real life cycling

The secret cyclist

Secret Cyclist
Secret Cyclist
Secret Cyclist (Image:

Cycling used to be a sport for oddballs and loners. It was populated by bearded chaps in woollen clothing discussing steel lugging.

What’s changed, you might ask?

What’s changed is that beards, wool, and lugging got cool. And if Rapha ever branch out into panniers and thermos flasks, they might get cool too.

Cyclists used to keep their hobby to themselves for fear of being misunderstood and labelled a weirdo – but those days are gone. The weirdo label is still common currency, but rather than scuttle off back to the shadows our response is a wry and superior smile.

‘You just don’t get it, do you?’ we think, as we sip our espressos and contemplate purchasing some more merino wool.

But still, despite cycling’s renaissance, there are those who keep their hobby to themselves. There may even be some in your workplace. They can’t quite make that mental leap from map-carrying-bike-fettling-nerd, to GPS-guided-carbon-fetishist.

(And that’s to their credit, many would say.)

But we fellow cyclists can spot the clues.

We’re all familiar with the clunky hydraulics of office chair adjustment. Look out for anyone precisely measuring chair height and angle, and calibrating it with their own inside leg measurement. They are clearly using the Le Mond method, and paying the same attention to their office chair geometry as they do to their saddle position.

I should point out that Greg LeMond famously, now in later life, has a bad back. There are other methods available, is all I’m saying.

What about the colleague who spends the first hour of every Monday morning slumped across their desk, skin stretched tight across their cheekbones, black rings of dehydration around their eyes?

That’s an obvious one: they are battling a massive calorie deficit. It’s the result of the six-hour Sunday club run and some ill-judged attempts at weight loss.

Leave them be. They’ll be hypoglycaemic until at least 11am.

Occasionally, if these stealthy cyclists are determined to keep their identity hidden, you might need to play the long game.

Does their productivity drop around November? Do they work long hours at a studiously low intensity? Do they exchange their office equipment for aged and outdated alternatives for fear of wearing out the good stuff?

They are a cyclist, it’s winter, and they are base training on their winter bike.

They’ll perk up again some time in March.

12 comments on “The secret cyclist

  1. Another one: They’re willing to work longer hours once the snow hits. Guilty as charged.

    Yours were hilarious though, especially saving the “good” office chair. That was awesome. Thanks for the chuckle, bro.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Btw, thanks for the reference to saddle height measurements… I’m right on by the 109% method but a about a half-inch (13 mm) higher than recommended for the LeMond method. Interesting stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Cheers Jim. And do you also have the Le Mond bad back?

        I’m similar – I started with the 109% and moved up from there. I’m one of those guys who, if my saddle is a millimetre out here or there my legs and hips just don’t seem to synch up.

        I’m high maintenance, I guess!

        Liked by 2 people

      • My back, fortunately, is much improved since I started cycling – actually “vastly improved” describes it better. I used to have a lot of lower back pain, three or four days a week I was in pain. That’s all gone. Anyway, I actually wrote a post on the 109% method (the LeMond method was 1/2″ lower and no good) scheduled to publish Friday. My 109 measurement is 36.515″. My saddles were set (and will remain) at 36.53125″. I called that close enough for government work – and I used the heel method and “feel” to get the original setup. The short answer is “Nope, my back is good”.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I had a good comment from another reader, who suggested the guy in the office who drinks his coffee from a bidon and chucks it out the office window when he’s finished 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. the42cop - Jaden Michael

    Ha! The “Bearded Chaps in woolen clothing” got my attention on this! It made me immediately think of the guy who works on our radios. He’s always walking around with his huge walrus moustache and biking gear and it cracked me up!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I think golf went through a somilar metamorphosis. It was once a “rich” man’s sport and now not so much. Of course it’s not even close to the coolness of cycling. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Is Chris Froome stacking shelves at Tesco? – ragtime cyclist

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