My Proudest Moment: Trailer Park Cyclist Vs Cervelo Guy

04.22.2011 | 6:25 am

A Note from Fatty: Today’s guest post comes from Tim Joe Comstock. It’s an awesome story, beautifully told.

I live in a trailer park in Florida. Not a nice retirement-villa-on-wheels trailer park where the elderly neighbors swap recipes and check in on each other and play shuffleboard in the fading twilight of a rosy pink sunset kind of trailer park.


The trailer park I live in is a really crappy side-of-the-highway trailer park where the dentally challenged neighbors swap drugs and have fist-fights in the shimmering glow of the pale moonlight and the occasional blue strobe lights of a police cruiser perks up the evening’s entertainment.

Not that I see much of this action, not really, because while the evening’s misadventures go on outside my window I am safe inside staring at a computer screen bearing images of sweet and shiny new bicycles that I can’t afford. And reading cycling blogs by people who live seemingly charmed lives of high-paying office jobs that leave them plenty of energy and money to spend their off time riding around wearing expensive clothing that I also can’t afford while they ride the above-mentioned out-of-reach bicycles.

But while I may sound bitter or disillusioned, I am not. Because I ride a bicycle too. The same roads my “superior” colleagues pedal on are open to me, also. And listen, man, I ride them. After thirty years of hard labor in the construction industry, after two marriages and houses and kids and lawyers, topped off with this never-ending “recession” and all the loss that results from loss: I ride my bike. A lot.

One day a few months ago at a convenience store I was admiring a pair of touring bikes parked outside. A Raleigh Sojourn and a Trek 520. A mild-mannered fellow in full kit, a guy about my own graying age, came out and I complimented him on his bike. We were discussing the worth of disc brakes vs. cantilevers when his wife joined us, glancing nervously at my baggy shorts, sleeveless t-shirt, scruffy beard and long, bandana-bound hair. And the beer in my hand.

I was halfway through my Sunday Century and I always stop at the same place for a beer; sometimes three, depending on the day, how I feel, and my financial situation. As she walked up her husband was offering me a ride on his Sojourn. I was just throwing a leg over when she said “Hold it.” She gave her husband a look I was all too familiar with (two marriages) and said “How do you know he isn’t some homeless guy?”

“Well, honey, he knows all about bikes, and he seems perfectly all right…” All of this while I sat there, bemused (to say the least) and a flood of emotions went coursing through my already fairly beat down soul. But one of my saving graces at this point in my misspent old age is I don’t get offended nearly as much as I did when I was still an upright citizen.

But I got off the bike.

To her credit, she caught what she had done and tried to lighten the moment by giving me a strained smile and saying, “Well, you’re either a really smart homeless person or…” and then she realized that there was no happy ending to that sentence either and so I just laughed and said “Have fun on your ride, guys,” and went back into the store for another beer.

Today, several months later, I was into mile 30 on my Saturday ride, just cruising along on my 1981 Schwinn LeTour, loving the day and day-dreaming on the empty country road that I like to use for my day-dreaming ride when a guy comes out of nowhere and passes me. I say “Hey!” like I always do, but he just goes on by on his carbon Cervelo.

I am accustomed to being passed by better-disciplined and sleeker riders wearing helmets and lycra and riding carbon, but this time…well, he shot me a disdainful glance as he went by, something else I am accustomed to, but he could at least have said “Hello.”

And then I heard the voice of Brian Becker, ex tri-athlete and a touring rider with more miles under his wheels than most of us will see in a lifetime. “NOBODY drops me without a fight.” So I feathered forward on my right down tube friction shifter and I knocked on the door of a place inside of myself that I haven’t been to in a long time. “It’s not the bike, it’s the engine…come on, boy….”

I’m sitting here in my crappy trailer park by the highway, watching the sunset, sipping a beer and gazing fondly at my old Schwinn leaning against the wall. I’m savoring the the moment when the guy finally caught up with me back in town, where I was waiting at a red light.

“Sheesh”, he said, “I kept looking back, and you were still there. I couldn’t believe it…then…”

Yeah, man.


  1. Comment by House | 04.22.2011 | 6:39 am

    Great story – I have a nice bike, but I’m currently sitting above 140kg, so a lot of people don’t think I can make that puppy sing…. There’s no signal more sure to egg me on than a rear light flashing….. My legs just scream “go” and I love making that roadie work for his pride! Truly the worlds most liberating sport….

  2. Comment by Penina | 04.22.2011 | 6:40 am

    Good on ya!

  3. Comment by Kupe | 04.22.2011 | 6:40 am

    Go Greybeard, that has to be one of the best stories I have read in a long time. Good job

  4. Comment by Rossco | 04.22.2011 | 6:40 am

    Sweeeeet :)

  5. Comment by Erin | 04.22.2011 | 6:53 am

    Best guest post ever.

  6. Comment by Berry | 04.22.2011 | 7:03 am

    Joe, you’re a writer. I hope you knew that already.

  7. Comment by why? | 04.22.2011 | 7:07 am

    Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.

    Enjoy your rides.

  8. Comment by Sandra | 04.22.2011 | 7:08 am

    Great Story….Like you said the roads are open for everyone!!! HIGH Five
    Keep Riding

  9. Comment by Todd | 04.22.2011 | 7:10 am

    Amen brother. I am looking at this from a slightly different perspective however I share your same frustration when it comes to the ‘roadie snobs’.

