For those familiar with the Velominati, you will know rule #5 – Harden the **** up. Many cyclists consider cycling as one of the toughest sports there is, and will cite the Tour de France as proof of its gruelling demands. There are plenty of stories of cyclists enduring hours on the bike after crashes and completing stages with broken collarbones, and the such.
There are numerous measures of cycling prowess; cycling up famous climbs such as Alpe d’Huez or Mont Ventoux can be worn as badges of honour by us un-professional cyclists. Cyclists are fond of sharing tales of their achievements, of crashes, both avoided and unavoided, challenging weather, brutal climbs and hair-raising descents.
My recent cycling holiday in Mallorca tells another story, perhaps we’re not so tough. Let me share a few conversations I overheard, mostly whilst sat in cafes consuming an agua con gas, where the only thing making me out of breath was inhaling the icing sugar on top of my almond cake.
‘I don’t want to ruin my tan lines’, on hearing this Mr M. did confess to me that he had brought two pairs of the same cycling shorts to avoid this very problem.
‘Are we going back the same way as we came?’ overheard as a group of 10 cyclists passed the café for the second time in 5 minutes.
‘We’re definitely gonna need the granny ring to get out of this town’, said by an american in pro-looking kit to is cycling companion in matching clothes. Debatable I thought, as the hill was only a few meters.
‘This is going to ruin my Strava average’, heard more than once at cafe stops.
Three burly Swiss men at a beach café, ‘They don’t have any herbal tea, I’ve ordered you a cafe con leche’, much to their amusement.
‘This wasn’t in the itinerary’ said by me as I dragged my bike for 500m through knee length thistles, disguising a rocky path.
‘I wish I’d packed my other Rapha jersey, it would have co-ordinated with my rented bike’, also said by me.
Hot-dog legs courtesy of the Mechanic.