01.6.2006 | 12:04 am

There are so many ways to lie. Exaggeration. Omission. Misdirection. Statistics. Intentional-but-cleverly-concealed logical fallacy. An anecdote, presented as a pattern. Misleading metaphors. And I’m just getting started (that’s a lie; I’m actually running out of steam).

I know all about lies. I have to, because I’m a cyclist. Hey, the two go hand in hand. If you’re going to be a cyclist, you’ve got to embrace certain falsehoods.

I have examples.


All You Need is a Bike and a Helmet

The Lie: One of the appeals of biking is that it has a very low barrier to entry. I mean, all you really need is a bike — which you can get at your local sporting-goods store or  big box store. Add a helmet for safety, and you’re all set.

The Truth: Well, first of all you’re going to at least need a pump and a patch kit, some lube, and some basic tools, or your bike won’t last very long, will it? Even beyond that, though: sure, you can get yourself a cheap bike, a helmet, and leave it at that. In which case you will never understand why people who love biking love to ride their bikes. No, if you want to really see what your bike-loving friends are all about, you’re going to need a nice bike, some good biking shorts, biking shoes, gloves, and a jersey. That will be enough for you to started. After a while, though, you’ll need to buy more bikes, for different kinds of riding. And you’ll want to upgrade your components. And you’ll want more bike clothes, for different kinds of riding weather. There is no end to bike consumerism. At all. Ever.


Biking is a Good Hobby / Way to Exercise

The Lie: Riding a bike is a good way for you to get outside and see the world, all while getting fresh air and exercise.

The Truth: When you start biking, you’ll notice things like the outdoors, and you’ll be glad for the exercise. Soon, though, it won’t seem like enough. You’ll start taking longer rides, because the short ones just don’t seem to work you out the way they used to. And you’ll start paying attention to the road or trail instead of the world around you. Before long, you’ll notice that in order to get any kind of workout at all on your bike, you need to go out for a couple hours. And you’ll ride the entire time looking at the road or trail, not even thinking about what’s off to your side. And you’ll want to start riding more and more often, on more and more extreme terrain. At that point, you’re no longer a biking hobbyist.

You’re a biking junkie.


You Can Save Time and Money by Biking to Work

The Lie: You can get to work faster and for cheaper by riding your bike than by taking your car. There’s nothing quite so rewarding as passing hundreds of crawling cars as you head to work. Then, once you get to work, you feel energized the whole day. Plus, there’s the nice side effect that you’ve combined your workout with your commute!

The Truth: OK, all of that’s actually true. But if you bike commute for long enough, you’ll start talking to your coworkers about it, gushing about how great it is, and how they ought to try it. You’ll go on and on an on. Coworkers will cringe when you approach. People will start avoiding you at office parties.


Cycling is a Great Way to Lose Weight

The Lie: By riding your bike, you can burn 300-1000 calories per hour at an aerobic level. This can greatly accelerate any weight loss program.

The Truth: This is an especially insidious aspect of biking, because you can be snared by either of two opposing — but equally vicious — traps:

  • Cycling begets hunger: If you ride your bike, you’ll get hungry. If you ride your bike more, you’ll get even hungrier. If you ride your bike for several hours, you’ll come home and eat everything in the kitchen. I have never done an epic ride in my life where I am not heavier the day afterward.
  • Endless loop: As you ride your bike and lose weight, you discover that you’re faster. So you start trying to lose additional weight in order to be still faster on your bike. As you become very thin, you find that you can climb with incredible ease. You are no longer riding to lose weight. You are losing weight to ride. Why is this dangerous? Consider the logical extreme of this cycle: Michael Rasmusson, winner of the climber’s jersey in the 2005 Tour de France.


You Get Used to the Saddle After a While

The Lie: Everyone’s butt hurts when they start riding a bike. After a while, though, you get used to the saddle and it’s no problem. Just use some of that chamois cream to avoid chafing.

The Truth: Everyone’s butt hurts when they start riding a bike. After a while, though, you get used to the saddle and it’s no problem until you get your first saddle sore, which makes the pain you suffered as a new cyclist seem laughable. And that chamois cream feels so creepy most people would rather have the chafing. At least, that’s what they think…until the chafing occurs.


Today’s Banjo Brothers Bike Bag Contest

Tell a bike-related lie. Believability is optional.


