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  • Anonymous

    I love how whenever someone talks about an old social experiment it usually comes with the caveat of “terminated early due to hostility”

    • Slhaydon

      or “they would not get away with this nowadays”

  • What a cracker of an article and so very, very true.

    • Kev Eddy

      Well said fellow clubmate!

  • Anonymous

    Where to now Wade? Strictly Rapha kit? You could start your on Rapha Melbourne CC or RT?

    • I don’t really think of any ‘what now’ scenarios. I quite happy just riding and having the odd crack at a race – just as I’ve done for a long time now. Ive been on many different sporting teams and my sense of belonging possibly comes from other means these days.

      • jules

        this will sound grovelly but i rode the 1 in 20 on sunday and had a look at my time on strava (i won’t publish, embarassing) and note that you did it in 14-something. you don’t need a team..

      • Family man now?

    • Student Of Pain

      It’s funny how in Oz Rapha has become the ‘to been seen in brand’, yet in the UK it’s a mark of quality wear, without the snobbish.

      We don’t need a Rapha team, as it would only add to the point of this article, the haves and have nots. Coming to Melbourne, keen cyclists attempt to join a club, and hear of the great clubs we have, so they pay their memberships, turn up for races, and yet find that within the clubs are ‘teams’ /’chapters’ which, unless they are A grade riders or possess a social ‘benefit’, they are excluded, and essentially then have to find a bikeshop to ride with.

      Affiliated clubs should have to have a grassroots and youth section, too much elitism in a blue collar sport.

      • Anonymous

        That comment was intended to be somewhat sarcastic/cheeky. But I think that’s what Rapha is selling. If you wear Rapha, you’re automatically a member of their club. The “lifestyle” and “image” that they are clearly marketing. Interesting topic though. I must say I did like the sense of belonging when I was with a shop team.

  • Anonymous

    Funny though how in The Worlds or Olympics, you get Trade Team Members on different Country teams, still willing to work for each other.  Just have a look at where Cav was and who was in front of him during the race (One Bernie the Steam Train).

    Great insight though CT. Have seen this and can think of times when I have done this/had this happen to me.

    • Marcus

      I think trade team members helping each other out at Worlds, etc., is highly related to self interest. Robbie McEwen wrote about it in his book when he mentioned Freddie Rodriguez not helping out a teammate (whose name escapes) from Belgium in the late stages of a World Champs. McEwen was pretty clear that this hurt Fast Freddie’s chances of getting another contract with the team (Lotto?).

      • Abdu

        Yep good point Marcus. Same goes for Cadel’s win at the 2010 Worlds. Only one Aussie team mate rode for him (Wes Szulberger), and he basically broke away with the help of his Lotto alliances.

      • Anonymous

        Selection for the next Olympics (or even Worlds) will be long after the next pro contract is negotiated. And Bernard Eisel knows somebody like Cav is going to have a decent influence over the makeup of his team (whether that is at Sky or elsewhere).

  • Echidna_sg

    I find cycling even weirder than portrayed – your former teammate “enemy” can be your closest ally in a breakaway for hours on end, only to become your greatest enemy yet again as the finish draws near… that to me is a unique thing to the psychology of cycling!

  • Echidna_sg

    I find cycling even weirder than portrayed – your former teammate “enemy” can be your closest ally in a breakaway for hours on end, only to become your greatest enemy yet again as the finish draws near… that to me is a unique thing to the psychology of cycling!

  • Anonymous

    Never been in a team, no experience of what you’re talking about, but that photo grid was very funny.

    • Slhaydon

      i think, socially, we have all experienced this mentality at some stages in our lives and do almost daily.

  • Anonymous

    Never been in a team, no experience of what you’re talking about, but that photo grid was very funny.

  • scano

    Gang Colours!

  • jules

    i have grown to hold a dislike of “in” groups. on the odd occasion i’ve been a part of one, i’ve always ended up reflecting on how it has encouraged me to lower my standards – acting better than or discriminating against others. the police force is a very pointed example (apologies to any coppers reading this), but the drawbacks of police loyalty are many and well documented. i play competitive basketball (at a moderate level) and enjoy it as it doesn’t have a warrior culture – you can share a joke with opponents during the game and still give 100% to winning.

    i enjoy the individual side of cycling – just riding along or racing, when (when) everyone’s in the same category and there’s no need for exclusionary tactics. i get the need for teams at the pro level, but i think they detract from the sport in the amateur ranks.

