Wisdom for Cyclists

Wisdom for Cyclists.

(This was the flyer I carried with me in on the 1988 bike trip. The whole thing fit on a single double-sided 8.5" X 11" sheet.)



I am a cyclist. I am also a Christian. I can't claim to be an expert at either. For real advice on how to ride your bicycle, pick up a good book at your local bike shop. For real advice on life, open a Bible.

Some of these things were passed on to me by other folks; many just occurred while riding on the open road. I sometimes make suggestions as to possible meanings, but otherwise, leave the interpretation as an exercise to the reader.

This text is not copyrighted, although I would appreciate your writing me if you plan to make a whole bunch of copies. Finally, if you have your own sayings to add to this, I'd love to hear them. Maybe I can include them in the next edition, if there ever is one.

Keep on crankin'!



Roderick Young
6312 Rainbow Dr
San Jose, CA

In coming down the mountain, or in the criterium, when you hit a turn, pick your line, and stick to it. Changing your mind has dire consequences.


Take your turn in the draft line. Don't show off and kill yourself when at the front. Otherwise, you'll be no good to anyone else.


You're zipping down a hill and suddenly see a four-foot wide ditch spanning the road ahead. The worst thing to do is slow down. Speed up and jump it.

When you're not moving forward, it's hard to stay balanced.

Better for your chain to wear out than rust out.

Follow the wind, your ride is easy.

Ps 1

The person far behind you in the velodrome could actually be far ahead of you. Could have lapped you.

Bikes were built to serve us, not the other way around. A simple truth, sometimes forgotten.

Once I was fixing a flat and misplaced my tire irons. After a long and fruitless search, I realized that I didn't really need them to put my clincher back on. The power had always been in my own hands.

Every year or so, someone in this town gets a broken neck or spine from trying to clean their front tire from behind while riding. And still, people continue to do it.

Pv 26:11

A 40-pound Schwinn Varsity with the finest alloy rims, graphite handlebars, ultralight sew-ups, and top-of-the-line components is still a Schwinn Varsity.

Take your eyes off the road on a fast descent, and you're likely to experience Zen cycling: You'll become one with the mountain. Or maybe one with the pavement.

Pack less for a longer trip.

It makes no sense to true only one wheel.

The closer you follow the leader, the easier your ride.

A deraileur may shift perfectly when the bike is still on the stand, yet fail on the open road.


You can't just gorge at the beginning of the tour. You have to keep feeding along the way.

Only a fool would ride along with his eyes fixed on the road behind him.

Keep your eyes fixed too far ahead on the road -- dangerous. Keep them fixed too close in front -- dangerous.

The paceline is most efficient when the leadership is rotated.

The leader only points out the potholes. It's up to you to avoid them.

Into the teeth of a gale, the pack rides together tightly.

You must have faith in the leader. You cannot watch the road ahead and maintain your one-foot wheel spacing in the pace line.

Once while touring, we came upon a broken beer bottle right in our path. The leader decided to jog to the left around it. She could have gone right or left; it didn't matter.

The mark of a good leader is the ability to make decisions. What those decisions actually are, is of secondary importance.

When two tour together, both profit. One carries the stove, the other carries the frying pan.

On a high speed descent, if a bug flies into your mouth, the best thing to do is swallow it.

the inevitable

If your brakes don't work when you need them, chances are you'll never need them again.

Your opponents in the race don't tell you to wear a helmet.

only those who care will nag

Keep disregarding stop lights, one day, you'll get hit.

A helmet is cheap insurance, considering rates nowdays.

Without a tough uphill climb, would we appreciate the descent as much?

If one spoke should break on you, do you lose faith in all spokes?

Every new bike is a thrill to ride. But only after you've riden many miles and gone over potholes, hills, and through rain do you begin to know whether your machine is truly fine.

When someone goes cruising by you, you have to jump on his wheel. Once he's gone, you'll never catch him. Rest later, in his draft.

Once there was a man who went out on his first century ride. He decided to economize, so he packed a few bananas and a half gallon of water.. Rest stop after rest stop he passed by, stopping instead at other places on the road to eat his bananas. Well, inexperienced as he was, he ran out of food and water at the 60-mile mark. At first, he thought he would just slow down, and somehow make it in to the finish. After 10 more miles in the relentless noonday sun, he realized that he wasn't going to make it. He decided that at the next stop, he'd buy just enough water to fill his bottle, then be on his way. He pounded out 10 more miles and pulled in to the rest stop, tired and hungry.