PS: Bonus Chest-Thumping Opportunity

Al Maviva, Rocky, and Big Mike have an interesting competition going on: track how much weight you lose and how much your time trialing improves. They’ve got wacky algorithms and whatnot to make it fair: basically, the person who improves the greatest percentage over their start time wins.

If you’ve been looking for a friendly competition to help you hold your feet to the fire, this seems like a good one. They’re limiting the competition to 25 people, though, so you’ll want to enter soon, if you dare enter at all. Check Al’s blog for details.


  1. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 01.6.2006 | 1:21 am

    Well, there was this one time at band camp…

  2. Comment by brendan | 01.6.2006 | 1:33 am

    Is that photo really of the Chicken? In any case – please take it away, it’s making me feel ill…. :-(

  3. Comment by Peter | 01.6.2006 | 1:46 am

    The Lie: You get used to cleats eventually. After about three weeks, you no longer fear for your safety when stopping at traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, stop signs or out the front of the Miss Universe contest, and unclipping your pedals becomes second nature as you elegantly shift the shoe out of the pedal and put your foot down just as the bike rolls to a stop.The Truth: Just when you think you’ve got used to them, you roll up to the lights, delicately shift the left shoe out of the pedal, and realise that you’ve got the wrong side as you ever so delicately topple to the right. Even after riding the bike for twenty years, the cleat sits there waiting for the opportunity to bite, usually at the most embarrassing moment possible. The more people there are watching, the more likely it will happen.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 2:18 am

    That picture of Rasmussen… OMG!Good thing his coach is an Italian. If the dude was a German, there’d be a war crimes trial. Oh, the humanity.

  5. Comment by Lola | 01.6.2006 | 2:36 am

    The lie: You never forget how to ride a bikeThe truth: I haven’t ridden a bike in 7 years and there’s no freakin way I could ride one now. Actually I have no idea if that is true, I haven’t ridden a bike because I’m athletically challenged, and now the hand-me-down bikes I had when I was a kid probably would fall apart if I touched them.By the way, I love your space, even though I don’t bike.Lola

  6. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 01.6.2006 | 3:15 am

    The Lie: These ultra-lightweight titanium axle nuts will make my bicycle faster.The Truth: Yeah, right….the extra 20 pounds on my fat gut are irrelevant.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 4:02 am

    The LieYour feeling strong on a particular ride. Really zipping along, pushing big gears with ease, the miles just flying by under your wheels. A great ride on a great day!!The TruthFalse securityAs you turn for home you find out that you’ve just ridden 40 miles on a slight downhill with a tail wind at your back. Now you have 40 miles up hill into a head wind to get home! You run out of water with 30 more miles to go. The head wind gets stronger. Then you get flat. Thankful for the rest you repair it. Then you get another, then another. Out of patchs and no cell phone you end up walking the last 3 miles in your cleats to get home.Yea right!! A great ride!

  8. Comment by Nanget | 01.6.2006 | 4:06 am

    The Lie: Luxury Body – AssosThe Truth: Has anyone put on knicks and said "geez, my body feels luxurious"?

  9. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 4:10 am

    i am faster than you.

  10. Comment by Jim | 01.6.2006 | 4:25 am

    I am single. I lost weight (30 lbs. in a year) riding my bicycle. I joined the local bike club. The local bike club has lots of attractive, in-shape women. So you could say I joined the club in hopes of meeting women. However, the women in the club are more focused on getting in shape or on somebody else.The lie is — You can’t join the club to meet women.I guess I will just keep riding for my own benefit.

  11. Comment by TIMOTHY | 01.6.2006 | 4:51 am

    Not lie: I saw something that may help you on your Kokopelli Trail Ride. Maybe you already know about, but it was the first time I had seen it and the box had one of those comic-explosion looking things with the word "new!" on it. Anyways – Camelback makes a micron filter that attaches to the hose of your hydration pack. According to the box, you can fill the bladder with water from "any back country source" and then just drink from the hose like normal.Lie: Shaving your legs makes you faster.Truth: Ok, so I read once that shaving your legs will make you faster – by 5 seconds over 30 miles. I figure that for 5 seconds I should be able to push myself harder. I have yet to be in a position where I missed a podium spot but a length of time that shaved legs could have erased. I told my wife that the day I miss the podium by 5 seconds/30 miles is the day I shave.

  12. Comment by AO | 01.6.2006 | 5:01 am

    dang you MIKE you used the exact line i had planned…thanks for clarifying the picture fatty. i tried clicking on the picture thinking it was a link to a charity site for AIDS victims.

