As soon as you jump on your bike, there is a pretty decent list of things that could go wrong.
But nothing ever quite compares to the blunders you create for yourself.
From a weekend warrior to a seasoned professional, there are countless ‘bike blunders’ that leave you instantly wondering how you could be so stupid, before desperately checking around to see if anyone noticed… Here’s the ultimate list of shame.
Any of these sound familiar?
1 Fall from grace
Let’s start with the most obvious. When you first decide it’s time for clip-in pedals, you are told that at some point you will get your cleats stuck and fall to the ground with all the grace of a baby giraffe trying to sit down. Sure enough, you comply.
But don’t kid yourself. This isn’t something that magically stops after a certain amount of rides – oh no… this is an embarrassment that could well pop up systematically. It might be the result of an overzealous ride preparation where you’ve tightened the cleats just that little too much, or it could be a lapse in concentration when fatigue kicks in at the traffic light.
Whatever the reason, you can guarantee it will happen in front of that friend who can pull out a phone quicker than Annie Oakley to immortalise your fall from grace.
2 Maintenance worker
If you’re a regular rider, it can be pretty easy to forget the last time you did a basic maintenance check.
“It wasn’t that long ago – I mean, I gave it a good going over before we did that climb off the back of the coastline.”
“Ummm… that was five months ago.”
What we’re talking about here is not some detailed log-book service, just a simple running of a spanner over various nuts and bolts. It’s pretty easy to do. It’s pretty easy to forget.
And you can be sure that it will come back to haunt you mid-ride, when your seat slowly starts to decline like a faulty office chair. Just as long as it’s not on a steep descent when the handlebars fold over.
I won’t mention a particular friend who regularly manages to forget to tighten the quick release skewer…
3 Forgetful traveller
Anyone here got up super early, packed the car and driven out a couple of hours to that perfect climb or trail, only to arrive and realise they forgot their helmet?
Enough said about this one… Except to mention the friend who managed to get all the way out to a hill climb to realise he’d forgotten his knicks … but let’s just say that he’s also prone to forgetting to tighten the quick release skewer.
4 Can’t hold your drink
You’re in the pack and in the zone. The legs are moving like a machine – like they’re an extension of the bike. There are quality riders all around and you are holding your own. You feel part of a group – an elite group.
You reach down, grab the water bottle and have a good mouthful without breaking stride. Then you reach back down, miss the cage and drop the water bottle to the ground.
Good news – nobody flew over it and crashed.
Not so good news – you’re now the rider in the bunch who can’t hold their drink. And you’re thirsty.
5 Dancing in the dark
OK… so there are some riders who really are morning people and just love getting up at 5am. There are also other people who are wonderfully organised and lay out all their gear the night before like a parent for a school child.
But for the rest of us, the early morning ride will often begin with an early morning scramble to get dressed and out the door – mostly in the dark so as to not disturb any other members of the household.
Now, getting dressed in the dark isn’t the hard part. It’s actually that moment when you’ve joined your mates and the sun is rising beautifully that you realise that you’ve grabbed the old pair of knicks that have been through the wash one too many times and have since taken on a more of an opaque look. You’re then left facing the difficulty of trying to find a way to cover up your (now visible) underwear. OK so Lycra knicks and undies might not go hand-in-hand, but for your sake let’s hope you wore underwear. This may also be a reason why no one should own a pair of white knicks outside of competition uniform.
I won’t mention the friend who has managed to turn up with his knicks on inside out – visible padding is never a great look.
6 Everything in its place
There is something that feels very positive about having everything neat and tidy. Pockets, bags and compartments make everything streamlined and efficient.
I did a little research across my bike mates, and it’s fair to say that everyone has their own systems and no two riding setups are exactly the same. It’s amazing then that so many of them have all managed to zip-tie their gear cable to the frame.
*Yes… that friend is included in this group.
7 Watch your head
Bike racks on the roof are magnificent; they free up space in the car and ensure safe transport of your beloved pedal-powered friend. That is… until you forget that said friend is on the roof and drive into a garage, or underground car park, or attempt the sneaky drive through for a well-deserved burger.
Then you hear the noise.
A single noise that has the capability to engage all your senses at once. You hear it, then you feel it – hell, you can even smell it. The bike is above you, but somehow you can see the damage before you even get out of the car.
It is the ultimate bike blunder.
*To be completely fair here – my wonderfully forgetful and sometimes uncoordinated friend has never actually committed this particular blunder – he has in fact saved others with a well-timed warning yell.