Rule 28: Dissenting Opinion

Submitted Evidence "A" photo credit © Chris Protopapas

Rule #28: “White is old school cool. Black is cool too, but were given a bad image by a Texan whose were too long.  If you feel you must go colored, make sure they damn well match your kit.”

You bet white is old school and for good reason, it is the only color of cycling socks that is truly acceptable. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what color did Merckx wear? What color did Jesus wear in his all-too-short cycling career, Kelly, Coppi, Rik Van Steenbergen, Rik Van Looy, I could go on and on. Not one of them have worn anything but white socks. Years back, black shorts were a regulation of the cyclist’s uniform. It may have not occurred to people to try other colors but black shorts were the only allowed color. Perhaps white socks fell under the same regulations; I’ll let @Oli answer that question. Black socks, god damn it people, are not cool, maybe on a mountain bike while getting wicked air, but not in the world of road riding.

I’m obviously outnumbered by the other Keepers here or the Rule would be three words, “Socks are white.” Every one of the Keeper’s executive board meetings seems to end with me drunkenly banging the table, paraphrasing Bones, “In the name of humanity, Jim, Rule #28 must be revised,” as I slowly slide off my chair and disappear under the table into a puddle of my own sick.

Only in the last fifteen years have the standards been lowered and now it’s a total confusion of bad taste. Again I implore the jury, have we no pride in our guns? A tanned, shaved, well-honed gun can only be properly punctuated by a white sock. Granted the sock pool has become so fouled it’s nearly impossible to even find all-white socks so I won’t be an absolutists (cognoscenti?) but please, mostly white. I won’t even argue length, I find tall socks (Wiggo tall) an abomination but I guess that shows how damn old I am.

Let’s reverse the trend. We have wasted too much energy worrying about podium caps when not many of us are on the podium yet each and every day we ride we make a decision about our socks. If you want to look Pro, get in the know, have a sack, don’t wear black. Write your local Keeper and make your position known.

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211 Replies to “Rule 28: Dissenting Opinion”

  1. Yes, white is classy Pro and I am converting over. But perhaps it can be seasonal? Winter woolies, like late winter afternoons, tend to be dark.

  2. I applaud this. Not because I obey Gianni’s edict – quite the reverse – but because it is important to have standards, and someone reminding us of those standards, in order to keep us more aesthetically anchored than otherwise we would be. Every time I don my blue Icebreaker socks, I do so knowing it is inconsistent with tradition, feeling bad about it, but also knowing that that guilt is what keeps me from wearing the grey ones. So chapeau to Gianni for being prepared to stand up (in his perfect-length crisp white socks) and be counted as the ultra-Orthodox fundamentalist traditionalist dedicated to ranting and railing against the corruption of the modern world. When the Cycling Rapture comes, Gianni, you’ll be the first to the top of Mt Velomis.

  3. @G’phant
    Thank you and bless you. When the Cycling Rapture comes I’m hoping to be left behind so I can scarf up Frank’s bikes. Frank’s ass is so getting raptured.

    @Oli
    I suspected so. It was Cipo who really started to mess with the standard black shorts edict, a man who understood the tradition and railed against it. I don’t believe Lance ever revered European cycling tradition, so his anti-establishment statement of black socks seems less impressive.

  4. Socks should start white and end up black. After all, that’s the only way to prove you have been riding through the mud.

  5. Things get a little tricky though when a rider wears dark kit and light coloured shoes. Here we have three guys with three different answers:

    Obviously they should be sporting dark shoes but personal sponsorship deals cannot be ignored. Modern life can be so complicated can’t it…

  6. I’m gonna throw this one out there: White shoes, white socks. Black shoes, black socks.

    I have no observable reason for this statement and it doesn’t even represent my opinion on the matter, but it sounds good.

  7. I’ll have to vote for black wool in the cold/wet though. Sorry to dissent on this one, but I’m ruining enough stuff when I ride in the rain, no reason to ruin socks too.

