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When you are snivelling up the last hill of the day, cold, exhausted, fight fighting against the dying of the light as the car behind you is forced to change into a crawling gear while you weep to strangle another turn of the pedals out of your hollow legs you are just another cyclist. They have no idea of the bone thick pain, lungs scratched with pride and the deep internal sobbing tempered only by gently shouted swear words and mantra platitudes loudly whispered to crest this final summit.

You are just another cyclist.

Getting in the way.

 

When you are then flying down the last hill home, cold, exhausted, fight fighting against the wind as the car behind you is forced to realise that they are never ever going to overtake within the speed-limit regardless of their Must Get Past The Cyclist hackles and yet you still try to strangle another mile-per-hour out of your aero-tuck while your thighs trade blows with the fat fists of cramp. They have no idea of the soul thick with exhilaration, heart fluttering with glory and the tingly slight but dangerously real fear that a car is going to slowly pull out of that junction up ahead.
Because you are just another cyclist.
Wobbling along at 12 mph.

You are not just a cyclist.

It's much much more than that. 

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

9 comments

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openbath [4 posts] 5 years ago
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I love this.

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 5 years ago
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Sums it up beautifully.

Funnily enough, I was on a ride yesterday, coming down a hill fast on the only stretch of main road I have to use around here, it's all country lanes otherwise, saw a Mercedes up ahead that was starting to edge out of the side road and I just *knew* he was going to pull out into my path. Quick glance over my shoulder to make sure no-one behind so I had an escape route if needed, fingers on the brake levers just in case.

And pull out into my path is exactly what he did.

No harm done thanks to my anticipation, an angry wave of the arm from me, caught in the rear-view mirror, a dismissive wave back from him, and off the old sod pootled at 30mph on a road where the speed limit is 70.

I was half-minded to catch him up, but instead turned off into the next village, sat outside a lovely Cotswolds pub in the afternoon sunshine, and wondered why I should have to do the thinking not only for myself as I ride my bike, but for some of those driving cars on the same roads as me.

Inner peace quickly returned, and I had a lovely, and incident-free, ride back home.

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Simon E [2682 posts] 5 years ago
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"You are not just a cyclist.

It's much much more than that."

And always will be  1 Thanks Jo.

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Dudditz [5 posts] 5 years ago
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Marvellous.

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Kim [226 posts] 5 years ago
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Well there you go, what do you expect? Thanks? What have cyclist ever done for drivers, apart from subsisting the cost of road transport...

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step-hent [720 posts] 5 years ago
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This is top stuff - Jo, would you be happy for me to print it to put on my wall at work? I've got some other cycling quotes (one by Tim Krabbe and one by Jean Bobet) and this would fit very nicely. I'll put your credit at the bottom  1

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flyin4alivin [8 posts] 5 years ago
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Sean,
I was stationed in your country with the USAF in the days before I took up cycling. Your post brings back great memories of a holiday my family and I had in the Cotswolds. I hope to be able to return one day and have a ride in that gorgeous countryside. Thanks.  1

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flyin4alivin [8 posts] 5 years ago
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That's why we keeping going back to the well of pain. Sick but wonderful.

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Giant Rob [59 posts] 5 years ago
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I am a company car driver and go all round the south of England. As I travelling around I see all sorts of bikers. Commuters, leisure riders, racers etc and I always give them loads of room. As a nighttime/weekend (summer) racer I know how it is to have some crazy guy taking risks to get past you and cars waiting to pull out of a junction just as you approach. My personal favourite is the car/van pulling a trailer who forgets he is pulling it. As he went past he then pulled in and the trailer nearly took me off! This happened a couple of weeks ago. It is a good job I was next to a grass verge otherwise it would have been goodnight for me!

My respect to the commuters out there who travel all wethers in the rushhours all over the country.

I only cycle for pleasure at night and weekends and that is risky enough!!