|Getting outside and having fun with friends on the 2015 GTDRI.|
I don't know much, but the whole of professional road racing, its supporters, and its imitators, never struck me as a group that was having this thing called "fun". Not in the least.
I will say that I always had a soft spot in my heart for guys that could suffer through a road race. But.........I never wanted to be that guy. Quite frankly, I couldn't be that guy. Most Pro roadies sacrifice so much, have a specific genetic gifting, and are of a certain temperament that there was zero chances I could ever be "that guy". Nope, I was never going to be successful at Pro racing, suffering the way they do. But I could do something else on a bicycle. I could have fun. I bet you could do that too.
I wanted to have fun and have it often. It is why I have pretty much quit riding road bikes. For one thing, group road rides almost always end up becoming competitions and people getting dropped is a thing that is expected. Hmm......that isn't my idea of "fun". Not many folks would say it was either. Not to mention the fact that your chances of dying from being hit by a distracted, impaired, or unskilled driver are sky high when riding the paved roads these days. Yeah......the fun factor is not high here.
Take a look at RAGBRAI. Folks make fun of the riders because they stop so often and drink and eat. But you know what? They are having "fun". Guess what else? They aren't racing! Of course, there is more to it than that. Everyone has a different bike, wears whatever clothes they want, dresses up, dresses down,or wears costumes. In other words, fun is happening. Social things are happening. Mirth and amusement are happening.
There is a great article up now on Cyclingtips.com by James Huang about road racing and why it should not drive what happens in the cycling industry. I happen to agree with him, and furthermore, I would go as far to say that this insular, not very fun way of cycling is a big factor in what is killing the industry. People don't want to ride like the Pros, they don't want to suffer like the Pros, and they couldn't anyway. So why does the industry insist on basing its culture off Pro road racing?
I dunno...... Fun haters?
Too bad, they are really missing out. I know Mr. Huang gets it, Here's what he said in the article:
"One bright spot is the exploding world of gravel and adventure riding, and I’m not at all surprised by its appeal. After all, getting outside and having a good time with your friends are some of the core themes there. Exploring the world. Challenging yourself. Breathing some fresh air." - James HuangFun- Maybe the cycling industry should take a closer look at that.