  13. Comment by craig | 01.6.2006 | 12:44 pm

    The lie:At the saturday group ride, everyone is welcome with open arms. Especially in the A group. There is no pretension or judging you or your bike. Mainly because we don’t care if you have an old bike, or a new cheap bike or a brand new $5000 bike. Your jersey doesn’t match your socks and shorts? No problem. Hey, were all out here for a little fun is all. And yes, don’t worry about it, I will be glad to answer all of your insipid questions. The truth:At the saturday group ride, no one but the regulars and local heros are welcome with open arms. Especially in the A group. Pretension and judgement and ridicule is where its at. It may be directed at you, your lousy physical shape, or your bike. If you have an old bike, or a new cheap bike please do not show up. A brand new $5000 bike might work, but you must also look like Popo. Your jersey must match your socks and shorts. Problem? Hey, were all out here for a little Hammerfest is all. If we end up having fun it was only by accident. I will be glad to answer all of your insipid questions, if the quantity is limited to one and I can answer sarcastically (with a bit of condescendence splashed in)

  14. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 1:39 pm

    The Lie:Riding to work will impress your coworkers and cause them to shower you with praises like "way to go!" and "I wish I had your commitment".The Truth: (which I know because the cubicle walls are thin)Riding to work will cause your coworkers to be impressed to your face and resentful to your back. They will say things like "what a psycho" and "doesn’t he know that it’s 10 below outside?". This resentment is compounded by worsening weather conditions.

  15. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 01.6.2006 | 1:53 pm

    The Lie: I’m going out for a ride honey. I’ll be back in about an hour.The truth: You’re either back in 25 minutes because the whole world is against you (or at least the traffic and almighty wind). Or you’re back in something over 2 hours because the fresh air and peace and quiet are so invigorating that you forget to turn around and come back. Either way, your name is mud.

  16. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 2:10 pm

    You will get used to wearing bike shorts The Lie: Bike shorts are a necessity and you will hardly even notice you’re wearing them after a while. Plus, you look good in them. The Truth: Yes, bike shorts are a necessity. But you will NEVER cease to be aware that there is only a thin piece of lyra between the world and Mr. Happy. And you will be painfully aware of your lack of modesty when you stop at a gas station, coffee shop, or any other place besides your LBS. You will try to act nonchalant but the clomping noise generated by your cleats will draw attention to you and your scandalous attire. And when you turn to go, you will hear snickers as people try to figure out whether or not you’re wearing a diaper under them.The only place you will be truly comfortable in your spandex will be when you are around other ridiculously-garbed folk.

  17. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 2:29 pm

    Lie: I will ride my bike moreTruth: I am a fat, lazy, unmotivated, unfit, slob and will probably stay that way.Tim

  18. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 3:14 pm

    LIE: The Fat Cyclist is fat. TRUTH: He isn’t fat, unless you consider Michael Rasmussen "normal". Rasmussen in turn isn’t "normal" unless you live in a community of famine victims. LIE: Juvenile Tim-D never trains for his events, and still does well. TRUTH: He is among the .0000000000000000001% of the population that Joe Friel says can suffer from overtraining. Even as I write this, there is a sattelite video up on Google showing Tim in the midst of his 331st consecutive, non-stop hill interval ride up Mount Ventoux. He’s been going since Tuesday, citing "a need to do a little hill work." LIE: Caloi-Rider rides Caloi bikes. TRUTH: We’ve seen him training. He’s on a $79 Magna kiddie mountain bike purchased from Target. With the plush Bell "Comfort Bike" saddle. Serotta Jim, however, does indeed ride Serottas. LIE: Al Maviva despises Assos gear. TRUTH: A soft old fatty with what is clearly a Luxury Body, insofar as it is built for luxury, not speed, Al wears Assos knickers, Assos jerseys, Assos jackets, and Assos Chamois Butt Creme; and is in fact a beta tester in a secret program to develop new Assos PDAs, Assos flatware, and Assos Adult Diapers.

  19. Comment by Zed | 01.6.2006 | 3:24 pm

    Lie: you can ride an aluminum bike for hundreds of miles, no problem.Truth: see that child? He’s your last until you get some carbon fiber under your butt.Lie: that’s a picture of Michael RasmussenTruth: that’s actually not Michael Rasmussen. It’s Fatty as soon as he gets back from an epic ride, right before he eats everything in sight.

