Squadra di Vecchi Tori

New Cycling Character – RetroBoy by marcusoc
May 27, 2010, 10:24 am
Filed under: Making Fun of Others

Welcome to the latest instalment on cycling characters.

Today it is the turn of RetroBoy, the current Next Big Thing in Cycling given today’s love of all things fixie.

RB is a funny little fellow (think Gollum from Lord of the Rings) who loves, nay worships, steel frames to the exclusion of all else. He waxes lyrical about the “feel” of Columbus Ultrafoco versus Dedaccai 16.5. But the truth is that in a “blind tasting”, RB (like most cyclists) couldn’t tell the difference in ride quality between steel, aluminium or carbon, let alone two different types of steel.

RB takes pride in the fact that his bike is a “classic” and doesn’t mind that it weighs many kilos more than current day bikes. In fact he thinks this is a bonus as riding a heavier bike is “good for training” and makes him a hard man. Well RB, riding a heavier bike doesn’t make you any stronger you misguided fool – you just go slower for the same level of effort…

And the “steel is real” feel you are getting RB, is the extra 3kgs of frame weight.

He also loves telling people he spends a lot of time “on the rollers” because he thinks it makes him sound Old Skool. He neglects to say that he still rides them holding onto a wall.

RB typically searches far and wide for a Local Bike Shop owner that he believes holds the same “Cycling Ideals and Values” as himself (yes, RB actually thinks in these terms – tool). He then becomes “friends” with the LBS owner and spends an unhealthy amount of time in the shop. If in Melbourne, RB usually thinks he is bosom buddies with that Fyxomatosis fella and the Shifter Bikes guy. But really, RB they have to be nice to you because you are a customer.

Given the current proliferation of “vintage” bikes, I suspect that an RB “Classic” may often be any old re-sprayed piece of sh-t frame from the 70s that the LBS has had in a back room gathering dust (except if it is a fyxo or shifter product – they only do classics). Whilst not quite as lucrative to an LBS owner as the SBD, an RB is still a good “john” to have as a customer.

RB favors woollen jerseys and caps of old teams but doesn’t realise that doing things like wearing a Molteni jersey (Eddy Merckx’s team for you ignorami) is surely up there in the top 5 Cycling Style Errors of All Time.

Sometimes he turns up to bunch rides on his fixie or singlespeed and wrecks the rhythm of the bunch by going backwards on every hill because he doesn’t have the legs to motor his gear properly.

RetroBoy can be a source of mirth for his general tool-like tendencies. And he is especially funny in the rain when his wool jersey absorbs 5 kilos of water and he ends up looking like Yoda (think Gollum wearing a really wet oversized footy jumper). Make fun of him whenever you can.

Job outside of cycling: Advertising, architect, anything “designy”. Secretly wants to have sex with a fellow fixie geek and probably has a fetish for guys with tattoos.

Also spends a lot of time of the bike watching “classic” bike gear auctions on ebay.


For inexperienced observers, more advanced RBs have adopted the “Old Skool” look so well that they can easily be confused with an Old Roadie or a Real Trackie – both of these species are not to be messed with under any circumstances!

The Old Roadie and Real Trackie each deserve their own post, but for now here are a few tips for your own safety.

The Old Roadie typically has old gear, lots of scars and baggy skin (string gloves are a giveaway). Upsetting an old roadie (say by mistakenly hanging sh-t on him as an RB or by riding in his rotation without an invitation) can be very dangerous as more than one of them still experience violent mood swings associated with long term amphetamine use (the Cycling Drug Du Jour of the 60s and 70s). Handle with care!

The Real Trackie may also have old gear and lots of scars but carries mental rather than skin baggage – often a legacy of unsupervised steroid abuse (the CDDJ of the 80s). These lunatics have had many years of hard riding at close quarters, and really like fist fighting (especially whilst still on the bike). Therefore they demand more than a modicum of respect.

So take care out there!

Disclaimer: the author owns a steel bike and wears wool jerseys – sometimes. He still lives in fear of Old Roadies and Real Trackies after having the living suitcase punched out of him at a Victorian country velodrome in the late 80s.


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