Your Rite of Passage

The latest issue of Bicycling magazine arrived in my mailbox yesterday morning and I couldn’t resist thumbing through it right away.

While sipping my coffee, I mused at how much I could relate to many of the 109 items on the rites of passage list. The list begins with “01. Realizing that the hill isn’t in the way; it is the way.” In Chicago — I couldn’t so much relate to that one, but I could modify it to read “realizing the wind will always be in your way and at your face”. 🙂

I smiled when I read “22. Riding a bike through a big, congested city and feeling smarter than everyone else because you’re moving.” And cringed at “43. Doored!”

Let’s add to the list. “109. Reading a rites of passage list and finding that your own favorite one is missing.”

So, what’s your rite of passage in cycling and bike commuting? Or which of those already listed can you most relate to? How long can this list be???


  1. john

    my rite of passage? introducing someone at my work or in the area how easy it is to ride home/work.

  2. Liam

    Saw one of these one time that included, “Moving closer to your job so you could bike to work.” Then, a bit later, “Moving further from your job so you could bike further to work.”

  3. Beerfart

    Fixing a flat and being on your way in minutes because you were totaly prepared.

  4. Guy

    My rite is taking the lane as it is my right as a vehicle.

  5. Elizabeth

    @Liam – Yep. It goes both ways. I commute sometimes to a further location and enjoy the added time on the bike. But in the winter, being a bit closer is sometimes a good thing.

    @john – more bike commuters = awesome. And if they live near you, then you have a biking buddy, too.

  6. RL Policar

    Riding a fixie with no brakes. If you can do that, then you’ve got some skills. And don’t start lecturing me about safety and hipsters, heard all of them already. I’m just saying, if you can ride a fixie with no brakes, to me that means you’ve got some great bike control.

  7. Paul

    63. […] you think your helmet looks good.
    76. Clacking into a rough tavern in cleats and spandex.
    94. At the PTA meeting, looking around at all the fat parents.


    I would add:

    You have commuted up and down the same road for so many years you refer to it as “my street” although you live on a different one.

    Thinking that every house you pass on the way to work is closer to downtown than yours, and each resident is lazy for not commuting by bike.

  8. Gordon

    Not swiping the debit card at the gas pump.

  9. Iron Man

    Like Guy, taking the lane is a biggie.

    Also discovering that I am completely clueless as to the current per gallon cost of gasoline in my area and who has it the cheapest. At one time I was keenly attuned to that fluctuating figure. Now I’m lucky if I can muster a guess that’s within 15 cents +/-.

    A recent right of passage was teaching my five year old to lose the training wheels. Getting my first bike was probably my first right of passage and then ditching my training wheels would have been my second. So my boy is on his way to marking off his own list. Man I’m proud of that kid!

  10. Chris

    Feeling strong and then getting passed by a commuter wearing a pencil skirt and librarian glasses, who isn’t holding the handlebars.

  11. wade G.

    76. and 94 for me but, I would add that I see the Fat parents from the PTA meeting at the tavern and having the wives come on to you.

  12. dukiebiddle

    “Feeling strong and then getting passed by a commuter wearing a pencil skirt and librarian glasses, who isn’t holding the handlebars.”

    Ha! I have to give props to the ladies who have totally smoked my ass. And, YES, it is completely emasculating.

  13. Elizabeth

    as a lady out there (who also happens to work in a library)… most guys hate me passing them and seem to kick up their intensity. I let them – figure they probably need the workout. 😉

  14. db

    At this time of year, No. 8 (“Starting and finishing a ride—the same one—in pouring rain”) really resonates. The first wet commute taught me the truth — it doesn’t suck getting wet, it sucks having to clean up a wet bike.

  15. Raiyn

    @RL No, when you can do this you’ve got some great bike control.

    As for me #66, #99 (simply because it’s ironic that Bicycling would say that when I dumped them just for that.), and (one of my own) – Becoming secure in the knowledge that I can fix my own bikes and those of others.

  16. john t

    Riding home from work after putting in a 12 hour day as a delivery driver, and going up the steep hill at the start of my trip, only to have someone rudely yell, “on your left.” I get heated every time that happens, cause I’m already booking. But usually, I try to make friends with them.

  17. Doohickie

    #17. Taking the lane the first time.

    #18. Getting buzzed the first time while trying to take the lane.

    #29. Figuring out how to take the lane once and for all.

  18. Doohickie

    (those are my own numbers, not correlated to the article)

  19. ToddBS

    48. Cleaning the cassette with your old toothbrush.
    Is there any other way to clean it?

    I thought this one was the funniest though:
    83. Matching your bar tape to your tire’s sidewall— then realizing on your next ride that your bike looks like it’s been decorated by a blind pimp.

    Heh… hipsters.

  20. Ghost Rider

    @Raiyn, I don’t get it…generating an embedded URL that takes you to a 404 page is a skill?

  21. wade G.

    Let me add #43 Doored! to my list.
    First time to happen THIS morning.
    Driver apologized profusely.
    Think it scared her more than it hurt me.

  22. Gavin

    Yesterday morning I found a new one.

    Removing a mangled front derailer alongside the morning rush with numb fingers and a pocketknife, all because you forgot to secure your pantleg.

  23. BA

    Heading out somewhere and saying “Oh, yeah, I guess we COULD drive.” Because it had honestly not occurred to you as an option.

  24. Raiyn

    Dang it! Here’s the link unformatted.

  25. Dean Peddle

    @ Raiyn….oh come on…..Kevin Bacon can do that!!!! Ever see QuickSilver? 🙂

    Still impressive though.

  26. Quinn

    this 1 happened yesterday, on a 35 degree morning, realixing you 29er has a rear flat, then realizing you Have to fix it because you don’t have a car and its the only bike working right now.

  27. Iron_Man

    Going home from or showing up to work on a bicycle on a day when all the drivers are complaining about how awful the weather is.

    It’s been raining since 10:00 AM yesterday. This morning’s temp was 48F, but I decided not to wuss out. And it was a blast.

  28. torch

    love the one about watching the sunrise from the saddle.

    i would add something about applying suncreen while it is still dark out.

  29. Harry,

    Seeing the shame on the face of the shoppers at the supermaket, who just drove up two blocks when we tell them that:
    – yes, we just cycled down from alaska and
    – no, it is not that far, everybody can do it 🙂

  30. PaulZ

    Riding on the road, completely silent. No squeaks, no chain rub, no noise. Priceless.

  31. Spencer Carson

    I recently started commuting to work and the other day I was trying to find a new route home, anyway I soon realized it was going to end up in the middle of nowhere but nonetheless followed it. Upon almost arriving at the dead end I saw a deer standing in the grass along my right side, which looked up, saw me, and then begin racing along side me. I stuck with it for about 100 yards before it shot off towards the river. It was one of the coolest things ever. We both were booking about 20mph according to my cyclocomputer

  32. Barb Chamberlain

    Thanks to all who commented. Very fun items– some of them on my list too. My husband and I have seen more than one deer, flocks of wild turkeys, and a coyote on some of our long rides.

    To the one who thinks it’s rude to have a cyclist who’s passing you call out, I’d say I dislike it a lot more when someone swooshes silently past and startles me because I couldn’t hear them over my own panting (my route home is all traffic sprints, then uphill).

    I had so many to add that I did my own Spokane version, which I’ll link here rather than write a comment longer than the original post:


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