What kind of Strava rider are you?

Strava badgesStrava sometimes splits the cycling community. Most people love it, a few hate it. Some are addicted. Strava is like body fat. Essential and great in small doses but ineffective in too great a measure if you’re out on the roads smashing every segment day after day.

Strava is a tool and thus, like the hammer, is useful when in the hands of somebody who knows what they’re doing and who is fully aware of the other tools at their disposal. Only got a hammer? You will destroy something. Segment hunting every day makes for a tired body. Master the technology and be not its slave. Use Strava to find new routes, plot your rest days and monitor your own workouts. Forget about leaderboards and KOMs. Until that is, the dreaded email arrives in your inbox. Uh Oh. So cruel.

So how do you use Strava, if at all? Are you a Strava slave, denier or abstainer? Do you recognise yourself or club mates amongst the Strava characters below?

Strava-holic

Your every ride is logged, even your five minute pootle to the shops. Well it would have been a pootle if you hadn’t gone all out on the ‘Shops LOLz’ segment. PB too. Not bad, you think, ignoring the fact it’s a 0.1 mile downhill segment.

Strava slave

Strava memeYour rides are shaped by the machine. You avidly check weather forecasts not for rain but for wind. Most cyclists see a windy forecast and sigh. Not you. This is the day for a ride. Your route will be determined by which record you’re chasing that has a favourable tailwind. You’ll ride in the middle of the night if the wind is howling a gale.

You’re not a segment hunter, oh no, you’re above all that. You have a dozen regular routes and you shall not deviate from your roads for new segments. Not when you have so many segments to chase on your regular routes.

Segment hunter

Unlike the Strava slave, you’re more than happy to go out of your way to find a segment, especially if the top 10 beckons. Hell, you spent three hours yesterday stitching together a route optimised for the segments you’re chasing combined with adequate recovery roads.

You’re a regular rain man, you can recite segment names complete with the times and names of your virtual enemies. You’ve memorised the street signs and lampposts that signify segment starts and ends. You are Neo, your world a matrix of segments. You must be the (number) one. When you look at roads you see red lines and the leaderboard times of all those ahead of you.

Your post ride map looks like the drawing of a one-year-old child, all squiggles and illogical turns. Intervals, you tell yourself, fooling nobody. Rest is a downhill segment. This is a healthy way to ride, I’m just pumping out high intensity rides, you think. Every day.

Trophy collector

Strava trophy cabinet

My real world, self-made Strava trophies

Virtual badges motivate you. The amount and type of your riding is dictated by random Strava challenges. Hell yes, you’ll climb 20,000 ft in your lunch break if it means a virtual trophy.

Café stops are dominated by talk of progress, of planned rides, of the ridiculous weather you’ve endured in pursuit of the digital trophy. Nobody mentions how much they’re not enjoying the experience, forced to ride in order to chase an arbitrary goal. Motivation you tell yourself.

You ignore the complaints of your wife about the actual trophy cabinet you’ve lovingly cobbled together in the shed, a real world replica of your virtual shrine. Now you just need the time to carve the real life versions of your virtual trophies. Oh, what’s that? A new badge if I cycle underwater for three hours every day for a month? Finally, a chance to wear that Rapha wetsuit.

Mr spreadsheet and statistics

Pah, Strava. You were logging rides in a paper diary back when carbon was known only as something Jabba the Hutt used to freeze Hans Solo. You can chart your times back to before the internet was invented, and yes, it goes without saying that you’re the king of your local mountain. On paper anyway.

Despite the advent of Strava, little has changed but the accuracy of your numbers. You upload rides religiously and study the same numbers as before. The only leaderboard you’re interested in is My Results. Strava is simply your online diary of rides, the electronic yardstick against which to measure your progress. And maybe the odd trophy.

Strava denier

Oh, Strava? Yeah, I just use it to log my rides. Leaderboards? Nah, not interested, you lie when people talk course records. The fact is you’re a secret Strava addict but nobody must ever know. You’re embarrassed, as if you’re somehow ruining the true tradition of cycling by wanting to improve, to be the fastest. The majority of your rides are private until that is you break a course record. You’re a regular record-breaking virtuoso. I haven’t even been training, you lie when others comment on your ride. Yeah, sure.

Strava stalker

All your rides are private, visible only to you. Why would you give your rivals access to data that would give them a competitive advantage? That’s why you use Strava, to follow your rivals, to see just how hard they are training. Did they train on Christmas day? Ha, one nil.

