Evolution of a bicyclist

I'm an active participant in the BikeArlington Forum, an on-line bulletin board/information-sharing resource.  There are tons of great discussions on the forum.
One started just the other day, titled "Evolution of a Cyclist."  One of the participants made the comment about how watching some cyclists riding in the rain or on a busy road seemed crazy.  I responded, "And a few years from now, those guys will be you!"

I then posted a longer note, copied word for word here:

All of us are at a different place in our evolution as cyclists. I, for one, am delighted that more and more people are cycling. Everyone starts out as a newbie at some point. Only a few of them will find this forum immediately and benefit from its infinite wisdom. Others will just make mistakes and learn the hard way. And maybe be a little stupid in the process. And by the time they have evolved there will be a whole new crop of newbies to take their place.

All the dumb things they do and newbie errors, etc. are pretty much ones that I have made myself. And there's just the evolution of comfort--when and where we feel comfortable and safe. Once upon a time if I had seen someone cycling on the Whitehurst, I would have said "WTF!" too. Eventually it became my daily route.

- Just like everyone, when I first went clipless, I fell over. More than once.
- I started as a summer-only commuter, and when I saw cyclists out in the snow, I would think "WTF! Are you crazy?" Now I can't wait for Freezing Saddles to start.
- Just like skins_brew, I didn't have shorts with chamois or neon jerseys, or really anything other than clothes. When I saw those cyclists, I would think "You must have money to burn" or "You just think you are hot s*&#$" Now I need two drawers and part of a closet for all my bike attire.
- Occasionally even now, as alert as I try to be, I may buzz someone a little closer than is comfortable for them. I feel badly when I do it.

A few times a year I have the fantastic opportunity to teach a WABA "Learn to Ride" course. There are literally hundreds of people on the waiting list wanting desperately to learn to ride a bike. Teaching those classes are often the most rewarding days of my entire year--by the end of the day, 90% of them are up and riding. Some cry with joy. Just this last weekend I taught a City Cycling class, and there was one of my students from the Learn to Ride from the spring, determined to become an accomplished bike rider. She told me she's going to come back again for the advanced track. And keep coming until she can't get any more out of it.

You know, she might wobble at the wrong time, or make an ill-advised turn in a bad place, or drop her chain and be standing on the side of the trail helpless, or some other things that we would then rail about here on this forum. But I love her and all the cyclists who are just crawling out of the ocean for the first time on their evolutionary journey. They need our embrace more than our criticism.

Ride on!! 

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