  20. Comment by Zed | 01.6.2006 | 3:25 pm

    Hey, no dissing the magna!

  21. Comment by Loes | 01.6.2006 | 3:27 pm

    Aaaaaah! That picture! Get it awaaaay!Btw, Taocate, shaving your legs doesn’t make you faster, it’s just more pleasant (or less painful, if you prefer) when you fall, because you’ll get less abrasions that way.Lie: I don’t need a tyre repair kit, tyre levers etcetera, a spare tube will do. Someone else I’ll be riding with will probably have a pump. And I don’t need a cell phone. And that’s just if I’ll ever get a puncture, but I probably won’t.Truth: When you’re riding alone, you don’t have a someone else. And there you are with just a spare tube but no tyre levers and pump. And no cell phone.Happened to me, I had to ask someone who was passing for a cell phone so I could call home.

  22. Comment by Marsi | 01.6.2006 | 3:40 pm

    The Lie: 1) I have ridden all or parts of RAGBRAI in Iowa 10 – 12 times. Always completely sober and I never have pie for lunch and dinner. 2) I have never participated in a naked beer slide. 3) Iowa is flat.The truth: 1) One year I gained 7 pounds during RAGBRAI, which was ~500 miles in 7 days. 2) Assuming "watching" isn’t participating. BTW, most people should just keep their clothes on and, guys, they don’t waste actual beer. It’s water out of a garden hose, not heated and even in July can be darned cold. Can you say shrinkage? 3) OK, technically parts are. But, the ride organizers can find a few hills here and there. Here’s the geobike link on a year that had total vertical gain of over 16k feet –

  23. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 3:40 pm

    "Athletic cycling is awesome, really. Meet me at my place 7:30 Saturday and I’ll take you for a little spin and show you the technique. You’ll love it. We’ll just twiddle along for a while and maybe do some small hills to kind of get you used to what it’s like to climb correctly. We’ll probably only ride for an hour or so. The pace will be conversational and you will really enjoy this. It’s not like what you think to ride a bike like the racers do. Oh, another guy I know is gonna be there too. He’s kind of a serious cyclist but he is reasonable and he’ll go at our pace. We’ll just go easy and air out the old lungs. You’ll be fine. We might have to make a couple of small adjustments to your bike so it fits you better. It’s really cool that you are getting into the sport like this. I’m sure that the bike you got on deal will work well; there’s no need to drop big bucks on a really nice bike until you are sure you want to. Oh, remember to not wear any underwear under your cycling shorts and please don’t tuck your t-shirt into your shorts either. I’ll explain on the ride. Bring a little something to eat, like a banana or some grapes or something……"

  24. Comment by Nick | 01.6.2006 | 4:51 pm

    I only have two lies (well that spring to mind anyway).1. When asked by my wife about the price of the bike I am going to buy – I give her a price and she seems OK with it. I will wait until after I purchase to tell that was the Frame and Fork price. A white lie.2. I lie to myself when i ride to work in the rain. "Its raining, it is never that cold when it rains" 10 mins later I remind myself that it was this cold/wet last time, and i chose to forget (or lie).

  25. Comment by Big Guy on a Bicycle | 01.6.2006 | 5:07 pm

    Lie: Riding a bike is like riding a horse; if you fall off, you just have to get back on and keep riding.Truth: Riding a bike is like riding a horse; if you fall off, you just have to get back on, unless you’ve suffered some major injury to your arm, leg, knee, wrist, head/neck, or (bone most commonly broken while riding) collarbone and can’t even begin to keep riding without making the injury worse, assuming that you are even concious.Lie: If that guy can do that riding manuever, then I can.Truth: That guy has been doing it for longer, has no fear, has a better center of gravity, and has better insurance.

  26. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 5:48 pm

    Liei would’ve come around you in that sprintif i wasn’t boxed in by so nd so.Truthi couldn’t come around you if you turnedaround and rode the other way,downhill,with a tailwind.

  27. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 5:49 pm

    Seriously, honey, this is the last bike I’m going to buy.

  28. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 6:27 pm

    When asked by the newbie " Will I ever be able to keep up on the hills?"Lie: Yeah, just ride more. It is easy.Truth: Ride 2-3 hours 6 days a week, perform hill intervals for 1 hour a day, buy a lighter (translation: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$) bike, stop eating anything that you enjoy and has too many calories, stop drinking soda/beer, buy more aerodynamic clothing/helmet/gloves/shoes/socks, etc, and maybe next year or the year after you will keep up.PS. Assos chamois creme stopped any chafing for me during LOTOJA.

