Cycling image problem....oldtimers.

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by BullGod, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. BullGod

    BullGod New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm a Cat 1 and I have raced a fair bit recently in UK and Holland, Belgium. It has struck me recently that our sport has always had a major image problem, and unlike football (soccer) cycling is definitely not considered a fashionable sport. A standard comment I hear from friends is that it's very boring to watch, and that "they're all on drugs anyway", as well as more juvenile comments about shaved legs and tight lycra.

    On a local level, the cyclists that people see out "training" seem to be frequently over 50 and overweight, yet still feeling the need to wear a replica pro kit, and even worse ride a pro level bike. Imagine how people would laugh if they went to the park and saw a group of middle aged and elderly men kicking a soccerball around, all dressed in replica Arsenal and Barcelona strips, complete to the team socks, attempting feebly to emulate the tricks and theatrics of Messrs Henry and Ronaldinho.

    I know when I am in my 50's the last thing I want to be doing is risking impotence and a heart attack grinding into the wind in April. Worse still are the over analytical endless discussions of mature riders who have also "invested" in powermeters and HR monitors and are busy trying to improve their 180w FT. Why not just get a touring bike and take a leisurely ride along a canal or something? You're never gong to be young again. I have no objection to those who raced in their prime and ride a bit after "retirement" to keep the athlete's heart in check, but those who take up such a demanding sport in middle age? I believe it's called a mid life crisis fellas....what are you trying to prove?

    So, whenever the average person is exposed to cycling it's either yet another drugs bust, scary Lance making the TdF boring, a "Fred" provoking a pitying laugh by riding along at 18kph with his knees pointing outwards astride a Trek Madone, or some bore droning on about crank length or resistance levels of tubs v clinchers.

    I don't necessarily agree with all my sentiment here, and I have deliberately expressed myself in controversial terms...but I'd be interested to hear any agreements and disagreements on the issues I raised.
     
    Tags:


  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Personally, I'm thrilled to see people out on their bikes, regardless of their weight, talent or equipment. If having an $8K bike complete with PM gives a guy extra incentive to ride, great.

    As to your idea that 50+ year-olds are all tooling around with 180W of power, I only wish that were true. I'm 62, with an FT of ~325W when I'm race-fit and I am not the fastest dude around in my age group.
     
  3. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know why someone out having fun would provoke a "pitying laugh." I don't think the problem here is the public's image of cycling, but your own. That's all I'm going to say.
     
  4. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
    and so what if they are racing away at 180 W? More credit to them for trying to improve their health and fitness. at least they are having a go and trying... what should they do -- just become sedentary?

    and why does being in your 50s and riding a bike cause impotence and heart failure? and here was me thinking that being healthy and exercising reduced the risk of a coronary episode...

    ric
     
  5. Squint

    Squint New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2003
    Messages:
    351
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey, their 180W might be 360 Tacx Flow watts.


     
  6. capwater

    capwater New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2003
    Messages:
    1,574
    Likes Received:
    1
    In the US criteriums are more popular than road races. They usually take place in downtown environments instead of out in the country which affords fans a better opportunity to view the action. In my city they just hosted the 4th year of a major pro crit. Each year the crowds have gotten bigger and include many non-cyclists who just like the opportunity to come out and see something different.

    As far as what people wear when riding, I really have no beef with anything. Even the overweight guy in the Discovery kit gets a tip of the hat because at least he's doing something instead of drinking beer on the couch watching TV.

    I must say I have seen an increase in the number of cyclists I see out on my rides. No matter what their level of riding, that's a good thing for the sport.
     
  7. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think that Cycling has an bigger image problem than that of most other sports, although I wish that some substances (such as dynEPO) would be easier to trace.

    That being said, let me comment your thoughts from 3 different perspective.

    General health
    It's important that as many oldtimers (as you call them) as possible be in shape. That way, they live a better life (good for them), and they are more productive thus contribute more to the societe and cost less (good for you).

    Business
    Those oldtimers and the untalented wannabe (that's me here...), pour a great deal of money into the sport business. They basically finance the clubs and team. If dad does some bike, chances are that he will enjoy riding with his daugther or son. They are the one who help financing other deficit activities such as elite athlete's training camps and such.

