Is cycling the new golf? I hope not. Golf is for losers.
In high school I used to work in the Dinning and Club Room (19th hole) at the River Bend Country Club which is located 18 miles west of Washington DC. So I know some stuff about them, most of which is difficult to glean much positive from.
As country clubs go River Bend was second tier. In cycling terms it would be a cat 2 and that's pretty decent. Chevy Chase County Club aka CCCC and Congressional Country Club aka. CCC are Washington DC's premier clubs. They would be Cat 1's in cycling. To be a cat 1 country club it's a requirement that all the words in your name begin with the letter 'C'. There is also a minimum. (Country club's love minimums) You must have at least three of them in succession. Cat 1 clubs also have a copious number of other compulsory standards, all very meaningful to the greater good.
Cat 3-4 county clubs are easy to pick out. Their names all end with 'swim & tennis', which is code for pretty much anyone with some cash can join.
See where I'm going with this?
Cycling does have one similarity to golf for me though and that similarity is a place to hang out with my like minded friends. Guess I'm talking about a club house here. My club house is Ata Cycle in Concord. It's my haunt, my Cheers. Aside from everybody knowing your name, which is rare in this world, I think having a shop that you can call your own is a big component to having the full experience of bike racing and you'd be missing something without it.
A bike shop is a different world. It's unique and special. There's a different culture. It's intellectual and eclectic. You don't have to scratch real far and you'll also find a cool organic sophistication with progressive perspectives. There is a human life component to bikes, bike riding and bike racing that is hard to describe but it's there. Its' always been there and always will be.
I suspect the jovial dialog and good times I'm privileged to be apart of with my friends at Ata is probably around the same stuff that it was for the Wright brothers in their bike shop (Wright Cycle Exchange) over 100 years ago and look what they brought us at Kitty Hawk.