10 Things Cyclists Do That Normal People Don’t
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10 Things Cyclists Do That Normal People Don’t

10 Things Cyclists Do That Normal People Don’t

If you’re a cycling enthusiast yourself (or you’re close to someone who is), you probably know they have a lot of unusual habits and quirks that “normal” people just don’t understand. Because cycling isn’t just a hobby, it’s more of a passion—even a way of life.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite—but decidedly a bit odd—things that cyclists do most normal people find more than a bit strange. Enjoy! And if you see yourself (or someone you know) in any of these behaviors, let us know in the comments.


1. Cyclists ride a $10,000 bike and drive a $5,000 car.

10 Things Cyclists Do That Normal People Don’t

Let’s face it. A car is just transportation but a bike…is life. Besides, bicycles rank right up there as one of mankind’s greatest inventions—they promote health, happiness, and that awesome feeling of wind in your face. Priceless, right? And you certainly can’t say that about a car.

Although the Tour de France peloton riders are probably sitting on $20,000 worth of bike and equipment (the French team AG2R just switched to the Factor One, sporting a base price of $12k), most serious riders can get into a high performance road or mountain bike for under $5,000. But leave room in your budget for all the extra gear and gadgets you know you’re going to crave.


2. Cyclists have a whole different definition of chamois—and it’s not a cloth you use to dry your car.

10 Things Cyclists Do That Normal People Don’t

Road shock. Pressure points. Moisture control. Every cyclist needs a good chamois—it’s the difference between loving and hating your ride.

You may think chamois is some newfangled solution to an age-old problem, but actually, the first chamois was developed over 100 years ago for endurance cyclists, although back then, they had more in common with a baseball glove than today’s synthetic foams and gels.

Don’t look for the squishiest chamois you can find; look for a good, dense foam about a centimeter or so thick. That squishy stuff compresses to almost nothing, especially at the pressure points—just where you need it the most.


3. Forget cargo shorts, cyclists have perfected the cargo shirt.

10 Things Cyclists Do That Normal People Don’t

Cyclists upgraded the stodgy cargo short into a high-performance cargo shirt, i.e. the cycling jersey. Where else are they supposed to keep all those riding essentials like snacks, tools, tubes, and extra layers? Not to mention a phone, keys, cash, and anything else you can’t live without.

Sure, you could wear it on the bus or the subway, but expect a few funny looks if you pull a sandwich or a banana out of your shirt.

4. Cyclists have imaginary friends—and they love racing against them.

Over the past seven years since Strava was introduced, it’s become a strange new addiction among cyclists. Part fitness tracker, part social network, the Strava feed brings out the crazy in serious riders and weekenders alike. Recognize these addictive behaviors in someone you know?

  • Taking a few laps around the block after your ride because you need 0.4 miles to hit 50 for the day.
  • Going KOM hunting on a segment you’ve targeted—you’re super-fresh, jacked up on Tailwinds, and you just drill it.
  • Slipping your Garmin on a faster rider for a day—what’s a little Strava doping among friends?

If that sounds like you, you may need an intervention.


5. If you think a “farmer’s tan” is weird, you should see a cycling tan.

One way cyclists judge each other, surreptitiously of course, is by the quality of their cycling tan. And even though lines above the knees and elbows look decidedly odd at the beach, they’re the mark of membership in the elite cycling club. After all, you have to spend hundreds of hours on a bike to get those well-defined lines and ombre gradations.

If you’re not a fan of the cycling tan, use plenty of sunscreen (and apply it before you put on your kit to avoid missing any spots). Keep in mind that light-colored, high-tech cycling fabrics don’t offer much sun protection, so if you’re wearing white, use sunscreen underneath your kit, too.


6. A cyclist’s first words after a spill (even if he’s writhing in pain): “How’s my bike?!?!”

10 Things Cyclists Do That Normal People Don’t

When you’re passionate about riding, you’re going to challenge yourself—and spills are just part of the sport, especially if you’re doing an epic ride. The difference between cyclists and everyone else, however, is that a cyclist’s first concern is always his bike, not his broken bones or bloody road rash.

Remember the immortal words of cycling legend Tom Simpson after he lost control and fell off his bike on Mont Ventoux during the 13th stage of the 1967 Tour de France: “Put me back on my bloody bike!” Although he was dreadfully ill at that point, he managed to ride another 500 yards before he wobbled, fell unconscious, and died.

Yeah, cyclists are like that.


7. Having a T-Rex body is a badge of honor.

10 Things Cyclists Do That Normal People Don’t

Huge legs, tiny arms, and a voracious appetite—a cyclist and a T-Rex have a lot in common. Cyclists’ legs are like pistons, constantly pumping up and down, and that builds some wicked muscle mass in their quads and calves. Ride a lot, and your legs will take on cartoonish proportions.

But that’s ok. Bulky, carved quads are like a flashing neon sign announcing you’re a serious cyclist out to kick butt on the toughest road rides. Who wouldn’t want that?


8. Leg warmers are a wardrobe staple, not an 80s fashion statement.

10 Things Cyclists Do That Normal People Don’t

Just because the weather turns cold, a cyclist never stops riding. In fact, cold weather rides are some of the best, so a smart cyclist is prepared. After all, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing, or so we like to say at Lizard Head.

You could choose to layer tights over your bib shorts, but that’s a lot of layers to fuss with when nature calls. You could even just wear bib tights, but that’s limiting your options. Leg warmers are convenient and flexible—you can just pull them off and stash them in your jersey if the weather turns warm over the course of your ride.


9. Cyclists do obsess about weight—not their own, but their bike’s.

10 Things Cyclists Do That Normal People Don’t

Cyclists obsess about weight because being lighter means you can go faster and ride longer, especially up hills. There are two choices when you’re chasing that high-performance weight: A lighter bike or a lighter you. And the great thing about choosing a lighter bike is that the weight stays off.

In the racing world, shaving a few hundred grams is a major preoccupation. The AG2R team’s Factor bike has a ridiculously light frame at just 740 grams, a whole 40 grams lighter than Team Sky superstar Chris Froome’s TDF bike.

But for regular riders, obsessing over a few grams probably won’t affect your ride. Jim Gourley, a triathlete and aerospace engineer, wrote a book about cycling speed; his research showed that a one-pound difference only shaved 2.5 seconds off a one-mile climb, and that four pounds only saved 7.5 seconds. That might matter if you’re a Tour rider, but for the rest of us, not so much.


10. They have nightmares about the dreaded bonk.

You know the feeling—that ride-ending, soul crushing, utterly defeated feeling when you go from supercharged adrenalin highs to the empty, zombie-like state known as the bonk. It makes a cyclist do crazy things like sobbing into his spandex and frantically searching for a 7-11 candy aisle and a Slurpee machine.

Exercise physiologists think the bonk comes from glycogen depletion when your body has burned through all its quick energy stores. Avoid the bonk with a steady supply of carbohydrates and hydration.

Did you recognize yourself in any of these cyclist behaviors? Identify any we missed? Tell us about it in the comments.


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This entry was posted on Monday, August 14th, 2017 at 7:42 am and is filed under Blog, Featured Posts.
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