Just A Ride

VecchioJo doesn't get a medal, and doesn't care

by VecchioJo   February 12, 2014  

Just A Ride - Road

“Have a good ride?”
Hmm, it’s was okay..
“Where did you go?”
Oh, only up there, round there, across there and down there.
“Anything happen?”
Not really, it was just a ride.

“Oh.”

There always seems to be a certain level of disappointment from others when they discover your few hours out on a bike were just a ride. The lexicon of cycling has become so bloated with tales of daring do and awesomeness, formidable elements perpetually battled against and giants of cols eternally defeated by insignificant yet tenacious men that the ordinary has become almost pointless. To further fluff up the banal there are the tiresome Strava conquests, the personal bests, the medals for mediocrity and the files downloaded to impress. If that’s not enough then a million nothings happening every mile are socially shared in a thousand ways, divulged and spewed and empty noise spread loud and thin.

Just riding a bike writes in white.

The simple act of cycling has been hijacked by artfully unshaven men looking painfully into a drizzly black and white middle-distance, a 60 mile sportive is billed as Epic and no ride is worthy of regard unless there’s been Suffering, even indoors. The rhetoric has got out of hand as a modest pleasure has been appropriated, chewed up and marketed to sex up an overweight middle-aged man so he feels more worthwhile heaving puffy up a hill, to the point now that if none of that heroic hyperbole happens, if nothing of note unraveled during a ride and no teeth had to be gritted then it really doesn’t count.

Forget spinning along to clear the head, to work off that little bit of cake, to earn that bit of cake, even just enjoying the sunshine or simply to get out the house, none of these matter any more. Where’s the anguished hurt?

All you need is Just A Ride. Sometimes.

 

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Some Fella wrote:
Increasingly common exchange
Weekend warrior :"Morning"
Me : "Morning - lovely day"
WW: "Yep great - where you off to?"
Me: "Erm - i dont know - nowhere in particular. What about yourself?"
WW: "Well im doing the Bobby BigBollox Sportive in six weeks so im trying to get some big miles in - got to do another 60k before lunch or i lose my place on the Strava league"
Me: "Well i think im just going to stop here and look at this cow having a bath in a big puddle and maybe have a Cornetto - so ill see you later ok? Bye"
WW: Disappearing into the distance...... "You really should be wearing a helmet you know?"

Bloody brilliant!

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [274 posts]
13th February 2014 - 10:29

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Triathlon/Cycling is the new golf. The middle management 'what's your handicap' bores have morphed into equipment-obsessed, Strava-waving dicks.

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
13th February 2014 - 10:36

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Yes, there are a lot of 'epic challenges' about, many of which featured on this site, and I completely agree with the sentiment that sometimes it's good to just go out for a ride.That's what most of us do anyway..

I think what you're complaining about is perception, not reality. How cycling is portrayed in the media, and how much promotion these commercial sportive organisers do, to get people signed up, not to mention the charity events which receive huge publicity.

This has resulted in an increase in cycling exposure and popularity. On balance this is a good thing. So what if a middle aged fat guy wants to ride a 60 mile sportive? Good luck to him I say. 60 miles may not be epic to you, but might be to him. (not that I've ever seen a 60 mile event described as 'epic')

'just get out and ride' is a good sentiment. Cycling snobbery is not, however! I hope that's not what this is...

posted by 700c [549 posts]
13th February 2014 - 10:48

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Marvellous, just marvellous. Well written.

Freedom and pleasure.

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posted by mingmong [186 posts]
13th February 2014 - 13:14

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What a great perspective on a nice sunny day perhaps that's all we need to clear our heads and get the endorphins moving.

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posted by thepocpac [11 posts]
13th February 2014 - 13:19

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Good stuff Jo.. did you jus loose a KOM?

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posted by wilhay [70 posts]
13th February 2014 - 14:00

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bikeboy76 wrote:
What flavour of Cornetto?

These things are IMPORTANT.

(What's JV's favourite flavour? I may have to ask him on Twitter.)

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [737 posts]
13th February 2014 - 14:08

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Best article in a long time.

I must admit to having been stressed for forgetting to start my garmin before setting off or being fixated watching my heart rate to keep it in zone 3 so much so that I miss the beautiful scenery around me......then I realise i'm being a plank and vow to go back to what I took up cycling for in the first place.

Looking back I recall my disdain at the thought of fitting an avocet, now look at us!

As for sportives, never ridden one, never intend to. If I want to ride an 'epic' ride I'll go and do so without parting with £25.....unless I hit the cake shop hard whilst taking a rest.

I still like to record my miles to see my own improvement.....or decline..... but I think the garmin mount is coming off and the back pocket is calling. Am I going 22 or 23 mph.....why do I care.....is my heart beating.....yes it is.

posted by Simmo72 [270 posts]
13th February 2014 - 14:32

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I have the same train of thought every time I realise I've forgotten my GPS too Wink

posted by twinklydave [11 posts]
13th February 2014 - 14:50

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Simmo72 wrote:
I still like to record my miles to see my own improvement.....or decline..... but I think the garmin mount is coming off and the back pocket is calling. Am I going 22 or 23 mph.....why do I care.....is my heart beating.....yes it is.

