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Cycling: By Captain Terry 'Flash' Gordon

Updated: Nov 29, 2021


A Deep Dive Into Cycling By Captain Terry "Flash' Gordon

Whether you are one, or you hate them, this article is for you as I take a deep dive into the good and the bad of cycling. For you cyclists, I'm a cyclist too, so I'm entitled to comment. For haters, this might help you understand, if not, be more patient and possibly help you avoid getting a punch in the nose.

It's been said that cycling is the new golf. I guess that's because instead of bragging around the water cooler about your handicap, you're now bragging about your time around lake Taupo. Instead of spending thousands on new clubs but still being quite useless, you're now spending even more on name-brand bikes and are still quite useless.

And speaking of your Taupo time, if you haven't been under 5 hours, I wouldn't mention it in mixed company. For those who hail from foreign lands, the Taupo bike race is 156km long and has about 1,700m of climbing. The pros do it in about 3 hours 45 minutes, and my best was 4 hours 22 minutes a few years back. It starts at around 8 am, and some people don't complete it in daylight. My mate Donsan who weighs about 125kg, was trying to do it in under 8 hours one year, and he ended up finishing in 8 hours 0 minutes and 15 seconds. I asked him what had happened, and he said he stopped for a pie and a poo in Turangi. I pointed out that if he hadn't have wiped his arse, he would have gone under 8 hours.

But enough of Taupo. Let's get on with this. I'll cover everything under main headings to make it easier, and I'll write slowly in case you are from Eketahuna or Australia.

The gear is made of lycra and must be colour coordinated and aero even though your lardass body is not. Wearing branded gear from the pro cycling teams is the sign of a tosser. No one really thinks you ride for that team. Locally branded stuff is much cheaper. Nothing says you are a dreamer more than having your seat too low and legs splayed out to the sides. Hairy legs are generally a no-no, too, especially if you are a girl.

Owning a twenty thousand dollar bike with a power meter, bike computer, rear traffic radar and sporting lights so powerful that they cause car accidents and can be seen from space is called 'having all the gear and no idea'.

For non-cyclists, I'd sit down for this piece of news and if you are eating, maybe stop for a bit because it turns out that cyclists don't wear underwear under their lycra. Inside those sexy looking bike shorts is a piece of sponge known as a chamois. Imagine what that sponge is subjected to over a 5-hour race or training ride. If you were to wring it out afterwards and then dilute the result with flat beer, say 50:50, then you would have something that could replace weapons-grade uranium in nuclear warheads. Don't tell the Iranians! #Deathtoamerica

Bad form is wearing a high visibility vest and having a rear vision mirror sticking out from your helmet. A chainring tattoo that results from your right leg leaning on the chainring is worse form. Finally, having a basket on the front of your bike is punishable by death.


It's also bad form to wave your arms at cars, yell abuse at pedestrians or drivers, not follow the road rules and be unreasonable, riding next to each other and holding up traffic unnecessarily.

Cycling technique is essential. Experienced cyclists can tell by watching someone whether they are pretenders or not. Pumping the pedals instead of spinning, standing too much and not being aerodynamic will not only show you up, but they will waste energy as well.

Ego is critical. When passing people, you must look straight ahead, pretend you haven't seen them and speed up so as to sweep past at speed, thus landing a psychological blow like the WW2 invasion of Poland. Some riders get off on this, and their sole purpose is to go out and pass people. The sooner they achieve the required number of passes, the sooner they can go home. Many riders can be on death's door towards the end of a ride, but then they spot another rider in the distance, and it's game on.

Types of bikes include road, mountain, track, time trial, and travel. As a joke, the manufacturers came out with gravel bikes too, which are supposed to be a cross between mountain and road but are actually road bikes with wider tyres. Based on a correct assumption that cyclists are silly enough to believe anything and have the money to back it up, the manufacturers have continuously made subtle changes that people can't do without to remain competitive or look the part.

Mountain bike wheels used to have a diameter of 26 inches. Then the manufacturers changed to 27.5 inches and said they rolled easier over the rough ground so were more efficient. They waited until everyone had bought the new bikes, and then the following day, they changed to 29 inches. Based on this and the supposed efficiencies, we can eventually expect a 55-inch wheel in a few weeks, which will be even better. I wonder if anyone will notice that we have come full circle and are riding penny-farthings again.