    You see I too have a great appreciation for fine bikes. I prefer Italian hardware, I appreciate expensive cycling clothes, and I am fortunate to be able to afford both. I have a white collar job and on the surface could probably be mistaken for that guy you speak of in your post.

    I have been riding for 27 years and no matter where I have ridden(in this country) the ‘roadie snob’ seems to be prevalent and I have yet to come to understand why. I have even noticed a distinct pattern that when riding in plain black shorts and any old jersey, I get snubbed when waving or greeting the roadie snob that is dressed in full kit. When I am in my full kit, I rarely get snubbed. Same guys, same friendly greetings acknowledged when I am wearing a kit that is worthy to them and snubbed when not. I quit racing back in 1991 largely in part to this snobby culture. I still see it, still don’t get it. It doesn’t seem to exist in Mountain biking and is far less prevalent in Cyclocross. What is it that makes the roadie think their better than everyone else? I say grow up and grow our community. In the meantime I will continue to use ‘them’ as chum. The blood in the water that drives me to chase their ass down and roll up next to them and say hi how ya doin’and try to spread some love across the road. Keep pedaling no matter what you ride or how fast you ride it.

  10. Comment by Mike | 04.22.2011 | 7:10 am


  11. Comment by Antonio | 04.22.2011 | 7:11 am

    Just love it. :)

  12. Comment by SDM | 04.22.2011 | 7:12 am

    Awesome. Just awesome…

  13. Comment by Steph | 04.22.2011 | 7:24 am

    Beautiful post, Mr. Comstock. Many grand rides to you. : )

  14. Comment by Wayward | 04.22.2011 | 7:35 am

    There are certain joys to being old and riding a less-than-top-shelf bike. Hanging on the wheel of a younger, richer, full-kit highbrow until he surrenders is one of them. Scruffy aluminum and an attitude goes a long ways toward an occasional humble hour.

    Great story!!

  15. Comment by Angie | 04.22.2011 | 7:44 am

    Very well written! Tim, you should send your stories to newspapers and magazines! Make some income on the side! The way you describe your perspective makes the reader want to know more about you.

    Todd, I totally agree that there’s a snobby roadie culture. I’d love to know why it exists. I wonder if it’s because some riders are focused solely on their own improvement. They may look at another rider as:

    a. Someone who’s faster than me, therefore they exist so I can try to beat them or learn from them (and then beat them).


    b. Someone who’s slower than me, therefore they are useless to me, except for their ability to make me feel better about myself when I compare myself to them (hence the disdain).

    Elden, you should do a blog article about this attitude.

  16. Comment by RichInMV | 04.22.2011 | 7:45 am

    Made me smile – thanks! I am always amazed why people won’t even say “hi” or “nice weather” when riding by. How hard could it be? Great post, keep riding and dropping people!

  17. Comment by Fat Cathy | 04.22.2011 | 8:00 am

    Awesome. And beautifully written. Tim, you have my vote for the best guest post ever.

  18. Comment by Keith | 04.22.2011 | 8:00 am

    Let me be the third person to comment on your writing style. You have talent – no doubt about it. I encourage you, if you are not already, to write more as I am sure your stories would generate a following. I certainly would read your work.


  19. Comment by Even Less Fat Mike unmedicated | 04.22.2011 | 8:03 am

    Move over Hemingway. That is the best story on the soul of a cyclist I’ve ever read. Thanks.

  20. Comment by DoubleUc | 04.22.2011 | 8:04 am

    I’m not a bike snob by any means, I hear ya about people not saying “hello” and they most likely belong to the “Chubby Dentist Club” with far too much money and fat that out weights their 15 lbs bike twenty fold…but thats another story…but I do believe in safe riding…i can only imagine WHAT your water bottles are full of…(whatever dude)…good writing none the less but far from good riding in my eyes…try not to kill yourself while dodging that pothole with that buzz on.

  21. Comment by Jenni | 04.22.2011 | 8:04 am

    Next time we do a bike give away, I’m putting $5 in for you and hope you win.

    I loved every single word of your story.

  22. Comment by Jenni | 04.22.2011 | 8:06 am

    p.s. Fatty, this guy needs a Team Fatty kit. What could be more confusing than a homeless looking guy in full kit riding an old bike?! Sounds like perfect fodder for the next guest post.

    DO IT!!!!!!

  23. Comment by Doug Hunt | 04.22.2011 | 8:09 am

    Awesome story! I myself have suffered some of that same crap. But, i ride a trek madone 4.5 compact now with a great Garmin GPS. I saved and bought it myself and i ride with passion. Oh yea i am still the fat guy on the bike, but they dont mention it while im busting their ass on the road. 6′3″ 260# of roadie that loves food and a cold beer!

  24. Comment by Janet B | 04.22.2011 | 8:18 am

    Love your story.

  25. Comment by Matt | 04.22.2011 | 8:18 am


    This was beautifully written – one of the best bike-blog posts I’ve ever seen (don’t worry Fatty, you’ve got a post or two in that realm as well).

    This is also the second bike-blog post this week that has made me really reflect on what I have and how valuable it is. Thank you!

