I tend to think of myself as a middle-tier cyclist. I know that I ride a lot but I know many people who ride more, know more, ride better and ride faster than myself. I went to a wedding reception a while back. It was mentioned by my wife and other guests that there were other “avid cyclists” there. I think this was their way of saying, “some people here might understand you”.
Like most people that ride on a regular basis, I can always think of something to say when it comes to bicycling. It’s always nice to talk to people that don’t think of a bicycle as something that takes up space in their garage or that cyclists have a third eye. Once I met the other cyclists, I found that they were very nice guys, that I could indeed talk with about cycling. They rode the White Rock trail on about a weekly basis and had plans to complete a 100-K event that summer. The idea of riding with a club, racing or commuting was not in those folks perspective. They just like meeting up with one or two friends, getting a pretty good workout and socializing. The same things I like, in a different format. However, I think I caught them looking for my third eye.
These individuals clearly have a life beyond cycling. I do as well but cycling is a clear and dominate theme in my life, the cyclists I met that evening can carry on interesting conversations about other things whereas I have to think about it a little more. The interesting thing to me was that my wife, the hosts and other guests put us all into the same category of people with a third eye who ride bikes often.
I don’t want to be singled out as a cyclist, any more than people want to be singled out for their ethnicity. This started with riding to work, I don’t want to stand out on the bus or as I walk into my workplace. I don’t mind being in shorts but I want them to appear more everyday than cycling-specific. I don’t want to waddle around in my cleats, I really prefer regular shoes when I step off the bike.
If people perceive me as a “normal” guy and if I demonstrate cycling as routine behavior, then just maybe more people will give it try. In a flat area such as Plano, a single-speed is a perfect choice for running around. When was the last time you jumped on a bike without changing clothes? Give it a try and remember why you really ride a bike.
Go ride your bike!