Fringe Cycling


Even though what I do routinely on Saturday mornings seems quite normal to me, I am occasionally reminded that I am a fringe cyclist. For example, during a ride on the recent Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, someone came up and asked me sincerely if I am homeless. Even though I’ve had a similar experience before, that caught me by surprise.

What I do with a bicycle must be way off on the edge of the bicycle use bell-curve. I had a different kind of reminder today during an outing to seek and watch racers of the Texas Chainring Massacre (TCM) gravel race near my home. It was a reminder delivered to me by “fellow” cyclists.


Many of my bicycle outings include a stop for a coffee brew-up. I thought it would be great to try and find the race course for the TCM, select a good roadside viewing spot, brew some coffee, and watch the parade of gravel grinders go by. To me, the combination of being outside with a bicycle and fresh coffee is about as good as it gets. But it must not be so for most bicycle enthusiasts.


Two interesting things happened as the racers sped by. One of those things was the classic double-take when they glanced over…and then again…when they realized I was really sitting behind a kettle on a stove. The other interesting thing goes to the very heart of the culture of group rides.

As the racers approached, the first thing they noticed was a cyclist on the side of the road. Their immediate instinct was to stop pedaling, lean over, and ask if I had everything I need. It is common practice to help a fellow cyclist avoid being stranded on the side of the road, if one can. I don’t think they imagined that someone would be there on purpose. But I had an answer for them.


Why, yes…I certainly do!