There are many telltale signs of a cyclist. Shaved legs. Early bedtimes. Tight clothes. Rampant caffeine addictions. Razor sharp tan lines. Hats with inadequate brims. Empty bank accounts. But of all of the indicators, surely the general condition of our knees is one of the most reliable? For no matter how old you are, if you’ve been riding for any length of time chances are your knees resemble those of a nine-year old school boy; scabbed and/or scarred and/or bereft of skin on a pretty much constant basis. Looking down as I type these words, mine certainly do – and every one of those blemishes has a story.
The simple fact of two-wheeled life is whether you’re a seasoned pro, enthusiastic club rider, daily commuter or even just an occasional weekend warrior, chances are you’ve had a few stacks and will no doubt have more before your time on this earth is up. And when cyclists stack, more often than not, we tend to mangle our knees on the bitumen. If it’s wet we may escape with little more than dented pride and a bit of gentle road rash as we slide across the surface. However if it’s dry, or the road surface is somewhat coarse, well get the Dettol and scrubbing brush ready, mother. Friction is a right bastard.
Of course, even the nastiest of wounds tend to heal in time (just ask BMC’s Taylor Phinney). Ultimately the patchwork of bumps and scars on our knees are a bit like spices in our cooking. They provide character, intrigue and, perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to tell tall tales at the post-ride cafe stop. And as we all know in the case of middle aged cyclists these stories have a habit of growing taller and taller with every telling.
Bloody knees. Wouldn’t be without ’em.