    • Steel

      I think the intro to TV show Renegade is profound in so my different ways. Not just to your post, by this entire thread.
      He was a cop, and good at his job. But then he committed the ultimate sin and testified against other cops – gone bad. Cops who tried to kill him, but got the woman he loved instead. Framed for murder, now he prowls the badlands. An outlaw hunting outlaws, a bounty hunter – a RENEGADE!

      • jules

        i was thinking more of Mean Girls but let’s go with Renegade, i’m trying to think of the main actor’s name i don’t think he was in anythign else ever

  • Brentonkaitler

    Our team doesn’t act like this-must be all the other teams out there… ;)

  • Anthony Gugel

    A very well written article on something I’ve recently experienced (and continue to as recently as yesterday). The slippery slope from in-group to out-group and the changed behaviours you wrote about are right on the money. It’s can be really disappointing and frustrating, but always character building! The upside is meeting new people and making new friends and usually a couple from the old gang keep in touch, which is nice.

    • Notso Swift

       You are in the right group now

      • Anth73

        Yeah thanks! :)

        I was reflecting back and can probably pinpoint when the in to out group transition happened to when I decided to ride my own training rides for the ACE250 according to my training plan.

        Sure I let all the guys know when these rides were on but it was mostly me, Kev & a couple of others. Just my 2c…

  • Hiddensong

    What a great post Wade. Post-TDF I’m loving the return of some of your more “personal experience” blogs such as this one, “Keeping it tidy in the rear” and “Starting from scratch”. I really enjoy hearing about your own cycling experiences and feel that these posts are the ones that really differentiate you from other sites/ blogs (among other things such as quality of photos, frequency, etc, etc)
    Keep up the great work. I always look forward to your next post.

  • allthegearandnoidea

    I think team kits/bikes should be banned for adults – unless you’re actually in the team !! It’s the same with footy jumpers – OK if you’re 10yo, not OK if you’re over 20 – unless you are playing footy at the time. :-/

    Nothing does a pro bike team a greater disservice than having weekend warriors wobbling about in their kit down Beach Rd on a Sunday…. 
    : )

    • Notso Swift

       CT isn’t talking about PRO teams and people who ape their kit, as much as our teams within a club

      • allthegearandnoidea

        Yep, I understand that. I’m just commenting on this phenomenon that was mentioned in the article ….

        “Supporting a particular professional sporting team is another good example of this that can carry an even larger self-serving meaning to its members (look up “Basking In Reflective Glory“). ”

        I’m generally not a ‘joiner’ (of clubs) since bad experiences with footy teams as a youngster, but the stuff others have mentioned about (not so) casual bunch rides is very common also.

    • JM

      No such thing as bad publicity. This fan has gifted Lampre the kind of internet publicity that money just cant buy. What a champ!

    • JM

      No such thing as bad publicity. This fan has gifted Lampre the kind of internet publicity that money just cant buy. What a champ!

  • scooter

    This is a very roadie perspective Wade. Mates that ride MTB will still be your mates regardless of which shop or team you ride for.

    • Sumbitor

       U MTB GUYS DINT KNOW WHAT YA TALKIN ABOUT JUST SHUT UP OK

    • Mars

      Totally agree Scooter, I love road big time but am a mtbkr first and foremost and feel the same, doesn’t matter what you ride, but if you are having a good time and area good bloke it is good.

      I do have a bug bear with anyone that has never given at least a day back in trail building or maintenance though, citing they are too busy or other, but they have enough time to ride, but that’s a topic for another time and perhaps not in this thread.

      We should all remember why we ride in the first place.

      Good call Scooter!

    • I’d speculate that the reason for this is because mountain biking doesn’t require teams.  

  • JC

    Best way not to lose friends is don’t make any in the first place

  • mbonthemove

    Recently a member left our team (Zoom Video Racing) and he now wears an unmentionable green fluro kit and when we see him we throw rocks at him and call him names and stuff. Just kidding Clarky, you’re alright (bastard) I mean mate :)

    Disclaimer: We went for a ride on the weekend with Clarky and he still waited for a ZVR puntcture break, so there you go, its only kit, mates are still mates despite more or less contact due to team activities.

