Telltale Signs That Cycling Has Taken Over Your Life

The following is a contribution by Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie

Hello, my name is Joe…

“Hello, Joe.”

… And I’m a cycling addict. It’s been ten days since I clipped in, another twenty since I checked my Cateye, and a full month since I bought something I did not need off the clearance table at my local bike shop.

OK, so I’ve never been forced to make this confession, but if there really were a 12 step program for addicts of adventures on two wheels, friends and family would have tackled me to the ground years ago. Except for things like, say a job, or sleep, meals and the occasional social contact with people, there’s really nothing stopping any of us from dreaming, thinking, scheming or actually cycling 24/7… or close to it.

Of course it would be utter folly for you to push away from that desk you’ve been riding like a little corporate jockey all these years. Foolishness of the highest order for you to sublet the house or sell the farm and roll out the door for a world trek, or what about signing up for the local race series, cyclocross or every century on this season’s schedule. Life could get interesting in a hurry, God forbid. So while you contemplate a few of these rash choices I’ve littered your lane with, let’s see just how over the edge you are with this little test:

(Full disclosure: Like any good test maker, I’ve compiled this pop quiz from many sources over the years: my twisted brain, websites, surveys, emails from friends – but most come from cyclists in the act of pedaling, getting ready to pedal, or lying on the side of the blacktop after pedaling too far too fast or both. In other words, experts. I would like to thank them collectively for their inspired madness… Pedal, Forest, Pedal!)

Now, pencils ready…

Are You Addicted To Cycling?

Check Off All Which Apply To You (bonus points for speed, deductions for drafting)

You know every traffic light sequence in the tri-county area for stop free pedaling.

Either it’s a Brooks saddle or I will stand and pedal the whole way, thank you.

You wear more tights than a children’s theater group performing Peter Pan.

  You have eaten pasta directly out of your front bag, while pedaling.

  You have more up-to-date knowledge of bike specs, gear and camping equipment than the staff at your local shop, the reps in your community and the editors at national magazines.

  You have a killer set of bodybuilder quads and a pair of angel hair pasta thin arms. That ten year old boy called again. He wants his biceps back.

  You don’t hate drivers as much as pity them in their steel cages, surrounded my shock jock rhetoric and their vague anger over how it came to this.

  You think about each hill as a cyclist, even when you are driving in a car.

  You calculate distances between cities by how long it would take you by bike. (21 bike days from St. Petersburg to St. Louis)

  You know how many miles you rode last night, last week, last year.

  You don’t find it over sharing to tell people you just met how many miles you rode last night, last week, last year.

  You have a Biker’s Tan. (bottom 2 /3 of your legs, lower 1/2 your arms, and two little circles on the tops of your hands)

  You get sad when your Biker’s Tan fades.

  You have nothing good to say about logging trucks or RVs with living fossils behind the wheel, or anything sporting wide mirrors.

  You have lost feeling in your hands, neck and groin for substantial periods of time, but still you consider it the fair price of doing business on two wheels.

  You have far too many photos of yourself on or around your bicycle next to signs at the top of mountain passes, Welcome To So and So State, National Park entrances, starting lines of bike rides, historic sites, and in front of bicycle shops.

  You’ve lost sleep over the trailer vs pannier debate – of course you own both.

  You can’t bring yourself to recycle any magazine remotely related to cycling. (Bicycling, Adventure Cyclist, Dirt Rag Bike, even that issue of GQ where Al Gore was on a bike)

  You’ve given your bike a nickname.

  You’ve used that nickname out loud… in mixed company… and felt no shame or embarrassment. Some of us aren’t so brave.

  You lift your butt off the car seat as you go over potholes, railroad tracks and speed bumps.

  You turn the air vents of your car to blow directly into your face and imagine you are on a bike ride.

  You own a pile of lightweight stuff that has multiple uses, and you’ve tested all of them in real life situations.

  You have enough funny/scary animals chasing me stories to close a bar of rowdy Irishmen or outlast a windbag uncle at the family reunion. (note: No windbag uncle? Hmm, could be you.)

  You’ve slept in a church, playground, cemetery, farm pasture, yurt and jail (voluntarily?) beside your bicycle.

  You know the other definition of Critical Mass.

  You are an expert at spotting thunderstorms, tornados, windstorms, marauding cattle and ice cream stands from a distance.

  You have been caught in a thunderstorm while still in the saddle blinking away water and grinning all the way home.

  You check your helmet mirror for what’s behind you even when you are off the bike and not wearing it.

  You hate headwinds, hills and trucks parked on the shoulder of any descent.

  You secretly love headwinds and hills, but those trucks parked on the shoulder of any descent are still the work of an angry god.

  You forget, much like a woman after childbirth, all the pain, headwinds, humidity and hills within days of a long ride, and start dreaming about the next.

  You have coachroached: bonking so badly that you have to lie on your back, pull your arms and legs tight and spasm your legs into the air to relive the cramps. Take a picture of that sometime.

  You can say “My bicycle has been stolen!” in six different languages.

  Your bike is more expensive than your car (if you even own one).

  You never ask anyone in a car if the road you are on has “hills” or “climbs”.

  You wave to drivers with bike racks.

 You have convinced yourself and others that protein bars are tasty. Here, try the coffee, banana, peanut butter sundae ones, they’re the best.

•  You have tested your hypothermic limits and found that they can be expanded with pedal speed, layering and hot cocoa.

  You agree with the statement; “If everything feels in control, you just aren’t going fast enough.”

0 thoughts on “Telltale Signs That Cycling Has Taken Over Your Life

  1. Ray says:

    You know you are hooked when:

    Your last tour was 2 years on the road.

    You spend six years at university sleeping on your thermarest on the floor of your apartment, and set up your tent indoors now and then just to feel at home.

    You attend professional conferences in Southern CA as an excuse to fly down each winter with your bike, get the conference out of the way, and ride, ride, ride.

    You live on the Burke Gilman trail in Seattle and commute to work. On the way to work every morning you dare not take your eyes off the pavement in front of you or you know you will keep riding south that day and will quit your job.

    You quit your job every year, or on rare occaisons you might last two years. But if you go two years your next tour will be in Yukon Territory, so you try to avoid the ‘two year burnout.’

    Each day you are on the road at sunup and you hear the guard rails creaking and cracking as they expand in the sun. Later that evening you hear them creaking as they contract. Nearly two hundred miles go by each day.

    After decades of addiction you finally try to go cold turkey and give all your bikes and gear to the local bike club. You last four years and you can take it no longer.You’re leaving on this year’s tour in just a few days.

    You are now 60 years old and nobody believes that you’re over forty. You have traveled entire continents on bicylces. So the jokes on everyone else. I say, get hooked, live a good life on the road, and when you’re an old man the young chicks still think you look hot.

  2. Rheutillius says:

    You might be a cycling addict if you’re so old you can not aafely keep your carbon fiber Trek upright so now you’re riding tours on a recumbent trike

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