  26. Comment by rjb | 04.22.2011 | 8:19 am

    Great story. I’m fairly new to road cycling, and just last year upgraded to a fancy-schmancy bike. Before that, I rode my trusty cyclocross on club rides. One thing I can say is that, while the elitist roadie culture exists, most places will have some clubs or groups that are open and welcoming. My own local group includes white collar types like architects and engineers, but also construction workers and coal miners. We probably wouldn’t be the types to hang out together in any other arena. We differ politically, socially, economically, and in many other ways. But we all love to ride.

    I’m not sure if you’re looking for it Tim, but if you are, I bet you can find a group out there who will appreciate your love of the bike and won’t be put off by appearances. In our group, one of the strongest riders is a 60+ year old retired coal miner with a bad back who rides a recumbent!! He’s usually kicking all of our butts, even uphill.

  27. Comment by L'Hippo | 04.22.2011 | 8:19 am

    A Karmic Komeuppance!

  28. Comment by Cheesecake | 04.22.2011 | 8:26 am

    Yeah BOY!
    I have a lot of those type moments with my brother. Im a poor college student and he has a lovely well paying career, so needless to say his roadie is a few thousand dollars more costly than mine. I throughly enjoy those rides where i get out in front of him and just take off. No chance in hell he will catch up!

  29. Comment by nc | 04.22.2011 | 8:31 am

    What a wonderful story – love your perspective, insight and wisdom. Thank you so much for sharing – quite possibly the best thing I’ve read in a long time.

  30. Comment by Joe | 04.22.2011 | 8:34 am

    I am not a snob, have no superior skill or bike to be a snob about. BUT, sometimes I am thinking about things, tired or just in a bad mood. So I don’t want to say hi to every person that passes me or I pass. Really not more deep that than that, no elitism, no snobbism, I am just not always nice because I happen to be on a bike.

  31. Comment by Jarral | 04.22.2011 | 8:58 am

    Ahhh brought back memories of a good friend who would always beat-up on the guys with fancy bikes on his old internal three speed hub bike in Boulder. Just the snooty riders that is…..
    Nice story and hope all hurricane and tornadoes avoid you in the future.

  32. Comment by Gina | 04.22.2011 | 9:06 am

    Awesome read! You’re writing is indeed terrific and I’d love to see more of it. Definitely something to pursue. As for the snobbery, yes, I’ve encountered it as well. But I love being out on the open road, doing my best to keep up while still enjoying the scenery. I refuse to let those that are holier ruin the experience for me!
    Keep riding and keep writing!

  33. Comment by OldManUtah | 04.22.2011 | 9:08 am

    Way to Go, Tim!!! Those better than you cyclists need to get their ears pinned back once in a while. Nicely done.

  34. Comment by Terry | 04.22.2011 | 9:09 am

    “It’s not the bike it’s the engine!” Love it. Great story.

  35. Comment by Joanna | 04.22.2011 | 9:17 am

    I can’t believe someone is riding a bike older then my husbands. A 22 year old Giordana. Ride on!

  36. Comment by Lesley Jacobs | 04.22.2011 | 9:20 am

    Tim Joe, that was a great story!
    I am a bike rider, and I appreciate all of my fellow cyclists. I’ve never been able to understand the “cooler than you” attitude… it’s only a bike! Take a look at those vintage photos of the Tour de France dudes gutting it out on their machines… they’re in it to ride! I will never judge another person’s bike. They all have two wheels and their purpose is to free the rider to have fun.

    Your story brings to mind my most hilarious and humiliating moment on a bike. Not really to do with bike snobbery, but about being caught. I was feeling pretty good one day, riding up an epic mountain, wheezing and pumping my way along, savoring what it would feel like at the top… when I got passed by a guy in black jeans and FLIP FLOPS! He had a single tiny little bottle of water on his bike and nothing else. I was loaded down with multiple bottles, lunch, clothes, you’d think I was expecting early winter in late June. At least the dude said “hello, it sure is a beautiful day” to me on his way past.

    Keep on riding, and smiling!
    Lesley Jacobs in Seattle

  37. Comment by The Swell Guy | 04.22.2011 | 9:50 am

    Tim Joe Comstock. Great story. Bonus…ever notice that trailer park writers always use their middle name when published?

  38. Comment by Larry | 04.22.2011 | 10:06 am

    Tim, that is a great story. So much of it rings true for me. Although I have a nice bike I have been known to enjoy a beer during a long ride occasionaly.

    I really don’t understand why most roadies don’t wave to one another. I wave to everybody. I actually had a guy turn around last year and catch up to me because I waved to him. Then he was “upset” because he thought it was someone he knew. “Why did you wave at me?”

    Make the world a more friendly place, wave to your fellow cyclists.

  39. Comment by VKD | 04.22.2011 | 10:11 am

    Thank you for the great guest post! Tim Joe, I think that you have a future as a writer when you’re off the bike. A bikie friend of mine says that anytime two guys ride together it’s a race. I’ve done RAGBRAI five times over the years, and it’s an amazing group of people from teams fully outfitted in lycra with carbon bikes to the old farmer guys in overalls on single speed bikes from the sixties. As fast as I ever was, I’d see those guys along the route all day long because they were able to ride about my pace. It’s not the bike, it’s the engine, indeed!

  40. Comment by Sara | 04.22.2011 | 10:12 am

    “…and I knocked on the door of a place inside of myself that I haven’t been to in a long time.” Favorite sentence. Chills! Thanks for the story Tim. Keep rocking on your Schwinn.

