I’ve been a cyclist for more than 40 years and the longer I ride the more I realize there are some truths that are simply inescapable. If you’re a cyclist you’ve undoubtedly experienced most, if not all, of these:
1. Flats Happen in Threes
I don’t know why but I swear it’s true. Actually, I have an inkling as to why it’s true. Tires wear out relatively equally (rears wear a bit faster than fronts), so when your tires are thinning to the point where they are more vulnerable to sharp objects, they’re probably both vulnerable to sharp objects. Similarly, both tires tend to run through the same stuff, so glass in the front tire can certainly mean there’s a sliver working its way through the tread on your rear tire as well. As for the third flat, I don’t know how that happens but it seems like it always does. What am I riding? My Pinarello F8 below is rolling on Kenda Kriterium Endurance 700×25 clinchers. I love them.
2. You Will Be Yelled At
Whether it’s an angry driver, a startled runner wearing headphones, or your kids encouraging you from the side of the course, get used to being yelled at. When it comes to drivers I’ve found it best to smile and wave as if you’re saying hello. Half the time it de-escalates the situation and we both get to go on with our days. The other half of the time the driver thinks I’ve completely misunderstood why I was being yelled at, which is fine too. When it’s your family or friends yelling encouragement from the sidelines, give them a wave or a hoot or some form of recognition. Being focused doesn’t mean you have to be grumpy.
3. Espresso Tastes Best After at Least 30 Miles
I don’t mean that espresso tastes better after 30 miles than after 50 miles. I mean that compared to any other time of day or any other situation, espresso will taste the best after you have ridden at least 30 miles. Call me old fashioned, but a straight up espresso or maybe a small, nicely done cappuccino is what I go for. If it takes more than 3 words to order, it’s too complicated.
4. Coke Tastes Best After 70 Miles
Similarly, a Coke will never taste better than when you get one from a convenience store after at least 70 miles on the bike. It’s like the donuts on top of Pikes Peak. They’re not that good by themselves, but after you ride, run, or hike your way to the summit they taste like heaven.
5. Ice-Cold Beer Tastes Best After a Long Ride
As for the beer, it may not be the best post-ride recovery strategy (actually, it’s pretty much the worst), but I’d be an absolute ogre for denying an athlete the occasional pleasure of an ice-cold post-ride beer after an epic day on the bike.
6. To Many Drivers, All Bikes Look Alike
The more interested and knowledgeable you are about a subject the more you notice its nuances. Like many of you, I can recognize the differences between a transient pedaling a beater bike, a guy commuting in his work clothes, a casual cyclist out for a spin, and a devoted athlete out for a training ride. But many drivers just seem to see two wheels and lump all of us together. Why does that matter? Because we all pay for the faults of the reckless and incompetent among us. The last time I got yelled at was at a red light it was because I stopped for the light and a homeless guy rode through it. The guy in the car next to me launched into a tirade about how “we” shouldn’t be on the road because we break the law. I smiled and waved (see above). But it does raise a serious point. We’re all in this together and our ability to create safe cycling infrastructure and secure access to trails depends not just on how you and I ride, but how everyone rides.
7. Finding the Right Saddle Is Like Finding Your Soul Mate
When you find your soul mate in life everything just feels right. If you’re lucky you find that person without a succession of painful experiences, but more often than not you have to fall in love and then break up several times before you find The One. My only advice is not to settle for “almost right”. Again, what’s on my bike? I’m riding this customized Duster from SDG Components!
These are just a few of the many joys, struggles, and oddities that I’ve noticed emerge after putting in many miles out on the bike that make cycling such a unique sport. I’d love to know what truths you’ve noticed about cycling, please comment and share your thoughts below.
CEO & Head Coach of CTS