50 delights of riding your bike

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It hardly feels like a ‘normal’ start to the season for us cycling fans. Extreme wildfires kicked things off in Australia; the UAE Tour was halted mid-race; momentous races like Milan-San Remo have been postponed; several teams have announced an extended suspension to their race program due to coronavirus; and we’ve seen unexpected and painful deaths within the cycling community.

If the first few months of 2020 have left you feeling uneasy, you’re not alone.

CyclingTips is all about celebrating the beauty of cycling, a concept that’s easy to overlook when there’s a palpable feeling of darkness in the air. Maybe this is an opportunity to get back to basics.

I’ve just returned from a particularly sweet few days of late-February riding in Northern California, where I tested out a few different Canyon Grail bikes and participated in the Grasshopper Adventure series (stay tuned for a story on that). On the flight home, I was feeling inspired. I took out my journal and in no particular order, made a list of some delights that came to mind from my time spent riding bikes.

Yes, many of them are total cycling cliches. But as I’ve come to learn, most cliches are true. I hope some of these will resonate. Smile when any of these happen on your next outing, and add your own in the comments below.

There’s never been a better time to get out on your bike and take it all in. Enjoy the ride.

50 delights

  1. Getting back from your ride just before the rain starts.
  2. Discovering a lost ride snack / cash in your bike bag when you’ve bonked mid ride. 
  3. Switching to the drops with both hands in unison. 
  4. Looking back and seeing that you’re the last person who made the split.
  5. Embrocation on freshly shaved legs. Classic. 
  6. Greeting the sunrise from the saddle.
  7. Ticking off a bunch of boring miles with great conversation. 
  8. When your tires hook up during a drift. 
  9. Finding the sweet spot in someone’s draft. Bonus for crosswind. 
  10. Taking note of changing climate zones on a long climb. 
  11. Turning off a busy road and being able to ride side-by-side. 
  12. Strong summer tan lines. 
  13. Checking, but no flat. 
  14. Clearing the creek crossing / tight switchback. 
  15. Buying anything homemade mid-ride. 
  16. The post-ride shower. Especially if you’re cold. 
  17. The sound of a disc wheel. 
  18. A quality, effective snot rocket. 
  19. Going around a gate that cars can not. 
  20. Climbing with a tailwind. 
  21. Bunnyhopping a cattle guard.  
  22. Fully unzipping your jersey. 
  23. Post ride coke / beer / ’buch. 
  24. Moving up at the perfect moment before something crazy happens. 
  25. Cornering without brakes. 
  26. Shifting down a cassette over the top of the climb (bonus if you’re in a group). 
  27. The initial transition from gravel to tarmac. Nice. 
  28. The sound when the pump comes off the valve, cleanly. 
  29. Flicking your elbow to pull off and feeling pro. 
  30. Pedalling the chain back on without touching it.
  31. When someone admires your bike at a coffee shop (bonus if you’re in Belgium).
  32. Getting the tire on the rim without a lever, or killing your hands. 
  33. When someone tells you ‘nice pull’ as you drift back in a paceline.
  34. Stopping for an impromptu mid-ride swim.
  35. Sliding down arm warmers. Good day ahead. 
  36. Fresh blacktop. Long live. 
  37. When you miss the pothole because someone pointed it out. 
  38. Giving construction workers a high-five.
  39. The first bare-leg ride of the season.
  40. When it’s raining, the squad rallies, and it turns out to be a memorable blast. 
  41. The guilt-free bakery stop.
  42. Riding somewhere you’ve never been and taking in the new sights and smells. 
  43. Riding at night and feeling extra fast.
  44. Getting fresh bar tape / tires / brake pads.
  45. Fixing your own shifting issues.
  46. Stopping mid roadtrip to ride.
  47. Seeing another rider, waving and getting a wave back (bonus for a smile).
  48. Leading your friend out for the town-line sprint. 
  49. Doing a CX style mount / dismount at the coffee shop. 
  50. Swapping turns with the hand pump during a roadside flat and joking about it.


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