Tell-tale symptoms of a cycling obsession

A decent 45 mile ride yesterday for a short family holiday in Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast. We’re staying in a lovely, if idiosyncratic B&B and I’ve already enjoyed a swim in the very rough but surprisingly warm sea.

After spending the last week thinking about symptoms, here are some I identified on the bike yesterday that may indicate you, or someone close to you, is obsessed with cycling…

You receive an invitation and your first thought is not: do I want to go? It is: could I cycle there?

You plan bike routes to include, rather than avoid, big hills and you say things like: “Well, you can’t go to Maldon and not go up Market Hill can you?”

You check out your reflection in shop windows as you cycle past because it looks a bit like you’re on the TV, like in the Tour de France or something. You continue to do this even though it is exactly this trick that sent you crashing through someone’s rear windscreen at traffic lights a few years ago.

You indicate left and right with your arms, even when you’re walking.

You can’t pass a cyclist without checking out their jersey and saying to whoever is in the car: oh, Amis Velo. That’s a local club. He’s a Colchester Rover. Oh, there goes Chelmer. As if anyone cares.

(Pop quiz: Why was the Sky team jersey designed with a thin blue stripe down the back?)

You like long mirrors because you can hitch up your jeans, tighten your calves and admire the sinewy muscles you’ve developed over the miles. It’s absolutely disgusting, incredibly narcissistic and totally necessary.

You do a long ride in the morning, take a rest and then after lunch start thinking: could I squeeze another one in before tea time?

You are able to give and receive compliments on other men’s weight, body and legs without the slightest hint of anything sexy.

(By the way, male cyclists frequently touch each other’s bottoms while on the bike, either to indicate they should go a bit faster or get out of the way. At least that’s what we say it’s about.)

You are unable to ride with anyone who is just starting out in cycling without advising them that their seat is too low or high, their tyres could do with more or less air in them, or their cadence is too slow.

You know what cadence is, and how to pronounce it.

You take your bike to the second hand car dealers and try putting it in and out of the boot of any car you’re considering buying. You think the Citroen Berlingo is an impressive, practical and desirable family vehicle, even though its height takes your speed down to a crawl when its windy. That or a Skoda.

You think a trip to Decathlon makes for a thoroughly enjoyable day out.

You tut and shake your head when you see a cyclist wearing yellow, unless they are the current leader of the General Classification of the Tour de France, in which case you jump up and down screaming Allez! Allez!

(Pop quiz answer: It’s so the Sky team managers can easily spot their riders in the peloton from helicopter shots on the TV. It also looks pretty awesome.)