I like Strava for this, and like seeing the gradual changes as form dips and rises. However, it's all recorded on the phone in the back pocket, and my stem is clutter-free; every ride in the last 3 months has been done on feel alone.

posted by s_lim [90 posts]
13th February 2014 - 15:03

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Spent most of last year just relying on the phone to log rides, I do like to keep track of where I have been, I don't really care about how fast or any of that side of things. Just managed to have the phone flat on a few occasions and Amazon flogging Edge 500s for £90 means I now have one on the bike. Still don't really care what it says, but it does mean I can see the time easily.

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posted by mrmo [1021 posts]
13th February 2014 - 15:15

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My last 2 rides have been on roads I have never rode before. All I have is a small page with a few notes jotted down for direction, stuffed into jersey pocket (so only a little planning required) The latter was the best ride I've ever had. The mileage was long (but that's not the point) and the scenery was immense. Over the toll bridge for free, witnessed the raw beauty of the swollen river beneath, and rode straight under a massive bird of prey, that watched me pass by from it's tree branch perch. Rolling fields under the rays of a rare sunshine. Does this count for 'just a ride'....man I love cycling!

posted by newbie roadie [8 posts]
13th February 2014 - 15:40

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We used to define 'epic' bike days as ones that only had 2 changes of clothes. Pyjamas to bike kit and back again.

posted by racyrich [112 posts]
13th February 2014 - 17:03

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Applause Applause Applause Applause

I'm only here for the cake

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posted by Dizzy [61 posts]
13th February 2014 - 18:39

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Epic, on the whole, is a particularly poorly used word nowadays. A bit like awesome, it is best saved for irony...

...or the truth that is racyrich's post.
How did the cycling community cope before somebody thought to put a 'feed' after 25miles?

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [176 posts]
13th February 2014 - 19:00

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Lovely piece, but let's not all get carried away. Riding with Garmin, uploading to Strava, even secretly starring in your own romantic movie or enjoying the hyperbole of suffering - all of these are better than NOT riding. And riding by feel, without a care, is not necessarily always better, it's just another way to enjoy the bike. You can have both - we should be wary of disparaging either. If you personally feel to get some 'just ride' miles in, do it. It's not necessary to pronounce one style of riding as good, pure and worthy by denouncing another as naff or embarrassing.

Ben @fireworkboy

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posted by Fireworkboy [5 posts]
14th February 2014 - 7:24

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I ride to escape the kids, family, work etc. most of the time I record the ride and thats because I like to be able to work out where I went and when.

I say stop at the top of the hill, unclip and enjoy the view. Day Dreaming

posted by del_boy13 [6 posts]
14th February 2014 - 9:38

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700c wrote:
Yes, there are a lot of 'epic challenges' about, many of which featured on this site, and I completely agree with the sentiment that sometimes it's good to just go out for a ride.That's what most of us do anyway..

I think what you're complaining about is perception, not reality. How cycling is portrayed in the media, and how much promotion these commercial sportive organisers do, to get people signed up, not to mention the charity events which receive huge publicity.

This has resulted in an increase in cycling exposure and popularity. On balance this is a good thing. So what if a middle aged fat guy wants to ride a 60 mile sportive? Good luck to him I say. 60 miles may not be epic to you, but might be to him. (not that I've ever seen a 60 mile event described as 'epic')

'just get out and ride' is a good sentiment. Cycling snobbery is not, however! I hope that's not what this is...

Exactly this. Applause

I may even be that middle-aged fat guy (is 35 middle-aged...?!).

posted by parksey [175 posts]
14th February 2014 - 10:15

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I am middle-aged and overweight, but alas not oversexed Tongue. I got into cycling only recently, about 7 months ago. My primary motivation has been to get healthier, off diabetes meds, and lose weight. I started at 386 lbs and am now about 288. Frankly, I see very little evidence in my little corner of the world that cycling is marketed to someone like me. The clothing and bikes aren't manufactured with me in mind, unless you have a lot of money. I don't. Still, I've made progress. I compete against myself. I do what I need to keep myself motivated, especially when I am pained at breaking yet another spoke, due to my size and the fact that I cannot afford stronger wheels. I challenge myself to go farther, faster, take more hills, ride in rain, keep a good cadence, etc. i appreciate the tech I can afford, as it helps me measure my progress. I take joy in any small victory. I also enjoy the sights. I stop and take pictures, when I remember to. I also joined a cycling club, but cannot participate in many of the rides because they ride much farther, at a faster pace, than I am currently capable of. I look forward to the day I can. The first and foremost ingredient is, of course, to just ride...

