I’m back after a 3 month hiatus and thought I’d put finger to keyboard to explain my absence and why I think the forums are slowing down:
1. Ongoing medical issues that finally came to a head that required a stint in hospital and surgery. Now fully diagnosed, treated and pain free after 5 years and with an ongoing maintenance program I should continue to be pain free.
2. Work issues that devoted a lot of my mental and emotional time, including a period of timeout to a small country town on the north coast of Tasmania (a place I’ll go back to often).
3. In the weeks leading upto my forums departure, combined with the above, on here, I was called what I interpreted to be a liar and whinger. That cuts deep when the posters responsible don’t know me in person. Yes I’ve typed incorrect things and been corrected accordingly, but to be called a whinger and liar goes too far. Sometimes it is better to walk away than stand and fight.
Over the last 3 months I’ve learnt a lot about myself and others. As a “self imposed” outsider who occasionally read some of the threads, it gave me a new insight into some of the posters here. There are those who definitely know more than me. And I thank them for continuing to inform and educate me. There are those who know less than me, who like me, are using the forums to improve their knowledge. And there are the 3rd group of posters who think they know more than everyone and act like they know more than everyone. I now realise they don’t matter in my life.
It is people like them who drive others off forums. They should stop big noting themselves and trying to impress others. This is the internet. You can be anyone or anything you like. There’ll always be disagreements. There’ll always be different viewpoints. But to continuously correct others and put them down is not a way to win friends and influence people. Open your mind to different viewpoints. Everyone has something to contribute.
Think about what others have to
There are reasons I don’t do BNV group rides, or any group ride. I pulled out of the recent Slog ride, after entering, as I simply didn’t feel like potentially meeting so many BNV forumites. I did sight the steam train of BNV forumites heading down the bay in RTB. Well I actually heard them first.
I don’t feel the need to be put down or have you attempt to impress me with your $$$$$$ bling or profound knowledge of all things worldly. Hell!!, I ride a $275 Cash Convertors 2nd hand flatbar to work that’s covered in scratches and paint missing. It’s done me well over the last 4 years, getting me to work. It’s a heavy clunker, but it goes and goes and goes. Some of you have opinions on me that’s your choice. Your opinions of me don’t matter in my world. I’m not alive to impress, fight you or butt heads.
I don’t care that you can whiz past me as I ride along @ 10kmph going up a hill, whilst you roar past me @ 30kmph. I know in my own mind, I’m physically, financially, geographically, mentally and emotionally doing something I enjoy. You can never take that away from me. I ride for the mental benefits: I ride to relax, I ride to unwind, I ride to think, I ride not to think, I ride to analyse, I ride to ponder, I ride to de-stress, I ride to clear the mind. Exerting energy is an added bonus.
I think I’ve only ever met four forumites in real life, although have seen many more (I even got a grunted greeting from one so obviously I didn’t impress). Even had one ride straight past me @ the St.Kilda Crits today in his BV Forums “jersey” without even batting an eyelid @ me. Do I feel the need to introduce myself to any forumites I’ve seen? Put simply, no. I just want to ride my bike. Maybe one day I’ll say hello? Who knows. I’ve even put away my two BNV forum jerseys to retain my anonymity on the roads and not be judged. Some may see my slow riding pace as detrimental to the image of BNV forumites. Dare I bring down the cycling average of the group. I even removed myself from the MCL group as my average speed and total distance was bringing others down. I stopped competing.
Away from the internet I am a very private person. Maybe I have a few skeletons in the closet? I’m no longer a competitive person? Maybe I’ve already revealed too much about myself in the anonymity that is the internet? Maybe I choose not to reveal those skeletons as I’m over being judged for who and what I am and what I do. Many a person has judged me on these forums without taking the time to get to know me.
Gone are the days of trying to race other cyclists.
Gone are the days of trying to keep up with other cyclists.
Gone are the days of caring if another cyclist runs a red light or doesn’t wear a helmet.
I don’t even care if your bike has lights and a bell. I still don’t know the difference b/w a clincher tyre or a tubular tyre. Cycling gets me from A to B to C...eventually. I don’t even care if you are right or wrong or what your opinion is. If it educates or informs me then I am a better person and I thank you (thanks Duckmeister for many an educational/ informative post). Self censorship is great.
I’ll never be able to ride up 1-20 at a pace of more than 10kmph (I’ll probably never attempt it as there’s too many hills just to get there), I’ll never keep pace with any group rides, I’ll never be able to impress with my knowledge of all things cycling related. My opinions won’t change the world, and probably won’t even change anyone else’s. I just give another view point that you may not have thought of.
I’ll never fit in as a group cyclist. I don’t drink coffee, I don’t drink tea, and I don’t even drink alcohol. Am I a failure because of that? I don’t think so!! I’m not a fast rider and never will be. I’m not built for speed. Lycra certainly doesn’t make me look any more attractive to any other living/ breathing creature. And I don’t recall there ever being a group ride that involves a “lemonade stop” or a “sausage in bread @ Officeworks/ Bunning’s stop”. Maybe I should organise one. I know I’d turn up to my own ride...well maybe..... I don’t even know where I’ll ride when I set out (except work commutes). Friday night I went for an evening ride and ended up @ Footscray train station – never been there in my life – just thought I’d head west. The beauty of cycling – it takes you wherever destiny is willing and able.
I’m happy to pootle along at my pace in my world, ignoring all others in their pursuits to get home those X-minutes quicker. God knows the 30+kmph cyclists always ignore me as they fly past. Some of you have probably ignored me at various stages on Royal Parade, CTT, MYT, Beach road or St Georges road. Yes my commuting times are improving and my fitness continues to ebb and flow as I spend various amounts of time on the bike. You may be in the top ten of every Strava segment you’ve attempted, but it’s people like me that make up the bottom ten placings so you can be up the top.
So in ending, feel free to continue to contribute your opinions on here. Some will educate me. Some will inform me. Many will do neither. But show me the respect I deserve as a fellow cyclist and human being as I do to you. And show each other the respect each of you deserve as a fellow cyclist and human being.
At the end of the day, I’ll keep riding and you will never stop that, be it at 10kmph or 18kmph. Never @ the 30kmph that you ride – so you’ll probably never see me or notice me, unless you look back at the cyclist you've just ridden past. You’ll probably never return my greeting and I respect that. I won’t lose any sleep.