Clipping In1 of 15
Any ol' person can ride a bike, but to be a cyclist you've got to finally clip in for the first time—and then promptly fall over because you can't get unclipped in time.
Bonking2 of 15
It takes some serious mental fortitude to ride until you literally can't ride anymore. So that first time you give everything you've got, when you can't push the pedals around even one more time, you should feel a serious sense of accomplishment (despite the fact that it's likely your own fault for not eating enough).
First Race3 of 15
You can be a perfectly good cyclist without ever signing up for a race, but there's a certain thrill of competition you just can't get from your Saturday morning shop ride. The first time you pin on your numbers (eight safety pins, no more and no less) and spend 30 minutes going around in circles at a high rate of speed represents a new level of cycling courage and commitment.
First Time Riding 100K4 of 15
Remember when you were first starting out and you thought riding a mere 20 miles was so long and so hard? Welcome to the big leagues, kiddo.
First Century Ride5 of 15
You wanted to quit just 50 miles in and, at 75, you literally laid in the grass on the side of the road contemplating how you'd ever ride another 25. But you did, and you didn't bonk and you didn't give up and damn it, YOU FINISHED. Now, did somebody mention a beer tent?
First Road Rash6 of 15
Earning your first road rash is a painful rite of passage in cycling. You haven't really made it until you've skidded across the pavement, picking up a good collection of grit and pebbles in your skin along the way. While it may hurt, those raw, red tattoos are a sign of true experience. Yes, you crashed and survived to ride another day.
Slipping and Falling in Your Road Shoes7 of 15
You just settled in for a 40-minute paincation in Sufferlandia, only to remember you forgot your water bottle and must now hobble like a baby deer across the kitchen floor. Or maybe your buddies decided to stop for a post-ride pint, but you forgot your cleat covers. The point is, one minute you're fine, and the next? Well the next, you're on your ass. Congratulations, you're a real cyclist now.
First Saddle Sore8 of 15
You know you're truly committed to the sport once you've spent so much time in the saddle that you develop a saddle sore. Sure, it's incredibly painful (and probably a sign that you need a proper bike fit or a new saddle), but at least you no longer have to feel left out of all the undercarriage conversations your buddies have on a weekly basis. And that's what counts, right?
Successfully Changing a Flat9 of 15
If you've never had a flat, you just aren't riding enough. "Mechanical!" you call out, sighing in frustration. But you've prepared for this day, and you won't stop until you come out on top. You remove the extra tube covered in baby powder that's been in your saddle bag for what seems like years, put your bike into position and get to work. Many hours later (we kid), you're sweaty and greasy but, most importantly, successful. Don't worry, it gets easier every time.
First Off-Road Ride10 of 15
Are you really a cyclist if you've only ridden on the road? Gravel riding is cycling in its purest form, so taking it back to where the sport began is something every serious cyclist should do at one point or another. As if you needed an excuse to get another bike!
First Bike Upgrade11 of 15
You likely didn't start out with the newest, flashiest, most expensive ride on the market. In fact, you probably saved up your pennies and scoured eBay and your local bike shop for a suitable used version that would get the job done just fine.
But you've been cycling for a while, and it's time for an upgrade. Besides, who needs things like food and a functioning car anyway, when you can have a top-of-the-line bike instead? A nice set of components and a fast set of wheels changes you—and it's only the beginning.
Successfully Traveling with Your Bike12 of 15
Sure, you've got a significant other, 2.2 kids and a lovable Labrador Retriever—but your bike is still your most prized possession (it's the most expensive, at the very least). So getting your ride from home to your race location can be especially stressful, especially with the care—or lack thereof—airlines tend to use on our possessions. But after careful planning, research and more than a few sleepless nights, you pack up your steed, head to the airport and wave goodbye as your bike case sails away on the conveyor belt.
It's only hours later when you arrive at your final destination, overjoyed to find your best friend bike intact and as you left it. And then start to stress about getting it back home again, of course.
First Power Meter Purchase13 of 15
Only really serious cyclists make the big decision to drop nearly a grand on a power meter. But having the ability to know your exact output can be a huge advantage, especially if your intention is to win races—not to mention the fact that owning one basically makes you just like the big boys you see on the Tour (and let's be honest, that's the main reason you wanted one).
Your First Bike Commute14 of 15
You pumped your tires, rigged your panniers, carefully planned your attire and charged all your lights. The morning of your first commute has finally arrived, and you're ready to tackle it in style. Thirty minutes later, you arrive drenched in sweat with embarrassing stains and a slight odor surrounding you for the entire day. But hey, you did it! You're officially one of "those people" who simply can't go a day without riding their bike—and you've never felt more alive.