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An underrated aspect of cycling as a sport is ...

Old 09-11-19, 07:37 AM
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CoogansBluff
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An underrated aspect of cycling as a sport is ...

that cycling doesn't require an inordinate amount of skill development in order to be pretty good at it.

I played tennis much of my life. I'm in my 50s now. If I had started tennis in my 50s, it would be a long time before good tennis players would enjoy being on the court with me. But with cycling, if you're healthy and willing to put in the time, you can soon be riding with cyclists who've done it for years and are pretty avid about it. And I'm not talking about being super competitive. I just mean being good enough so that you can enter a wide range of group rides.

Tennis, golf and cycling are sports of a lifetime, but cycling is much friendlier to late beginners.

That's all. Just another reason to like cycling.
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Old 09-11-19, 08:06 AM
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Totally disagree. Fast group riding, gravel riding and (especially) mountain biking require strong skills.
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Old 09-11-19, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
Totally disagree. Fast group riding, gravel riding and (especially) mountain biking require strong skills.

I'm sure those things do require strong skills. I might could've worked it better. No slight meant to cycling.

Just saying that IMO it would take a person much longer to become an above-average recreational tennis player than to become an above-average recreational cyclist (group or distance rider).

I don't mean this as a criticism toward cycling. It's a great sport for the reasons I'm stating. I can be 56 years old and through hard work I can already ride with some riders that I think are really good and they aren't bored with me. For a tennis player just starting in his 50s, it would be much harder to be in the company of those better players.
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Old 09-11-19, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by unmumpsimus View Post

Would you argue that cycling requires more skill development than tennis?
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Old 09-11-19, 10:52 AM
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An underrated aspect of cycling as a sport is ... that it can be enjoyed alone. I like that I can go for a ride by myself just as easily as with a group of friends.
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Old 09-11-19, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
Totally disagree. Fast group riding, gravel riding and (especially) mountain biking require strong skills.
Mountain biking especially.

It takes a long time before one gets to the point of being fast and fluid without having to think about it as it is done.


-Tim-
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Old 09-11-19, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by unmumpsimus View Post
The diagram misses the bit about "What you know that you really don't know". That is, stuff you are wrong about.
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Old 09-11-19, 11:27 AM
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There is a now disproven maxim that says something along the lines of "10,000 hours of diligent practice are required to develop proficiency at a skill or activity". Of course, with sports, studies have been shown that the practice time accounts for only 18% of the success of those who become world class at their pursuit. Other factors include genetic predisposition (so called general athleticism), specific athletic prowess (just right for the particular sport), play and training in play situations, mental disposition, and luck.

Truly good riders have all of the necessary parts, including instincts, competitive personality and opportunism, fortitude, high pain thresholds, superb general and specific training, as well as natural athletic prowess. These folks are somewhat rare.

How this relates to the OP's premise, I have no idea. But, I'll agree that one can learn to enjoy bicycle riding with much less than 10,000 hours of in-the-saddle time. It's less gross motor technically frustrating than, say, tennis or the biathlon. But, all sports are hard. The limit is how gifted and committed you are, and the costs and risks you're willing to bear to succeed.
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Old 09-11-19, 11:28 AM
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This might be a good time to remember that, "We are going to yell at you."
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Old 09-11-19, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by unmumpsimus View Post

What I do know is that when you state that "you can soon be riding with cyclists who've done it for years and are pretty avid about it" you prove that you don't understand that there is a big, broad world of riding out there that you are completely unaware of.
What you're quoting me on there is a pretty broad description. It could include world-class cyclists, or just one of the faster groups in a local club. I'm not sure what I'm missing. I assume cycling is like any other popular sport with a bell curve of skill levels and that cycling has its own Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer and it falls off from there. Based on my experience, it's more practical for a 50-year-old novice cyclist to make up ground on the average cyclist than it would be for a 50-year-old novice tennis player to make up ground on the average tennis player. Mainly because the novice cyclist can just outwork the average cyclist. Not sure that would be enough in tennis.
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Old 09-11-19, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
But, all sports are hard. The limit is how gifted and committed you are, and the costs and risks you're willing to bear to succeed.
Agreed. I don't mean to come across as saying, 'The reason I like biking is that you can be great at it in no time at all.'' In fact, to be elite, you've got to be an athlete athlete like any other sport. I just mean that if you're committed, you can gain quickly on people who are less committed, maybe moreso than some other sports. In sports such as tennis and golf, the development of muscle memory for a variety of strokes will carry you into the future with less effort.

Or maybe I should turn it around and insult tennis instead -- Tennis players can let their early days of skill development and muscle memory carry them into their lazy older years whereas cyclists have go earn it every year, every week, every day. How's that?
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Old 09-11-19, 12:02 PM
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Talk about nit-picking a thread to death

that cycling doesn't require an inordinate amount of skill development in order to be pretty good at it.
I agree with the OP's point. At the extreme end - I was doing practice races with Cat A/B track cyclists who had years of experience compared to my 6 weeks of training. Similarly I was doing training crits with Cat 1/2/3 as a newly licensed 5. I'm not an especially fit or smart rider but the skills required to sit in the pack or ride in a group are much less than to be comparably good at many other sports. No way am I playing practice matches with a high level amateur tennis player on 6 weeks of training, or lasting more than the first round with a high level amateur wrestler or combat sport practitioner. But most people spend a few hours learning the ropes before they're proficient enough to ride in a B/C competitive group ride. The skills are much easier than the fitness aspect, for road riding.
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Old 09-11-19, 12:05 PM
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Yes, a healthy person can quickly become strong enough to keep up with many group rides. But that doesn't mean they have the necessary skills to ride in a group. Strong riders without skills can be dangerous.

