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 Post subject: Cycling cool/uncool?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:12 am 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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As Tour fever has been rising recently the topic of le Tour and cycling in general has come up at work frequently, and although plenty of the guys ride to work on a bike they don't consider themselves "cyclists", why? well it seems that to them the term "cyclist" is a bit....well, gay, to be honest.

Most of the people I have talked to are happy to see Brits doing well in sport, Rugby, football, motorsport, darts, snooker, golf etc.. even cycling, but half of them would not be seen dead on a bike, and the half that would do would not call themselves "cyclists".

It seems the main problem is the image of cyclists/cycling in the modern world where body image is becoming more of a big thing, whilst women strive to lose weight it seems men strive to gain weight to look like the well built & toned images they see in magazines or TV.
In this respect the typically svelte cyclist physique is considered weak & undesirable.

Then there is the clothes, the cycling helmet makes most people look pretty silly, those who are not "cyclists" will not wear a helmet for this reason. The typical roadie lycra shorts and top also don't help, and the leg-shaving of roadies is the icing on the cake in the argument against cycling put forward by my work colleagues. Cycling is not masculine enough for them, case closed.

What about mountainbiking though? I have found that mountainbiking fares better, the clothes, the bikes, they are all more acceptable to regular folk, some have even said that you have to be "nuts" to go downhill mtb'ing (apparently this is a good thing), yet at the end of the day mountainbikers still ride bikes, they are still cyclists, and so are considered the same as any other cyclist.

I don't think people realise how physically demanding cycling can be, say a road ride, race or mountainbike race.
Whilst the peole I asked said that you have to be supremely fit to be a top cyclist, they do not believe that you need to be strong.
"I ride my bike to work 5 days a week, how hard can a race be?"
yes, you ride perhaps 3 miles a day, at slightly faster than walking pace, there's a BIG difference.

Finally there is the word itself "cycling", I think people object to being called a "cyclist", to them being a "cyclist" means putting on the helmet and lycra (read: not masculine) , where as they would say they "just ride a bike".
Ok, so they are "bikers" right? well, no. It seems "bikers" are those who ride motorcycles (motorcyclists), and whilst big motorbikes are a source of much testosterone fuelled fun, there is something about men in leathers that is almost as bad as men in lycra.


What's going on? Is cycling really thought of as being a bit....less masculine than other sports???

Interestingly, a lot of the people I know who are "down" on cycling class "going to the gym" as their favourite sport, I wasn't aware it was a sport??! :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:57 am 
Special Retro Guru
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I've never worried about cycling being cool / uncool, trendy, or passe.

I've been cycling for decades, and hope to for decades more. What other people, or society in general, think or feel about it is a huge irrelevance, really.

I mean some may look for affirmation, empathy or acceptance - but at the end of the day, people (en masse) are idiots - so who cares, really, as to what pleases them?

Don't the French say something about celebrating difference?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:04 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Mountain bikers look better covered in mud and every roadie we saw yesterday had 'come on Wiggins!' ringing in his ears no matter who it was.

Cycling is still considered by some as a poor mans mode of transport. When you tell people how much a 'good' bike costs, something like an Al Carter, they look at you as if you are mad. Yet when their £50 special goes wrong you'll be their first port of call.

Cyclin still has a wee way to go before it becomes cool again. The next generation will have forgotten the car as a status symbol and moved on.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:17 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:45 pm
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I think therefore I am

I think I am cool, therefore I am cool

I am cool, I cycle, ergo cycling is cool

irrefutable logic i think you will find


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:25 am 
retrobike rider
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legrandefromage wrote:
When you tell people how much a 'good' bike costs, something like an Al Carter,



superb , was AL a memeber of the all powerful carter family ? , because we all know things from america are better :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:44 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
legrandefromage wrote:
The next generation will have forgotten the car as a status symbol and moved on.


One can only hope. Some of my work colleagues seem to view car ownership as a right, not a privilege, and are attached to their vehicles almost by an unseen umbilical cord, incapable of managing without them even for a daily commute within reasonable walking distance. :roll:

David


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:29 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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David B wrote:
legrandefromage wrote:
, incapable of managing without them even for a daily commute within reasonable walking distance. :roll:


some of my colleagues will jump in their cars to travel over to the other site.... it's perhaps 500m at most.

unbelievable.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:46 pm 
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It is probably that we are a slobbish nation.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:39 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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I think there are a lot of associated hangovers of times past related to public opinion of cycling. The poor mans transport, the massive CTC holidays, the eccentrics that are often involved etc. Add to that our love of the car and the fact that bikes are things you play on as kids. Therefore bikes are childish and as soon as you can afford a car you wouldn't touch one again. :cry:

Things might change, they might not. The only guarantee is if there are more cyclists in Britain, then more cyclists in Britain will be assholes!
Do we really want our hobby to become like car driving? :shock:

On a side note, is cycling a sport or a pastime? I say it's a sport if you compete, and a pastime if you don't. I don't, so for me it is a pastime, a hobby, a recreational pursuit. Handy if I injure myself doing it as my work sick pay scheme won't cover sporting injuries. :wink:

As for Al Carter, was he the guy who committed suicide after seeing the horrors of a bike factory? :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:51 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Think people see cycling as exercise or a hobby, the folk who cycle to work because hey have to or prefer to will know the benefits, I guess unless they are simply not able to run a car.

I don't cycle for health or to save cash, though I often trick myself that an hours cardio will help me, I know it's the fact I simply want to ride my bike that is the reason i ride it.

Most people know someone who will suddenly decide they want a bike, then ride it a week then it's sold or binned to the garage....

Same with the gym, I know folk who go religiously, eat wrong and train wrong and years go by without any progress.

So I'd say cycling isn't cool, it's just a thing that i have done since childhood and will do it until I can't.


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