Ragtime Cyclist column

Cyclists take advantage of the good weather.
Cyclists take advantage of the good weather.

Cycling is traditionally a sport for the stoical.

Back in the days when men were men and cycling kit was woollen, if you wanted glory, attention, or even a small pat on the back, you were well advised to pick a different way to spend your weekends.

But times have changed.

Thankfully it’s no longer seen as a sign of weakness to be nice to someone, and with this softening has come a flair for the drama of the sport that can be summed up in one word: epic.

There was a time when if a cyclist talked about an epic day on the bike, you would expect to hear a story of such desperation, suffering and soul searching that it would be scarcely believable they’d lived to tell the tale.

By those standards, whatever it was that led to you needing a cuddle, a bit of a lie down on the settee and a nice cup of tea probably wasn’t.

Just because you went for a ride and got very tired; or you got a couple of punctures in the middle of nowhere; or you ran out of water 20 miles from home; or it rained and you’d forgotten your waterproof; or your GPS packed in and you took a few wrong turns and added an hour onto your ride, doesn’t necessarily mean your ride was an epic.

If you overuse the phrase epic for all those unpleasant but ultimately fairly commonplace circumstances, where does that leave you when you encounter a true adventure?

It’s perfectly acceptable to go out for a ride, have a nice time, make your legs ache riding up a few hills, and return home none the worse for wear.

Just a ride: not anything that deserves a round of applause, and certainly not an epic.

We share far too much these days.

If you find yourself getting involved in some adventure out on the bike, think very carefully about how you describe it to your mates afterwards – if you’re still in one piece and walking and talking it’s always to your credit to casually brush it off as ‘no big deal’.

You can always have a cuddle and a cup of tea later on. Behind closed doors of course.