Friday, February 6, 2009

Nicknames for cyclists

Cyclists love nicknames. Given the irony of cycling - why do you love so much something that hurts so bad - these are often dripping with irony or humor. And since they are a bright group as a whole (despite the whole anti-darwinian behavior) some of them can be quite clever.

Now, of course you don't tend to get so biting with nicknames in your own clan - it might something as simple as "TJ" (I always thought TJ - given name John - was "Thomas John" but it turned out to be "Tandem John" as opposed to the other John who wasn't on a tandem). Or Stinky. Whatever.

It gets much more interesting when you form some sort of short term relationship to someone on an informal group ride or century. Now your own clan will come up with nicknames for your temporary colleagues. So be careful with how you act, and particularly what jersey you throw down. I've shown up to the Google ride with one of my many AV jerseys over and over and earned the moniker "One-Kit".

So let's say you show up with a jersey with the Flemish Lion on it. You will now be known as the "Lion of Flanders" or "Johann Museew". Bring your A game if you are going to show up with this jersey because that term will be used very derisively unless you can pull your weight and don't pull various stunts that threaten to put your new friends on the pavement. Pull the line for 10 miles at high tempo and you will be the "Belgian Hard Man".

Colorado Jersey? You could be "Ron Kiefel" unless your wheel is unsteady, in which case you might end up being "John Denver".

And please, don't show up with the Maillot Jaune. Those guys calling you "Lance Armstrong" aren't being nice. If you are real yo-yo you will become "Oscar".

It's not just jerseys. Aerobars in the paceline? "Dipshit tri dude". Show up on a Cervelo and kick major ass, we will bow down and call you Fabien. Of course, we will similarly call you Fabien if you ride off the front and then get reeled in and dropped. Most nicknames can be used as either a term of respect OR one of derision.

But some nicknames are pretty clear cut. A mail arrived after a group ride last week.

Things just felt a little more reckless this morning well before
that incident - Teva Handlebar guy ran in to me while trying to perform a twitchy trackstand at one of the lights

"Teva Handlebar guy" is never a term of respect.

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