7 Things You Were Never Told About Becoming A Cyclist.

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7 Things You Were Never Told About Becoming A Cyclist.


Riding a bike used to be something I did to get to a friend's place. The said friend lived a long way away. Approximately 200 of your adult meters.

We'd embark on bike adventures that took us 500 meters away from our homes. We were 7 years old at the time, and bikes were a fun toy. This isn't exactly what you'd call a cyclist.

For many of us, this is the end of our relationship with the bicycle. A small percentage of people continue with their two-wheeled companion, but the majority move on to sex, drugs, and rock & roll before moving on to vehicles, mortgages, and buying bikes for their own children.

Despite this, a growing number of people are rediscovering the bicycle. This brings me joy. Despite the fact that I've always bike, largely as a commuter, I took a similar excursion a year ago.

Cycling starts off as a wild idea to go on a bike ride, and before you know it, you're wearing Lycra, carrying bananas on your back, and riding ridiculous distances.

The seven steps of becoming a cyclist are as follows. Which stage are you now in?

Cyclist for the First Time

It will be commuting for some. For others, it will appear to be a wacky charity ride. Others are cajoled by their strange acquaintance who wears revealing attire and disappears every Sunday morning to find the bicycle for exercise.

In 2010, I began my journey. I was riding my bike to work every day until my brother encouraged me to join him on a sportive. Sure, I answered, not giving a second thought to a 90-mile ride "around Reading," as I was told, or the arduous Chiltern Hills, which I now know better. I reasoned that if I could ride 10 miles a day, I could certainly ride 90. Muppet.

Worried that my £35 ebay bike wouldn't make it, I bought a second-hand bike for £650 on ebay, which seemed like a lot of money at the time (still does in fact). I didn't think about bike frame size, components, brand, or anything else. I was simply drawn to the color. This is still my favorite bike today.

I went out with no prior experience. On that ride, wow, did I hurt and battle. My recently acquired bike's bottom bracket failed after the first ten miles, so I crushed and slumped my way to the finish line!

Key Characteristics of a First-Time Cyclist

  • Rides any old crappy bike he can get his hands on and does it while wearing jeans.
  • It's impossible to switch from the big to the little ring without dropping the chain.
  • A fondness for making one's own bicycle gear – a bin bag with a hole in it qualifies as waterproofing.
  • On a ride, the only things they keep track of are how far they go and how numb their arse feels (very)
  • When possible, rides are taken as the crow flies. The 'A' roads are excellent.
  • On extended rides, he doesn't bring any food or water (anything over 20 miles at this stage)
  • What am I supposed to do about a puncture that has changed my life? I don't know how to repair this puncture, and I don't have the necessary tools.
  • Signs up for enormous sporting events despite his lack of fitness, then frets about it yet completes it anyhow.
  • Considers a 'bike' to be the beginning and end of 'cycling gear.'
  • Avoids hills or takes short hikes up them.
  • Never cleans the bike or lubricates the chain.
  • 14 mph average speed
  • When coasting downhill, you can reach a top speed of 15.5 mph.
  • The thumb test is used to determine tyre pressure. It's always enjoyable.
  • Average cadence of 60 rpm (what is cadence?)
  • Burger and beer for pre-ride fuel
  • Burgers and beer for post-ride refueling
  • Burger and beer for post-ride refueling
  • Before a ride, I overheard: "Why am I doing this?"
  • They complain about their hurting buttocks first thing after a ride.
  • August and bank holiday weekends are the best months for cycling.

Cyclist for the First Time

Following my sportive, I started riding longer miles on weekends in quest of more cycling independence and, er, speed. My range quickly surpassed 50 miles, and I felt certain that I was prepared for anything. In comparison to my rusted commuting cycle, my bike felt like a sleek speed machine.

I rode 100 miles round trip from London to Southend. In my slacks. It was a scorching day, and I believed I was invincible, munching on sticky prunes from my, well, rucksack. My jam sandwich wasn't in the finest of shape, either. Even so, I was taking things seriously enough to carry some Lucozade with me.

I started out on a three-day cycle from London to the Norfolk Broads, where I learned about biking in the rain and dealing with a headwind. My backpack didn't have a lot of airflow. Reading the scrawled directions on my arm or the damp paper maps downloaded from the internet was also a challenge. I made it home despite stopping at every intersection for directions and breaking the front dérailleur (thank you, ebay!)

