Monday, April 29, 2013

Getting Young People into Cycling

An article dedicated to the up and coming youth
interested in cycling

Wow. I guess I'm showing my age here just by writing that headline. I am still young and I feel even younger at heart. Marriage, parental duties and adult responsibilities have not changed this fact. The truth is, from youth I have always enjoyed being an active person. In my personal case it goes as far as to be a necessity for me to remain active, even though my life circumstances are no longer what they were when I was a teenager or in  my early 20's. I enjoy the company of like minded people who are either young or young at heart, and who don't use their age to excuse themselves for not living an active lifestyle. In my part of the world, I happen to notice that even though I'm in my late twenties, I'm still among the youngest people riding bikes that I know of. I have always wondered why there isn't a whole lot of enthusiasm among younger kids to get into cycling. I know in other places there are more young people who ride their bicycles, but as a whole I can't think of anywhere where there is a youth movement to ride. 

I suppose the answer to that question is the same to why I didn't get into cycling at a younger age. When I was younger, I was more interested in ball sports where groups of people would participate. I lived in a small city where the community recreation center was within reasonable walking distance from my house. It featured a basketball court, where I would spend most of my days after school and sometimes on the weekends. Ball sports like basketball and soccer where a cheaper alternative for recreation and there was no safety issues or equipment to worry about. The problem was when there was no one to play with. 

Most young people, around their late teens and early twenties, stop being active due to the fact that their friends marry off or get busy with their careers or studies. Most young people do not believe in individual sports, because many of them develop a strong feeling to be accepted among their peers, and fear doing anything that their friends are not doing that would isolate them from the group.When these young people turn into young adults, they carry that yearning of acceptance with them.

During my adolescence, I was more active than the majority of my peers and therefore looked for individual sports, such as skateboarding or cycling, when I was not playing a group sport. I was a die hard soccer fan until about 18 years old, then the people I played with no longer showed up for the games. It was around this time when I joined a gym and found a workout partner in a 35 year old Haitian body builder named Jean-Baptiste. As a way to get a double workout on some days, I would ride my bike from my house to the gym where I exercised at. It wasn't long before I made another friend, also in his mid thirties, who would invite me to go riding with him on the bike trails. In his native South Africa, Carl had been an amateur racer and had participated in some of the major races held over there. In his living room sat a Cervelo time trial bike in a shipping box that had yet to be assembled. I had never seen a bicycle like this, since my exposure to cycling until that point was through cheap mountain bikes. Nevertheless, Carl would invite me on rides where he would sometimes ride laps around me on his Trek hybrid. Looking back I now understand how Carl must have felt, not having anyone to ride fast with or that understood what cycling was about. Even still, Carl would invite me just about every week to ride, and I always looked forward to our next ride. From then onward a seed was planted, and I began to think about cycling as a form of exercise and an actual pursuit rather than something I just did growing up as a kid down my neighborhood block or on a mountain bike trail. It would be another five years before I would buy my first road bike, and then my real introduction to cycling would begin.

Out of all the sports I have participated in when I was younger, cycling continues to be the funnest and most effective form of exercise until this day. Soccer players retire at a very early age, most of them by the age of 25. Professional cyclists can sometimes ride into their late 30's, and there are even guys like Jans Voigt who are in their 40's and still cycling. The endurance muscle develops at a later age for cyclists and cyclists tend to peek later than other types of athletes when it comes to their performance. Since cycling is not an impact sport, riders can last longer on the bike than they would playing soccer, football, or any other type of impact sport.

Compared to our European and other international counterparts, young people here in the States get a late introduction to the sport of cycling. If that weren't the case, there would be more American champions to boast about. According to Bikes Belong, a non-profit organization, 67% of cycling's growth in popularity has occurred among males ages 25-64. However, 27% of American youth ages 5-17 ride a bike, that's over one in four young people. Promising statistics, but the problem is that there is no data for young adults ages 18-25. That's the age when as mentioned before, most young people stop being active as a result of having to rediscover their identity within society.

