Friday Group Ride #259

Friday Group Ride #259

Categories only limit us, or that’s what Kanye West says, or at least that’s what I imagine Kanye West says, as he does his art that’s better than everyone else’s art. I would know for sure whether he said it or not if I paid any attention to Kanye West, but he doesn’t make music in any of the categories I enjoy, so…

I used to think I was a roadie, except for that part of the ’90s when I was a mountain biker. I was a BMX kid, but a dirt jumper, not freestyler…freestylist? These days I’m a gravel guy, which is the worst category. It just means you want to ride drop bar bikes everywhere.

Actually, if I’m honest with myself, I’m mostly a commuter. There are brief spasms that carry me into other categories, but the one reliable tribe I belong with is the commuters, albeit without the SPD sandals and high-vis safety vest, not that there’s anything wrong with those things.

I like to imagine myself the heavily shaded part at the middle of the Venn diagram, the jack of all trades and the master of none. Categories don’t limit me. Kanye taught me that.

This week’s Group Ride asks how many cycling categories you belong to? Which ones? And are there any you’ve abandoned that you wish you could get back to. Any you’d like to join that you just don’t have time for?

In other news, but still in the interrogative vein, we have some curiosity about those of you who work in the bike business and/or those of you who would like to work in the bike business. Where do you hunt for jobs? There are three or four obvious sources, but we’d like to hear which ones you frequent and why. Asking for a friend. Literally.

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  1. Michael

    Oh goodness. Cycling categories? Anything with two wheels and no non-human motor is fine by me. I ride road, cross, mountain bike (29″ and 27″ wheels are fine, but I prefer hard tails), single speed but not fixie commuter (but fixies are fun, I just don’t have one), tandem with my daughter on dirt or road, touring any time I can on any kind of terrain available. I haven’t tried recumbent seriously yet – just once on a rented bike. The truth is, I don’t really divide cycling up into particular types, and will often ride different bikes on the same trails or roads on different days. Just as one never steps in the same river twice, one never rides the same ride twice either.

  2. Pat O'Brien

    Three categories for me. Road, mountain, and touring, albeit over overnight trips at this point in time. Used to be a commuter, then I retired. I think commuting by bike is the noblest category, and those miles sure add up fast.
    But forget all that. Hanging your bike off a tree limb by the seat is genius!

  3. peter leach

    At the moment, I am part of the ‘injured, not riding’ category. And probably will be for another two or three months. And not happy with this category at all.
    In previous times – and again in the future – I most strongly identify with the ‘roadie’ category, ‘tarmac’ sub-category, ‘enjoyment’ variant, ’60 – 100km’ sub-variant. I also identify with the ‘frequently’ variant of the ‘commuter’ and the ‘occasionally’ variant of the ‘off-roader’ categories.
    My wife would say – quite strongly – that I belong to the ‘bike hoarder’ category. And, like many of us, I couldn’t argue with that.
    I would like to get back to the ‘competitive’ variant of my ‘roadie-ness’. Family comes first and competing takes more time than I really have for riding. Maybe it’s time to join the ‘part-time’ variant of the ‘worker’ category.
    Then there’s the category that make my thoughts wander – bmx. My teenage step-son thinks that I’m crazy – which isn’t a bad thing in itself – but mostly he’s glad that I agree with him when he says that bmx is probably not the best place for some-one about to celebrate their 60-th birthday.

  4. Jay

    I am a roadie (generic). I used to mountain bike, but there was too much time wasted getting to and from the trails. Concentrating on the road maximizes my time spent riding. Just air up the tires and roll out the driveway. I commuted by bike at various times in my past, but my current commute would be exceedingly dangerous. I would like that to change and perhaps it will at some future date. So I will remain a roadie for now, but anyone who rides a bike is okay in my book.

  5. Andrew

    Road. Gravel. Commuting. Commuting via gravel. A bit of fat bike but I’m not sold yet. I used to MTB but not in years. It’s all good.

  6. Miles Archer

    I am also a roadie. I used to mountain bike but then all my friends got injured mt biking, so I kind of stopped. When it was practical I used to be a commuter. (on my mt bike with slicks). I wish I could still do it, but 45 miles each way with a bridge crossing with no bike lane makes it impossible. It’s funny that my work is at a mecca of mountain biking (china camp, mt tam) but I don’t do it anymore. I envy the guys who shower at the office gym after riding in from SF.

    I’d like to do some bike touring, but that means coaxing my wife to get on a bike. Not easy. Perhaps someday.

  7. Les.B.

    Roadie and errant-runner, if that’s a category. As a sub-category under roadie, I would add endurance.
    Used to commute before I retired. I used that ride to get sprinting into my regimen.

  8. Aar

    Restricted to two short rides a week, I’m a trying to find time for a knee replacement roadie. Would like to get back to mountain and more likely to start grocery fetchin and other chores by bike.

  9. Alan

    Commuter almost every day except when it is dumping rain or too icy. Slow/mediocre road TTer. Now diving deep into the MTB endurance scene because less cars + a prettier TT essentially. I expect to be slow and eventually mediocre at that too.

  10. Stephen Barner

    I’m so close to Peter Leach, it’s scary, but I’ve never ridden BMX, and don’t know why I would want to. I’m reasonably fast in a group, but haven’t raced in over 40 years. I didn’t enjoy it, probably a result of lack of coaching. I did one ride on an early recumbent, but didn’t like the beard. I love foolish descents and blowing by singles on a tandem. Most of my miles are commuting, but my commute borderlines on sensory overload, with miles of dirt, steep climbs, and amazing views. It helps me tip 10k miles some years. If you put me anywhere, let it be with the “Any bike, any time, anywhere” crowd.

