If you’re thinking about getting into Stand Up Riding, then you may be comparing different rides in terms of capabilities, price, components, etc. These are all things that should be looked at and I will compare all of them and more in upcoming posts. However, the first thing to consider when looking for your new ride is your comfort level with being the center of attention.
There are as many similarities between rides as there are differences but one thing that they all share is the attention draw. It doesn’t matter if I’m on my Cyclete, Streetstrider, Trikke, etc. the attention I get from onlookers is the same. Now, the reactions are sometimes very different but make no mistake, you do not fly under the radar on these machines. For the most part, the questions, comments and shouts you get are positive. “Awesome,” “Nice Bike,” and “Love it” are just some of the things I have heard while zipping down the street. When coming to a full stop in a populated area, I can always anticipate several questions about where I got it, how much it costs, and how it works. The best is riding by a playground or a school filled with young kids where you will always see the amazement on their faces as jaws drop and someone finally shouts out “Coooool.” To which all the other kids start shouting their own personal confirmations of approval. But there is also another side of the coin that’s not so accepting.
On more than one occasion, I have felt like I was back in school where I was mocked for wearing shoes or pants that were out of style. Funny enough, I can usually attribute a negative shout from a passing car to a teen-aged kid that is trying to impress the others in the vehicle. I also find a small percentage of the athletic community to be a bit on their heels when I show up at an event. These are the purists that would rather judge than explore. They don’t have much to say to you but will look at you a little sideways when you see them on the road. To them I say “I feel bad for you.” Talk about opportunity lost. I once had a guy refuse my offer to try out on of my stand up bikes because he thought it looked dorky. A guy that prides himself on daily workouts and rides bikes in some of the most challenging races available doesn’t want to experience a low impact high intensity workout because he’s afraid of how he will look? Wow! Again, I feel bad for you.
Fortunately, these people don’t bother me. I realize that when you Stand Up and Ride, you get attention. A lot of it! Most of it is great. If you want to meet new friends, ride through the park and stop frequently. You’ll have an endless stream of conversation with folks that are genuinely interested in what you’re doing. But also realize that you are on the cutting edge of fitness, and unfamiliarity and change makes some people very nervous. If you can deal with the looks, the questions and the shouts, then you are one of us. Welcome to our club. We are glad you’re here. If you can’t handle feeling like you’re riding naked because of all the head turning going on around you, then you may want to look at something more mainstream like road biking. Just don’t let on that all that spandex can look just as dorky as someone riding a stand up.