Friday, October 3, 2008

Team Bikin': All dynasties have to begin somewhere

Since the beginning of time, man has searched out others of his kind. Those who share the same interest, and have a common bond. Some say this is because there is comfort in a large group of people similar to you. In other words, no matter how insane something is, you never feel quite as dumb if your surrounded by others doing the same insane thing.

This has never been more true than when it comes to a bicycling club or team. I mean think about it. Riding a bicycle on the same roads that are used by 2,000 lbs cars, is not what most people would describe as a terribly smart way to spend one's time. There is strength in numbers. Even though we're not really any safer, I know I always feel safer riding in a group than by myself. So, for the most part, we as cyclist generally search out a group or team to ride with.

In my case, that group would be Team Bikin'. Now right from the start, you need to understand that Team Bikin' isn't what most people think of when they think of a cycling team. First of all, the word "team" implies some sort of disposition to ride "fast' and "race". Neither of these terms could ever be truthfully applied to Team Bikin'. And guess what, we like it that way.

Below is a picture of a good percentage of the team, taken at a recent group ride:

Now, I know what your thinking, how could the Tour De France ignore us yet again this year? Well, I'll tell you why the Tour De France is ignoring us, they're afraid of us. That's the only explanation that makes any sense. They're afraid that our little cycling club will dominate their race around France the same way that the Germans dominated France in 1943. The same way that mustard dominates a hot dog. The same way that sauerkraut dominates a Reuben sandwich. But I digress.

To say that Team Bikin has a bit of a relaxed attitude towards cycling, would be a gross understatement. While most cycling teams are dealing with topics like how to increase their average speed by .5 mph, or how to properly setup a left echelon, Team Bikin' is typically more occupied with figuring out where to eat lunch after the ride. "Eat to ride, ride to eat". That's sage advise and words to live by.

This is not to say that we're not serious about our cycling. Actually, that's exactly what it's saying. No, I'm wrong again. We are serious about our cycling, but not in the same way that most cycling teams are. Where most teams are obsessed with riding faster, we're more concerned with how we ride. We're deadly serious about riding legally and safely. We actually stop at stop signs and red lights. Yes, this tends to slow us down, but so what. We'll eventually get where we're going. I know, weird, huh? We also have a standing rule that no one rides alone. No matter how slow someone is, they always have someone to ride in with. No one gets dropped. The slowest rider in a group sets the pace for that group. Now, if one rider is slowing the whole group down, then we'll find another group for him/her to ride with. But as long as they are with a group, they don't get dropped.

If our little version of Team CSC has a leader, it would be Mike Keel, or Bikin' Mike, as he is known in these parts. (For those of you not from Texas, "in these parts" roughly translates to "around here".) Mike has been a cycling coach in the Dallas/Ft Worth area for about 30 years now. He runs a spin studio, does personal coaching and training, and produces three or four bike rides a year in the area. He is the driving force behind Team Bikin's philosophy of riding legally and safely. If you won't ride legally and safely, then you won't be riding with us for long. You will politely be told by Mike, that your presence is no longer required at our group rides. Or not so politely told, as the situation may warrant. Mike's just painfully shy that way.

Now, I want to be sure that I say this correctly. I don't want to offend anyone, so I'm going to choose my words very carefully. As a writer, I have a keen sense of how to say something, and a gift for tact. I have a wordsmith's grasp of the English language. I talk very goodly. OK, so here I go.

Mike Keel is short.

There, I've said it. I don't think I'm letting any great secret out of the bag here. Anyone who has ever met Mike, is aware that he is not a tall man, and I'm pretty sure that Mike is aware that he is what can be referred to as "vertically challenged". He is not of great physical size. But what he lacks in physical size, he more than makes up for in presence, stature, and heart. He spends a great deal of his time volunteering with charitable groups in the area. Just about any bike ride that Mike produces, is going to have a charitable beneficiary. And once Mike considers you his friend, there's nothing that he won't do for you. Oh, by the way, he's one of the strongest cyclist that I've ever ridden with.

So, is there reason to believe that Team Bikin' will not receive a wild card invitation to next years Tour de France? Probably. And we'll probably never be confused with the Garmin/Chipotle Team out on the road. But that's OK with us. We'll continue to ride at our own pace, finishing closer to the end of the peloton than the beginning. Again, that's OK with us. But we will finish, safely and together.

Now, where's lunch?

Peace out.......Nearly Famous Fred

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As we all know all great leaders are short, Napoleon, Julius Cesar,...well you get the idea.