5 things you shouldn’t say to a new cyclist

Welcome to the wonderful world of cross training! I’ll be your host – the still very injured runner, turned very scared cyclist.

Of course I use “cyclist” with a sly little smile and a nod to people who are actually able to ride a bike. Because I can’t steer straight and I’m too frightened to take one hand off the handlebars for even a second. So I’m more of a cyc-lost right now.

Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I’ve been harping on about buying a bike for years. That is not hyperbole. Every time a specialist or physio suggested I cross train, or whenever a friend bought a bike of their very own, I’d go through the same rhetoric. “I should really do that…”, which awakens a little voice in my head for his two-cents-worth.

You can hardly drive here, how are you going to ride a bike in California? There are so many hills here, you can’t even run up them! What happens when you get a flat? Or the chain comes off?

On and on it goes, giving me lots of good reasons to enjoy the status quo. What changed? I started coaching a running group through Operation Move and suddenly I couldn’t tell them to get out there and train if I wasn’t doing the same thing. When one treadmill session ended in total agony I knew I had to stop being so wishy washy and take the plunge.

I know some people who didn’t necessarily get the lesson on tact as they were growing up. As a result, every new decision I make or path I take is met with some very interesting reactions and diatribes. If this sounds like you, here are a few tips on what words shouldn’t cross your lips when talking to a new cyclist.

Image result for Tact's just not saying true stuff+cordelia

  1. Remember that girl who died on her bike? 
    Yes actually, I do remember her. It’s all I can do to keep her out of my brain when I’m strapping on my helmet and praying that some maniac doesn’t run a red light and plow into me with their car. I do appreciate your concern, but maybe you could express it in another way, like asking about what cool gear I bought along with my bike. Such as a helmet.
  2. That story about your cousin’s, uncle’s, daughter’s son falling off his bike and breaking every bone in his body.
    This one really is a no-brainer. If I wasn’t starting this whole biking thing, I’d probably happily listen to this story and make all of the horrified expressions at the right times. I might not even give it another thought afterwards. But now it’s a little too real. Knowing that falling in one particular way could sever my spinal cord or shatter my leg is NOT something that will help me sleep at night.
  3. Did you buy a [insert technical jargon here]? You don’t want to look like a rookie!
    Right now, I’ve got enough to think about. Does my butt look hilarious in these padded pants (not important but it’s a thought)? Why does my right heel keep clipping the pedal mechanism? Uh oh, here comes an obstacle. My fingers are freezing, I really need gloves… etc. Anyone who can’t already tell that I’m a rookie needs their eyesight checked and I don’t need to be worrying about that as well.
  4. So, where’s your lycra?
    That’s just not funny. But if you must know, it’s at home, with my running gear because I don’t wear that stuff to work.
  5. You’ll be fine, it’s just like riding a bike!
    Hahahaha, I see what you did there, Very nice, you rapscallion you. So funny and topical etc. No one forgets how to ride a bike, right? Well no they don’t, but that doesn’t mean they feel confident in their skills and don’t wobble around like crazy.

Do you ride a bike? What was your learning experience like? Care to add to my list of what not to say?

Linking up with Sunday Fitness and Food, and:



25 thoughts on “5 things you shouldn’t say to a new cyclist

  1. I love cycling. My husband or my girlfriends and I often do rides together. We like to throw the bikes on the back of the car and drive somewhere interesting and do a ride with a coffee break halfway. One thing you shouldn’t say to a cyclist is “You’re too old to cycle”! #TeamLovinLife

    1. Hahaha, I love it Kathy! You’re never “too old” for anything in my opinion! I just need a bit more confidence and I’ll be hanging out at cafes on Saturday mornings with other cyclists!

  2. I haven’t ridden a bike since I was at school (30yrs ago) and I hate exercise bikes cos they hurt my butt!

    Mind you I really need to do SOME exercise at the moment as I’m doing nothing and feel really bad about it!

    Happy riding!

    1. I rode a bike as a kid, and then once through Austria about 9 or so years ago? But you’re right, they totally hurt your butt… hence the strange padded shorts I bought.

      Exercise bikes are ok, I just find them boring. There’s always walking? Or swimming?

    1. It’s never too late Sue! I was looking at this post from Sammie over at The Annoyed Thyroid last month, about learning to ride a bike as an adult and it was such a great push in the right direction!

  3. I love cycling and we often strap the bikes to the car and go off somewhere for the day or cycle straight out of our front door. Perth is wonderful because of all the bike paths we have. Don’t tell me I’m too old though! #teamlovinlife

    1. That’s the spirit Jo! I used to live in Perth and I noticed that there were heaps of cyclists and great bike paths. You guys are very lucky.

  4. I’ve been a bike rider since I was 6. I love bike riding… except for the time, when I was around 10, when I was carrying/dangling a plastic bag on the handlebars and it strayed into the front wheel! I ended up in the ambulance station having gravel removed!!

    1. Oh Lyndall…. *shudder*
      There’s this saying in Maltese that my Dad used to say every time we hurt ourselves “tikber u tinsa” which translates to “you’ll grow up and you’ll forget”. But I don’t think you’d ever forget something like that!
      When I was learning to ride as a kid I turned the handlebars too sharply and ended up with a rusty handlebar end in the stomach. I say “in” the stomach, but you know what I mean, enough to leave a big, round scab.

  5. I only just learned to ride a bike at the age of 45. I can’t steer straight either, heck, I can just about balance. Your bike looks mighty fine, reading this post has inspired me to do some bike shopping because if I don’t have a bike to practise on, I’m never going to be a whizz on wheels. High five to you for riding those San Fran hills! You must be a super cyclist if you’re riding the roads – go you!

    1. I thought the bike you were riding in that post about learning as an adult was yours! Haha, yes you have to go out and get yourself a bike to practice on! And you just know that I bought this bike because it was the only pop of colour in a long row of black bikes 😉
      Oh gosh, I’m not riding the roads yet, just got the bike last weekend. And I still need a helmet.

  6. me and bikes aren’t friends. I’ve tried to get to know them better – & as a kid we actually got on quite well. These days? Yeah nah…Loved your list. #teamlovinlife

  7. LOL.
    I am not a fan of the bike. Actually, I AM a fan of the bike for the first ride. Make that the first 20 minutes of the first ride. Then I get serious bike-bum and bike-other-bits-and-pieces that are near your bum,and then the bike goes away for another year.

  8. I love cycling! Well I used to! I haven’t cycled in many years, but I would love to again. I remember getting my first bike as a child in around Year 6. I rode it up and down the street every day after school until I was steady and sure. I rode my bike to all my friends houses and all around my neighbourhood. You don’t realise how fit you are as a kid. I rode that bike everywhere through my teens too. Sadly it got sold but I would really like a new one to ride along the waterfront at home. #TeamLovinLife

  9. This is a funny post! I’m one of those runners who is scared of cycling – at least on busy streets:) So no triathlon for me at this point..

    1. Oh gosh, me too. I’m still that runner who’s scared of cycling, even though I have a bike now. I’m sticking to weekend cycling where they close some roads just for cyclists. Even then I’m a bit worried.

  10. Haha! I cycle all the time and still hate hearing these things. Thanks so much for linking up at Sunday Fitness & Food 🙂

    1. Well then I guess it should be called “Why don’t you have any tact, stop saying things like this to people”. Hehehe

  11. My husband and I road bike! And though it can be a bit overwhelming with DC city traffic, it’s so nice once we get out of the city! There are beautiful rides in Berkeley/Orinda, if you ever make it out that way. Keep it up!!

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