    Yeah, man.

  41. Comment by Terry | 04.22.2011 | 10:14 am

    Great story, man.

  42. Comment by Joe | 04.22.2011 | 10:19 am

    How about this: (Road Bike) Snobs = insecure (road bike) dorks. Eh?


  43. Comment by John | 04.22.2011 | 10:32 am

    I get it. Everyone that rides carbon is a snob and eveyone who drinks beer outside the convenience store is the salt of the earth. I take your sterotype about me and raise you one better. How charming. Maybe no one should judge others by their cloths or bikes. Just a thought.

  44. Comment by JB | 04.22.2011 | 10:36 am

    Good post and writing. I relate to a bit of your riding methods Tim. I find myself sometimes being a reverse bike snob! I will never own a carbon bike, the bikes I ride are steel and two of them are early 1980’s vintage. I don’t own a “kit”, would feel stupid even putting that stuff on my body. I have observed that there is a “uniform” for what ever activity somebody chooses to get involved in and billons of dollars being outlayed for those uniforms so somebody can feel part of the club. I used to have a guy who worked for me that realy enjoyed his Harley but did not own one single piece of clothing that said harley on it. I always liked that about him!

    That said, I greet everybody that blows by me going each way with a “Hi” and a wave and my attitude is what ever gets anybody out on a bike, good job.

  45. Comment by CBJ | 04.22.2011 | 10:42 am

    I think John summed it up perfectly:

    “I get it. Everyone that rides carbon is a snob and eveyone who drinks beer outside the convenience store is the salt of the earth. I take your sterotype about me and raise you one better. How charming. Maybe no one should judge others by their cloths or bikes. Just a thought.”

  46. Comment by MMS | 04.22.2011 | 10:55 am

    Wow!!! exactly what I needed. Fantastic!!

    I think John and CBJ missed the point. Feeling guilty?

  47. Comment by The Banter | 04.22.2011 | 11:02 am

    You’re story seems ripe for one of those Hollywood feel-good sports movies. At least, it made me feel good. Should you and I ever pass, I’ll be giving out a big “hi”.

  48. Comment by The Flyin' Ute | 04.22.2011 | 11:26 am

    Tim Joe,

    You have a friend in me!!! My first “real” bike was a Schwinn LeTour. I liked it so much I parked it in my bedroom for months.

    I loved your story.

    I love the connection that most cyclist have with each other. There are plenty of cool and friendly riders. Most riders are great.

    I am bummed that I am not riding the annual RAWROD White Rim ride this weekend with Fatty and my usual gang of riders.

    There are some loser riders out there but not that many. Most of them are preoccupied with their music, training, or just can’t ride and wave at the same time. I usually just lift a few fingers if I need both hands. Also, Hello’s are sometimes hard to hear from the wind. A lot of people are insecure and show it in various wierd ways.

    But hey, We are all in this together…right? This economy is killing a bunch of us. Life is hard, but somehow we found our way to bikes. Old, new, used…whatever we can afford right?

    It’s a great thing to be part of.

    Life is great. Keep riding!!!

  49. Comment by Nobody Important | 04.22.2011 | 11:29 am

    I ride a carbon Cervelo (2011 S2) but I would have said hello. Great story.

  50. Comment by janey | 04.22.2011 | 11:37 am

    Love this!!

  51. Comment by centurion | 04.22.2011 | 11:54 am

    That what I’ll never understand, even though they ride a new bike that cost more than I’ll make in a month(and I have a good salary), and wear matching team kit, and I ride a several years old bike, and ride in baggie shorts and a t-shirt, we still ride on the same road. We still get crowded by the same ass-hat drivers, and get no respect from the LEO. WE have to work together to make it better for US. Why can’t they just wave back, at least one finger(not the middle).
    Seriously, you drink beer mid-ride? That would kill me.

  52. Comment by Eric L | 04.22.2011 | 12:09 pm

    What they said…

    That was so nicely written, I read through it twice. Proulx and Chabon got nothing on you mister.

    My older brother does similar things to snooty roadies in Oly WA. He blows past them riding an old three-speed while wearing a old Liquigas jersey and running shorts.

    Again, seriously well written.

  53. Comment by bikemike | 04.22.2011 | 12:10 pm

    i wave to every person riding a bike and running. most people on bikes wave back. most runners throw up and pass out in the middle of the road.

  54. Comment by Diane in WA | 04.22.2011 | 12:14 pm

    Right on man!! Good for you!

  55. Comment by The Flyin' Ute | 04.22.2011 | 12:20 pm

    Bro. I need to comment again and say Great story! Well Written. I loved it. Sent it to a bunch of my friends. Keep riding and WRITING!!

  56. Comment by Greg | 04.22.2011 | 12:26 pm

    We need fewer snobs! You’re awesome. My dad sometimes accompanies me on mtn bike rides. He always wears Levis and leather work gloves. He always drinks a Pepsi just before the ride or puts it in his water bottle. We don’t match-with me in my spandex and full suspension bike. However, he can beat all of my neighbors up AND down the trails and he’s in his 60’s. He’s my hero in more ways than one. Rock on bro…

  57. Comment by Anonymous | 04.22.2011 | 12:37 pm

    I guess I missed the point?