You don’t know what size underwear your girlfriend wears but you know the heart rate zones of your ten closest rivals. You shake your head and smile when you see their pitiful junk miles or cry when they top a leaderboard. You must log more miles, climb more metres and ride faster than everyone. Every day. Unfortunately all that time on Strava means you’ve neglected your own training somewhat. Bugger.

Strava seeker

Kudos. You’re looking for virtual friendship, attention, anyone, please, I’m just like you, I cycle everywhere too. Really fast, honest, please look, please praise me. You hand out kudos willy nilly, so much so you’ve amassed 1,500 followers, the exact same number of people you’re following. New friends are just a kudos away. Not that you’re alone. Everyone wants kudos. Human’s crave recognition. One of the paradoxes of motivation is that there’s no self actualisation without praise from our peers. And hey, you know, it’s just so darned nice.

Data hater

Strava data mapped

Europe’s Strava rides

Yeah, I use it only to hate myself, you say, for Strava is destroying the sport you love. Your group rides have become Strava slogfests, people racing off the front to own a segment, the cyclist equivalent of cocking a leg and pissing up a tree. It’s like, so dangerous, all this charging about. You ride to enjoy the wind in your hair and you don’t want to ride by numbers. Oh no, you’re no machine. Where’s the romance in it all? But yeah, I’m on there, you admit begrudgingly, I look at it occasionally, perhaps. If only you had caught that wheel eh?

Social Strava

You ride at your own pace and follow the road whichever way it goes. The ride is unimportant until that is, you get home and share your ride with the world. I just rode 15 miles, you beam. This is why you rode. To tell somebody. Anybody. Not that your friends ever seem to notice. Truth is they blocked your fitness posts a long time ago. Pity, they’ll never know you commuted the same old five miles to work. Again.

Strava cheat

You have more flagged rides than Lance Armstrong. You are the king of any mountain you wish. Course records quiver with your every upload. Motor paced behind the car my girlfriend was driving? Nah not me mate, you must be confused.

Yeah, we hired a double-decker bus last week, what of it? Fancied a bit of open top touring in the Alps so we did. Those KOMs? Coincidence. Digital EPO? Never heard of it. Why would I cheat? Really why? That’s a question only you can answer because we have no idea either.

Strava snub

What’s Strava? Seriously. I just ride my bike. GPS? Great Potato Salad? KOM? King of Munchies? Segment? As in Terry’s chocolate orange, right? Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some riding to attend to.

What about you?

I enjoy Strava for all of the above. There’s nothing like looking at your dashboard and seeing the miles of others to inspire you and get you out on the bike. Or looking back at old activities astonished sometimes at the miles you’ve ridden. No matter how you use Strava, whatever encourages us to ride can only be a good thing.

How about you, love Strava? Avoid it? Or perhaps, it’s just a meh?

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Images courtesy of Strava and unknown

The passenger – a tale of wheelsucking

Strung out pelotonEveryone needs a little help from time to time. In amongst a packed peloton, drafting is an accepted part of the game. Essential in fact. Out on lonely roads sparsely populated with amateurs, isolated country lanes where on occasion the inner-chimps of strangers meet. One on one, drafting becomes either an entente cordiale or a duel to the death.

I love drafting in both of these forms, be it a competitive ‘let’s see who drops first’ or a more friendly ‘let’s help one another out here’. Each is always welcome for it provides me with the motivation to ride harder or a much needed rest. Either way, I’m doing a turn on the front, taking a pull. Most of the time.

Drafting. Slipstreaming. Sitting in. Sheltering. Holding the wheel. Wheelsucking. Leeching. The latter two refer specifically to when drafting is unreciprocated and one cyclist pulls the other, the leech sheltering in the shadow, stubbornly refusing to take a turn on the front. This I can forgive if said passenger is truly knackered and is in need of a safe passage home. Hell, I’ve been that beaten man.

It is the kling-on that I cannot understand. The one who sits there looking fresh. The one who still doesn’t pull a turn when you slow down. The kling-on sits tight no matter what. I know this infuriates many a rider who fear for their safety or do not want to break the isolation of their ride. Not me. I don’t mind too much except in one circumstance. They have a noisy bike (or are heavy breathing). Sit silent on my wheel if you wish for you are not disturbing my ride. I will ride at my pace and pick my route. Squeaky chain? I’ll do everything I can to lose you.

For those who get angry with wheelsuckers, remember, every story has two sides.

