OK, I admit it … I’m an obsessed cyclist. And, I’m not alone. You too may be one of us. How can you tell? Well, here are a few warning signs & symptoms I’ve observed during my 30 years as a cycling fanatic…
*You know the location of every porta-john and public restroom within a 25-mile radius of your home. And you know when they open and close, and which ones are the cleanest. And which ones are the worst. And that you should never, ever on a Monday use the porta-john in that park where thousands of kids play soccer every weekend.
*You have flexed and stared admiringly at the quadriceps muscle on your legs, the one just above your knee, that gets really big and sexy by July after you’ve put in a couple thousand miles.
*You can tell the difference between Chris Foome and Geraint Thomas. And actually care.
*You have several drawers and valuable closer space devoted to bike shirts, shorts, gloves and socks, some of which you haven’t worn in years, but can’t bear to throw out. This includes at least one jersey that for some unexplained reason is now too tight to actually wear (I blame the washing machine), but you’re totally convinced will one day fit as soon as you lose a few pounds. Hey, it could happen.
*You plan your weekends around your bike ride – and have somehow convinced your non-cycling spouse this is OK.
Your vacations include cycling.
Speaking of vacations … You’ve cycled in France 14 times and a total of 15,000 miles, and are going back soon for #15 and another 1,000 miles. And, you’ll write your fifth eBook on cycling in France (This may only pertain to me, but you get the point). I depart October 6 for the Dordogne and Lot River Valleys. Stay tuned.
You get a wistful, sad yearning whenever you’re in a car and drive by someone on a bike.
From time to time, when you’re in the car and about to switch lanes, you look up and to your left, where the mirror on your bike helmet is, instead of your side-view mirror. And then chuckle. “What’s so funny?” Susan asks. “Oh, you wouldn’t understand.”
You’ve done a ride that makes your family and friends shake their heads in disbelief and think you may have a problem. In my case, it was a 24-hour race, and climbing the mighty Mont Ventoux three times in one day.
You know what 700×23 and 50×14 means.
You have at least one jar of butt balm on the bathroom sink or shelf … and have talked to at least one other person about your personal preference in this area – and were not in the least bit embarrassed. My personal preference is Bag Balm or Chamois Butt’r.
You have read Bicycling magazine off and on long enough to never, ever need – or want – to read another article about how to train for your first century or how to climb hills faster. OK already, we get it. And stop writing about and reviewing $10,000 bikes. None of us can afford one.
You watch the Tour de France religiously every year and mutter on a regular basis: “If only bike racing had been popular where I lived when I was young, I could have been in the Tour.” And, you actually take yourself seriously when you think these thoughts. Hey, you never know.
Can you think of any other signs? If so, send them my way and I’ll do a follow-up column.
Here’s the link to my latest eBook: Biking Bordeaux.