    It sounded like you were enjoying your ride (right on), but then someone passed you and didn’t say hi (yes, some people are just assholes). Rather than continuing to do your ride, you chased him down, rode on his wheel maybe, and then passed him? And now you’re proud that you raced a guy that was just trying to do his ride?

    I’m with John and CBJ…

  58. Comment by jilrubia | 04.22.2011 | 1:05 pm

    Great story, well told, man. For those of you who seem confused, the point is: We all have the same engine. It can feel hurt or put-down or soaring and free. For anyone, any day. Let’s all assume the best of each other, eh? Love the guest posts!

  59. Comment by hannah | 04.22.2011 | 1:22 pm


    I second that Tim needs a full Fatty kit.

  60. Comment by rich | 04.22.2011 | 1:41 pm

    awesome story and very well told!!!

  61. Comment by mj | 04.22.2011 | 1:45 pm

    “1981 Schwinn LeTour”

    Dude! That is the same bike I have!!! (except I’m not exactly sure of the year, sometime before 1985) and that I ride in triathlons & community rides etc. I get a lot of snarky comments, most are borderline mean about it — near the finish as I pass some ppl “I saw you at the start and I can’t believe you made it on that bike”. Um, thx?

    Now it’s old enough and fixie conversions (mine’s not a fixie conversion, original 10 gear configuration) of old road bikes are popular enough that the comments are taking a turn for the better — “That’s a cool vintage bike, where’d you get it?” Um, I’ve been riding it since it was new. This was my ride my bike to school, the pool and the library bike, out to practice for crew in college, etc.

    Aside from identifying with your bike, I loved your story, very well written. :-)

  62. Comment by Todd | 04.22.2011 | 2:33 pm

    Just remembered a dude I used to see while living back in Michigan. There was this bike path that led out of town in either direction, winding along a river. I would often use it to get out of town for a ride or when returning home from a ride.

    One spring I started seeing this dude with a ZZ Top beard, a bandanna on his head and wearing cut off ‘farmer’ jeans, you know bib overalls. Big bear belly, pedaling away up the trail. Coincidence had it that we always encountered one another while heading opposite directions. I would wave and say hi and at first he would ignore me and ride on. I would smile with a sense of satisfaction that this guy, not your stereotypical biker, or bicycler anyway, was out there enjoying his bike.

    As the summer wore on I saw him more frequently and he was getting slimmer and faster. He would wave or give a nod and I would do the same. I would always say, “I should turn around and catch him and see what his story is”.

    As summer turned to fall and fall to winter I never made the effort to track him down. Then one day the following spring I saw him again. Same bandanna, same ZZ Top beard, same bike but about 50 pounds lighter and wearing lycra shorts and a cut off T. That was it. I finally turned to chase him.

    The chase took much longer than I would have imagined but I eventually caught him. We rode together that day for an hour or more. We talked about bikes, life, the weather and whatever else came up.

    When I finally got home that day, in the dark havinf extended my ride by a couple of hours I felt great about meeting Jim. I have since moved to Colorado and never seen him again. I am glad however that I finally turned around to see what his story was. It was the same as mine, he just loved riding his bike.

    And Fatty – Tim Joe deserves a new bike. I am sure you can pull some strings with Johan and the boys over at Trek. Set him up.

  63. Comment by Linda | 04.22.2011 | 2:42 pm

    Sorry, all you criticizers, I think maybe you need to read this again. I don’t believe he is saying all riders of expensive bikes and all owners of expensive equipment are snobby douchebags. I think he means that when he is on a bike, he feels the same as anyone else, and that’s how most people feel, I think. And when someone passes you, gives you a withering glance, and doesn’t return your greeting, what else are you supposed to do but make him eat your dust? If I’m honest with myself, I can’t say I wouldn’t want to do the same thing.

  64. Comment by Todd | 04.22.2011 | 2:48 pm

    Bravo Linda!

  65. Comment by brokeMBA | 04.22.2011 | 3:09 pm

    A great read. Well done, and Thanks!

  66. Comment by Anonymous | 04.22.2011 | 4:01 pm

    I think Linda has it summed up for better:
    “I think he means that when he is on a bike, he feels the same as anyone else, and that’s how most people feel, I think.”

    … or worse:
    “And when someone passes you, gives you a withering glance, and doesn’t return your greeting, what else are you supposed to do but make him eat your dust?”

  67. Comment by Jill | 04.22.2011 | 4:02 pm

    Well written.

    However, I just hate it when other cyclists try to play this kind of game with me, though. Just let me do my damn bike ride in peace.

  68. Comment by LW | 04.22.2011 | 5:09 pm

    Wow. I earn my living as a writer–and all I could think was, “I wish I could write like that.” Keep writing. Love your voice and your perspective!

  69. Comment by Henri | 04.22.2011 | 5:24 pm

    Great Story,
    I happen to have many bikes(I’m sure I’m not alone here on that count), and have defenitely noticed certain riders treat you differently depending on what brand of metal/carbon tubing happens to be under you. I’ve decided to stop caring, they’re the silly ones who cant just be happy on a bike. I love my old schwinn (I beleive its an 84), its much more comfortable than my TCR for long rides even though I’m young and dumb and don’t ride it much. Enjoy the riding Tim! I agree with Todd, hook him up!

