The State of My Cycling–Adversity Builds Character…At least I Hope So.

I can’t lie to you all. It has been a couple of tough outings on the bike.Getting ready to ride

Long time readers (I assume there are a couple of them) will know that I joined a cycling club to get out there and ride my bike. The club atmosphere has been great. The people are friendly and helpful and it certainly gets me up early on a Sunday (and lately has contributed nicely to my post ride afternoon nap). As I said, the cycling has been a little harder than expected.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One is weight. No, I am not blaming the weight of my bike. One of the club members commented that it costs about a thousand dollars to decrease the bike weight by a pound. I commented that I could probably lose weight for less. Though I mentioned it first, it really isn’t the biggest problem. I joined the club to get in shape, but that is going to take time.

On one of my previous rides, I just completely lost energy. I just didn’t have it. Of course, cycling has a name for this. They call it bonking. Great name, very onomatopoetic, but not particularly descriptive for a wordy person like myself. I blame the fact that it was the steepest hill in the area and because we were crossing a road, I didn’t really get a lot of momentum built up.

Luckily other club members, were looking out for me–I didn’t get dropped. One rider, graciously, gave me his Cliff bar. It certainly wasn’t fun walking my bike up the hill in clipped shoes. It was interesting to hear lots of advice about nutrition and electrolytes and everything else. It was rather overwhelming, but I guess I will have to do some reading.

The ride was long (by my standards) but at least we made it to the lake.

The next week out, I arrived at the meeting point with electrolytes loaded into my water bottles, a couple of energy bars stowed away, and a soft tire. I had pumped it up before I left my house–because I learned that lesson the first week when I showed up with a soft tire before we even started. On that occasion, somebody managed to have a floor pump and made short work of my soft tire.

This time, I struggled with my hand pump. Other members determined that I needed to change my tube. We’ll call that a learning experience. It also necessitated a stop at one of the member’s houses to utilize the more efficient floor pump.

The ride was hot and humid and the hills never seemed to stop–despite the ride leader saying that we only had one more to go (just a side note, in five rides, I have heard them say that this was the last hill more than five times–and they were never right).

As we crested the last hill, I noticed my other tire was flat. Here we go again.

With the generous loan/gift of a tube from of one of the other riders, I changed the flat (lessons learned put to good use) and eventually we got going. Sadly, not being an F1 pit crew, the change and inflation via my hand pump took too long for the other members. Going down hill was fun though, despite the fact that the road was rather choppy.

When I got home and had a moment to be introspective, I checked my original tube and found that it wasn’t leaking. I hadn’t tightened the “pinch” on the end of it like I am supposed to. I guess, I am still living in the past with the tires on my teenage bike. These new valves are trickier than I thought.

I have also managed to fall more times than is the norm when getting out of the bike clips. My students are starting to wonder why I shop up every week with new bruises and scabs

Lessons learned–the hard way, maybe the only way I am going to learn them.


I also seemed to be amassing quite an interesting lexicon of cycling terms. These include:

  • bonking
  • pinch
  • back chain amino acids (this is not exclusive to cycling, but I just thought I would put it here to reward myself for remembering it)

Bike Lust


Though I promised it would never happen to me, I have gotten bike lust.  The Pinarello Dogma K8-S looks amazing.  I will never be able to justify spending that kind of money (especially since I am not proving myself to be a Tour De France Contender), but bike lust is what I have.  Maybe if I became a famous blogger, someone would ask me to do a review of it…

About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
This entry was posted in bicycles, cycling, exercise, fitness, hobbies, learning, nutrition, obstacles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The State of My Cycling–Adversity Builds Character…At least I Hope So.

  1. bribikes says:

    That bike is beautiful, indeed! I am so glad you have found a club to ride with, that is awesome 🙂

  2. windswept007 says:

    “You only fail if you give up”

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