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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been following the discussions here since last summer, when I began riding again after 1 35 year hiatus. I find it interesting that, even on the beginner's corner, most of the discussions talk about some sort of competitive goals. Finding a better ride for a race, training to improve performance, that sort of thing. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but aren't there others out their who ride for the simple joy of it? I love the feeling of freedom, the control, the wind in my face, the scenery gliding past. It's like flying - at a really low altitude. I am not trying to get anywhere, I am not trying to beat anyone, I just like to ride. Surely there are others who feel the same.
 

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I ride for the joy of it. I have no intention of racing. I'm not training for anything. I ride to ride and for my health which is really a side benefit for me. I've lost 65 lbs since I started riding again just about 2 years ago. So, yes, there others who feel the way you do.
 

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My wife and I are firmly in your camp.

We enjoy riding for the joy of being outside, doing something healthy, and spending time together. I've no desire whatsoever to compete in any sense when I'm on my bike.

Actually, for us, the lonelier the road, the better!!!
 

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I'm surprised to see that you've picked that up from your reading of the boards, but you'd know.

I, like you, have no competitive aspirations related to cycling. I enjoy the freedom and tranquility, but most of all the health benefits it has paid in dividends. I'm a bigger guy, I know I'm not a 160 pound, 10% body fat cycling machine and that's just fine with me. Like all hobbies, it's a way to burn money (but one of the healthier "vices") and tend to your little plot of whatever interests you as you see fit.

I'll push myself on my solo rides until my heart is begging me to stop - sure - but no joy out of jostling for first place is some competition. I'd like to think I'm a fairly competitive person in other aspects of life.

I live in a big city, work in an office environment, afternoon rides where I glide effortlessly (or not, if the wind is against me) on a lone country road are almost therapeutic.

I also enjoy the time I spend on the bike with my fiance, when we do get out. The health benefits also sneak up on you, before you know it you can run further, vault more flights of stairs, clothes are feeling looser. I dig.
 
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wyrd bið ful ãræd
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Quite possibly because the majority of those who are just out there with no competitive aspirations do not come on this forum.

I do not compete. I come on here originally to look for help in building my bike and wheels but now, just for something to read and share and offer my experiences where applicable.

I do like cycling and it is only just for being out there with the wind in my face. I have to admit it is only a replacement to being on a motorbike because my wife now thinks it is dangerous.

A long time ago, I could not quite understand how it could be enjoyable having to pedal. I enjoy it now but I still don't know why it is so.
 

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I find it interesting that, even on the beginner's corner, most of the discussions talk about some sort of competitive goals. Finding a better ride for a race, training to improve performance, that sort of thing.
I think that mischaracterizes the tenor of the board. There are lots of people who ride mainly for fun. They are, most of them, also riding for fitness, and getting stronger and healthier can be aided by pushing yourself, so some of the trying to improve is directed that way, which is certainly not inconsistent with fun.

Also, one of the fun things about riding road bikes is going fast under your own power. Sometimes I'm content to stroll at an easy pace, but sometimes it's fun to go faster. This is a road bike forum, after all. If you just want to feel the wind and see the sky, you can do that on any bike, including a heavy cruiser. Nothing wrong with that, but it's a somewhat different experience.

Anyway, there are lots of people here who don't race, or don't race much, or don't race any more.
 

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I have been following the discussions here since last summer, when I began riding again after 1 35 year hiatus. I find it interesting that, even on the beginner's corner, most of the discussions talk about some sort of competitive goals. Finding a better ride for a race, training to improve performance, that sort of thing. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but aren't there others out their who ride for the simple joy of it? I love the feeling of freedom, the control, the wind in my face, the scenery gliding past. It's like flying - at a really low altitude. I am not trying to get anywhere, I am not trying to beat anyone, I just like to ride. Surely there are others who feel the same.
I hear ya...

