real life cycling

The secret cyclist (in the shirt/tie/skinsuit combo)

Secret Cyclist

Back in December 2016 I wrote about the secret cyclists among us; those colleagues we all work with who, via a trail of tiny clues, reveal themselves to be full members of the cycling community.

They adjust their office chair using the LeMond method; they work long hours at a studiously low intensity during the winter months; and they appear, each Monday morning, in a hypoglycaemic state as a result of some epic two-wheeled adventure at the weekend.

Once you spot these clues, it’s obvious.

And then you spot more.

Do you have a work colleague who tends to go rambling ahead with the task of the day, turning down all help, and with no real hope of achieving anything, before letting the rest of the office take over and get the job done?

They have clearly been watching too much bike racing on TV, and see themselves as an ideal candidate to get in the breakaway.

Occasionally – once in a blue moon – they get the job done. But nine times out of ten their work colleagues leave them hanging for a few hours before stepping in and taking over.

Ask the rest of the office to describe this character and they will use words like “futile”, “hopeless”, and “cannon fodder.” Ask the person themselves about their performance at work and they’ll say  “heroic”, “epic”, and “good day for the sponsors.”

You may also find that, after one of these brave solo attempts to achieve something meaningful, they book a day of annual leave the following day to recover.

Except they don’t call it annual leave, they call it a “rest day.”

Of course, the most obvious sign that one of your fellow workers is a cyclist is in the way they dress.


We all know cyclists wear excessively tight clothing which leaves little to the imagination, and creates the shimmering outline of body parts which should never be revealed at work.

This is bad enough, and is one of the main reasons that lots of people don’t like cyclists.

But with the real obsessives you’ll find they make things worse by occasionally wearing extra, extra tight clothing. Then they contort themselves in their office chair and work extremely hard for quite a short amount of time.

What you have here is a cyclist, obviously, but worse than that: a time-trialler.

Time-trailers are people with habits that test the normal boundaries of societal behaviour at the best of times; on a long straight A-road, for example, on a wet Thursday night.

In the office they will stick out like a sore thumb. Or perhaps like one of those body parts revealed so precisely by their all in one skinsuit.

But despite all this, maybe in the modern workplace we should be accepting of the strengths and weaknesses of these secret cyclists.

Rather like a pro peloton made up of domestiques, sprinters, climbers, and random eastern Europeans that no-one has ever heard of, some people are good at some things and some at others.

Having said that, I think we can all live without the shirt/tie/skinsuit combo.

(Image: shadow – | shirt and tie combo –

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10 comments on “The secret cyclist (in the shirt/tie/skinsuit combo)

  1. Can we live without the panting too? One can hear a cyclist from a slope away. Now am I being too harsh?


  2. You can currently​ spot me a mile away in this warm weather. Shorter sleeves and no tights reveal a cycling sun tan; farmer type arm stripes and sock marks half way up my calves… It’s a bad look.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not a cyclist, but a runner. I get similar tan lines. Kinda fun having glowing sock tans and sports bra lines on the beach… Until they turn from bright white to bright red, bring out the aloe vera!


    • It’s a bad look, but it’s the look I aim for every year…


  3. I feel so informed on spotting a cyclist in everyday life now!


  4. ……”the shimmering outline of body parts which should never be revealed at work.” – What a disturbingly descriptive line!! Love this post and I was grinning with recognition!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Pro Cycling v Premier League – road|THEORY

  6. Pingback: Cycling in 2020: forget 24/7, it’s the year of the 28/10 lifestyle – road|THEORY

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