Every cyclist is different, from the bike they ride right down to their choice of socks.
However, there are common experiences that bring us together – the kind that make you nod with an excitement that you get when you’re sharing stories with another cyclist.
Here are some of our favourites.
What’s that noise?
Let’s start with a classic.
When you buy a new bike it’s a silent machine, floating through the air. After you’ve got some serious commuting miles in the creaks, squeaks and rattles begin. Miss a couple of bike shop visits and these just get worse. The though we all have is: “Was that sound there yesterday?”. Depending on whether the latest paycheck has just come in we convince ourselves “oh it’s nothing” or “I should really take my bike in to the local bike shop for some TLC”.
I can’t believe that Brompton overtook me!
The wheels are so teeny – how do they rack up that kind of speed?
It also applies to riders on Santander Cycles who use their unfathomable thigh strength to zip past you.
Please stay green
I’m not sure about you, but I go through around 35 sets of traffic lights on my way to work.
It gets to a point where I find myself taking amber lights personally, internally shouting “What did I ever do to you?” as my face screws up with rage.
This works both ways though – clearing Old Street roundabout with three green lights is undoubtedly a noteworthy achievement.
You also feel like you get to know the light sequences – “oh those fools riding fast in this section – they’re guaranteed to be caught at the next light”.
Ugh, I’m late
Commuters know this all too well, and of course it’ll be the day when every traffic light on your route is turning red.
Do I have my bike lock(s)?!
This is the “have I left the oven on?” for cyclists. You’ll have them on you 99.8% of the time, but they’re the only thing you’d have to go back home for, no matter how far you are into your journey.
What happened to the cycle lane?
You were only riding in it a few seconds ago.
Is this a one way street?
Nothing will make you feel more like a salmon fighting your way upstream, at least when you’re cycling.
What’s more, you often won’t realise you’re on a one-way street until it’s too late.
Wind, please blow me towards the pavement
You know conditions are getting rough when the traffic lights start to wobble.
Those gusts cause a myriad of problems for cyclists, particularly when they push us into oncoming traffic.
Heaven forbid you have to make a right-hand turn in a crosswind.
Look up, look up
We sometimes do it when we’re on two feet rather than on two wheels: wandering into the road without looking.
A bike bell just doesn’t have the same command as a car horn, so you either have to shout or pray that the pedestrian will look your way.
Though I did once slam on my brakes for someone who was so rapt by their burger while crossing the road that they didn’t see me. I still have mixed feelings about this.
It’s too hot/cold
This one’s a regular throughout the heights of summer and winter.
The key is layers, involving some discomfort while you warm up or cool down. Sweats and chills are inevitable.
I really need to pee
Speaking of discomfort, every cyclist has experienced a sudden onset of needing the loo at one point or another. For some it’s an incentive to pedal like mad.
Spectacular views make cycling a joy but certain things obscure that joy, like the glare from the sun, heavy rain or sprinklings of London debris getting in your eye.
That smells delicious
The city is full of bakeries, pizzerias and irresistible street markets, feeding you inspiration for your next meal.
You might even find that your steer veers towards the source of the smell, dragging you off-course. We all know that an impromptu burrito is worth it.
What’s for breakfast/lunch/dinner?
The temptation of said burrito can lead to a stop at the supermarket.
Even when it’s on the cusp of bursting, there’s always room in a cyclist’s bag for snacks.
Where can I park?
Finding a suitable spot to lock up your bike isn’t always easy when you’re in London.
It’s the only time when those without cars can say “Sorry I’m late, parking was a nightmare”. Very grown-up.
And one when you have to take public transport…
I miss my bike
It could be because of a tyre puncture, an injury or a boozy work event, but it never gets any easier leaving your bike at home.
Especially when your face is thrust into someone’s sweat-drenched armpit on the tube.
What thoughts do you have when you’re cycling? Let us know in the comments below.
Photographs courtesy of TfL
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.