How do you market to this group? By understanding their needs. Cheaper bikes are something this age category are already familiar with. Craigslist has played a vital role in getting many college aged kids on decent, used bicycles at a price they can afford. Having unsanctioned events where there are no licenses or fees involved is another way to peek the interest of this group. No charity rides, no critical mass rides, just fun races and events where young people can compete but are not tied to a charity or a cause. Most young people this age do not have strong opinions about things, and generally stray away from taking sides on any issue. Along with the already required driver's ed, young people should also have the option of taking a vehicular cycling class, and the program should be offered along with driver's ed. Education at this level is probably the most important step. We need to teach young people that riding a bicycle is allowed on the roads, and that they have every right to be there as someone driving a car without having to fear for their safety. Lastly, it needs to be the cool thing to do. Athletes such as Lebron James and Kevin Durant have been open about using cycling as a means of cross training for their basketball games. I give Lebron major props for riding his bike to a lot of his home games.

Who is currently looking out for the 18-25 year olds and influencing their choice to ride a bike? Enter the hipster trend. Riding for fashion, rather than for sport, recreation or transportation. Most young people around this age group do not identify with the fashion trends and attitudes that are promoted by the hipster, yet many of them see no other group taking a lead for their interests. A few years from now many will associate cycling with an ironic looking character mounted on a fixed gear bicycle. And that's sad really, because cycling is about as normal an activity as it gets, that  is for normal people and not for a confused, spoiled, misguided and elitist fringe of society that cannot speak for youth in general.

When I was growing up I used to get together with friends to go play basketball and soccer games. It would be really cool to see kids and young adults getting together for bike rides. That's something I have not had the opportunity to see happen in my area. I cringe thinking about going to one of the local group rides that are offered near my area. I either have to ride at a 20mph pace or I'm stuck in a group of old frumpy people on hybrids. I'm yearning for the cycling scene to change. Please, if you are a young person reading this and think cycling might be the thing for you, don't hesitate to try it out and get your friends involved to.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Vintage bikes: Still Relevant?

Can Vintage Bikes Compete in Today's Peloton?

Yes, they can. They can also be easy to find and can cost1% of the actual cost of one of today's high performance professional bikes. 

How is that even possible? One of today's bikes being as fast as one from about 25 or more years ago? At first glance, it seems like an ambitious, even foolhardy statement to make. But I have the facts to back it up. Being a bike nerd, I have developed an attraction, to the point of infatuation, for all things vintage when it comes to bikes. I have collected novels with accounts from the Golden era of cycling when riders rode on Reynolds 531 steel, used down tube shifters, and used over the brake hood cable routing. Bicycles that were anything over 14 speeds seemed like a myth, or an unnecessary amount of gears.  And I can tell the races back then were just as fast as the races are now.

Let's compare, for example, the average speed of the peloton from the 1982 Tour De France and from 2012. The 1982 Tour was only 11 kilometers longer than the 2012 tour. The average speed for the peloton in 1982 was 38.05kph, or 23.64 miles an hour. In 2012, the average speed was 39.9kph, or 24.79 miles an hour. That is about one mile an hour faster than in 1982. The difference? Smoother roads, electronic shifting, built in wattage and cadence meters, indexed shifting, carbon fiber and lots and lots more money being poured into the sport than in 1982. The modern race bike is around 15 pounds, six pounds lighter than the bicycles back then. The benefit of all of this, again to emphasize is one mile an hour.

One mile an hour. If I don't eat before I ride I will sometimes go one mile an hour faster than with a sandwich in my stomach. One mile an hour on one's average speed is a big deal when building up the speed necessary to compete professionally, but it certainly ceases to be impressive in a lapse of thirty years. One would assume that with all of today's technology that it could be faster than this. But it isn't, and let me tell you why. 

What are now vintage bicycles were and are great machines, works of art in their craftsmanship and attention to detail. By the 80's, the racing bike had been perfected in every way shape and form for the purpose that it served, to go fast and be reliable. They not only were fast and reliable but looked great doing so. So what happened? What had to change?

