Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that I have done some stuff which I regret in 30+ years of road riding. Some far worse than those in the top 13 list of things to avoid below. For example…
I went over the handlebars at considerable speed while testing some aero riding positions aged 15. I had my arms tucked behind my back (like a ski jumper) while heading down a big hill. Busy enjoying the extra speed, and wondering why nobody else rode like that, that I didn’t notice the tree-shaded pothole which was big enough to dislodge me from my saddle. I still remember a painful and dazed 20 mile ride home with my jersey stuck to the open wound on my back…
While i can’t guarantee it, read on and you can hopefully avoid doing some of the silly stuff….
Slippery When Wet…
If it looks slippery, then it probably is. As well as wet ones, slippery surfaces to watch out for include; cobbles, fords, newly resurfaced roads, ice, snow, discarded banana skins, mud and that oh-so-pretty rainbow on the road surface. The road rainbow is usually caused by a fuel spillage, although visually pretty, they can have you tasting tarmac quicker than you can say “ripped shorts”. Should any of the slippery surfaces occur on a corner or descent where decent grip is needed, the chances of a fall significantly ramp up.
No Knees Below 18 Degrees…
Well, maybe not 18 degrees, but avoid wearing summer gear in winter – just because it is sunny. Shorts and shorts sleeves in zero degrees, because it’s sunny? As well as being ridiculously cold, you could well be risking muscle strain and tear injuries. You are likely to be either frowned upon or ridiculed, by other, more suitably dressed riders.
Minimise Your Chances…
In today’s busy world, there are more vehicles on the road than ever before. Unfortunately, in most of the UK at least, there is a lack of decent infrastructure or road planning for cyclists within the road network. There are a lot of opportunities for crashes involving big, heavy motor vehicles, I have had 3 – I wrote this blog about my worst. While you are well within your rights ride wherever you want, whenever you want, It could well be worth minimising your chances of becoming an injury statistic by avoiding riding at peak times and on busy or more dangerous roads.
Making Your Mind Up
Be careful not to take your left shoe out of the pedal and lean right, or vice versa – It will hurt a bit and people will probably laugh a lot. It’s a lot easier to always clip in and out using the same foot first and lean to the same side.
Knock a Mile Off
Never half wheel on a club run – it’s not the ‘done thing’. Enjoy a group / club ride for what it is, a sociable steady ride – not the right opportunity to prove your fitness. Train by yourself or with like-minded types in a chaingang when you want harder, faster rides.
Is your bike getting out of shape? Keep your bike well maintained. Keeping your bike safe and free of annoying clicks and rattles is your responsibility. Nothing annoys ride mates more than badly set up gears or a knocking bottom bracket. If you are riding carbon rims on a group ride, make sure your braking is good enough to stop quickly, especially in the rain. Keeping your bike in decent shape will also lead to your bike lasting and being more reliable.
There She Blows
Never over-estimate your fitness on a club / group ride, try not to force the pace if you are in any doubt that you cannot maintain the that pace without ‘blowing up’. If you are not sure you can pull it off, without blowing up – don’t do it. It is easy to get carried away, but it’s worth keeping enough in reserve to get yourself home if things get harder.
Avoid using your best kit in mid-winter. Riding your race bike and wheels, while your ride mates are all on heavy winter bikes is a bit of a ‘no-no’. If you only have one bike and you have to, then at least go easy. Pretend to be trying as hard as everyone else.
Don’t try to improve a Strava PB while on a group / club ride – do that by yourself. If you do it by yourself, nobody will really know just how strong the tail wind really was, people will be more impressed. It’s also not worth taking unnecessary risks on Strava segments – no Strava segment is worth losing skin, or worse. It is easy to become addicted to Strava, but keep it in perspective.
Fourth cat tattoo’s are not cool. A fourth Cat tattoo is a chain-ring print on your leg, caused by having a filthy, neglected chain and being a bit clumsy while handling your bike. If this happens, other riders will notice it and mention it. Keep your legs away from the chainring.
Who Ordered That!
Think twice before ordering something unusual on a cafe stop. The unusual item will probably take a lot longer than standard things to be prepared. It will probably be served just as your ride mates are heading for the door.
Out a bit
Always point out / shout, when there is road debris / holes in the road on a club run. A simple hand gesture, point or shout can be enough to alert riders of a potential issue on the road. Not doing so, and indirectly causing a crash, could cause resentment amongst your ride mates.
You’ve Been Shamed
Resist the temptation to be filmed doing something silly on your bike for fun. Things can easily escalate and get ‘ramped’ up for the camera, this is all good untill you reach the limit of your skills. These days everyone has a phone, it could well end up on ‘You’ve Been Framed’, or being an alternative to those funny cat videos on Youtube. While the £250 for showing the clip might just cover your damaged clothing / equipment bill. It’s not worth the ridicule and mocking from friends or club mates, which could be virtually endless…
If more than a couple of the above happen within a few months, it could be time to press the restart button: Join a new club, get new ride mates, and learn from your mistakes. Try not to make the same mistakes again, remember, Stop, think & don’t be a d*ck.
Ever done anything embarrassing on a bike? Feel free to share below – anonymously if you like…