Cycling Etiquette is a whispered code of behavior that helps our
community pedal in rotund, harmony together. It is not just an
arbitrary set of rigid rules, concerning such subjects as the proper
dress for racing, the correct wheels or where to put your race number:
bike protocol deals with a much wider range of behavior. These customs
have been introduced to combat the reality that some cyclists are
childish, egotistical numptys. It’s not what’s correct: Cycling
Etiquette is simply proper consideration for the other cyclists, who
accompany you on any giving spin. A set of rules to check one cyclist
destroying another cyclist(s) ride.
We cyclists are very individual, We are indeed a bit odd; it is why we
didn’t go in for team sports in maturity. Odd, and by a large loners,
in the animal world we are the panda. This ‘squad of one’ mindset can
introduce an attitude of selfishness and arrogance. A disregard for
other abilities and isolated persona. Instead these cyclists who appear
at the Sunday morning spin with evil intent on mislaying the children
and infirm on the first climb, proclaiming their self worth; in turn
offer excuses, when they are under pressure. These weak oppressors
blame the bike, the tyres, the road surface, the wind, and the tyres
again, never the body. We cyclists have the personal strength not to be
sheep. Never run with the herd. The intellectual power to decide, no I
don’t want to kick ball or chase one for 18 holes. I want to do
something extremely hard and with few rewards.
So we are: ‘Odd’ but in a beautiful way.
This in no way excuses these bad manners or means we have to be a
numpty. This winter, 9 miles into a club spin, I felt a collection of
sweat caress my brow, in artic conditions. Unusual, I thought, and then
turned around to see the bunch of 30 cyclists split demographically in
ones and twos into the horizon. Their separation was distance based on
age and borrowed bike. Not 20 minutes ago this weary string was a
united group of cyclists. I looked forward to see the catalyst of the
destruction: two wannabes wall pissing at the front. As strong
individuals, in a detached sport, the only situation we gather as a
brightly dressed tribe is this club run. At a race: its dog eats dog,
in a training chain gang: last man standing, but a club spin where
different capabilities congregate in human-required friendship, cycling
manners must come into play. Regardless of where I have cycled on the
planet, where two or more people are gathered in the name of communal
training, cave man instincts prevail and one of the group wishes to
I define a NUMPTY, as a person(s) who wishes to demonstrate to a
lesser, younger, heavier cyclist that they are fitter, stronger. The
alpha male in Lycra. A childlike cry for attention normally belongs in
the jungle or playground, is where one cyclist imposes his or her
dictation of speed to the group. The result is anger, resentment, split
bunch and a weak club. No bonds or friendships cemented, just souls and
dreams stepped on.
It seems there is no direct protocol issued, and that the training run
should evolve, weekly according to their rank or position or watt
output of the strongest. Yes, we train to be strong. But the simple
truth is that the ‘club run’ is not the proving ground. Racing is. If
you want to prove how good you are, strap a number on, shave the legs
and get your photo in the paper. Half wheeling a 69-year-old multiple
by-pass veteran won’t win you any medals; or friends.
The name ‘club run’ is the key. This chance for cyclists, of all
abilities in the area comes together to enjoy a mutual hobby. The young
receiving experience form the old. The old passing on war stories of
riding to races with punctures; racing and riding home with no tyres.
Ancient, compulsory punishment pre 1971 for not winning. The weekly
training spins are ‘the’ club. United by name and jersey under one
banner. An alliance with associates, then divided by the assassin. Who
sees a victory in an eleven year old new comer stopped, at the side of
the road, red faced and tears dripping on fresh bar tape: wondering why
he ever took up the sport.
It is even poor training for the bully. The longest training cycle
available each week should be allocated to the long level two spins.
This preparation ride is required regularly to build or maintain the
efficiency of the cardio system. To learn to breath proficiently when
the body is under moderate pressure and to educate our system to
metabolize energy from the fat store, a steady long, continual effort,
is proven best. Best for everyone. An opportunity for all to enjoy the
long, base spin together. Take pleasure in our sport, don’t fill it
with resentment. If the club spin destroyer want harder training, all
level three work should be done in small groups of similar ability. On
climbs if they want a work out; stick it in the 12 sprocket and sit.
Same speed as the group with a bit of power preparation. A urine test
for these few would reveal positive for insecurity and self-importance.
Show me a club run destroyer that ever won a race.
Club Protocol It’s down in writing, it has been voted on and every one
will pass the following recommendations as they don’t see them selves
1. A club run captain shall be appointed, experienced, ex-racer
slightly overweight. His whistle will control speed and direction.
2. Route will be planned in advance, allowing latecomers to plan a
catch up, with the length increasing with the temperature. A cut off
point will be designated for shorter run.
3. Speed will be maintained until this cut off is reached.
4. If a member of the run punctures, the group will cycle for a mile,
turn and return for the victim. If it’s in the last 20 km, the captain
will ensure he has spares, only then: – forsaken.
5. Half wheeling is outlawed. (Same speed but where the bars do not
line up.) The cyclist enforcing pressure is to be taken away to an
isolated wood and shot.
6. Helmets and brakes working and fitted to the correct bit.
7. Change on the right, up and over after 2km. keeps conversation
fresh, bonds club and ears unbent.
8. New, young riders must have a relative or allocated ‘sponsor’ to
keep them safe and informed.
Good decorum when meeting a friend in the street is shaking hands. When
introduced, look the person in the eyes and use a firm grip to express
sincerity. On the bike this changes to a “How’s it going?” and then a
compliment on weight loss, form or new component. Simple Courtesy. Try
to think of others. If you want to race: get a license and use it.
There will be a load of guys and girls who will relish your showing off
in the early laps, the club run is a time of companionship and group
camaraderie. As prehistoric people began to interact with one another,
they learned to behave in ways that made life easier and more pleasant.
Don’t make training spins full of shouts of “steady” and “knock it
off”. Only laughter and chat and skipping gears should be heard on a
Sunday morning. It’s proper bike conduct. Be odd, but with
consideration. It’s the mark of a true cyclist. You will enjoy your
sport more and your sport will enjoy you.
BY Myles Mc Corry
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