Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Cycling Role Model


This isn't going to be a post about professional cyclists as role models.  I think that's just kind of silly.  I totally admire guys that have enough talent and drive to make it on any pro level. But unless you know one of these guys personally and he is one of your riding buddies that isn't the type of role models I'm talking about. I guess more of what I am thinking about is an individual(s) that points you in the proper direction when you first start to ride.

I'm sure these guys come in all shapes and colors for everybody. Maybe a Dad, Uncle, good friend or even just an acquaintance.

For myself it was a guy that used to ride with us on the local group ride named Canada Dave (I never did hear what his last name was.  But since everyone I ever knew always called him Canada Dave I figure it's a safe moniker to use.).

I had just started to ride with the group. I was green and I knew it. At that point I considered it a real accomplishment to not get dropped out of the "medium" group (high aspirations. And Dave was always a steady, strong wheel to follow. I'm sure he never really knew it but he taught me a lot about how to behave on a group ride.  As well as a ton of little tricks that made a lot of difference in being safe and conserving energy with in the group.

I once watched him push a struggling rider for 13 miles back to the shop. It was one of the more impressive things I've ever seen on a bike. Not just from the physical sense. Even though that was pretty damn impressive. I think the thing that got me was how unselfish an act it was. It didn't have anything to do with Dave showing off.  He just saw a problem and filled the need. A true example of being the sort of person (cyclist) you wish to see in the world.

Not that he probably ever noticed. But I made it a goal every ride for an entire winter to shadow him. Where  ever he went I went. And in doing so it made me more comfortable, confident, and competent.

I've often thought that if a person was new to cycling there should be some sort of big brother/sister program.  If you never commuted to work and wanted to but were afraid to try you could call up your big brother/sister and have them show you how to set up your bike. Find a safe route to and from work and get you comfortable to go out on their own.

Or if your new to racing there could be a similar program. Help you learn were to be and not to be. Drafting, echelon, sprinting all that good stuff.

Not that I'm volunteering for it. But I guess I feel like everyone needs a helping hand until they are comfortable enough to go out on their own.

Rubber side down,

Big E


  1. Earl, thanks for filling that need for me. I can't count the number of times you've pulled or pushed me all the way back to the shop. You are one of the reasons I ride. You could pack up your talent and go ride with a more challenging group, but you choose not to. I admire that in you. You do this not just for me, but for everyone that rides with us. Thanks.

  2. Thank you Martin. That's one of the nicest compliments anyone has ever given me about my cycling. Even though that part about pushing you (at least in the physical sense) all the way back to the shop is a big exaggeration. You are one of the reasons I like to ride in the group too. Thanks buddy.