Key features of a beginner cyclist

  • A hammer or a screwdriver are used to make bike repairs.
  • Remembering to buy Lucozade is part of being prepared. Not the 'sick' version, but the 'Sport' version.
  • B roads are discovered to be a joy.
  • Cycling attire consists of shorts.
  • A backpack is the equivalent of a pair of extra-large jersey pockets.
  • Using paper maps and getting lost are all part of the fun.
  • Due to pinch flats, he gets more punctures in a day than most people do in a year.
  • Half of the shed's contents are transported in a backpack.
  • For the first time, he bonks and swears he'll never cycle again.
  • Inflating the tyres and spraying WD40 all over the bike is routine maintenance.
  • 14.5 mph average speed
  • Downhill pedaling at a top speed of 21 mph, oh yes!
  • Average cadence of 65 rpm (what is cadence?)
  • Pre-ride fueling: A toast and a Lucozade sip
  • Nutrition for the ride: Lucozade and a jam sandwich
  • Nutrition after the ride: More Lucozade and fish & chips
  • Before a ride, I overheard: This will be simple.
  • After a ride, the first thing they say is: That wasn't easy, and those jeans have rubbed my thighs raw.
  • Cycling season: weekends exclusively from May to August.

Cyclist who is just starting out

With over 300 miles under my belt, I was prepared for anything. I psyched myself up for the journey of a lifetime after a brief winter vacation (September to May). My ambitious aim was to travel from London to Spain on a motorcycle. In two weeks' time. Solo. I'm still not sure where this thought came from. It just seemed like the appropriate thing to do at the time.

I had learned a lot of cycling lessons the hard way during my second year of cycling. I bought a jersey and a pair of inexpensive Lycra shorts. I even took the big and terrifying step of purchasing shoes that would secure my feet to the pedals after much debate and misunderstanding. It was unnerving to think about becoming clipless.

Is this the big bike tour? I rode to Spain in ten days, averaging over 100 kilometers each day on a bike adventure I will never forget. The man with the hammer and I became fast friends, and it was on this trip that I realized I wanted to be a cyclist. Fantastic.

Characteristics of Amateur Cyclists

  • On a ride, he knows to bring spare innertubes. There should be at least five of them.
  • For cycling tours, backpacks are replaced by panniers.
  • Because he changed brakepads, he considers himself a "bike engineer."
  • When stopped at a traffic signal, the rider slowly falls off the bike (damn you new clipless pedals)
  • Is under the impression that being aerodynamic entails sitting up in a tailwind.
  • While still pedaling, he learned how to drink water. Despite mastering the art of the snot rocket, dribbles down chin.
  • Now I'm able to brake without skidding.
  • Eats a banana while riding one-handed and pretends to be a pro.
  • Finally comprehends why bike handlebars are slanted.
  • Concerned about a slow cadence without fully comprehending why
  • Sandwiches with peanut butter and bananas are his favorite foods.
  • Has a Garmin for navigating and calculating average speed and distance traveled
  • 16 mph average speed
  • Downhill, top speed of 33 mph and average cadence of 85 rpm (must work on that)
  • 2 rounds of toast and a cup of coffee for pre-ride nourishment
  • Water and a peanut butter sandwich for the ride
  • Post-ride nutrition: eat as much as you can.

Before a ride, they are overheard saying: "Today, I'm shooting for a 16.5 mph average speed." The first thing they do after a bike is to check their average speed.

Season for cycling: Weekends only from April through September

Cyclist in good standing

I scarcely cycled for the rest of 2011 after riding nearly 1,000 miles in ten days. Of course, I'm resting. I considered myself a full-fledged cyclist in 2012 because I just had one pair of Lycra and could ride clipped in to my pedals without falling over.

Dedicated, I began cycling every weekend, and cycling 100 miles became second nature as my average speed (still my yardstick) went up to 17 mph or more depending on the length of my ride. For some reason, I got a liking for hill climbing and began seeking out the largest, steepest slopes I could locate. I felt compelled to compete, so I began riding hard around local bike routes to compare myself to others.

