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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.

89 comments

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darrylxxx [90 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Cold feet and toes.

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stonechat [42 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

Road resurfacing and the loose chippings sign

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dave_t [23 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

"4 Creaks and squeaks

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."

Doing all the above and finding all I had to do was to re-tighten the friggin' rear QR! Arrggghh!

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PRSboy [415 posts] 4 months ago
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19.  Meeting someone for a ride:

"Sorry mate, can't meet at 8.00 now, can we do 9:30?"

So you turn up at their house...

"Sorry mate, just got the bike out, got a flat tyre..."

Then, puncture repaired using your tyre levers, tube and c02, you set off...

"Sorry mate, I've got to be home by 10..." 

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HawkinsPeter [2988 posts] 4 months ago
10 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

Old recycled articles on cycling websites.

Old recycled comments on recycled articles.

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dee4life2005 [39 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

- Getting to work and realising you've forgotten your work clothes.

- The worst one for me was misjudging the forecast and the wind gets strong enough to close the tay bridge central walkway, meaning the commute home turns from a 20 mile ride into a 60 mile detour, and you only have a 500ml bottle and no food/money. That's not fun  2

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kinderje [3 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

No. 17!!

How cold is it in that conservatory??? Why does anyone need toe covers on a turbo?

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Cyclax Maximus [36 posts] 4 months ago
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Be it in a cafe, shop or having to momentarily get off the bike to navigate a pedestrian footbridge, and realising I have an erection.

Fucking embarrassing !

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ridein [213 posts] 4 months ago
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There is no fun riding with a racist ride leader on a club ride who only knows 3 ride routes.

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StuInNorway [249 posts] 4 months ago
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StuInNorway wrote:

Nr 5 - Red lights at bottom of hill, I used to commute via Muswell Hill in London with lights at the bottom of a cracking hill, it was a real skill to read the timings from the top by how many cars were waiting where to ensure rocketing though at full speed.  Now here, one of my routes that used to be great has a set of lightshalfway down, that seem to have a bike sensor that goes red when you're exactly at the point it's too late to dash through, but not so far back that you can do anything other than brake HARD ! 

Been there, done that. used to commute Wathamstow to Brent Cross and Muswell Hill heading home was FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN until the lights changed as you neared the bottom... Where I am now, they recently installed new traffic lights halfway down the 2 best hills we have here... 

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HLaB [243 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Seem to be missing cars driven by twats. 

Indeed, a lot of the stuff listed irritates me but I don't hate, I hate tw@ts that can kill another human being  7

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TheFamilyDog [1 post] 4 months ago
2 likes

Setting off on the work commute and thinking “wow I am really flying today” only to realise after 2miles that I have left my backpack on the kitchen table.

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vonhelmet [1350 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Traffic lights on a hill, when I’m on my single speed. Yeah, I just love hill starting that bad boy.

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Mungecrundle [1264 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

When the weather is really crap and you turn out for the weekly club ride hoping that nobody else bothers to turn up. And then some other stupid bastard does turn up and then you have to go for a cycle ride instead of sloping off back to bed or a few hours of computer gaming in the warm.

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peted76 [1284 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Forgetting to press start on your garmin.. plus numbers; 1,4,6,8,10,13 & 16.. was last weeks ride for me! 

 

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henrypurcell [10 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Narrow uphill contraflows

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Peter Scott [23 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

You spot a rider a few hundred metres ahead. You ride hard and start to catch up. Just before you get to him, so you can overtake and say 'Morning', he turns off onto a side road.

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RoadYeti [3 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Strava.....   for anything other than finding you when you've crashed out alone on the road or trail and don't show up for dinner   :  )

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froze [89 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

A lot of that stuff that some of you listed and was on the list that started the article is stuff that shouldn't be happening on a ride if your pre and post checking your bike, stuff like sidewall separation, squeeking chain, improperly indexed derailleur, etc should have been taken care of before your next ride by discovering it sooner.  Another issue mentioned was preparing for your ride properly, not enough water? really?  I always take more than I need, but  that's because I ride without a map and if I get lost well I might need extra water,  And if I have all the water I can carry but the likely hood of running out exists then I also, and always, carry cash in case I need to buy water and/or food.  Rain? there is always the weather information available either on your computer or phone, but granted depending on where you live it could rain unexpectedly, but those types of rain are usually fast and done in 5 minutes so it's no big deal.  As far as buying something like a pump that takes 2000 (exaggeration I'm sure) strokes? well that sort of thing should have been checked out on the internet first before you bought such a piece of crap.  Not knowing how to fix a flat...well that's on you!

