Love trumps hate – 5 things cyclists should learn to love

With a subtle reference to the U.S. election, I bring you 5 things cyclists should learn to love.

1. Electric Bikes

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“Cheater!” is my gut reaction when I see someone riding an electric bike. Perhaps I’m a purist or maybe I’m just jealous.

However, whenever I’ve been the one riding an electric bike, I’ve thought “wow this is wonderful!”. It makes me want to go out on longer rides, where otherwise I’d opt for the tube.

Anything that can get more people cycling is a big plus and that’s the point of electric bikes. From my grandad (picture here!), to a busy mom/dad transporting kids or a driver, if it encourages them to cycle, why not!

As cyclists, we need to overcome the idea that riding electric is in some way cheating and that it’s not how cycling is meant to be. By being too much of a “purist” we’re stopping more people from becoming cyclists.

2. Inflatable Bike Helmets

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What will those crazy Swedes come up with next?! To be the first country to go entirely fossil fuel free? Oh, well, okay, fair enough.

Just before we discuss helmets – a caveat – some people wear them, some people don’t, let’s not get in to it.

On first glance the Hovding inflatable helmet comes across as just another mad Kickstarter product.

However, I think we should give it a chance. For a start, it is apparently 8 times safer than a regular helmet. Second, it won’t mess up your hair do. A friend of mine who runs a bike shop said it’s selling surprisingly well.

At £200 I’ve not yet invested in one myself, but don’t be too shocked when it happens!

3. Inspirational Cycling Quotes

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If you follow a cycling blogger on Instagram, you will have undoubtedly at some point been subjected to an inspirational cycling quote. Here’s why I think we should learn to love them.

Christmas is around the corner and we all have that relative or friend who hates cyclists. You may have felt your fists clench as they uttered the phrase “I just don’t get why they ride two aside – I mean it’s impossible to overtake them”.

Well, here’s your chance to subtly get your own back.

Instead of a Christmas card, get them a card with an inspirational cycling quote on it. It’s subtle but it’ll annoy the hell out of them. For bonus points, don’t mention anything about the fact it’s a cycling quote.

Here are some inspirational cycling quotes to get you started.

4. Bromptons

Bromptons are like marmite. You love them or you hate them. I’ve spent much of my life in the latter camp but I now find myself moving towards love!

“But.. but… but.. the wheels are so small!”

I know, I can see that the wheels are so small, but it does mean that it accelerates really quick at traffic lights, which lets be honest is where we spent about 1/4 of our time as cyclists in London.

The convenience of Bromptons is indisputable and from what I’ve seen most restaurants are happy for you to bring it in with you and it can be stored out the way.

This point comes back to the first point, we shouldn’t be purists as cyclists.

5. Drivers

A friend of mine spent 10 weeks on a silent meditation retreat in India. On the first day, she was given a single instruction: remain equanimous.

She spent the next 10 days trying to figure out if equanimous was really a word.

The point is, this is how we should feel towards drivers. The vast majority of them are nice people, like us, trying to get from A to B. Occasionally, these nice people will lose their temper or do something silly, like us. There’s not much point in meeting that anger with anger or in carrying that frustration with us during the day. We have to learn to let things go.

For more spiritual guidance, see our zen guide to becoming a happier cyclist.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

18 Responses to Love trumps hate – 5 things cyclists should learn to love

  1. Paul 11/11/2016 at 10:10 am #

    You cannot but love a Brompton

  2. Chris 11/11/2016 at 10:18 am #

    I’m with you on everything but the electric bikes!

    I wouldn’t mind if they were fast enough to get past and stay past, but invariably they’ll beat everyone else away from 0-15mph at the traffic lights, at which point they won’t go even the tiniest bit faster, forcing others to overtake them before, at the next set of lights, they jump ahead again!

    If you’re going to top out at a slow speed, at least have the decency not to get there flat out!

    • Nigel 11/11/2016 at 10:35 am #

      Nobody is “forced” to overtake. Remain equanimous. 😊

      • Chris 11/11/2016 at 11:28 am #

        No, that’s true. I’m not forced to overtake. I could get the train instead of commuting by bike. I’d much prefer to overtake and get on with commuting in a short enough journey to make it viable though.

