Fear of Seeming Weird Putting People off Cycling

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I saw this article from The Telegraph that reports an academic study was done in England and the number one concern about commuting to work on a bicycle was the fear of seeming weird.

I think it is a valid fear. Cycling does attract an eclectic personality that is usually not mainstream in normal daily activities and thoughts. So, the mainstream people should have a fear of “going over to the dark side”. And peer pressure, even by peers that you don’t know, is an amazing influence on everyday life. It applies a ton to cycling. And bike racing.

I use can sock height as an example. Cycling socks stayed the same length for the longest time. Typical European cycling socks were mainly a thin wool blend and came about 4 inches up your ankle. That stayed the length for the longest time. The sock had to be white and a proper length. I remember Dave Wiens wearing black socks in MTB races in the early nineties. “Wrong length” black socks. I don’t remember anybody giving Dave much grief in person, mainly because Dave was/is such a nice and genuine guy, but I do remember lots of discussions about how geeky the socks were.

Dave keep wearing his socks through the next decade and we all kept the same, mainly, white socks. Eventually the eclectic aspect of our sport took over and the sock length and colors have gone crazy. The Pros started wearing much longer socks, that extend way higher up the leg. It very easily could have gone the other way. But, a true Pro rider, or pro rider lookalike, wouldn’t be caught dead wearing an anklet type, triathlete sock.

That is the whole thing about trends. I think some of the trends in cycling are created by the athletes themselves, but the majority now, is led by the manufactures. Advertising at it best, making us all think that we need to wear knee socks to compete at the level.

Look at the casual MTB riding attire. Super loose, baggy stuff. I have a couple things from Club Ride, but other than that, I don’t really have any trendy MTB clothing to wear on the local California group ride.

It is so hard to keep up with the fashion trends. As a cyclist, it kind of goes against my grain. I like innovation in gear when it is functional. I don’t really care much about the aesthetics. Maybe that is the reason I don’t really care much about being weird in general.

Typical wool cycling sock from the 70's/80's.

Defeet changed the face of socks with the logos knitted into the socks themselves.

Off subject, the kittens finally discovered the dog door, thus the great outside. Squirrels are their fasination now. Rain is pretty interesting to them too.

Bromont and the squirrels have their routine too.

6 thoughts on “Fear of Seeming Weird Putting People off Cycling

  1. Doug

    As a died in the wool commuter, I am subject to frequent comments from co-workers. I can see how that would certainly turn some people off on biking, but I have a hard time with other people being able to control what it is I want to do so I tend to ignore and continue on my merry way. I also refuse to shave my legs.

  2. Jeff Cozad

    I haven’t driven the car to work in almost three years now and that’s living in Iowa. The thing that I like best is just by showing up everyday, we now have a little group of folks pedaling into work. It totally made my day when they installed the second bike rack.

  3. Brett

    “But, a true Pro rider, or pro rider lookalike, wouldn’t be caught dead wearing an anklet type, triathlete sock.”

    I would imagine that similar comments were said/written about long black socks and the like!!! If someone like Lance, Cav, or another rider of equal status started wearing very low socks they would be EVERYWHERE!!!

  4. Mike

    Regarding Socks – This might help someone.

    I started seeing “Compression” socks on some marathon runners and triathletes and heard the reasons why they wore them. I thought it was funny and to each his own.

    However, after a severe blood clot condition in my left leg where I damaged the venous return pumps in my leg, I now have to wear compression socks all the time or my blood pools and I can’t even ride a bike. (The Venous Return Pump acts as a one way valve that directs blood flow back to the heart)

    Compression socks are either knee high or thigh high depending on the severity of the damage.

    But here is an accidental and interesting result of using these compression socks… I KNOW LONGER CRAMP! I use to get leg cramps and now I don’t. So… if you get calf cramps often you may want to look into compression socks. Warning: You will get laughed at!

  5. tilford97 Post author

    Mike-I’d have to use a compression body suit to stop the cramps. I usually start somewhere up in the quads, but after they start, they can move anywhere and everywhere.

  6. Steve Wathke

    Last time I checked we all looked like a bunch of pansies wearing our momma’s underwear so we really have no business judging each other. I know I look cool with any length sock.


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