When A ‘Bike Club’ Forgets Its Mission…


From my point of view a bicycle club has several important missions:

  • It should provide a place for cyclists to meet up and ride with other people.
  • It should be in the habit of helping cyclists learn best cycling practices.
    • How to dress for cold weather riding.
    • How to prepare for long distance riding.
    • How to lock your bike when commuting on the train.
    • What bike works best for your physical needs and conditioning.
  • It should help you learn to keep your bike in good running order.
  • It should help you learn best practices when riding on the street.
  • It should provide guidance on the kinds of accessories to own and use.
    • How to choose the best lights for front and rear of your bike.
    • How to choose the best fenders for your bike.
    • How to choose and adjust your saddle for comfort.
  • It should instruct you on the Rules of the Road for cycling.
    • How to signal your intended turns and movements.
    • How to announce yourself when passing another bike or pedestrian.
  • It should teach you how to plan routes to work or shopping.
    • There should be a repository of ride routes that are available to each club member.

But sometimes far more important things erupt on the forums of a bicycle club. You know things like:

  • Which night of the week should we hold our Holiday Party on?
  • What’s my best side when I pose for selfies showing me nearly naked and enjoying a brew while sitting outside in sub-zero weather?
  • Don’t you want to see the 30th bike I just bought?
  • Why can’t my mileage for a California or European vacation tour count for club mileage too?
  • Should we have blue or black or pink or purple nose rings when we ride together?
  • Why aren’t our jerseys made of Merino Wool rather than Tyvek?
  • Should our club mascot be pictured riding a plastic bike or a steel one with head badge?

For these sorts of situations I strongly suggest that someone in the club be appointed to serve as the Miss Manners of the organization. Having said that it need not always be a female. It could just as easily be a guy who gives a shit about some of the idiotic things that keep cropping up and diverting the attention of cyclists away from the more important things, like enjoying their bike rides.

I certainly would enjoy knowing that rather than trying to figure out just how fast your group can circle Busse Woods each Saturday, you gave some thought to how ‘safely‘ you could accomplish that feat. That might mean slowing down long enough to let a family with kids stroll by or avoiding hairpin turns at 25 mph while attempting to beat your best Strava times-to-date.

Or better yet quit all the bullshit and devote yourselves to helping school kids learn how to ride safely. Of course this sort of thing might be difficult if you are constantly smelling of ‘draft beer breath‘ but taking a hiatus from all the boozing might improve your speeds for these really long hauls to Lake Barrington Hills each Saturday. And who knows, but with an emptier bladder you might not have to climb off that plastic piece of crap you ride to take a leak on somebody’s front lawn?

Just sayin’.