Wheel sucking like a cretin

Track cycling tandem

Too close

Is he still there, on my wheel, hiding, the coward. Come on out, damn you. Mustn’t look, must carry on with my own ride, do my own thing. Must not show weaknesss. Must not show how irritated I am by another’s presence. Ruining my ride. Whoa, why am I speeding up? Must drop him. Just you wait until the next incline my friend, whoosh, I’m off. Oh, he’s still there, the leech, the bloodsucker, the parasite.

How is he feeling? Mustn’t look around. Can I hear him breathing? Panting? Struggling? Do tired muscles make noises or is that just his chainset? Oil it my friend, you’re ruining the tranquillity of my ride. This is really hurting. I’m on the rivet, must push on, must not show how much I am pushing on. Where the hell am I? It matters not, this duel must end in victory.

Don’t you dare overlap wheels. Must pick up the pace. Hear my inner-chimp roar. Oh, wait. He’s gone. When did that happen? Did he turn off? Nah. I dropped him. Obviously.

Drafting like a pro

Track cycling derney

He’ll never know

The bonk struck two days ago, so long ago that I know the man with the hammer’s first name. Exhausted. I don’t think I can turn the cranks much longer, not in this headwind. And that’s when you came gliding effortlessly by, my ride home. Taxi! I splurge the last of my energy to catch your wheel and hunker down in the protection of your shadow. Hello, I say, thank you, I think. Weary limbs, aching heart. You are my protector, my shield.

The headwind is hurting you but you’re doing well not to show it for you must never display weakness. Don’t think I haven’t noticed the pace increasing, oh no. Not that you’ll hear my increasingly laboured breathing. I am silent. Your ghost, an evil shadow from which you will try, and fail, to outrun.

We’re slowing. I know your game, want me to take a fair turn so you do? On another day, sure, but not today, no way. Not a chance. Besides you were doing so well. Hmmm, this really is slow. Maybe I’ll sneak out, take a peek. Whoa, that’s a gale force wind. Maybe not, keep going my friend, I’m your ghost for as long as you travel towards my home. Thank you, I say, turning off, you saved me, I don’t say, but we both know it.

How to get rid of a wheelsucker

Cyclist dangerous drafting

Please driver, don’t brake

It so happens that my favourite cycling video folk at GCN released this wheelsucking video whilst I was writing this blog. It mentions a few techniques for losing a wheelsucker but for some reason doesn’t mention the most effective method. Slow down.

Whilst I understand why some of you get angry with wheelsuckers, I don’t understand the social etiquette involved in the scenario which, as the video suggests, says you should never acknowledge the wheelsucker or let them know you are attempting to lose them. Oh humans, what are we like?

How to draft on a bike and what to avoid

Team time trial perfect drafting

Drafting like a pro

Why? Why put yourself at the mercy of the rider in front by cycling millimetres away from their back wheel? Simply put, you’ll save energy. Some say up to 30 percent and I’d say at least 10 percent depending on the wind direction, the size of the rider in front of you, your position on the bike and more importantly, how close to the rider’s back wheel you are cycling. The person on the front is said to benefit slightly too. Both from the drafting and the mental knowledge that they must keep pulling.

Here’s some tips if you’re new to drafting.

Trust. Are you an experienced group rider? Know the rider in front? Know the roads you’re riding? Stay as close to his wheel as you dare. Is that a stranger’s wheel you are following? Be sensible and keep your distance. Give yourself a comfortable safety margin should the rider in front need to stop suddenly.

Signal. The rider behind you is blind. Imagine all they see is your wheel. Signal for potholes, obstructions in the road, when you’re slowing for traffic lights etc. A gentle arm signal will do, no need to ruin the peace by shouting out the name of every obstruction.

Avoid overlapping. When your front wheel overlaps very closely to the rear wheel of the rider in front, such that if they move to the side suddenly, they will take you down.

Half wheeling faux pas. Not to be confused with overlapping (above), this is where two riders find themselves riding side-by-side but one rider is constantly half a bike length in front, forcing the pace on what is meant to be a club ride. This is generally considered bad form in the sometimes unfathomable world of cycling etiquette. Not sure why because half-wheeling is very easily dealt with. Let the person edging ahead go ahead and then either draft them or leave them be whilst you work with the remainder of the group.

