Punctured: 7 riding excuses to laminate and carry with you

Slow on a ride? Need a reason? Let science be your wingman

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Science has shown that old excuses – like brake pads, Keep Calm memes and the will to live – simply wear out. I had a link to a science story that proved it, but my dog… washed it… in my other trousers.

The following traditional excuses are good, but they’re old and your friends might have heard them before. They still work, but at just 34.6 percent of their original efficiency:

1. “I thought it was a recovery ride”


“I’ve got a lot of kilometres in my legs. They’re just so very full of kilometres. You know how if you took all the veins in a human body and laid them out, the line would stretch 160,000km (and your trial would be sensational)? My veins would be 160,000km of pure road. And that’s just from this weekend.

“My legs are saturated with kilometres. Just this morning I cut one shaving and my entire bathroom was surfaced in A431 [it’s a road in southwest England, international readers] before I could even stop the bleeding.”

2. “I must have a slow puncture…”


“…and my brakes are rubbing and I dropped the chain at a critical point and I couldn’t clip in. Basically my bike is the mechanical version of an old, old man. Whereas I am toned like a racehorse. A racehorse tragically held back by ghostshifting in his… in his hooves.”

They’ll never guess you don’t really have a puncture: they’ll never guess you don’t really have a puncture

They’ll never guess you don’t really have a puncture

3. “I’ve only got water in my bottle”


“As opposed to whiskey, protein, cocaine, carbohydrate, synthetic testosterone, steroids and petrol. I don’t want to test positive for that again.

“Why? Because ‘The Man’ is only once going to believe I failed a drug test because of sweets my aunt brought back from Peru, rather than because I took drugs. Especially as my aunt will never leave Peru, having been arrested for stretching a child to 97,000km to see if it was true.”

4. “I brought the wrong bike”


“Also these are the wrong climbs and/or descents and flat bits. Are we climbing? I’m more of a sprinter. And this flat stretch? I’m more about the climbs.”

“Wait, why are you guys on tt bikes? again?”: “wait, why are you guys on tt bikes? again?”

“Wait, why are you guys on TT bikes? Again?”

So anyway, feel free to bandy those excuses about if you’re stuck – they still work, if not very well.

The excuses that follow, however, are made of pure science. They’ve been tested in a six-fan medical windtunnel and proven to remove up to 200W from your ride without any increased resistance from your friends at all.

These are yours to cut out and keep. Use a saw on your monitor.

5. “I was going so fast I gained mass and slowed down again”

This is an excuse with an extremely technical basis, and frankly if you’re willing to buy something because it says ‘electrolyte’ in sciencey writing on the side, you damn well better accept Albert Einstein.

As the law of relativity states, the faster you go, the more mass you gain and the more energy it takes to accelerate you. This increases exponentially.

As you approach the speed of light your mass becomes infinite, and consequently so does the energy required – which is why nothing can go faster than the speed of light. Not even you. Not even with carbon rims.

Remember, even at relatively lower speeds your mass will increase, and thus require more energy to push it than a slower body needs. At 55mph, you can tell your mates, it’s increased by [inaudible] and that’s why you were slow.

You were too slow because you were too fast.

The author at work: the author at work

The author at work

6. “I was cornering so hard I broke time”

It’s another full-science truth that time moves slower the closer you are to a massive body.

So if you’re always heeled right over in the corners – because you’re going so fast – you’re down closer to the Earth, where time itself runs slower. The slowing effect can even be measured over as little as 33cm, which far exceeds the minimum standard for excuses.

Scientists know this. The atomic clocks that make GPS satellites work have to be altered to allow for gravitational time dilation, or else they’d get our positions wrong and all our Strava segments would appear to be in rivers and along the side of buildings. Okay, that happens, but it’s not supposed to.

Earth is plenty big enough to slow down time when you get too close. It has a mass of 5.9 sextillion tonnes, which is why it hurts so much if you ride into it, and why it takes you so bloody long to get up afterwards.

Strava sometimes struggles with accuracy. this is my ride to the shops. in london: strava sometimes struggles with accuracy. this is my ride to the shops. in london

Strava sometimes struggles with accuracy…

7. “I’m not very fit”

It’s hard to argue with this one, as you can provide both the hypothesis (‘I’m not very fit’) and the experiment (‘Am I five minutes behind, crying and about to puke?’) along with a control group (‘All you bastards off the front.’)

It’s really the ultimate scientific excuse, although there is a flaw: it’s not entirely repeatable. Test subjects who repeatedly ride with fitter people eventually skew the data by getting faster.

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But then, what does science know? It’s probably just another conspiracy designed to get you out riding expensive bikes instead of commenting on forums.