Here’s why cycling is not and never will be the new golf

Cycling cannot, and will never be the new golf. Here are a few reasons why you can't really do business while on a group ride.

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Hey, I get it — once in awhile you get a slow news day. But tell me, esteemed editors at the New York Times, did you really need to trot out a “Cycling is the new golf” story” this week? After all, we’re now in decade #2 of these stories. Everyone here at VeloNews has simply lost count, but Google returns about 11.9 million search results for the term.

But who am I to cast stones? We at VeloNews have our dry spells and occasionally dip too deep into the well, with silly photos from winter training camps.

In fact, my true objection to Sarah Max’s Strava … um … business story is that cycling cannot, and will never be the new golf.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably agree that it’s pretty hard to carry a conversation during a group ride. I’m sure most of these fast-talking California tech bros have dialed start-up pitches. But nothing disrupts your explanation of disruptive technology quite like pointing out a raccoon pancake in the road. For that matter, if you’re whipping down Hawk Hill outside the Bay, isn’t it pretty easy to misunderstand B-to-B as B-to-C? That one investor didn’t cotton to the idea of personal server farms, I suppose.

To be fair, these bootstrapping cottage-industry titans surely stop periodically. That must be a good time to do business! Wait, but which guy is the potential angel investor? Wasn’t he wearing Oakley Radars, with the Rapha jersey? Shit, that’s like half of the guys on this ride! And anyway, what are you supposed to wear when you meet with potential start-up business partners? White bibs seem like a bad call. This season’s team kit may be too garish, but you crashed in last year’s, so that will make you look like a sketchy rider. Rapha, yeah, definitely go with Rapha.

Ah, but once the ride is over, the Strava has been uploaded, and the locally sourced microbrew has been quaffed, it sure feels like you made a good impression. That is, unless that one venture capital principal thought you were half-wheeling him. And hopefully that guy who’s got money in Strava doesn’t think you’re stupid for using Garmin Connect. Wait, why didn’t your partner tell you that your helmet straps were outside your sunglasses!

I know golf must have some unpleasantness and nuance foreign to a rank beginner like me. But really, beer vs. Cytomax? Chips and peanuts vs. Gu gels? Loose-fitting polo shirts vs. paunch-revealing kit? Surely golf will always be the new golf.

But in case our friends on the links want to take some of cycling’s shine, here are a few suggestions:

1. Carbon-fiber panels on your personal golf cart, shaped for optimal aerodynamics. (Specialized has a low-speed wind tunnel, not far from San Francisco!)
2. Golf clubs and bags that have brand-specific compatibility, so you can’t mix and match your Callaways with your Pings. Trust me, proprietary stuff makes bikes so much better.
3. Cobblestone cart paths — Belgian the F—k up, golfers!
4. Doping, because … Actually, the first three ideas are the best I could think of.


And kudos to our friends at Golf Digest for inspiring this. You were right, and that’s just fine by me.

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