I am a crappy roadie. I don’t shave my legs. Until very recently, I hadn’t replaced my old broken road shoes, so I’ve been doing road rides in mountain shoes. I don’t train in any real way, so my climbing game is weak, and because I have a family and don’t have a settled ride schedule, I seldom have the fitness to ride for more than 4 hours without turning into a dessicated pile of salty anger.
I am also a crappy trail rider. I play the old-school, hardtail game. No dropper post. No big hucks. My bike handling is pretty good, but I’m not trail wizard either. I have the wrong clothes.
I’m a dumb commuter in that I carry everything on my back. I ride whatever bike I feel like, which is often a custom road bike. I don’t worry about high-viz clothing (though I run bright lights in the dark). I never run fenders and my rain gear is substandard. Commuting is the most practical type of riding, and I’m just not that practical a guy.
That leaves “gravel grinding” which is a dumb way of saying mixed-terrain riding. Gravel almost never enters into it, but that’s a digression. This is the type of riding I do most, a drop bar bike in the woods. It makes mundane single-track more challenging and road riding more interesting. If I am any type of rider, it’s probably this, but it really is the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none scenario.
It doesn’t bother me that I don’t really fit in any of these categories. I’m a cyclist. I ride a lot. I can fix most things. I can hang on most group rides I show up for. That’s all fine. I have been thinking a lot about how we view cyclists, who looks right on a bike (everybody actually) and who looks wrong, and wondering if our attitudes, our own attitudes as cyclists, is really helping our sport grow.
This week’s Group Ride asks, do you fit any of the categories neatly? Do you fit multiple categories? Do you care? Do you judge other riders? And how much do the set ideas about what a roadie is, for example, influence the gear you buy and the way you ride?