Famous Last Words

Everyone does it – say things they later regret – and we cyclists aren’t immune. What is surprising is that the same people say the same thing over and over again and don’t seem to learn from previous mistakes.

Weather conditions are never far from the mind of cyclists but we are used to going out for a ride in comditions which are less than ideal. If we waited for the perfect day we wouldn’t get a lot of cycling done. One of our greatest bugbears is windy conditions.

1625675_859045677453171_286132195390176516_nHow often have you heard someone say,

“The wind is against us now but it will be in our backs on the way home”?

Wrong! That’s the perfect example of Famous Last Words. What is certain is that a headwind on the outer journey will become an even stronger headwind on the return journey. It’s one of the laws of cycling. It doesn’t matter whether it’s northerly, southerly, westerley or easterley. Basically, all winds are againsterley as far as cyclists are concerned and as your ride progresses and you become more and more tired the wind in your face gets stronger and stronger.

IMG_1215Next, Famous Last Words which seem to invite disaster.

It’s ages since I had a puncture.

Why would anyone say something like that?

#12ThePunctureFairyLoRThe Puncture Fairy is never far away and just waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. The perfect opportunity is when it’s cold, wet and windy and the nearest track pump is miles away.

photo 1Cycling has its ups and downs. It’s the ups which can produce another example of Famous Last Words.


It’s not as bad as it looks.

In a sense that could be true. It might not be as bad as it looks. It might be worse. A recent example was when a fellow cyclist, when part way through Hadrian’s Cycleway said,

That’s the hills over with then.

Wrong. When you’ve finished the route and you’re sitting in the bar with a pint in your hand, that’s when the hills are over.

Who Let The Dogs Out?


Cycling can present many challenges, steep hills, strong head winds, hard saddles and inconsiderate motorists being amongst them, but an added hazard can be Man’s Best Friend, the dog. More accurately, it is not just the Best Friend but also the Man (or Woman) accompanying them who is part of the problem. Most of my rides take place along waggonways, cycle paths and bridleways which are very popular with cyclists but also very popular with dog walkers. On a recent trip to the Cycle Hub and back, a distance of about thirty miles, I counted the dogs along the route. On the way there I passed fifteen dogs, five of which were on the lead, and two cats (neither of which were on the lead) and on the way back there were thirteen dogs (seven on the lead) and no cats. This is fairly typical in my experience. So what? Why should this be a problem to a cyclist?

Those of you who use Strava, the mobile app, for logging cycle activities will be familiar with segments. They are a specific section of a route created by users for the purpose of comparing performance over time. One segment on NCN 72 is called Dog Dirt Dash. The reason is obvious. Not all owners clean up after their dog. As well as having a spare tube and a puncture repair kit in my bag, I also carry latex gloves – just in case I have to remove a tyre which has passed through something nasty.

Of course some dog owners do clean up – but get the final step wrong.

Hedgerows are festooned with discarded dogs’ colostomy bags. Continue reading