10 confessions of a clumsy cyclist

I like to use this blog as a space to process the lessons I’ve learned, air my concerns and celebrate my achievements. Of course, this will continue to be the case.

But every now and then, when the world is in dire straits – and let’s be honest, it is – sometimes all we can do is see the funny side of things and have a little laugh at ourselves. It keeps us sane.

One of the things I love about writing this blog, is hearing from other people that they relate to my struggles. So here is a list of confessions – 10, to be exact – of how I’m not the world’s most perfect cyclist, and how I’ve still got a lot to learn.

  1. I wobble. My balance is actually pretty shoddy, and from time to time I wobble. It’s usually when I’m concentrating too hard on trying to avoid a hazard (inevitably staring at it and riding straight into it), or trying to multitask with my hands.
  2. I can’t dismount efficiently. I see other riders approach their destination, and glide to smooth stop as they gracefully swing their right leg back over the saddle. When I stop, I grind to a halt, splaying both feet out until one or them touches the ground, and then awkwardly swing a short stubby leg over, trying not to topple.
  3. I forget to plan ahead. Generally this isn’t too bad, but every so often I approach a hazard at high speed, fully aware of it, but choose not to shift down until the very last minute, usually because some part of me expects it to be gone by the time I get there. This usually results in me shuddering to a sudden halt to avoid bumping into the cyclist ahead of me.
  4. I can’t clip in on the right. When I kick off at the lights, I’ll usually spend a few minutes fiddling around with my right foot, trying to clip in and haphazardly missing the cleat every single time. That reminds me…
  5. I kick off on the wrong foot. Perhaps you could argue that there’s no right or wrong here, but generally in the UK cyclists kick off with their right foot on the pedal and their left foot on the kerb. I’m the opposite. I’ll be laughing when I go cycling abroad though, and the tables are turned.
  6. I ride the brakes. It’s no secret that I’m not a confident descender. Of all the parts of my bike that wear and tear, my rear brake pads suffer the most.
  7. I sometimes zone out. We’re all guilty of this. Unfortunately I tend to do it while I’m overtaking another cyclist, and take a while to notice that I’m about to have a head-on collision. Thankfully it hasn’t happened just yet, as I usually manage to snap out of it in time.
  8. I can’t signal while going downhill. I’m still a bit terrible at signalling left on a good day, but if I’m going downhill and picking up speed, my hands are firmly on the brakes.
  9. I can’t bunny hop a kerb. Generally not a problem, but there’s a certain part of my route home which requires mounting a pavement. All too often, a vehicle obstructs the drop-kerb, so I have to stop and manoeuvre. Combined with confession #2, this means I end up doing ‘the waddle’ while still mounted. The top tube can often prove to be painful if done incorrectly.
  10. I always, without fail, end up with a chain stain. Enough said, really.

How many of these can you relate to?

What confessions would you add?

Go on, don’t be shy. We’re all friends here.


3 Replies to “10 confessions of a clumsy cyclist”

  1. I get neurotic about mechanical noises coming from my bike. The aluminium frame seems to act like a tuning fork or something so any creaking metal sounds appear far worse than they really are. So if I hear something then obvs it means my frame is going to snap in half when I’m the furthest away from home with no backup and obvs a serial killer will be waiting behind that tree over there etc.

    The reality of it is that the only mechanical I’ve had in a year is a puncture, which happened 5k from home and didn’t fully deflate so I didn’t have to walk. Karma!

    On another note: if you feel your handling skills need work, then the best place to improve them is off-road. One hour of riding off-road is worth ten hours riding on-road for improving balance/coordination/braking skills etc. IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

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