Whenever I talk to someone who has just gotten their first “real” bicycle (there is an entire post between those quotes, but for now lets continue), I always tell them the same thing.
They usually think I am talking about crashing and say something like “I got a helmet” or “I am a slow rider, and very cautious.” I am always quick to correct myself. I don’t mean that they are going to get hurt, cycling is pretty safe, especially if you take a couple simple precautions.
I place one hand on their shoulder, lean forward and look them right in the eye as I explain that cycling is going to take over their life. It’s all too easy to fall headfirst into the cycling lifestyle. What starts as a simple “I will give it a try riding to work once or twice” can all too easily spiral into a full blown cycling life vortex.
You get the bike, then the shoes, then the socks to go with the shoes, then you want the new bike pants, you sign up for some bike websites, then you are meeting other bike people, hey they are cute, sure lets go for a bike ride, then you’re both standing over your bikes and leaning in for a kiss…you get the idea.
Before you know it you are riding everywhere, you have lost 20 pounds, your ass looks amazing, and like that all your friends have nice calves, and you spend a lot of time thinking about gear ratios and carbon fiber. You start thinking about getting a fixed gear/road bike/mountain bike/tall bike, because your current ride is nice but what you really want is just one more bike…just one more.
Its not all amazing calves and chain rings. There is a dark side to falling into the cycling lifestyle. If you are not careful you will get increasingly annoyed with your non-cycling friends, “why does it take you so long to get anywhere” “have you really been looking for parking for 30 minutes” “just lock up to a street sign…ohh”
You will show up to events with your giant messenger bag and wonder why everyone else isn’t wearing shorts, I mean come on its 42 degrees out! You will have to explain to every single person you meet that yes you do ride, yes all year round, yes even in the winter. You eat three times as much food as a normal human being, and your friends start to get mad at you because you seem to exist on candy and ice cream and never gain a pound.
If you catch a particularly bad case you might move in with your bike friends have a “bike house” where all the occupants ride, where there is a special room just for bikes, where a night at the bar means you bring the tandem… Don’t laugh, these things are real and happen to people just like you. Some especially bad cases have resulted in cycling weddings, children strapped into bike trailers, and a life long love affair with two wheels.
Sure I tell new bikers to be careful, but then I open up my messenger bag and slip them a bike map, or a spare tube…”Hey kid, wana try cycling, first taste is free?”
Tags: cycling, the gateway drug to awesome
Posted in advocacy, bostonbiker, fun | 12 Comments »