50 cycling rites of passage
Falling in love, graduating high school, the birth of your child – nothing compares with your first case of road rash and these 50 other momentous occasions in the life of a cyclist.
How many can you tick off the list? Which is your favourite, and do you have any to add? Comment below.
01. Realizing that the hill isn’t in the way; it is the way.
02. You go from one pair of shorts to a dedicated drawerful.
03. Being unable to sleep the night after you first shave your legs, because of the tingle of bedsheets against your skin.
04. When “thanks for the ride” goes from something you overhear to part of your vocabulary.
05. You see someone at the beach with a cycling tan (on the quads and biceps), and give him a nod of recognition.
06. Bonking so bad you don’t think you’ll be able to make it home.
07. Discovering how a can of Coke bought at a corner-store can resurrect the dead.
08. Starting and finishing a ride—the same one—in pouring rain.
09. When you hang out at the bike shop and no one expects you to buy anything.
10. When your bike computer registers triple digits for one ride.
11. Clearing a log on a the trail.
12. You lube up before a ride.
13. Staying with the paceline long enough to take a turn at the front.
14. You’re on the bike for the fifth straight day, and your butt doesn’t hurt.
15. You try bibs and realize you can never go back to shorts.
16. You stop riding beside and behind the pack and instead ride inside of it—with no claustrophobia.
17. You swing off the front of a paceline before you get tired.
18. You blow a snot rocket without hitting your shoulder or leg—or the rider behind you.
19. You notice that someone else has the chain grease on his right calf.
20. You get stuck in your pedals and topple over at a stoplight.
21. Someone you introduced to the sport kicks your ass on a ride.
22. Riding a bike through a big, congested city and feeling smarter than everyone else because you’re moving.
23. You wake up to find the sheets stuck to your road rash—and still feel excited about riding that day.
24. Your boss stops by to ask you to explain what’s happening in the Tour de France.
25. You fix up your old bike to get someone into the sport.
26. Wearing out your first set of tyres.
27. You ride through a pothole, and it’s no big deal.
28. Getting hopelessly lost—deliberately.
29. You stop mid-ride to give your only spare tube to a stranded cyclist.
30. You realize you’re driving your car as if it’s a bike—drafting, looking for holes, getting away from the squirrelly guy.
31. Fixing a busted chain.
32. When you no longer have to stop to take off your jacket.
33. Feeling confident about taking off your jacket while riding—then catching the trailing sleeve in the rear wheel.
34. The first time you crumple your race number.
35. Planning a riding holiday.
36. Seeing a sunrise from the saddle.
37. Wondering how the biggest local hill would rank on the Tour de France climb classification.
38. In your head, Phil Liggett narrates your ride.
39. You got dropped, you flatted, bonked, got turned around—and when you got home you said you had a great ride.
40. You roll through a patch of gravel and, without thinking, reach back to brush the crud off your tyre with your palm.
41. A rider you respect says, “You were flying today.”
42. Rolling through a stop sign—and knowing it was the right thing to do.
44. When you crest the summit of a climb, start down and realize you’ve gone the wrong way. But keep going anyway.
45. Rubbing wheels—and staying up.
46. Letting go of your kid’s seat and not having to grab it again.
47. Getting a bike stolen and being surprised at how deeply it hits you.
48. Cleaning the cassette with your old toothbrush.
49. Sprinting the neighbour kids.
50. Chasing a squirrel down singletrack.