TCI Friday*

Welcome one and all. If you arrive here as a former reader of Red Kite Prayer, you will know the routine from the Friday Group Ride that featured there for the last decade. If you are not familiar with the RKP Group Ride, here’s how we do what we do. Every Friday I rhapsodize and pontificate (pontifidize? rhapsodicate?) on some topic of wide or narrow interest to you, the cycling intelligentsia. I pose a question on said topic, and you commence to hucking your two cents into this fountain of wishes.

We converse. Maybe we argue a little. We’re friends. This is how it goes.

So I might ask you what pedals you like, or what saddle you ride. We might argue over whether Tomac (no first name necessary) was the greatest ever mountain bike cyclist, or whether chamois cream can be used to grease pedal threads in a pinch. And while I can’t imagine what that pinch might be, especially in light of your recent purchase of one tub of Park Blue Grease, I’d be fascinated to hear what you think anyway.

Back at Red Kite Prayer, we managed to do this little dance 517 times, and we covered a lot of ground. I’m inclined to think, regardless, that there is still plenty of material to rake through, plenty of unpopular opinions to express, and, for me anyway, still a lot to learn.

What I’d like to do now, is take the very fact that this is the first TCI Friday and turn it into it’s own sort of metaphor regarding restarts, reboots, and rebirths, because we are, in a very real way, starting over. It’s exciting.

In my cycling life, I do this periodically as well. In college I started riding mountain bikes (riding in the mountainous style I like to say). At some point a friend pushed me to get a road bike, and without so much as a flash of lightning or clap of thunder, I became a roadie. What does that make me? A genre hopper? A bandwagoneer?

Usually I don’t see these reboots coming. They just happen. And they’re good. One thing goes stale. A new thing presents itself. The stoke goes on.

I didn’t foresee the end of Red Kite Prayer either. Padraig called me and pitched me the idea for TCI, and I responded like I would have if he’d said, “Hey man, we’re gonna ride unicycles this weekend!” OK. Cool. I’m down for whatever.

So here we are, at The Cycling Independent’s first TCI Friday, bobbing away on our unicycles, contemplating this new reality.

And so, this week’s TCIF asks, what was your last cycling reboot? Or have you only ever been one kind of rider? Are you on the verge of something new now? Or are you as happy as ever on the bike your riding now, in the style you’ve spent so long to cultivate, going along just fine, thank you very much.

*Big thanks to RKP reader Paul W for coming up with the TCIF name for this column, an awful/wonderful pun I couldn’t improve on.

Join the conversation
  1. TominAlbany says

    My last reboot was to become a bike commuter. Up until I turned 40, I rode after work or in the evenings AND both days each weekend. Then, in 2006, my son was born. So, at the tender age of 41, I became a part-time bike commuter just so I could keep riding my bike and that was how I got most of my miles. That worked until this COVID riddled era we live in appeared. Denied access to an office until July, and still denied access to a shower and locker – while wishing to have my colleagues continue to think well of me – I’m currently in a reboot, or, perhaps I’m really just stuck in a ‘do loop subroutine’ trying to figure out how to get my miles in AND help out at home. And home is a state of flux right now too…

    In the meantime, I’ve rediscovered my mountain bike and am figuring out how to work my CX bike into the fray. I don’t race CX. It was a decent, used bike I bought to play around with on gravel despite all of Padraig’s advice about geometry and BB drop – Sorry, Padraig!!! – and maybe, just maybe I’d try a cross race. (Who doesn’t like getting booted after a lap and a half?)

    So, the jury is out and we’ll see if I’m currently rebooting or if that subroutine will return me to the same code that sent me here.

    By the way, good call on going with the name for the column. I’m a Dad-joke guy and this fits! I’m a little worried about you, though, when I find your Friday column posted first thing!!! LOLOLOL

  2. DaveinME says

    I’ve had a couple of reboots come and go. I started off as a yout’ being a roadie and still am down to my core. It is how I define myself as a cyclist and how others see me.

    I was a bike commuter for 20 years and used a cross bike for that which works great year-round since you can swap to studs in the winter. I loved commuting because I could rack up monster mileage during the week and then add on whatever I could during the weekend. My last employer refused to make any accommodations for commuting, so that was the end of that. I now have a job that is permanently remote and was so pre COVID, so I only take the cross bike out with road tires on it for recovery days. It is fun to explore trails on it and riding trails certainly helps improve my bike handling.

    I’ve tried MTB several times and I get the appeal of it, but the draw wasn’t strong enough to get me into it. However, my wife just got an MTB and has been having a blast riding with her brother, so I may go out and find something used I can start out with. I’m also curious in trying out a fat bike during the winter. I’ve got a nearby shop that rents them out for the weekend and I am planning on doing that this winter.

    My only other change was riding single speed or fix geared bikes. I used to use them for commuting in the warm weather months and loved them. I wrecked my last one on a roof rack/garage incident and am still waiting to build another.

    In the end, I am happy as long as I am riding, but for the long term being on the road has always been my preference. I’ll see if that changes once I get an MTB to ride with my wife.

    I am so happy to see RKP being rebooted into The Cycling Independent and can’t wait to see what you have in store going forward!

  3. Hautacam says

    So. Many. Reboots… can’t recall them all. I think LeMond once said that he fell in and out of love with cycling roughly every 10 years, or something like that. It sounds about right to me. I could use a good cycling reboot now. But then, this is 2020 and I expect most everyone is ready to reboot on many different levels.

  4. bart says

    My last reboot was fall of 2015 when, on a whim, I did a 65 mile gravel “race”. I had no idea what I was getting into and I had almost no off-pavement experience. At one point the race route went straight into a corn field on double track with the corn more than 6 feet high. I had no idea this sort of thing was even possible! Since then, my road bike has become almost permanently placed on rollers in the basement and I pull out my all-surface bike for just about everything. I never quite know where my ride will take me and I want the freedom to head down any trail/path/road I find and not have to wonder if I have the right bike for the conditions. I’ve ridden this one bike on everything and love doing so. When I settle onto this bike on I feel like I’m at home. Sometimes I feel a little bad about abandoning the road bike I loved, but the all-road bike is just more fun.

  5. deepbrook says

    One reboot. 2015. I shifted from roadie-first to dirt-first. I crash a lot more, but each time get hurt a lot less.

  6. aaronsmith says

    I’ve done a few ‘reboots’, usually due to getting bored with climbing the mountain of fitness again. MTB, Touring – even a Rivendell stint. I always come back to road cycling, but I have added a love to weight lifting recently

    Weight lifting has really become an essential way to cleanse my palate (so to speak) of road cycling. It has helped me get faster than ever before – for sure – but mostly it just gives me a break when winter/cold make it hard to get excited about road season. Sitting in the basement and focusing on the mind-body connection is a much different experience than flying down smooth pavement on carbon and 25’s.

    That said, Zwift always has a place for fighting off the Minnesnowta blues, but heavy weights and heavier metal are here for good I think.

  7. rich says

    After surgery last year that resulted in a significant loss of balance my reboot has been learning what I can’t do on a bike yet. Sold the MTB and struggling with the gravel bike. Bought a touring bike. Going to give that a try.

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