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We love cycling but just occasionally it all goes horribly wrong

We love cycling. No, we really love cycling, and we like to dwell on the positive whenever possible. But sometimes, just sometimes, it can be – what’s the word? – challenging.

Here are 18 things that we reckon every cyclist hates. Do you agree?

1 Clicking down a gear, only to find out you’re already in the lowest gear
That’s bad. Really bad.

2 Thinking you’re at the top of the hill, then discovering you aren’t
What, there’s more? How much more? Oh no!

3 The bonk
Blowing up, the hunger knock, hitting the wall… When you’re out of energy, it feels like the end of the world.

4 Creaks and squeaks

13Bikes Intuition Beta - bottom bracket

Is it the headset? The bottom bracket? The saddle rails? Your knees?

You can sometimes go around the whole bike systematically eliminating each individual component as the source of a mysterious noise until there are none left. And it still bloody creaks.

5 Red traffic lights
They’re especially bad if they’re at the bottom of a hill. All that momentum gone in a flash. Grrr!

6 Cold fingers
Still, it’s not as bad as the feeling of cold fingers coming back to life. That’s pure evil.

7 Punctures
It goes without saying, really.

Rema Tip Top TT02 repair kit

8 You attack as hard as you can, check over your shoulder to see how much of a gap you have… and they’re still on your wheel
Bollocks.

9 Forgetting you’re clipped in until it’s too late
Don’t even try to make out it didn’t hurt. You’re fooling no one.

10 Your light goes out
You knew you should have recharged it, didn’t you?

Cateye Rapid 3 front

11 It starts to rain the moment you put your kit on
You had nice weather all morning too. Also, while we’re at it: needing to use the toilet as soon as you put your bibs on.

12 Putting on wet kit for your commute home
It rained on the way into work this morning and the seatpad is still soggy. Urgh!

13 Unacknowledged waves
You wave or nod at a cyclist coming the other way and they don’t do it back. Rude!

14 Tyre sidewall splitting 
The first you feel is a strange knocking coming from either the fork or the chainstays. If you’re really unlucky, within a few seconds you’ll hear a sound like a gunshot. That’s the inner tube exploding. Now you’re in trouble.

15 Getting dropped
From beginner to World Champion, it hurts just the same.

16 Running out of drink

Camelbak Podium water bottle.jpg

This usually happens when you’re in the back of beyond, rarely when there’s a service station just around the corner.

17 The turbo

Elite Real Axiom Trainer - riding

A lot of us do it, but only as a means to an end. You put up with the short-term pain for the long-term fitness gains. But you know there are some lunatics who actually enjoy it?

18 Getting caught in the rain

Marrakech Atlas Etape Still Images4

This usually happens just after you’ve cleaned your bike, when you’re wearing a white jersey, or on the day you forgot your waterproof. Or all three.

Over to you. What did we miss? Don’t hold back now!

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.

96 comments

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CygnusX1 [1184 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
kil0ran wrote:

Black ice

(as discovered by the missus this morning coming back from the school run) /ouch

Me too, mine was navigating the chicane around the office car park barrier.  Nothing damaged but pride. Security guards have it on CCTV.

It was my second "off" this week - I have some minor road rash from an argument with Manchester's tram lines on tuesday morning.

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Deeferdonk [254 posts] 1 year ago
12 likes

That feeling you get  when you notice that the car overtaking you is indicating left 

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mingmong [321 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Curry on a Saturday evening 

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leviocx [7 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
mingmong wrote:

Curry on a Saturday evening 

Anything spicy on a Saturday evening..

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michophull [157 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes

Families walking four abreast with a dog on a long lead on cycleways.

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McHackety [13 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

You cycle past someone, and then you hear the frantic gear change behind you. Before you know it, their racing you.

Please...after you.

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alansmurphy [2248 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
BonerFide wrote:

One that everybody has missed so far:

  • Stopping at a cafe on the Sunday club run and forgetting to press start on the computer when you set off again, realising 15 miles later.  Nothing you do will get that distance back onto Strava!

 

 

Except manually adding the distance onto Strava...

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LastBoyScout [621 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
  • The rider you've been chasing down for a while turning off your route just before you get close enough to pass them.
  • You're out enjoying a solo ride, glance back and there's a complete stranger sat 3" from your back wheel.
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Lamb Henry [42 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Trying out a new cafe, and receiving a meagre portion of beans on toast.

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700c [1267 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Ah 6. The pain of defrosting fingers is the absolute worst! 

