It’s coffee, but also beer. It’s rider’s of every shape packed into lycra. It’s a grease tattoo on a calf, a dumb, small hat that no one else wears, and Euro pros describing their sensations.
BMX Bandits. Triplets of Belleville. Stars and Water Carriers.
The Rider. Sam Abt. Phil and Paul (RIP).
Coppi, Hinault, Merckx, Anquetil, Cippolini, Indurain.
In Belgium, it’s fat men smoking and the weekend kermesse. In France, it’s high alps and farmers’ strikes. In Japan, it’s Keirin and shit hot road bikes. In Italy it’s neighborhood bike shops, decades old, generational, with parts you never thought you’d see in real life.
It’s also Strava and Zwift, if not rollers and trainers, and basements.
When I was growing up, it was too tall tube socks and ten speeds and BMX that was mountain biking before bikes were geared for mountains. Every bike was $100, except the good ones.
Cycling culture can be caricature, formulaic, alienating, and it can be the best inside joke you’ve heard. There are depths to this thing, from what you eat and drink, to what you ride, and how you fix it. Styles change. Things persist.
This week’s Group Ride asks what trappings of cycling culture you love and cherish, and which ones make you cringe? Did the images that drew you into the sport continue to excite and inspire?