OK, I admit it: I’m an obsessed cyclist. How about you? Here are several of the warning signs & symptoms I’ve observed during my 30 years as a cycling fanatic … plus a few more from some friends and members of the club …
You know the location of every porta-john and public restroom within a 25-mile radius of your home. You know which ones are the cleanest, the dirtiest and the most disgusting, and on what day they clean them. And that you should never, ever on a Monday use the porta-john in the park at Whetstone where thousands of kids played soccer on Saturday and Sunday.
You have flexed and stared admiringly at the quadriceps muscle on your legs, the one just above your knee, the one that gets really big and sexy by July after you’ve put in a couple thousand miles.
You can tell the difference between Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.
You have several drawers and valuable closet space devoted to bike shirts, shorts, gloves and socks, several 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. My version of this jersey is the one I got at the gift shop at Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux in 2010.
I’m not the only one with a large jersey collection…
Greg Smith: “By my calculations, given current inventory and the rate I wear jerseys out, I have enough jerseys to last the rest of my life – if I live to be 175.”
Dave Hoodin: “I have one drawer for shorts, one drawer for knickers, & tights, one drawer for socks & accessories, a closet for jerseys, base layers and jackets, a bin for gloves and woollies, a bin for shoes, a bin for misc parts, another closet for maps and trip brochures.”
You plan your weekends around your bike ride – and have somehow convinced your non-cycling spouse this is OK.
This one’s from Fabi: “Your portable GPS is always on Cycling setting. Every now and then you forget to switch when driving to a place. It would normally take 30 minutes on the motorway. After 3 hours on small hilly roads you must admit to Susan that you dit it AGAIN!?”
Your vacations include cycling. Then again, Susan ( a different Susan than Fabi’s Susan, I hope) and I have reached a compromise, and we alternate between hiking trips (both of us) and cycling trips (mostly me, but sometimes Susan for portions of the trip).
You’ve worn out your first copy of the Michelin Road Atlas of France and the second is getting a bit tattered and dog-eared, especially pages 286 and 287. If you know what’s on pages 286 and 287, well, you’re a fanatic!
Speaking of vacations … You know you’re obsessed when you’ve written five eBooks on cycling in France (Provence, the Loire, Normandy, Bordeaux and the Dordogne) and one on Hiking the Isle of Wight. Sorry for the self promotion. FYI: I started accepting ads on this blog three weeks ago (again, I’m sorry) and so far have made $10.22! At this rate, I’ll be able to afford a cycling trip to France the same year Greg runs out of bike jerseys.
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 to yourself. “What’s so funny?” Susan asks. “Oh, you wouldn’t understand.” You sometimes do the same thing when you’re walking and hear a car coming from behind.
This one’s from Tricia Kovacs: “You call out ‘car up … car back’ while driving in a car.
Here’s one from Renovelle: “You walk into your garage and you can hear the bikes saying ‘Pick me, pick me today’ and sense their disappointment and attempt tp console them with a promise of next time.”
That’s a definite sign: Multiple bikes and assigning human emotions to them. I only have three. How many bikes do you have?
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, ultra race (318 miles), and traveling to Provence to climb the mighty Mont Ventoux three times in one day.
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’ve 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. Or a $200 bib shorts.
You watch the Tour de France every year and understand what’s going on and the strategies being employed for that’s day’s stage. And, you mutter, on a regular basis while watching: “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. Here’s my story on the first Tour de France, in 1903.
Can you think of any other signs? If so, send them my way and I’ll do a follow-up post.
Oh wait, one more sign … Seeing this photo below makes you salivate!