Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Are You A Snob?

I took a goofy "self-assessment" quiz on BikeRadar the other day -- Are You A Cycling Snob? I found it deeply flawed, but readers might be interested in checking it out.

I actually had a hard time answering some of the questions because many of the possible answers were so ridiculous - and the "right" answer (at least for me) often wasn't among the options.

Here are some of the questions - and my responses:

Have you ever used the term chapeau in a non-ironic way?

OK - I'm trying to remember if I've ever used the word "chapeau" at all (other than just now). Being that my command of the French language is pitiful, I've never been tempted to substitute "chapeau" for "hat" or "cap." But more importantly - other than French people, WHO THE HELL DOES THIS?

Strava is . . .
The perfect opportunity to look down on others
A place to follow friends' achievements
Somewhere to log my ride data

What if my answer is "None of the Above"? Where was that option? Has Strava become so widespread that the editors couldn't conceive of anybody not using it? Or have I gotten so backward by avoiding it that I've ceased to exist?

Do you have a favorite chamois cream?
What's chamois cream?
Yes - one for cold wet days, and one for hot days
Whatever the shop was selling.

There is no option for "No." But I know what chamois cream is. I just don't bother with it. As retro-grouchy as I am, I generally don't bother with shorts that contain "real" chamois - and I've never been a fan of slathering my backside (or the garments that cover it) in goop.

How many cycling caps do you own?
I have a wide selection of caps, color matched to my various outfits
I wouldn't be caught dead in one
I have one or two, mostly to keep the sun out of my eyes

At least they're not calling them "chapeaus." I have a few - mostly for nostalgia. They don't match my outfits, and the brims are usually too short to do much about sun. The best reason I will wear one is to cover "sweaty helmet hair" if I have to get off the bike during a ride - to go into a shop or a restaurant, for instance. With no options to fit my answer, I figured the 3rd one came the closest.

Does your sock choice vary based on your kit selection?
I buy my socks together with the kit
Only to suit the weather
No, whatever is handy

How about "No, because that's stupid"? I had to go with "Only to suit the weather" because it seemed like the most practical answer. Cold weather, warm socks. Beyond that, they should be white.

I shave my legs because. . .
Why would I bother shaving my legs?
It's more aero, isn't it?
It's pro

I went with "Why bother. . . " But if someone does it, there are better reasons than "It's more aero" or "It's pro."

Sunglasses should be . . .
Protective against UV rays
Cycling specific

Give me option number 1, please.

Your stem position is. . .
Where the bike shop put it
Slammed, always
The best position biomechanically

Is "The best position biomechanically" the same thing as "Where it feels best for the kind of riding I'm doing"?

Leaders' jerseys and world championship stripes are . . .
For Grand Tour leaders and World Champions only
For avid race fans watching TV
For wearing on club runs

Why is there no option for "Pretentious"?

Italian bikes are . . .
Works of art
Overpriced rubbish
Finely crafted machines

I had to go with "finely crafted machines," though "works of art" can describe some of them.

Gran Fondos and sportives are for. . .
Racing with your friends
Sharing the road with fellow cyclists

I went with the last option, but I wanted an option to say "I don't do Gran Fondos."

You carry your drink in. . .
A bidon
A ring-pull can
A water bottle

Who drinks out of a ring-pull can on a bike ride? If we're talking about beer, it gets ruined on a bike ride. And unless your name is Jacques, you shouldn't be drinking out of anything other than a water bottle.

Pro kit is. . .
As pretentious as it comes
For looking like a pro
Cheap at the end of the season

This isn't really much different from the World Champion jersey question - but at least this time "pretentious" is one of the options.

Your favorite drink is. . .
Hand picked, heritage coffee beans, prepared by genuine Italian baristas, drunk from an espresso cup co-designed by your favorite pro cyclist.
Powdered and full of energy

Ummm . . . I'll take water, thanks. The "Hand picked, heritage coffee" answer is maybe a pretty good indicator of where bicycling is headed - or at least, in danger of heading - in this world where the cheerleading magazines call $9000 bikes "bargains."

What is your favorite frame material

That was the easiest question for me. Obviously I chose Carbon. Oops!

At the end of the test, I was given the following assessment:

Anti-Snob. You have a strong love of cycling but you hate the pretentious crowds with their caps and pulled-up socks -- you'd rather be out on your bike than sipping espressos.

You can take the test HERE, and if you do, come on back here and leave a comment to share your result.


  1. I think the "chapeau" mentioned in the first question is a hipster-esque version of "my hat's off to you". I see some of the bike-blog commentariat throw this out from time-to-time.

    I don't have a Strava, though I guess my position on it is softening. Only in the case of personal betterment and record-keeping, though. The people acting like weirdos about it still bug me.

