It is pretty much a commonplace that cyclists rarely see each other with their riding clothes off, by which I don’t mean in the buff (that may be less rare than we think) but by which I mean in regular clothes.
People look different when they aren’t doing bicycle cosplay, and you know what? They act different, too. The faster you go on a bike the less you talk, and the less you talk the less you really interact. My favorite conversation is the archetypal Donut Ride rollout conversation, the one between people who have known each other for years, if not decades.
“Hey, man, how’s it going?
Then jostle for a little bit more position as you prepare for Mr. Scott to ramp up the engines.
The long talk
Of course when the mix and the route and the roads are right, you can have quite involved conversations while riding. I still remember the countless hours that Fields and I would talk as we cruised the back roads of the Texas Hill Country, or the multi-hour arguments that I’d have with Kevin Callaway on long winter rides.
But those are the exception these days; most rides occur on dense roads with a bunch of other riders, and the terseness is exacerbated when you happen to be riding with a completely different club or group of riders. As my friend Ken Vinson noted, the helmets, glasses, and clown suits make it even harder somehow to talk.
So Ken had a great idea about how to address the problem, which may not seem like much until you realize that we have a lot of racial conflict in the Los Angeles peloton. It’s not always overt, but sometimes all it takes is a bump, a push, or an angry word and suddenly racial tensions flare. I’ve seen it many times, and I am sure a lot of other people have, too.
Much of that tension is a product of the fact that people don’t really talk all that much on the bike. The relationships can be thin and limited to a few cursory greetings, greetings that don’t cut it when people are fighting for a wheel or disagreeing about whether a particular move was safe.
Ken’s solution was an all club barbecue, where any bike club in Los Angeles could come, put up a barbecue pit, bring the non-riding members of the family, and actually mingle.
The date is August 12, from noon to six
This was the impetus for the first annual All Clubs BBQ, which will be held at Eldorado Park in Long Beach, and will include a cook-off competition and barbecue samplers for a few dollars per plate.
This year we’re also going to fold in the sixth annual South Bay Cycling Awards with the All Clubs BBQ, but more about that later.
The event will take place on August 12, 2018 at the El Dorado Park West “Willow Grove” Picnic site from 12-6 PM. The All Clubs BBQ event entry is free.
- El Dorado Park West 2800 N. Studebaker Road, Long Beach, CA 90815
- “Willow Grove” Picnic site enter on E. Los Arcos St. off Studebaker Road
- Ample free parking
- Extensive tree covering and covered picnic shelters (available on a first come basis)
- Family friendly outing
- The chance to mingle and talk off the bike
- It’s a picnic so bring your own food–BBQ sampler plates will also be available for a few bucks!
Diverse community, diverse planet, and sometimes all you have to do is slow down and talk. Please consider subscribing … Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you