Apart from enriching the manufacturers and giving them a huge laugh, this continuous upgrade cycle has meant that second-hand bikes and parts are basically useless and can be had for 50 cents. If you aren't fussy, that's not a bad deal.

E-bikes are for the aged and infirm, not for competitive people. It is so not ok to ride past a regular cyclist on an e-bike with a triumphant grin on your face. You, sir, are a dickhead. E-bike riders who call into cafes dressed in all the gear, including wearing face paint, ammunition belts and night vision goggles at 10am should be thrashed with a stick. They swagger around like they are just back from invading a foreign country, and then chat loudly about how far they have come. These cretins should be made to listen to a Jacinda Adern press conference over and over.

Rental Bikes are something you might have to put up with from time to time. They are generally a disappointment, and I recommend you take some tools and lube. The chain will be rusty because the last guy used it in the sea, so the lube will help there. Lube will also be helpful if the seat collapses and you are left with only the seat post to sit on. Rental bikes are generally so worn and inefficient that even a pro cyclist will be passed by old ladies on standard bikes. The last time I hired one, I actually passed someone and got so excited that I fell off.

Murphys Law applies to cycling just as much as anything else. As a rule, you can not have seen a car for ten minutes, but when one comes, another will come from the opposite direction, and they will pass at your position and run you into the ditch. If you get a flat tyre, it will be in the rear wheel because this is harder and dirtier to change with all the chain and gears. Some people are pretty good at changing tyres, and some are not. My mate Pieface (because his face looks like a dropped pie) once took so long to change a tyre that Discovery Channel made a three-part documentary about it. Unfortunately, three people died during the making of it. Two of the film crew from old age and one of the crowd when he fell in front of a passing truck while bent over laughing. Myself? Well, I can change a front tyre while still riding by pulling the front up in a wheelie and riding on the back wheel until I'm finished.

Darwins Law states that specific actions should increase the quality of the gene pool by removing the idiots from the pool. Actions that are part of Darwin's law are wearing black gear at night, insisting on your rights and riding three abreast on crowded roads in redneck areas or going too fast past schools at drop-off or pickup time where school Mums are highly focused on one goal only and are always late.

Coffee culture is where cyclists all call in, all at once, to a cafe and sit around drinking coffee and eating donuts. They will be sweaty, dirty and noisy, which other customers may find unpleasant. They will also have reasonable leg definition but zero upper-body definition, which is not attractive. As a general rule, there is always one of the riders who, through prior fame (50 years ago) or just through sheer Alpha male behaviour, dominates the conversation and holds court. If there are twenty people in the group, this person talks for 75% of the time and is the speaker at least every second statement. You know who you are!

Personally, I dislike this coffee culture, so I do it the other way. First, I'll get dressed in my branded gear and do some pushups to pump up my arms and chest. Then I'll head to the coffee shop before the ride while I'm still clean and pretend to have already ridden from a neighbouring country. The aim here is to pick up women by looking cool and like a warrior at the same time. It hasn't worked yet, but I'm growing a moustache and will wear aviator glasses next time, so there's no doubt my plan will work then.

Let's finish with some useful cycling terms, shall we?

Bonking. This is where you failed to eat enough and ran your glycogen levels too low. When this happens, a dog turd on the roadside looks like a hot scone with jam and cream, and your power output reduces to that of a geriatric butterfly.

Bonking…what your wife wishes you had the energy to do after a long bike ride, but you don't.

Cycling widow.....your wife in the line above.

Clydesdale A cyclist who weighs over 100kg.

Drafting is hiding behind another cyclist to keep out of the wind. Done well, this can reduce your required power by up to 30%. But watch for farts, and the view isn't great. If you are a Clydesdale, it won't work sitting behind that skinny chick.

Drafting Drinking draft beer after a ride to rehydrate.

Taking a pull The first time I was encouraged to do this in the peloton, I thought I could use one for sure, but it's an odd place to be doing it and not very private. Then I realised it meant sitting on the front for a bit and breaking the wind for the line of cyclists following.

#cycling #drafting #Clydesdale #coffeeculture #bike #cyclist #Taupo #bikerace


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