Obsessions only cyclists have

Cycle thoughts

Yeah, I’m niche. Not really something to boast about yet we humans like to feel as if we’re forging our own paths, that we are remarkable in some small way, atypical, one of a few. We follow not crowds, only our own will, for yes I’m smart, in control, not one of them, all those others who look and behave just like me, nay, observe me closely, I’m different, I’m special goddamnit.

Cyclists are no different. As a collective, we’re often accused of being self-entitled or ego-led, self-important, self-aggrandising, and as such hate figures to some. Yet the truth is we’re not special, we’re no different to others based on our choice of transport.

We do have our quirks, obsessions that help define us, routines which bond us. Damn, we are special after all.

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TrainerRoad review – will it make me faster?

TrainerRoad ReviewWant to be a faster rider? Of course you do. What if I told you that for around £9 a month you could be quicker, stronger and better looking? Well, that last one’s a stretch, but many cycling services promise to make you a better cyclist. Are they true?

Yes and no. Truth be told, nobody needs these programmes, not if they are highly motivated and have all the time in the world. Yet this isn’t always the case. It’s like exercise and weight loss videos. Of course you could exercise and eat better without the videos, but for some training videos add structure, motivation and a basic education. Cycle training services do the same.

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Shhh… The 3 secrets of commuting by bike

Tweed cyclist smoking pipeOh. My. God. How do people cycle to work each day, like this, are they mental? This was my reaction to commuting in London recently despite the fact I’ve commuted in the city by bike for over ten years.

So what changed? Well I moved house and had to find a new route to work. Lazy, I began with a direct route on major roads. Never, ever, ever again. No room to manoeuvre, to enjoy, to breathe. Cars, buses, motorbikes, cyclists. Everywhere. Swarms of the things. Overwhelmed, my brain fried and nerves frayed.

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Tribes – Cycling nonsense and snobbery

Angry cyclistWe humans are a social bunch. Mostly. Society dictates that rules or perceived norms must exist to prevent chaos. With rules come groups and cliques. As individuals within the group we feel part of something, more than a tiny and lost part of the masses and, perhaps more importantly, we can relate to like-minded people.

Gangs. Fans. Clubs. Societies. Friendship. Political parties. A small sample of groups of like-minded people coming together with a common interest. Dig deeper and groups form within groups. Cycling is no exception. Split by discipline and divided by opinion, we sure do like to hive off into our own little worlds.

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Review – Is Strava Premium worth it?

Strava meme

I’ve asked myself this question many times. Many of the features are gimmicky and premium members don’t really get a lot of value for their money, especially if you don’t have a power meter or virtual power.

I’m pay as you go and like many others I haven’t stopped my payment because of the low value return. I’m a supporter of Strava and use their free service a lot. At a cost of £4 a month, my subscription is more like a charity donation. It’s not a lot of cash for the return.

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Zwift review – virtual indoor cycling

zwift screenshotIndoor cycling is boring, right? Mind numbing. A hamster on a wheel. In a cage. Wearing Lycra. Joy. Yet turbo training is undergoing a makeover with the arrival of smart trainers and virtual training websites such as Zwift, Bkool, Tour de Giro and TrainerRoad. The roads may be pixels but your sweat is real.

Virtual turbo rides have been invading my Strava feed for some time and given I’m a relative newbie to indoor cycling I was keen to log some indoor miles in Zwift’s virtual world. Could Zwift make turbo training enjoyable?

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Strava premium training plans – review

Strava badgesHello, my name is Human Cyclist and I am a cycle training addict. I enjoy abusing my body nearly every day. I cannot get enough. Be it the highs of climbing repeats, the adrenaline of power intervals or the rush of speed intervals.

Tired of the regular Sunday ride, I recently turned to the dark side of cycling to follow a proper training plan. No more cycling as I please, where I wanted, when I wanted. Now I truly was at the mercy of my addiction. What can I say? It’s a love-hate thing.

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Cycle training proper – Hello intervals

Cycle trainingA confession. I’ve been lying to you. To myself. All these years I’ve not been cycle training. I was just… riding. Riding hard for sure, too hard. Yet this is not training. This is idiocy. A recipe for burnout and overtraining.

Deep down I knew this, that’s why I used quote marks when using the word. ‘Training’, I wrote, trying to give my life rides definition, meaning. Not that I needed to. Fun and enjoyment are reasons enough yet the inner chimp does not understand such concepts.

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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.

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I no longer see Strava avatars before I sleep

Puncture - Cycling memeMy motivation to cycle is low. I’m in the gutter, the metaphorical one, not the one drivers want you to ride in. Self-sabotage is rife, anything to avoid pushing the pedals over and over and over again.

Lycra remains unwashed in dusty corners, piles of the stuff, stinking and rotting, the ghosts of previous rides lingering, haunting me with their pungent aromas. People say chapeau to me but it doesn’t even register and I no longer wonder why they are saying ‘hat’ to me or talking with a poor French accent.

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