A collection of wince-inducing, cringe-worthy moments endured by cyclists
A spy tells me of a member of his club who did RideLondon. This rider, let’s call him Charles, did actually get round the route pretty tidily.
However, by the last few miles he was running on fumes, and beginning to see stars. He wanted nothing as much as to get to the finish, get his kit bag back, and drink his recovery drink.
But when he got the bag, he found that almost the entire contents of the drink had leaked over the rest of his kit. In desperation he licked the bottle. Then he licked the inside of the bag. Finally, shamelessly, he started to try to suck drink off his once-clean clothes.
“When I found him post-event,” says my informant, “he was standing in plain view of hundreds of people, sucking the crotch of his underpants. We call him Y-fronts now.”
Turbo rug resistance
A story reaches us of a newcomer to the pleasures of the turbo-trainer. Having bought a trainer, of the cheaper variety that uses the tyre on a roller, he set it up in his living room, and climbed aboard.
All seemed well. But as time progressed, it got harder and harder. It felt as if the resistance was constantly increasing. He put it down to fatigue and poor pacing and redoubled his efforts.
The burning smell was harder to write off.
It turned out that the rug in his living room had rucked up, and been pulled gradually further and further into the gap between wheel and roller.
Not only was the rug ruined, but the fibres pulled into the trainer mean that whenever it’s used it smells like someone burning a sheep.
Enjoy the trip
You may have heard of aerodynamic trips — raised ridges or seams on race clothing designed to manipulate the airflow. Well, word reaches us of a suggested means of extending this principle to lower-leg areas not normally covered by a rider’s shorts.
No less a team than the Great Britain track squad debated the possibility of scratching a rider’s skin with “a rusty nail, or something like that” (shudder) to produce a raised scar in exactly the right place.
This idea was not rejected nearly as quickly as you’d have hoped.
Incidentally, another related idea was to give riders nettle stings to create a “textured” finish. This was also rejected. After another long discussion.
I stopped not long since to help a rider who’d got a puncture and no spare tube or patches. I gave him a tube, and lent him a pump. He installed the tube, gave two or three desultory pumps, stopped, and gave me the pump back.
“It’s fine, mate, pump it up properly, I don’t mind waiting,” I said.
“No, I only ever put about 20psi in,” he said. “It makes it harder.”
I thought about this. “Do you ever feel like you get more punctures than most people?” I asked him.
“Well, yes. Why do you ask?”
“Oh,” I said, “just a feeling.”
Don’t look back
A number of us were on a ride, when my friend Tony decided to push on a bit. What was surprising was that rather than simply creating a modest gap he continued to accelerate away, giving it everything he had until he was just a dot in the distance.
Miles later the rest of the group caught up with him prostrate on the grass, completely spent. When eventually he regained the power of speech he explained that he had been annoyed that someone had managed to keep up with him.
No matter how much he tried, every time he glanced over his shoulder he saw a shape drafting him.
We pointed out to him that he had been trying to drop his own shadow.
A bite to eat at the house of an acquaintance who had ridden the Peace Race in Eastern Europe in the late 1970s produced an account of his only success in the two-week race. It was an intermediate sprint.
“It’s really all I was racing for — the previous day the sprint winner got a motorbike,” he said. “But it turned out that the prizes were donated by the local town, so it wasn’t a motorbike the day I won.”
“What did you get?” I said.
“You see the bowl your pudding is in? Let’s just say I’d rather you didn’t break it.”
Not a great night
Word reaches us of a rider involved in a minor crash, who was taken to A&E. Having been cut out of his badly-shredded kit, his cuts and bruises were treated, washed, and bandaged. He was told to go home.
He pointed out that he now had literally nothing to wear.
He was given a hospital gown to cover his modesty, and discharged into the night in bare feet. It turned out that most taxi drivers are unwilling to pick up a fare who has quite so obviously just escaped from a hospital.
And the ones that do are a bit… strange.