Cycling with others can be great fun, the shared experience of riding along some crisp tarmac, enjoying the fresh air and stimulating conversation.
It can also be quite irritating. Some riders have annoying habits that can build in their irritation during a long stint in the saddle. Here are some of the worst.
1. The Snot Rocket
Placing one finger carefully over one nostril and firing out a slug of snot from the other one is one sure-fire way of clearing your nasal passages – which is all well and good, as long as it’s not directed at the rider behind you or done when you’re stopped at the traffic lights in front of a group of horrified on-lookers.
2. The moaner
We’re cyclists, and therefore always like a bit of moaning, but there’s a limit. The weather’s too hot, the weather’s too cold, the roads are rubbish, your bike is creaking, someone else’s bike is creaking, did you see that stupid article about annoying cycling habits on that website… etc. There’s a saying that pain is weakness leaving the body and moaning is it going back in.
3. Rampant pothole pointer
Let’s be clear – as politicians like to say – that pointing out genuine hazards on the road for other members of your riding group to avoid is a very good thing. Potentially life-saving, in fact. But there are those that point at every little blemish on the road’s surface, causing undue alarm and swerving, and making it hard to determine when a real danger arrives.
4. Not pointing out potholes
… And following on, there’s nothing worse than riding in a group to have your back and/or front wheel nearly broken by an unseen chasm in the tarmac. Or tyre-shredding pile of glass. Or angry-looking venomous snake.
“You need to get in the right gear, mate”. “Oh no, I wouldn’t eat that if I were you”. “You’re going to boil in that jacket on the first hill”. “Your saddle isn’t high enough you know”. We all know someone who likes to dispense advice, whether it is welcome or not.
6. No turn at the front, AKA the lazy sprinter
You know the sort. Hanging at the back of the pack on group rides, chatting away and not putting their nose into the wind at the front. Until the last 500 metres, when they can claim the ‘victory’ with their fresh legs after everyone else has been dragging them around the lanes for three hours.
Watch: Group riding – how to use hand signals
7. Cheery fit person
“Afternoon!” says the super-fit, super-fast cyclist as they zip past you on a hill so steep you are struggling to fight off the effects of gravity. They weren’t even out of breath.
8. The secret guffer
What’s that odour? Could it be a farmyard? Then the realisation dawns on you that you have breathed in gases that were resident in the rider-in-front’s digestive tract just a mere few seconds before. Not nice, really.
9. Confession addict
Some riders treat cycling as a mobile confessional, telling you their cycling shortfalls and woes, such as how they haven’t been out much in the past few weeks, or that they haven’t oiled their chain for a month. Before vanishing up the road.
10. Drink nicker
There’s often someone who hasn’t brought enough drink, or perhaps not brought a drink at all. So they ask whether they can have a swig of yours, thereby depriving you of your fluid intake. This is perfectly excusable until the same person does the same thing on the next ride.
11. KOM hero
There are those who launch themselves at top speed along some seemingly insignificant stretch of road. You usually find them sat in a crumpled heap a little way further on breathlessly muttering ‘Strava segment’.
12. Put the phone away
Selfies while cycling. No thanks.
13. Route bore
Someone who produces an Ordnance Survey map out of their back pocket before you have even turned one pedal stroke, and then proceeds to describe the many route permutations that you could or could not take. It doesn’t matter how many times you look at your watch, there’s always another lane that could be included in there or avoided. “I don’t care, let’s just get going”.
Related to the ‘lazy sprinter’ (see above), the true wheelsucker doesn’t even bother to try and keep up on the climbs, instead getting dropped – meaning that you have to wait for them at the top. And your thanks for waiting for them? Getting attacked on the next downhill or flat section after they have sat on your back wheel to get their breath back.
15. Litter lout
While the preceding points may have you shaking your head in disagreement and ready to post an angry reply in the comment section, there is no conceivable excuse for riders who chuck their gel wrappers, old tubes and anything else at the roadside.