Cycling is the new Golf
I completed my first 100 mile bike ride when I was 10 years old. At the time it didn’t seem like anything other than a longer than normal bike ride, which was what I did on weekends with my father anyway. Little did I know at 10 that I was embarking on a lifelong love affair that would bring me joy, pain, victory, defeat and ultimately, true love. For the majority of my life it has *always* been about the bike.
I was lucky enough to train and race in Colorado in the late 90’s, early 00’s. Boulder was the center of cycling life in the US and the national talent pool was deep. I had the honor of training and racing with world class riders; guys and girls who were winning Tour stages and Olympic medals. With training partners like that, you learn very quickly what is and is not acceptable in how you ride. Hold a close line, no sudden moves, a slight extra push when you get out of the saddle, take your turn at the front, be respectful. On one particular ride, when a teammate was not taking his proper turn at the front (we were among the few in this training ride who had ‘real jobs’) an Aussie pro yelled out “I don’t come to your office and bang on your keyboard, stop f — -ing up the pace!”. My friend quickly got off the front, drifted off the back and rode the 3 hours home alone. I was too scared to do anything but maintain my position in the group. He never missed a pull again. Ever.
Fast forward 30 years and I’ve watched as cycling has gone from the fringe to the center. I don’t know the true origin but we are more than 10 years past when I first read “cycling is the new golf” in print. Today cycling brings with it fashion, attitude, edge, culture and a way of life that defines a person. Cycling is mainstream. When you made partner at the firm 50 years ago, you might have received a membership into the local country club. Now you’ll get a custom bike that probably cost more than your first car. Ex-pros are hired to lead social rides at corporate events. Lexus even recently made a VR video about a former pro.
If you’re a long-time cyclist, rejoice; you were an early adopter and likely suffered through some uncomfortable technology (toe clips anyone?) to get here. Take some time to nurture some newer riders. Skip the group hammer ride and invite them on a Saturday spin. Introduce them to The Rules.
If you’re newer to the sport, then welcome. Try to learn from as many of the older guard as you can. There is a beauty and a language to how the bike is ridden that once mastered, gains you respect and riding partners anywhere in the world. Cycling rewards consistency and effort. There is no short cut. But if you let it, the bike can unite us, and bring together people of various backgrounds, abilities and desires.
Ride fun, have fast.