Absolutely nothing. The saying goes if it's not broken don't fix it. Bikes from back then should have been left untouched for at least another 30 years. In hindsight, to gain one mile an hour difference, there simply was no point. The Tour De France is not the only race where this applies. Since 1986, no one has been able to break the speed record set for the race across America, or RAAM. This record was set using 1980's technology and still stands until this day.

In 1982 the tour was won by Bernard Hinault. known as Le Blaireu (the badger) for his aggressive nature and the way he took charge of the peloton during races. He was a true leader, a man's man. The guy never backed down from a fight, and he wasn't the kind of guy you would want to mess with. Fast forward to 2012. Bradley Wiggins wins the tour. So what, big deal. Not to be disrespectful, but Wiggins does and will never hold the air of authority over the peloton that Bernard Hinault once did. Next year someone else will take the yellow jersey, or if no one else is ambitious enough then Wiggins might have it again. In all honesty, Wiggins fails to impress me beyond those ginormous mutton chops he possesses.  Slaying The Badger, the current book I'm on, gives insight into the kind of rider Hinault was. I recommend anyone looking for cycling inspiration to read it too.

For those of you who are considering getting into the local bike racing scene on a vintage bike, it can be done. There is no reason why it would be impossible. I want to read of stories in the future of guys wailing at criteriums on their friction shifter equipped Peugeots and then saying "booyah!" to the competition. I recently discovered that I don't like going slow if I don't have to. Whether my bike is vintage or modern, I tend to ride faster than most people that I know. I have to stop looking at that as a negative and see what I can do with it. It's one thing to be faster than my family and friends but I know I'm still far from being able to win a race. But looking at these numbers from 1982 I at least know that its possible, and that gives me hope and makes me want to start training harder to ride faster. 

I hope that if you are like me and own a vintage bike you too will start mashing the pedals harder on your next ride. As long as the bike is mechanically sound, enter it in a race and let me know how it goes. Knowing that there are competitive retro-grouches out there lets me know I'm not alone in this. Keep training hard, riding harder, keep the rubber side down and the cycling cap on with the brim tilted upwards. Stay tuned for more insightful articles from my blog, and subscribe if you haven't already.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Riding For the Long Haul: Addressing Pains and Aches on the Bike

Answering why your fingers may be getting numb while on your bike, among
other concerns.

When I started riding, I experienced pains in my knees and fingers which I thought were the result of not wearing gloves and being out of shape. Through my now six years of regular riding experience I have discovered how to ride pain free, without even requiring the use of gloves on while on my bike. Gloves should not be a substitute for dampening road vibrations and saving your hands from Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. They should only be used as a safety item for if a rider should fall and have to catch himself on the asphalt. The following are some adjustments you can make to your bike that will allow you to ride for the long haul, that is, for many more years without having to give up early due to unnecessary injury.

Why your fingers get numb:

First let's answer this by saying that it isn't due to not wearing gloves. That has been a successful marketing scheme that the bike industry has used to sell more over priced cut off gloves. What the bike shops don't tell you is that today's bicycles are more stiffer than they have ever been, with almost all bikes made of oversized tubing and straight blade forks, with the forks twice as thick as what they were twenty or more years ago. The result?  A far more jarring ride. 

For example, there is a big difference in the ride quality of my steel Woodrup and my aluminum Raleigh. The country roads that make up my ride route have many potholes, dips and cracks as well as areas where there are loose gravel. While steel bikes like my Woodrup absorb all these road imperfections, with the fork blades visibly bouncing as I ride over road obstacles, my Raleigh has no give whatsoever. The front fork, although chromoly and with a small amount of rake, does little to improve the ride quality of the bike. The result is that, unless I use gloves to ride my newer Raleigh bicycle, I'm in for some wrist pain after my ride. The same can be applied to most modern bicycles now made, regardless of the materials used. So, before going out to buy some new gloves, it might be the bike itself causing the trouble. Since gloves are less expensive than a new bike, buying gloves might be the more sensible alternative than getting a new (or used) steel bicycle. Just remember to invest in the long run, a good bike will last longer than the many sets of gloves a rider can and will go through.

