Tell tale signs of cyclists off their bikes

Cyclists walk among us and here’s how to spot them hiding in plain sight. You may find out one of your friends, family or colleagues next to you right now is a secret cyclist!

The helmet hair

This one is no secret. The dreaded helmetmessy hair
hair is particularly noticeable if the helmet goes on wet hair. Not everyone can actually fit a helmet on their head but if they do, there’s a high chance they’ve just molded their hair style for the day. There are some exceptions here: slightly curly, short hair may allow you to go undetected and really messy hair is immune to helmet hair syndrome.

Helmet strap line

This is a seasonal feature and it’s hard to notice if you don’t know what you are looking for. It’s a tan line from the helmet straps running down from in front of the ears to the jaw.

Thigh tan lines

These appears on lycra clad cyclists. When they are in their casual shorts, you should find definitive tan lines somewhere above the knees. These are also a seasonal feature but they can outlast the winter ready to be reinforced again in the next summer. (If you are one of the lycra-clad then you will and know what to do with the gripper placement, and if you don’t, you will be introduced to The Rules in due time.)

Funny walking

No I am not talking about the result of long hours in the saddle. Some cyclists wear shoes that clip into their pedals that makes walking a little difficult and usually noisier (though some manage to be less noticeable). But there’s no mistaking it if you see someone walking like a penguin and sounding like they are tap dancing as they go.

The splash

Your colleagues probably didn’t have a toilet accident on their way into work. The chances are that they cycled into work on a rainy day on a bike without mudguards. They know full well it will happen and generally bear the splash marks on their lower back with a kind of biker’s bravado.

Road Sign

Local geographical knowledge

They will know the names of obscure local villages, shortcuts or only know the names of the hills rather than the road names. If they start making reference to Strava segments then they are just showing off or they have a partner in crime who’s equally Strava obsessed.

Their waterproof jackets

I will leave you with the rarest sign but it’s a sure sign. Most cycling tops (jerseys, gilets, jackets) have pockets on the lower back for easy storage and access to food and other accessories during a ride. While not many cyclists wear these tops with casual clothes, you do occasionally spot them. And if you do, give them a high five because cyclists are awesome!

If you don’t cycle and these don’t put you off then you should probably join us. We will welcome you with open arms one arm because we always keep the other one firmly on the handlebar.

 

Cycle Confident provides Cycle Skills and Family Cycle Skills sessions and are FREE for people who live, work or study in selected boroughs. If you want to go on leisure Led Rides, they are FREE or subsidised.

Fun, fantastic and forward-thinking cycling infrastructure

Cycling infrastructure: the first things that will probably come up in your mind are painted cycle lanes and curb segregations. There are always some cycling infrastructure projects in the works but here are some existing cycling infrastructures with the wow-factor that take cyclists over, under and through obstacles.

Hovenring (Eindhoven, Netherlands)

This suspended cycle path roundabout isaerial Hovenring
somewhat like the skeleton of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek. Not content with segregated cycle lanes and traffic lights, the Dutch have taken it to another level with Hovenring. That was not a pun because the road was constructed below surface level so that cyclists don’t have to struggle up steep ramps.

The Cycle Snake (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Copenhagen never fails to impress and gave birth to Cykelslangen, or Cycle Snake. They have raised the bar with this elevated cycle path, pun intended. It’s a two-way cycle path that snakes between buildings and along the harbour. It works with neighbouring bridges to help cyclists use the most convenient route to navigate across the harbour in with a light sea breeze in their hair.

San Sebastian tunnel (San Sebastian, Spain)

We head underground for this next one. I believe this is currently the world’s longest cycling tunnel. It ‘s an old railway converted tunnel at nearly half a mile in length and is brightly lit. Rejoice for the flat cycle ride!

Two Tunnels Greenway (Bath, UK)

This shared path is another old railway converted tunnel. The path takes in two tunnels with the Combe Down tunnel being the longest cycling tunnel in Britain. Bath is very hilly so this is like music to hill-haters’ ears, literally (there is music in the tunnel!) The dimly lit tunnel and spooky music might be more of a challenge for anyone who needs to sleep with a night light.

SolaRoad (Krommenie, Netherlands)

This experimental cycle path is short at the moment but the engineers have set their sights far beyond this SolaRoad in Krommenie. The path is equipped with solar panels and the idea is to generate electricity to be used for street lighting, traffic systems, houses and electric vehicles (maybe this is the first step to Tron-like cities?). The future is bright indeed.

‘Starry Night’ Cycle Path (Eindhoven, Netherlands)

Van Gogh Roosegaarde bike path by Studio Roosegaarde
Photo courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde

Inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night and beautifully crafted by artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde. This kilometer-long cycle path comes to life in the dark. The swirling pattern of embedded glow in the dark stones is a truly beautiful tribute to Van Gogh. It is a part of the Van Goth cycle route through the province where he was born and raised.

 

ECO Cycle underground bicycle parking (Tokyo, Japan)

The sky is the limit and digging into the ground is not an easy task especially in Japan. The frequent volcanic and tectonic plate activities means that civil engineers in Japan have a lot to contend with. It didn’t stop Giken Ltd. from bringing their anti-seismic underground bicycle parking to Tokyo. You get safe bike parking and automated robotic arm awesomeness.

bicycle_lift_in_trondheim_3

CycloCable (Trondheim, Norway)

Steep hills really get in the way so Jarle Wanvik built a bike escalator, or Trampe lift, back in 1993 when he didn’t want to get into work all sweaty. I don’t blame him, the slope hits 18% gradient. It has been upgraded and rebranded as the CycloCable and continues to deliver stroller, scooters and cyclists 150m up to the top.

 

Did we miss any existing fun, fantastic or forward-thinking cycling infrastructure? Let us know in the comments section.