Saturday, 13 August 2011

Sod’s Laws of Cycle Touring

During my time on a bike I learnt the following things: 

1. The Rule of Traffic Convergence
After travelling on a quiet road all to yourself for an extended period of time 2 car will always appear, travelling in opposite directions, and pass eachother only when they are exactly in line with you.

2. Law of Tranquility
On a quiet road just when one starts to appreciate the beauty and stillness of one's surrounding, one will be passed by a 16 ton truck who, thinking that he is offering encouragment, will indulge in an extended blast on his fog horn.

3. Law of Oxygen
Just when one is starting to appreciate the fresh air, one will encounter one or more of the following:
a. A vehicle emitting large clouds of black smoke.
b. A wood pulp factory.
c. A crop sprayer that starts its run directly over your head.
d. The bloated corpse of some dead creature, which one will cycle over causing its distended rotten belly to erupt foul fluid all over one's bikes and panniers that takes weeks to clean off and will result in one being a magnet for flies for an extended period of time.

4 . Law of the Rest Break.
During a rest break one will be subject to the torment of the following creatures: ants, flies, mosquitoes and large spiders which think that one's nostrils are the ideal place for a nest.

5. Solar Law.
One will run out of sunblock on the hottest, sunniest day of the trip that covers an area devoid of shade.

6. Law of Compass Navigation.
When taking a compass reading one will be in and area of high magnetism that will result in a mythological reading from one's apparatus, which will result in one cycling in the wrong direction for at least 40km.

7. Law of Map Navigation.
The road, town or feature on the map most essential for navigation, does not exist in reality.

8. Law of Preparation.
The piece of equipment left behind while packing is the most important item.

9. Law of Pot-hole avoidance.
Attempting to swerve to avoid a pothole will only result in one hitting a larger one. The same goes for trying to avoid bumps in the road.

10. Law of Puncture Awareness.
Upon realising that one has travelled for an extended period of time without a puncture, one's rear wheel will explode for no apparent reason.

11. Law of Wind Direction.
There is no such thing as a tail-wind.
Observation on this law: It is possible to arrive at your destination simply by heading into the wind. However, if you use this fact as a law of navigation then you will get lost.

12. Law of Public Campsites
There will be no hot water and no toilet paper.

13. Law of Relative Distance.
At the end of a long cycle the last ten kilometers are longer with respect to time, effort and pain than the proceeding 100kms.

14. Law of Fly Management.
No matter how many flies one swots, there is always at least one more. The same goes for Mosquitoes.

15. Sunset Rule.
If you think you have enough sunlight to last you another 10km, it will be pitch black in 15 minutes.

16. Law of Toilet Paper Purchasing.
There is never any when you desparately need it, and when it is available one can never buy just one roll, it is only available in minimim packs of 12.

17. Toilet Paper Distance algorythm.
One's desire for a crap increases exponentially according to the distance to the nearest convinient toilet paper supply.

18. The impenetrable tent myth.
No matter how hard you try one mosquito will always find its way into your tent and head directly for your ear to wake you up at 2am.

19. Law of Equipment Access.
The item you need is at the very bottom of your pack, which will entail you having to unpack everything to retrieve it.

20. Law of Attachment.
Items tied to the outside of one's pack will at some stage fall off and this will not be noticed until one has cycled at least a further 20km.

21. The Shoe-Shaking Rule.
The day you don't shake out your shoes before you put them on is the day a spider or other creature has made their home in it.

22. Law on ShortCuts.
Shortcuts always take at least twice as long as the established route.

23. Law of Fragrance.
There is no such thing as a nice smelling lost distance cyclist.

24. The Raincoat Rule.
The amount of water inside a raincoat soon exceeds the amount of water on the outside of the raincoat.

25. Law of the Remote Accident.
There will always be someone around to watch one have an embarrasing accident, like falling over because one's foot will not detach from the pedal. When this happens you will also be subject to the Law of Impact.

26. Law of Cheap Hotels.
There will be cockroaches.
If they do not reveal themselves to you during the night then they will surprise you by appearing unexpectedly in your sugar or bread in the following days.

27. Law of the Gradient.
One will spend more time pedalling uphill than travelling downhill.

28. The Inflation Deflation Relation.
It takes a lot longer to pump up a tire than for it to go down.

29. The Weekend Wallet Rule.
You will most need to change money when it is the weekend and the banks are closed.

30. The Washing Rule.
The day you choose to do the washing is the day that the rain will set in for a week so that you will have nothing dry to wear.

31. The Hunger to Stability Relation.
The hungrier you are, the more likely it is that your cooker will be unbalanced and fall over resulting in your dinner being mixed with the ground.

32. The Communication Rule.
When travelling in a country and you cannot speak the local language, sooner or later you will end up saying something in English that means something totally different in the local language - saying that you are 'embarazada' doesn't mean that your embarresed in Spansh, it means you are pregnant.

33. The Destination Desparation Law.
The only time when it is quicker to get to a destination by bike is when one is trying to get to that destination by using public transport when it is entirely possible one will have to wait 2 or more days for the next available train or bus.

34. Law of the Cycling Glove.
There can be only one cycling glove. One will always get lost somewhere along the way.

35. Law of Impact.
In the inevitable event of one's falling over: If you are not wearing a helmet you will fall on your head, or if you are not wearing gloves then you will fall on your hands, otherwise any other part of the body which is not protected will be the focal point of impact.

36. Law of the Behemoth Truck.
At some stage of one's trip one will be forced off the road by the relative proximity and/or tailwind and/or foghorn of a large truck passing closely by at high speed.

37. The 'Other' Cyclist Rule.
Should a cyclist be heading in the opposite direction, then a friendly wave or greeting is permitted. If, however, a cyclist is encountered travelling in the same direction, the Law of Passing applies which means the speed of the passing cyclist increases to a sprint and the only possible acknowledgment offered is in the form of a grunt.

38. The Red Traffic Light Law.
Red traffic lights are adhered to only until the touring cyclist sees a local cyclist pass through with impudence, after which traffic lights are ignored except in the face of imminent danger. Please note that this law is not condoned.

39. Law of Chocolate Rationing.
Rationed chocolate never lasts the length of time it is meant to be rationed for, which can lead to painfully long chocolateless days.

40. Law of Road-side Vendors.
The strange items pertaining to be food sold by vendors on the sides of roads and at bus stops are merely nice smelling, foul tasting, laxatives.

41. The Law of the Last Laugh.
He who laughs last is probably slip-streaming. 


  1. Brilliant, hilarious compilation. I recently experienced #10. I always experience # 11.

  2. That's life in a nutsell, well done! You clearly had a lot of time to think of them while experiencing it all. Excellent (Still laughing...)


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