Last week I was having an incredibly fun cycle home. I don’t know why I was enjoying it so much, perhaps because it was towards the end of a successful day and I was making up my route home on the go. As I’m waiting at a one of the many sets of London traffic lights a fellow cyclist rolls up on a road bike and they cautiously go through the red light. For some reason something ticked in my head and as far as I was concerned the race was on.
As soon as the light turned green I was racing after the unsuspecting cyclist who was travelling at a decent speed. I caught up and overtook only to be stopped by another set of red lights. Again the cyclist went straight through the lights. I waited and caught up again and successfully took the inside cycle lane to get ahead as they got stuck behind a bus.
At this point I realised I was having a lot of fun. I had a rough idea what route I was going in but largely I was following the other cyclist. It was a pretty fun way of making my way in the general direction of home. Eventually I had to turn off and head back in the right direction. Though, by now I was in a speedy mood and the rest of the journey flew by.
I don’t always get this urge to race fellow cyclists. Often I’m quite content with the speed I’m travelling at. When I do I usually pick someone I suspect will be faster than me such as a bike messenger or someone I can see travelling fast. For that matter it doesn’t even have to be a cyclist, occasionally it is a bus. (Why do I feel like I’m sitting on the couch with a psychologist explaining my behaviour! – maybe they should start a “Cyclist racers anonymous”.)
I can see why a bit of racing is good for challenging yourself to improve, a boost when you manage to “win” and just a lot of fun. I was just wondering if anyone else is guilty of doing this? Am I just being silly or is this a good way of improving performance?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.