We’ve all done it. We’ve all had the best intentions to ride and then decided that we don’t actually fancy it. We don’t often admit to others that we just can’t be bothered, so we often make up some kind of excuse.
Some of us do it more than others. There are some who have the mental fortitude to ride their bikes even on days when they don’t really want to.
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I, for example, sacked off a ride recently because I couldn’t find the garage key – even though my bike was in the house – and I spent the best part of the morning looking for it.
While that was quite a niche excuse, there are a few that we’ve all uttered at some point to our disapproving ride companions. Here is a look at ten of the best.
1. I’ve got plans this afternoon
You’ve agreed to meet your Aunt Maude for a coffee at 4pm, meaning that you don’t possibly have time to get a proper ride in.
This is what you tell yourself at 9am – seven hours before your appointment – when there would still be enough time to get a quick 100km under your belt.
Instead you just sit around watching Saturday Kitchen and convincing yourself that you’ll do a bit of housework in the meantime.
Then Aunt Maude phones you to cancel because she’s got to take her cat to the vet. Well, it’s too late to go out now!
2. It’s a bit cold
Rarely does it get cold enough in the UK for cycling to be off limits, but as soon as the mercury drops in the thermometres out come the excuses.
No-one likes riding in the cold, but you’ve spent all that money on those thermal bib shorts, leg warmers, arm warmers, jacket, wooly hat and gloves that Arctic explorers would be proud of.
Cold hands and feet are no fun and can easily ruin the enjoyment of even the best ride, but an autumnal chill is not the time for this excuse to come out.
3. It’s forecast to rain
Professional bike ride avoiders will have at least five different weather apps on their phone and the BBC weather website as the homepage on their computer.
This is all in the hope that one of them will predict there will be rain for at least a ten minute period of your scheduled ride.
“There’s a 30 per cent chance of rain between 11 and 12,” you tell your partner when they ask why you’re not going out. The usual retort is that it means there’s a 70 per cent chance that it won’t rain, but you’re immune to that kind of backchat by now.
4. It is raining
It’s a cold Saturday morning and you’re tucked up in your nice warm bed. What’s that you hear? The pitter-patter of raindrops on the window.
If Heaven had a sound it would be this. Salvation comes in the form of a bit of drizzle which means you can’t possibly go out on your bike.
Many seasoned riders will, indeed, point out that it’s perfectly possible to ride in the rain, but a bike dodger will quickly list off the risks of doing just that.
You could easily slip and fall off your bike, causing multiple injuries to your body and potentially thousands of pounds worth of damage to your bike. Your shiny new groupset will not appreciate being taken out in the rain and you just don’t have time to give it a proper clean when you get back.
All perfectly valid, I’d say.
5. I need to get my bike serviced
This is a personal favourite of mine. A bit of a clunk when you change gear means that the entire bike is pretty much unusable.
What if you do any more damage to it? What happens if it breaks completely when you are miles away from home?
Then you find out how much it actually costs for someone to tighten your brake pads and you decide you can do it yourself – something you don’t get round to doing before you’re next asked out for a ride meaning you have to bring the excuse out all over again.
6. These tyres are looking a bit worn
Tyres are not cheap, so replacing them has to take some kind of planning and checking of the bank balance. The easier thing to do is just buy a load of inner tubes and take your chances with punctures caused by your terrible tyres.
That’s all well and good in the height of summer, when the roads are clear of debris, but as soon as winter rolls around and your local routes are covered in shingle you soon realise you can’t afford to buy all those inner tubes either.
7. I’ve got a slight knee injury
This excuse is almost perfect, because no-one is going to argue with a medical ailment, even if it is entirely ficticious.
You felt a bit of a twinge as you got off the bar stool at your local the night before and used that as a great excuse to have four more pints.
You may even get a bit of sympathy, but deep down you know there’s nothing wrong with you.
8. I can’t find my left glove
Not being able to find a bit of kit is a classic excuse – and it doesn’t even have to be a vital bit of equipment either. Not being able to find your helmet or one of your shoes would be a decent reason not to go out, but one of your mitts or your toe covers are probably not.
Still, you can’t go out unless you’re comfortable and those knee warmers will be vital if you’re going to enjoy your ride. Without them you may as well not bother. And you don’t…
9. It’s been a hard week at work
Arguably, the exact thing you need to wind down after a stressful week in the office is a nice relaxing bike ride. You don’t have to smash it, just turn your legs over down some country lanes and get some fresh air.
But instead you convince yourself that you probably ought to stay in bed all weekend so as not to be too tired for your return to the office on Monday.
10. It’s a rest day
Perfect. It’s even using cycling parlance. Professional cyclists have rest days, so why shouldn’t you have one as well?
Probably because professional cyclists ride thousands of kilometres a month and the last time you rode your bike was a 10 minute jaunt to the shop to buy milk.
Still, you need to rest those aching joints.