I stumbled into a hotbed of controversy. Imagine that, eh? At People for Bikes, they’ve got a post up with several suggested do’s and don’ts when it comes to cycling… Some have merit and others are just plain silly. Like this one:
DON’T dress for the Tour de France. No matter how happy you are to toodle along on your bike, new riders will always be certain that they are holding up your ride. Ditching the team kit in lieu of shorts and tennis shoes goes a long way in making new riders feel comfortable.
Now that’s some damn silly advice right there. I’m going to make myself uncomfortable so a noob can be comfortable? Not in this lifetime dopey. I did my time as a noob and I’m not going back there for anyone. Shorts and tennis shoes, you’ve gotta be kidding. I can see leaving the matching kit in the drawer for the club ride, but cargo shorts and platform pedals on my Venge (or even the Hardrock for that matter)? The day will never come.
Here’s another disagreeable suggestion:
DON’T use the word “easy.” While it’s natural to try to alleviate a new rider’s apprehension by assuring them: “Don’t worry, it’s easy,” you’re inadvertently causing problems. If the rider succeeds, you’ve devalued the accomplishment. If they don’t, you’ve created a sense of failure. Instead, relate the obstacle at hand to other obstacles the rider has encountered.
Folks, I don’t know how to say this nicely so I’m not going to – and believe me, compared to what I could write on this one, my response to the first item was tame. If you’re that bad off, that I can’t use the work “easy” in a sentence for fear one might go all ugly in the head with it, I wouldn’t want to ride with you anyway. I need that headache like I need a hit in the head. A person not completing a ride would feel a “sense of failure” whether or not I use the word “easy” in describing it. What I dislike here is the whole notion that I should walk on egg shells. No thank you. If you’re such a delicate flower that someone can’t use the word “easy” without crushing you, you’ve got bigger issues to fix before you think about getting on that bike!
The rest is pretty tame – or is that lame? Yes, indeed it’s lame, but that’s not the point… In the comments section there’s a crazy dope trying to suggest that wearing a helmet does nothing to protect the melon. Seriously. It gets better though, he quotes a site that he thinks shows this, here. I’ll cut right to the idiocy:
This paper presents a mathematical model for comparing the possible benefits of fewer head injuries as a result of helmet laws with the negative effects of less exercise due to fewer people cycling. It notes that the amount by which helmet laws reduce injuries and cycling is controversial. However, the author does not present any new data with regard to these factors or the health benefits of cycling. Instead, widely cited estimates are used as inputs to the model to arrive at the net implied benefit.
For those who’s eyes glazed over while reading that, I provided the emphasis on the important parts. It’s a quack mathematical study using estimates. In other words, the study is bullshit. The important thing here, is if you run into one of these “no helmet” kooks, you know how they get their information – it’s wrong right from the start.
Now, I could cite real studies case-controlled studies but they all show that wearing a brain bucket is safer… All of them. (Fair warning, that link is safe for work in Sweden but not the US) Why bother?
Folks, this is specifically why we wear helmets every #*$*%&ing time we ride a bike without exception:
Warning: This is graphic. The photo is of a friend of a friend of mine.
The Second Rate Cyclist wrote a post about a little spell of dead legs he’s going through… He’s pretty bummed about it too. I can certainly understand, and have lived through, that consternation.
I’ve written about my own battles with dead legs, even as rare as the bouts were, my attitude about them has evolved. With the exception of dead legs during an “A” ride (I’ve never actually experienced this) which would certainly suck, I’ve evolved to relish dead leg rides.
This is how my thought process evolved on this: After my second or third bout with them last year, I realized that dead legs are the product of hard work; you can’t come by dead legs phoning it in. If I’ve got them, I’ve paid for them. Also, once I’ve got them, it’s not like I can wave a magic wand and rid myself of them. I simply have to take it easy for a short while to let the life come back, and surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, they will. In my cycling youth (what, that’s about two years ago now [chuckle]) I would try to push through these little dips in performance. I would get angry, maybe take one easy recovery ride, and try to mash my way out of the funk. Invariably this would make recovery even more difficult and drawn out (though it did eventually work)… Almost subconsciously, I stumbled upon an epiphany – and it took the Second Rate Cyclist’s post to put it all together.
My initial thoughts about dead legs, that they were the bane of my existence, was a misunderstanding: Cycling with dead legs is a gift, to be enjoyed: It’s the perfect time to enjoy a really nice bike ride, solo, with my wife, and/or the kids. The scenery that I’m almost always working too hard to notice, the air flowing through the melon bucket, the sunshine and the delicate awesomeness that is road cycling… With absolutely no agenda. No stats, no meters ascended, no average speed, no max heart rate… No worries. Dead legs make it possible to enjoy the fruits of my hard work! To simply love cycling because anyone who’s ridden through dead spots knows that the quickest way to recover is to either take time off, or take it very easy.
So, while I do taper a bit coming into a big ride (so I don’t have to deal with dead legs in an “A” ride), dead legs will not be a cause for consternation this year, they’ll be a time for celebration.
Cycling, as in life, is a matter of perspective.