    They also pour a lot of money into the industry by buying those expensive bikes. If every one who's FT is under 250w would not be allowed to buy carbon frames, the latters would be very expensive and probably out of many elite athlete's reach

    Sport Popularity
    You used a comparason with Football. And it's a good one. Soccer even here in Quebec Canada, is the biggest federation in term of number of registered members. That is because it's very cheap and ez to practice. It is a highly democratic sport, just like basketball.

    IMO, the more democratic a sport is, the better it is. A 50yo oldtimer with a 180FT that has tried some climbing, that has been in Alpe d'Huez, that is riding an expensive bike with CSC jersey WILL probably find a tv cycling race more interesting than his neighboor that has NOT been there at all.

    By listening to the race on tv, the rating will increase. The publicity revenu will also increase. By the same token, the Pro Cyclists pay will also increase.

    That is democracy. And your post in my opinion, is a call against this democracy.

    Fortunately, you didn't think what you wrote :D
     
  8. graf zeppelin

    graf zeppelin New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    0
    I couldnt agree more with all of the replies thus far. I'd even cheer if I saw a bunch of oldtimers out playing soccer in team attire. That would make my day. Whatever gets you outside and active and makes you happy enough to continue doing it is a good thing. You obviously dont wish to wear team attire in certain circumstances, but elitist attitudes are the worse thing that can be found in the sport.
     
  9. wh0areume

    wh0areume New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yep, the more people staying in shape, the better.
    IMO - there's too many CAT-1s in cycling that hate old people.
     
  10. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
    what about the over 50's riders who can thrash cat 1 riders...? there are quite a few about...

    ric
     
  11. Lonnie Utah

    Lonnie Utah Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    Messages:
    980
    Likes Received:
    1
  12. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,257
    Likes Received:
    27
    I may be one of the youngest on my club rides at 42 but, I have often been dropped by the older more experienced riders. I have learned to keep my humility and hope that I can finish mid pack.
     
  13. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am 51 and guess that I qualify in the old timers category. I have been commuting on bike for over 15 years, but only started road biking two years ago. I am a lifetime bike rider, of various types and styles.

    I may be older, and have already reached many of the dreams I set in my 20's, I still create new ones. Life is a journey, while I am religious, I am not really looking forward to the destination. The journey is constantly changing and I am always setting new goals (dreams).

    This year, my fitness goal is to ride 100 miles at a 20 mph average speed. I expect to accomplish this sometime in August. If you don't set goals, then how to you know where you want to go? Even when you are older, you have to set goals, otherwise, you are not improving.

    Being in my 50's, I have a lot more disposable income than I had in my 20's. I feel justified in buying better equipment, which helps compensate for the age related decline in performance. I feel that I have earned the right to the better equipment long ago, especially considering all the bicycling commuting done instead of driving.
     
  14. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    0
    Inspired by this post during lunchtime, I had few extra-thoughts.

    How different is the ball used by pros, compared with the ball used by amateurs? How different the socks, the shorts etc... In baseball, how different the ball used by pros compared to amateurs?

    Is if forbiden for an amateur tennis player to buy racket just like the one Raphael Nadal use?

    Why would it be bad for an amateur rider to buy a pro level bike then, given that he can affort it as much as a kid can affort buying a real soccer ball?

    I strongly believe that you'd be more at risk staying home on your cauch listening to soccer on tv.

    A friend of mine with whom I ride on a regular basis is 70yo. He joins our pace line on a reg basis, and takes his turns in the front at 40kph too.
     
  15. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Messages:
    4,856
    Likes Received:
    0
    Personally, I've never encountered so much hostility and disdain on account of being out there riding a bike. Of course, there are exceptions when women smile from their cars e.t.c. but then you get these flag-waving football supporters who openly shout insults.
    The number of times I've had cans thrown at me, abuse yelled and even been spat at, I've lost count.
    You know, what irritates me is how these pot-bellied ignoramuses ;) seem to think cycling is so easy and that we have time to put up with these stupid remarks such as, "Your tyre has fallen off, mate!" e.t.c. e.t.c.
    I did hear Lance put up with similar stuff in Texas and would often dismount his bike and take a poke at lorry-drivers who had tried to run him off the road.
    I hear cyclists in the U.S. don't have to put up with such abuse so often post Lance, since they seem to equate cycling with patriotism and the sport is more respected.
    Sadly over here it seem like cyclists have little respect. Seldom does anyone ever give you credit for busting your ass in a sport which is so more demanding and dangerous than football.
    Having said that, fellow cyclists always wave at me when they pass on the other side of the road and I also exchange some greeting.


