8 moments all us cycle commuters have felt

Of course, every mode of transport has its drawbacks – and those who cycle to work will likely recognise a few of these moments…

1) The ‘world is against me’ moment


Some rides go by with barely any trouble – no close overtakes, no unprompted shouting or horn honking, and no one cutting you up. Every so often, however, every idiot decides to be sharing your road at the same time. You spend the entire journey boiling with rage, and arrive at your destination ready to explode. Thankfully, these are rare, and in most cases you’ll get some enjoyable pedaling to help you forget the bad moments.

2) The ‘GPS/cycling computer fail’ moment


Maybe you’re training for an event, and logging miles. Maybe you just like to know how many miles you travel by bike a year. Maybe you’re into Strava, or perhaps you just want to know how far until you get to your destination – whatever the reason, if you use a GPS or cycling computer to tot up the miles, that ‘blleepp… battery low’ notification can strike fear into your heart. Even worse if you forgot to start it after the traffic lights.

3) The ‘where is my underwear’ moment

You arrive at work, hop in the shower (if you’re lucky), begin getting dressed, only to realise a crucial piece of clothing is missing. I know of people who have addressed the situation by running off to M+S before the day starts – that seems a bit extreme to me, but I suppose it depends how essential you believe your briefs are.

4) The ‘crow foot walk’ moment


A cold morning ride can be rather pleasant once you’ve started pedalling hard enough to warm up – your breath hangs in the air, the sun rises beautifully over the hills or city, and overshoes keep your feet seemingly fairly toasty. On arrival, you remove shoes and socks to find once pink, healthy looking toes are now a strange shade of purple. This level of numb foot is hard to recover from, and you’re likely to be hobbling around like a crow until about midday.

5) The ‘WHERE IS THE FOOD’ moment


If your commute is long enough to be considered a workout,  and you’re riding quite hard – basically if you consider your commute a training ride – there are sometimes days when no food is enough food. These days are difficult, as you try to quietly unwrap that second cereal bar at your desk, or disappear off to the kitchen to glug half a pint of milk. Don’t worry, many of us have been there. Try a protein bar, they’re usually yummy, and it helps.

6) The ‘didn’t charge my lights’ moment

You got into work at 8.30am, sat down, and made a note to yourself “must remember to pop the lights on charge by at least midday”. Midday comes, you nip out for lunch, head into a meeting, or start a new project, the hours tick by, and suddenly it’s 5pm, and you’ve got an eye on the clock. Except you forgot to charge the lights. This means you either need to find an alternative (throw away batteries? torch?), or plug the light in and wait. It’s going to be a late one, then.

7) The ‘forgot my shoes’ moment

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 18.38.53

A little like number 2, but much more visible to the rest of the world. Since I work in a company with a lot of cycle commuters, I’ve seen it happen to three others, and myself: Arrive at work, go to locker – no shoes. Check desk – no shoes. Vaguely remember you took them home on Friday with the intention of a ‘work shoe refresh’. The choice now is between wearing cycling shoes for the day, wearing no shoes, or buying new shoes. In my case, I went for no shoes, and thankfully didn’t have anyone important to see.. Of course, if you’d read our ‘casual clipless shoes for men’ or ‘casual clipless shoes for women’ and bought a pair, you’d be fine.

8) The ‘wet sandwiches’ moment

Flimsy backpack, no waterproof cover, unsubstantial packaging = soggy bread. Not good, but a good excuse to get something yummy from the nearest cafe.

Have you got any to add? Let us know in the comments…

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41 Responses to 8 moments all us cycle commuters have felt

  1. Darion Turner 06/11/2014 at 11:42 am #

    A couple of unfortunate occurrences for those of us fortunate enough to have showers in our office block…

    The ‘no towel’ moment!

    Do you not shower? Shower and drip dry? Try to dry yourself with your sweaty clothes? Buy a new towel? I now keep a spare at work as well as lugging one back and forth.

    The ‘it’s-one-degree-outside-i’m-numb-and-the-showers-are-f*****g-freezing-cold’ moment

    Utterly soul-destroying freezing cold showers on freezing Winter mornings are a sure-fire way to help you hone your efficient-cold-showering skills. I sometimes very much envy those who sweat little enough to get away with not having a shower!

    • RobinB 07/11/2014 at 10:21 am #

      What’s worse is when you have ALREADY HAD the shower before you discover the lack, and you have to dry yourself on your cycling kit.

      • Phil 09/11/2014 at 8:37 am #

        Yep, done that more than once ( derp ) and found out that the Pertex shell of my jacket…sticks…whilst drying me. I have also had to wear said jacket for a whole day at work after forgetting my shirt-doh!

        • Mik 14/11/2014 at 10:32 am #

          My perpetual fear is that I’ll be halfway through the shower at work and the fire alarm will go off….

  2. Oliver 06/11/2014 at 12:09 pm #

    What about the One Of My Testicles Has Disappeared Into My Body As A Result Of Sitting On My Razor-Sharp Bike Seat In A Funny Way moment? We’ve ALL had one of those!

