So, You’re Peddling Along…
Imagine with me for a moment: you’re out on an awesome ride. You had a good breakfast; you cleared out your afternoon schedule; you have new tires on your bike; and all of your gears are greased. Then this happens: something starts to click. You can’t figure out what it is. You stop, get off your bike, and check it out, but no dice. You get back on thinking that maybe it was just in your head, but no. There it is again!
Irritating, unexplained clicking falls into category number one for me when it comes to having a cycling issue.
Number One: Equipment Problem
Along with random clicking, you can file basically every bicycle issue under this category. Some more irritating examples include:
A puncture in your tire: this is a cycling hiccup not only to hate, but to be very, very wary of.
Light goes out: this isn’t just a problem. It’s dangerous.
Running out of water: because who likes to be dehydrated?!
Kind of related to this category of cycling gone amuck is when you try to go down a gear, but it turns out that you were already in the lowest gear. Now, this has human error involved, but it certainly feels better to blame the bike over blaming yourself. I’d much rather hate my cycling equipment for not having another gear over hating myself for forgetting I already bottomed out!
Number Two: Body Problem
Sometimes when out cycling, your body betrays you. This is probably the most uncomfortable category on this list. It can also be the most dangerous cycling problem if you’re at risk of riding off the road or passing out.
Cold fingers: these can also be a dangerous cycling issue if it’s cold enough out to catch hypothermia. Don’t forget your gloves!
Creaky joints: Kind of like a random clicking sound coming from your bike, this is a problem that is more irritating than painful.
Stiff knees: Who doesn’t hate entering the last leg of their ride with stiff knees? You were doing so well, body! Don’t you dare fail me now!
Sore neck: This body problem is easy to hate more than the other ones. You kind of have to keep you head up. Cycling blind is not advised.
Running out of energy: For those of us who are getting older, this can be not only a cycling problem to hate, but also a reason to hate our bodies a little bit.
And, the most embarrassing body problem: forgetting to unclip yourself before getting off your bike. You trip, the bike tumbles, you blush. I hate this problem, because it’s not like I’m not already a big enough klutz. Besides that, there’s always the chance you’ll hurt yourself, causing another body problem!
Number Three: Chafing
Though chafing could fit under body problems, it gets its own category because it is one of the things I despise most. Chafing is awful not just when cycling, of course. It’s uncomfortable no matter the situation. But the real issue when chafing during cycling is that you can’t escape it unless you have a good anti-chafing gel. If not, you have to keep riding. You can’t out-bike it. You’re doomed to endure it until you finish cycling.
Number Four: Hold Ups
Hold ups are the worst because there’s little you can do but wait. They might come in the form of red lights. Who likes a red light anyway? Red lights are particularly heinous when cycling compared to driving because you’re often cold, tired, and sometimes wet. Another common hold up when cycling is when you can’t get up enough speed to pass the car or cyclist in front of you. You’re pushing with all your might, you’re pumping at the pedals like a madman, you’re gritting your teeth and… you’re stuck in the same position you were in, praying another opportunity to pass will come along.
Number Five: Mother Nature
Didn’t bring a waterproof jacket? Oh well, you’re soaked to the bone now! Of all the cycling setbacks I hate, this is the one we have the least control over. Sure, you can check the weather before you head out, but on a long enough, far enough ride, Mother Nature is likely to have her way with you once in a while. Sometimes, even, dear Mother Nature shows up in the form of a small bodily crisis. Worst thing when cycling? Needing to use the bathroom!
Don’t Forget to Smile!
So, next time you’re out on your bike, go over this checklist of cycling issues. Is your bike riding smoothly? Are all of your bodily needs taken care of? Are you (thankfully!) not chafing because of pjuractive? Have you breezed through most of the stop lights and been able to pass on most of the occasions you wanted to? Is the sun out and the sky free of clouds? If all of these things are true, you can count yourself lucky, and go on having the very best cycling experience of your life. Because, as most cyclists know, you can rarely avoid all of these cycling mishaps! It’s a good thing cycling is about the journey and not the destination; otherwise, I doubt any of us would be inclined to go anywhere.
What do you hate the most when cycling? Share your thoughts in the comments below!