  70. Comment by DoubleUc | 04.22.2011 | 6:07 pm

    so lets give this trailer park cyclist and brand new “Fatty Kit” and a fancy new carbon bike…are you kidden me? What makes you people first of all think he would want that, much less wear it!? Aren’t YOU acting like the lady in the parking lot now? The soul of his story would be tainted with YOUR desire. Some people just dont get it. Again good writing, bad riding…or maybe we should teach our kids how to drink and ride.

  71. Comment by Erin | 04.22.2011 | 6:52 pm

    “[B]ecause while the evening’s misadventures go on outside my window I am safe inside staring at a computer screen bearing images of sweet and shiny new bicycles that I can’t afford.”

    THAT, Double, is why people think he might appreciate a new bike.

  72. Comment by DoubleUc | 04.22.2011 | 7:07 pm

    “sipping a beer and gazing fondly at my old Schwinn leaning against the wall.”

    SOUNDS like, Erin, he is pretty happy with what he has or maybe thats the beer talking?

    Tell the story how ever you want to your kids…its still drinking and riding and I somehow dont see that poster coming to your LBS anytime soon. Do you?
    Why dont people think about that?

  73. Comment by YourAwesome | 04.22.2011 | 7:39 pm

    I’m still working through the “Saturday Century” thing you have going on. Beer or no beer, I’m impressed! Thanks for reminding us, whoever we are, whatever we ride, at whatever speed, and whatever distance, to just be nice. We all need that reminder (at least I do) time to time!

    Thank you.

  74. Comment by Guyot | 04.22.2011 | 7:54 pm

    Nicely done. Writing is certainly a talent of yours.

    FWIW, I’ve been “snubbed” by guys on cheap, old bikes just as much as guys on carbon Euro racers.

    Full kits or shorts and tee’s – It’s not about the bike or the kit, and it’s not even about the rider.

    I like to nod or wave or say “Nice morning, huh?” to all fellow riders. Some of them respond, some don’t respond at all. I don’t let any of them impact myself or my ride. So what if a rider doesn’t say hi? Who am I to assume and expect him or her to respond to me? I don’t know what type of day they’re having, or night they had, or what’s on their mind.

    It wasn’t the Cervelo guy’s “snub” that made you “chase” him down or “win” – it was your own shit you’re working out. But you know that already. Not criticism, just an observation.

    Trailer park or mansion, Cervelo or LeTour, Roctane Gu or can of beer, full kit or shorts and tee, saying Hi or focusing on nothing but the ride, we’re all doing the exact same thing:

    Pedaling our bikes.

  75. Comment by MTNBikeChick | 04.22.2011 | 8:00 pm

    WoW…..Beautifully written, I would ride with you ANY day!!!!!

  76. Comment by Guy R. | 04.22.2011 | 8:07 pm

    My son has a Schwinn LeTour single speed of that vintage that I rode non-stop for two years while he was out of the country. He’s back now and won’t give it up even though I keep trying with various tempting offers. Great bike and well written story. Keep cranking.

  77. Comment by Shawn | 04.22.2011 | 8:07 pm

    “It’s not the bike it’s the engine!”

    Awesome stuff!

  78. Comment by Mark | 04.22.2011 | 8:36 pm

    Great story, great story telling! I showed up on my 79 Super LeTour at a group ride once. I had it rigged as my rain bike with fenders. I got those sideways looks until I hung with them and pulled a lot of them, then all of a sudden it was the “coolest rain bike around”. I wish I hadn’t crashed it – I love that bike.

  79. Comment by Allison | 04.22.2011 | 8:51 pm

    Beautifully written. Fatty, thank you for picking this story, I loved it.

  80. Comment by Tim Joe Comstock | 04.22.2011 | 9:24 pm

    I’m going to bed now. I’m going to bed taller, slimmer, more handsome and far more wealthy than I was when I woke up this morning, because of you guys and your unbelievable generosity. Thanks everyone!

    Tim Joe Comstock

  81. Comment by Stephen | 04.22.2011 | 9:59 pm

    Hey, doubleuc, get off yer high-horse. You’re probably one of those who take things so seriously they can’t be bothered to wave to a fellow rider.

    Tim Joe, keep riding man! I’d love to meet you on the road, trail, anywhere on a bike. (Any bike, it’s the engine!)

  82. Comment by Debi | 04.23.2011 | 12:31 am

    Great reading Tim Joe. You should consider starting your own blog and doing some writing.

    I have a friend who purchases vintage bikes and restores them. They are beautiful. I wish I still had my 1986 Schwinn.

    I know here in CA most people are very friendly when they’re passing and sometimes when they’re not I see them really concentrating on their riding, possibly training for something. And, there are those cyclists who have their chamois in a wad, but there are jerks everywhere. What I like about cycling is I can ride with real friends or alone.

    Wishing you all the best.

  83. Comment by Mindy | 04.23.2011 | 4:49 am

    You folks make me feel very lucky. I ride a road bike all around central KY and here the vast majority of roadies wave, speak, and make other cyclists feel that “road camaraderie” whatever they ride. I have met some interesting and enjoyable cyclists from all over the world who ride here and they all remark about how friendly the other riders and even country store

  84. Comment by Mindy | 04.23.2011 | 4:56 am

    You folks make me feel very lucky. I ride a road bike all around central KY and here the vast majority of roadies wave, speak, and make other cyclists feel that “road camaraderie” whatever they ride. I have met some interesting and enjoyable cyclists from all over the world who ride here and they all remark about how friendly the other riders and even country store owners are. So maybe there is a “snob roadie” phenomenon but maybe it is also a regional difference. If you are ever in the Lexington area please “come ride with us y’all” especially if you wear flip-flops and jeans and ride a “beater”. We will give you a tour, wave and chat, and show you the coldest beer spots for after the ride.

