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The stuff that makes you feel good when you're out riding

Here's our pick of 15 things that we think every cyclist loves. Are we right or do you disagree? Let us know down below.

1 Reaching the top

Marrakech Atlas Etape Robin Kitchin 102

Even if you love the climbs, there’s something about reaching the top that gives you an instant boost. Whether it’s Alpe d’Huez or a humpback bridge, it’s a job well done.

2 Riding with a tailwind

WInd Power (CC BY 2.0 reynermedia|Flickr)

WInd Power (CC BY 2.0 reynermedia|Flickr)

Ride with a tailwind and you feel unbeatable, like your legs and lungs got stronger in the night. Very, very occasionally the wind will change direction during a ride and you’ll get a tailwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back. On these days you think you're Eddy Merckx.

3 Dropping your mates

Panarotta 1.jpg

The fact that they’re your mates only makes you want to drop them more.

4 Green traffic lights

Traffic light tree (CC BY 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevandotorg)

Traffic light tree (CC BY 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevandotorg)

Remember that day when every traffic light you passed was on green and you just sailed through? No, because it has never happened. One day it will, though, and then your life will be complete.

5 France

Le Semnoz-Crêt de Chatillon (CC BY NC 2.0 will_cyclist|Flickr)

Le Semnoz-Crêt de Chatillon (CC BY NC 2.0 will_cyclist|Flickr)

Yeah, the cycling might be good around your way but France is the gold standard. Le Tour, of course, the Alps, the Pyrenees, Paris-Roubaix… Mind you, there’s Italy too. And Belgium.

6 New bike clothes

Image of road.cc Women's race cut jersey

Yes, you’ve got your old favourites but you can never have too much new stuff. Don’t blame me; I didn’t invent greed/avarice/capitalism.

7 Light stuff

canyon_ultimate_cf_slx_9.0_disc_movistar_edition_12spd_campagnolo_-_crank.jpg

It doesn’t matter how many times you’re told that being aerodynamic is more important than shaving off a few grams, light kit always puts a smile on your face. That applies to your frame, handlebars, wheels, shoes, body… Pretty much everything, in fact.

8 A clean bike

btwin_ultra_900_cf_105_-_riding_3.jpg

Clean bikes are faster. Well, they might be. They certainly look faster. On the other hand, a dirty bike shows you’ve been riding it, so that has it’s merits too. Confusing.

9 The sound of a freehub

Some freehubs sound so ace you’ve just got to stop pedalling and listen to them ticking away from time to time. Not for too long, mind. That’s just slacking.

10 Trying a new route and it works out

Garmin Edge 1030 map

I’ve got a hunch that this road will join up with another one that I know. I try it and it does. Hurrah! Just call me Mr Garmin.

11 New bar tape

Lizard Skins DSP Dual Colour bar tape

Every road bike can be improved by the application of new bar tape. Fact.

12 Beating other riders away from the lights

Hectic street racing in Oxford (CC BY 2.0 Tejvan Pettinger)

Hectic street racing in Oxford (CC BY 2.0 Tejvan Pettinger)

It might not be the Olympic final but every victory counts. You're Le Patron until the next set of lights.

13 PBs

(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Sean Rowe|Flickr)

(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Sean Rowe|Flickr)

Even the least competitive cyclist likes to beat their time from point A to point B. Better your personal best by a second and you feel brilliant, miss it by a second and you feel crushed, yet that’s only a difference of two seconds. That’s just the way it is.

14 Coffee and cake

IMG_0688

They’re pretty much essential.

15 The post-ride shower/bath

Rubber duck (CC BY-SA 2.0 vallgall|Flickr)
(CC BY-SA 2.0 vallgall|Flickr)

The more achy your legs, the better it feels.

Go on then; what did we miss?

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

145 comments

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MartyMcCann [287 posts] 4 years ago
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Out on a lone ride, big headwind and rain lashing-getting it tight! Then the PSNI helicopter appears, hovering quite low- suddenly I am no longer grinding around Craigavon but a solo break in a Classic- even the crappy parts of the road are suddenly pavé! Enough energy for a surge for home, feeling like I should apply for Belgian citizenship, challenging the wind and rain to do its worst.
Arrive at home, have a great shower then upload Garmin to find I beat my personal best on the wee draggy climb home which had been set on a sunny day with a tailwind!

(Plus the commentators in my head were Kirby and Kelly, not Liggett and Sherwen which was an added bonus!)

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arfa [859 posts] 4 years ago
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Beer. That is all

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rjfrussell [524 posts] 4 years ago
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The fact that my wife was still prepared to get back on the bike, having thrown it into a bog, as we battled our way to Belmullet into the teeth of an Atlantic gale.

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RandomCyclist [2 posts] 4 years ago
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Oh yes... possibly one of the most overlooked but most beneficial reasons...

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Simon E [3798 posts] 4 years ago
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Coffee and cake should be separate entries. It undervalues each of them if they are lumped together as a single benefit  3

Possibly the greatest feeling comes as a result of a number of the above (e.g. cresting a climb), and that's the knowledge that by riding you are living, not merely existing.

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Colin Peyresourde [1843 posts] 4 years ago
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That moment you casually look down at your 'puter and realise you're cruising at 25 mph.

