Road cyclists like to thrive on pain and suffering.
The hurt of pushing yourself for hundreds of kilometers and the pain of pedaling up huge mountains. They like to watch the grimace on the faces of cyclists as they struggle through the cobbled sections of classic races such as the Paris Roubaix. They love to hear stories of hardship and triumph such as Johnny Hoogerland pulling himself out of a barb-wire fence to claim the KOM jersey or Tyler Hamilton finishing the Tour de France with a broken collarbone.
Road cyclists like to think that they are hardmen, but they are not. Well, not in Brisbane anyways.
Brisbane has seen some poor weather over the last couple of days. Continuous rain has made the roads wet and slippery and every morning is a battle to drag yourself out of bed. Not having a car has meant that I only have two choices to get to work; catch 2 buses and a train or ride my bike. After some bad experiences trying to catch a bus and my inability (and lack of motivation) to navigate timetables and routes, I have been riding to work. Admittedly, the fact that my wife has got enough bravado to ride her bike into work has also had some influence in my decision to ride.
Starting is the worst part. Forcing yourself to leave the comforts of a dry home and head out into wind and water is tough to do. But once I'm out there, it's great. Huge puddles, flooded roads, backed up traffic with a thousand others that took the soft option of driving. I do feel like a hardman.
This morning I was looking around to see if there were any other hardmen out on the roads. There were no familiar faces and, in fact, I only saw one other person on a road bike. Don't get me wrong, I saw plenty of people cycling, but none of them were the supposed road cyclist hardman. The only people brave enough to be out in the poor weather were the humble commuters!
Am I saying that the commuters are more hardmen than the road cyclists?? Maybe I am. I even rolled past the cafes this morning to see if the usual coffee shop riders trundled down for a brew but there was not a single bike to be seen.
On a side note... In no way am I claiming that I am a hardman. I want to make sure that is clear because I know after reading the above you are getting upset about how hypocritical you think I am being. I'll admit it- Usually, I am one of the last people to go out riding in poor weather because I keep my bike obsessive compulsive disorderly clean.
This week, I am not a hardman by choice.