Don’t up the pace. When taking a pull on the front it is important to maintain a consistent pace. Most new riders often fall foul of this rule. Intimidated or feeling the need to impress, the rider on the front ups the speed and pulls away from the wheel behind. If this happens to you, let the rider go. Sometimes I’ll stick with them if the pace is in my comfort zone but you’ll often find that a mile or so up the road the person on the front is cooked and soon drops off your wheel when you hit the front. Bizarre.

Pull off in good time at a consistent speed. Tired of working on the front? Don’t slow down, pull off before dropping comfortably to the shelter at the back of the last rider.

Stay downwind. The direction of the wind will influence your position behind the rider in front. Wind coming in from the left? Move to the right to remain protected.

Know when not to draft. City commuting? Don’t draft. Heavy traffic, lots of pedestrians or traffic lights? Don’t draft. It’s dangerous for both you and the rider in front.

Look beyond the wheel. The cyclist in front will be your eyes, signalling when required but you should still be looking ahead. You’ll be quicker reacting to something you see happen rather than something somebody else has seen happen. Scan the horizon where possible.

Practice. And then practice some more.

Say hello. And thank you, then goodbye. Keeping pace with a passing group? Ask them if they mind you tagging along.

Oil your damn bike. You might not mind the sound of a squeaking chain ruining the tranquillity of the ride but I do. The silence of a ride is one of the great pleasures of cycling. I don’t want my ride to squeak more than a rat brothel on discount day.

The guiltiest of drafting pleasures

Cycling landspeed record

KOM here I come

Buses. Now that’s a shield. Yes, yes, I know. Lunacy, idiot, etc. I know all of this yet I can’t help but draft a bus here in London Town. It’s dangerous and exhilarating at the same time. Many aspects of cycling bring me great pleasure and this is one of them. Most of them have some element of risk, as does daily life.

Getting sucked along by the bus, listening to the engine and speeding up or slowing down accordingly, eyes glued to the brake lights and searching the road for potholes, fingers poised on the brake levers. Sure, I know the bus routes, I know the bus stops, I know the roads, the pinch points, the dodgy corners and junctions. Does that make me invincible? Of course not.

What if the bus brakes suddenly? What if. What if my front tyre punctures when descending? What if a car rides into the back of me because they fail to see me? What if I choke on my next meal? There’s many what ifs in life, that’s for sure. Life is for the ‘what next’ not the ‘what if’.

Don’t try this at home
Some extreme drafting here at speeds that would break the speed record for cars here in the UK.

Best cycling videos – documentaries, films and shorts

Best cycling videosWords can only say so much. Here then are some moving pictures for you in a collection of top cycling videos. This is a compilation of feature-length and shorts, be they touring, road biking, fixed gear, cycling on ice, or simply cycling for the fun of it.

I say best, these cycling videos are just some of my favourites I’ve been watching on Vimeo (sorry YouTube) of late to inspire me to get out on the bike even though it is mid-winter. So there’s no Danny you know who, no hipster tricksters, no Rapha clad adverts disguised as documentaries, and certainly no Go Pro helmet cams recording near misses on dreary commutes. The only thing viral about these videos is the way they increase your cycling fever and make you want to ride.

Each of these videos made me want to jump on the bike and feel the wind in my hair. Here they are in no particular order. Fifteen videos, totalling just over two hours of enjoyment. Sit back, let the wind flow through the microphone and simply imagine.

Cycle touring through Kyrgyzstan

A humorously narrated voyage into the unknown, cycling on roads, gravel and rocks, moving until the road no longer exists and then cycling some more. This is why we cycle.

Cue soaring music, epic vistas

Another cycle touring video. It’s well documented that I love cycle touring. Adventure. Nothing beats a good bike tour. Some journeys are epic. Some awesome. Every one memorable. Before I die, I’d like to embark on a monster bike tour. And I will.

Eye opening

How two wheels open your eyes to the beauty (and not so beautiful things) the world has to offer. From Argentinian steaks to aeroplane meals and everything in between. Note how many of these scenic shots are from Chile.

Ice, ice, baby

There’s some truly beautiful scenery, alien landscapes and lonely roads in Iceland. Bumpy roads at that. Oh and lots of that windy stuff too. Two adventurers, one goal: cycle around Iceland. Not sure whether to salute their choice of riding fixed gear or admonish it. The latter probably. Either way, I’d love to complete this ride, apart from the stinking sheep clothing that is…

Inspirational misery

This video mostly made me want to stay indoors in the dry. Mostly. Rain, rain and more rain for an adventurous festive 500km ride in one session. Forty plus hours of straight riding. In the rain. Watch as the rider’s faces drain of emotion, of life. Can they do it?