    • SRC 06/11/2014 at 7:45 pm #

      Not all. Half, maybe? Not the ones with curves and stuff.

      • Russ Nelson 07/11/2014 at 1:36 pm #

        “stuff”? is that what they’re calling boobies now?

    • BarefootLady 07/11/2014 at 2:14 pm #

      No, mate, not all of us, I’m afraid…..

    • AB 10/12/2014 at 10:37 am #

      Male, but nup – haven’t had that one. What saddle are you using? I use a Selle SMP – never had an issue like this. Maybe you should consider sitting on the saddle rather than the wheel as it spins?!

  3. David Barker 06/11/2014 at 6:21 pm #

    2 for me; 1. Got to the changing rooms, found no clothes (still don’t know why) and had to give a lecture in my cycling kit. 2. Was training hard at this time, no guards on my bike; put my gear in the saddle bag, including a pack of exam scripts; it started to rain on the way home, but it didn’t occur to me there might be a problem; when I got home I found the writing on the most exposed scripts was just starting to run, but – thank God – was still just about legible. My blood still runs cold when I think about what would have happened if I’d found a mass of papier mache.

  4. Richard 06/11/2014 at 6:47 pm #

    the ‘it started raining really hard and I forgot my iPhone was in my pocket’ moment… Which results in a wet and non functional phone… Which is what happened on Tuesday, though the fact that I’m writing this on said iPhone proves that they can dry out and get back to normal!

  5. Spencer 06/11/2014 at 8:44 pm #

    The “I’ve just cycled 14 miles home then discovered my door keys are still in work!”

    Was NOT impressed (was also raining).

    • Mik 14/11/2014 at 10:28 am #

      I drive and cycle as my commute. I’ve cycled the 12 miles back to the car (on a wet winter evening naturally) only to discover the only key is still in my desk at work.

    • Penny 12/02/2015 at 7:58 pm #

      Ah, but arriving home after 3/4 ride to find you have the keys to the bike shed in your pocket? The SHAME!

  6. Chris 06/11/2014 at 10:23 pm #

    For those of us that have a bike/train commute…

    Get to the station…….forgotten season ticket!!!

    Or if you live in certain areas of Milton Keynes…

    Cycle usual route home on cycle paths (that also cut through flood defences), get within sight of home and have to take a 20 minute detour back the way you came because the water is too deep to cycle through!

    or even worse, try to cycle through it until it reaches your knees and have to do the detour with soaking, freezing feet.

  7. Dan Ellis 07/11/2014 at 10:17 am #

    Left work at 10:30pm, got halfway home, convinced myself I hadn’t locked the door. Cycled back to work, of course I’d locked the door.

    I imagine most people have done it with work or home doors that need locking.

    • Phil 09/11/2014 at 8:46 am #

      Again, guilty, got to work and my blood ran cold when I remembered locking the door but not of putting the keys in my pannier- one high-speed descent ( work was 240m higher than home with 10% and steeper gradients ) and I found them hanging out of the back door- gulp.

  8. Paul Baines 07/11/2014 at 10:21 am #

    I can identify with number seven. Got to a sportive at 0715, signed in, got the bike ready and thought ,”shoes on helmet on here we go.” No we don’t! Cycling shoes still at home. Fortunately, I’d taken my wife a cup of tea in bed before I left, so had a few brownie points in the bank. She very graciously brought them out to me. Fortunately only about 10 miles so I was able to continue with the event.
    Big learning point!

  9. Richard 07/11/2014 at 10:36 am #

    There’s also that thing where you set off on your journey without a hat/gloves/waterproofs on, because the weather seems fine – but then halfway along the wind picks up or the rain starts, and you can’t decide between stopping to put on your hat/gloves/waterproofs, or just pressing on and living with the cold/wet.

  10. Tony Parrack 07/11/2014 at 10:40 am #

    the: one puncture fixed in the pissing rain, no other patches for the next puncture, one mile down the road.
    And 5 miles to get home…

    • Hazbun 07/11/2014 at 11:29 am #

      And… the double puncture on the way into work when you have an important meeting first thing.

  11. Ivan 07/11/2014 at 10:49 am #

    Half-way checkpoint:
    “Bicycles not allowed”
    “Why, I know cars are allowed, by foot is allowed, motorcycles are allowed? ”
    ” True, but no bicycles”
    “Everything except bicycle is allowed, right? ”
    ” Right. No bicycles.”
    “I see. Do you carry a weapon? ”
    “Excuse me? A weapon?”
    “Yes, a gun, or a rifle. A weapon. Can you shoot me? ”
    ” I can get one, if needed”
    “Get one, you’ll need it to stop me.”

    Got back on my bike, pedaled off.

    • Russ Nelson 07/11/2014 at 1:36 pm #

      You make friends easily, I see. Sometimes in circumstances like this, I’ll just pick up my bike and walk, if it’s not far.

