Die-hard roadies make me laugh. You know the type. Always in their team kit, always with the most expensive gear, always frowning. They scoff at small wheels. Worse yet, they seem so particularly puritan about their sport which they so often do just to exercise their egos and cope with their insecurity complexes. I understand training and hard work and all that, but damn, have some fun while you’re doing it.
This is what we like to do at Bike Friday. Though we all love cycling and many of us tend to spend most of our time road riding, often competitively, we like to have fun doing what we do and what we do isn’t always cycling. We’re a diverse group and as such interests vary greatly: everything from skiing to classic car restoration. There are a few activities we can (almost) all share at work though.
We started off with a foosball table. It was something ex-employee Markus Bethel found at a garage sale. It was actually very undersized and we soon broke it. Then fellow ex-employee Dan Wallis bought us a near-professional one and even donated it to us when he left the company. We had a few tournaments (one of which Peter Kaspar and I won) and it became a regular daily activity.
But then the ping pong table came. Next thing you know we had the table constrained to its own separate room, we had tournament rules posted on the wall and we had paddles that we had bought with our own money. Over time we have all gotten quite good and developed our own unique styles of play though I would say that Ted Wade is the best among us. Needless to say, we’re equally crazy about ping pong as we are about cycling.
So I’m sure you could imagine how excited I was to read that long time Bike Friday owner, former Bicycling magazine technical writer, author, committed bike nut (and a roadie, no less!) and proven ping pong wizard Jim Langley won the Planet Bike table tennis tournament at Interbike this year.
He had to play 6-7 matches (best 2 out of 3) before he finally met with the winner of the second bracket, Wasatch Front Table Tennis Club president, USATT coach and 10-time National Ping Pong Champion George Majors. Apparently somewhere admist all this pong, George has time to work at the Bike Wagon. Anyways, in the first game, it was close, finishing 11-9. The second game clearly showed Jim’s dominance though, finishing at 11-7.
It turns out that Jim’s no ping pong beginner either. He’s been playing since about 10, has written an extensive ping pong primer, serves as a ping pong coach, and, as you can see, has a mean game face.
He says that cycling has had a positive impact on his ability to play and whether or not that’s true, he clearly loves cycling. Take a look at his website (don’t miss the cycling history) and then read the review of his old Bike Friday as well as his new one. Oh, and he’s got some great tips on working on your bike and cycling in general. Don’t miss out on those. After you hone your ping pong game.