TCI Friday

TCI Friday is meant to be a participatory activity. I do a little dance here at the beginning, and then I pose a question. The game works best if you put your thoughts in the comments below.

I want to start this week by stating for my own benefit that what I think doesn’t matter. This isn’t self-deprecation. What you think doesn’t matter either. Thoughts are cheap, basically in the same bargain bin as talk, and while I have devoted an awful lot of time to thinking about cycling, not to mention actually, you know, doing it, experience and perspective are undeniably subjective. In fact, they’re the definition of subjective.

So it’s not that shocking that my adult friends who came to me for advice about bikes overwhelmingly ignored that advice. It’s almost like when an agency full of massively educated people tasked with researching and establishing policies around public health are summarily ignored by folks who have “done their own research.” It’s not just me. We all think too much of ourselves.

And fair play, no one really likes a proselytizer, do they?

Still, as a devotee of bikes and biking, when a person comes to me seeking guidance, I take it very seriously. It’s a precious moment when, whether they end up taking my advice or not, I might have some positive influence on a bike riding outcome. As the years have passed, my advice has become less and less specific (e.g., Get this bike or that one.) and more general (e.g., Feeling comfortable on the bike is the most important thing.).

I try to emphasize that there’s no right way and no wrong way if you’re enjoying yourself, that finding a way to ride that allows you to ride consistently is likely better than jumping in with two feet and trying to do something epic. Oh, and that we all look silly in Lycra, and that’s ok.

Jiminy Cricket! It’s just riding a bike.

But maybe I’m still doing it wrong. My ideas, as I said, aren’t gold-plated and delivered on fine China. This week’s TCI Friday asks, what advice would you give to an adult friend just getting into, or just getting back to riding bikes? If you’ve ever said something that was particularly successful, what was it?

Why not share this with another bike riding friend? It’d be a real favor to us, and maybe they have an idea worth hearing. There are buttons just below.

Join the conversation
  1. tommilani says

    I would begin with a question: What type of riding do you want to do and how often do you plan to ride? I’d probably recommend a bike that takes tires wider than 25mm. Beyond that, I’d suggest they buy a mid-price bike because if they found the really liked riding, they’d have a better idea of what they wanted from their next bike. When my wife was looking for a bike, the only thing I suggested was that she try out bikes made of different materials. And I didn’t go with her to the shop or the test ride she did.

  2. Dan Murphy says

    My approach is exactly like you, Robot – more general, nothing specific, make the person think about what they want, just have fun, and yes, we can certainly laugh at ourselves. I’ll admit that maybe 30 years ago, I would have been a total dork about it because, well, I was a dork. I guess I’m still a dork now, but an older wiser one. Maybe.

    I’ll ask what kind of riding they want to do, and how much
    Are they looking at drop bars or flat bars, how comfortable would they be on either
    How old are they – looking down the road
    How athletic/active are they – I’ll make assumptions if they are very athletic/active
    Are they planning any organized rides as a goal,like Pan-Mass

    I won’t tell them anything specific, but will tell them options they may or may not know about, like fatter tires for more versatility. And I tell them that if they are comfortable on the bike, they’ll use it more, kind of like the best camera to buy is the one you’ll have with you.

  3. jlaudolff says

    I mostly sit back and watch and enjoy seeing newbs discover the same joys and pains that I have discovered over the years. Yeah you can nudge people a bit in one direction or other but we all need to experience the highs and lows of riding a bike.

  4. TominAlbany says

    I usually recommend a bike shop that I know gives good advice and service. When I get asked about specifics, I explain that, I buy stuff that lasts and then wear it out. So I don’t know anything about the latest and greatest. Besides, I’m cheap. So, I’m going to buy something with the greater overall value.

  5. Julie Snyder says

    I’m cheap too. Spend money/time on getting the old bike road/trail-worthy again, and just get your sweaty self out there. Spend money/time on education. Enroll in a class, if you’re lucky enough to have a local MTB chapter or a club offering road safety courses. A little experience and education will let you know better what style of riding makes you happiest and what style of bike you want. Social cycling might even connect you with sellers. There’s nothing hurt but ego in riding an old bike for a while.

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