    • Nicky Bradley 11/11/2016 at 10:46 am #

      I see plenty of non-electric cyclists doing that!

    • Sarah 11/11/2016 at 11:56 am #

      E-bikes are the business! The trouble is the assist isn’t actually adding any power when you’re zipping along on the flat & they’re still a lot heavier than a road bike – so my delight at getting away quickly is tempered by frustration at topping out at 19mph or so as you say..

    • eddie 11/11/2016 at 1:28 pm #

      de-rate it and prepare to fly……..

    • Dave 14/11/2016 at 3:48 pm #

      Couldn’t agree more. But I’ve not noticed this as an electric bike phenomenon.

  3. David Cohen 11/11/2016 at 10:32 am #

    Agree with you about electric bikes, except that I’ve always been an advocate. Anything that helps with modal share has got to be good. They are incredibly popular in certain mainland European countries, Germany and The Netherlands I think. IN the UK, they suffer from one of the same problems as trying to get people to ride pedal bikes – People just don’t feel safe. Hopefully, this is changing.

  4. Sowerbob 11/11/2016 at 10:37 am #

    Learn to love full stop. It is too easy to get uptight by the stupid things people do, cyclists, drivers, pedestrians. A zen like calm and a cheery wave works far better than an angry shout for them and yourself. I almost achieve this myself sometimes!!

  5. Kenny Sinclair 11/11/2016 at 10:57 am #

    Great advice

  6. Richard 11/11/2016 at 12:26 pm #

    I’ve been tempted to try an electric bike and a Brompton lately.
    And drivers can get a sticker to show solidarity with fellow cyclists.
    http://www.imacyclisttoo.co.uk/

  7. Nigel Andrews 11/11/2016 at 3:28 pm #

    Regarding Brompton Bikes. I have three bikes, a Surly Disc Trucker, a Brompton P6R-X and an ageing Raleigh Stratos. I also have a Unicycle.

    What do I do the most miles on? My Brompton, over 10,000. It’s purely down to it’s versatility. On busses, trains and planes, it’s a no brainer.

    When in foreign destinations it’s great to have a bike you are familiar with that is easy to go anywhere with. To date I have never been refused entry anywhere with it here or abroad.

    I am planning to do a lot of touring with the Surly though.

  8. John Dowie 12/11/2016 at 9:21 am #

    I have COPD, meaning I have less than 50% lung function. If I didn’t use an electric bike I wouldn’t be able to cycle at all. I get a bit tired of having to explain that to other cyclists when they tell me I’m “cheating”.

  9. Docjon 12/11/2016 at 3:35 pm #

    Love the Tutu quote…

    I’m a “roadie” and have no intention of buying one for myself, but electric bikes have to be a good thing. I’ve had several conversations with friends and family who are put off cycling by hills, or long distances. E-bikes also facilitate exercise for unfit people or those with chronic health conditions, who can choose how much effort to expend on any given journey. Elderly folks are using them including riders who have done the Alps in their youth on ordinary bikes. And for me I’d much rather have them on the road in front of or behind me than a two ton lump of metal.

  10. Jeremy 12/11/2016 at 5:47 pm #

    I agree about tolerance and equanimity. As an ebike user, I get a regular bout of swearing from purists which I gently ignore. Were it not for the added e-power, I wouldn’t easily make it to and from work most days. And it is a joy to ride.

  11. carlos 12/11/2016 at 8:03 pm #

    Thanks for the advice 🙂

  12. commuterjohn 13/11/2016 at 4:26 pm #

    Yes, after many years of commuting daily by bike the old knees were complaining too much on the hills and the bus was looming fast as being the new (sadly) commute method.
    Then I enquired about electric bikes at my LBS.
    Dug deep and bought the hybrid type for me.
    The knees don’t complain and yes I can do speeds and distances which were only a memory!
    It has kept me on the bike doing what I love and that is priceless.

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