I raced in college 25 years ago and have rediscovered my love of cycling in the last year. I'm at least 50lbs overweight and there is no prospect of me racing anytime in the near future. I still want to be stronger and go faster however...but I do mostly ride for the love of it and for the exercise. It's hard to suppress the competitive juices though when someone passes you like you're standing still.
 

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I ride for the peace and solidarity that I get from riding. 25 years ago I used to ride to clear my head and be alone with my thoughts, getting back in to the hobby several decades later I STILL ride to clear my head and be alone with my thoughts. It's a great way to decompress after a long day at work (or whatever).

I don't compete with anyone or anything other than my legs. I don't shoot for the best time, longest climb, or anything else except trying to go further than I did last time.

Am I secretly hoping to drop 50-60 lbs in the process? Sure. Am I trying to drop 50 lbs so I can be a competitive cyclist? No way.

I ride for me. Always have. Always will.

And to those that ride to be competitive - - good for you - -say hello as you blow past me on the road :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Don't get me wrong, folks. I am not complaining about the motivations others have, just commenting on them. Someone commented that if all you want is the wind in your face a fat tired cruiser would be good enough - or words to that effect. I think you would lose the feeling of nimble control.

I was thinking about this while I was riding yesterday. I did 30 miles out in the country on a local bike path, by myself, and had a blast. It made me think of long runs I used to take before the knees started to give out. You just hit a pace that seems effortless , like you could go on for ever. An incredible sense of power ande control. For me, a heart-rate monitor, power meter and whatnot would have interfered with the sensation.

Just musing, not criticizing.
 

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On the flip side, many set goals to compete (if only to better their own personal best) so that they have something to motivate them to stay on the road. I find that without some goal event to work towards I find excuses not to be on the road. This leads to an increase in girth and grumpiness. We all have reasons to ride or we wouldn't be here. Vive la difference.

Musing as well.

If you want more validation, here's an easy read - 'Need for the Bike' by Fournel.
 

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I love the simple act of cycling. The feeling of freedom and power is reminiscent of my youth.

But I do deliberately ride a road bike. When I was a kid we called them English racers... even though mine was made somewhere near Chicago. And if we had any bicycle racing back then.... it wasn't in my area. But, today... just like a half of a century ago... a big part of the fun is riding fast.

I nether race or formally train. But being fit and continuing to improve at my chosen sport.... again... just adds to my fun.
 

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I rode for years before I competed. While I do compete now, I also ride with friends, which almost always means the ride doesn't fit into the mold of a training ride for me, and I ride my bike as transportation a lot.

While I think racing is a lot of fun, I do think that people lose one of the joys in cycling if they go straight into following a structured training plan when they've been riding for about three weeks.

I'm sure that the vagaries of life will throw me some more low-racing seasons, or even seasons when I never pin a number on, and I'm sure that sooner or later, my competitive aspirations will be all gone. Although some of my teammates are quite old and still having fun going out and racing the other old fogies who are still racing. (Some of them even beat me, dammit!) Anyway, I hope to continue enjoying riding my bike whatever the status of my racing.

One of my favorite things about road bikes is the handling. I think they're a lot of fun to ride. So, whether or not I'm trying to beat someone and with the complete realization that it doesn't effect the quality of my workout, I still like fast bikes. Although I've generally made pretty conservative choices about building them. The only low-spoke-count wheel in my house came on the front of a bike I bought complete. (And I already destroyed its partner from the back of the bike.)

There's all different aspects of cycling. Try 'em all, keep the ones that stick. :)
 

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"English Racer"

But I do deliberately ride a road bike. When I was a kid we called them English racers... even though mine was made somewhere near Chicago.
That must be a local usage. I always heard the term "English Racer" to refer to lightweight upright-handlebar bikes with Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hubs, mostly made by Raleigh. Road bikes were called "10-speeds." (I think you and I are close to the same age).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Takes me way back. My first bike in 1956 was an "English racer." A single speed with coaster brakes, but it had skinny tires. Very nimble compaired to the fatired Schwinns and Huffys my friends had. Got my first "10-speed" (also English, a Monarch Imperial, if memory serves) in 1962, when everyone else was riding Stingrays with banana seats.
 

