When can you call yourself a cyclist?
“When can I call myself a cyclist? …and when do I start shaving my legs?”
A friend asked me this the other day.
He’s a runner, and just got himself a road bike. We live 2000 miles apart, but we pledged to get together to do the Triple Bypass ride in Colorado next summer. 120 miles and 10,000 feet in climbing over three mountain passes. That should keep us going on the trainer over the winter.
The legs thing was a joke, but it implied that there’s some rule. And I think we all feel it when starting out, that we’re not yet part of The Club.
So what is it that makes you a cyclist? An expensive bike? lots of lycra? a 30 mile ride? a century? An endo? Road rash? Near death by angry motorist? 19mph average? a Strava account?
There are people who put their own judgment criteria on a question like this. But so what.
If you’re driving a car, you’re a motorist.
If you put on running shoes and go for a loop, you’re a runner.
If you walk across the street, you’re a pedestrian.
If you watch a football game, you’re a spectator.
If you jump on a bike, you’re a cyclist.
There are fast ones, slow ones, timid, and bold, kind ones and jerks. But if you get on a bike and enjoy it, you’re a cyclist.
I’m in The Club, and officially, you’re in. Congratulations. Your card is in the mail.
Don’t let someone else’s elitist attitude or douchebaggery keep you from getting out there with others, having fun, getting in shape, or even competing.
Or keep you from shaving your legs. (Don’t knock it until you try it guys.)
I found that brisk early morning rides have a way of shearing away the leg hair for me whether I want it or not
Tony Valente says
Well said sir! If you ride, you are cycling, if you cycling you are a cyclist. I have met many who disagree with this, but facts are facts!
AND I have WAY too much leg hair to ever shave it!
Grant Shawcroft says
Well, fellow cyclists, I have first hand information on the Triple Bypass mentioned in the post. I entered the ride twice in my younger days. I wasn’t fit enough either time. The first time, I rationalized that even though the ride was 120 miles in one day, over three mountain passes, at least half of it was downhill! Well, leaving the Evergreen school at the start of the ride, the first 15 miles is all uphill, to the top of Squaw pass. That first 15 miles trashed my legs both times. The fast downhills are fun, and scary, but there wasn’t enough time riding downhill to let my legs get some energy back. They needed two days, not 20 minutes. So, when I got to the next climb, I was done. Both times. Still, lots of people finish even though I couldn’t. People of all ages. The ones that finish are the ones that are used to climbs at altitude. So, my advise is to climb as much as you can. It’s a great ride and well supported, the scenery is unbelievable, and your fellow riders are courteous and supportive. You just have to be able to climb.
Scott Jangro says
Hi Grant! Seriously, that’s no joke of a ride. Here in the Northeast, I’ve done the B2B (147.9 mi +7787 ft), B2VT (133.5 mi +8036 ft), and the infamous 6 Gaps ride, unsupported (139.7 mi +12292 ft). B2B: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/286085 B2VT: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/6724885 6 Gaps: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/8677748 The Triple Bypass (117.1 mi +10608 ft ) is a whole different animal, with the same climbing of 6 Gaps, consolidated into 3 climbs rather than 6. Plus altitude. https://ridewithgps.com/events/3672-triple-bypass-saturday-clif-climb-challenge At least I feel like I know what to expect and can train for it. Will not take it lightly!
Grant Shawcroft says
I remember the first time I rode the Triple Bypass. I remember on that first long climb, as I was struggling along, little gray-haired old ladies on their road bikes would pass me, and each one would smile and offer an encouraging “you can do it!” Then off they went up the hill. Well, I couldn’t do it, and even though getting passed by little old ladies gave me some incentive to try harder, I just wasn’t physically up to it. I was in my early 50’s back then. Now I’m about to turn 65, and have no desire to try that ride again. I’m still riding though, although not as much as I would like (knee replacement), I’m currently riding around 25 miles a ride. This past year I rode in the Frontrunner Century, a metric century in Utah. Had a great time, except that I was fighting cramps from mile 37 on. I’m working on upping my mileage and endurance, although it will be too cold here in a few weeks (Colorado)
Sounds like you’re way more fit than me. Nice rides you have listed. Me, metric centuries seem more like my style now days.