We Think We Own the Road1 of 11
We've all heard the story about the time someone saw a dude on a bike run a red light. Somehow, these random events have convinced the masses that all cyclists think they own the roads. I'll be the first to admit to rolling through the odd stop sign if nobody is around, but in general, I ride my bike like every traffic cop in the city is watching me. Sure, there are cyclists out there who ride around like they're kings of the pavement, but chances are they would act entitled regardless of their mode of transportation. Be thankful they're not driving a cement truck. Own the road? No thanks. Even if I had the money, a road is the last thing on earth I'd buy.
We Are Always Trying to Beat You2 of 11
You are mid-recovery during an interval workout. As you try to force air back into your bleeding lungs, you get passed by a chipper group of casual riders who offer smiles and greetings. Moments later, your recovery is over and you are out of the saddle hammering past them like a cheetah with its butt on fire. Yes, it's pretty likely that group of casual riders are now calling you every name in the book. A misunderstanding to be sure, but warranted because we've all been passed by "that guy"—the one who just can't stand being passed.
We're All Thin/Small/Dudes3 of 11
At 5'10" and 150 lbs, I am not a tiny woman. I also, on occasion, have worn my hair in a chic pixie cut, which I like to think makes me look like Audrey Hepburn's enormous, Ukrainian second cousin. For some people, this combination of factors also makes me indecipherable from a man when riding a bicycle. Enter the truckload of knuckle-dragging yokels. Blind to this, they holler from the open window of trucks, then speed away—plastic testicles swaying triumphantly from the rear bumper.
We Don't Pay Road Taxes4 of 11
Contrary to popular belief, owning and riding a bike does not exempt one from paying taxes. If it did, you can bet that bike riding would be more popular than golf, playing the lottery, and maybe even sports. Property taxes, school taxes, road taxes--sorry, we pay them all, whether we own a car or not. Which, of course, the majority of us do. Although there are better humans than me out there who do it, the thought of cargo-biking my kid and his two hundred pounds of reeking hockey equipment to a practice in the middle of February makes me want to move somewhere with no hockey or taxes.
We Are Aliens from the Planet Spandex5 of 11
If you've ever duck-walked your way into a rural gas bar in the middle of nowhere, decked out in full kit, you've probably experienced the sideways glances of puzzled townsfolk trying to figure out what planet you're from. Standing there in your crash helmet and flamboyant lycra outfit, pockets bulging with half eaten gels, it doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to figure out you don't belong. With white salty residue that lines your nostrils and sweat dripping down your tomato-red face, the best you can do at this point is ask for the key to the restroom, hop on your two-wheeled spaceship and get the heck out of Dodge.
All Female Cyclists Love Pink6 of 11
When I walk into a bike shop, it's always easy to spot the women's section. The "shrink-it-and-pink-it" marketing strategy, while not unique to cycling, is widespread among all sportswear manufacturers and generally manifests itself in products that are smaller, crappier and pinker versions of the equivalent products made for men. While some women do like pink, based on my completely arbitrary and non-scientific studies--"Hey Janice, do you like wearing pink?"--I have come to the conclusion that many of us do not. Or at the very least, would like the option of buying things that are a color that does not remind us of Pepto Bismol or Barbies. And while nothing says "I am going lay down such a beating in this race" like a gigantic butterfly printed on your jersey, I'd like to suggest the industry start thinking outside that glittery little pink box when marketing to women.
Our Goal is to Win the Tour de France7 of 11
Contrary to popular belief, most cyclists, even hard-core ones, are not training to ride the Tour de France. In order to ride any of the world's major cycling tours—which are actually grueling, multi-day races and not lovely jaunts through the countryside as the name implies--you have to be:
• A professional cyclist
• Riding for a professional team that is allowed to race
• Good enough that your team selects you from among your teammates to race
• A man
Much like the NHL or NFL, only a minuscule number of athletes make it to the highest level in cycling. So although flattering, the likelihood that the cyclists you see speeding past the local Walmart are training for the Tour de France is quite low. If they are women, it is zero.
We Hate Drivers8 of 11
The cyclists versus drivers dialogue is something I find particularly puzzling. Most of the cyclists I know—let's just call them "people" for argument's sake—transport themselves using both bicycles and automobiles, their selection determined by practical things like how many grocery bags they need to transport from point A to point B or whether they need to travel 50 miles or 2,000 miles. Universally hating drivers would basically mean hating everyone we know, including ourselves.
We All Know Each Other9 of 11
Sure, we all ride bikes. And we all might even look a bit alike from a distance, but we don't actually know everyone who rides a bike. If we did, I would invite Marianna Vos to Sunday dinner, flirt shamelessly with Peter Sagan over modern artisanal cocktails and ask Danny MacAskill to teach me some mad bike skillz. That said, with the advent of social communities like Strava and Zwift, it's certainly possible to know far more people than ever before, making the plausible deniability of knowing some random passing cyclist a bit tricky.
We're All on Drugs10 of 11
Thanks to a certain uni-balled Texan, cycling has developed the dubious reputation of having more drugs than an after-party at Woodstock. Performance enhancing substances are a problem throughout the ranks of many professional sports. The competition is fierce and the stakes are incredibly high. Even administered by a brilliant yet diabolical Russian Sports Scientist, PEDs can have horrible side effects, like liver damage, heat attacks, and impotence—things I doubt your average age-grouper would be willing to risk to win the sprint to the next town sign. While I will admit to a moderate level of experimentation during college, I can say with some confidence that the only performance enhancement I experienced on drugs was the ability to consume an astonishing amount of Doritos.