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Hedgemonkey [4 posts] 4 years ago
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Filling every available pocket with food from the breakfast buffet in a French hotel and no one bats an eye even as you clip clop out to your bike.

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Hedgemonkey [4 posts] 4 years ago
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Filling every available pocket with food from the breakfast buffet in a French hotel and no one bats an eye even as you clip clop out to your bike.

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youngoldbloke [142 posts] 4 years ago
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The sound of hard tyres on smooth tarmac. Just SMOOTH tarmac

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Colin Peyresourde [1843 posts] 4 years ago
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Actually one of my best days was tailwinds from Fort William to Bonar Bridge. Tailwinds up the Lochs and a beautiful day. This was preceded by one of the worst days, from Glasgow to Fort William. Head winds and rain all day, a rockslide increased the mileage of the longest day. I practically went potty going through Glencoe at 11mph and couldn't break 15mph going down hill, with 40 miles still to go and 7hrs recorded in the saddle.

My line was if day the from Glasgow to Fort William made you question why you ride, the next day was the answer....

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KiwiTTL [1 post] 4 years ago
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Beautiful people in the bunch with great tans and killer calf muscle definition!

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Feltrider2015 [5 posts] 4 years ago
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Sun but not too hot

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slam that stem [20 posts] 4 years ago
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My continued disbelief after almost 30 years that an inert machine weighing the same as a fat house cat can deliver so much joy and endorphin rush!

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julianrh [13 posts] 4 years ago
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When it's your mate who gets the puncture.

When you're going down a hill fast and there's a bend at the bottom and you're not quite sure if you're going to get round and then you do.

Leaving the coffee stop in a bunch and wending your way home.

At the end of the club run when you wave goodbye to your mates and say 'see you next week.'

When the package from Wiggle arrives.

The first sight and sound of Sean Kelly for the new season.

Removing mudguards, not wearing gloves or over-shoes and leaving the winter jacket at home because spring has sprung.

Chasing after a ride who's just passed you and then passing them.

Saying 'good morning' to a Dulwich Paragon rider and getting nothing back (in joke).

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redimp [6 posts] 4 years ago
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Not bothered about cake. Does that make me strange?

Oh, and one of my favourite things is nice flat and smooth tarmac. Round here it is all big chip top dressing and pot holes.

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bigfatron [33 posts] 4 years ago
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The work.
Enjoying turning the cranks.
Anything else would be unnecessary.

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bigfatron [33 posts] 4 years ago
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The work.
Enjoying turning the cranks.
Anything else would be unnecessary.

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the infamous grouse [63 posts] 4 years ago
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getting a sad face from a speed indicator device.

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matthewn5 [1380 posts] 4 years ago
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Getting onto the beach at Dunwich  3

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Barrybiker [10 posts] 4 years ago
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Wheeling the bike down the path from the front door and deciding which way to go.

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J90 [430 posts] 4 years ago
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When Dan Lloyd or Matt Stevenson replace Sean Kelly, much better commentary alongside the legendary Carlton Kirby.

2 Wheeled Idiot wrote:

The process of struggling to gain fitness after injury and illness, then that magical first ride back when you're out, the fitness is back and the ride isn't just a continuous struggle  1

That ride can't come soon enough  2

chokofingrz wrote:

Closed road events or the morning leading up to a TdF stage - 2 of the best riding days I had last year.

Comrade wrote:

Riding a section of road the Tour of Britain just went down, then having loads of school kids cheering as you pass...the volume increases as you wave and smile!

YES & YES.

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Petethepump [37 posts] 4 years ago
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A bike that runs silent
Really good coffee
Good mates
That is all

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Abbie [61 posts] 4 years ago
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To start with, just getting out of the front door. Then heading out in the rain and the mist and feeling like there is no where you'd rather be. And feeling like, you can get through this winter.

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bike_food [210 posts] 4 years ago
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That short stretch of road that you always seem to fly along.

One of those gear changes that feels and sounds perfect.

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badback [302 posts] 4 years ago
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That zen like feeling you get on a summers evening ride when you feel at one with your bike.

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ATDibs35 [3 posts] 4 years ago
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Crisp gear changes
Smooth tarmac
Silent running
Caffeine in my blood stream
Sun on my back
The long road ahead

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crikey [1251 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm tempted to be cynical, but anything that can move taciturn, emotionally repressed, quietly desperate middle aged Englishmen to thoughts akin to poetry has value which should be applauded.

For me, it's the sound of clicking into that left pedal at the start of a ride. It's the prologue, the introduction, the start of a story.

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Alan Tullett [1570 posts] 4 years ago
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An open fire in a pub after a long ride into a bitterly cold nor-easterly to warm up your toes. And the beer that goes with it.

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cyclesteffer [411 posts] 4 years ago
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That feeling when you've gone up to your threshold level, (for me its about 183bpm), and then you've got over that climb, or finished that sprint, and you go back down to 155bpm, and it feels like the bloods coming back into your heart, and you feel powerful again. I love that feeling.

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cyclesteffer [411 posts] 4 years ago
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Perfectly bunnyhopping a pothole/obstacle.

Beating people with much more expensive bikes/clothing to the top of a climb, or in a flat out sprint., or in the commute to/from work.

Seeing new people that have joined your group become much better riders and encouraging them onwards.

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