Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chat This

I'm home, celebrating pre-Thankgving with 'flu-like' symptoms. This can't be 'Flu' because we've both had the seasonal flu shot, I've had H1N1 (had to muscle a couple kids and a pregnant lady out of the line to get it!) so we should be bullet proof, right? Whatever, it's not the end of the ride just a few bonus miles as they say around the ole controle.

It's given me opportunity (between coughing fits and dizzy spells) to reflect on what the blogosphere has provided recently, here's something I thought I'd share:

Language: It’s the frosting that decorates the cake of humanity. Who doesn’t love frosting? A week or so ago a person came on to that Rando chat list I read and occasionally participate in. This person asked the (seemingly) innocent question; "Why randonneuring?” And, being as it’s the hot stove league for rando’s, the regulars eagerly chipped in to help the potential recruit since there was no currently unanswered question about lighting or converting file formats for GPS users.

In short order it was pretty clear that the OP (internet shorthand for Original Poster) was not so much interested in learning what randonneuring is so much as starting the virtual food fight. He didn’t start with the full on frontal attack, "I think randonneuring is stupid and you practitioners are more stupid than that!" He just kept questioning the why, and countered every justification offered with something like “doesn’t sound like fun to me”, or “I don’t get it.” In poker it’s called a sucker bet, in war with insurgents it’s called a baiting tactic, on-line it's called trolling . I think of it as intellectual vandalism.

I learned some time ago that when someone asks about randonneuring it is often wise to resist the ‘red bike syndrome’. (What kind of bike to buy? Get a red one! I have one and love it, you will too!) The truth is randonneuring is stuck pretty much in a very far corner of the big tent of cycling … for a reason. It’s really not for everybody. This is hard for rando’s to remember because we have drunk the cool aid and thus seen the invisible but monolithic truth: almost anyone can do it. But, just like pickled herring or lutefisk, it’s just never going to be the main dish on the bicycling buffet. An acquired taste shall we say?

Randonneurs may have some invisible but inherent personality disorder (obsession?) which in other facets of life might be a hindrance, but which is a great attribute for long distance cycling. We just need to remember that when building a garage, a 22 oz framing hammer is a very useful tool, but when dusting in the lighting section at the big orange hardware store ... not so much. When engaging a trolling ninja, that 22 oz framing hammer can easily become a liability.

Disclaimers (YMMV, IMHO) should almost always be attached when responding to the question ‘Why Rando?” It’s not rocket surgery, can’t be proved, or scientifically validated; it’s really just personal preference … bordering on obsession (actually, I like pickled herring).

Tomorrows Thanksgiving post will hopefully provide an apetizer of shame, a side dish of guilt, and promise of redemption. Be thankful as you can be.

Oh, and those internet acronyms? They are the sprinkles, on the frosting, on the cake ... LOL.

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