Check the handlebar position. Believe it or not, adjusting the handlebars by tilting them even a few milometers up or down can have a drastic effect on your ride. For a few years I played with the tilt of the handlebars on my Raleigh, until now I am comfortable enough with my hand positioning that I sometimes forgo using my gloves. Adjusting hand position, such as gripping the ends of the drops on the handlebars, also goes a long way to easing any hand related pain one might incur.

Why your knees are hurting:

The commonly accepted myth is that the frame size of the bike is off by a few centimeters. People sell bicycles that fit them because they were "a little too big, or a little too small" for them at the time. While it's true that having a extra long top tube may cause the rider to overstretch trying to reach the handlebars, the truth is that the same principle does not apply to seat tube length.  So that we are clear, the seat tube is the tube on the frame that the seat post slides into. The seat post height is the critical factor that will determine the fit of the bicycle. Many knee injures on a bike are the result of a poor seat post height.

Here's a rule of thumb that I use when fitting a bike to my personal dimensions. I must have at least 4 inches of the seat post exposed from the seat tube in order to have a comfortable ride.  At around 4 inches the seat post starts to absorb road vibrations, any less and you will be feeling the full effect of the road surface on your posterior. If I can't at least have 4 inches of seat post then the frame is too big for me. However, the opposite is true if I expose so much of the seat post that I pass the seat post height limit that is usually marked near the bottom of the post. Too much exposure of the seat post will put too much load and stress on the post and on the frame joint, causing seat post or frame failure in the long run.

Given these rules of thumb, I can ride between a 54cm and a 56 to 57cm frame. Measured with a ruler, I ride frames that are both 21.5 and 23.25 inches tall. A more compact frame such as a 54cm gives me climbing advantages that a larger frame might not. However, a 56 or 57cm frame allows me to maintain my top speed more efficiently and have a more aerodynamic position on my bike due to the also slightly longer top tube.

When adjusting the seat post height, make sure that there is a slight bend on the knee with the pedal turned  down  and parallel to the floor. Make sure you can achieve this with the foot resting on the pedal, parallel to the ground and not tilted up or down. There should not be too much bend on the knee nor should the knee lock with the leg being all the way straight. A slight bend is a slight bend, enough to engage the leg muscles and to only use the knee as a pivoting point when pedaling. 

I am also a spokesman for cycling shoes. Purists might say that these shoes did not come around until the mid 1980's, and that the benefits associated with them are placebo like. But let me assure you, cycling shoes make a big difference in your ride, and can even contribute to saving your knees. That is because they serve the important function of preserving the natural arch of the foot. I rode without cycling shoes regularly for several months last year. Upon visiting a chiropractor I discovered that I had become flat footed. The arch in my foot had completely collapsed as a result of putting pressure on the wrong part of my foot. I started using cycling shoes again, along with an orthopedic soles in my regular shoes. The back pains that I was having have seemed to have now subsided. I now only ride platform pedals when using my mountain bike. They are no longer an option I consider when going long distances, or going fast.

Why your back aches:

Another reason people give up cycling is because their back starts hurting. They might already have had back injuries, and cycling might be aggravating that problem for them. There are a few bicycle adjustments that can be made to avoid having any back associated pains when riding a bike.

Lower back pain on the bike comes from having too long a top tube on the frame to where the rider is having to overstretch to reach the handlebars. It can also come from having a poor saddle positioning where the saddle might be tilted inward or outward, instead of being a flat surface for the rear end to rest on. The saddle should only be moved forward and backward, never tilted up or down. There are saddle designs, like ones made by Vetta or Selle San Marco Concor, where the end of the saddle will have a small lip that flips upward, intending to catch the rider's rear end and keep it there. These kind of designs call for tilting the saddle slightly. Most newer saddles are no longer designed this way.

