Today as I was fluffing about, thinking about today’s ride – a road ride? a bike picnic? a leisurely family spin on the greenway? – I thought of a recent conversation I had with a nice guy who had been asking me about my Xtracycle. At one point, as he was telling me about one of his friends who cycles, he said something along the lines of, “Well, he’s one of those really serious cyclists …”, with the inflection in his voice implying that we both knew that I (goofy lycra-less woman on an Xtracycle) was obviously not in that category.
(Let me preface this by stating my feeling that labels are not only unnecessary, but also unfailingly stupid and inaccurate, and I try to avoid them. But we’ve all heard – and likely even used – terms and labels when referring to other riders. Like, “He/She’s really hard-core”, or “He/She’s a really serious cyclist.” Enough said.)
But it has had me thinking about how right (or wrong?) was he? What exactly is, and who qualifies, as a serious cyclist? (And please feel free to chime in with your comments – whether you are serious or not. ;))
So, my self-evaluation of my cycling seriousness led me to the following conclusions of why I don’t, apparently, fall into the serious cyclist category:
- I have more skirts in my closet than lycra-wear.
- I have never ridden a century – or across the continent, or around the planet – and am not sure I really care if I do.
- The combined dollar value of all of my bicycles is likely less than that of some (many?) serious cyclist’s wheel sets.
- I do not have a training regimen.
- I do not have a fully-equipped bike mechanic’s shop in my garage or basement.
- I could not tell you how many miles I logged last week, but only that I rode every day.
- Although my kids sometimes call me a hippie, I’m definitely not a hipster. And I don’t own a fixie. (Yet.)
- I stop a lot. To take pictures, eat an apple, look at old barns, talk to farm animals, or just sit and enjoy the scenery.
- I cannot execute a bunny hop.
- Some days, I just get the groceries.
- I don’t know the names of all of the components on my bicycle.
- As much as I would like to, I don’t live in a serious cyclist city – like Portland, Minneapolis, NYC or Chicago.
- I have been known to ride in flip-flops.
- I still own a car.
- I admire people like Kipchoge Spencer and Ross Evans infinitely more than Lance Armstrong.
- I enjoy riding entirely by myself.
- My husband is my only sponsor.
Part of my is, admittedly, a little sad that I will likely ever be referred to as a serious cyclist (despite my aversion to labels). The only thing I know for sure is that even if I’m not a serious cyclist, I am a passionate cyclist – I love bicycles and the place they hold in my life. I try to ride nearly every day, and hope to be doing so for a very long time to come. I like to think that I embrace the bicycling lifestyle, even if I’m not defining it.
So, today’s #30daysofbiking ride ended up being a sub-serious-cyclist leisurely ride around “the neighborhood” – with my sponsor. It wasn’t blazing fast, or very long, but there were a couple of nice sheep. 😉 Fine by me.