It all started so innocently -- a couple of rides down the sea front, commuting to and from work, perhaps a little time trial to see how you're doing... and oh -- it's happened -- you're no longer "a person who cycles" but "a cyclist."
Here are the tell-tale signs:
1) You go to the sort of parties where unrecognized guests are introduced as follows: "This is So-and-So who I work with -- he doesn't cycle -- but he does play hockey." Everyone in the room smiles, nods and frantically tries to think back to their school PE lessons hoping they remember what hockey involves.
2) Pictures of you appear on social media at an event or function not in lycra, and concerned friends email you to ensure you are not injured, or perhaps having some sort of crisis.
3) You're moving houses... and you've already discussed with your partner, "Well, it's at the bottom of a huge hill -- which may be an issue during winter base training or on recovery days, but we'll get better at climbing."
4) You've had a straight-faced conversations with a friend about your feelings towards menthol in chamois cream.
5) You remember the locations of pubs, towns and significant buildings by which Strava segments are close by, and which recent rides took you passed the place in question.
6) You sometimes feel the need to make the Garmin "autostop bleep" noise when stopping at traffic lights in your car.
7) The word "drill" no longer bears any relation to a commonly used electric tool, "smash" does not mean to crush, and to "drop someone" is classified as a massive achievement.
8) Your friends enjoying buying you Christmas cake, mince pies, and loading roast potatoes onto your plate during the festive season is not always a sign of goodwill, and is often preceded by: "Here... this will slow you down next season," followed by a devilish smile and a cheeky cackle.
9) You have a drawer full of punctured inner tubes you have every intention of patching at some point, and another one compete with enough CO2 canisters to make it look like an army artillery storage area.
10) It is perfectly normal to compare back-extension clicks with your significant other. The clickiest back belongs to the one who has been training the most, or stretching the least.
One final -- bonus sign:
Your very best friends are the ones who have shared endless giggles with you over the sheer lunacy of freezing cold winter rides, the ones who have stood by you as you exploded multiple inner tubes in the rain -- they're the ones who saw your most intense moments of exhaustion, and celebrated with you when it all paid off.
Michelle writes a blog at ridewriterepeat.com, where this post first appeared.