Cyclists do a lot of things, which outside the context of the sport, normal people think are weird. Whether it be dudes shaving their legs, riders wearing a funny hat with a tiny brim that doesn’t block the sun or using select French words like Panache, Allez and Chapeau in a conversation taking place in English, this behaviour outside of the cycling fraternity can look a little funny to some.
So, here are a few of the things you probably do on a ride that if done in public might cause your friends to claim they don’t know you.
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1. Blowing snot rockets
The snot rocket, farmer’s blow, mucus shot, sputum spray, goes by many names and on the bike can make a miserably hard ride a little bit less miserable. Blocking a nostril and sharply exhaling is the fastest way to clear your airway and help you breathe a bit easier.
Unfortunately, the moment you take your helmet off, tolerance for a well-executed booger bullet drops off a cliff, or maybe it’s just that in street clothes if you attempt a nose loogie you still have to face those whom you may have offended.
Whether out riding in a race or just riding with friends, drafting can not only help you and your group go faster, but it can also be a godsend when you’re tired or stuck in a head wind.
The closer you are to the person in front of you the more benefit you get on the bike, but in the real world walking down the street inches behind the person in front of you makes you a personal space invader.
3. Pouring a bottle over your head to cool down
It’s hot, you’re sweating profusely and you can feel the sun beating down on you as well as the heat radiating off the pavement. You’re miserable, but there’s relief. A squeeze of a water bottle aimed squarely at the top of your head or back of your neck takes the sun’s firepower and makes it evaporate, relief.
Unfortunately, this same move pulled while walking down the street will cause your significant other to cross the street, small children to point and ask ‘what is wrong with that person?’ and then you’re left walking alone down the sidewalk with a wet shirt, but damn it, you’re comfortably cool.
4. Storing all your valuables, extra clothes and food in your shirt
For years now, I have been told that cargo shorts are the single worst item a man can wear, with the response to my protest, ‘what are you keeping in there? You’re a writer, not a carpenter!’
However, cyclists have one-uped the lowly cargo short by inventing the cargo shirt — the cycling jersey. On any given day, a rider will carry food, extra layers, a phone, tools and a spare tube in their shirt.
Just imagine for a second if you’re riding the bus and you pull a sandwich out of your shirt, think of the funny looks you’d get.
5. Wearing skinsuits
Remember those morph suits you’d see people wearing at sporting events a few years back? They were usually the over excited, and more than likely over hydrated with adult beverages, fans that you’d want nothing more than to run away from, but always seem to populate the row directly in front of you.
A morph suit is almost the exact same thing as a skinsuit, minus the hood. They used to be reserved just for the track and time trials, but now we’re seeing them appear in road races, criteriums, cyclocross, MTB races and I’ve even spotted a few on the overly serious chain gang style group ride.
6. Going commando
Wearing undies under your cycling shorts is a no no. The chamois is designed to interface directly with your skin and that extra layer of fabric can cause serious chaffing.
However, in the real world although going commando can feel ‘freeing’ it also invites embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions for boys and girls.
7. Racing people who aren’t there
Strava has definitely changed the way we ride our bikes, and chasing times on segments has proved to be particularly satisfying for the extremely competitive among us.
But think about when you go after a segment, you’re racing someone who is not there, on a course that isn’t marked and if you’re anything like me, when my head unit lights says I’ve stolen a KOM by .000001 of a second I celebrate as though I’ve just taken the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.
Now, for a second, imagine if you did this at the grocery story, testing your fastest time through the produce section against some guy named Steve. Dipping past an elderly man surveying the broccoli and nearly taking out a child who was going to slow down your time.
8. Labeling everything
We’ve all go that friend who’s a bit overzealous with their label maker, you know the one that has put a label on their label maker that says label maker.
These somewhat obsessive habits have crept into cycling as well with the advent of name stickers on bikes, helmets, shoes, water bottles, computers and anything else with enough surface area to stick something to.
For pro teams where there’s up to nine riders with the exact same gear at any given race it’s essential, of course, but there is always at least one guy or gal on a group ride who’s got a name tag on their bike and helmet with their country of origin, too.
9. Sucking down sugar
For most of us, in our daily lives, we try to eat healthy, keeping the veggie to doughnut ratio in proper alignment. However, on the bike, it’s not uncommon to literally suck sugar syrup out of a packet in the form of gels.
In fact, let’s not forget there are gels that are literally Maple Syrup (they’re delicious). If you were to the ingest the same amount of maple syrup with the same fervor as a gel at breakfast, you’d probably be asked to leave a restaurant.
Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments