Cycling is amazing – fact! There is so much to love about the sport or hobby, or whatever description you choose to give it. But there can also be a dark side – it can make you moody, lazy, envious and greedy. These are the sins of cyclists. I can hold my hands up to some of these traits, whilst some are more irritations of others. So with tongue (firmly) in-cheek, here’s 6 of my sins of cyclists.
Yes, here we go again! Preaching on about litter. But the fact is – there isn’t really a need for it. You head out for a ride with your gels and bars in your pocket and your spear tube(s) in your saddlebag. Mid-ride, you start feeling a bit of fatigue setting in so you reach for a gel (from your jersey pocket), open the top and start sucking the sticky sweetness. When you have finished, PUT IT BACK IN YOUR POCKET! If you are worried about getting the excess gel leaking in your pocket – either roll it up from the open end or put it in a plastic sandwich bag. When you next stop you can find a bin or throw away your rubbish when you get home. The same applies to your discarded inner tubes. You clearly had enough room for them when you set off. Cyclists already get a hard time – without fellow riders making it harder.
We all get it or have had it. When you plan to go out for a social ride with your mates and one of them turns up with their brand new piece of two-wheeled loveliness. They then come out with a comment like “I got it in the sale. It was only two and half thousand pounds, down from three”. You wouldn’t care so much, but that’s their third bike and second this year. The first thing you want to do is drop them the first chance or climb you come to, glancing over your shoulder with a smug look that says “is that all your bike can do”. You will then probably spend the rest of the ride thinking of a good reason you need a new or another bike. Sometimes though you just have to think to yourself – is it worth remortgaging the house so I can keep up with the crowd. Or put another way, will my wife/husband/partner let me?
ONKD (Obsessive New Kit Disorder)
The saying goes – you always want what you haven’t got! Ok so it is want what you can’t have – but humor me here. In cycling, it should probably just stop at you always want. I always prided myself on the fact I only had one bike and maybe a couple of pairs of shorts and jerseys. But then I realised I needed a winter bike/commuter to look after my best bike. Long sleeve jerseys and bib-tights for the winter. I also needed a second pair of shoes for commuting in case it was wet or muddy. Then there was winter jackets – one for wet days and one for cold days. Gloves……and so on……! Now my wardrobe has more jerseys than jumpers and (cycling) shorts/tights than trousers. Cycling is the only activity obsession with wearing neon and Lycra is seen as acceptable. When you also realise that you are in the Top 100 contributors for online reviews – you have probably spend a reasonable amount in that store.
Be honest, how many times have you thrown your toys out of the pram or been grumpy and difficult to be around – because you can’t ride your bike! Personally – I am a bit of a master of this. As cyclists we can become creatures of habit and routine. This may be your weekly club ride or in my case, the early Sunday ride. But if you don’t get your ride fix, it’s the end of the world. Even if you are offered an alternative, you cut your nose off to spite your face (as my mum used to say). Example – if I can’t get out for the early Sunday ride for whatever reason, my wonderful wife may say “why don’t you just go out for half an hour instead….”! This is usually met with a response of “half an hour, I had 60 miles planned today. I may as well not bother”. Luckily for me, my family know my mood-swings and after a couple of hours of being mocked, all is well again.
They say that a clean bike is a happy bike! So you have just ridden 50 miles in the wet on muddy country lanes. or been ripping up trails in the woods. Lest be honest – the last thing you want to do is clean your bike. So you put it away and say you’ll do it later. But later never comes. You leave your bike sitting in the garage or shed, waiting for a clean. Then the next time you ride, whether it be the next day or the next week your bike is covered in dried crud! The chain is black and gritty and your brakes make a grinding sound against your rims. Although you are too proud to admit it – you know you should not have been so lazy post-ride and at least spent 5 minutes giving your bike a rinse down.
You may be a very good cyclist. You may even give Cav a run for his money in a sprint or show Contador how to climb a 15% gradient. But that doesn’t mean you can or should disregard other riders like they are beneath you. There is little more soul-destroying than being out for a ride, putting the effort in and having a stranger sat on your wheel, before flying passed you without so much as a hello or thank you. I know we bang on about acknowledging other riders, but it is so important. I was nearly put off cycling when I started because I was made to feel like I didn’t belong on a bike, simply by being ignored or looked down on by other riders. Don’t be a ******! You may be a better cyclist with a better bike, but it doesn’t make you a better person. If you don’t want to engage with other riders that’s fine – but at least have the manners to respond to a gesture of hello.
Some of these sins of cyclists are just human nature. I can honestly say I am not the easiest person to be around if I don’t get out on my bike (when I want to). And maybe I do get a bit compulsive online, shopping for cycling kit I don’t really need. However, arrogance and littering are things that we could all do without really. What do you think – did I miss any?