Do you remember your first bike ride ?
Maybe you first went on a ride alone. You might have cycled wherever the road let you or wherever the wind pushed you. You might have experienced that unique feeling of freedom while exploring the world in a faster way then by foot, or a less polluting way then by car. You didn’t care if your bike was looking fancy or if your kit was matching your eye colour. It was all about that riding feeling.
Then you decided to join a group of cyclists to experience the social part of cycling. And all of a sudden you realised that the cycling community probably has more unwritten rules then the highway code.
I try to follow some rules. But they are mostly rules created by myself, which obviously makes it easier for me to follow them. (I probably also just created them to be able to say that I follow some rules….)
I want to share the top five of my own rules with you. Follow them or break them, up to you.
Rule #1 : take one picture a day (which doesn’t include your face)
Selfies are a well-known trend on social media. Post a nice landscape picture followed by a random selfie and there won’t be any doubt about which picture will get the most likes. But is riding your bike really about likes? Riding my bike is about the joy of being in nature and enjoying seeing different things everyday. Taking a picture of it is my way of remembering these moments. Maybe not every day will bring you something extraordinary to shoot, especially if you ride on the same roads everyday. But rule number one will help you to rediscover even a loop you thought you knew by heart. You just need to open your eyes.
Rule #2 : Say hey (except if…)
This rule shouldn’t be new to you if you read this blog. Cyclists say hey to each other, no matter the difference in level, difference in style, difference in age or difference in team. Truck drivers salute each other, campers salute each other and when, as a Luxembourger, you meet a Luxemburgish car outside of Luxembourg, you say hey as well. It’s just a community thing. There is an exception to this rule in my rulebook though. I don’t say hey to cyclists not wearing a helmet. I seriously don’t understand how nowadays, with helmets so functional, light and fancy, you would still feel too cool to wear one. Is it worth suffering serious injuries in case you meet a car, a truck, a wall or a tree. Don’t get me wrong if this should happen to you I will stop and help even if you didn’t wear a helmet, but you won’t get my hey.
Rule #3 : Bakery ? Someone said bakery?
In times where everyone tries to be as skinny as possible to improve that stupid power/weight ratio, I created this rule. There is nothing bad about eating healthily, everyone should do so, not just pro cyclists. But I don’t like to see how quickly the eating healthy thing can turn into a serious eating disorder and just completely destroy someone’s health. A happy body is a fast body. And mostly my body and mind are happy when they get lots of nice food.
At the top of my home climb is a bakery. I am allowed to stop anytime and get a “pain au chocolat”. I see it as a reward for a good session, as a feel-better treat after a bad session, a way of recharging the energy stock before riding home or just as a good way to say hey to the people at the bakery and help their business. No matter the reason, there is always a good reason for food!
Rule #4 : Once a month get lost
I notice that I tend on riding the same loop on every training ride when I am home, or at least I go out the same way. I guess it is out of habit that I just automatically go the same direction, when in fact there are about five different ways to get out of the traffic. This rule makes sure this doesn’t happen every time. Everyone probably does at least one really long ride a month. Use that ride to discover roads you never rode on, to leave in a different direction, to take the risk of gravel roads or even the risk to finish on a highroad. Most of the time there will be a ‘why didn’t I come here earlier’ going through your mind. And most of the time you will finish lost, or your ride will be longer than you planned. That’s probably also where Rule #3 will save your life or at least your ride home. But it will also leave you with more time to fulfil Rule #1.
Rule #5 : Extreme weather protocol by me
I am not out of sugar. I even enjoy bad weather in the races, especially during Cyclo-cross because mostly that means mud, and mud is fun. For training rides I do have my own weather protocol. Obviously different weather situations require different weather protocols but the major guideline is that a training that started will have to be finished unless there is a risk of death (that’s mostly thunder). For everything else follow this grid:
They were my top five rules. But life would be boring if we all follow the same rules. So it is up to you to create your own way of riding!