I lost my heart to…

…Chile. More beauty here. I will visit Chile. I will. I will. This is the perfect bike tour. A very well put together video with landscapes that make you want to reach out and ride them.

The real Lance Armstrong

No, not him. This is a cancer survivor pedalling in an attempt to beat the world record of cycling as far as you can in seven days. That’s a whopping 1,748 miles. The man can cycle at 21 mph for a long, long time. Can you do the math? Does he make it?

Evil cyclists eh?

A short tale of common courtesy, cyclist style. An everyday hero.

Riding on ice

Normally I’d advise against riding on ice. But not with tyres like these.

The world’s best cycle mechanics

Imagine a world with no LBS. No Wiggle. Nooooo! In Cuba there are no new bike parts. Yet bikes still need fixing. The local mechanic is your neighbour. His workshop is his living room. Spare parts are fashioned from the great scrap yard of recycled bits and bobs. They use hammers for bike repairs, just like me. Only they know what they’re doing. Heroes.

In the zone

OK, so the cinematography could be improved but I enjoyed the story with words that will ring true for many of us.

The failed hill climb – We’ve all been here

The dirty dozen race series featuring the magnificent Canton Avenue hill climb. Watch as riders struggle up this hill (with many a steep hill climb already in their legs). Bravo. And look out for the woman flying up until she is brought down by the dude in front of her. That sucks.

Building up speed

Take a bike, add a beast of a chainwheel and then ride it behind an old vintage car as fast as you can in the pursuit of speed.

Taking on the tour – without the peloton

An admirable effort for Tour de Dan Francis. Quite the journey for this amateur cyclist who took on some of the tougher stages of the Tour de France. British readers will have seen some of the idents during the ad breaks of a recent tour.

Nothing is easy

A switch to the stubbly tires of bikes made for mountains. Don’t worry. The hardships and rewards of mountain biking are equally as familiar as those encountered on the road. Only better.

The world’s greatest indoor trainer

Imagine this toy at home. Needs a big shed, mind. Say no more.

London to Paris

And finally, some fixed gear riding. No tricks here, just riding, hitting the road from London to Paris where the group meet Lance Armstrong and a bike that serves tequila. Watch out for Super Ted. He refuels on Guinness.

Small talk and the things people say to cyclists

Office cyclingCyclist. For some the very word conjures thoughts of a different being. They’re not like us. They can’t be, for they don’t obey red light laws like us. They travel at speed limits that respect the rules of the road. They expose themselves to the elements. In winter! That’s no behaviour I recognise for sure, non-bike owning humans often think.

If men are from Mars and women Venus, cyclists are from Pluto or perhaps an incomprehensible parallel universe where humans are forced to travel by means of their own energy. Banana eating, Lycra wearing pedal pushers, go back to your own planet, we don’t want you clogging up our country lanes, the Daily Mail might say.

Not that such distinctions are reserved for cyclists. We humans often struggle to comprehend anything beyond our own experience and so resort to bewilderment, disinterest or criticism.

“Don’t criticise what you don’t understand”
Bob Dylan, cyclist

We’re intellectually lazy, more often driven by emotion and so called instinct rather than rational thought. That’s why stereotypes and clichés exist. Our brain relies on such crutches like the parent who uses the television as a surrogate parent, we know it’s wrong, but hey, it’s easy.

Cycling small talk

Flood cyclingSo it is that the cyclist often hears the same old questions. Behold, the vagaries of small talk. We Brits are worse than most. Our lives are small talk. Never has a nation talked so much but said so little.

I’m often asked what I did at the weekend. Nothing is my usual reply. This is easier than trying to explain why on earth I decided to do some hill repetitions, of which I’m not entirely sure myself. Or why I woke up at 5.30am to hit the quiet roads and cycle 100 miles for the sheer hell of it. Not that being asked about my weekend is the greatest small talk sin. Oh no. What could that be?

The weather. Please, somebody, for crying out loud, talk to me about the weather. As a cyclist I know all about the weather. I check forecasts more than your average sailor and yet I still struggle to engage in weather talk, an exercise in stating the bloody obvious if ever there was one. Yes, it is cold. Yes, it is wet. Warm. Windy. Yes to all those, I exist on the same planet as you and despite your best efforts, you do not walk around in your own bubble.

