Cycling is one of the most accessible sports on the planet. It's something four-year-olds and 104-year-olds can enjoy, and bikes are widely available in most areas. But besides riding a cruiser to the store and back (like normal people), something happens to those who ride a road bike on a regular basis. All the training affects them in a certain way, to the point where cyclists act and even start to look like each other. Matching spandex, smooth legs, weird lingo—it's an epidemic, and we couldn't enjoy it more.
From grooming sharp tan lines to riding without underwear, we've gathered 10 of the quirkiest habits (and we really do mean quirky ) all cyclists have.
Shaving Their Legs
Professional cyclists shave their legs for several reasons: the stigma and aesthetics, aerodynamic properties, massage benefits, road rash hygiene and more. These all make sense if you're competing at the highest level, but even amateur cyclists shave their legs—it's common to see a group of weekend warriors riding together in a hairless bunch.
Gels for Breakfast
Let's face it, despite our best laid plans, the morning of a ride is pretty rushed. Whether it's taking the dog outside or finding a missing bottle lid, breakfast is usually the first to go in order to make it out the door. This results in a hasty gourmet gel breakfast, part of a cyclist's complete diet.
Cleats in the Coffee Shop
Besides the open road, a cyclist's next natural habitat is a coffee shop. Since these coffee stops occur midway through a ride (or afterward), most cyclists walk in and order while fully kitted up—shoes and everything. If the spandex doesn't turn heads, the cleats certainly will, as the herd of cyclists click clack their way up to the counter.
Naming Their Bikes
You know it's getting serious once you start naming inanimate objects. But then again, most cyclists store their bikes inside and provide regular maintenance and cleaning, so why not give your noble steed a noble name? Black Beauty, Ol' Faithful, Pegasus—we've heard them all. Think you have an original one? Leave a comment, and let us know!
Grooming Tan Lines
Especially as the summer months come around, cyclists spend a significant amount of time in the sun. Modern cycling bibs and jerseys have UV protection built in, so this leads to some pretty serious tan lines. It's like a badge of honor, and the starker the contrast and crisper the tan line, the more serious you are as a cyclist.
It's one thing to race against your friends on the weekends, it's another thing entirely to be riding by yourself but "racing" other cyclists through an app. It's called Strava, and this fitness app has permeated all corners of recreational cycling. Not only can you log your miles and track your rides, but you can compare your times against people who have ridden the same route before you. You might be riding alone, but the internet (and your friends who follow your account) are watching.
Riding Sans Underwear
Underwear is a no-go when it comes to cycling. Pedaling a bike is a highly-repetitive motion, so even the tiniest bit of rubbing can be a huge problem after several miles. Bike shorts are designed with a built-in pad (called a chamois) to protect sensitive areas from the saddle and road vibrations. Throw underwear into the mix, and you'll have some awkward, uncomfortable problems nobody wants to know about.
Spending More on a Bike than Their Car
You'd be surprised just how much a competitive road bike goes for these days. With all-carbon everything and wireless electronic shifting, these ultra-light high-performance machines can be upwards of $10,000. We're certainly not saying all cyclists can afford this, but it's not uncommon for them to prioritize bike purchases over their car. Why fix your car's air conditioner when you can use that money for a new wheelset?
Wearing a Backwards Kangaroo Pouch
We can't think of any other sport where athletes keep a bunch of random stuff in pockets on their back. Cycling jerseys generally have long pockets on their jersey that run from the base up to just below mid-back. Cyclists stuff a ton of random things in there, from bananas or extra layers, to their phone, ID card and flat kits. Pros even stuff full-sized water bottles in them to bring up to their teammates from the team cars.
Snot Rockets, Galore
Snot rockets are gross and impolite in most settings, but for a cyclist, a ride isn't complete without a snot rocket or two. It's a great way to clear the sinuses and is cleaner than wiping their noses on their gloves. There's certainly an art to a snot rocket—it takes a surprising amount of skill and timing (especially on a group ride). Check out this hilarious article for a great how-to.