In any group of social cyclists you will find those who take their cycling seriously, and those for whom it’s just a bit of a lark…and each to their own, of course.
You will often also find one member who takes it even less seriously than everyone else. In fact, he seems to be one of those happy-go-lucky free spirits who takes nothing in his life very seriously, and yet seems to get on and have the same successes and failures as the rest of us.
Don’t get the wrong idea, this guy can hold his own in the group – he’s no mug on the bike – but manages to do so with a strong sense of the ridiculous.
Not for him the pristine bike with matching seat and bar tape, mirror sheen Campagnolo groupset and high-tech low weight wheels. He chooses to clock up the mileage on a bike sporting multi-coloured harlequin pattern handlebars, a luminous orange home made custom paint job, an old leather Brooks seat, skull and crossbones dust caps, and a bell.
Judging by the old tape marks on the end of his bars he may also have had streamers attached at some point.
His bike is just the start, you never know quite what he will be wearing either; he might turn up with a Tom Selleck 70’s style chest wig under his lycra jersey, wearing a wooly jumper, or, when he’s really trying to be funny, a Spider-man one piece lycra skinsuit (complete with lycra Spider-man balaclava).
Incidentally, the Spider-man skinsuit actually turns out to be a very effective and aerodynamic piece of kit; his own take on marginal gains.
The great thing about riding with this guy is that due to his lazer guided need to find the funny in everything, before you know it you have forgotten the pain in the legs and you are no longer dwelling on the burning sensation in your lungs.
Not for him the kind of earnest sufferfest that some riders like to take pleasure in on a Sunday morning – when you ride with this guy everything is funny.
Of course, even the funniest of funny guys get annoying after a while, but because he literally takes nothing seriously you can feel free to yell at him to ‘SHUT UP!’ however rudely you like, because he’ll see the funny side in that too.
Whatever you do, just don’t equate his outward appearances with an inability to ride his bike.
If you do, he’ll drop you on the next climb.
And everyone will find the funny in that.