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!

6 thoughts on “Fringe Cycling

  1. Truly a day well spent. I’d guess a few of them may have been envious of you sitting there, enjoying a coffee with sunshine, and may have wondered about the wisdom of racing.

  2. Hi. I was in the race and saw you. I waived to you. Would have been close to right before you would have reached the neutral water stop. Could have been on 331? I’m not familiar with the area. In any event, thought “I know that guy, I read his blog”. Small world. It was a nice day. Enjoyed seeing you out there.

  3. I think it was the beard and kettle combo that elicited the “homeless” query. Bicycles, as EVERYBODY knows, are only ridden by over-entitled people nowadays! When I start using that Kelly Kettle, it’ll be in a park in between the Community Club and home, at a picnic table.

  4. Years ago when I spent six months thru-hiking The Appalachian Trail there was an ethos that thru hikers liked to quote: “Hike your own hike”. Whenever I’m made to feel I’m not doing things “right” on my bike rides by others I like to say, “Ride your own ride”.

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