Just an observation, but I've noted differences between cycling
styles of people under 60 years of age and those over it. 'Well obviously, there's gonna be, they're venerable crusties
', I hear you say. But I'm convinced it must be something more than just the physical wear and tear of time on the joints.
Admittedly the over 60's cyclists are not really that common these days, but whenever I make a rare sighting, something about them 'doing their thing' holds my 'gnat-like' attention span for just a second longer than usual.
We've all seen them. The (possibly wicker) front basket is crammed with all sorts of soft food stuffs as they pop to the shops and back home without the pedal crank making one full revolution. A kind of thousand yard stare is etched into their crinkly faces as they ride with stoic determination. I figure the gearshifter must have got stuck in the biggest, slowest cog, because no sane person would be using 'that' gear at 'that' speed.
But not once will they flick that lever to ease the friction of that almost imperceptible, shallow, leg-burner of a hill. No way. They just grit their dentures and plough onwards. As they pass me I strangle down the urge to shout 'Use your bloody gears, mate". But I guess the response would be: 'My what??' So I let them continue cycling through that invisible vat of treacle, their Lower limbs seemingly operating on a different slo-mo temporal phase than the rest of reality.
And you can bet that even when facing a force 9 gale head on, they will not attempt to duck under the wind. Oh no. Instead they retain that victorian posture, completely erect and at right angles to the oncoming gusts, becoming a human sail. The human drag parachute.
Does this illogical style stem from bloody mindedness? A pig-headed stand not to recognise advancements in cycling technology in the post-war era?
Or is it a kind of ingrained social code of body language derived from spending their formative years watching the meanderings of a local bobby cycle on the first run of 'Dixon of Dock Green'?
Younger cyclists tend to have a more aerodynamic posture, they lean into the wind and they tend to use the gear system pretty frequently, for hills and starting off. We've just been influenced by the BMX and mountain biking impact in recent years.
But make no mistakes, they will complete their journey without complaint and probably without breaking a sweat.
All I know is that they must have some kind of unearthly power in those 'piston-like' quads, 'cos their legs are made from sterner stuff than mine.