  11. Matt K

    Im a reformed bmx kid with a road addiction. When I was younger it was all bmx but my back just doesn’t enjoy it anymore and with kids and a business i can’t afford to get hurt like I used to. I have a single speed that is used for commuting mostly. When people ask what I do for fun though I just say, ‘ride bikes.’ Then once the conversation goes further I explain I’m one of those leg shaving Lycra wearing weirdos that just gets in the way of real traffic.

  12. Jim P.

    To my 120 or so coworkers, I belong to the “That Guy You Direct Any and All Bike Questions To” category. They know little of the Roadie, MTB, Cross, categories I identify with. I don’t even want to mention the Randonneur category so as to avoid cleaning up blown minds. Many can’t even fathom my 15 mile commute to school, which is likely pretty short in these circles.
    Most of all, I consider myself part of the “Immensely Grateful That I Get to Do This” category.

  13. Cameron

    I started as a mountain biker in the 90’s as a teenager wishing to be a professional cyclist, but lacking any real skill or commitment. Latter I added road cycling and then finally commuting to the mix. Today I am a mountain biker, road cyclist and serious commuter, cycling fan but most definitely not a racer.

  14. MattC

    Hmmm….categories….I have 2 road bikes (one is a ‘travel bike’ which I bought/built up specifically for a 3 month trip to England a few years back). I have one Mt bike (full suspension….I’m too old to take the continuous beating of a hardtail, at least on the stuff I ride). I’d been MOSTLY a roadie for the past few years, club rides every weekend, the odd century or long solo ride…HOWEVER…a bit over a year ago one of the girls in our club was ran OVER by an old guy in a truck…she’s now a young quadraplegic.

    And since then, say in the last 6 months or so, I’ve had THREE vehicle encounters which by the grace of God I’d be dead or worse. The cars just AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION! So the last few months I’ve been exclusively back on the Mt bike and LOVING IT! However…a few weeks back I got knocked off my bike by a bull (no horns) like a champagne cork coming out of the bottle (14 miles from my car)…after I was out of the picture (about 10-15′ down the bank in a bush) I guess my wheels were still spinning on my bike lying there on the side of the road…so the bull stomped those to kill the evil beast. I had a nice 14 mile walk (I was totally ok by some miracle) to comprehend the day and the bull’s desire to NOT let me pass him on that dirt road….and my beautiful XTR tubeless wheels are totaled. So I guess nothing is really safe…unforeseen things can happen at any time…just blink and that’s how long it takes. But given the choices, I still think I’m safer on the Mtb…I won the battle of the bull (cuz I lived to tell about it). Had that been a motor vehicle, I don’t think I’d have walked home. Not that I don’t plan on road riding again…just taking a time-out.

    So…my category: I’d say I’m a professional at being a recreational cyclist looking to just looking to ride my bike(s) and be free to crash ON MY OWN, with no help from man nor beast.

    1. MichaelF

      As with Shiggy, cyclist. Used to road race mid-80’s, done some Mtb races, and a little CX. Also, commuted 40 miles a day for about a year recently until one too many incidents/close calls with motorists made me rethink it. Now, mostly dirt roads, off-road, and rail trails. Occasionally a road ride in a group. Bottom line is, I love riding any of my four bikes any chance I get.

  15. Tom in Albany

    Primarily, I commute. Though, I often extend the morning portion of the ride to make me feel like more or the Roadie I like to think I am. I also am a mountain biker – cross country I guess. I don’t know what an Enduro is vs. a XC. I’m positive I’m NOT a DH guy. I’d like to add CX and Unicycles. Would also like to become a cycling vacationer/tourist.

    I’m also a bicycling instructor. I’ve taught my two kids how to ride and we’re upgarding them size-wise now.

  16. kurti_sc

    BMX kid
    DH in the mid/early 90’s.
    XC for ever.
    Still try to be competitive in the SS, but that’s about it. I do not have the stones to even approximate what passe for DH and enduro these days.
    Commuted for years, but stopped about 8 years ago due to a job change.
    Started riding road in the late 90’s and love the availability that it provides. I’m on the road 80% of the time and dirt the remainder.
    I’m not keen to try gravel, but I am interested in CC. In particular, i’d like to try SS cyclocross. The only past experience that I wish I could continue is commuting. dang, i miss that and I don’t like the guilt i heap on myself for driving.

    Interestingly, no one so far has listed Track. I didn’t think it was that marginalized.
    No clue on job prospects. I did see a listing last year on the Kali website.

  17. Brian

    They’re moods for me. Road to catch up with friends, Cross to get lost and MTB to just tear myself apart after a long week. I’m a cyclist…All types.

  18. PedalRon

    Please make that the first and last mention of that idiotic “musician.” If there is one human alive who needs to get hit by a bus…it’s that dude. Cycling is my escape from the “real” world and a-holes like him.

    Roadie (solo or small groups), cross when I don’t want to deal with dangerous motorists, and 5-day a week commuter. I used to do big, fast group rides on the road, but that was when I was in grad school and had to accomplish at least something each day, when I wasn’t doing my work.

  19. Ransom

    Over-40 and under-trained… But having fun. Road, mountain, ‘cross, signing up for the odd race here and there. I think I’m giving up BMX. That’s more dabbling than even I can rationalize.

  20. Peter

    MTB kid that loved the thrill of trying to go fast on trails. Now I am older and with less desire to jump over/off things, but still like going fast which as put me on the crit and triathalon path. But I think I get a cross bike this year and try to race. I figure I only have so many years of being fast, so I might as well go at it now.

  21. Peter Kelley

    Road, dirt road, trail, occasional commuter, tandem, former road racer, former triathlete.

    I’m also a serial bike shop visitor… I’ve visited shops in: ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, DC, VA, NC, SC, GA, CA, MT, and Quebec, Can.

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