Twelve signs you’ve become a seasoned bike commuter

Have you crossed the line from 'person who rides in' to office bike guru?

Oh the joys of bike commuting! From early starts in the drizzling rain, to the inevitable moment you realise you’ve reached the office without a pair of ‘normal’, non-cycling trousers to wear that day.

Aggressive drivers, dreadful weather and a supercharged appetite that will see you consume thousands of calories every lunchtime – all these things and more are part and parcel of the cycle commuter’s lifestyle.

Do you ride to work by bike? (Pic: Strava)

Maybe you’ve been riding to and from work for a while now, but you’re not sure yet if the label ‘commuter’ applies to you?

To mark Strava’s Global Bike to Work Day on Tuesday May 10, we’ve come up with 12 signs that you’ve crossed over the line from ‘person who occasionally rides to their job’ to ‘seasoned bike commuter’.

You always seem to arrive at work extremely happy and energetic

Do you find your mood is always significantly better than most of your co-workers first thing on a Monday morning?

That’s because cycling is absolutely brilliant and makes your brain really happy and stuff. Maybe that’s not quite the most scientific way of putting it, but you get the picture: exercise + fun = endorphins = a better attitude and a better employee.

Ok, riding to work can be hard, particularly if your faced with a block headwind all the way in, but we reckon seasoned bike commuters are among the cheeriest people in any work environment. After all, who wants to stand on a jam-packed train?

There’s no better way to start the day than with a bike ride (Pic: Strava)

You’ve got more wardrobe changes than Madonna

What’s the point of carrying a spare set of clothes with you every day to and from work?

If you wear them to ride in they’ll get stanky, if it rains they’ll get damp in your bag and if you stash them inside a plastic bag inside a rucksack they’ll get creased beyond all recognition.

It’s way easier and more efficient if you keep a set of regular togs at the office and change into them when you arrive.

If you often look in your bottom desk drawer for a stapler and end up discovering a pair of trousers, two shirts and one shoe you thought you’d lost six months ago, that’s a sure sign you’re a seasoned bike commuter.

If your office starts to look like a cross between your local bike shop and a high street clothes store then you know you’re a season cycle commuter

You are the office bike guru

Ever been minding your own business at your desk when Darren from accounts sidles up and starts asking you impossibly vague questions about cycling?

“Yeah so basically, I went out for a ride with my girlfriend at the weekend and all of a sudden her bike made this really loud ‘SPROING, BANG, WHUMMING’ noise and it just wouldn’t work after that. Any idea what that was?”

If you commute to work long enough your co-workers will begin to see you as ‘that bike guy’ or ‘the cyclist girl’ – coming to you with all their two-wheeled questions and quandaries.

It’s a cross all long-time commuters have to bear, so be patient and do your best to help.

Harder, better, FASTER

Bike commuters have a tendency to get a little bit, how can we say this, ’obsessive’ about finding the quickest route to and from the workplace.

When you’ve really got the bug, you’ll probably start boasting to anyone who’ll listen about how rapidly you covered the distance door-to-door.

It’s not uncommon in really severe cases for the rider to perform a mini fist pump as they arrive in an all-new fastest time.

You’ve ranked every type of road user

As much as we’d like everyone to get along on the road, that’s not always the case and inside a bike commuter’s brain is a carefully ordered list of every conceivable mode of transport, ranked entirely based on how irritating they can be to share the road with.

For some it’s bus drivers that top the table, others just can’t stand taxis (we can’t help but feel the feeling’s mutual there), yet others find a particular type of cyclist the most infuriating.

Chances are, you’ve totted up exactly how much you’ve saved by riding to work (Pic: Dimitri Hon via Flickr Creative Commons)

You know EXACTLY how much money you’ve saved by commuting

“Well sure, the bike cost £1,500, but if you factor in the average price of a monthly train ticket, the reduced petrol consumption and maintenance from not driving a car, and adjust all that based on the current strength of the Euro, I think you’ll find I’ve actually saved roughly £907. And 24p.”

“I’ve got nothing to wear (except hi-vis)”

When you commute to work on busy roads it’s smart to stay as safe as possible. A big part of being safe is being seen, so hardened commuters will have invested in at least a handful of pieces of high-visibility gear.

If you’ve been commuting long enough you could find that the balance between normal and hi-viz gear in your wardrobe has tipped dramatically in favour of the latter.

Wardrobe full of hi-vis kit?

You hate punctures with a vengeance

On a normal weekend ride a puncture is a minor inconvenience (as long as you have a spare tube and the right tools to sort it out), but if you’re commuting then it becomes so much worse.

If you get a flat you’ve got a few minutes to assess the problem, work out how long it’s going to delay you and whether you need to put in a quick call to your boss to apologise in advance for being late. What a nightmare!

You have invested considerably more than is necessary in bike gear

Maybe you ride your regular road bike to work, or maybe you’ve got a commuting hack specifically for the job in hand. If it’s the latter then chances are you have spent a fair bit of dosh on trying to make your bike as resilient as possible when it comes to the weather, punctures and mechanical errors.

You spent HOW much on cycling kit?

Full-length mudguards, tyres thicker than rhino hide and the best damn pair of tyre levers money can buy will probably all feature in an experienced bike commuter’s life at some stage.

Just don’t let your non-cycling spouse, partner or significant other know how much you spent.

You pity the fools who don’t wear appropriate cycling gear

Seeing riders out on a rainy, windswept morning on their way to work in nothing more than a T-shirt gives you a feeling of part-pity, part-scorn.

Today is NOT the day for a short sleeve jersey

You have ‘the knowledge’

If you’ve spent a couple of years commuting then there’s a good chance you know by heart every shortcut, one-way street and zebra crossing in your town or city – just like a taxi driver.

You may well have moved house or changed offices in the past few years, yet all that does is deepen your knowledge of the locale.

Bonus commuter points if you’ve actually started memorising the timings of each set of traffic lights on your route.

You’ll have a better knowledge of your local roads than a taxi driver (Pic: Strava)

“Just imagine how quick I’d go if I wasn’t commuting”

Ever taken a Strava KOM while commuting? That’s one awesome feeling. For many commuters, the journey to and from work is the only ‘training’ they have time for and if you’re sensible about it, you can use that time to get fit.

You may even be able to trick yourself into thinking you have a shot at beating the pros – if only they made them race the Tour de France in business suits and carrying a laptop in a pannier bag, then we’d see how fast Kittel really is.

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