Cycling has its own sacred rituals and mythology. Some are born of experience, some of ignorance, many of arrogance. For those seeking the true path of cycling happiness and fulfillment, some signposts along the way might be beneficial...
Suggestion #1 Follow The Suggestions. If you fancy it.
Suggestion #2 Lead by Example
If it looks like somebody has got bogged down with “should” and “shouldn’t” disabuse her of that notion and show her how to wing it and have fun.
Suggestion #3 Share your wisdom
The Suggestions exist purely to entertain and should NOT be taken seriously. By anyone. Ever.
Suggestion #4 It’s all about the bike
Suggestion #5 Toughen Up
Or don’t. And have a cup of tea. And some cake.
Suggestion #6 Dream On
Never mind focus and being in the zone, there’s a lot to be said for chatting to mates as you ride and daydreaming if you’re on your own. Just don’t crash into a hedge in your reverie.
Suggestion #7 Tan Lines
These will be sharp in direct proportion to how smart a “do” you’re going to. The posher the event, the more obvious the comedy tan.
Suggestion #8 Rainbows are where it’s at
Choose a colour theme for your pride and joy by all means. Ride loud and proud and don’t be afraid to mix it up. Blue frame, pink saddle and purple pedals anyone?
Suggestion #9 If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
This is uncontrovertibly true. And means you deserve more cake.
Suggestion #10 It can get easier, particularly if you buy an e-bike
It doesn’t always have to be hard.
Suggestion #11 Family comes first.
Or in the trailer being towed by your bike.
Suggestion #12 There’s always room in the shed for one more bike
You don’t really need the lawnmower do you?
Suggestion #13 If you draw race number 13- accidentally drop it so it blows away
Suggestion #14 Shorts can be any colour you want them to be.
As long as it’s black. Because that’s all there is.
Suggestion #15 Black is the new black
At least black shorts go with any jersey.
Suggestion #16 Respect the jersey
Wear a race leader or championship jersey if you’re actually in the habit of winning or have an unusually thick skin.
Suggestion #17 Team kit
Unless you’re actually IN a team, why miss out on all those beautiful jersey/shorts combos by choice?
Suggestion #18 Wear what the hell you like. Period.
If it’s comfy and makes you happy when riding, go with it.
Suggestion #19 Be friendly
Persist in greeting fellow riders on the road or hills, even if they come across as arrogant, self-absorbed egotists. Smile and feel superior.
Suggestion #20 Pain is weakness leaving the body
Sometimes the pain is good, sometimes it’s not. Burning quads are a positive thing, a burning backside is not.
See suggestion #5
Suggestion #21 Cold weather gear
If it means you get out on your bike and follow #9, then any variety of clothing or kit is acceptable. Mittens, ski boots and a fur coat might make achieving those QOM’s slightly tricky though
Suggestion #22 Cycling Caps
They can hide a multitude of sins and who doesn’t love the word “jaunty”?
Suggestion #23 Wheeeeeee!
Feet off the pedals, legs out to the sides is a perfectly acceptable position when descending.
Suggestion #24 Measures for distance
Like measuring cheese in lbs/ozs or grammes (or kilos!), using km on your GPS to measure distances can be confusing for the British. Remember though, any distance ridden is always further in km.
Suggestion #25 The value of your bike should never be less than that of your partner’s bike.
It should however not be worth more than your house. Or the national debt.
Suggestion #26 Bike selfie!
Who cares about the crank position, make your bike photogenic by means of colour coordinated bottles or take it up a notch with tassled bar ends. Perhaps consider a tasteful floral arrangement. Or two.
Suggestion #27 Shorts
Go as short or as long as your confidence, thigh girth and tan aspirations dictate.
Suggestion #28 Socks
Any style, any length, any colour. Over the knee should probably be kept strictly for the cool urban hipster, while spots and stripes are good for everyone.
Suggestion #29 Bags
How many bags is it possible to fit on a bike? If it’s detachable and doubles as a disco purse so much the better. Tweed, reflective, chic, sparkly, we love them all.
Suggestion #30 Pumps
Mount it on the frame and forget about it, or pop it into a jersey pocket and hope you never need it.
Suggestion #31 Tools
Preferably colour coordinated to the bike. To avoid unseemly jersey stretching and leaving a breadcrumb trail of tools along the route, see the wisdom of #29
Suggestion #32 Hydration
Colour coordinated bottles are cool. Coffee/tea/diet Coke/champagne stops are also encouraged.
Suggestion #33 Leg shaving
Weird on blokes. Normal for us. That’s just the way it is. Winter plumage is perennially acceptable.
Suggestion #34 Shoes and pedals
Road, MTB or flat- find what’s easiest for you to walk in and suits your knee comfort. And what offers the prettiest shoe.
Suggestion #35 Helmets
Just accept it’s never going to look as good as that natty little hat, but it could help stop your noggin cracking like an egg.
Suggestion #36 Sunglasses
Protect yourself from the cycling paparazzi with whatever sunnies TK Maxx is currently offering an “unmissable deal” on. Or go for the classic cycling cyborg look. You know a selection makes sense.
Suggestion #37 How to wear sunglasses
Any which way but remember they’re on top of your head BEFORE replacing helmet.
Suggestion #38 Overtaking
Resist the temptation to make rude hand gestures or cheer as you overtake any male rider.
Suggestion #39 Jeepers Peepers
Protect your eyes from sun, wrinkles, grit and of course retain that element of mystery by always wearing glasses. See #36
Suggestion #40 Tyres
Try to remember to check the “direction of travel” sticker BEFORE replacing a tyre you have repaired. It’s always frustrating to have to do it all over again. Or just ride backwards.
Suggestion #41 Quick release
There’s a fine line between so-tight-you-can’t-release-it and a unicycle.
Suggestion #42 Triathlon
Give it a “tri” (sorry) or make up your own. 50 mile road ride for a swim at the seaside anyone, followed by a 5 minute run to fetch an ice cream?
Suggestion #43 Manners
Be polite and friendly. Foul language and abuse is to be avoided, as are coarse gestures. See #38
Suggestion #44 Position
Upright is classy and cool, slightly leant over is sporty, on or off-road, stretched flat out with your forehead on the front wheel and your backside in orbit is called time trialling.
Suggestion #45 Stem and bars
Should always be crowded with as many lights, bags, bells, gadgets and devices that emit unexpected ping sound at any given opportunity.
Suggestion #46 Level bars
Visible before post-race champagne.
Suggestion #47 Beer
Belgium may be the spiritual home of the gnarliest road riding in the World, but France has wine, the UK cider so why limit yourself? Belgium also has chocolate.
Suggestion #48 Saddles
A saddle should never be wide enough for two to sit side by side. Nor narrow enough to require surgery.
Suggestion #49 Upside Down
Turning a bike upside down to fix it just messes with your head. Find a fence, gate, random stranger or handy team car.
Suggestion #50 Hair
Shaved head or luscious flowing locks, a helmet is guaranteed to ruin any “do”. See #22 and #35
With thanks to the Velominati for their inspiration and sage advice.
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