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We could have done another break down of the worst kinds of gifts for Valentine’s Day – after all, off-the-wall gifts with zany slogans on t-shirts are just as criminal to buy this time of year as they are at Christmas. But Valentine’s Day got us thinking about other things too – like the love for a bike, for the road, for cycling as a sport. How is loving cycling like all other kinds of love? Here’s our not-scientifically-accurate guide.

 

Your first love

There’s nothing quite like your first love, even in cycling. It can be fierce. It might have been a moment on a hair-raising descent that made you feel weightless. It might have been your first tricycle that you trundled around the garden on until a wheel fell off and one day it disappeared. Maybe it was your first bike with stabilisers, maybe your first ‘proper’ bike – the one that gave you that headache when you looked at your credit card statement. It might not even be a bike or a ride, but watching the sport. Your first cycling love could have been celebrating your favourite rider’s victory, or getting your first taste of the sound and smell of a peloton rushing past you, or the first time you climbed up a hill in the heat to get the perfect spot to wave a flag and shout until you were hoarse. We all have a first cycling love, so remember to treasure it.

 

The old faithful

Yes new love is exciting – that new bike of yours is calling to you right now as you read this – and your first love is a piece of nostalgia to be swapped on ride’s and cafe stops for years to come. But there’s an old faithful love that we should all cherish too. Something – or someone – that’s been around for years connecting you with cycling in a way that’s permanent.

 

Lust

We’ve all looked at a bike, Strava PR or piece of kit with some form of lust, don’t deny it.

 

Romantic love

Bear with us on this one, but romantic love is a part of cycling. If you have a partner, that makes three of you in a relationship – you, them, and your bike. If they are a cyclist themselves then there’s the question of do you ride together, separate? If your other half doesn’t like cycling, never fear. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to bring you back down to earth. Also, you have now given them a theme for every birthday, Christmas, anniversary and Valentine’s Day ‘til death do you part. If they need a hint, nudge them in the direction of The Road Book – it’s better than the same puncture repair kit for the fifth time and it’ll last longer than a polyester t-shirt with a terrible quote about cycling on it.

 

Envy

Sometimes love is envious. Whether it’s the envy of another rider’s weather, a pro’s bike or stage win, or of that rider in your group with their top of the range gear, there’s always going to be envy in cycling. It’s best to remember that the grass might always seem greener, but rarely is. And that whilst the endless quest to keep improving (your gear, your personal bests, your ‘look’, your coffee addiction) is a part of cycling, it’s good to not let envy take over.

 

Heartbreak

With love comes heartbreak. Whether that’s a particularly nasty fall on a ride that made you question if you really want to put yourself through that again, or whether it’s too many rides slogging through terrible weather sapping your joy, there is always heartbreak when it comes to a love of a sport. You can feel wounded, cheated, even disillusioned with the cycling that you always found so relaxing. If you’re in the woes of cycling heartbreak this Valentine’s, try to remember why you fell in love with the sport anyway.

It’s all these different facets of love and cycling that will make up your passion for the sport. If you are looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift, either for yourself or the passionate cyclist in your life, then why not purchase a copy of The Road Book 2019. The Telegraph called it ‘the latest edition of this love letter to road cycling’, after all.

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