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I do think that people lose one of the joys in cycling if they go straight into following a structured training plan when they've been riding for about three weeks.
I have lost count of the number of fairly good riders who have essentially quit the sport because they achieved a goal (a race, century in a certain time, etc.) or because they couldn't achieve that goal. Me, I have the same goal every season - ride my bike. I just like to ride and it pains me to see people so obsess over plans and goals that they lose (or never had) the simple pleasure of riding a bike.
 

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aren't there others out their who ride for the simple joy of it?
Absolutely. If it wasn't for the joy, I'd buy a car.

Sometimes when "training" goals and "training" rides are discussed, it's not always for purposes of competition. Sometimes it's just to get better at the activity.

In order for me to arrive at work after an easy ride, I have to ride hard on other days so that my commutes become easy--both in actual fact and by comparison.

Then there are the health benefits as well. When I ride harder, that loose-limbed, freedom of movement feeling lasts clear through the day. Plus, I'm trying to break the family tradition of having the first heart attack at 55. I have three more months to go.

Yet, at all times, if it's not joyful, I don't ride. In other words, riding simply to get to work, or simply for the heath benefits, or simply to save money, are not enough for me. There must be joy, and I find it with nearly every turn of the pedals.
 

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I have a road bike for the fun of it. I ride it mostly during the week after work. I try get in about hour's hard ride. Great for training purposes to keep/improve fitness. I can do that a gym too, but on the bike it is hardly work at all. Gym is boring. Yesterday I did a typical ride.. Got home changed and did just shy of 20 miles in 1 hr 6 min riding as hard as possible the entire ride. I chose to do what is effectively my hill repeat interval ride yesterday and covered about 1200 feet of climbing. I have 30 mile mtn bike ride planned on Sunday and what to get some good miles in to be fit for that ride. The road bike is perfect or that fitness training work because it just fun to ride. Smooth and fast and can cover ground at insane rates. Plus unlike the mtn bike I can get good miles right out the front door. This allows me to maximize my "good riding" time which is really nice for quick after work rides where I only have 60-90 min including getting ready and clean up after.

When it comes to fitness. I have no goals and no structured plan. No weight to lose (I am 5'7" and 153 and no where to go really) and no specific targets really. The only thing I want to do fitness wise to get to faster and stronger on the bike. I want to be fit to ride well as the more fit I am the more fun I can have riding be it on the road bike or mtn bike. I am competitive and so log each ride on Strava and always push to ride it just a little faster than last time.
 

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Absolutely. If it wasn't for the joy, I'd buy a car.

Sometimes when "training" goals and "training" rides are discussed, it's not always for purposes of competition. Sometimes it's just to get better at the activity......

....... Yet, at all times, if it's not joyful, I don't ride. In other words, riding simply to get to work, or simply for the heath benefits, or simply to save money, are not enough for me. There must be joy, and I find it with nearly every turn of the pedals.
+1
I've never read that worded as well anywhere else!
 

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I raced for 20+ years. Not any more. While I like to join in a spirited club ride once in a while, I'm really out for the fun of it. A couple of years ago I was leading a club ride & a friend & I dropped everybody. We could barely see them. As the ride leader it's my responsibility to see that nobody gets dropped & has to ride alone. Dan & I slowed way down to wait for them. We were riding along at 8-10 mph, sometimes maybe less when he looked at me & said, "Isn't this fun? It feels just like we're riding paper boy pace on a nice warm summer day through streets of the towns in which we grew up." He was right. It felt like we were 10 years old again. It was a great feeling & one that I duplicate from time to time. Racing is about who can stand the most pain. I'm finished with that.
 
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