There's a not-so-nice term for people who are strong but are short on riding skills: Fast Freds.
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Old 09-11-19, 12:15 PM
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I'm going to agree with @CoogansBluff on this one.

Golf was the hardest to maintain a level of semi-proficiency.
Tennis takes a long time to develop skills to play decently.
Basketball/football/baseball all require teams and schedules, etc.

Competition is what sets some sports aside.
Many of us have not a single competitive bone-in-th-body.
Cycling is generally enjoyed without Winners and Losers.
I consider it much like Hiking = outdoors, fitness oriented, easily accessed, etc.
Swimming = much the same, but I never had access to a pool or warmish lake.


True, mountain biking requires special skills and better equipment can improve one's performance exponentially. But that's only one aspect of the sport.
Racing and fast group riding also = special skills only developed over time.

I ride with a neighbor occasionally. A fellow fit and thin, who never rode a bike as an adult. Over 2 years (no coach, not totally obsessed, etc) his endurance and enthusiasm are surprisingly strong.
JMHO
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Old 09-11-19, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
There is a now disproven maxim that says something along the lines of "10,000 hours of diligent practice are required to develop proficiency at a skill or activity". Of course, with sports, studies have been shown that the practice time accounts for only 18% of the success of those who become world class at their pursuit. Other factors include genetic predisposition (so called general athleticism), specific athletic prowess (just right for the particular sport), play and training in play situations, mental disposition, and luck.
There is also a maxim that while becoming an expert may require 10,000 hours, becoming "capable" requires much less. Becoming capable means that you understand enough to function and can self-correct and become better on your own.
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Old 09-11-19, 12:30 PM
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I’ve run into quite a few enthusiastic “beginner” cyclists the last few years that never rode earlier in life & now they are obsessed.

And that’s great. But a few of them get a sort of “sop****re jinx” where the good things they did at first that moved them into the fold are now insufficient & they are actually being surpassed by others who appear less competitive than them but are actually more cagey, more skilled and with a much more resourceful depth of knowledge of the sport.

(edit ... the sop****re word triggered a filter...)
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Old 09-11-19, 12:43 PM
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Agree with the OP here. A woman I know was recommended by her Dr. to practice some aerobic sport (she had a tendence to high BP, not hypertension yet). She started cycling in her 40s, became really interested, in 2 years she was winning local races at her age group. Of course she took training seriously.
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Old 09-11-19, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
Totally disagree. Fast group riding, gravel riding and (especially) mountain biking require strong skills.
Fast group riding requires basic skills easily acquired in a short amount of time.
You keep yelling at other cyclists though bro
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Old 09-11-19, 01:48 PM
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I am a life long avid strong cyclist and agree with the OP. Recreational group rides do not need to include drafting or close quarters and require little more than the endutance to do them.

It is also a sport that can be enjoyed to a high degree of proficiency alone.
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Old 09-11-19, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
Fast group riding requires basic skills easily acquired in a short amount of time.
Again, I likely disagree with you.

I'll elaborate. It depends what you mean by "short time" and "basic skills". I can assure you that riding in a group in a Pro-1-2 crit requires substantially more than "basic skills" that are "easily acquired". Having said that, this is likely not what the OP is talking about. It goes back to what the OP means by "cycling". Navigating a threshold drop ride with 34 MPH+ pulls, town line sprints and off-camber turns taken at speed in a tight group is obviously different than toodling along on a hybrid on a MUP.

My reason for objecting to the OP's premise is that I think more cyclists need to appreciate that riding a bike safely requires both skills and knowledge. I see a lot of people riding on the road who clearly have no idea what they're doing: salmoning, not signaling, not riding defensively, annoying drivers, endangering pedestrians. I also see a lot of people joining group rides who also have no idea that what they're doing: surging, not holding their line, allowing gaps to open up, not coming off the front smoothly, not pointing out obstacles. Etc. In both cases, I think some people don't appreciate that they are endangering themselves and others around them.

I think this is an important topic and worth picking apart. I read the OP's assumption as "it's just riding a bike, how hard can it be?" To me, that type of thinking contributes to the issues I describe above.

You keep yelling at other cyclists though bro
"Yelling"? Was this directed at me?

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Old 09-11-19, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
I agree with the OP's point. At the extreme end - I was doing practice races with Cat A/B track cyclists who had years of experience compared to my 6 weeks of training. Similarly I was doing training crits with Cat 1/2/3 as a newly licensed 5.
Not sure what kind of crits you're talking about here. If you tried to join a crit here in Chicago with cat 1s and 2s (something like the Intelligentsia Cup) as a newbie with six weeks of riding under your belt, two things would happen:
First you'd be dropped in half a lap.
Secondly you'd piss off everyone on your way out the back.
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Old 09-11-19, 03:09 PM
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I tend to agree that recreational road cycling requires less of what we used to call hand/eye coordination than ball sports. Anyone who has decent strength and endurance can become a reasonably skilled cyclist. Safely riding in groups is more the result of following rules than having bike handling skills. After running, cycling is probably the next most accessible sport. Mountain biking and legit racing obviously require a higher level of skill.
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Old 09-11-19, 03:37 PM
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Riding on the road is easy and doesn't require any skill...But mountain biking is a different thing and it does require a lot of skill, especially when you start riding black diamond trails.
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Old 09-11-19, 03:38 PM
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Yeah, you can take any sport to the nth degree, and wring all the fun out of it.
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Old 09-11-19, 04:05 PM
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etiquette, mannerism, responsibility, & general logic is not a given, & that applies to the sport of bicycling just as equally to other sports. As with any sport, it'll take time to build those areas up.
The actual ability to ride a bicycle, yes, that can happen faster compared to most sports.
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