10 things I’ve discovered as a born again cyclist.

I’ve recently taken up road cycling.

Yes, I can imagine the eye rolling from motorists who think they own the road, but seriously it’s great fun and good for you when you’re not being run over by crazy drivers.

As a cyclist I’ve learned a few things that I wouldn’t had I not fallen in love with my bike. Here are 10 of my discoveries so far.

1) OK, maybe I knew this one already…. There are some dead set idiots on the road. 
I know I’m not the worlds best driver according to the traffic camera office or my insurance company. However, I only ever hit stationary cars or trees. 
I never consciously try to frighten a defenseless cyclist by veering my lethal weapon toward them.Seriously guys, I know my butt is above average but if you want a closer look, driving into the bike lane is not the way to go about it! 
Not cool.

2) People like to toot or yell at cyclists as they drive past. 
Some are unreasonably angry. 
As if cyclists shouldn’t be on the road. 
Some think they’re being funny by terrorizing cyclist’s. 
Some just want to engage in sexual acts with strangers and think that by expressing their intentions out of a car window that they may be in with a chance. 
Dinner first guys, C’mon…;)

3) You can become a better driver by being a cyclist. 
I’ve felt the vulnerability of being on a bike in traffic. As a result I’ve become more cautious on the roads. I’m more patient with cyclists sharing the road. I’m also more aware of my surroundings on the lookout for cyclists (and their amazing legs.)

4) The cycling lane is the most dangerous place for a cyclist, at least it is where I live.
The bike lane is rough and patchy with pot holes everywhere. It’s where the sand accumulates when it blows off the beach. 
Its where the loose gravel ends up. 
It’s where the trees drop all of their debris and usually where the feral people smash their bottles on their way home from a night out.
I used to wonder why cyclists didn’t stay in the bike lane. 
Now I know it’s because they value their expensive bikes and their lives.

5) On a bike your senses come alive and work together. 
There are no technological distractions. 
No radio or iPod, no speedometer to keep under legal limits, no TV, no smart phones or computers.
Just you, the bike and your surroundings. 
You see things you don’t when you’re driving. 
You notice everything at once looking out for potential dangers, including the beauty of nature. 
You smell the sea, the flora and sometimes the dead fauna, which is not so pleasant. 
Sounds are magnified, traffic, dogs barking and children playing. 
You feel alive completely with the wind in your face.

6) Cycling can be a great meditative practice.
For years people have told me I should meditate or do yoga to calm myself and clear my mind.
I’ve found this on the bike. 
No distractions (besides cars or debris on the road trying to kill me of course.)
This is where my stress of the day is washed away.
It’s hard to have negative thought patterns when you’re feeling the freedom of going down hill at top speed. 
This in turn opens my mind to more creative and positive thought patterns. 
It’s where I have my greatest ideas and find solutions. Epiphanies abound.

7) Cycling can be a very socially enriching sport. 
If you can join or form a group you can make some great friends with people from all walks of life. Cyclists look out for each other and there is etiquette involved. 
It’s a nice culture. 
Some sports have excessive alcohol consumption as a part of their culture. 
Cyclists do coffee. 
Much more civilized!

8) The ugly outfits really are necessary. 🙁
Those awful pants that look like you may have incontinence help wick sweat away and give a little padding on the unforgiving seat. For long rides they are a must.
The garish jersey’s offer protection from the wind and higher visibility. 
The pockets are pretty handy too.

9) Cycling is expensive.
 I was always under the impression that cycling was free after the initial outlay of the bike. 
Shoes and helmet… A small fortune. 
Ugly outfits…. Large fortune.  
Winter/Wet weather gear…. Add to the mortgage. 
Gloves… Who knew? 
Servicing, spare parts, maintenance, performance gadgetry….wow.
Not to mention all the cafe stops. $$$$$

10) Lastly and most importantly I’ve learned that if there’s the slightest possibility you may have to stop ahead, un-clip your shoes NOW!

If you wait till the last minute Murphy’s Law will come into play and your shoe will get stuck in the pedal and you WILL fall.
It will be embarrassing and you may break your phone and your ego…..never mind body parts.

Get around this view from my bike…senses were certainly alive on this ride.