So really the only 3 things I really hate is:

1) It's raining or snowing and now I have to ride the trainer which I hate so much I usually just don't bother riding on it! 

2) The other thing I really hate is something called rolling coal, this is when a diesel pickup goes by you and the moron driving floors it and throws a switch engulfing you in a black cloud of choking exhaust. 

3) The only other thing I hate is fellow cyclists riding their bikes with no regard to safety, rules and laws of the road, giving all us law abidding riders a bad rap to motorists who disrepect all of us because of those actions...by more then a few riders.

Sometimes I run into a person that has a flat and either was trying to be extra lightweight and didn't pack anything to fix a flat with (duh) or simply doesn't know how (another duh), doesn't really bother me to stop and lend a hand.  In the process of lending a hand I teach them how to do it and what to buy so they can be more prepared next time, in fact I show them my entire contents of my seat bag and explain why I carry it and what it can be used for, and tell them which stuff is very important to carry and which stuff is optional so they can make up their own minds if they think the optional stuff is important to them or not.

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daviddb [136 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Numb nuts

 

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seven [162 posts] 1 month ago
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Half-wheeling

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seven [162 posts] 1 month ago
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700c wrote:

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  

After stupidly wearing a pair of 3/4 bibs on a boxing day ten, during which the temperature took a severe turn for the worse, I once had the fun of having to thaw both feet, ankles and shins from complete numbness. Definitely some of the worst pain I've ever experienced.

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Cyclax Maximus [36 posts] 1 month ago
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BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

"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"

Never, ever look back, also don't "attack" just make it seem like your natural pace and that everything is a serene pootle even if inside you are absolutely on the limit. Looking back makes it look like you're trying which is a no-no. Wait for a bend in the road or a turn to have a peripheral look, do not move that head even slightly.

in any case if somone comes past you, so what, in fact I expect to be passed every time I'm out.

I do find it hilarious though when someone clearly trying comes past (and say nowt) only to drop about 20-30 metres in front and not get any further ahead, I've even eased off sometimes because I was catching them back up with no extra effort so I didn't want to seem like I was actually trying to do so, I just can't be arsed.

Drink too warm, either man the fuck up and simply drink it or prepare in advance, freeze one of your bottle/drinks and by time you're needing it as the second bottle it'll be defrosted to a cold drink,if it's hot enough to make your drinks warm.

I often just take a fiver out for a pint in the pub when I'm about 7 miles from home on a w/e ride, don't even take the house key sometimes, not bothered about taking a phone either and hardly bother with a computer anymore.

Not stressing about how fast/not fast you're going and just letting your body do the talking is how I prefer it, sure I'll check the data after the event if pop the GPS logger on but I'm really not that fussed for those type of rides anymore. Just use a computer for my utility bikes so I know timings for appointments/how far I've got to go to a specific destination.

I don't even hate punctures, haven't had one for a while so if one comes up I consider it a blessing because then I generally know it'll be a fair while til my next one and not having to think about it for a while.

 

Excellent post !

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Cyclax Maximus [36 posts] 1 month ago
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mingmong wrote:

Snot expulsion clearance failure

Ho Ho. I can certainly identify with that !

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Organon [172 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

Old threads just popping up in the 'What's hot' section.

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CygnusX1 [1136 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes
Organon wrote:

Old threads just popping up in the 'What's hot' section.

People commenting on that they hate old threads popping up on the what's hot section so that the thread keeps popping up on the what's hot section  1

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Mungecrundle [1264 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
CygnusX1 wrote:
Organon wrote:

Old threads just popping up in the 'What's hot' section.

People commenting on that they hate old threads popping up on the what's hot section so that the thread keeps popping up on the what's hot section  1

Couldn't agree more.

Some people just don't know when to leave it.

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lycraConflagrant [6 posts] 1 month ago
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when you head out on a winter ride, fully kitted up in thermal bib tights, top base layer, etc and outer jacket and as soon as you get your arse on the seat you realize you forgot your chamois

 

(this only occurs if your tights aren't padded, of course)

 

WEAR PADDED TIGHTS PEOPLE

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HawkinsPeter [2988 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:
CygnusX1 wrote:
Organon wrote:

Old threads just popping up in the 'What's hot' section.

People commenting on that they hate old threads popping up on the what's hot section so that the thread keeps popping up on the what's hot section  1

Couldn't agree more. Some people just don't know when to leave it.

^ This

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