Top Ten Ride Names You'll See
Words by Nick Christian
It used to be that you’d go out, ride hard, come back, and sleep for five hours. These days - unless you’re one of the few remaining holdouts - before collapsing on the couch you must also come up with a catchy (or not so catchy) Strava name for your ride as well. Market that bad boy! As imaginative as we all like to think we are, I’ve found that most of these names fit into just a few different categories. Here are my top ten types.
(NB I feel obliged to point out that as scathing as I am, I’m absolutely as awful as any of you and have made use of almost every single one of them.)
Also known as “The Commute”, this is the one that fills your feed throughout the week, in the form of either Morning or Evening Ride. East-West, North-South, The Default lets you know they’re neither hunting KOMs nor begging for kudos; pure perfunct, a declaration of drudgery, nothing to see here. So why, you might well ask, record the ride at all? Well, if it was up to them they wouldn’t but, as we all know, if it didn’t happen on Strava, it didn’t happen. At the end of the year, for your average commuter, that might mean as many as three thousand kilometres missing from the total. Argh!
As grizzly and gnarled as cyclists think we are, when it comes to our egos, we’re all fragile little snowflakes, aren’t we? The Caveat serves to cover the rider in the event a follower should investigate his #numbers and find themselves decidedly unimpressed. Average speed: 20km/h; total elevation: fifty metres; heart rate: still on the couch. Examples might include “Riding with Slow Rob”, “Recovery Pootle”, “Rear derailleur broke, stuck in the bottom gear from Epsom. Nightmare!”. Sure, okay, whatever, Slow Rob.
The “u okay hun?”
It’s a trap! The U Okay hun? is at once cryptic and attention-seeking. Often just an expletive-laden outpouring of rage-slash-grief, instead of simply spelling out his woes - whether in the title or description or a photo - the rider is desperate for someone to ask him what happened. Once you have he will go over the events of his morning in excruciatingly dreary detail, expecting you to respond at the appropriate points with textual pats on the back, offers of practical and/or moral support and, worst of all, more bloody questions: “mate, you poor thing”, “have you had it checked out?”, ““did you manage to get his number plate?” Like a black hole, once ensnared, you will never escape (not without looking like a bit of cad, anyway) and so, just as with a black hole, your only option is to keep as far away as possible. It’s not that I lack sympathy, it’s that I can’t be doing with attention-seeking and melodrama. He’s well enough to post his ride, therefore he’s FINE. Okay, maybe I do lack sympathy. (PS I watched Interstellar last night: 6.5/10)
The False Modesty
A close cousin of The Caveat, but actually its mirror, rather than fearing you might delve into the data, the False Modesty dares you to do so. Low expectations are set, and dashed almost immediately. Typically, the title will refer to the form or condition or recent nocturnal fun had by the individual concerned. He’ll be “hanging out my arse”, or was “kept awake all night by the baby” or it’ll be his “first ride in a month. A few kilos heavier lol”. Sporting a miner’s helmet moulded from schadenfreude, carrying a lamp fuelled by pity kudos, you click through only to discover PRs and KOMs claimed all over the place. The False Modesty has made a fool of you.
Accompanied by “[name of person you follow] rode with seven hundred others.” and a thick orange line recording lap after monotonous lap of 1km circuit. If he thought he did well he’ll casually subtitle it something like “Seventh, I think?” - there will always be at least four others who seemed to think they finished in the same place - but if he started, stayed and finished in the bunch, you’ll get the name of the race series and nothing else. If he was caught out and cut off by a crash he’ll be sure to tell you, and if he actually went down he’ll be spitting feathers at whoever was to blame. Because it definitely wasn’t him.
Whether it’s a ten or a twenty-five, at the H19/11, F7/10 or E92/05 I don’t know what these codes mean, and I Just Don’t Care.
My personal default, a quick trawl of activities finds recent rides named in honour of Chvrches, Half Man Half Biscuit, Modest Mouse and The Pixies. Because even on the most loquacious of club socials there’ll be extended periods where the only entertainment is whatever your brain can muster. It’s not that cycling isn’t stimulating but, unless you delight in every housemartin and hedgerow, it will probably have exhausted its supply of original material before you’ve escaped the ‘burbs. If you’re lucky, when it reaches to your record collection for inspiration, it’ll be one track that you like on repeat; more often than not it’ll be a fragment of chorus from something you barely care for playing over and over (and over and over), like an emo hare krishna. This is why people ride with earbuds, isn’t it?
The Turbo Sesh
Zwift may have changed the indoor game a bit (by turning it into one) but there’s still no more miserable a way to spend an hour in the saddle than holed up in your bedroom or garage, fan on full blast, bath mat strategically placed to catch the sweat that pours from body to frame to floor. You can be forgiven for keeping these rides private but if you do choose to make them public, perhaps in a self-flagellatory way, it’s only right for the names to reflect the tedium of the time you’ll never get back: “High cadence base session”; “One minute intervals”; “Pyramids”; “35 minute STME”; “Tempo”; “Lactate build”. Each one is perfect.
The TL; DR
No detail is too trivial to omit from this ride title as the rider tells you precisely what time the group set off, who came along, which hills they conquered and where they stopped for coffee and cake. Depending on your mood it either resembles the touching verbal diarrhoea of a sugar-fuelled child arriving home from a pal’s birthday party, or the moron at work who puts the whole content of an email in the subject line (including “Dear X” and “Lots of love from George”).
The Uncontained Glee
Reserved for the rare occasion when you’ve had a great day at the office and want to shout it from the digital rooftops. The Strava equivalent of Katrina and the Waves’ 1983 hit “Walking on Sunshine”, there’s nothing cryptic about this title and not an ounce of modesty - false or otherwise - in sight. Whether you set your sights on smashing a couple of segments or just went out to crispen up your tan lines, for once everything that could go right did. You want likes and you’re not afraid to ask for them. I say: hand ‘em over.