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.
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
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
Because you can’t #sockdoping if you’re not wearing the raddest tootsie warmers on the ride.
Has a perfectly practised quad tense mode
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.
Seems to take a while to leave for a ride
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
Ride times will be carefully co-ordinated around the strongest moments for capturing the soft bounce of natural sunlight from a shiny frame.