The Decline of the Friendly Cyclist

This isn’t going to be a training related question, more of a current observation I have made about the state of the social element to road cycling in my local area.

I first experienced this when I made the transition to Sunday riding with a club for motivation and harder rides. Very cliquey, not a very friendly atmosphere at all and people just take themselves far too seriously.
Its strange how people would get any enjoyment in spending their time off on the weekend riding in a militant formation and shouting at people for not holding the wheel. That is not relaxing or fun and I would much prefer riding solo.

Turns out when I ride solo and wave, nod or smile at fellow cyclists they pretend to be too pro to have seen me. You know who you are… (Rapha uniform) I have been discouraged to the point where I don’t see the point in initiating acknowledgment anymore.
There is always one reason or another for roadies to be snobs. Kit, hairy legs, bike, even pace and mileage.

Does anybody else deal with this or have any experiences you would like to share?


I think you’re taking it all too personally. I’ve heard a lot of complaints along similar lines, so you aren’t the only person who feels this way, but it’s always a waste of time caring.

Firstly, with regards to the club ride, this is purely going to depend on the goals of the group. If the goal is preparation for racing then it’s to be expected that it’s somewhat militant. You need someone to tell you that you’re doing something wrong if you want to learn and improve. If you goals are different to the groups the you simply need to find a group who is more like-minded.

Secondly, why does it bother you whether a fellow cyclist greets you or not? And what’s to say it has anything to do with how they’re dressed. You’re judging them in the same way that you’re ASSUMING that they’re judging you. I greet some people and don’t greet others. It’s a reflection of my mood rather than on the person I’m (not) greeting.

I’m not denying the existence of willy-waving and snobbery, it absolutely exists. But it always will. So it’s you’re choice whether to be a part of it or not


I acknowledge everybody whilst I’m out on the bike. Runners, horse riders, other cyclists. I honestly think I must have some type of fetish :rofl:

As for the ‘pro’ riders out for their Sunday spin, I’m not fussed if they acknowledge me back. I know it takes focus to prepare for the tour… of their self-made, hidden Strava segment.


Lots of good points here - I mostly initiate with a nod, smile or shout. It’s probably 50:50 for being acknowledged and ignored. It’s also possible that I think I’ve been ignored when they actually nodded when further away and I hadn’t spotted, or I’m too tired to respond if I’ve been pushing. Some people may also do it too subtly to register.

But as Oneman says, keep doing it and don’t take it personally. ‘Kill them with kindness’ is my wife’s approach to most things. I take a perverse pleasure form loudly shouting hi to other riders, and runners too, and not having them reply back. They may be having a bad day, so a little friendly wave from you may make their day, they may just not be up for reciprocating.

I also avoid the casual looking down my nose at people wearing Rapha. Are we only real cyclists if we wear cheaper clothing? Good clothes at a premium but with service and durability to match. I personally don’t own any but I have equally expensive Endura and Castelli gear.


I’ll echo onemanpeloton’s thoughts, plus add this bit…

You can’t really complain about the motivations of a group you elect to join. It’s not “your” group. Find a group with your motivations, or start one yourself.

As for waving, I generally wave. Some wave back. It’s not a big deal. If you feel like people “have” to wave back, you’re essentially forcing a reaction. Hardly nice behavior on your part.

Lastly, are you from the midwest? Most of the people I’ve come across with similar opinions are from the midwest.


Excuse me. It’s Ralpha.



Reminded me of one of my easy rides this past summer (see description).


I’m a daft triathlete … I wave at everyone … :rofl:


I can’t be bothered to wave back when I’m going all out to get that KOM

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If you’re riding in a group, then the responsible and safe thing to do is to learn how to ride in a well-disciplined paceline (this is as much self-discipline as anything else – riding the tempo that is best for the whole group, and learning how to rotate through properly and not overlap wheels). It’s not “militant,” nor is it military. It’s really the safest way for a bunch to ride, and for many reasons, it’s becoming a lost art.

When I was starting out in the early 80s, all rides began as a smooth group paceline that would drop no beginner. In the middle of the ride the hammer went down, but after the intensity work was done, everything would come back together and the bunch would return to riding a stready paceline back into town. From what I’ve seen, these kind of rides are just about dead. It’s various forms of complete chaos.

I’m a big fan of waving. Waving is just nice. Be nice.


You need a new club.

But as others have said, depends on the group. My own club has various groups of differing paces and distances. Whilst no one has ever been rude to a newbie, or someone who obviously hasn’t been out in weeks, it can be quite frustrating.

When I tried to go with the race group, I dropped out as I knew they were too fast and I was holding them up - the only thing worse for me than constantly being dropped is the thought of holding up the rest of the group!

Also, some people just aren’t good at small talk!


No. Maybe because the weather is still nice here? :man_shrugging:

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The older I get, the less I worry about it. Sometimes I wave, sometimes I don’t. I do seem to get more waves when wearing Rapha gear though. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


We need a group buy


We’re like the golden retrievers/ labradors of the cycling world, ready to work and play hard, but friendly and versatile.


There’s the firm word with a rider not holding a line and then there are the one’s who shout and swear like the angry people they are, I have no time for those ones.
Fortunately the last time I heard came across that type of person he was told “wind your neck in” before being shelled out the back.

I rarely wave but will usually always give a distinctive nod, unless I’m working so hard I can barely breathe, my tongue is hanging out and my heart is trying to burst through my ribs, then the nod gets lost in what looks like drool avoiding move.


I don’t get this waving to other cyclists. Is it a countryside thing? There is no way cyclists are going to wave to each other in the city. Too many of us! Also, why just cyclists? So confused. :thinking:


As others noted, if the group is “too militant” for you, simply fnd another group. There are undoubtedly plenty out there that meet what you want out of a group ride. Yeah, a lot of roadie groups can be very focused…but it is usually for a reason. They are there for a ahrd ride and that requires focus and discipline. And at high speeds, those are critical elements.

As for other snot waving back, you don’t realy know what is going on with them. Maybe they are doing an interval, maybe they are having a bad day, maybe they didn’t see you, etc. When I am out riding, everyone gets a wave…don’t really care if they wave back. Yeah, occasionally I’ll shrug my shoulders in a “whatever” reaction if they don’t wave back, but then I shrug it off and wave at the next guy.

Get out there, ride your bike and wave at people…be happy you are out on your bike!


Its not just cyclists … VW Beetle drivers acknowledge other VW Beetle drivers and motorcyclists acknowledge other motorcyclists


Some club rides are all about getting in a good workout and practicing race tactics. Very serious. I avoid these.

Personally, here’s what I find the most fun.

I like to us TrainerRoad to get in three days of very focused structure each week. After that, I completely skip the “serious” group rides as I don’t find them fun. Instead, I show up to the casually paced social rides. These are a lot of fun for me, generally we just stick to bike paths, have general conversation, mess about, maybe stop at a brewery or four, etc. Sure, there may be a sprint or two thrown in for good measure, but for the most part these all inclusive social rides seem much more enjoyable to me than the “serious” road style ride.

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