  12. Wattage 07/11/2014 at 11:23 am #

    Forgetting cufflinks and having to improvise with paper clips instead.

  13. Jonathan 07/11/2014 at 11:38 am #

    Yes I think I’ve had nearly all of these at one time or another. A variation on the showering experience I heard recently was a (female) friend happily showering in their organisation’s brand new offices, and was about to open the shower cubicle to get their towell, only to hear some rather deep voices in the changing room outside….I think her male colleagues found it rather amusing. Another one I’ve had is arriving at a client for a meeting and forgetting to bring my bike lock – they either think you’re wierd for arriving by bike in the first place or can’t do enough to be helpful.
    Changing facilities in other people’s offices are a bit of a mixed bag as well. Anyone else had to get changed while standing on the toilet seat?

  14. Pete 07/11/2014 at 12:08 pm #

    I’ve had all the above! Paper towels is the solution to the forgotten towel one, as long as you remember you’ve forgotten your towel before you get in the showers that is. #4 could also be the ice cold fingers, even with thick winter gloves, I’ve finished rides where my fingers are so cold it’s agonisingly painful when they start to warm back up

  15. Susan Thomas 07/11/2014 at 1:02 pm #

    How about when you have forgotten to bring the keys to your bike lock and you have to go all the way back home!

    • MJ Ray 16/12/2014 at 9:12 am #

      Done that. I’ve also had one of my locks freeze solid on the ride in!

  16. Chris 07/11/2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Our bike lockup is in our loading bay, which then has an underground access route to the changing rooms and then on to the main office area.

    Unless you get there and realise you’ve left your ID badge at home, fifteen miles away….

    Cue standing in the queue in reception in dayglo lycra to get through the main entrance to the security office for a temporary pass.

    There is only ever a queue in reception when I’ve forgotten my badge. 🙁

    • WallofPaul 21/11/2014 at 4:47 pm #

      That’s the worst. I seem to always do this when it’s really hot out and I’m dripping after a 15 miler.

  17. BarefootLady 07/11/2014 at 2:19 pm #

    The “weather forecast did not announce this” moment, which is sure to.catch you with the wrong clothing.

    Had the underwear moment a while ago. Had forgotten to pack my bra. Good thing there was an M&S downstairs!! And once, forgot to pack the shirt. Was hoping that the trend of skirt business suit with Gore cycling top will catch on in the City, but no luck…!

  18. Peter 10/11/2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Once somebody in our work cycle park locked their lock through my brake cable. I didn’t know what the he’ll to do or how to get home. I was fuming. Eventually I went back into the office for an Allen key, undid my brake cable and then reattached. Got home an hour late. Left a snotty note which I was later guilty about (we all make mistakes etc) but at the time I couldn’t believe their carelessness.

  19. nezumi 13/11/2014 at 1:47 am #

    Leaving home at 6am in 9 degrees Celsius and knowing it will be 34 degrees on the ride home – having to decide if it’s better to wear arm/leg warmers in and sweat home, or be freezing on the ride in and comfy heading home.

  20. Joe 13/11/2014 at 4:21 pm #

    Getting a puncture on the way home, replacing the inner tube in the dark because it’s winter, not realising I’ve pinched it against the rim, then having it explode a mile down the road. Oops!

  21. Richard Scott 14/11/2014 at 2:59 am #

    Forgetting the key to the locker at the work end (in a gym) … then discovering that the gym apparently sold locks that were stronger than their bolt cutters (even in the hands of a well muscled personal trainer – bolt cutters broke, not the lock). Fortunately, they were willing to cut through the actual door latch with the second pair of cutters. Also, getting a third into the ride before you work out the knicks are on backwards…

  22. WallofPaul 21/11/2014 at 4:52 pm #

    Getting to the office soaked through, only to discover that the lifts to the bike store are in use by builders/post room/lazy stuff and you have to carry the bike down two flights of stairs through six locked doors…..pass is in your jeans pocket. In the dry bag, at the bottom of your rucksack…….
    Those are sweary days.

  23. skipper_drew 10/12/2014 at 6:31 am #

    As bizarre as it sounds, jumping on bike riding 4k on way to work before realising not wearing a helmet. normally 20k commute now with 8k bonus!

    • MJ Ray 16/12/2014 at 9:10 am #

      If near London, you could just ride on hatless…

  24. Peter Hersch 11/12/2014 at 8:35 am #

    Arrive at work. Put bike in cage. Walk to locker, Reach for locker keys. Reach into other pocker for locker keys. Realise you changed backpakcs. No way out. Gotta ride back home to get locker keys,

  25. Simon 11/12/2014 at 9:32 am #

    Palm to head was because of how stupid my first thought was. Rode to work in winter with skull cap under helmet (I thought). Got in lift at work and saw myself in mirror with only skull cap on and thought omg my helmet fell off. Nope. Just forgot to put it on. Doh.

  26. jy 12/12/2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Riding into work in the cold and wet to find that the building’s hot water supply is out, again.

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