Tarmac Tales: Where I Stand In The Road

As The Cyclist evolves, we will be tweaking the site, adding and subtracting, and making some necessary changes. We will experience growing pains, and we won’t be perfect. One of the first big steps we are going to undertake is the start of coverage on road bikes. You might take notice of the emphasis on “road bikes”. I did not write that we would be covering “road racing bikes” . I think it is a very important distinction, and there are some good reasons for this decision.

First off, there are already a plethora of sites and print media devoted to road racing, it’s machines, and riders. To add another site, or media outlet for such a well documented part of cycling seems to my mind to be a bit silly. I’m sure most reading this would agree with that assessment.

Secondly, road racing and its bikes are not a great solution for most folks cycling needs, in my opinion. I work in a bicycle shop, and I see the ramifications daily of what the outcome of buying in to today’s philosophy and definition of what a road bike is on customers. Ordinary recreational cyclists looking for a fast paced road cycling ride experience are not cut from the same cloth as your typical Pro cycling athletes. Why should they subject themselves to the same sort of fit and performance standards that most road bikes foist upon them?

I think there is a rising awareness of this situation amongst cyclist and manufacturers alike. The resulting bicycles are fast becoming top sellers in their brands lines. Seems obvious to me why, and this is the sort of road bicycle I want to write about and feature on The Cyclist.

My writing has mostly been focused on off road, 29 inch wheeled mountain bikes, and many of you familiar with my work may wonder what in the heck do I know about road bikes anyway. Okay. Fair question.

I would first point out that my bicycle mechanic experiences have taught me much, as I have alluded to already. Furthermore; I am actually a fairly accomplished road rider. I have done several fully loaded and self supported tours, and many road rides around my native Iowa countryside. (You can search for my “Touring Tuesdays  articles on my personal blog, Guitar Ted Productions.) I have ridden parts of many RAGBRAI rides, and did the whole enchilada in 1996. In fact, I wrenched on two RAGBRAI rides as a mechanic, so I have seen that ride from both ends.

So although I am not known for being a road biker, I’ve logged a fair number of rides on tarmac. But road bikes don’t just belong on paved surfaces, and the mixed terrain rides are becoming more and more popular. We’ll be looking in to that sort of thing too. In fact, this is really my cup of tea when it comes to road riding. Going exploring, taking the roads less traveled, and using the right tools for the job.

So come on over and check out The Cyclist if your road riding veers from the mold cast by road racing. Not that there is anything wrong with road racing, but that is just a small part of a much larger road cycling world out there, and that’s where I’ll be going.


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3 Responses to “Tarmac Tales: Where I Stand In The Road”

  1. Pages tagged "iowa" Says:

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  2. Mike Says:

    “But road bikes don’t just belong on paved surfaces…”

    I applaud this statement. Nice work! Just yesterday, I had a guy on a nice steel road bike stop in the shop (he needed to tighten his mirror that fits in his handlebar end) and while looking around at the classic mountain bikes and overlooking the touring bikes, cross bikes, ask “so, do you do mainly mountain bikes?” Well, no, I do cross bikes, touring bikes…well, I actually do road bikes you ride in the dirt, I told him. Looking a little perplexed, he leaves and proceeds to walk his road bike across my dirt parking lot, clearly not getting it and hastening the demise of his cleats.

    Keep up the good work, guys.

  3. Spencer Says:

    Yay cyclo-cross!

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