Road biker “roadie” aesthetic

We live in Boulder, Colorado, so I am sure we have all seen (or are) a road biker, or “roadie.”

Before you begin reading about the aesthetic I chose, I would like to challenge you to sketch a bicycle without looking at a picture or anything for reference. Very few people can draw an accurate depiction of a bike from memory. Fun fact.

It all started in 1870 when the first all-metal, high-wheel bicycle appeared. This is the bike with the huge wheel in the front and the small one in the back. Obviously, being 4 to 5 feet high on this bicycle was a safety concern. Eighteen years later, an Irishman named John Dunlop (yes, the same Dunlop tires you know today started in 1888!) re-invented the pneumatic tire and the bicycle wheels became smaller. This led to bikes being more widely used. However, from 1900 to 1910 the popularity of bicycles dropped in the United States when automobiles gained popularity. Meanwhile, in 1904, the Tour de France started and cycling as a sport quickly gained popularity in European countries. Around 1960’s, cycling popularity began to increase in the United States due to the clear health benefits and it escalated to the popularity we know today. But let’s talk about what a “roadie” looks like.

Image obtained from cucinaonhay.com.au depicting road cycling friends sharing coffee together.

When one says “roadie” (aka road cyclist), a clear image pops in one’s head. This image is the classic Tour de France road racer look. Traits that usually surround a road cyclist are:

  • Skin tight clothing: yes, we have all seen the spandex shorts and jerseys. But road cyclists not only wear this type of clothing while they ride, they wear it to restaurants and sometimes even grocery stores. And don’t get me started on the aerodynamic gains… check out these sweet aero helmets!

Image obtained from roadbikereview.com

This one is a DIY aero helmet, one of a kind. Image obtained from bikeroar.com

  • Shaved body: There are several reasons why road cyclists shave, among the most common are, it helps with aerodynamics, road-rash from crashes is not as bad because hair creates friction against concrete, and “I don’t know, everybody else does it.”

“Shaving will make you faster.” Image obtained from bikeradar.com

  • Performance mentality: If you have ever heard road cyclist speak, conversations tend to contain terms such as VO2 max, hammer, bonk, KOM, Strava, Watts/kg, power meter, cadence, etc. They are always very focused on their power outputs as well as what they intake (as far as food). And you know what they say, “if you didn’t Strava, it never happened.”

Strava KOM meme… Image obtained from totalwomenscycling.com

  • Love for espresso: If you didn’t like coffee before becoming a road cyclist, now you will. And not only like it but become a connoisseur, because you will feel left out if you don’t. And remember, coffee is not just a drink, it’s a lifestyle. So next time you go to a coffee shop, see if you can spot a couple, look for the hat.

What to look for to spot a “roadie.” Image obtained from theplusboutique.blogspot.com

Espresso yourself. Image obtained from nitipstore.com

Team Sky with a celebratory beer. Image obtained from welovecycling.com

VIDEO! PLEASE WATCH! I think it is really funny.

This video does a fantastic job at explaining “How to be a road biker.” Enjoy! (the link will take you to the YouTube video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEhySzO14ik

 

References:

Main article: “A Brief History of Road Cycling” obtained from backroads.com

https://www.backroads.com/pro-tips/biking/a-brief-history-of-road-cycling

 

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Benjamin Robles
    Jackson Hootman
    January 23, 2020 10:53 pm

    Hello Benjamin! As an avid road cyclist, I really enjoyed your post. I feel you’ve accurately captured the motivation behind the average cyclist in a lighthearted manner. I do wonder, however, if the images you selected represent a single aesthetic or if multiple aesthetics are represented here. More specifically, do you believe World Tour pros, cat 3 racers, and casual riders all share the same aesthetic? If not, what are the differences?

    Reply
    • Benjamin Robles
      Benjamin Robles
      January 27, 2020 11:22 am

      Hey Jackson! And that is a very good question. I would say I picked the bigger umbrella for road cyclist where all the sub-aesthetic categories fall under, such as pros, cat 3s, and your average joey haha! That video specially touches on all of those sub categories but I certainly wanted to focus on the average local “roadie” that enters all the races he/she can, buys expensive bike trainers to maintain his/her fitness up, and loves going to Rapha for a morning brew. May I ask which type of “roadie” are you? I myself are more of a mountain bikers haha.

      Reply

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