There are two main subdivisions when we talk about the newb. The first ones are the actual new riders who are trying to change their lives for the better and find a new sport, new hobby, and a new social circle. They may miss their pedals from time to time, get some road rash, be more hesitant on descents and out of shape for the climbs but we don’t judge them and we actually like them. They remind us of the good old times when we also started riding every day.
On the other hand, there is the second subdivision of newbs. They are always unprepared and surprised that they need water, snacks or gel. They never have spare rubber or instruments and are ready to mooch from anybody willing to share. These noobs we are better off without during group rides.
The Old Timer
Don’t be fooled by the name. The Old Timer can be anyone. From a 16-year-old boy speeding down а hair-raising downhill track to the 98-year-old commuter. At first glance, they don’t have much in common but once you start talking to them, they will always have a story to tell, beginning with “When I was younger” or “10 years ago”, followed by a brief 45-minute reminiscence of their past glory. They may have fought in the Great War or set a record pace on the set track. Whichever it is, they will make sure you hear about it and will expect your unadulterated admiration and attention.
The Road Owner
Road Owners are a pesky bunch. They always shout to move away from their path. While that may be OK when you’re on the downhill track, it becomes really annoying once you are in the city, riding to get to work or wherever. They will shout, ring, huff, try to rush you, ride on your tail and press you to hurry. Then, at traffic lights, no matter how much space you have in front of you, they will always pass you. That’s the only way they can point out that you are a guest on their bike lane. So don’t be shocked if they comment on your speed and that you should make way for them if you don’t ride at their pace.
Ah, we’ve all seen this guy, and we all hate them so very much. These are the riders who are always giving their all. No matter if they are trying for the Olympics, riding for a charity, going to work or even riding with their kids in the park. The Racer is always in a rush, always needs to be first and doesn’t shy to celebrate, even though he was the only one racing or if the other participants are five-year-old girls who unironically call them daddy/mommy.
The Racer will make your rides a living hell. They will nag you to go faster every 3.4 seconds, and if you are on a group ride, they will either hide in the pack until the last kilometre or they will run off in the very beginning and forget about you and the group. Not the perfect candidate for your Sunday long rides.
The show-off needs to be the centre of attention at all times. Whether they will ride on their back wheel through a crowd or they will pointlessly jump over an obstacle on their way to work, there is nothing too extreme for the Show-off. Is it dangerous for them – yes! Is it endangering everyone else on the street – absolutely. Does the Show-Off care – not even the slightest. As long as they get the spotlight, nothing is out of limits.
The Bad Boy
Surprisingly, there are even bigger nuisances than the Show-offs, and they are The Bad Boys. They are the ones that give cyclists a bad name and typically end up in YouTube compilations for cycling crashes. To be a Bad Boy, you need to possess only one quality – to be an absolute fool. Bad Boys disregard all ethics and laws and are always ready to defend their behaviour. They run red lights, rush through crosswalks at speeds that no one can react to, ride the sidewalk, push and startle pedestrians or overtake moving cars on the right, disregarding their own safety.
Typically there is no reasoning with the Bad Boys, so it’s best to avoid them at all costs. If by any chance you hit them or, God forbid, injure them because of their reckless behaviour, they turn from Bad Boys to Whining Little Babies and insist you were the reckless one. There is simply no winning with them on the road.
While we are on the topic of reckless behaviour, we need to introduce the Bat. The Bat, unlike Batman, is not a superhero, although he does strike fear in many people. Those are the type of riders who are absolutely convinced that there is no such thing as nights, and it’s just a social construct. So having lights or even reflectors is a waste of time and extra weight. Most often, those are commuters who continue to ride in dark clothes without any signalization despite all advice. However, some strange breeds of Bats go without any light on a night downhill. They usually rely on other riders’ lights and end up crashing almost 100% of the time. Seeing a Bat is hard, though, mainly because they hide in the shadows.
Most Influencers are pretty stand up riders with skills, and they almost always have some valuable information you can use. They know bikes, routes, techniques and the little details. However, the second kind of Influencers is probably sent by God to test us.
While it’s OK to have an action camera stuck on your helmets and create content for people like us to enjoy, it’s definitely not OK to start scolding another biker, driver or pedestrians because they ruined your shot. Also, having a picture or two during your ride is perfectly fine. However, spending 4 hours to take the perfect photo, stopping in the middle of the road to capture your bike in the sunset while blocking traffic, and forcing 10-15 other riders to wait for you, just so you can have a few likes on Instagram is definitely not to our taste.
Typically the Slobs are mountain bikers but let’s face it, this breed has spread amongst roadies and commuters as well. These are the riders that take zero care of their bike. And we don’t mean only that they keep them dirty after a ride but also that they don’t do even simple maintenance like greasing the chains, fork or mid-drive.
Slobs are easily noticeable. They can be heard from afar with the hellish screeches like a dying cat coming from their bike. Their wheels are muddy, as is the rest of the bicycle, with layers dating back to the bronze age.
Much like the Racer, the Predator will always give its all to win, even if there is no race. Unlike the Racer, though, these riders have little to no skill and are barely fit for a ride. Consequently, they will only show off their speed when riding with someone slower or a child. The Predator seems harmless at first. They are friendly to their group and can even be pleasant to ride with. However, if they see weakness, they get mad. Blood runs in their heads, and they start riding as fast as possible, only to diminish the weaker rider.
Many predators are sexists, as they try to outrun a female rider by all means. However, since their physical capabilities are far from perfect, the Predator has no chance. That’s why Predators mainly try to race little children, injured riders or newbies, so they can establish their dominance and boost their fragile egos.
Which one are you?
Reading these types, you will probably say that you can’t fit in any of these descriptions, and you will be correct. Rarely there is a purebred. Most often, riders (us included) are a mix of all. We have our strong and weak moments, and we have these types of riders in the back of our minds, ready to take over whenever we are frustrated or lack concentration.
So, which one possesses you when you are mad?