Those Awkward [Bike] Moments

09 Dec

As people who ride bikes, we often stand out from the mainstream. If we’re not wearing lycra or hi-viz or funny cleated shoes, we’re riding around places where most people drive by incognito. On a bike it’s easy to feel conspicuous, which amplifies those awkward moments that most of us have shared.

Like forgetting to unclip and falling over in front of people you want to impress. Or yelling at a driver who cuts you off and realizing it’s a co-worker. Or looking down at your pants leg at work at lunch and seeing it’s still tied back. I’ve done all these, plus getting my skirt caught in my saddle in front of Toys R Us today.


But the good thing is that we’re all in it together, whether we’re Cat 1 racers, hardcore mountain bikers, dedicated commuters or simply ride around town with our kids. We’ve all looked foolish because of our bikes.

At the Silicon Vally Bicycle Coalition Winter Party last week, we played a little party game where we shared our favorite personal awkward moments. Here are some of my favorites:

Loss of Coordination

I was riding in Belgium, using clipless pedals for the first time with a new boyfriend. I fell over in slow motion and couldn’t get unclipped. I was flapping around like a fish in front of him, plus a busload of tourists. – Helena

Wardrobe Malfunction

I was riding with friends from San Francisco to San Jose when I hit a patch of dirt, slid and crashed. I tore open my lycra shorts and spent the rest of the long ride mooning 30 riders. -Mike

Equipment Failure

When I was 16 I assembled a coaster brake bike with the ashtabula crank backward. I jumped on for a test ride, pushed down on the pedals and went flying over the bars at 2-3 mph. – Dave

Foot in the Mouth

I yelled “Hi” and waved at my mom on the sidewalk. Except it wasn’t my mom. -Ann

Distracted Riding

I was a teenager and thought I was hot sh** tooling around on my new bike. I noticed a cute girl across the street. I let my gaze linger a bit too long and hit a parked car. I slide up the back window, over the roof and down the windshield. She didn’t even give me first aid. – Chuck

I was riding with a big group for the World Naked Bike ride and wasn’t paying attention, missed a turn and found myself alone–and very naked. -Anonymous

Spanked by the Competition

I rode through a flock of geese thinking they would fly away when I got close. But they were too busy eating so when they finally noticed me, instead of flying away five or six of them kept trying to bite me. I had to get off and run away. – Ian

Just Riding Along

I was riding with a big group for the World Naked Bike ride and wasn’t paying attention, missed a turn and found myself alone–and very naked. – Anonymous

Thank you to everyone else who shared their That Awkward [Bike] Moment: Mike H, Jane L, Charles, James, Colin, Amos, Jack, Sue, Megan, Rachelle, Katie, Monica, Anonymous(2), and “More Careful Now.”

What’s your most awkward bike moment? How have you embarrassed yourself on a bike?

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Posted by on December 9, 2012 in Around Town


7 responses to “Those Awkward [Bike] Moments

  1. dryvonne

    December 9, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    That’s a pretty fun game. Unfortunately, I’d hog the conversation because there have just been so many moments……

    • ladyfleur

      December 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      C’mon Yvonne. Throw one out for us. I know I haven’t heard them all.

  2. fiedlerin

    December 10, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I just laughed so hard that one of my coworkers thought I had a major meltdown and came to comfort me.

    I love my folding bike and I am excited when I see someone who has one as well, so when a cyclist on a folding bike came my way I yelled: “HORRAY FOR FOLDING BIKES”… he wasn’t riding one, it was some oddball bike with little wheels… I felt like a pretentious jerk :-/

  3. Bike Deputy

    December 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

    It was a wonderful party thanks in large part to Janet and the other members of the committee! Now you’ve set the bar so high – I hope we’ll have you around when we’re planning 2013’s party…

  4. Andrew

    December 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Sorry I couldn’t attend this year. I guess if the SVBC is into schadenfreude, I could easily be the life of the party. How about 2 teasers:
    1) My first “date” with my now wife should have been going to see the opera Salome (scored 2 tickets for being my college newspaper’s entertainment editor). Instead, she got a call from the driver that hit me that I was in the hospital (fortunately, with just some broken ribs).
    2) Our one and only European bike vacation (in Italy) came to an abrupt ending 2 days before the end of the tour when I slid out going around a relatively shallow switchback, moving no more than 10 mph. I figured I would just get back up, brush off the dust, and get back on my bike. It was a bad sign when I couldn’t get the bike off of me (or stand up). A hospital x-ray later, I found out I had broken my right femur and required surgery. I got surgery for a metal rod in my leg, the best hospital food in the world, and a souvenir Italian wheelchair for my vacation.

    Ride safe!

    –> Andrew

    • ladyfleur

      December 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Ouch ouch ouch!!! It was supposed to be *awkward* moments, not *painful* ones! I think that rather than schadenfreude, were were more commiserating and laughing at ourselves. Who hasn’t fallen over or otherwise embarrassed ourselves?

      How’s the leg working long-term?


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