Seven telltale signs that you're a 'true' cyclist

From unsightly tan lines to the call of shame, if you can tick any of these off then you’re a firm member of the cyclist club

Clock13:53, Thursday 19th October 2023

There are certain things that are telltale signs that you are irrefutably a cyclist. From the things we do, to the way we dress, and even our outlook on things in general life, there are a lot of things we all have in common, and can mark you out as a cyclist very quickly.

This got us thinking: what are some of things that all of us roadies have done at some point? Some of these are rites of passage - things we all have to go through at least once - but some are badges of honour to some of you. Do any of these things, and we reckon you'll signal to fellow riders that you too are definitely a cyclist, even if your bike is nowhere to be seen.

Hiding the cost

Cycling is a sport that is full of gear and kit to buy, from bikes and clothing to indoor trainers and copious amounts of coffee and cake, and that's before we even get started on cycling holidays. You are definitely a cyclist if you have ever reshaped the truth to misrepresent the exact cost of your cycling habit.

It’s a simple fact that for those outside of the cycling world, the costs associated with different components or kit seem astronomical and don’t make sense. Sometimes the easiest way to get around this financial elephant in the room is to manipulate the truth into what some might see as a white lie. Here at GCN we aren’t in a position to comment on this, but every now and then, rounding down the cost of a new bike or pretending you have always had those brand-new shoes is a necessary measure.

Tan lines

This is the universal calling card of a rider in the wild. As riders we spend a great deal of time riding our bikes whatever the weather, however on occasion, it has been known for the sun to come out and bless us with its presence. When this happens, day after day for a while, you’ll notice that you start to develop some rather strong tan lines from your socks, shorts and jersey.

Now to a lot of people having tan lines like this could be embarrassing and would be something to try and prevent or cover up. Not for us cyclists though - a sharp, crisp tan line is a sign to other riders about how dedicated and committed you are to riding, as getting such a defined tan line can only come from hours in the saddle.

You know you are a cyclist when you find yourself moving your shorts or your sleeves to get them perfectly lined up with your existing tan lines in order to make them even more pronounced. If you achieve this, you’ll be sure to get nods of acknowledgement from other riders out in the wild commending your efforts.

Everything is about bikes

When you find the wonderful world of cycling, very quickly it becomes an integral part of your being. No longer can you go for a ride and be satisfied with that alone, instead you find yourself researching bikes and parts, watching all the racing and talking to anyone who will listen about your love for riding.

When this happens, not only do you become a cycling fanatic, but also you are seen as one and you will fast be known as the friend or colleague that is all about bikes. Be prepared as this means when it comes to gift giving season you are going to find yourself receiving anything bike-themed that can be sourced. From cycling books to alarm clocks and even pizza cutters, you know that even the non-cycling people in your life see you as a cyclist when this starts to happen.

Shaving your legs

This is a clear sign that you have stepped up your game as a cyclist. It is by no means a must, but if you do find yourself razor in hand for the sole purpose of cycling, you have definitely entered the ranks of serious riders.

Now shaving your legs can come down in a large part to vanity - aesthetically a shaven leg looks more in keeping with the lycra kit and aero bike - but it can also serve a real benefit. If and more likely when you end up taking a tumble, having shaved legs will make cleaning and tending to the wounds that little bit easier.

Interestingly, although very much the trend amongst the pro peloton, there are some notable riders who have bucked the trend. Back in 2016 Peter Sagan decided to go au naturel as too did Primož Roglič for the early part of this season.

Call of shame

This is one of the less proud moments that will have you realising you are a cyclist. Sometimes no matter how prepared we are, we will get a mechanical that just is not fixable on the ride. Snapped spokes, broken gear cables or broken pedals are all examples of things that can have you dismounting your bike and wondering how on earth you are going to get home.

This is where the apology-filled call to anyone that could potentially come to your aid begins. Having to explain where you are, what's happened and then most importantly what you are asking them to do is never a highlight of anyone's cycling career. When this happens, fear not, you will be welcomed into this elite club of riders with open arms, so long as you make it back from the ride.

Snot rocket

This is a sign that you might have been a little too engrossed in cycling behaviour off the bike. If you find yourself looking to clear your nose with a swift blow with a finger blocking the other nostril whilst off the bike, this will almost certainly be an unhygienic surprise to any unsuspecting passers by. It also solidifies that you are more accustomed to being off the bike than on the bike.

This is an unequivocal sign that you are most certainly a cyclist. Although if this is the case and you catch yourself, it's probably one of the signs that you want to try and avoid, for the sake of everyone else.

The most obvious sign

The truest sign of a cyclist has to be that you are a fan of GCN! Watching and reading all of our pedal-based content is the act of a real rider. Not only do we have the latest racing content but we also have how-to guides, pro bikes, the latest tech trends and news from all corners of the cycling world.

Watch the best live racing all year round on GCN+, with unrivalled analysis, highlights and replays on demand. Territory restrictions apply, check availability here.

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