Key Characteristics of a Good Cyclist

  • Thanks to Wiggle, he's got a Haribo addiction.
  • Strava is now a thing.
  • Rides with pumped-to-maximum PSI tyres.
  • Has a chafing creme application'system'
  • Begin recording elevation gained and average speed.
  • Bike has a name
  • Layering is the key to staying warm, he discovers.
  • Rides roads not marked on a map, refusing to change course no matter how poor the road surface is.
  • He obsessively discusses gear ratios.
  • I'm still unable to index gears.
  • Others are bored by his talk about monster rides.
  • Carbohydrates are the focus of the diet, which makes it easy to overeat.
  • Riding with a hangover is endurance training. Has purchased a massage stick but is unsure how to use it.
  • Because it's good training, he runs up escalators.
  • An interval is when you ride as fast as you can, anywhere.
  • Even though he no longer requires a map for local routes, he still gets lost.
  • Every ride with another person, including his girlfriend, is a race.
  • 17 mph + average speed
  • Rolling down a very steep hill at 56 mph with panniers at 90 rpm average cadence (cracked it!)
  • 3 rounds of toast and a cup of coffee for pre-ride nourishment
  • Nutrition for the ride: There are a lot of terrible energy gels.
  • Nutrition after the ride: You can eat as much pasta as you want.
  • Before a ride, I overheard: Are my thighs getting bigger?
  • After a ride, the first thing they do is: Strava segments can be found here.
  • The cycling season is from April to December, and it is only on weekends.

Cyclist with a Passion

I'm officially a cyclist now. It's impossible to deny. My year-round tan lines are not deceiving. I try to structure my life around biking as much as possible. Holidays in the vicinity of well-known peaks. Nights out mixed with days of rest are a winning combination. I spend more time studying the weather than sailors and reading maps than a developing boy scout.

My Lycra collection is on par with the Marvel Comics vaults. Everything I wear is designed for cycling. I have different outfits for different weathers, different lenses on my spectacles, and different insulating shoe covers. Let's not even get started on gloves.

I now understand and even love watching cycling on television. My bike collection expands, and I'm becoming more interested in mountain biking, track riding, and cyclocross than ever before.

Characteristics of a Serious Cyclist

  • B roads are used again since they are faster.
  • Is obsessed with tyre pressures that aren't too high or too low.
  • It appears to be a legitimate business. Kit is constantly in sync.
  • Spends more time arranging the ideal route than actually riding it.
  • Has two bicycles
  • Has taken his best bike from the shed to his bedroom and believes in The Rules.
  • Finally, he figures out how to index gears.
  • He spends an excessive amount of time perfecting his pedal stroke.
  • Even at 26 rpm on steep climbs, he refuses to drop into the small chainring because he's too strong.
  • Frequently says 'chapeau,' much to the annoyance and consternation of friends and coworkers, as well as the bartender.
  • Every ride, including the pootle to the shops, is filmed and measured.
  • On frigid days off the bike, he wears shorts to show off his calves and cycle tan.
  • Lunch is gels, and electrolytes are sipped throughout the day.
  • The use of a heart rate monitor is more common than it should be. Is obsessed with the HR rate
  • 18+ mph average speed
  • As I'm no longer insane, my top speed is still 56 mph, with a 98 rpm average cadence (too high, but I didn't realize it yet).
  • Pre-ride fueling: Porridge, porridge, porridge, porridge, porridge, porridge, porridge, porridge, porridge, porridge, por
  • Nutrition for the ride: malt loaf, bananas, and water
  • Post-ride nutrition: eat as much as you can.
  • Before a ride, I overheard: A good threshold and endurance ride is in store for you.
  • Stretching, showering, and eating are the first things they do following a ride.
  • Every day, rest is an alien idea during cycling season.

Cyclist who is serious about cycling

After a few years, I find the delight and suffering of cycling training programs. To define the numerous interval sessions I'm currently riding weekly, I'm learning a new language full of acronyms.

I've planned out every ride for the next 12 months in a spreadsheet. I've set goals for myself. I'm a robot, a scientist, and my own coach. I'm taking everything a little too seriously.

Competitive cycling should be created at this time, but I'm not interested. I ride for the sake of quiet and space. I just want to get it done as quickly as possible.

