When i first started cycling it was so hard to remember everybody's name.
To be honest, i only started really remembering them after a month..sometimes longer! In the cycling world, a month normally means at least 4 weekend rides + 4 mamak sessions + 1 flat (when you're a girl, a flat causes at least 3 riders to stop and help you fix it). And yet after so many opportunities to interact, i still do not remember their names.
Embarassed, i tried to pay closer attention during mamak sessions. prying my ears wider hoping to catch somebody's name. you know, when someone says "rahim you were strong today" you quickly scan to see who smiled (normally only one guy would be smiling the widest followed by a humble "no la..."). paying more attention during these mamak sessions made me realise something: riders only remember names of the "frequent flyers' club". If you're new or isn't very consistent in joining the group rides, your name isn't remembered very well either!
"Holy-Moly! i ain't alone!" i thought with a huge relief.
but work to be one of the guys does not stop there. In order to join the conversation or even attempt to understand what/whom they are referring to, i had to remember unfamiliar faces the way all cyclists do: by their bikes.
from then on, groupride conversations were a breeze. i was able to contribute to conversations and was playing the game hard. throwing pro sentences like "fwah.. that guy may be riding an old beat-up mountie but he sure can fly" and everyone would know what i was talking about.
i was one of the guys. may not have cycled the cycle, but i definitely talked the talk. somedays, i'm even better than the guys when i control 'example conversations' like below:
senn: "good ride, pity richard had a flat.."
senn: "richard. the guy on the black orbea"
group: "o yea.... wow he flew uphill and bla...bla..bla..."
yup. i was a conversation starter! and smiled in victory as the sound of others chatting about richard fades in the background.
so for all you newbies or non-members of the frequent flyers' club, here're some tips on how to SOUND like a season rider during mamak sessions:
1. forget trying to remember everybody's name.
they won't remember yours for at least the next 3 rides anyway, UNLESS you either creamed everybody's ass... or had a huge mishap. plus, once a member of the club, names come naturally..
2. start remembering bike makers.
there are only a handful of reputable bike makers that season riders like: speacialise, scott, trek, giant, orbea, colnago. these are the more popular ones. best way to handle this is to buy bike magazines just to note how the logos look like on the bike. It's classier to ask "what's the name of that guy on the scott?" rather than "that guy...erm... big hair, very tall...wears specs.."
3. remember jerseys
if technical stuff like bike origin is too much for you to cramp in before your next bike ride, remember what the cyclist is wearing. most cyclists either wear their favourite team jersey (discovery channel, CSC, etc) , or a really funky one that you just can't forget. Don't rely on helmets, shoes, or other apparels like shorts or gloves. helmets and shoes are not at the normal eye level of other cyclists while riding so it's a blind spot. Shorts are normally black or matching with the jersey, so it's more polite to appear that you remembered his jersey rather than his shorts! gloves are just too small to count..
4. pick out the ride leader
if all is lost and the ride was so hard everything is a blur, just ask anybody who the ride leader was at the end of the ride. once identified, go up to him (usually a him cause the girls just have fun on rides), introduce yourself and exchange numbers saying you're interested in future rides. by doing so, you automatically have one name that your phone will remember for you and your name is placed on his list. being on the list means he will be able to say your name when other riders, more likely than not, mentioned about you using your bike as an ID.
with these simple tips to follow, you would be able to enjoy your future group rides without worrying about feeling embarassed or left out.
- the girl on the pink diva.