Upgrade from your mother’s (or grandmother’s) bike that was likely manufactured from a recycled WWII airplane

You know exactly what I am talking about. The bike probably lived in the barn for several decades before you rescued it, it may have three speeds (but probably has one), the thing weighs as much as a Harley, and you only enjoy the ride when you go downhill…and when you get off.


Purchase a helmet that doesn’t look like a bowling ball cut in half

Do yourself a favor by ditching that helmet that you dug out of the shed. Yes, the one that was home to a litter of raccoons.

Carry a spare tube and frame pump on all rides

Now that you have a bike that doesn’t constantly attempt to disprove Newton’s laws of motion, you are capable of leaving your usual loop. This is a big step, because on your usual loop, you could always see your house.

Purchase cycling shorts

Now that you are logging in some miles, your derriere will begin to complain. After trying to duct tape a pillow to your seat, you’re suddenly going to realize that your cycling aficionado neighbors have not been wearing adult diapers all along – they have cushions built into their undershorts! This will be a revolutionary moment.

Wear your cycling shorts in public

This will be a monumental leap, as you will now publically display yourself as a cyclist. You will trade your ego and last shred of dignity for the undeniable comfort of a padded butt. People may assume that you are perpetually incontinent.


Make the leap and purchase clipless pedals and shoes

No matter how hard you pedal, all your friends will seem faster than you. On hills, they will completely drop you. You’re frightened by the concept of being locked into your bike, but you can’t stand being left in the dust any longer. The moment you try out your new shoes and pedals will rival the moment you had your first cup of coffee – how could you have ever lived without it?

Become proud of the sprocket tattoo on your calf

Forget about being embarrassed by that grease print on your calf –  it will be emblematic of your membership in the cycling cult. You will wear this badge with honor, and sometimes can’t help showing it off. It contrasts nicely with your tanned, toned cycling legs. And every now and then, you will flirt with the idea of getting a permanent version.

Become more diligent about restocking the cycling magazines in your bathroom than restocking the TP

This needs no explanation. However, the consequences are dire if your partner is not a cyclist.

Spend more on your bicycle than you did on your car

This is a necessary rite of passage. Feed that insatiable desire for carbon, forget financial prudence – a new steed awaits! This moment is similar to #6: how did you ever live without this? By this point, grandma’s bike is a cute garden ornament.


Devote your hard earned vacation to cycling

All of your friends and coworkers will think you are bat poop crazy when you book a week long cycling adventure. But they just don’t understand. Yes, there is a certain allure to basking on a white sand beach in the tropics, but your work life is terribly sedentary, so why should your vacation be sedentary too? Instead, you will spend the week cycling through breathtaking vistas, smirking the entire time when you think about the boring vacations that everyone else is having.

Congratulations, you are now a diehard cyclist!  You have now bound yourself to a life of exercise, adventure, and possibly an emptier wallet.  There is one tiny caveat: there’s no going back.

Happy travels.

By Jon Ignatowski, Great Freedom Adventures Tour Leader