On the perils of virtual cycling

So I left a cycling group today, a virtual one.

It was over a very trivial thing – but I decided that I would retreat back to enjoying my own bike and leave others to theirs.

However, it got me to thinking on the nature of people coming into a sport, rather than growing up into it.

I was schooled in cycling from the earliest age. My Dad introduced hundreds of cyclists into the sport as children and we learnt the ropes.

We then graduated into racing club rides to be told in no uncertain terms how to ride by the ‘racing lads’. This discipline was for the safety and benefit of every rider in that group.

We were kids, we wanted to be ‘them’ and we wouldn’t have dreamt of not listening, and in turn, not learning.

Socrates, or maybe even Russell Brand, said, ‘I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing’, which as a philosophy undergraduate I took to mean that those with a capacity to learn are therefore wisest.

Herein lies the issue. Those who have grown up with a sport have had the benefit of not only years of experience but also allowed themselves to learn. As idealistic kids we soaked up like sponges what those who went before us had learned.

Those who come in to a sport without that humility to learn, or with a cynicism derived of self importance, will not only hold themselves back but also sour the experience of those who deserve respect for not only knowing what they are talking about but also of wanting to pass on that knowledge.

The web must also take its share of the blame. It perpetuates the truth that ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’.

Having been faced with no less than three weblinks to prove the particular point I had railed against, I realized that there was no hope.

The web is as wrong as it is right, populated as it is by human beings.

As Abraham Lincoln said: “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet all because it is attributed to a famous person.”

But there is so much to gain from new blood and new ideas.

The explosion in the popularity of cycling is wonderful and cyclists can learn from those who come into the sport, but of the basics, I would say to all newcomers, have the humility to listen to those who know what they are talking about and don’t google it!

1 Comment

Filed under Cycling

One response to “On the perils of virtual cycling

  1. As a rider schooled in the sport by much-missed clubmen and women like Ken & Doreen Hargrave (http://bit.ly/RVVtraining), I completely agree with your sentiments. It’s fabulous that cycling is growing in popularity, but there are certain riders who really don’t understand the finer details: the difference between a club run and training, ettiquette and courtesy, and that what makes this sport wonderful is its inclusivity, rather than any attempt at somehow being exclusive. Those that can’t see that ‘The Rules’ are meant to be tongue-in-cheek are missing the point. A sad reflection on modern society, perhaps. Well done on your TdF Fanpark Ambassador role, BTW.

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