     
  16. GrooveSlave

    GrooveSlave New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    As one of the 'old-timers' you mention, I would say this.

    For every overweight guy you see on an expensive bike, keep in mind that he was probably more overweight yesterday than he is today - because of riding and trying to achieve a goal.

    When you see somebody going slower than you, keep in mind they could be 50 miles into an unsupported century or on their cool down.

    I estimate my FT to be around 180w at this point and frankly, I've had to work my butt off to get it here. I'm proud of my accomplishments and plan to keep going.

    In fact, I would submit that it's harder to take up cycling and consistently improve at an older age than it would be for someone who is younger and fitter - the chasm between what you want to do and what you can do sometimes seems insurmountable. It takes real strength and commitment to keep going losing a pound or so a week.

    Peace.
     
  17. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    0
    One more contribution to this thread for me:


    The winner of the U.S. 50-54 National tt last year (Kent Bostick) would have placed 5th in the U23 category (same course, same day). Interesting, huh?:eek:
     
  18. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    0
    Compared to most other sports, I think cycling comes first as for the performance level of its 'oldtimers'. You won't see it in swimming. The winner of 50-54 cat in 1500 free style will not be in the top 100 of U23 category. Probably not even in the top 500.

    It has always been a wonder to me. Why does our swimming (or even running) level of performance deteriorate so much compare cycling. :rolleyes:
     
  19. curlew

    curlew New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0
    BullGod, if you have good reasons for riding into the April wind while you are young, don't you think that many if not all of those reasons could still be influential when you are in your 50's?

    But what if you want to do substantial things with your free time when you are in your 50's? Having a "mid life crisis" seems to mean that there has been an unexpected, sudden, change in the identity of a person. The once thrifty, family oriented neighbor suddenly goes out and buys a fancy sportscar is the common stereotype. What I see going on in older riders is just the opposite of a mid life crisis. Instead of suddenly turning to racing to try to prove something, they are trying to maintain the coherence of their identity over time. These are people who were vigorous, energetic people in their youth. They may not have been riders but they were runners, climbers, swimmers or active in some other way. These people aren't who they are for themselves or people who know them unless they are physically active. So, if I suddenly announced to my wife that I wasn't going to ride hard anymore and was going to tour around, she would look at me and not understand me and be worried that I was having a crisis of some sort. So I don't face those April winds primarily because I know it is good for my health or because I have the illusion of being able to reach the pinnacle of the sport. I ride and race primarily because that is who I am. I am a rider. I know that the satisfactions that come from being a rider are tied to how strong and skilled I am. So when I see an older rider buying a power meter and trying to develop themselves, I don't see something misguided going on. If you are a teacher, you ought to spend time doing the things that need to be done to be a better teacher. If you are a father, you ought to do the things that need to be done to be a good father. If you are a 50 year old racer, then you ought to face those April winds and engage in analytical discussions of power and heart rate monitor data. That's what it means to be good and get better at who you are.

    Sure, there are people that are new to riding having been previously runners, active in some other way, or even more sedentary. There is a period of transition where they make all kinds of mistakes. But we are all weak, frail or strong in different situations at different times. When you have had the great good fortune to excel at riding, don't you want to be a force that helps people of all ages, riding styles and dress develop so that they too discover the joys that excellent riders know and experience?
     
  20. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    This is one hell of a goal. Good for you. I am working with a group of recreational riders in my cycling club to do a century in 5 hours or less as a team time trial. It's not all that easy (for recreational riders) to ride 100 miles at 20mph average speed. We don't have any completely flat courses here (unless we want to ride around a block ~100 times), so it's much more difficult with a hilly course. Good luck.
     
Loading...
Loading...