Given Strava, can I now be a soul cyclist?

Given Strava, can I now call myself a Soul Cyclist? According to Wikipedia, a soul surfer is defined as:

Soul Surfer is a term coined in the 1960s, used to describe a surfer who surfs for the sheer pleasure of surfing.

I bike for pleasure not the competition, so I’m a Soul Cyclist right?

Raphael Track BikeI’ve been an avid cyclist since I was 15. I’ve gone through upwards of 20 bikes, had a few hand-built for me, and try to visit the North American Handmade Bicycle Show every year. I’ve biked across Iowa 8 times as part of RAGBRAI. But one thing I have never done is competed. And not until a visit to my “alignment guy” to correct a misaligned hip that was impacting my cycling, did I not know how odd I was. He asked how I did on Strava? To his amazement I said I had never used the app, in fact I didn’t have a cycling computer and never kept track of my rides – distance, speed, time, anything. He said I might be the first of his friends or patients who didn’t.

When did I become the oddball? Since when did everything become a competition? robicellis had a great line in her post on the truth about jogging:

I’ve decided, at the age of thirty-two, to start running. Not as a result of a desire to be healthier or out of a competitive spirit; not even because it is a very grown-up thing to do and you will be assimilated into the cult of running if you wish to be taken seriously as a professional adult. I’m doing this purely out of spite.

I couldn’t agree more living out in Silicon Valley – it’s part of being a professional adult in a way. You must run, cycle, CrossFit, something and do it competitively. If not in actual competitions than keep time to compare with friends and co-workers. What happened to just doing it for exercise or fun? No longer can you just run, you have to compete in marathons. You can’t even workout without it becoming a competition – competitive CrossFit. Isn’t CrossFit something you do to get in shape to compete? Isn’t that equal to turning soccer practice into a competition itself?

Don’t get me wrong, I like to compete. I played on the competitive paintball circuit the NPPL for a few years as part of Desert Heat and the Bushwackers. I competed in the pole vault and javelin in high school. I just don’t turn everything into a competition. I’ll continue to cycle for the pleasure of it – a soul cyclist.

Soul cyclist

IMG_0378_smI don’t wear the whole cycling outfit. If I wear spandex shorts I have shorts over them. I have a few jerseys but I typically only wear them on extremely hot days. I usually ride with a backpack and on steel bikes – weight is not a huge concern for me. I don’t keep time, distance, or any such data. I stop when I want. I search out hills and mountains. I’m a soul cyclist. Actually that sounds pretentious, I’m just a dude who likes to bike. I don’t need to race myself or anyone else. I don’t need to compete. I just like to ride.


One thought on “Given Strava, can I now be a soul cyclist?”

  1. Sounds healthy to me. I’m a very competitive guy myself…but a long time ago I realized that I have to pick my competitive battles or I’d burn out.

Leave a Reply