Back in the dark ages, in the early days of triathlon, it was fashionable to see a schism between cycling and triathlon. Obviously an absurd affectation given what a large part of tri cycling is, it was nonetheless a common position for the old guard of cycling to adopt. Perhaps this was an expression of the human trait for tribalism and 'us and them'.
In reality, what the growth of triathlon has achieved is to bring a whole new group of rather impressive and dedicated people to cycling. A new cohort who had to learn the arcane art of riding on the road, in a bunch, pedalling and the 'knowledge'. Sad to say, some of the old guard in the cycling world could have been more welcoming and less dismissive. Of course, others were very welcoming and saw the benefits and pleasure of growing the tribe. In the early days, the channels for transmitting skills and techniques were still embryonic in triathlon, just as they were in cycling 100 years ago. That's long since moved on and the networks, knowledge and skills in triathlon often push the envelope in a good way.
But, times change and all for the better. At Le Knicks world HQ in Black Rock, last weekend we watched several thousand brave souls confront wind and rain to compete in Challenge Melbourne and chapeau to them. TT bikes are serious bling but not such good handlers. And every day of every week we play host to and watch many a dedicated triathlete ride by. And we love it. After all, our passion is 'more people cycling more often' to borrow the fine mission statement of our friends at Bicycle Network.
And the hoary old cycling world, steeped in tradition and story, has as much to learn from this crew as they from cycling and its long history. With a breadth of experience, great gender equality from day 1 and a skew to highly educated professionals, triathlon brings a smart and savvy bunch to the bunches, and that can only be good.
So here's the thing. Ride your bike, respect each other and enjoy being part of the tribe.
End of blog confession - I have always harboured a love of a truly cool TT bike. The pictures below surely support my case!
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