By Jonny Long
The best things in life are free. A walk in the park, sunsets, laughter, sleep, and memes. Funny viral internet images shared within subcultures that will soon be one of the only remaining social currencies following the extinguishing of life as we know it thanks to the coronavirus.
The internet, including memes, has become even more important during the lockdown, keeping us connected to each other and entertained within the confines of our homes.
With cycling fans doubly at a loose end due to the lack of racing action, memes are even more important to keep peoples' spirits up. Enter "trollcyclist", a meme account with 20,000 followers on Instagram that satirises every notable and bizarre moment in the professional peloton.
A former rider at Continental level, trollcyclist is unwilling to give up his identity but his account has still made an impression in the cycling world. A number of pros can often be found in the comments section as well as among his follower list, including world time trial champion Rohan Dennis.
We caught up with trollcyclist after he portioned out some time in between Photoshopping Mark Cavendish's head onto Drake's body to find out more about him and his memes.
First question, who are you?
Haha I can't tell you a lot here. I am "trollcyclist", a former rider at Continental level and currently running a meme page with nearly 20k followers. I'd say I'm sort of a satirical media outlet.
I'm trying to present the news from the cycling world in a bit more of an unconventional way than other media does and it looks like that's what people are starting to like more and more at the moment.
What is it specifically about memes that you enjoy?
Memes have recently established themselves as a tool for expressing an individual's opinion and that's probably why I enjoy creating them. I combine memes with cycling, which is the sport I'm into throughout my whole life so I'm trying to present current events from within the pro cycling world in a fun way.
Memes required a certain sense of humour. My meme page is not necessarily the right place for people who can be easily offended.
What made you create the account in the first place?
Every good thing starts with some boredom. Two years ago I had some health problems so I spent a lot of time in hospital. It was during the Tour de France and that was pretty much the only thing I was doing.
There were a lot of situations during the race that made great meme material so I made an account and started posting some memes. The response from my followers was great, I was growing every week and now I'm getting really close to 20k followers.
Who’s your favourite rider to troll and why? What is it about trolling that’s enjoyable?
I draw inspiration mostly from my own experiences. During my career I had lots of funny moments which are great meme material. My only rule is to never mock or humiliate someone. I'm don't want to be known as a bully. What I'm trying to do is to present news or stories from cycling world in a fun or a bit more interesting way than classic cycling medias. But I have to admit that making memes including Rohan Dennis are the most enjoyable to create.
What’s so special about Rohan Dennis? He replies a lot no?
He's a great guy. He has a great sense of humour, can take a joke and also appreciates some quality memes. That's also why he's my profile pic. If you check his Instagram page you can see that he's very easy going and chill about everything so that's why he's my favourite account on Instagram. And yes, I notice he replies a lot to people's questions and that's what his fans appreciate the most.
What’s been the biggest, craziest, even weirdest moment that’s happened through running the account?
The biggest moment was definitely when Rohan Dennis sent me a DM saying: "Haha love your profile pic". I wasn't expecting this at all, because I didn't have many followers at that time, so that was quite a big thing for me.
Which other cyclists have replied and are fans of your memes?
I noticed that most of my followers are people 18-25 years old from all over the world, especially from the US and Australia. Memes are still quite a new thing, so younger generations understand it a bit more easily. And that's the same thing with pro riders.
Which is your favourite meme that you’ve created?
The memes I love the most are definitely ones that are made during Grand Tours. There is action every single day, lots of things are happening during and in-between stages, so that's a great time to run a meme page. I really hope races will get back on track as soon as possible because I'm running out of material.
Is there an end goal to your meme account?
Just having fun. I'm not obsessed with followers or likes but I'm not gonna lie, it's a good feeling if your meme gets 2,000 likes. When I stop having fun making memes I'll probably stop doing it and pass it on to someone else. But that won't happen anytime soon because I'm keen to keep doing it.
Are memes an important part of getting everyone through this coronavirus crisis?
Yeah, I think so. These are quite hard times. In some countries people aren't allowed to ride a bike outside, or even go for a walk, which can be pretty hard for people who are used to be active all the time. I'm not saying that I'm changing the world for those people, but if I can make them smile at least for a second, my work was successful.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.