  • RC

    Interesting post.  Having decided to step away from cycling a couple of years ago, I noticed that immediately cycling steps away from you. Same with Jerseys (its a stretch to refer to “teams” at most levels, in Melbourne at least).  I have also been involved in kick boxing, in a club environs, and had to take a break due to work and injury.  Those guys I trained with remain loyal, in touch, and the sense of mateship is still strong.  I often wonder what makes cycling so different in this respect.  As they say, at the end of the game the King and the Pawn go back in the same box.

  • Mars

    This was an excellent read, I love the perspectives and the grid with my favourite comment on cessation of trial due to hostility, excellent.

    Does the fact that we all give patronage and converse with CyclingTips as regular readers make us a group in itself, in which we have a better perspective and therefore deem ourselves superior to those hubbards on similar or cmpeting sites ;-)

    Don’t worry, I’ve got your back, we’re on CT together.

  • Tricky Dicky

    Absolutely agree with the original post. Having been part of the club scene in both the UK and Australia (although in the UK, it was a LONG time ago), I think the issue might be more acute in Australia. The club in the UK had more older riders (and way  more juniors) and felt more family orientated than any club I have encountered in Australia and I still keep in touch with some of those folks. They respected when you moved on to a sponsored team or another team which could expose you to some better racing for example and they generally kept in touch. Perhaps that was unique to the club or the era rather than the nationality, not sure.

    But, just to dig an even deeper hole for myself, road riders here just seem to be a bit more elitist: if you don’t believe me, look at the reaction of riders around you when a new hairy-legged rider on a crappy old bike tries to join your group’s training ride one morning.

    • jules

      i agree with this. i’ve joined 2 clubs in my time. neither offered any kind of induction or welcome. the issue of a racing license was done by correspondence/over the web and i just turned up to the races. the first club i joined was 20 years ago and i was the skinniest weed of a kid – i had no idea what was going on but i was excited. until an A-grader came rolling and past and, for no apparent reason, called me a sea-monster in front of his mates and told me to go home (in more colourful language). couldn’t believe it but i stuck at it anyway and loved racing, but gave it away after a couple of seasons.

      last year i rejoined a club. much friendlier, but still no formal induction or anything i don’t feel like a member. really i’m just licensed to race. obviously i could do more to try and fit in, club rides etc., but i’m not fussed or offended. what i do notice though is that there’s no obvious encouragement for kids to join in. take footy – there are little league clubs where kids join their mates and are dedicated to getting them into the sport. i don’t see that in cycling (it probably happens, but i haven’t seent it). it remains a fairly elitist sport.

      • Deryck Walker

        Encouragement for kids depends on which club you are a member of.

        I know as an SKCC member that this isnt where the focus is (right now) as the demographics just arent there at the moment. I predict in <5 years you may see this develop for SKCC as plenty of current members seem to either be having kids, or already have young-uns, so the demand for childrens programs will grow. I hear Blackburn has a big focus on juniors, as well as CCCC. I think a clubs focus will morph and change as the membership demographic does.

        Sorry CT a bit off topic!

      • Anth73

        Jules – I joined Northern Cycling, a masters based racing club in Melbourne, and they’ve been great. By their own admission there’s more to do in terms of rider induction but they’re doing a great job, particularly as the Club committee members are all volunteers.

  • Great article, thanks. 

  • Wish I was on the bike…

    Thanks Wade. Another great, thought proviking article. It is not clear from your words if you are lamenting  friendships lost or simply making an observation on the cycling community more broadly.

    Mars is right on the money in saying that this CT readership is its own community, at least that is how it feels from this side of this keyboard!  Thanks.

    There’s been a bit of work done in the psych field about the perceptions of is and them, and ins and outs.  Some think it is a natural part of humanity that we understand ourselves by the way we compare our selves to others, which will inevitably lead to the us and them mode of thinking.  On many of your previous posts, you and your readers have commented on the value of maintaining eye contact with motorists, and returning their actions, dangerous or otherwise, with wave and a smile. We should afford our cycling colleagues the same politeness.

