August 9, 2018 § 13 Comments
What do you do when That Guy shows up to your ride? And by “your” I mean “no one’s,” because no one owns a ride.
Surely this has happened to you before. You are going along doing things the way you always do them, which is often the wrong way but it’s your way nonetheless, and That Guy magically appears out of the mist.
Sometimes he is riding a bike with giant aero fenders, sometimes he is riding an e-bike, sometimes he is riding a pogo stick, sometimes he is riding a cruiser with a 2-stroke bolted to the frame.
Regardless of what he’s riding, he’s still That Guy.
And what do you do?
Don’t go away mad, just go away
That Guy has all sorts of tools in his box to announce his arrival. Sometimes he simply does it the old-fashioned way, with a booming announcement. “Hello, everyone, my name is That Guy. I’m from Thatguyville, Thatguystate, and I’m so glad to be here and to get to meet each of you!”
That Guy is exuberant, effusive, loud, and wherever the sunbeam of attention is, That Guy will find it, strip down to his skivvies, and bathe in it for hours.
Other times, That Guy will simply approach cringing women in the peloton. “Hey, there! I’m That Guy!” he might say from a distance of six inches. “What’s your name?”
That Guy’s bag of tricks is endless. One day a Strava fan, another day a Facebag follower, yet another day an informal coach screaming at people who are already pinned, “Go harder! Dig deeper! YOU GOT THIS!” Screaming advice as he himself gets dropped, mind you.
Show up for the ride on time? Not That Guy! Look, listen, learn? Not That Guy!
When faced with That Guy’s force of will soldered to his outlandish behavior, others wilt, then they simply stop showing up.
No nerve endings here
That Guy can’t be offended. “Shut the fuck up, you jackass!” doesn’t work on That Guy; it’s simply another spotlight being shined on him, an opportunity to be the cynosure.
“Hey, relax, willya!” That Guy will answer with an impish We’re-All-Best-Buds grin. “I’m just happy to be out here on my bike!”
Don’t bother saying that thanks to him, no one else is. His perceptions of what those around him think have been cauterized.
That Guy is like a giant, 165-pound puppy that hasn’t been housebroken and is sitting on your lap. Hope you brought a shower and a change of clothes with you.
What’s a fella to do?
You can’t tell That Guy to go away. The roads are public, and who are you, anyway, owner of the ride? Rides, yo, are free.
You can’t give That Guy a list of Rules and Regulations. There aren’t any. People who ride together year in and year out develop an understanding of what’s cool and what isn’t. And with few exceptions, cycling in small groups isn’t a shoutypantsing activity anyway. When people get crosswise, they may holler every once in a rare while, but mostly they talk it over.
You can’t pull That Guy over and give him a talking to. That’s exactly the attention he craves. It’s like chumming the sharks and expecting them to go away.
If only there were a public, but sort of roundabout way, to let That Guy know he really needs to tone his act down. Something like a publication, or a newspaper, or some kind of blog that a person could use to spread the word so that That Guy would get the message.