Let’s face it cyclists aren’t a very creative bunch. Or certainly not if the names they give their rides on Strava are anything to go by. A quick and dirty tally of my activity feed over the past few days looks something like this…
Morning rides – 9
Lunchtime rides – 5
Afternoon rides – 11
Evening rides – 14
Night rides – 1
Original names are few and far between. There’s one airing the grey matter but given the rider’s a psychologist it’s a tad too obvious. And as for evening pootle and a few hard efforts (you know who you are), you didn’t buy £10k’s worth of carbon fibre racing machinery between you to take it easy for god’s sake! Show some self respect. I think I’d prefer plain old evening ride to those two.
It’s not like we don’t have the time to think up original names. I mean we have enough for drinks stops and cake stops and more cake stops and toilet stops and yet more cake stops. And if we’re riding in a group we’ve got time to talk about stretch lycra, salbutamol, Bradley Wiggins, and to ponder the eternal question: to shave or not to shave. So surely we can spare a few moments to to come up with something that sums up both the ride and our personalities? Here’s my top 10 creatively named rides which if they aren’t on Strava yet damn well should be. Please add yours in the comments box at the end.
- You can see the dags from here
A ride name that must have originated in the Antipodes where the word dag refers to the dried faeces clinging to the wool on a sheep’s arse. In other words, unshiftable without a 200psi pressure washer – a bit like grit on a chain. You can see the dags from here is taken to mean that the rider has had such a close encounter of the turd kind (a variant of the name) that he or she could actually count the individual dags. Other variants popular with Northern lad and lasses who do most of their riding on unfenced, upland roads include: smell the lanolin, as in “t’ little feckers were reet close ‘r kid I’ll swear y’ cud smell t’ lanolin;” and lambs to the slaughter aka silence of the lambs where, as the names suggest, the gambol doesn’t pay off, you roll over a hyperactive, day-old ovine and kill it.
- Fish in baby oil
As in, as slippery as a fish in baby oil. I’ll confess this was actually one of my rides. Pride, they say, cometh before a fall and it certainly did in this case. On what would otherwise have been my plain, old evening ride, I attempted to impress two young ladies out walking their dogs, by cycling through the ford barring our collective way, rather than taking the footbridge as they sensibly did. In a splash my tyres lost their grip on the algae-slicked cobbles. I took an early bath. And they had an early laugh.
- Up sh!t creek without a pedal
Water and bikes clearly don’t go together. I lost nothing more than my pride in the preceding ride. This rider clearly lost one half of his drive train. Sh!tty because one tends not to carry spare pedals on most rides. Inner tubes, yes. Tyres even. But pedals, no.
- Miner’s lamp
Pot holes are a pre-occupation (and an occupational hazard) for most UK-based cyclists. Particularly as our dear, non-cycling leader (she prefers walking barefoot through corn fields apparently) is preoccupied with Brexit and not running the country by fixing roads, the NHS, the economy, housing, etc. Such is the scale of the crisis that this and the next two entries are, unapologetically, variations on the state of the roads theme. The Miner’s lamp ride is assumed to draw it’s inspiration from the brass safety lantern, invented by Sir Humphry Davy, carried by miners to illuminate the darkest recesses of the deepest mines. There is, however, a school of thought, which suggests it’s not an ironic reference to the depth of some potholes at all but rather a corruption of “I’m a stupid bugger I went for a night ride minus lamp and had to turn back.”
Clearly a ride taken by an educated cyclist because speleologist is simply a posh word for a caver – troglodytes who get really worked up if you don’t know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites. Apparently stalactites hang down and you can remember this because they have to hold on tite to the ceiling. Blah, blah, blah. The ride name is widely considered to be another reference to the ridiculous depth of potholes – especially after last winter. But there are some who think it originated from an eye-watering peloton accident where the lead rider braked too hard and the following riders disappeared down a black hole.
The state of the roads really must be getting to people because this is the third ride in my current top 10 concerned with potholes. It goes something like this: “if they get much deeper I’ll have to take a canary on my next ride to check for methane.” Like so many rides, there is a possible alternative origin: that the rider was dressed from neck to knee in bright yellow bib shorts and vest and was greeted with the cry “canary” by his fellow riders and sundry motorists. Actually scrub that alternative because, if it was true, the ride would’ve been called Tweety Pie or just plain Twat.
- Granny rings
Not the interpretation you might expect, which is why I’ve chosen this one. Turns out the rider wasn’t in the hills and constantly selecting the small gear or granny ring up front. No, the ride was stop start for a different reason – his actualgranny rings him during the ride to ask if he’s seen grandad who’s got a touch of Alzheimer’s and has gone walkabout yet again. This proves to be a bit of a dilemma for our cycling grandson; does he quit the ride and miss the cake to join the search or hold the phone into the breeze, mumble that it’s a terrible line and that he can barely hear, before making a superhuman effort to get back on? Surely the best solution would be to sign gramps up for Strava, strap that spare mobile to his slippers and follow his perambulations on Live Track?!
- Disco inferno
I’ve a strong suspicion this ride was named by somebody who, like me, grew up in the Seventies. “Burn baby burn it’s a disco inferno” were lyrics from a 1976 hit by an American outfit called The Trammps (yes, with two mms). My hunch is that somebody was grinding up a big hill – definitely not in the granny ring (see above) – and was feeling the lactic acid building up in their legs. You can well imagine their inner voice “ooh the burn baby burn it’s a disco inferno.” Not quite shut up legs but it takes all sorts.
- Let them eat cake
There’s always one ascetic* who sips only water at the stops and sucks on lettuce leaves when everybody else tucks into slices of carrot. Carrot cake that is. He gets back 4kg lighter and 6kg smugger than when he set out and chooses a ride name that really sums up his approach to life, cycling, the Universe. He doesn’t know it (until now) but his fellow riders have an alternative name for the ride that does just that: tosser.
- The perfect ten
If anyone I know calls their ride this, I’ll run them off the road next time I’m on four wheels and they’re on two. Any ride name with the prefix perfect in it almost certainly wasn’t anything of the sort. It’s a sure sign the rider’s straddling something that’s worth close to the price of your house. “I’m telling you (they’re always telling you even if you don’t want to be told) that was a great ride mate. Fantastic wheels those Zipps. And the skin suit, wow, definitely shaved a few seconds of my KoM. I’d say it was the perfect ten.” You want to punch him on the Rudy Project Aero Helmet, but, before you land the first blow, think better of it and instead cycle as fast as you can – without Zipps or a skin suit – in the opposite direction. With a bit of luck the quick getaway will allow you to steal his KoM. What, I hear you say? The perfect ten?
So you’re on notice: if you don’t at least make an effort to rename your ride I won’t unfollow you but I will withhold that kudos.
*Ascetic (noun) – one who leads a life characterized by severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence.
Synonyms: austere, self-denying, abstinent, abstemious, non-indulgent, self-disciplined, frugal, simple, rigorous, strict, severe, hair-shirt, spartan, monastic, monkish, nunlike, boring (I made this last one up).