Here’s my definition – Road cycling enthusiasts are serious, committed and regular riders who do between 2,000 to 5,000 miles (3,000-7,000 kilometers) a year. We ride on flat, rolling and mountainous terrain and do interval, strength and endurance training. We will generally be on our bikes 4-6 days a week outdoors in decent weather. In lousy weather, about half of us will ride on a trainer. Some will still ride outside and the rest will sleep in. We ride on our own, with regular partners, and in group rides.
During the year, we’ll normally ride for the pure love of it, for the way it energizes us (and reduces stress), and for the collegiality it provides. Some of us will do a few races, club rides, centuries, gran fondos, sportives or charity events to motivate our riding and measure ourselves. As a road cycling enthusiast, we average speeds 17 to 22mph or 27 to 35kph over the course of a typical 35 to 50 mile or 50 to 80km ride, depending on terrain, conditions, fitness and training objectives.
Whether we race or not, we are competitive within ourselves to always do better and competitive as part of a riding group to raise the quality of our rides. Personal and group safety is more important than competing, or at least we know it should be.
About a third of us have been hit by a car and one in eight have broken a collarbone riding. (Both in my case). And, of course, we enjoy stopping at a good coffee shop or bakery on most rides and getting together for beer or two every now and then. (I’m in!)
Road cycling enthusiasts will have modern composite bikes or high-end alloy or titanium ones that cost typically between $2,500/£2000/€2,500 and $10,000/£8,000/€10,000 to buy or build. We use electronics and apps to help us navigate our routes and track our distance, speed, cadence, heart rate, and power to measure our performance for kicks or to input to our training program to help reach our goals.
Most of us are men, though a growing number are women. We weigh between 125 and 200lbs (57 to 90kgs), are pretty fit and use cycling to help stay or get there. Yes, we’re probably a little vain and selfish with the clothing we wear and the time and money we spend on cycling gear. But, we prefer to spend both on cycling rather than sitting on a boat casting a line all morning or riding around in a cart for hours, occasionally getting out to whack a little white ball around, or going to a gym to ride a stationary bike, do yoga or lift weights.
We’re also dedicated to our cycling to the point where most of our family and friends know that riding is something we do and for some, do a lot of. That is, those of us whose families still put up with us despite all the time we spend away from them out riding.
When it comes to cycling and buying bike gear, many of us also do a lot of research and are analytical, often overly so but that’s part of the fun of it.
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