I used to feel sick and dizzy as they warmed up after a frosty commute  

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fixit bicycle clinic [138 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
brooksby wrote:

"18 things that cyclists hate" - just to be clear, here, but are we talking about Real Proper Cyclists or just about people who use bicycles to get about in their daily life? yes

 

we are all cyclists... and most of the time ,people who use bicycles to get about in their daily life are the real proper cyclists...

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Welsh boy [679 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

People who have to put everything on Strava

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996ducati [13 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
BonerFide wrote:

One that everybody has missed so far:

  • Stopping at a cafe on the Sunday club run and forgetting to press start on the computer when you set off again, realising 15 miles later.  Nothing you do will get that distance back onto Strava!

 

Auto Pause is your friend smiley

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fixation80 [74 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Get dressed and trussed for a winter ride, get the bike out ready to ride then get took short and dash for the loo phoo! Shit, that was close!

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The Gavalier [115 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
kil0ran wrote:

People riding bikes on shared use paths/cycle lanes without lights, dressed in black. Usually on full-sus BSOs with the saddle way too low.

yeah that always stick to the right too!!!!!!

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rix [268 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Roadworks

Waiting on a guy in your group who gets 5 punctures in a row...

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frogg [144 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

You've been optimistic about the temperature, your kit is not adequate, 45 mn later when already far away you know you will be completely frozen. 

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frogg [144 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

You have a puncture, repair, resume your ride annnnd then 200 meters later you puncture again ! you forgot to inspect the tyre ...

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mingmong [321 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

Snot expulsion clearance failure

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jlebrech [69 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Nearly half of those peaves can be fixed by riding to power:

 

There's more hill, i'd still be doing 300watts if it were downhill.

There's a traffic light, opportunity to lower heart rate (doesn't matter what's next)

Running out of gears, lower cadence stick to power or get out of the saddle for a bit.

Other people drop you? they don't exist anyway, it's you vs you.

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jlebrech [69 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
BonerFide wrote:

One that everybody has missed so far:

  • Stopping at a cafe on the Sunday club run and forgetting to press start on the computer when you set off again, realising 15 miles later.  Nothing you do will get that distance back onto Strava!

 

 

only stop when you've finished for the day, and use strava's cropping feature.

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captain_slog [475 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

You get to the darkest part of the commute home, flick your light to full power ... and discover that it already is.

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ianking [18 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Closed road - ignore it you can always get through. They are never closed for pedestrians.

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brianlescargot [15 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

 

# 1 – Crashing, especially the broken bones/broken bike variety

# 2 – Verbal abuse, dodging thrown missiles and physical assault

# 3 – Inconsiderate drivers

# 4 – Punctures

# 5 – Mechanicals

# 6 – Big repair bills

# 7 – Being stranded with major break down

# 8 – The feeling that you are riding into a headwind no matter which direction you are riding

# 9 – Constant traffic light stops

#10 – Pot holes

#11 – Heavy roads

#12 – Being caught out in atrocius weather

#13 – The hunger knock

#14 – Headwinds

#15 – Pedestrians who cross the road but don't bother looking

#16 - Cramps, especially the ones that wake you in the middle of the night!

#17 – Cyclists who give cycling a bad name

#18 – Having your Strava time annihilated despite riding eyeballs out

#19 -  Finding out your pro hero is a dope fiend

#20 – Missing out on my daily fix.........My bike ride

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biketime [37 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Getting caught in the rain: Well, maybe sometimes a light shower towards the end of a longish ride in some serious summer heat and humidity, such as we get in the Ohio River Valley.

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biketime [37 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
michophull wrote:

Families walking four abreast with a dog on a long lead on cycleways.

On your left...PLEASE!

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D-Squared [16 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

1. Creaks and squeaks. After eliminating all other possibilities, discovered it was the harness in my helmet.

2. Dogs on extendable leads are NOT under effective control of the owner.

 

3. Being followed on Strava by your boss. Should I post the afternoon ride when I left early?

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RMurphy195 [168 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Being overtaken on a wet road by a cyclist with no mudguards.

Being overtaken on a wet road (or even being passed going the other way) by a tuck - all that luvverly spray!

Exits from building sites - road all covered in mud.

The surface of the Stratford Greenway when its not properly dry!

Being close-passed by fast roadies

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littlegermanboy [12 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Something that does slightly get my goat: all these people at sportives pushing their bikes to/from the car park/wherever, when it would be quicker and easier to ride. I mean... why? 

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ConcordeCX [1161 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
littlegermanboy wrote:

Something that does slightly get my goat: all these people at sportives pushing their bikes to/from the car park/wherever, when it would be quicker and easier to ride. I mean... why? 

it's cooler like this:

 

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