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 #51 Livestrong wristbands
Maybe support a cancer charity that requires you to ride in a pink tutu instead. Less embarrassing for all concerned.
Suggestion #52 Hankies
Yes, that “neat trick” where you can single-handedly expel your own snot behind you as you ride is an occasionally useful trick learned from the boys. But a good old-fashioned hankie preserves dignity and prevents unfortunate incidents involving expensive jackets or other riders.
Suggestion #53 Fresh as a daisy
Wash it and wear it, then wash it again. Simples. Or buy a new one.
Suggestion #54 Bars
Drop, flat, aero, weird and curly, if your bike looks cooler and/or it makes for a more comfortable ride, embrace the Frankenbike.
Suggestion #55 Earn your descents
Unless you’re taking a cable car up to the top of a gnarly downhill MTB route in the Alps, descents should be earned. Even if that means pushing your bike uphill on foot for three hours to “earn” that ten minute nerve shattering descent.
Suggestion #56 Coffee
Espresso doubles as rocket fuel- fact. Tea goes better with cake.
Suggestion #57 Decorations
Festoon your bike with stickers, glow-in-the-dark paint, spokey dokeys or silk flowers. Ride with pride.
Suggestion #58 Local bike shops
Great for advice, bike fits, bits and bobs and services. Online is usually better for shiny things like clothes.
Suggestion #59 Hold your line
Don’t swerve, brake suddenly or make any unexpected movements when out in a group. Hedges, curbs and woodland animals should also be avoided, especially when riding solo.
Suggestion #60 It’s in the details
There will ALWAYS be a small part that goes missing during any repairs carried out. Usually it will be completely superfluous. Occasionally it will be critical.
Suggestion #61 Comfort
Is never overrated. Who wants to finish 100m or 100miles walking like John Wayne?
Suggestion #62 Earphones
Stick to indoor spin classes if you want a musical accompaniment to your riding.
Suggestion #63 Indicating
Be obvious and assertive in your indication. Not so assertive that you knock another cyclist off their bike, however.
Suggestion #64 Cornering
It’s what knee pads were made for. Honest.
Suggestion #65 Maintenance
Chains should NEVER be brown or orange, gear cables should never grind and the sound of metal rubbing on metal is rarely a good thing. Keep it clean, lubricated and efficient.
Suggestion #66 Mirrors
Fine for commuter bikes and leisure steeds, and obviously crucial for on the fly make-up application (mascara not recommended)
Suggestion #67 Be a team player.
Do your turn at the front if you’re riding in a group. Drum up some imaginary friends to lead out if you’re riding solo.
Suggestion #68 Distance and duration
Short, sharp and savage or long, lazy and luscious. Choose your distance and your efforts for your mood and energy levels.
Suggestion #69 Cleats
Yes, you WILL fall off. Probably just the once, at a junction, a nanosecond AFTER you’ve stopped and realized you failed to unclip. We’ve all been there.
Suggestion #70 Competition
If you’re racing, ride for the win. If you’re not racing, ride for the grin. And more cake.
Suggestion #71 Train
The more you train, the less it will inevitably hurt. Until you overtrain, then it will just hurt all the time.
Suggestion #72 Style
Enjoy the ultimate thrill of sailing past other road users with style, panache and a smug smile. Once past, maintain speed for at least ten minutes before stopping to throw up.
Suggestion #73 Cables
Many legs and expensive cycling tights have been shredded by untidy, overlong cables. Keep them in check as you would a wayward eyebrow hair. And try not to snigger at the use of the word “nipples”.
Suggestion #74 Computers
Plotting routes and following GPS’s and bike computers is great, watching the entirety of Game of Thrones on Netflix on your iPad as you ride is not.
Suggestion #75 Numbers
Remove race number stickers from your bike after each event. Use them to decorate the walls of the bike shed. Create bunting from the paper ones.
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 #77 Litter
Just accept the fact that jersey pockets will be filled with sticky gel wrappers, snotty tissues, melted chocolate and a half eaten liquid banana by the end of any long ride.
Suggestion #78 Accessories
Coffee cup holder anyone? Picnic basket? Champagne bottle cage? Definitely.
Suggestion #79 Commuting
No matter that it has a Strava segment, it’s NOT a race to that next set of lights. And it’s rarely acceptable to cut up a fellow commuter, no matter how tempting.
Suggestion #80 Cultivate a race face
Practice snarling in the mirror before a race, consider adopting a more serene visage for recreational rides. Remember, laughter helps prevent wrinkles.
Suggestion #81 Crashes
Embellish and exaggerate to your heart’s content but be willing to provide either physical or photographic evidence of actual bodily harm if asked.
Suggestion #82 Arm and Leg Warmers
Fleshy gaps are to be discouraged. The ability to remove said garments without actually stopping the bike is an advanced technical skill guaranteed to impress fellow riders. Until that moment where a dangling armwarmer obscures a brake lever.
Suggestion #83 Self-sufficiency
This may mean a mobile phone with friend/spouse/crack commando mechanic dog on speed dial. It may also mean tyre levers, tools an inner tube and the will to use them if necessary.
Suggestion #84 Stopping
If one rider has a puncture or mechanical, other riders in the group are encouraged to actually help rather than standing around chatting ten feet away while she womanfully grapples with her bicycle on her own.
Suggestion #85 Descending
Very few people can distinguish between the sound of poorly adjusted brakes being overenthusiastically applied while going downhill and the prolonged squeals of fear of a nervous rider. Or both.
Suggestion #86 Climbing
Dig deep, get your rhythm and try not to lose that baguette you had for lunch. Remember, what goes up………must eventually have the unbridled terror of coming down.
Suggestion #87 Be punctual
Don’t hold up other riders at the start of a group ride. Time is precious and should be reserved for chatting and laughing over tea and cake at the end.
Suggestion #88 Steady does it
If you can take that group of male riders ahead of you on the road, try and build speed slowly to maintain the illusion of effortless grace as you overtake. Sweat dries and the need to vomit eventually subsides.
Suggestion #89 Outfits
So very, very many pretty jerseys! And you NEED that cycling dress, and the cycling underwear, and the bike jewellery, and the designer-handbag-that-doubles-as-stylish-commuter-bag, and those casual bike shoes, and…….
Suggestion #90 Gear selection
It’ll never be the right one, no matter how many you have. You’ll always want one just between that lower one and that higher one.
Suggestion #91 Food
A combination of high tech nutrition and a nice flavour is the ideal. Sports gels are like swallowing artificial fruit flavoured phlegm and on a long sportive, that 11th banana is not your friend. Graze little and often. Save the bacon butty until the end.
Suggestion #92 Hand position
Drops, hoods, brakes are all acceptable. Above head in a victory salute probably best left until 100% convinced gravity will play ball.
Suggestion #93 Recovery
Descents, pitstops for repairs, comfort breaks and that nicely chilled beer/ice cream at the pub/park at the end.
Suggestion #94 Medals
A big lump of metal attached to a ribbon? Yes, please! I sweated and gurned my way round 10km/100 miles/3 countries for that I’ll have you know! Hang them in a satisfying bunch and smile every time they tinkle like wind chimes.
Suggestion #95 Above head bike lifting
It’s not cool but we’ve all been there. Eiffel Tower/camel/village elders in background, wilting, sweaty, inanely grinning rider in front. Whoever did it first has almost certainly been disavowed as a cyclist long ago.
With thanks to the Velominati.com for their inspiration and sage advice.
VeloVixen Favourites for 2015
Unit 28, Wheatley Business Park, Old London Road, Wheatley, Oxford OX33 1XW // firstname.lastname@example.org // +44 (0) 1302 249 323