  29. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 6:58 pm

    "You To Can Climb Like A Pro""Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life""Moves You Can Master In 3 Easy Steps"etc……..Yes, I can climb like a pro….wrestlerBest shape of my life ? Then I would have no place to go but down.I should be able to master cructhes after trying those magic move.And I agree, that picture is very disturbing. Guess my "King Of THe Mountains" dream is officially dead.Boz

  30. Comment by Andrew | 01.6.2006 | 8:45 pm

    Lie: That which does not kill you makes you stronger.Truth: That which does not kill you only postpones the inevitable.

  31. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 8:51 pm

    Please remove that horrendous picture before the Parental Control software blocks your site, like it does Al’s.Tim

  32. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 9:17 pm

    Al, I’ve looked at Mont Ventoux several times from the safety of the other side of the RhoneLie: I’ll go to France and trainTruth: I’ll go to France, drink loads of wine, eat goat’s cheese, pain rustic, croissants, cassoulet etc. Generally pig out for a fortnightTim

  33. Comment by tayfuryagci | 01.6.2006 | 10:15 pm

    lie : I’m starting a diet TOMORROW. I’ll lose 50 pounds and become an olympic MTB rider.truth : I’ll stay hungry for a day and then pig out the next day.lie : I’m going to ride more.truth : I’m going to ride half the miles I rode last week.lie : this is THE LAST components upgrade I’ll ever do. I’ll buy a completely new bike.truth : I’m going to spend an ass load of money on a headset and some lube probably the day after tomorrow.lie : cycling makes me focus on my studies better.truth : I haven’t studied for any of the exams this whole semester. I probably won’t study anything after March till tthis year ends.

  34. Comment by tayfuryagci | 01.6.2006 | 10:17 pm

    I want to be the fat and jolly leisure-cyclist rather than that freak. and btw rasmussen is my favourite pro.

  35. Comment by joan | 01.6.2006 | 10:20 pm

    The Lie: No, those bike shorts look great on you.The truth: One look at your shorts and everyone knows your religion.

  36. Comment by Jill | 01.6.2006 | 10:27 pm

    Lie: Cycling makes you sexier.Truth: I think anyone who has ever squatted behind a dumpster knows the answer to this.

  37. Comment by TIMOTHY | 01.6.2006 | 10:55 pm

    The lie: Cycling makes you impotent.The truth: See my post about my goals for 2006. My boys can swim!

  38. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 11:05 pm

    I wish I had a good lie to tell, but I sure enjoyed the blog and everyone else’s lies!Hugs,MuMo

  39. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 01.6.2006 | 11:07 pm

    Lie: Whan you blow up to 581 pounds, you will never cycle againTruth: Read my blogs to see proof that above is a lie!Again, Elden, I’m not in the contest, just posting in a lie/truth!

  40. Comment by Unknown | 01.6.2006 | 11:12 pm

    Lie: I just bike recreationally, I’m not competitive about it at all.Truth: I’m sorry I forced you into that tree as we were sprinting there at the end. I didn’t see you! That’s really tough, especially since I accidentally called for the sprint when you were lifting your bike over that fallen tree. And man, that’s a bummer the way those dogs chased you off course the other day on our time trial. I have no idea who could have put raw steak into your <a href="">Banjo Brothers</a> seat bag. Good thing it’s made of high-quality materials and won’t stain. Oh, yeah, and congratulations on your second place in the series. I think you might have beat me out on that last race if someone hadn’t replaced your chamois butter with BenGay!Do I get points for product placement?

  41. Comment by Nanget | 01.6.2006 | 11:15 pm

    How about the lies from riding mates like:"Hey you should come we’re only going for an easy spin". It is never easy and always mashing the big ring.You ask "How far to go?" response "Not Far". Not far, no matter how far it is. Is always too far."It’s all flat" No ride is ever flat when those words are spoken.

  42. Comment by k | 01.6.2006 | 11:39 pm

    It takes me less than 10 minutes to get ready for any bike excursion.

  43. Comment by Jim | 01.7.2006 | 12:38 am

    Lie: The team ride starts at 9amTruth: It’s 9:10. Joe did say he was showing up, right?


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