From unexpected bathroom stops, to self-imposed mechanical failures, we've gathered nine embarrassing cycling scenarios you should avoid at all costs.
Snot Rocket Misfire2 of 10
3...2...1...BLASTOFF. Don't be the guy or gal who has poor aim, blowing your snot rocket from your nose to your jersey sleeve or the leg of your bib shorts. Worse yet—don't let your misfire cause another casualty (a.k.a. hit someone in your group). Head to the back of your group, check your surroundings and wind speed, see whether mercury is in retrograde and let it rip. It's science!
When Nature Calls3 of 10
A proper pre-ride diet can help keep things flowing (blueberry muffins and bananas are my personal favorite), but try as you might, sometimes you can't take care of business before a morning ride. If possible, find a gas station or facilities at a park—many groups stop a couple times throughout a ride to refuel and take a bathroom break. But ultimately, when you gotta go, you gotta go. Just ask Tom Dumoulin.
Getting Dropped4 of 10
All cyclists have been left in the dust at some point or another. After all, isn't the point of a group ride to test each other's fitness? If you've fallen off the back and are unable to catch up, let someone know before it's too late. The group will remember to wait for you at the next regroup point. Don't worry, after a few rides you'll be the "dropper," not the "droppee."
Worn-Out Bib Shorts5 of 10
We all have our favorite go-to bib shorts. They're broken in, fit in all the right places and have panache for days. Like any star NFL quarterback, how do you know when to retire them and hang them up for good? Easy. Don't let "Dave" from your local cycling group have to tell you your bibs are barren and see-through. That's something you'll never live down—and something your cycling buddies can't unsee.
Unprepared and Ill-equipped6 of 10
Flat tires and cycling go hand-in-hand. There's nothing more embarrassing than being stranded on the side of the road without the proper tools or fix-it know-how. Instead of calling your significant other to pick you up or having your riding partner replace a tube for you, practice fixing a mock flat before you head out. When the inevitable happens, you'll be prepared.
Cat 5 Tattoo7 of 10
Nothing says "newbie" more than a greasy chain ring mark on the inside of your right calf. The solution? Make sure your chain is cleaned regularly and be aware when you unclip at stop signs and red lights. Don't be a marked man or woman (literally) as you ride around in the group.
Ready for Liftoff8 of 10
Afterburners, NAS, rocket boosters—it has a million different names. If you have to let one rip while on a ride, do so as inconspicuously as possible. Head to the back of the group and take care of business. Pro Tip: The added thrust will likely help you snag your next KOM.
Clipless Disaster9 of 10
You've approached a four-way intersection, faced with a red light. You slow to a stop, forgetting you're clipped in. You fumble and panic as you try to unclip at the last minute, but the lack of momentum ultimately causes you to fall in a spectacular, slow-motion fashion. Nothing hurts more than your bruised ego as your riding buddies keel over in laughter watching you struggle to get out from below the bike. Almost a cycling rite of passage, this clipless pedal disaster will likely happen at some point, but a little preemptive planning will help keep you upright.
Chafing10 of 10
We're getting back to basics here. From saddle height to cleat position, cycling is a trial-and-error sport. This holds especially true for your kit and shoe selection—and not all are created equal. Harmless yet exceptionally painful, chaffed areas can really derail your performance. Keep some Body Glide or Vaseline on hand when you're testing new kits or shoes to save yourself from unnecessary hot spots.