Upper back and neck pains are associated with stem length and handlebar width. Most people who started riding with a new road bike are conditioned to having a  sloping top tube, a riser threadless stem, and at least 42cm wide handlebars. Going to a traditional diamond framed bicycle with a flat top tube, quill stem and 40cm handlebars might make things uncomfortable at first. A quill stem forces the rider to find their comfort zone much faster than a riser them. That is because there are only mere centimeters that can be pulled out of the head tube before the height limit is reached. Quill stems force a rider to adopt a racing position much quicker because the rider has to reach below the top tube to grab the drops of the handlebars. This stretches the back in a way that might seem unnatural at first. The discomfort usually goes away in a few months. If it doesn't, then maybe it's time to look at some other causes, such as the width of the handlebars.

Why are handlebars wider nowadays? Because  we are bigger than our parents were in their prime, and our parents who are still riding have become old and fat. Wider handlebars allow the rider to breathe better, but also affect aerodynamics and top speed. The key to choosing handlebars for a road bike is not choosing the widest ones first. Choose the handlebar that will allow you to breathe efficiently while still allowing you to adopt a racier position.

Here's my rule of thumb on handlebar width. I choose the handlebars according to my tuxedo size. My chest size for a dress suit is between 40 and 42 inches. 44 inch suits will start to feel baggy on me. The same goes with handlebars. You can get the "sport" fit at 40cm, the "relaxed" fit at 42cm, or the old man "frumpy" fit at 44cm. Keep in mind, at 44cm speed gets taken out of the equation, as average speed can actually go down by a couple of miles an hour.

For some older riders or riders getting into cycling with previous injuries, these adjustments might not be enough. Some might have to buy special stem adapters to achieve a more upright riding position. Eventually, this leads to the stereotype where all recumbent riders are old guys with white beards. But road biking isn't for everyone, and some people no matter how hard they try just can't get a road bike to work for them. That's fine, that is why there are different bikes for different people.

These are some tips that may save your knees and and your wrists and may keep you from quitting the sport early. I have talked to a few people who now no longer ride because they kept injuring themselves out of a lack of  bicycle fitting knowledge until the damage was irreparable. Cycling has become so popular now that most people know about fitting themselves on a bike or know of someone who can fit them on one. I hope these tips have been helpful. Stay safe, stay fast, and keep subscribing to more informative posts from a Bicycle's Point of View.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Nairo Quintana Wins Pais Vasco

Columbia back on the rise, Nairo Quintana "Spanks" the competition
for the win

Courtesy of Cycling News

The Tour of the Basque Country (Pais Vasco) is a six stage bicycle race held in the Basque Province of northern Spain. This race is over 50 years old and has cemented itself as an important Spring classic and as training for the grand tours of the summer (Giro Di Italia, Tour De France, Vuelta A Espana).  For the first time in 20 years, a Colombian rider has grabbed hold of a major victory and has set the tempo for other Colombian riders to follow.

Some readers might think this is just another sport article about bicycle racing, a topic which has worn thin to many people due to the corrupt actions of some of the athletes in the sport. And while it is an article about bicycle racing, let us not generalize this cyclist's great achievement with the regrettable actions others may have taken in the past. This guy deserves full credit for his hard work, including the training before the race that put him in peak form and in prime position to win Pais Vasco.

Nairo Quintana is no stranger to success in this sport either. The diminutive, five foot seven inch Colombian with strong, indigenous features won the Vuelta a Murcia last year, a race only consisting of two stages but nonetheless one that put Quintana on the spotlight.  At 23 years old, Quintana is a rising star that can only get better as time goes by.

Researching the back story of Quintana makes him all the more relatable. Nairo Quintana was not born of wealth and did not come from a pedigree of great cyclists. Quintana grew up in a family of peasant farmers who lived high up in Colombia's mountains. With the walks to school being exhausting for Quintana, his parents worked hard to save up $30 to buy Nairo Quintana his first bicycle, a cheap mountain bike. Nairo would race to and from school, prentending to summit finish once he got back to his house, and that he was King of the Mountains that day. One day his dreams actually materialized as he finally got his chance to enter professional cycling.