    As many of your posts do, this one makes me reflect on why I love to ride, and to appreciate those who share it with me, in the sunshine and the rain!

  • Tribalism.

  • In the United States my experience on this is mixed.  I haven’t hopped teams much but when friends chose to switch it was usually because they could further their development better over there and it was understood.  The door swung both ways and good teams have a distinct character.  We wished them luck and it felt only a little awkward to race against them afterward.

  • Chadwick

    Completely true with everything written. While the Track worlds were on down in Melbourne i gave a wave to Team GB and Ned while they were out on a recovery/training ride in a trade team kit and got no response. Gave a wave to individual world track riders and they were happy to wave back.
    I can see why they did it though thats just how the world works its actually quite remarkable in a weird kind of way.

  • Hiddensong

    What a great post Wade. Post-TDF, I’m loving the return of some of your more ‘personal’ experience blogs such as this one, “Keeping it tidy in the rear” and “Starting from scratch”. I really enjoy hearing about your own cycling experiences and feel that these posts are the ones that really differentiate you from other blogs (amongst many others things such as quality of photos, frequency, etc, etc)

    Keep up the great work. I always look forward to your next post.

  • Sam

    Do you have to give back the Focus? What will it be next?

  • I just wanted to mention that 3 years ago I leased out my farm near Rutherglen that has been in my family for nearly 60 years. I operated in for just over 20 years. I still live in the farm house and the lessees are all local people I know well.It’s a very tight community with many families being on neighboring properties for generations.I’ve noticed some very subtle and some not so subtle changes in my relationships with my farming friends and neighbors.A few treat me no differently whilst others who would often call in for a yarn about whatever,  now never do.It’s quite interesting, as we are all still the same people but with different interests now.
    I’m ok with that but it did take some getting used to.The trick is not to take it personally.

    I now have increased my cycling kilometers and started racing a little so now have a new tribe to join in with.  
    We are interesting animals to say the least.

  • Me

    I found this article VERY interesting as it explained just WHY I felt such an overwhelming sense of loss recently.

    My (now ex) wife of 8 years who is also a competitive cyclist, a woman I was utterly devoted to and loved very much, had an affair with a fellow club mate and training buddy, unbeknown to me for several months behind my back.

    After getting suspicious and discovering the truth myself (a horrible moment I don’t wish upon anyone), I tried to find a way to save my marriage but I was blocked at every turn. Not only that, but I was blamed for any and everything to quell her guilt. I stood there and took it on the chin like a schmuck!

    So suddenly I found my nearest and closest team mate (my wife), had switched teams. Not only that but a training mate had taken my team mate away from me. Double betrayal. Then, I discovered many friends switched teams also (ditched me for her friendship), while other friends who previously socialized with me and my wife (a larger team group) suddenly didn’t invite me to “team” gatherings (rides, etc). As time went on, I became more and more on the outer. Then I discovered that even my cycling club sided with my ex (a personal request to only her, NOT to leave the club or change her racing/training).

    I was gutted. No longer could I do my club’s Wednesday Beach Rd training ride without my stomach turning by seeing “her” there. No longer could I do the Sunday crits without seeing “her” there (just hanging out, invading any sense of fun I might be attempting to have). I haven’t raced for 2 years now as a result. Something that meant so much to me was now destroyed for me (eg- I lost my “team” friends at the races).

    And for a long time, I just put it all down to my anger towards her for how deeply I hurt. I thought I was just stuck in a pain loop because of what she did to me. But it took this article to make me see how and WHY I hurt so badly – I was no longer on “the team”. My wife’s team. My friends team. My clubs team.

    Thanks Wade. You just gave me some clarity (not that it eases the hurt but at least I can understand it better).

    • Wow. 

      Good on you “Me”. Persist. Please.

    • Wow. 

      Good on you “Me”. Persist. Please.

    • Wow. 

      Good on you “Me”. Persist. Please.

    • That’s absolutely devistating @f620f4647fb816073c9152a284245e64:disqus . All the best getting through this. I know some great roads up North of the city that might take your mind off things.

  • Dr Seuss

    Anyone got kids??  Dr Seuss make s a good read on this issue …. in THE SNEETCHES

    But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches
    Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
    With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
    “We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”
    And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
    They’d hike right on past them without even talking.

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