I’ve had a subscription to Bicycling magazine for a couple of years now. I’ll admit to feeling a brief sense of euphoria whenever it appears in my mailbox. But my subscription expires with the present issue (March 2011), and it’s not a moment too soon. Lemme splain…
Flipping through in my customary pre-read-perusal (think of it as window shopping, or taste-testing, or surveying the course before the next day’s stage — whatever), I turn to page 26, where the “Coach” department, supposedly authored by none other than Mr. Chris Carmichael himself, is responding to this month’s question, submitted by Jonathan [“Fred”] Edwards, who writes, “I recently bought a new bike. How do I become a cyclist?”
It’s true; I tell my students nearly every day that there are no stupid questions. But that is, in fact, a bald-faced lie. There are stupid questions, and the one above is probably one of the best examples ever.
Mr. Carmichael (or some under-paid and unacknowledged staff writer working on his behalf), of course, managed to find around 500 words, an image, and even a nifty little graph that charts “The Simple Way To Go Hard,” for his response. To be sure, the author gave proper lip service to “riding for fun, fitness, competition or transportation,” and “step 1” was “Just Ride”. But it wasn’t long before we had arrived at “Step 3” and the addition of intervals.
I’m really not opposed to any of this, per se. I certainly enjoying riding hard, whether that means trying to go fast or to go far. But Bicycling just really cracks me up sometimes. I realize their target audience is anyone who has $4.95 (or whatever the newsstand price is) in their pocket and nothing better to do with it. Granted, every reader (myself included), in one way or another, fancies herself or himself in some alternate Lycra-clad, world-traveling, mountain-climbing, podium-standing, Pinarello-riding, flat-belly-sporting and skinny-jean-wearing reality with every color glossy page they turn. But, come on; writing in to ask how to become a cyclist? Really?
Just get on your bike and ride.