    I've ridden bikes for over 30 years, and have never owned a "kit". Unless you are counting patch kits. The only bike-specific clothing I own is two pairs of the padded-shorts-liners (that see very infrequent use) and a helmet. I would maybe buy a cycling cap, but I wonder if that would come across as "trying too hard"?

    Wolf. Anti-Snob.

    1. I must really be out of things -- I'd never heard or noticed that usage of chapeau.

  2. > Anti snob

    You have a strong love of cycling but you hate the pretentious crowds with their caps and pulled-up socks – you'd rather be out on your bike than sipping espressos.

    Yeah, I have a strong love of cycling but I hate the pretentious crowds with their Garmins and Power-meters. I'd rather be out on my bike doing solo ride than discussing KOMs, segments or power outputs. Being just 26 years old, I feel myself older than many in their 50's for not having disposable plastic bike loaded with electrionic data-spitters which are intended to solidify the fact mere consumers like you and me are not pro riders by any means. I ride state of the art Italian bike made in late 80's and I enjoy riding it. That's it. I get compliments on it everywhere (unlike you on your freaking S-Works), though, I don't like discussing it with every pretentious idiot who thinks he is cool and I have no ambitions for aping professional habits.

    From this standpoint I'm even bigger snob than these Strava guys. The quiz flawed.

    My ride is not on Strava. It's in my memory.

    1. I bought my Italian costume frame in 85 or 86. Cost me $600 back then, and that was without a headset. I've kept it nice and clean. I fitted it with mostly Dura-Ace components and ran sew-ups. But around ten years ago sew-ups where getting hard to find, so switched to clinchers. I still upgrade the components as needed. This spring I put Dura-Ace C24 wheels on it. But still have the Suntour Cyclone derailleur on the rear. Looks pretty sharp. Plus I like the contrast and irony, Italian frame fitted with Dura-Ace. Here in Minneapolis, classic frames like Peugeot from the 80's are going for $200 to $400. Plus they are hard to find.

  3. Sadly, I am an ani-snob.

    But, the questions are horrible.

    Ask me about Campagnolo and I am snobby as it gets.
    My water bottle has a Puch label. Pretty snobby, I think.
    I buy grade 25 bearings and would buy grade 5 if I could find them.
    I will only consider Brooks' saddles.
    Velox rim tape is the only one to use.

    1. Yeah - I kind of thought I was maybe a bit of a snob, but snobby about completely different elements of cycling. But realistically, I would guess that most people reading this blog regularly would come up as Anti-Snobs.

  4. I don't have to shave my legs. How do I answer that question?

    Dave, I am with you on Brooks saddles and Velox rim tape.

  5. Seems like a cheap(er) knockoff of the Paul Smith Mercians. Those had a baroque integrity that this one lacks. There's a newer version now that's the opposite: all black, all track. http://www.mrporter.com/en-us/mens/paul_smith_531/mercian-fixed-gear-bike/459420


  6. I think I'll pass taking that test after reading this. I'm sure I wouldn't make snob, even though when I first read the title I thought I would ace it. I don't see any questions that I would relate to being a snob mentioned. (OK, maybe the leg shaving and stem ones, but the list of answers are lame) My idea of "are you a snob" questions would be .... mmmm 1) Do you have a floor pump with a pressure gauge. 2) Do you pump up your tires before every ride and then back off the pressure after the ride. 3) How often to you replace your handle bar tape. 4) How much time on your rides are you on the down tubes. 5) Do you draft cars. 6) How often to you oil your chain. 7) Which direction do you tape your handle bars. Maybe snob it's the right term, more like fanatic. But reading this I think I just learned what a kit is. Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds like matching shorts and jersey. If it is, I think I got a new one to use. When I pass a couple guys with matching jerseys I sometimes say "Hey, I must of missed that two for one jersey sale". Now I'll change that up to "Hey, I must of missed that kit sale".

    1. Wait, is there a choice of direction when taping the bars? I've always done the same way it was installed on my Chinese childhood bicycle. Where can I find that info?

  7. OK OK, I took it. It was quick. Labeled me as "Anti Snob" The worst thing about it was the picture is showed below that label. The back end of a hair guy with baggy shorts and a jersey with pockets stuff with who knows what. And he had on cycling gloves too. So they missed labeled the pic, it was more like a "Sunday 12 mile rider".

    1. I wonder if anyone could actually get labeled "snob" - even if they really are. Like I said (and others have said), it's a deeply flawed test.

  8. Er, I don't think that piece of frippery is meant to be taken seriously. If anything it slyly takes the mick out of cyclists that do actually take themselves seriously, and the fact that there isn't an answer to suit everyone is sort of the point. It's pure spoof.

  9. "Gran Fondos and sportives are for. . . Winning!"

    Seriously, do you not see the humour here?

    1. Oh, I know it's meant as irony. I just found the whole thing kind of foolish.