His senses overcame him. He couldn't believe the tremendous assortment of food. There was cantaloupe and honeydew, grapes, peaches and watermelon. . . fresh baked cookies and brownies of every kind. . . bagels with lox and cream cheese, danish pastries, salted nuts, dried fruits. . . clear, cold spring water, lemonade, soda, juices and a wide variety of mineral waters. . . he gorged himself on everything, not worrying about the cost.

When he finally finished, he asked one of the workers, "Where do I pay?"

"What?!!" the astonished worker replied, "you mean you rode all these 80 miles and didn't know that the food is free?"


The third lap of a criterium is the wrong time to think about whether you greased your bottom bracket.

The softest seat is the least comfortable in the long haul.

On a long tour, riders need to rest once every seven days.

The point of cycling is not always to go as fast as you can.

On the flats, four big musclemen screamed by a rather gaunt stringbean of a woman. Then they hit the mountains. The thin woman was able to maintain her pace, even on the grade, and soon caught and passed the team of four.

Not everyone's talent is readily apparent.

I have seen a beat-up Univega with fenders burn by the finest Ciocc on occasion.

Never look up from the road, and you'll miss the wildflowers.

On the descent, the only difference between a novice and a professional is skill.

Zipping around a mountain curve, the worst thing to do is squeeze your brakes. Your bike will stand right up, and you'll go right into the oncoming traffic.

consequences of panic

If you should find a thorn in your tire while riding down the expressway, the best thing to do is leave it in, until you can get to a safe spot. If you pull it out, the tire may leak faster.

The first time up a mountain is difficult. After you've done it once, it's never a problem again.

Confidence is half the battle.

Miss one day of training, and you lose the benefits of the previous five.

Easier to lose than to gain.

The fastest acceleration results from methodically shifting through the gears. Starting out on a big gear doesn't work.

Even if a guy has to use a granny gear and rest every five minutes on mild hills, I still have more respect for him than the guy who simply avoids hills.

Remember, there was a time for each of us when we didn't even know how to balance on a bicycle.

1 Co 1:26

I picked up a tack in my front tire, so stopped by the roadside to fix it. Every single one of the cyclists passing by slowed down, and asked if I was okay. How many cars would try to help another downed motorist?

I once thought it was pretty stupid that racers shave their legs. After all, the wind resistance couldn't make that much difference. At the very least, I thought that they (even the men) were vain. Then, one day, someone expalined the reason for the custom. It was so that the bandages wouldn't stick after they got in a crash.

Mk 14:3-4

Anybody can do 100 miles in one day. Not everybody can do 40 miles every day for a week.


Missing one day of training because it's raining won't make a difference in the total program. However, the attitude that goes with missing a day does.

Shift down before the hill.

Better to ride alone into a gale than draft a complainer.

On self-supported tours, comfort is an inconvenience, not a convenience.

Sometimes we need to eat even though we're not hungry, drink even though we're not thirsty, put on more clothing even though we're not cold. The body is only a good indicator up to a certain point.

A 25-pound bike, carrying a 180-pound rider, can be stopped by a single tack, weighing less than a gram.

The only place to rest in a fast paceline is at the front.

Transverse railroad tracks are not dangerous. It is the tracks that are almost parallel to the direction of travel that are dangerous.


To put the pump on a presta valve, just force it on. It does not screw on, and there's no lever to flip.

There are 36 spokes in my wheel, and yet, the absence of just one is easily noticed.

It grieves me so to see people who draft at 8 feet behind. Fear and misunderstanding keep them from experiencing really efficient riding. And it's all so unnecessary; drafting is easy!


Doing a track stand at a stop light may look cool, but it takes more energy than just taking your foot out of the clip.

the cost of image

Those who are close to the pack save energy, and get ahead. Those who are far behind have to work harder, and fall further and further behind.

Mt 13:12

Spinning is more efficient than pushing.

A lot of easy work is easier than a little hard work.

Anybody can show off on a descent. If you're going to be macho, be macho going up the hill.

(loosely quoted from Leo Moll)

Store the water in your stomach rather than your bottle.

The wind cannot be seen, yet, how profound its effects!