Here’s something to think about – I’ve always thought that a big part of cycling was about freedom. Freedom to ride whatever trail or road you want, legally of course. The sense of freedom that being out in the open gives you. And the freedom to take it as seriously or as chilled out as you want. Everyone with me so far? Here comes the radical bit – in that case, why are there so many self imposed rules within cycling?
Most of these words have been kicking around on my laptop since the summer, but they kind of relate to what Jen alluded to a couple of posts ago with the whole stiff pole roadie thing.
Thankfully with the resurgence of road cycling, we’ve all but seen the end of the stupid you’re either a mountain biker or a roadie mentality. But I’m always hearing things like “you’ve got to run your stem as low as possible, you’re not riding with us if you’re using a seat pack,you’re not a mountain biker unless you’ve a peak on your helmet. Women shouldn’t ride bikes, your socks have to be this length or colour, you can’t wear long fingered gloves on a road bike, mudguards on mtb’s are for girls. Races are for serious riders only, your saddle has to match your grips or bar tape, you can’t wear lycra / baggies on a mountain bike / road bike (delete as applicable)”. You get the idea. And believe me, over the years, I’ve heard each one of these said out loud !
It’s always occurred to me that all these rules aren’t really in the spirit of freedom. Are they just some peoples need for sort of structure or code to follow? A need to belong to some sort of faction all abiding by the same sort of rules, or just some peoples need to show they’re more knowledgeable than the rest of us by claiming to know some long standing tradition handed down over the years with secret handshakes and . . . . . yawn ! Who knows? Believe it or not, but there’s even a website out there that tells you, in what shape to crimp your cable ferrules ! I mean, COME ON ! SHOW SOME INDEPENDENT THINKING PEOPLE ! One thing I will say though, if you don’t know what a DCD is, you’ve never used downtube shifters or you’ve never clattered, screaming obscenities into a five bar gate because your mud clogged canti’s have failed to stop you . . . again, you may not be the right person to be making the rules in the first place. (was that dangerously close to making another rule?!?!).
Yeah, I have my own set of guidelines for how I like to ride and how to set my bikes up. But they’re mine. And I hope they’re not influenced by others opinions and they’re certainly not forced onto others like some, “you’re not cool if you don’t do this” mantra. Maybe this is just the inner Taoist in me coming out, but can’t we each make up our own minds how we ride and just enjoy cycling for what it is supposed to be .. Fun. In whatever form that takes.
Here’s a challenge, ditch the rules. Spend the time instead doing something revolutionary, like riding your bike !
Yours truly, not a mountain biker, not a roadie, just a cyclist