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18 things that cyclists hate — duff rides you should try and avoid

We love cycling but just occasionally it all goes horribly wrong

We love cycling. No, we really love cycling, and we like to dwell on the positive whenever possible. But sometimes, just sometimes, it can be – what’s the word? – challenging.

Here are 18 things that we reckon every cyclist hates. Do you agree?

1 Clicking down a gear, only to find out you’re already in the lowest gear
That’s bad. Really bad.

2 Thinking you’re at the top of the hill, then discovering you aren’t
What, there’s more? How much more? Oh no!

3 The bonk
Blowing up, the hunger knock, hitting the wall… When you’re out of energy, it feels like the end of the world.

4 Creaks and squeaks

13Bikes Intuition Beta - bottom bracket

Is it the headset? The bottom bracket? The saddle rails? Your knees?

You can sometimes go around the whole bike systematically eliminating each individual component as the source of a mysterious noise until there are none left. And it still bloody creaks.

5 Red traffic lights
They’re especially bad if they’re at the bottom of a hill. All that momentum gone in a flash. Grrr!

6 Cold fingers
Still, it’s not as bad as the feeling of cold fingers coming back to life. That’s pure evil.

7 Punctures
It goes without saying, really.

Rema Tip Top TT02 repair kit

8 You attack as hard as you can, check over your shoulder to see how much of a gap you have… and they’re still on your wheel

9 Forgetting you’re clipped in until it’s too late
Don’t even try to make out it didn’t hurt. You’re fooling no one.

10 Your light goes out
You knew you should have recharged it, didn’t you?

Cateye Rapid 3 front

11 It starts to rain the moment you put your kit on
You had nice weather all morning too. Also, while we’re at it: needing to use the toilet as soon as you put your bibs on.

12 Putting on wet kit for your commute home
It rained on the way into work this morning and the seatpad is still soggy. Urgh!

13 Unacknowledged waves
You wave or nod at a cyclist coming the other way and they don’t do it back. Rude!

14 Tyre sidewall splitting 
The first you feel is a strange knocking coming from either the fork or the chainstays. If you’re really unlucky, within a few seconds you’ll hear a sound like a gunshot. That’s the inner tube exploding. Now you’re in trouble.

15 Getting dropped
From beginner to World Champion, it hurts just the same.

16 Running out of drink

Camelbak Podium water bottle.jpg

This usually happens when you’re in the back of beyond, rarely when there’s a service station just around the corner.

17 The turbo

Elite Real Axiom Trainer - riding

A lot of us do it, but only as a means to an end. You put up with the short-term pain for the long-term fitness gains. But you know there are some lunatics who actually enjoy it?

18 Getting caught in the rain

Marrakech Atlas Etape Still Images4

This usually happens just after you’ve cleaned your bike, when you’re wearing a white jersey, or on the day you forgot your waterproof. Or all three.

Over to you. What did we miss? Don’t hold back now!

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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