  85. Comment by vito | 04.23.2011 | 5:56 am

    That made me smile:) Wonderful post Mr. Comstock.

  86. Comment by DoubleUc | 04.23.2011 | 6:08 am

    Stephen, Thank you for your advice and I promise “if” I’m ever “high” and on my “horse” (aka:bike) I will get off it. You have made my point quite clear!
    And no, I’m not the type not to wave, quite the opposite, but you can assume anything you would like.
    My perspective is very simple…I dont believe that drinking “three beers” (or any beers) and riding a bike on the road is a good idea regardless of how charming one makes it sound in the context of a story.
    I think the law might agree with me.

    However, if you would like to enjoy a beer(s) by the camp fire and take your mountain bike and buzz out for a ride on a single track trail “go for it” at least your not in a position to become a hood ornament and or a pothole filler for all to see. Its not like WE bikers don’t have enough problems with public perception as it is. I guess that might be the reason you drink your beer(s) after the fondo is over not before or during.

  87. Comment by jeff | 04.23.2011 | 7:03 am

    I’ve found that the majority of cyclists are among “the good guys”, but have run across those averse to interaction with ALL fellow cyclists. I think they’re the same ones who don’t offer help when you’re suffering a mechanical road-side.

  88. Comment by Chris | 04.23.2011 | 7:58 am

    Awesome story! I have a very nice bike and each week I feel my fitness improve. My legs get stronger and of course I still get dropped by the guy on the cervelo too and have felt that disdainful glance. It fires me to work harder. I do occasionally pass another rider and I always say hello. Good morning or offer encouragement up that hill.

    We all started somewhere and Anyone out there on a bike is with us.

  89. Comment by Bees | 04.23.2011 | 8:03 am

    Great story! I did my first Ironman a couple years ago on 20+ yr old Trek 1500 with down tube shifters.

  90. Comment by Mike | 04.23.2011 | 9:09 am

    You’re my hero!

  91. Comment by Jenni | 04.23.2011 | 9:50 am

    DoubleUc- man, you’re being uncool.

  92. Comment by CF | 04.23.2011 | 4:53 pm

    I’ve just recently started road biking (trying to lose weight. training for a triathlon and because its fun), so I still have trouble with taking one hand off of the handlebars, but at least I still give the “head nod” and smile when making eye contact with fellow cyclists. Great read!

  93. Comment by K | 04.23.2011 | 7:35 pm

    Thanks so much for this post – well done and has made lots of us think. Keep enjoying your bike rides and stay safe.

  94. Comment by Gman | 04.23.2011 | 8:14 pm

    Remarkably well written. I liked it more the second time I read it. I’ve experienced the snob thing and don’t understand it. It’s possible that his(the snob’s) mind is simply somewhere else–but probable that he’s an ass all the time. Send this story to Reader’s Digest!

  95. Comment by Charisa | 04.24.2011 | 10:19 am

    Everyone on a bike is doing exactly the same thing. I love that.

  96. Comment by AngieG | 04.24.2011 | 12:41 pm

    Tim Joe, WOW…very well written. I think this story resonated with so many of us on so many different levels. We have all been there at some point. The fact that you were able to touch us all is indicative of your strenght as a writer.

    Thank you for your generosity in sharing a piece of yourself with all of us. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there for all of us to see, share and for some opine.

    You don’t need a carbon Cervelo or lycra to be a cyclist….it comes from a far deeper place than that!

    PS- They serve beer at Livestrong Austin (2nd to the last rest stop), so it can’t be that bad. I’d have a beer with you and ride!!!

  97. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 04.25.2011 | 5:33 am

    I am late to this string, but would like to add to the comments about how well written this piece is. Tim Joe, you nailed it beautifully. I go with Linda’s summary, and in doing so, find this to be a great way to start my day. Good on ya’.

    “It’s not the bike, it’s the engine” – beautifully put, and a lesson for us all.

  98. Comment by Roadie in a Fancy Kit | 04.25.2011 | 8:31 am

    Nicely written story. Thanks. However, judging our fellow creature’s intentions is always tricky, and not something that I recommend.

    Dear beloved cyclists, please don’t automatically assume I’m a snob because I’m concentrating on my training. I always try to at least wave at every cyclist, no matter what kind of bike he’s riding, pedestrian, those riding recumbents (recumbentiers?), and even many motorists if there is not much traffic. However, if I’m in the middle of a difficult interval, I may not be able to see much more than a small tunnel of light in front of me. Try as I might, if I don’t see you, it’s very unlikely that I’ll wave, much less, say “hello.”

    Even if I see you, the effort of picking up my hand from the bars may be too much at that moment. Seriously. A slightly raised index finger may be all that I can muster. Is this a slight against anyone? It is far from my intention.

    For what it’s worth, I can’t afford a carbon bike either.

  99. Comment by Elizabeth | 04.25.2011 | 8:53 am

    Marvelous story perfectly written. Love your honesty and character. Bravo!