The weather is the first and last resort of conversation. Which is where the bike comes in. Cyclists are easy prey for small talkers. They’ve got the weather and this bicycle thing. A perfect small talk storm. Unfortunately, the range of such conversation extends little further.

>>What did you do the weekend?
>>Rode my bike.

A look of incredulity follows. How old are you, your inquisitor wants to ask but doesn’t.

>>Where?
>>I did 15 laps of Regents Park

Weirdo, they, and probably other cyclists, think. Or, I rode to Brighton, I’ll say, their face equally perplexed. That’s why we made trains, they want to say, but don’t. You know, the industrial revolution and all, that’s why we no longer have to ride bikes like children.

>>That’s nice, they eventually say.
>>It’s cold today isn’t it?
They finish, returning to familiar territory.

Small talk takes the path of least resistance. Thus the conversations between those who do and don’t cycle often have the hint of absurdity about them. For example.

>>Did you cycle in today? Person Y asks person X who is wearing Lycra and some sort of polystyrene basket on their head.
>>No, wrestling match, we think but don’t reply.

>>You don’t wear a helmet? Person Y will ask person X upon seeing Lycra but an uncovered head.
>>No, what about you Mr/Mrs Pedestrian, we don’t reply, repressing statistics and reality whilst muttering something about unproven science.

>>You cycle at night dressed in black? Person Y asks the shadow of a ninja before them.
>>Touché my dear pedestrian, you think, But I brake for the shadows crossing the road in between slow moving traffic. Funny how I see you eh?

>>You cycled in today? Person Y asks on a cold day, a look of incredulity on their face.
Person X nods whilst refraining from reminding person Y of the invention of clothes and gloves, of which person X is wearing three pairs.

>>Did you get wet, person Y asks a clearly soaked person X.
>>No, I ran out of clean towels and decided to drip dry after my shower, person X doesn’t reply.

>>It looks mighty dangerous out there, person Y states as if talking about some distant battlefield. Do you not get scared?
>>I could die in this conversation, person X thinks but does not say. It’s fine, person X eventually replies. Safer than walking down the stairs, they do not add.

>>You didn’t cycle today? Persons Y asks, looking at person X in ‘normal’ clothes, seemingly perplexed how you made into work.
>>No, we reply, not adding something about the existence of public transport and being able to travel just like you humans.

Without small talk there is no big talk

Small talk, office watercoolerAnd yes person Y, don’t worry, most of us are rubbish at small talk. Person X gives you a hook, a theme. I understand. We’re all ships passing in the night, navigating the void of uncomfortable social silences, our panicky small talk fingers hovering above the foghorn button.

Without small talk there would be no big talk. Sadly we rarely progress beyond the infinite circular talk of weather and what we did at the weekend. Not that I’m advocating you jump straight into big talk. After all, I’d be pretty worried if somebody walked up to me and asked me for my thoughts on cognitive dissonance or began telling me about their irritable bowel.

Cut the crap

Upset cyclistThat said, it is our responsibility to raise the low bar of small talk. Think of it as a challenge. How deep can we go here? Can you get from the weather to the person telling you about their fear of digestive biscuits or some other equally revealing fact? You’d be amazed what people get up to in their lives.

Sound like hard work? Yup, it is. Maybe you’re hungover and just want some quiet. In which case, the next time your opponent makes the first move and asks you about your ride, counter with an unexpected reply, for example, it was great thanks, can’t remember his/her name though. Or if somebody asks, how you are feeling, tell them about your lactate threshold in great detail.

Whatever you do, don’t create a small talk top 10 list as recommended here. Oh dear. Or seek articles on how to be better at small talk. Take this one, which recommends asking “What does your name mean? What would you like it to mean?” To which the only reply is “Sorry did you say something? I can’t quite hear you, I’m deaf.” Or this peach: “If you could teleport by blinking your eyes, where would you go right now?” Anywhere but stood here beside you, is the only answer to this inane babble. That article is worth a read. It’s hilarious.

Where was I? Oh yes. Beautiful day isn’t it?

Small talk is a bonding ritual. We should be thankful. Monkeys bond by grooming one another for fleas and ticks. Try that at the watercooler on Monday. Oh hello boss, come here you, pick, pick, num num…

What about you? Confess your small talk sins and pet hates below.

The shit cyclists say

We’re all guilty of talking gibbering nonsense, cyclists more so than many others. How many of the lines in the video do you recognise?

Images courtesy of 1) Strava (adapted) 2) National Geographic (adapted) 3) The excellent Modern Toss 4) Unknown

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