Words of wisdom from experienced cyclists

Riders line up for the start of a race: The measure of the man is not how strong he starts or finishes but how he worked till the finish.

Riders line up for the start of a race: The measure of the man is not how strong he starts or finishes but how he worked till the finish.

There are all sorts of strange sayings in the world of cycling. What do they mean?

“Don’t Be A Half Wheel Harry”

One of the most annoying things about riding with someone new to the sport is the “Half Wheeler”. Many probably don’t know they are doing it or understand why it’s annoying so here’s the low down.

Half wheeling is when you ride half a wheel or more ahead of the person you are cycling beside. Half wheeling is an annoying cycling faux pas that should be avoided at all costs. Half wheeling your riding partner is like saying “you’re rubbish and I’m putting my front wheel ahead of your to remind you of that”.

You may get a subtle comment like “I didn’t realise that your bike is longer than mine”. A less subtle approach will be having the pressure applied to the point where you are blown up as the pace is beyond your measure. Don’t be a “Half wheel Harry” your buddies and strangers alike will thank you for it.

“You need to go out and count white posts.”

Strange comment but has deep connotations of the value of strengthening the mind and soul in solitude.  Get out and ride the bike. Think about what lies ahead and create a strong foundation of being able to sustain pain and suffering knowing what you are capable of.

Keeping count of the white post takes a lot of focus and mental attitude to stop the mind from wandering off the task and keeping an account of the task in hand. Cycling requires a high degree of mental application combined with physical strength.  It is more likely the mind will throw in the towel of surrender before the body will. Training the mind by counting white posts and keeping on the bike will see you through many of cycling’s ups and downs.

“One of the mistakes a cyclist who is going well can make is to think they can go better.”

We all like to be at our best and the difference between sustaining and going too far and losing what we have worked for can be a very fine line. Routine is very important in cycling and changing a plan or set program that is well staged for a particular purpose can have a counteractive affect.

We sometime underestimate just how much we take out of our bodies when we go well and recharging the body is important by applying a lighter approach to the speed and distance and not leave all the energy on the training circuit. Getting the right balance can be trial and error. When we do too little we don’t reach our full potential; do too much and we deplete the energy levels which is the mistake of thinking we can go better.

“Get out of washing machine and sit on the gate.”

In bunch riding it usual to have a wide range of riding skills, of strength and capabilities. The further you get down the back of a group the messier the following of wheels is maintained particularly when the pace is lifted and there is a prevailing wind. Hence the term “get out of the washing machine” as this the affect that occurs a turbulent ride. Sitting on the gate is just behind where the front group is working well and wheels are easier to hold and follow and gaps don’t appear.  It can be where the good riders have a rest for a turn.

“The only turn you need to make count in a race is the one when you cross the white line and win the chequered flag.”

In some corners of cycling there is an ethical approach of being committed to a team to get to the end and then seeing who is the best man on the day.  There are others that see from the very beginning that it is a competition to eliminate the threats and stamp their authority over those around them to take the race. There others that it is a race that only is at the end and being shrewd about having to contribute as little as possible and then put the good turn in to get the win.

See you on the road soon God willing

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