My younger sister is a competitive Spandexer, well she was for years, we are both getting pretty old now, but she even completed an Iron Man race.
She thinks the bikes I build are cool as **** ;-}
I have nothing against the Spandex crowd and give them a friendly nod when I wizz past, but I have met one of those spandexers from ****, he owned the tiny bicycle shop around the corner from my old house.
I always went to the big bike shop the other direction and they were all accepting and very interested in the bikes I build, but one day I just happened to pop a master link right by the spandex mans shop and went in to get one.
He didn't know me and hadn't seen what I rode up on, and with the chain broke the motor was off.
I just asked for a 410 master link and he kept asking me how many gears.
He couldn't seem to grasp that I didn't have a derailleur bike with a thin chain so I said just grab a couple biggest ones you have and lets go outside and look!
I was astonished, no flabbergasted, at the look of disdain he gave me when he seen I had a motor and it didn't end there...
He spent the next 15 minuets 'scolding' me and asking things like if I ride on the sidewalk like I was some sort of hillbilly idiot, and bragging that he pedaled to and from that shop 10 miles each way every day.
When he finally rang up the masterlink (which he charged me like $7.50 for) I gave him my
best look of disdain and said something along the lines of...
For a bicycle man you sure are a poor business man. I live in the neighborhood behind this shop, I build these bikes, and Goordy's bikes is just down the street and you treat a new customer like this?
Don't worry, I'll never be back, and I never did go back.
I do agree that how your bike looks and operates plays a HUGE factor in how we are perceived, as much as how we ride them does, but some Spandex will simply never accept.
Someone mentioned this a few pages back and talked about the difference between a $300 Wally build and a $1200 build, and asked what a $1200 build looked like.
Here are a couple $1200 range builds of mine but overall it's a good bike, clean cable work, pretty quiet, no leaks, and of course it hauls ass with gears to keep up in traffic.
Nothing but smiles and thumbs up from everyone when I am riding one of those.
But then there are the total redneck builder/riders, I know one, great guy but I won't ride with him.
His bike is his only form of transportation yet everything is redneck fitting this and that together with zero attention to aesthetics or even reliability, kind of like using duct tape to fix that broken car fan belt until you can get to a gas station for a new one to replace it, but he does it for everything and never actually stops and fixes it with new stuff.
Then he does performance enhancements, which to him is gutting his muffler so it's a straight pipe and not running any air cleaner so when he stops it drips a nice mess wherever he parks and of course smokes as he rides.
When he is here he has to park it in the dirt and if it needs some repair it's done outside too.
(you can't make this **** up)
He hates spandex and couldn't care less how many people he pisses off riding like a madman everywhere all the time either.
Granted those are two extremes but that is what we face as a group and what might explain the vast difference between how people in your neck of the woods see our bikes, and others elsewhere.
In my humble little 1000 miles on one experience, if you take pride in your ride and operate it in a friendly way to others on the roadway, people are pretty accepting of you and act in a friendly way.
Or maybe that just me ;-}