The Results are in

Well folks, it’s been exactly one week, and the results are in. According to the participants of my first ever poll (in no particular order): I am a dum dum, a cry baby and an imposter cyclist; and the most interesting thing about me is not that I fixed up an old rusty bike from the landfill and now ride it with great pleasure, or that I have a special and dear riding partner who reminds me of the joys of riding, but that I am guilty of once flipping a motorist the finger. Hmpf. Be careful what I ask for, right?

I am just kidding, of course. The whole poll episode was great fun for me, and I drafted those responses with intention and zeal, excited for people to pick any of them. Before I review the actual results with you, though, a few thank you’s are in order.

The first is a big thank you to everyone who voted, favorited my post, or chose to follow me on WordPress or Twitter. Thank you, it’s all appreciated. Some people went so far as to offer up their own responses to my poll, and those that were intended to be funny (… we really have to talk to our wives if they are our riding partner 1x a month?….), definitely were. Thanks for taking the time.

Another huge thanks goes to Fatty from Fat Cyclist. Without him, the number of respondents would have been, well…..just a wee bit smaller.

I am a regular reader of the Fat Cyclist blog, and a supporter of all the humour and charitable goodness that Fatty brings to this world. Accordingly, I own a Fat Cyclist jersey and wear it with pride, which I alluded to in my poll.

On February 20, after posting the poll to my blog, I tweeted the following to Fatty with a link to my poll: “Yes, I admit I’ve worn my Fat Cyclist jersey to spin class. Does that embarrass you?”.

Up to that point of the day, there had been 12 visits to my blog. Within 3 hours of Fatty retweeting the link, there were 496. The Fatty Effect. Thank you Fatty, you made my poll a whole lot more fun.

Now, the presentation of the results, followed by my in-depth analysis. For the latter, I have decided to elaborate upon the most popular poll responses. The proportional number of votes for an answer will be my guideline for the depth of interpretation necessary. And following that, where necessary to preserve my dignity, will be my rebuttal.

For question number 1, I asked whether cycling jerseys belonged in indoor spin classes. Most of the voters selected “n/a – ‘Spin class’ and ‘cyclists’ simply do not belong together. Get outside and ride, you crybaby”. I interpret the popularity of this response thusly:

Cyclists do not “spin”. We have voted at our secret cycling clubhouse (where aluminum is banned, the password is “bidon”, and we demand everyone speak in French) and determined that you may no longer refer to yourself as a cyclist. Not even if you continue to use the pre-qualifier “recreational”, as you have done until now. You may be “spinning” (insert dramatic, venomous “puh-too” / spitting sound) inside because it is winter time, you live in Calgary, and it’s lonely when you ride the trainer in the basement, but that just makes you a crybaby. You can never join our élite club, but if you stop spinning immediately, and vow to henceforth only ride your bike outside, or on the trainer, then one day we may let you help unload our bikes (please wear velvet gloves), pump up our tires (no, you can’t use a gas station compressor pump), and wave to us as we pedal away for a group century (we will pretend we don’t know you).

Wow. Enough said. I should obviously feel shame. If you would like an apology from me, I would be more than happy to issue one. To get your heartfelt apology in person, please come and find me next Thursday morning around 6 a.m. I’ll be at Westside Rec Centre in the cycling studio. I’ll be the one wearing a jersey.

Actually, the funny thing with question number one is that the next most popular answer, with 22% of the votes (third place received only 8.5%), represents the polar opposite opinion: jerseys can rightfully and proudly be worn anyplace, anytime. Obivously, this is a very relevant, dominant and polarizing issue. I will contact my local political pundits immediately, and see that this issue gets the attention it deserves during the next federal election. I suggest you do the same.

Question 2 asked how a recreational cyclist such as myself might best prepare for riding the 2012 Canmore 24 Hours of Adrenalin as a solo rider. In this case, the most popular response, with 30.5% of the vote, was the one I had most hoped people would pick, because it was the one that described my exact plan: start training later. To those people who chose that response, thank you, you are kind and empathetic to my procrastinating and seasonal ways. And your passive support must have worked because I was up at 5 a.m. on the next weekday, riding my trainer in the basement.

Your second choice, with 28% of the vote, was: “n/a – ‘Recreational cyclists’ don’t ride the 24HOA solo. Re-examine your choices you dum-dum.” Enough people voted for this that it is clear they were trying desperately to send me this message:

“Recreational” cyclist is a misnomer – there is no such thing. Cyclists are people who ride until they crash out, Shermer’s Neck sets in, or they win the race. That’s it. And if someone does self-identify as a “recreational” bicycle rider (notice we refuse the use the word cyclist here) e.g. someone who rides “occasionally” and for “fun”, they should not enter any race, and should most certainly be blocked for life – forcibly if necessary – from entering any 24 hour race. 24 Hour races are hard-core. As are cyclists and mountain bikers. It’s black and white. No gray. Except for carbon fibre.

This was almost the winning answer. Yikes. Had it won, I would have been forced to tell you that this recreational cyclist (yeah, I said it) ALREADY completed the race last year as a solo competitor. That’s right, I tucked 8 laps under my size 32 belt. So there. I was underprepared, and it really hurt, so I’m not disagreeing about the dum-dum part. It’s the recreational cyclist part I’m desperately clinging to. If I were to think of myself as anything more, I might have to train and forego that banana loaf I enjoyed tonight.

As for the final poll question, “what should I write about next”, the clear winner was “why you should think twice before flipping that guy in the car the middle finger.” This one was low on my list of priorities, but I am a jersey-wearing, spinning, recreational cyclist of my word, so I shall oblige. Stay tuned…..