We've all done it. Every single one of us that ride bikes, from time to time, fall into a persistant state of douchebaggery. We have good intentions, but it often spirals out of control, to the point where people not in our sport (or into our sport) start to glass over completely. Let me explain...
I went on a ride the other day with some guys I met for the first time. At some point of the ride, we were stopped, waiting for another rider and someone started talking about durometers of the rubber of their tires. WTF? Seriously? We're gonna talk about the tackiness and the firmness of tires when we've just ripped down some sweet-assed singletrack at night? God, no wonder friends and family that don't bike don't want to. They probably think they have to take some sort of college class so they know how to talk the talk. Most newbies just want to know they did OK on that section of trail or that the iron taste that is in their mouths, caused by the blood in their lungs, will eventually go away and they won't get it on every ride.
Conversely, I went for a beautiful Thanksgiving morning ride with some other friends and beyond the fact that one rider had a blown derailleur cable/housing, another one was riding a WAY old school bike and yet another was riding a cross bike (damn, he's one hard dude. A cross bike on the trail we rode makes for one tough dude) there was minimal talk of bikes. We talked about the trails, the potential of new trails and some of the history of the area. Way more chill and laid back. And even though there were no newbies on this ride, it would have been a ride that anyone would have felt good on.
I think when riders get together, there is some testosterone fueled posturing going on. "I know more about bikes than you do" or "I am more into bikes than you" and we've all fallen into this trap. Bikes are techy and expensive and fun. I mean who doesn't like to get a shiny new trinket whether it is a new bell for your handlebar to a new bike. And when we do, we like to brag about this stuff and show it off. We want to let other riders know that our purchase of this tire is well thought out and it works really well in this terrain. We want to justify that part that we spent more money on than most people think is sane to spend on a whole bike. We want our fellow riders to respect us as not just a bike rider, but a cyclist. The whole lifestyle, not just that ride.
But temper that when you feel it boil up into the back of your throat. To paraphrase what a certain Tour de France champion said, it's not about the bike. It's about the ride. It's about hanging with good friends and making new ones. Sure, the bike can make it more enjoyable and possibly less difficult, but think about your first ride. I doubt you remember how the bike performed, but I bet you do remember where you were, the trail you rode and the people you rode with. That's what riding is all about. Gowan now, go ride.