Frank Robbins: Cross-Trainer Season
Every year around this time, when the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, more and more people get on their bikes and ride around New York. Of them, there is a special subset who try to race me, they are the cross-trainters. The cross-trainers are the guys who have spent the winter in gyms lifting weights, running in place and sweating their asses off racing one another in spinning classes...
They usually have enourmous arms, great tans and expensive bikes. One of these guys will see me in traffic, they'll chase me with a huge burst of energy sprint and will whizz past me. Then I'll follow them for about a block just to see if they have any technique whatsoever. Then I'll pass them.
It's true, biking in the city isn't just about brawn. Yes, you need to be in decent shape and the practice is a good form of physical conditioning, but it's more than that. It's a kenesthetic exercise which requires tracking an environment with thousands of moving parts, and being able to maintain situational awareness while making quick calculations and decisions.
It requires reflexes, intelligence, experience, and more. It is a kind of seeing, a real gestalt.