Are you social tonight?

(Sung to the tune of Are you Lonesome Tonight by Elvis
Are you social tonight
When you ride on tonight
Are you sorry they dropped you on the ride
Does your memory stray to a bright sunny day
When we all biked down the street
Does the bike seat seem hard and cruel
Do you gaze at the road and picture me there
Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again
Tell me dear, are you social tonight

My bolo tie. One of the cow horns snagged in my nose and it hurt.


So last night I worked up enough nerve to go hang out with a local social cycling group. The theme was ‘Western’, so I dug out a bolo tie and cowboy shirt (both bought in Texas so they are .. gen-u-wine), locked myself out of the house without my helmet, and was on my way! (I used the commuter bike, not my touring bike).

Now, there are many different types of GROUPS out there, for each sport. For cycling you have:
1. Road racers: Usually skinny hipped doods in nice spandex doing 26 MPH and too elite to say ‘on your left’
2. Road bikers: I clump myself in this group. Not so skinny hipped, doing about 18-22 MPH, polite enough to say ‘on your left‘. Spandex may or may not match
3. Bikers: There are many subdivisions here. “Fixies”*, beach cruiser type people, social cyclists (usually activists)
4. MTB: Mountain / trail bikers. Something I know very little about and hope to learn more about this summer
5. Commuters: The brave and bold that bike to work

I learned a few things on this ride:
1. Non cycling clothes suck to bike in. soggy cotton eww
2. I don’t like biking 5-7 MPH in a large group
3. It is fun having a boombox blaring out music
4. I seemed to be the only person with a well packed bike bag
5. I thought people would be more.. social. No one really talked to me but I DID see a dood effectively pick up a chick. You go, dood.

I know a few runners read this blog. Are there “runner” sub-groups out there? Do you get judged if you are wearing like.. Nike vs. Adidas?

Cyclists – did I miss a subgroup? Do you ride often with any ‘social’ group?

*Will have a separate post to deal with the ‘fixie’ issue.

6 thoughts on “Are you social tonight?

  1. when i ran( i can hear brian be snarky towards me now) everyone was super cool when they were out on the trails, and always said hi. which being pretty tatted up and scary some days i thought that was cool.but i have met the hardcore folk that weren't too nice. i met them at the running store in redlands. when i explained how much running i did(30 miles a week), he was like oh that's it, well you can use these. ok seriously i know that's not hardcore in your set, but to the couch loving, only movement to grab my laptop or remote set that is hardcore. there's some in every group. but hey if you want to know more about mountain biking my friend abe who works in downtown, goes all the time, and has a specialized chassis, really geeky about it.

  2. Strangely, I've yet to run with a group (I should, I think I could improve if I had some competition), but one of my regular running spots lends itself to the same type of categorization you had for the cycling groups.

    I run up at the Rose Bowl for anything longer than 6 miles – it's convenient – one three mile lap has two drinking fountains and a bathroom. It gets everyone, from walkers, to runners, to cyclists.

    The most irritating experience in "class difference" was one day when there was an event at the Rose Bowl and there were cops directing traffic. Generally they'd let the recreational users have the right-of-way, but occasionally they'd have to get the flow of traffic going again. At one point, they stopped us – it was me, a walker, and a girl in a Team in Training shirt. A guy in spiffy running gear goes BOLTING by the officer who has us stopped. Yells "Can't stop, I'm training!". This sets off my WTF alarm. Hi, I'm training for a marathon, yet polite enough to stop when asked to. Hi, the girl in the TnT shirt, is training her heart out, working up from a run-walk, to be able to run in probably the same marathon I'm doing. Jerkpants thought he was too cool for school – we were ALL training. (I'm still cranky and this was last year…heh).

    The runner categories up at the Rose Bowl:

    The elite runners – too cool for school, fancy running clothes, above the law and generally not very friendly to their fellow runners

    The Team in Training runners – some good, some bad, but I have a lot of respect for them giving it a go. Usually wearing mid-range running gear with a TnT shirt. Pretty friendly, but usually look rather pained.

    The distance runners – we're generally a pretty friendly group – it comes from encountering each other multiple times, knowing that we've all run well more than 3 miles. We run enough that we're not always wearing good running gear – yeah, sometime we're wearing that cotton t-shirt we got from a race.

    The stylish runners (aka The Hot Chicks) – usually not great runners, but damn if they don't look great as you're approaching from behind. Not friendly.

    The casual runners – wearing anything, just getting out for some exercise. They'll say hi back!

    Dog runners – Happy doggies getting some exercise with their owners. Generally pretty friendly and are usually respectful of leash space when passing.

    I'm sure I've forgotten some… And I'm sure I'll come up with new ones when I finally get around to running with a group.

    • DOOD! While doing a 100 mile ride, 20 of us all stop at a red light.

      ONE cyclist runs the red and almost gets hit by a car. Those jerks suck!!

      I'm a TnT runner – Very pained look, and friendly when able to talk (once the gasping has stopped). Come over to the westside and jog with me! We have lots of nice places to run PLUS cool ocean breezes.

  3. I'm both fit both in the road biker and the commuter (year round) categories. Would like to say that there is two (to my knowledge) sub-categories to the commuters: fair weather commuters and year round commuters. I haven't done many group rides, but I only started riding a year and a half ago. On the two or three group rides I have done it was with close friends that I am trying to into cycling, and hope to get them to train to do the Seattle-to-Portland double century. Always say hi or at least nod, and "on your left" or a bell is a must for me, though I'll admit that until recently I didn't have the bell and would forget to call from time to time… especially if I was out of breath. Would like to work up to being able to hold the road racer speeds more consistently, and lose some of my extra lbs around the middle… but that's hard, being both a guy and a lover of pizza, pasta and beer.

  4. I think I need to pick up a bolo now.

    My ass hurt. Also I had a well packed bike bag, it was just all in my WWF backpack!

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