posted by John M Smithers [1 posts]
14th February 2014 - 12:26

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Liberating read.
This is me, going for a ride:
Stuffing my carcass into bib-tights, they seem to have shrunken somehow.Where the f*ck are the gloves. And knee-warmers. Should I take some more clothes with me? I'm out of the energy bars I like.These shoes are always too loose or too tight. Where is the HRM? Where is the strap? Should have put on the HRM before the jersey. The HRM was not working right on the last ride. Is the strap tight enough? Getting the bike out of the basement, and it's just as not-spacious as the last time. Forgot the water bottle up in the apartment. Forgot to use the pump. I have to take my cold weather gloves off to adjust the touch screen of the smartphone, glove won't come off. Dropped a glove. HRM wont sync with the phone.
By the time I'm ready to ride, my heart rate is already almost 90.
Usually, I calm down after a while on the bike.
Leaving the HRM at home and not ranting about the ride on the website for the social app afterwards makes all this a bit easier. Some times I also manage to convince myself that I don't have to try for new personal best and that I really don't have to be pushing harder or going further, today. Those rides are often quite pleasant. Not epic at all. Just nice.

Zombies don't ride bikes.

posted by Markus [24 posts]
14th February 2014 - 18:01

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Exactly. A certain website advertises a ride near me as 'Hell of the ...' and it has an 'easy' option (52 miles). Time to up the mileage and put down the razor. Anyone got a Rapha discount code?

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [536 posts]
17th February 2014 - 11:10

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Did Roleur have first refusal on this piece, Jo?

posted by Nick T [750 posts]
17th February 2014 - 11:22

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700c wrote:
Yes, there are a lot of 'epic challenges' about, many of which featured on this site, and I completely agree with the sentiment that sometimes it's good to just go out for a ride.That's what most of us do anyway..

I think what you're complaining about is perception, not reality. How cycling is portrayed in the media, and how much promotion these commercial sportive organisers do, to get people signed up, not to mention the charity events which receive huge publicity.

This has resulted in an increase in cycling exposure and popularity. On balance this is a good thing. So what if a middle aged fat guy wants to ride a 60 mile sportive? Good luck to him I say. 60 miles may not be epic to you, but might be to him. (not that I've ever seen a 60 mile event described as 'epic')

'just get out and ride' is a good sentiment. Cycling snobbery is not, however! I hope that's not what this is...

Good lord, lighten up dear chap Smile

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posted by Claud And I [16 posts]
18th February 2014 - 21:29

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You sound like a hipster fixie c*nt. Cynical about something......did a fat man overtake you whilst checking his Strava?

posted by J90 [70 posts]
18th February 2014 - 21:31

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J90 wrote:
You sound like a hipster blah blah bleh

Whereas you've given an excellent account of yourself. Well done you.

I don't think the tendency to over hype the mundane is restricted to cycling by any stretch. It seems like everyone always has to have, like, totally the best time EVER, like all the time? I blame the youth or twitterbook or instasnap or something.

Anyway I'm off to plusgram the awesome piece of toast I just made?

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posted by joemmo [772 posts]
18th February 2014 - 22:21

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I see the merits in all forms of cycling, so feel apprehensive about glorifying/chastising one form over the other... its all good.

That said, there is nothing like turning off the tech and going out for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Problem is, I am always going to enjoy seeing how hard I can push up that hill, how many miles I can cover... its so easy to forget the surroundings we pedal through.

Last week I was in Spain, and I did make sure to take in the beautiful scenes around me. Problem was that I did that half way down a mountain pass, which ultimately cost me a Strava KOM Wink

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [197 posts]
25th February 2014 - 17:35

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Great piece this, judging by all the comments it seems to have struck a chord.

Apologies for the self promotion but i wrote recently about the Quality Controllers among us - all those who prize quality over quantity:

http://ragtimecyclist.com/2014/02/18/biking-behaviour-part-14-the-qualit...

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posted by ragtimecyclist [118 posts]
27th February 2014 - 14:23

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Whatever you get the most out of. I love hammering it 90% of the time. The rest of the time, bimbling about watching the world go by is great.

posted by edster99 [145 posts]
13th March 2014 - 19:19

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I ride each road in the same manner. No set plan, no particular heart rate zone (always 180+, but that's thru lack of fitness)...do I hammer it? Yes, until I have no legs left...then I trundle back to where I came from ...spent, moaning, wondering why!!! But, then doing exactly the same next time...but not feeling as spent...it's a vicious *cycle*..harhar....I do sportives very infrequently, I don't race...I am a lone cyclist 99.8% of the time...and range from 60k to 133k rides...just to suit myself...me...numero uno...but only if I can be bothered....
Do I stop and ponder life's wonders..sometimes..I even take the occasional photo...but the Garmin is always there to record and prove that I did shift my ass and do something...proof only needed by me for me...not to impress anyone....I cycle because I can and wish to...even if the weather is foul, fair or fantastic....
(meanders to an inconclusive conclusion....)

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

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posted by The _Kaner [375 posts]
14th March 2014 - 10:11

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That's so spot on - love it. I actually wrote something strangely similar after a wonderful ride out in the much-missed sunshine on Sunday. Just a ride - best thing ever. http://bit.ly/PagninX4

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posted by curdins [24 posts]
18th March 2014 - 13:37

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