Don’t Fear the Newbie!

It has been brought to my attention that there is a small number of people in the cycling world who, instead of embracing the newbie cyclist will actually try to drive them away.

I’m going to give some two cents to the expert and newbie alike:

Experts:

1. Don’t scare them away!

2. Seriously, if it’s a lady, don’t harass her.

3. Don’t fear newbies. They tend to be more law abiding than so-called “experts”.

4. Everyone was a newbie, even you so treat them like you like to be treated.

5. Answer questions in a manner that’s honest, but not abasive and overly judgemental and opinionated. Plus, KEEP IT SHORT.

6. Otherwise, don’t give advice. Don’t tell them that they are “doing it wrong”. A few years ago, you were doing it wrong. Maybe you are still doing it wrong.

7. Try to learn from the newbie.

Newbie:

1. Welcome.

2. Don’t listen to people on mailing lists unless they are nice. But they are mostly assholes.

3. Wear what you want, including a helmet.

4. Don’t let people bother you. Don’t let so-called experts talk at you, even me. Just walk away when you are tired of them.

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2 Responses to “Don’t Fear the Newbie!”

  1. Aaron Garland Says:

    I agree, biking is very simple. Many people try to over complicate it with special equipment or special rules, but it is not much different than walking and the rules of the road or no different than driving.

    I work at an outdoors store and find that newbies come in thinking that they need $100 shoes with special $100 pedals in order to ride thier bike up a hill or around the nieborhood. I tell them that as they pursue cycling as a sport they may find the fancy pedals helpful, but that they don’t need them. In fact they don’t give them more efficiency or power, and if they are not used to them they might fall over.

    Maybe I am just another so called expert, but my message is that cycling is fundamentally simple and easy, and it is often our fears that make us think that we need lots of different things in order to ride a bike.

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