Quintana worked hard on Stage four of the race, which had over five summit finishes. The stage was held in freezing temperatures coupled by a relentless rain which wore down the majority of the peloton. Nairo was able to hold a minute and thirty second advantage over the peloton for the majority of the race that day. When the peloton finally caught up to him, Nairo made an attack on the last few meters before the finish, thus winning the stage. On the time trial at stage six, he took another 20 seconds away from the leader of the general classification, securing the overall win.

Nairo Quintana was spectacular to watch and I am looking forward to seeing him further develop his repertoire as more racing comes his way. It's a job well done for Nairo Quintana, and hopefully a sign for what's to follow with Colombian and Latin American talent gaining traction in the cycling world.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Favorite Things, What They Say about Me, and What Yours Say About You.

These are a few of my favorite things.
Photo Courtesy of Big E's Cycling

Has anyone seen The Sound of Music? If not, I will spare you the agony of having to watch that musical and just tell you that it features a song called "These are a few of my  favorite things" by Julie Andrews . There are some things which as cyclists we eventually develop a taste, an affinity, or even a dependency for. One of these things is coffee.

The Coffee Loving Bicyclist

I am a coffee loving cyclist. In fact, I love coffee so much that I regard myself as a coffee connoisseur. Having had a brief stint working at Starbucks has also reinforced my coffee knowledge, and this was shortly before taking up cycling again. Coffee knowledge is something that personally goes beyond cycling and Starbucks for me. It is a knowledge that has been passed down for generations of coffee addicted Puerto Ricans. In Puerto Rico, Folgers and Maxwell House don't exist, or are very irrelevant to society otherwise.  Nope, in Puerto Rico, one only drinks the pure, undiluted, fine granules that come from high up on the mountain tops.  The coffee is always strong with a low acidity, which gives mental alertness without the constant urge for urinating oneself.

Add to that my love of cycling, and that further inflames my passion for coffee. I could even say it's the other way around, because coffee often times gives me the energy to go on long bicycle rides. I have also been drinking coffee way before it was the cool thing to do, starting at the wee age of six (it didn't stunt my growth or anything like that, I'm an average 5'10").

My love of both coffee and cycling might be running on a parallel course with the rise in popularity and coexistence between these two activities among members of society, specifically millennials entering into their late 20's and early 30's.  But speaking in general terms, excluding my personal background and the fact that in some unfounded sense of grandeur I might even say that I founded this trend, coffee drinking and cycling can say a lot about the person who does so.

Like I just mentioned, most of this crowd is made up of millennials. Who are millennials? They are people who were teenagers during the first ten years of the new millennium, or the 2000's. Those years were a lost generation for us, with societal views and world events which would shape the career choices and lifestyle for many of us who lived through that period. During this same decade, Starbucks started to globalize and become popular among young people, first for it's sales of Frappacinos,  then for it's sales of coffee once we found out how fattening Frappacinos were. Starbucks was a common ground that all young people shared, it didn't matter our walk of life or our popularity, Starbucks took care of us.

Having been a millennial that also makes the implications for other outlooks and personal tastes which many of that generation have a common ground on. Societal views during the 2000's worked against our interests as young people looking for advancement opportunities. Back then there were little if any pre-college credit courses and schools were polarized in the way they taught their students. All the football players in school got a free pass and all of their grades doctored up without so much as a peep from anyone. If you had to dropout of a AP course because you had to work to support your single parent, you were out of luck if you were truly an intelligent person. You now had to share class space with Brutus the Brute. The end result, you may ask? Many millennials are smart people with unfinished college degrees. That means that many of them are either self employed, work freelance, or are very underemployed. That's where the bicycle comes in. As a money saving tool, bicycles give millennials a means of transport without having to spend money on rising gas prices. It is also a form of recreation but can get burdensome, especially on cold days. That's where Starbucks comes in. In cold or inclement weather we retreat back to our comfort zone which supported us during the many times we had nowhere else to go. 

