If you ride often, you have likely encountered many of these individuals—and, let’s be honest, you probably fall into several categories yourself.
The Dark Horse1 of 8
You're lined up at the start of a race, kitted up and straddling a bike that is worth more than your car. Game face fully deployed, you scrutinize the competition, made up largely of similarly badass riders. None of you are pros, but damn it, you could be. In the gaggle, you spot someone new. Dressed in board shorts, Birkenstocks and a Def Leppard shirt with the sleeves cut off, he chats happily with the racers around him. His bike is a hardware store special with grip shifters and reflectors on the spokes. "First time," you think to yourself. "Good for you, man." Thankfully you keep this condescension to yourself because the Dark Horse is about to kick your ass.
The Strava Junkie2 of 8
To the Strava Junkie, a ride without segments is not a ride worth doing, and a ride not recorded is a ride that did not happen at all. The Junkie has an insatiable appetite for KOMs and will do almost anything to get more—wind doping, for example. This tactic is employed by using a favorable gale-force tailwind to snag a particularly desirable segment. Although technically not cheating, wind doping is considered to be outside the boundaries of good etiquette (not to mention a little weird). Taken to dangerous extremes, the Strava Junkie will tailgate buses, blow red lights or stop signs and would happily mow down elderly pedestrians in their maniacal quest for crowns.
The Good Samaritan3 of 8
Like a dear grandmother who always cooks enough to feed an army battalion, the Good Samaritan attends every ride loaded down with extra gels, water, bars, tubes and maybe even the occasional roast turkey. Double flat on a ride? Bonk when your route goes longer than expected? Have no fear, the Samaritan has your back. This rider is always the one to stop and help with a mechanical, fully outfitted with every tool known to man. The Tutor of Newbies and Shepherd of the Dropped, the Good Samaritan is a true treasure to any group.
The Hammerhead4 of 8
Also known as The Diesel, this rider is happiest on the front of the train, on the flattest of roads, riding straight into an unrelenting headwind. The Hammerhead only has one speed: full gas. Never attempt to ride beside one, because whatever speed you're going, it's simply not fast enough. But if it's a great draft you're after, this is the wheel you want. Assuming your lungs and legs are up to the task, he or she will pull you for miles on end, untiring and without complaint (until you reach a climb or sprint, at which point they will typically blow up in spectacular fashion). Make friends with a Hammerhead and your days of humping headwinds are over.
The Fashionista5 of 8
Never a seam out of place and impeccably outfitted from helmet to cleats, the Fashionista is hard to miss. He wears the latest in luxurious European cycling garments. Always perfectly matched to his frame, you would swear his cycling kit was made by a fine Italian tailor. His razor-sharp tan lines are matched only by the inexplicable brilliance of his white shoes and bar tape, which is carefully replaced at the first sign of unsightly grime. There is no question about it, the Fashionista has mastered the Art of Looking Pro. If you could bottle that kind of flair and style, you'd make a million bucks—or at least look like it.
The Weight Weenie6 of 8
If NASA made bike parts, the Weight Weenie would be its top customer. Highly allergic to steel, nothing gets the Weenie more excited than components so light they barely register on the scale. Carbon fiber is the only acceptable frame material, and if .0005 ounces can be shaved off by replacing the bar tape or bottle cages, there is no question it must be done. Money is no object for this meticulous weight miser, who will spend more on a set of wheels than most will spend on an entire bike. Their obsession with the latest, greatest technology makes the Weight Weenie an excellent source for high quality, lightly used parts.
The Seasoned Ex-Pro7 of 8
Do not be fooled by the white hair or slight roundness of belly. If you are lucky enough to have a rider of such pedigree in your midst, you immediately notice they are different. Better. Smoother. More confident. They do not ride so much as glide, placing a hand on a shoulder at thirty miles an hour with the same ease as if seated at a dinner party. This retired professional has ridden with some of the greatest names in cycling. The legends. They raced in toe clips and leather helmets through mountains in Europe when you were still wearing diapers and stuffing Legos up your nose. And if you do find yourself seated next to them at a dinner party, maybe they'll tell you about it.