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 Do they exchange their office equipment for aged and outdated alternatives for fear of wearing out the good stuff?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.