Casual Riding

An open letter to a "Roadie"

Dear "sir", and I use the term loosely,

I want to take more time to answer a question you asked me yesterday morning, because I was in a rush and I didn't have time to give you a PROPER response. As I was prepping "the Tank" for the fun ride (#NotARace) you went out of your way to roll up, and say "Could you possibly add MORE weight to your bike?" You asked it in the "down your nose with a side order of disdain" that text can't quite convey but is definitely there.

"The Tank", my tour bike

Now that I'm not rushing to prep a bike for a 62 mile ride, I can give you an answer. I could painstakingly detail that I was being the team mule, or that the more upright seating position is more comfortable on my back, or that its a touring bike designed to haul almost 600 pounds if need be and this is relatively light, but the reality is you didn't WANT an answer. You just wanted to be a snob.

In my years on this planet I've learned that there are snobs in every hobby. People who think that unless you do the thing exactly as they do you're worthless. People who scoff when they perceive that you haven't spent as much money as they have on the hobby. People who see others doing the thing differently and believe they shouldn't be there. People who really enjoy ruining other people's fun because it's not compatible with how you believe they should have fun. And considering your +$7000 bike, $750 skintight skivvies and $250 shades, I think you hit all of these prerequisites.

Snobs really only want one of a few things, confrontation, conformity or exile. I've been trying to figure out which one you wanted. Were you expecting me to stop mid pack, say "Oh wow, you're so right." and then tear all the bags off the bike? Were you expecting me to stop, look at the ground forlornly, and put the bike back on the vehicle while crying all the way home?

Or were you expecting me to confront you on it? That wouldn't be a smart move, as I could have probably broken you in half without breaking a sweat. (#ClydesdaleCycling) And if you were hoping for a battle of wits I'm afraid to inform you that you were SEVERELY outgunned. I say this because the answer I gave you, "Naw, I could pile more-on", the double entendre went so far over your head I'm shocked you didn't get a nosebleed.

Look, Mr Roadie, we all gain enjoyment from our hobbies in different ways. You're a middle aged man who likes to wear "distilled 1980's colors" skin-tight clothing and pretend you're as fast as a tour-de-France rider in a non-race fondo. I like wearing my tour "baggies" and t-shirt and being casual on a fun run. You want to drop people from your group to show how powerful a rider you are. I like helping my friends by carrying all the food, water, repair kits and first aid kits and we may never need. You like going fast and posting Strava KOM's. I like looking around and seeing the cool stuff on the route. And both are compatible on the same roads, even in the same fun run.

But you know what? You do you. Enjoy, have fun, but get over yourself. Just because I haven't dropped the GDP of a small country into a hobby doesn't make me less worthy to be here. And if I want to load my bike down carrying supplies, that's literally on me, not you. If you want to believe you're better than me for running a leaner bike and tighter clothing, sure, whatever bro. I wasn't there to break land speed records. I was there to be with friends and hang out doing something we all like. If you can't imagine people doing things for different reasons, you might want to reconsider your life.

A happy to be riding Clydesdale cyclist,


How do you turn a paved trail into a CX track?

...just add rain.

Glacial Drumlin Trail, July 2017

Glacial Drumlin Trail, July 2017

We had some storms last night, and I didn't think it was all that bad 'till I went for a shakedown ride with my touring bike.  This is about 1/4 mile from the access path.  I'm not kidding when I tell you that the main trunk of the tree on the left was wider around than my body.  This went down HARD in the night.  Obviously, this isn't the norm, but we were making our way around it as best we could.  I BARELY fit my bike under the tree on the left side there, which is good as I sure as heck couldn't lift the 60+ pounds of bike/gear OVER it.

I decided to stay here a while and call the DNR after some guy on a full tri-bike setup almost barreled into this at full tuck speed.  At least I could warn the speed riders who weren't used to going full cyclocross on this run.  While I was on hold, the WI DNR truck rolled down the trail with chainsaws in tow, cutting away the other downed trees on the path further up.  They had this mess cleared in about 10 minutes.

A lot of people give me a hard time when I say that I pay $25 a year for a rail-trail pass.  But the WI DNR is really awesome when it comes to clearing the trails.  It's well worth $25 a year.  And I should mention, if you need some firewood, there's a big 'ol pile of logs at about mile marker 1 on the Glacial Drumlin Trail right now.  But be warned, they're heavy.