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‘Are you riding the Tour de France?’ and other silly questions every cyclist gets asked

Cycling's quirky traditions inspire some curious queries from friends and family

Not everyone has come to love cycling quite as much as you. For people who aren’t very knowledgable about the sport, it’s no surprise there’s a lot of questions that come to mind when your passion for cycling comes up. As a cyclist, you’ve probably gotten used to curious enquires about your hobby from friends and family. Many of these questions are based on general interest in your riding but can seem downright silly, especially when you know the answer you’ll give will take them a moment to wrap their head around.

How far do you ride?

We aren’t sure what people expect to hear as an answer when they ask this. A 70 km might not seem like much for someone who is accustomed to knocking out 160 km rides on their weekends but to your inquisitive friend or family member, it might seem crazy to ride so far. Distance isn’t everything either. One hour of hard intervals will feel a lot more difficult than a three-hour endurance ride.

Don’t you get bored riding alone?

Many cyclists really enjoy riding alone. That time can be spent reflecting. It acts as an escape from the routine of everyday life and a moment of peace in your otherwise busy life. While cyclists love riding with others, we certainly will also enjoy a beautiful solo ride as well. Time in the saddle enjoying our hobby is always well spent.

Your bike costs how much?

If you are asking this question, you are probably prepared for us to impress you with a big number and no doubt, you’ll be surprised you could have bought a damn fine 4k flat screen tv for the price of our rig. To get to the heart of this question, we’d have to go on to explain our shoes, kit and all the gadgets on our bikes also cost hundreds of dollars.

29-07-2018 Tour De France; Tappa 21 Houilles - Paris; 2018, Ag2r La Mondiale; Bardet, Romain; Latour, Pierre Roger; Paris;

Are you riding the Tour de France?

No. The answer to this question is always definitely no. The Tour is the biggest and most prestigious professional bike race in the world. Only the world’s finest and fittest riders are selected to participate.

How fast do you go?

Speed depends on a lot of factors like wind direction, terrain and the intensity of the ride. Giving a straight answer to this question isn’t easy because a group ride can vary in average speed drastically while city lights slow rides down. If we are going to the coffee shop, don’t expect us to wow you with the ride speed but our descending speeds can get pretty bonkers.

How much does your bike weigh?

Probably less than your city commuter and it’s even lighter without water bottles on it. While a sub-20 lb bike weight will likely seem very impressive, if we had only spent an extra couple of thousand of dollars, it could have been even lighter.

Fabric Saddles-10

Doesn’t your butt get sore?

Bike saddles may look pretty uncomfortable because they are firm and narrow, but this is actually just how we like them. Squishy saddles with too much padding cause all kinds of problems on longer rides even though they might look more comfortable.

Do you know all the city bike lanes?

The cycling we do is mostly away from bike lanes. We crave the open country road away from commuters and city traffic. While we may use a couple of bke lanes to get out of the city, most of our riding is done on regular roads.

Aren’t you scared of cars?

This is a natural follow up question when someone realizes you are riding on roads open to vehicle traffic. While in an ideal world, we could find country roads so quiet we could go all day without seeing a vehicle, that is a rare luxury. Drivers have to abide by the rules of the road which state in many provinces that cyclists should be passed at a minimum of one meter. While this isn’t always the case, we wouldn’t ride bikes if we perpetually rode in fear.

The new Cervelo S5 on the grounds of Rocacorba Cycling hotel.

Why do you have so many bikes?

There are so many ways to answer this question and the simple answer is because they are each for different types of riding. Many cyclists will have a road bike, a hard-tail mountain bike, a commuter (this one is probably locked outside), maybe a cyclocross or gravel bike and it’s very well possible we have a second of any of the above because, why wouldn’t we?

Have you ever biked with my friend X?

The cycling communities in many places in Canada are quite small and tightly knit. That means it’s fairly likely if you know someone who is an avid cyclist we might know the club they are in but it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve ridden with them. The riding community is diverse with people on various schedules and prioritizing different types of riding.

Why can’t you just lock your bike outside?

See the above question about how much our bike costs. Bike theft is an issue in many urban areas in Canada. Also, exposing a bike to the elements will mean components wear out quicker. The easy solution is making a place inside for our bikes be that in a garage, in our entrance way or even in our living spaces like our bedroom.

Why do you wear such tight outfits?

Like any sport, there is apparel that is specifically designed for cycling. Tight lycra may make us look like dorky superheroes or fit fashion icons depending on who you ask, but it also serves a purpose. The clothing won’t rub against our skin and is made from fabrics that wick away sweat to keep us comfortable and cool. The shorts even have special padding so there is a barrier between our behind and that tough looking saddle we ride all day on.

Why do you shave your legs?

Cyclists shave their legs for a number of reasons. Esthetically smooth legs and tight clothes just look better. Right? It’s also part of the culture. Pro cyclists shave their legs for aerodynamics, because they frequently get massages and because it’s easier to treat road rash and other injuries when they skin is smooth rather than hairy. The practice has caught on amoung amateurs and enthusiasts who take their cycling seriously.