Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Problem With Roadies


Long before I owned a road bike, I was riding long distances and generally hating roadies. Now that I am one, I generally hate roadies. Well, dislike them.

Early in the season I rode by myself from The Plains, Va. to Naked Mountain and then some country roads. On the drive back I stopped at the Sheetz in Haymarket and saw Vince Amodeo next to the road. I went over to talk with him and learned he had been on a 50 mile group ride, by invitation, and within the first five miles the group dropped him and a couple of other riders. The Problem With Roadies.

Yesterday I rode to Fredericksburg and yelled out five times "Morning!" to roadies I passed. The number of responses I got back? None. The Problem With Roadies.

Roadies are perceived as arrogant and snobbish. We ARE arrogant and snobbish. We don't say hi to others when they call out. We drop riders who are a little bit slower than us.

I love to ride but I don't want to be perceived as a roadie. Let me always enjoy the ride but always remember why I ride. To have fun. Slow down. Talk a little. Wait for those who are slower. And I can say that because I have been dropped many more times than I have had to wait for others.

Yesterday I started on the valley floor near Bedford, Pennsylvania. Following Pa. Bicycle Route "S" I went through New Baltimore but saw a sign for a covered bridge. Even though I was in a hurry to get to my niece, Emily Cramer's, graduation party/picnic, I also took the time to stop and admire the bridge.

Covered Bridge, New Baltimore, Pa. (Somerset Co.)
The road stayed flat, although in actuality it had been tilted slightly up for the first couple of miles. But once I turned on Wambaugh Hollow Road it turned up in a hurry. There were grades of 13-14% on this road as it crossed under the Pa. Turnpike. The Turnpike would go through Allegheny Mountain. I would ride over it.

It was a nine mile climb over the mountain and then had some extreme rollers all the way into Somerset. I was enjoying the descents, and climbs too, when I thought I saw someone far ahead. At first I thought it was a cyclist. Then a walker. Then a tractor. Whatever it was was still pretty far away.

I had to climb then crest another hill and thought I would have caught it but when I went over the top I didn't see a thing. I figured he turned off on a country side road. But on the next climb I saw and then caught him.

"It" was a fully loaded bike with gear off both sides and the back. The rider was standing and pedaling to get all that weight up the hill. I quickly closed the gap and then blew by him. As I did I asked "Where did you come from and where are you going?"

Rolf, from Denmark

He replied "New York" and said he was following Rte 31. I told him I would wait at the top of the hill.

And so I met Rolf. From Denmark.

He told me he was going to get something to eat in Somerset and I told him I would take him to a picnic. And so I did.

We showed up at Emily's picnic and were able to eat as much as we wanted.

Rolf (L), Barry (R)

Rolf had a wedding present and nice clothes on his bike for a couple who were getting married in Vancouver. On July 9. He's not going to make it.

But everyday he rides until about 6:00 p.m. Then finds a place to sleep.

His adventures have taken him from Alaska to South America. Just following the wind. And the road. And occasionally with help and guidance of people he meets along the way. People who say hi. People who slow down and wait for others. I am glad I waited. The Problem With Roadies.

People often comment and ask how I meet the most interesting people. Just slow down. Wait. Say hello.

1 comment:

  1. Naked Mountain - you did Naked Mountain with clothes on?