Things I Never Thought I Would Do When I Started Bicycling… (On Becoming a Weekend Warrior)

About this time last year, my wife and I started riding bicycles. This was just after the first COVID-19 lock-down in South Africa, and we wanted to find a way to get fit – and for me to potentially decrease my comorbidities. We made the mistake of going as cheap as we could when buying bikes – and with a whole lot of other things. My wife even going so far as to completely restore and overhaul a vintage bike.

It has been a year now, and we are still loving riding our bicycles (we are both now on our second round of upgraded bikes). We do not call ourselves ‘cyclists’ because we ride mountain bikes – and I think that term is mainly reserved for roadies. But also because we can still only manage 25-30 kilometers at a stretch. We are bicyclers. Or bicycle enthusiasts – or just weekend warriors (a term which might have some negative connotations to some, but one which we quite enjoy.)

Here are few things I never thought we would do a year ago…

Spending an obscene amount of money on a dual shock bike. Only to realize this is only ‘entry level’.

Buying a season pass to our favorite trail. Because a twenty-ride ticket is worth it.

Buying padded pants. For the sensitive bits.

Spending over two hours pedalling.

Getting fit enough to overtake more people than overtake us.

Beaming with pride when my co-adventuring wife makes a jump or clears a tough section.

Seeing mud and dust as a sign of a good day.

Wearing Lycra. And shirts with pockets at the back.

Having dedicated playlists to match my intended cadence.

Judging roads by how bicycle friendly they are.

Seeing parts of my hometown I never knew existed.

Pulling for cyclists climbing a steep hill when I pass them in my car.

Being proud of my bruises.

Believing that stickers make bikes go faster.

Understanding in detail how creating more bicycle friendly cities is good for the economy.

Knowing where to find all the bicycle shops in the area.

Having a new definition of ‘my people’.

Traveling further to reach a trail than the time it takes to ride it.

Seeing caffeine as something to help me through a trail rather than through the day.

Knowing what people mean when they talk about a cassette and a derailleur and dropper.

Understanding that ‘technical’ means rocky.

Knowing that the ‘chicken’ option is most often the better, less painful, and less expensive route.

Knowing that ‘rock gardens’ are not pretty.

Knowing that dry lube is a very necessary thing. For the chain.

Knowing how to pronounce (and use) chamois cream. (And not to double-dip.)

Realizing that so many bike people are good and kind. They just look unfriendly when they are riding hard.

Considering holiday destinations by how many trails are nearby.

Boring other people with stories about what happened this weekend on the trails.

Seeing wildlife like kudu, warthog, and hikers every weekend.

Happily spending money on weird things like a shock pump, arm sleeves, and a link measurer.

Spending money servicing my bike. (I really did not know that this was a thing.)

Consoling my wife when she had to let her old bike go when she upgraded. And finding it so emotional to do the same thing.

Buying my wife a bicycle bell as a romantic gift.

Spending hours watching YouTube videos trying to learn how to ‘manual’ – and still not being able to.

Rearranging our garage to fit our bikes.

Organizing our entire weekend around bicycles.

Looking forward to holidays because I can spend more time on my bicycle.

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