The 2000's and the Bush years also marked the end to what I call the "Build it bigger, bigger is better", years. The financial collapse in 2008 and the great recession of 2011 proved that outsourcing jobs that could be done locally, building subdivisions faster than people could move into them, building superhighways that cut off the lifeline of small communities and putting a Megalomart in every town had left the economy in tatters. By this time, though, the burden of responsibility has been left to our generation of young adults to shoulder. So what is another side interest we enjoy as coffee loving cyclists? Many millennials believe in New Urbanism. If you don't know what that is, it's the movement that really isn't. Its just the result of the surburban sprawl of the early 2000's. Therefore many coffee loving cyclists are also into working at bike shops, cooperatives, organic grocers, privately owned businesses and any other establishment that gives back to the local community. Being that the bicycle also serves a purpose as transportation, many New Urbanists believe in closing distances from home to work by using bike lanes, trains, and other facilities that will enable us to get to where we need  to go by using a car to a minimum or not at all. New Urbanists believe in the concept of having mixed use zoning between commercial and residential spaces, in other words having an apartment building on top of a coffee shop. 

During the years of the financial collapse and the great recession, without a promise of a job many millennials had to rely on their own talents in order to turn a profit. Therefore, many coffee loving cyclists are also artistically inclined.

The bicycle also serves another purpose for the coffee loving cyclist. Many millennials, as a result of a shaky job history or working for themselves, are uninsured or have really bad private insurance. The bicycle serves as a means of keeping us healthy. 

Roadies and Coffee

I'm not going to ignore the correlation between roadie cyclists and coffee. Many in this category are not millennials but are actually ex yuppies from the 80's decade or boomers. That dates many in the roadie coffee category to be in their 50's to 60's. Yuppie roadies like coffee because Starbucks became popular around the time they were having a mid-life crisis, Boomer roadies like coffee because it is considered "Italian" when paired with cycling and thus are trying to emulate the movie "Breaking Away".

Yuppie cyclists have stable jobs and are usually going to be found in the technologies or medical industries. Their bikes are usually brand new and they usually ride in full kit. There is not much difference in the choice of bike for the Boomer, except the Boomer is probably retired and bought the bicycle using his 401K. Both covet and respect vintage Italian road bikes, which I own and they don't (hahahaha). 

Newer roadies, or the sons of yuppie roadies, are not known as coffee drinkers. They usually stick to their food gels and Chamois Butt-r  to get their nutrients from. They also tend to be millennials graced with not having to go through what their less privileged counterparts went through.

I say all of this, generally speaking. There are millennials that probably don't like coffee (I'll disown you if you are my age and don't like coffee) or newer roadies who have the good sense to love coffee. It's not to say that any of these scenarios aren't interchangeable and can be reapplied to the opposite group. But, as a general and broad rule of thumb (I don't want to get accused of stereotyping) this is usually how it goes. This isn't to say that neither of these groups are not relate-able to each other either. The key is to want to relate, and that goes for millennials, yuppies, boomers, the nouveau yuppies, and the nouveau middle class (in this economy, there's not enough nouveau riche, we'll just leave that one out) and anyone else I may have left out, who is a lover of cycling and coffee. 

One thing I can safely say about the coffee loving cyclist, no matter who they are, they love to travel, have an appreciation for the outdoors, and are usually all around good people. By the way, I don't think Lance Armstrong drinks coffee, he just thinks he does.

In conclusion my background as a millennial, my pre-existing love for coffee, art and cycling influences my tastes for my employment, urban development and holistic outlook where quality of life trumps social or economic gain. Not to mention that cycling is also one of my hobbies that are among my favorite things. It stands in the same category as artisan coffees, Italian wine, painting a landscape, vintage photography, playing guitar, hole in the wall restraunts and sitting by the ocean.

 Where do you fit in the picture? What are your favorite things? How does coffee and cycling influence you? Drop me a line in the comments section if you would like to share. Stay tuned and subscribe to my blog for more in depth articles like these.