12 ways to spot an Instacyclist, instantly

We all know one...

(Image credit: Picasa)

In 2010, something happened which would change the landscape of cycling forever.

It wasn't Alberto Contador's Tour de France win, nor his replacement by Andy Schleck following the doping scandal. It wasn't Fabian Cancellara's fourth World Time Trial title. It wasn't even the UCI's decision to play games with Olympic track qualifying protocol.

>>> How to take better cycling photographs 

The defining moment for cycling in 2010 came from a more mainstream source: the invention of Instagram.

Of course, some cyclists are better at 'gramming than others. Here's how to spot a true Instacyclist...

Long ride times, short moving time

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An Instacyclist's rides can be spotted easily on the likes of Strava - because 'elapsed time' will consistently exceed 'moving time' by approximately 150%.

The additional minutes have been eaten up by endless selfies and time spent waddling through long grass in cleats, to prop the bike up against every gate in the near vicinity (extra points for trying to pull out the weeds).

Always has the best socks on any club run

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Because you can't #sockdoping if you're not wearing the raddest tootsie warmers on the ride.

Clothing choices don't always seem to suit the weather

When it's 2ºC, sane individuals wear full tights or leg warmers except that Instacyclist who happens to have rad tattoos that can't be covered up should the opportune moment arrive for an Instashot.

Has a perfectly practised quad tense mode

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Normal, non-cycling Instapeople have a 'selfie mode' set up on their phone, but the Instacyclist has had to develop their very own 'quad tense' routine to ensure maximum bulge for the camera. Closely related: vein popping techniques.

Is usually followed by a weary looking other half with a tired camera finger

Every Instastar needs an Instaboy-or-girlfriend to help them capture the very best moments when a selfie stick just will not suffice.

Seems to take a while to leave for a ride

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This is because all kit must be nearly laid out and gridded before jersey ever meets shoulders, and you must understand that this is a time consuming practice.

Says ‘hashtag’ in a sentence

The first time, it just slipped out - and then use of hashtags in normal conversation just became oddly natural.

Unsponsored brand mentions

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Comments such as 'thank you so much to <insert name of brand> for keeping me warm this winter! What an excellent <insert name of item>' do not belong if you are not being paid for your opinion, and have simply exchanged money for the item as per a normal individual making a purchase. Buying stuff never worked like this before.

Has a strange collection of followers, bunched together

And why not, when the going rate for 1,000 followers is $10. And your soul.

Never drinks a hot coffee

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Every coffee and cake stop needs to be photographed from a bird's eye view, with a carefully composed collection of ride paraphernalia dotted across the table in a perfectly choreographed manner. Iced flat whites might be a safer option.

Has a selfie shelf in front of the turbo

Because if no one sees your sweaty suffering, did it even happen? Extra points if the shelf is frequently moved to achieve opportune angle.

Always rides at dawn, or dusk

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Ride times will be carefully co-ordinated around the strongest moments for capturing the soft bounce of natural sunlight from a shiny frame.

Because, hashtaglightbro.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.


Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 


Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.


Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.