I've finally discovered the joys of resting and not having heavy legs all of the time. I can cycle in zone two without feeling compelled to perfect every road stretch. My main concern is no longer speed. It's all about power these days. As well as panache. I'm unstoppable. I'm still working on my 'technique' for pedaling.

Characteristics of Serious Cyclists

  • To assess how his thighs are feeling, he touches them more than he should.
  • When you suggest a climb, he or she spends more time indoors than out, talking about the same road in the Alps that only they have rode.
  • Measures resting heart rate more than he should and frequently quotes low figures aloud to impress no one but himself.
  • He's a lot slimmer now than he was when he was 14 years old.
  • Spends far too much time lying on the floor with his feet lifted high.
  • His existence is dictated by spreadsheets.
  • Looks for headwinds on a regular basis.
  • Any day spent not riding hard is referred to as a recovery day, and any day spent not riding is referred to as a rest day.
  • Is obsessed with carbohydrate and protein ratios.
  • Drinks coconut water and acts as if he likes it.
  • Even though he doesn't compete, he is constantly concerned about his form and fitness.
  • There are 23 cycling caps in total.
  • Bidon, anaerobic, and lactate threshold are some of the terms used. Quite a bit.
  • Except for those measured in watts, ignores all numbers.
  • Cleans his bike in the hopes of becoming faster.
  • Obsessed with weight, he has cut the brake pads on his hill climbing bike in half to save a few precious grams.
  • To anyone who would listen, he talks about riding with panache.
  • I'm not sure what it means to ride with panache. Average speed: who cares? Riding with one eyebrow up, possibly My FTP number is 298.
  • Downhill, top speed of 56 mph, average cadence of 92 rpm (after much experimentation)
  • Pre-ride fueling: Breakfast consists of eggs, toast, and coffee.
  • Soreen, bananas, and water for the ride
  • Nutrition after the ride: Nutrition drip, protein and carb blend
  • Before a ride, I overheard: This will be a steady state ride with some endurance and anaerobic intervals thrown in to increase my FTP.
  • After a ride, the first thing they do is: In Golden Cheetah or TrainingPeaks, analyze and pretend to grasp the 37 lines on the post-ride graphs.

The cycling season runs from January through December. The spreadsheet dictates the days.

Cyclist with a lot of experience

All riders' natural resting location. He's no longer a youngster; he's in training for anything and only rides. After all these years, everything happened so quickly. Overtaking younger bikers who don't seem to comprehend how someone on a touring cycle with panniers can overtake them is one of his favorite things to accomplish. Uphill.

Only because he has learned not to chase everything that moves does he consider himself a plodder. Has no plans for the ride other than to get lost and take in the beauty. Almost as much as the post-ride coffee, he looks forward to the mid-ride coffee.

His GPX is his brain, chock-full with routes he's ridden for years. He rides a lot and goes a long way, not that he's keeping track.

Key traits of a seasoned cyclist

  • Most items on the bike can be repaired with a cable or zip tie.
  • Mechanical gears come to mind.
  • The bike is considered vintage by others, but he considers it to be new.
  • Your three-week-old carbon racing machine is in better shape than your ancient steel bike.
  • Never seen gasping for air
  • To get about, he rides his bike.
  • A 75-mile ride is considered short.
  • Regardless of the terrain, the cadence remains constant. Smooth
  • Take waterproofs with you at all times, just in case.
  • Within a 115-mile radius, he knows every eatery.
  • He can point to any location on a map and tell you about a bike trip he took on those routes.
  • Even when he is not cycling, he wears cycling gear.
  • A large saddle bag is a must-have item.
  • The bottle of electrolytes is replaced by a flask of coffee.
  • He believes that being aerodynamic entails waxing his beard.
  • Has a larger selection of bike tools than your local bike shop.
  • What is the average speed? No matter how long it takes
  • See above for top speed.
  • cadence on average: see above
  • Before the ride, I eat anything I want.
  • Nutrition for the ride: Cake
  • After a ride, I eat whatever I want.
  • I'll amble down to the lanes and take it easy down to the canal, I overheard before a ride.
  • The first thing they do after a ride is look at pictures of the surroundings they saw. They're all 57 of them.

So, how far have you progressed in your cycling career? Are you a novice or an expert?

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