclist’s reply is that he’s riding on a public road, and should be free to ride when and where he wants. Thomas then asked for help on HIS OWN behalf wanting to know with whom could he address this issue? For those of you that know me, know, I’m no Ann Landers! However, I was intrigued because here was a young man that was upset because the sport he so much loved was becoming more like a business, way too serious!
The sociology of biking can change causing you to lose motivation. Most people come into biking with one or more novice friends with the intent of just having fun. You ride, laugh, tell jokes, and horse around a lot. You make up sprints and games on the spot and PLAY at your bike racing. But your friends or their attitudes may change and become too serious or they may leave the sport and you find yourself riding with prudes. Suddenly the sport isn’t the fun it was. At this point you have several choices: You may need to find new friends, check your attitude to see if you have become too serious, take some time off the bike, or even find a new or younger club with the attitude you enjoyed when you started riding, or no club at all.
…with all that being said, here is my reply to the original post I received from Thomas. I am by no means an authority on the subject but do have some strong feelings about all kinds of cycling. Please feel free to disagree with me and voice your own opinions.
(my reply) Thomas, first off this is just my opinion so take it with a grain of salt. I’m 60 years old, I’ve raced all kind of bikes (BMX, Road, Dirt, Mountain,Trikes, and some that shouldn’t even be called bikes) way before it was cool. I’ve fallen down and gotten hurt because of my stupid actions and the actions of other. I was very competitive and even got upset when I didn’t win or felt like someone else caused me not to do my best. At the end of the day it was actually all on me. Its my fault for allowing my self not to be attentive enough to the road conditions, its my fault for following the lead of someone I know is less experienced, and it’s really my fault for not helping those in this sport that could learn from my experience or the experience of others. What you’re describing is ESS (Excessive Seriousness Syndrome). I know very few people in this sport (I’m referring to all kinds of cycling) that do this for a living. Its a sport, hobby, exercise program, or means of transportation. When cycling, or anything for that matter, causes someone to be so obsessed to the point of suing or banning a person then maybe its time for them to find another hobby or sport! I learned early on in life that what I do should be fun, always a learning experience, have a positive influence on others and make me a better person. You never really explained what kind of cycling club this is but if you allow non members to participate than you need to allow them to make mistakes and help them to be better so one day you may have a new member that is experienced and can help other new potential members! I’d argue that we’ve collectively broken the yellow-line rule of life. There’s already enough to take seriously: our health, our families, our jobs and our friends. Cycling should be a relief from this. We should all be able to enjoy it, even if we never win or make mistakes.
We are born naked, wet and hungry. Then things get worse
Don’t take life too seriously; you won’t get out of it alive [Elbert Hubbard]