Anyone who has been cycling for a while has made mistakes. A mistake, simply put, is usually something that you laugh about later, but really sucks when it happens. In cycling world, this almost always involves either a crash, or a crippling setback. Usually it’s a crash.
Hopefully, our cycling mistakes aren’t catastrophic. I’ve seen these mistakes, such as the time one woman was flying past my group on a steep downhill slope during a race. She apparently didn’t know about the upcoming 90 degree turn because she went straight over the barrier and down into the gully below. I never found out if she survived.
Mistake 1 – Using Aero Bars
I sometimes wonder how many people have gotten into trouble using Aero bars. Presumably a lot, because you can’t (are not supposed to) use them in races anymore.
I only had to go down once with these to never have any desire to use them again. It was quite a simple affair. I was glued onto my aero bars, and all I did was briefly glance around to see where my group was behind me. I immediately lost control, swerved back and forth violently for the next couple of second, and went down hard into a ditch.
A bit of blood and a nasty cute, and broken shifting mechanism, but otherwise I was okay. I just felt stupid, and had to ride the rest of the race in the same gear. If you’ve ever done that, you know how fun it is.
Mistake 2 – Buying Wrong Co2 Cartridge Size
Early on in my cycling career, I started carrying around Co2 cartridges to use during races. Less weight than pump, takes up less space, faster to fill up and get going again, etc.
Except I didn’t realize that there were three different sizes of cartridges:
Apparently, I didn’t buy the right size my first time. I pulled a flat during the middle of a race. Stuck in the cartridge into the inflator. POP. Tube popped. Then it happened on the next tube. Borrowed a tube from my ride-mate. This tube popped as well. I remember being completely exasperated, and really angry.
I was out of tubes and cartridges. It wasn’t until the last one that my ride mate asked what size cartridge I was using. I knew as soon as he asked that I had made a serious mistake.
Mistake 3 – Cycling With One Hand on Bike, One on Coffee
This was an especially dumb mistake. I was commuting to work and there was a coffee shop a couple of blocks away.
I thought it would be easy to ride from the coffee shop to my work, using one hand to ride and one to hold the coffee. After all, it was only a couple of blocks and I had ridden with one hand many times (drink water while riding, eat a banana while riding, etc).
As you can guess, it didn’t work out well. I was crossing the street to my work, hit a pothole, and went down hard. In addition to bending my drop bars, destroying my right bike glove, and ripping my work pants, it was incredibly embarrassing to be stuck on my side, still holding my coffee, still clipped in to my bike while the cars waited for me to untangle myself.
Ironically, I didn’t spill any coffee. Don’t know how that happened.
Thanks for tuning in,