Friday Group Ride #407

Friday Group Ride #407

Even churning uphill on a Saturday morning, side-by-side, out-of-breath, my bike friends and I are talking about bikes. If I heard a recording of the conversation later, I’m sure I’d barf. You would, too.

It goes something like this:

Me: “Huffpuff…Hey…how do you like those tires?”

Him: “Yeah, they’re ok <blows nose>. I like them. They roll alright, and I’ve never had a flat with them, so…”

Me: “<Sounds of strangulation>…I was thinking of getting a pair.”

Him: “Yeah. Good.”

And on like this about every little thing on the bike, for hours and hours, with occasional breaks to discuss other places we’d rather be riding, how much we failed to eat before leaving on this ride, and ideal locales we need to make a plan to ride at a later date.

My wife hears the beginnings of this chat when we’re at cookouts and looks at me and says, “Bleep, Blarp!” and walks away. She’s heard enough. I’m sure I have too, and yet.

A friend asked me the other day what I thought of Tim Wellens, and that begat a half-hour discussion of the modern peloton, the theoretical state of doping, Team Sky, the heartbreak of learning a favorite rider is a fraud, and the withering condition of the species and “ethics.” We only stopped this line of discourse once our coffee went cold and the phone started ringing urgently.

This week’s Group Ride asks, do you talk bikes? JK. JK. I know you do. What do you talk about with your cycling friends? Or are you one of those lonely souls with no cycling friends? Who else could you bleep/blarp to?

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  1. Winky

    We talk about a lot of stuff on our club rides. I have a couple of buddies who appreciate the tech stuff, and we geek out when we’re side by side. Others are more into discussion of life and love, and that’s fine too. Currently, a fair bit of our chit chat revolves around our club trip to the Pyrenees later this year. Pro-racing gets some time, particularly if interesting stuff is happening.

    At home, bike-related chat is limited to me setting out the plans for the weekend rides to fit with family stuff, and me making sure my wife is fully appraised of the current spend-rate on bike stuff. Which is currently high as basically, two full drive-trains (DA and SR) both decided after a hard winter that pretty much every consumable component would wear out simultaneously. Surprise entries on the credit card statement is not my friend, here. It’s not like flowers. But she’s generally great with it. She knows it is my transport, my exercise, and my passion. A bargain.

  2. Kay

    You know, it probably is obnoxious to hear those sorts of conversations over and over, but hearing all the cyclists around me talking about how obsessed they were with the activity is what finally got me to be brave and go to an adult learn-to-ride class, and now I’m starting to think a week in that maybe my bike isn’t out to get me and at some point this could be a fun activity, so in the end it did some good to have people like you go on and on about it.

    1. Michael

      Congratulations on being brave! The League of American Bicyclists has some good courses on riding in traffic, which might be Book Two for your bike education. Even if you don’t ride in too much traffic, it is useful to learn how to do so. There may also be courses on bike handling, depending on where you live. All these are useful. Take them as you have time and inclination. If you find someone who is knowledgable and willing, perhaps she or he can also teach you some of this. The point is to have fun! My daughter has cerebral palsy and she and I spent several years, sometimes pleasurable, sometimes a bit bloody, learning to ride a bike. In the end, the smile on her face when she is riding, whether on her own bike or on the back of the tandem, is the point. Don’t forget that, whether or not you get to talking about the bike with companions on a ride.

  3. scottg

    This time of year lot of talk about poor fitness due to lousy weather
    and cycling vacations and event rides. Bike tech talk is absent, few people
    work on their bikes or have more than one road bike.

    Next week, the last Classic Rendezvous Weekend, now there you’ll
    find your full on bike anoraks.

  4. Fausto

    I ride with a lot of older retired guys so it is grand kids and health issues, we stay away from politics.

  5. Michael

    I usually ride alone, so when I do ride with someone, I want interesting conversation, to learn something from them. If someone only talks bikes, I am pretty done after a ride – I already know all their bike’s parts! If they can talk about the biology or geology or physics or chemistry or history or archaeology or something like that of what we are passing by, that is the best. I try to do the same for them. Or we talk of past adventures, or upcoming ones. The bike, though – that gets no more than a few minutes, if someone has something new to pass on information about.

  6. Tominalbany

    I bike geek with my cube-mate at work. When on rides, typically with a different guy from work, we talk work, life, family, etc. Never about bikes, really…

  7. ljinmry

    from something I wrote to a friend long time ago. I had just jumped into a mellow after work group ride…the first group ride in a couple of years… and was yapping about how much I missed on the bike conversations……”we talked about philanthropies, how we all go into cycling, the art of folding tubulars and host of other group ride approved subjects.” I always talk, at least a little, about bikes on rides…but for a long time now its where I caught up with friends, vented, met new people (even met a co-worker for the first time last week) and often just smiled and nodded because its all I could do while struggling to keep up.

    At home…well you pretty much nailed it on the head…my wife caught me and a few guest stroking a Challenge tire during Sea Otter…she just rolled her eyes and left the room.

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