Whether it’s sprinting your local crit or slogging your guts out up category one climbs, roadies live a tough life. If your idea of fun is immense physical suffering in pursuit of 347th place on a Strava leaderboard, then you’ll likely have at least some items on the following list.
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1. The roadie cap
That little piece of cotton with a stubby peak is a sure-fire identifier of a road cyclist. Traditionally worn under a helmet to keep both rain and sun out of your eyes, everyone else thinks that little peak is just too short, but you know better.
If you ever see one worn by a person not on a bike, nor hidden under a helmet, give them a nod, because no other subculture would dare wear such a piece of headgear out in public.
2. Performance estate/station wagon and roof-rack
You ride a fast bike, so, really, you should drive a fast car and accessorise it with the best kit.
While a hot hatch or softtop might be cool in any other circle, the sporty estate – preferably from a German or Czech marque – is the king of cool in the cycling world, thanks to impressive performance and load carrying capability.
When it comes to bike-carrying adornments, you’re going to need a high-end roof-rack, and – while other great racks are available – typically this will be a Thule.
3. Coffee paraphernalia
No ride should start without a coffee, the caffeine buzz giving you those couple extra Watts that become all important when racing your friends-slash-bitter-rivals to the next road sign.
Crucially: that coffee must not be instant, and should ideally be espresso.
Ensuring the grind and roast are correct for your preferred method of brewing is as important as whether you run dry, wet or wax lube, and the true roadie works a barista machine, tamper and milk jug as fluently as their brakes and gears.
4. Generic cycling themed material possessions
Given that 90 percent of your conversation is about bicycles, it’s incredibly difficult for your friends and family to buy you gifts, and so you’re festooned every Christmas and birthday by a raft of generic cycling gifts bearing slogans and images that instantly mark you out as an awkward-to-buy-for cyclist.
On your wall at home you’ll have a print that reads “Eat, Sleep, Cycle, Repeat”, in your wardrobe a T-shirt with the slogan “life behind bars” and, no doubt, a mug declaring the five things you like almost as much as you like riding your bike (looking at your bike, talking about your bike, watching programmes about bikes, websites about bikes, coffee).
5. Strong opinions
Complaining about things. We’ve all done it, and we’ll continue to do it. Especially if it’s complaining about things we haven’t actually ridden, yet are sure we know what it’ll ride like when we do.
Carbon, alloy or steel bikes
Super lightweight climbers’ bikes
Endurance and gran fondo bikes
Deep section wheels
Elastomer rear suspension
Aaaaand absolutely anything electronic whatsoever.