  100. Comment by Daniel | 04.25.2011 | 10:48 am

    Love this story. It pulls together a bunch of things for me: the joy of the road, the joy of riding a bike, the comradarie that I value with any other cyclist on the road, and yes, nostalgia for my 1984 Nishiki Olympic. It died in a car wreck 15 Oct 1997.

    Agreed. Tim Joe needs at least a team fatty kit. And a helmet.

  101. Comment by Ken | 04.25.2011 | 11:18 am

    Enjoyed the story very much but it makes me suspect that it was written by an experienced bike guy majoring in creative writing giving us all an example of his talent.

  102. Comment by Fat Cathy | 04.25.2011 | 11:44 am

    @Ken – Ha! I was thinking the same thing but I didn’t want to seem like a curmudgeon. No matter Tim Joe Comstock really is, the post still gets my vote as the best fatty guest post ever.

  103. Comment by GrannyGear | 04.25.2011 | 12:08 pm

    Hey gang,
    DoubleUc is (somewhat) correct here. None of us want a four wheel driver with three beers in his (or her) belly out on the same roads as we ride. I have been brushed back a few too many times by sober drivers seeing how close they can get their rear view mirror to by arm and the thought of someone playing this little game of tag with me after they had a few beers is why I wear Road ID (no endorsement intended). The thought of one of us (cyclists that is) doing the same should be abhorrent to us all.
    Otherwise, great story and as a member of OAFS (old, arthritic, fat and slow) I make a point to wave and say hi to all passing me in either direction.
    See you on the road!

  104. Comment by Kel | 04.25.2011 | 12:20 pm

    Perhaps, if the construction trade isn’t doing well, you might consider writing full-time. You might not have the coolest bike, but you do have the tremndous power to communicate beautifully.

  105. Comment by Subeight | 04.25.2011 | 1:07 pm

    “it’s not the arrow it’s the indian”
    and “its a poor craftsman who blames his tools.”

  106. Comment by NatMc | 04.25.2011 | 2:02 pm

    Well played, sir. In honor of Tim Joe, I’m gonna ride a century this weekend, complete with pit-stop beers.

  107. Comment by Team Coffee Nook | 04.25.2011 | 2:35 pm

    Not to be a hater or a d-bag, but I’m with @Ken, I sort of kind of question the authenticity of the post.

  108. Comment by TCN-kappa | 04.25.2011 | 4:24 pm

    Yeah, I was wondering if anyone else felt similarly. (Maybe to the author’s credit) It reads more like a story than a factual account of a particular ride.

    I’m hoping not to get blasted by Fatty nation, but the author seems proud to be the antithesis of the lycra-clad roadie (he sets the stage with the previously mentioned “salt of the earth” description of himself), but when passed by a kitted-out “Cervelo guy” (seriously, who notices the bike someone’s riding when s/he gets passed?), he takes on the role of a standard Cat 5 roadie and goes for the re-pass?

    That strikes me as a fairly novice move made by someone with far less security than the author had ascribed to himself.

  109. Comment by Fred Zankowsky | 04.25.2011 | 10:58 pm

    I’d rather read your stories in Bicycling Mag than the bike snob’s. Write on, man!

  110. Comment by Toby G | 04.26.2011 | 7:06 am

    Yeah, what a well written piece of poetry in motion.

    Not sure if a carbon bike would be his thang but a writers fee and a Team Fatty jersey would fit this zen guy

  111. Comment by Lifelover | 04.26.2011 | 9:57 pm

    I spent my strongest years as a rider on a SS MTB or an skinny tube steel bike on road group rides. I never received respect off the bike until I had earned it on the bike. Ride super smooth and learn to lead regardless of what speed you can maintain. You will get their respect soon enough.

    Embrace the sandbagger turned Road Angel role.

  112. Comment by Peter | 04.27.2011 | 5:22 am

    If you ride even half as good as you tell as story, you must be a hell of a demon on a bike.

    Really enjoyable read. A clear talent for writing.

  113. Comment by Greg | 04.27.2011 | 12:05 pm

    We all take ourselves and our issues out on our bikes, old or new, expensive or cheap, and work them out. The beauty of the bike is that if we ride long enough and true enough, the issues fade into the background and we become just another struggling person enjoying one of life’s great equalizing pleasures.

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  115. Comment by Charles Gallegos | 04.28.2011 | 9:31 pm

    Dude, you are the real deal!

    I am 44, 223lbs, ride a Ti 29er rig with full XX group, rode to Yosemite, LA, and Seattle several times, raced Cat 1 for 10+ years, high mileage rides since age 13, starting on my paper route bike in any kind of weather, and put a ton of heart in every ride I do. We ride because thats what we do. We know who we are. Boat drinks!

  116. Comment by Stan | 04.28.2011 | 10:47 pm

    Back when I was racing, the coaches used to always tell us “it’s not the bike that makes you go fast.”

  117. Comment by tjw | 05.23.2011 | 9:46 pm

    this is a great story. just keep crushing man.

  118. Comment by Trevor Stolber | 10.7.2011 | 10:46 pm

    Props to you for being able to do 3 beers half way into a century. On a long distance ride I might do one beer but I find any more than 2 really starts to impact my performance.
    Sometimes, if its a nice day and I have had a long ride I will have a few beers with only a few miles left to go. I am also very much of the attitude that you don’t need a super expensive bike, even though I would love to have a Cervelo!

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