Friday, April 23, 2010

The Progression of a "Cyclist"

   It's inevitable. You buy an entry-level bike for a couple hundred dollars and just start riding the thing, not really worrying about or paying attention to the details. Then, over a period of months and years, you slowly start to change. You notice everyone around you and what they are wearing, and how they are riding. Suddenly, your entry-level bike is no longer cutting it, and so it begins.

   I've seen this guy at the Veloway (that I mentally refer to as "Chief") go through that change. At first he showed up riding an old clunker of what we used to call a "ten speed" or "English racer". I make this distinction to differentiate between that 1978-Sears-&-Roebuck-bike-rusting-in-the-corner-of-your-garage, and from what I'd call a real "road bike". So, Chief would show up dressed in blue jeans, backwards ball cap and t-shirt on his ten speed and chug out some laps around the Veloway. Eventually the blue jeans gave way to some baggy shorts. Next, the backwards ball cap was replaced by a helmet. The t-shirt turned into an "athletic shirt", not exactly a bike jersey. Yet. And, lo and behold, the last time I saw him I could have sworn he was on a new bike. A real road bike, complete with clipless pedals and shoes. I'm just waiting for the day he shows up in spandex. I'm taking bets that it'll be less than a month. We'll see...

Photo Credit: Asterix611


  1. I think you really captured the progression wonderfully. In my part of the world 1000s of new cyclists got into cycling in 2008. Many on "mini" folding bikes. Now they are upgrading to mid-range or even high-end road bikes and matching jerseys, coz getting passed all the time by roadies in their Lampre etc outfits is intolerable!

  2. Definitely very true. However, the more I ride, the more I'm seeing that the higher up the price chain you go, the smaller the differences seem to be. The difference between a $400 Schwinn and a $800 Specialized - night and day. The difference between the $2000 Tarmac and the $9000 SL3, not so much...

    Keep working on the engine (i.e. the rider), and pretty much every bike will be able to keep up.

    Great post!

  3. I'm getting in late, but great post.
    In the natural progression, I think the move to spandex is a giant step. My non-riding friends only make fun of my shorts nothing else. Keeps us posted when he makes the switch!