Saturday, December 29, 2012

Passed a Roadie on my old vintage bike=feel good.

Why passing Roadies on expensive road bikes makes me feel good.

I ride at White Rock Lake trail a lot. White Rock Lake is a lake with a beautiful bicycle and pedestrian trail located in the nicer, upper echelon part of Dallas. It's  an almost ten mile loop around the lake, and can be a good workout if you lap the lake several times, as I do on my old, steel and vintage bicycles.

Today I was on the lake riding along when out of my peripheral vision I saw a Dura Ace crankset and a carbon fork come up next to me as the rider yelled "On your left!". My guess is he was expecting to fly by me and take control of my lane. Under normal circumstances, I abide to these rider's requests with no problem. There was nothing wrong in the way he engaged me, and I actually thought he was polite. But today I had a score to settle with the roadies on the lake. Maybe it's buildup from having so many of them pass me and scoff at me and my bike. Today my legs were good and they were well underneath me, my knees riding parallel to my frame, and I felt they could give a lot more. Today he would take the brunt of my frustrations with roadies.

So I said no to the rider's request. I didn't say no physically, I sped up and didn't let him in my lane. He wasn't going to have it his way today, not with me anyway. As I sped up so did he, and I finally offered him entrance into the lane. He denied, so I went into a full sprint. I didn't see him again until after I had arrived at my car, within 3 minutes of my arrival.  As I left him and he posse of carbon and spandex behind me, I was later told that words were being shouted and hand gestures were raised. That made me feel even better. Perhaps they weren't expecting the surprise that I gave them. Perhaps it was the way I blew them away on 30 pounds of 30 some odd years of steel. Perhaps its because I spent $20 on my bike and spent another $200 in the restoration cost, while they spent about $5,000 each on their "steeds". Today at least that group of roadies got a wake up call. They are not the fastest, most omnipotent things on the lake that can just weave in and out of their constituents without confrontation. 

I attempted a few bicycle races in the past without any success. Road bike racing season here in Texas occurs during the same time of year as the rest of the country, which is flawed reasoning if you ask me. Riding in 105 degree weather isn't my forte. Put me in 41 degree weather and sunny, now we are talking! My robust frame handles the cold much better than the heat. While it's funny to see the cold weather blowing roadies and carbon off the trail like a giant leaf blower, I am usually too anchored down by my old bike and riding with too much momentum to be slowed down by headwind.

Maybe I'm just hating. I don't own any fancy bicycles, and the bikes that I do own are cheap by comparison to these newer, high end bicycles. Having been raised up with little means, I took a disdain early on from the mockery proceeding of the preppy, the opulent, the football jocks, and the aristocratic. Although I have nothing to prove to these people, when I am out doing my sport, they are in my territory. It's safe to say that races can and will happen, whether intentioned of not. Sometimes they initiate, sometimes I do. Sometimes it's just getting behind them and drafting on them for a few minutes. Sometimes it's sprint intervals. Either way, these races are real, and for someone without the means to compete professionally, free of admission and registration. Finish lines aren't drawn, these races are simply to see who will crack first. Once the other guy can't respond to a sprint or an acceleration, you know you've won. You can be king of White Rock Lake for a day, leader of your own general classification. 

I ride all year long, sometimes putting up to 90 miles or more in a week when I am seriously "training" (for no reason as I don't compete). I have ridden on some of the hottest days and on a lot of the coldest ones. Just a few days ago it was snowing here in Texas. As the seasons change I adapt with them. Riding my bicycle is simply my routine. I don't log miles, average speeds or calories anymore. I just make sure that when I ride, I am putting my whole soul into it.  I do it because I want to, and since I have nothing to prove, I believe that makes me more formidable than someone who, say, likes to flaunt their wallet on their bike. 

Maybe one day, if I save up enough, I will get my Cannondale Super Six Hi Mod Team Liquidgas edition road bike, and I will join that special club of high end bicycle elitists known as "the Roadies". Maybe one day, even better, I'll just become a tough-as-nails old rider that can smoke anyone on an old, steel frame. I don't know, I haven't decided which way to go on this. Suggestions?


  1. Score for the Old School approach to biking!!! :) Great Story! I too grow tired of the spandex guys on 8 grand bikes...anyone can be fast on one of those! :)

  2. It's OK to have nice things, Johnny. Go ahead and get that Super Six. :)

  3. Thanks Jared. Hopefully one day the Super Six will reward the fruits of my labor. It's still my dream ride even though there are far more expensive bikes out there. I have been keeping my eye on it since about 2009 when I saw all those skinny Italians from Team Liquidgas tear the peloton in half in the Tour De France and Giro De Italia. It's the best climbing bike out there.

    Until then, I'll keep riding my Schwinns, Peugeots and Raleighs. ;)