  8. Stick to your drunken guns, @Gianni! This is brilliant stuff. Spot fucking on.

    @xyxax

    Yes, white is classy Pro and I am converting over. But perhaps it can be seasonal? Winter woolies, like late winter afternoons, tend to be dark.

    Absosmurfly, though one might add the rider that the darker socks should only be worn with tights””ie. no skin between tops of black socks and bottoms of leg warmer/tights. Knee warmers or shorts must be accompanied by white socks.

    @michael
    Don’t get me started on this. At the risk of alienating a goodly portion of the community here, if you’re wearing anything other than black shoes, you’re trying too hard. The Greats wore black shoes and white socks. It’s simple and elegant. You’ll be the laughing stock of any high society function if your white socks are spotted under your tux, but on a bike it is sheer class.

  9. @Routier

    Things get a little tricky though when a rider wears dark kit and light coloured shoes. Here we have three guys with three different answers:

    Obviously they should be sporting dark shoes but personal sponsorship deals cannot be ignored. Modern life can be so complicated can’t it…

    Is that Michael Barry up front? He looks a little sheepish about that sock choice.

    @michael

    I’ll have to vote for black wool in the cold/wet though. Sorry to dissent on this one, but I’m ruining enough stuff when I ride in the rain, no reason to ruin socks too.

    It might be better to Hincapie it up and go with booties to protect the white socks underneath.

    White shoes, white socks. Black shoes, black sock

    Oh it may sound good but it won’t look good.

  10. @Routier

    Modern life can be so complicated can’t it…

    Then simplify and wear white!!

    My VMH bought me some black Defeets ( along with other goodies) for my birthday last week. I wore them once. I felt dirty. I felt like I might as well have ridden with baggy shorts and a camalback. They will now reside in the back of my sock draw until the are eventually “lost”.

    By the way Cotho may have given black socks a bad name with their inappropraite lenght but boy oh boy does Wiggo ever try to uphold that legacy. Eveytime I see him in long black socks I want to weep.

    The thing with black socks is this: As you get older you realize that it’s a look you just can’t pull off. When you’re younger you think you can pull this look off but what your friends won’t tell you is that, like an obese teenage girl wearing hipster jeans and a cropped T shirt; you can’t.

  11. @paolo

    The thing with black socks is this: As you get older you realize that it’s a look you just can’t pull off. When you’re younger you think you can pull this look off but what your friends won’t tell you is that, like an obese teenage girl wearing hipster jeans and a cropped T shirt; you can’t.

    Paulo, I like the way you think.

    @Steampunk
    Absosumrfly indeed, I shouldn’t really care but I do. Especially when I’m riding and look down at tanned legs and feel comfort from the white socks below. I’m all twisted up, yes.

  12. Hi All

    I agree in principle with Gianni’s stated position. Looking Pro seems to be a requirement. As a lurker here I have to declare that the sock that I wear are those that I have bought and until they wear out or cash flow allows That is all I will be wearing.

    I have white ones that are too short (trainer socks for the gym) and black ones that are probably at the lower end of acceptable for length but now ruled out by Gianni. This being the case I will have to don the mantle of shame until my wallet allows me to correct the situation! (I shudder to mention the shoes I wear to ride the bike I have – but then if you see the bike then the shoes are the least of my worries!)

    JoD

  13. @paolo

    Well then let them go to waste in your drawer then. I have a pair of blue Defeet XL gloves which I won in a race that sit in the back of my drawer that I’d be willing to trade for your useless Defeet shoe covers

  14. @Routier

    @Gianni
    Yes, that’s Barry looking sheepish, and added to the shoe/sock combo is the red shades! Shamefull.

    It could also be the red sunnies. He must have been in a rush out the door at O’dark-thirty that day. Poor fellah.

  15. @Gianni
    I actually agree with your position on the white socks. I can only dream of Rule #28 cool as I am an ambulatory breach of so many of the Rules – although I am working on remedying this.

    I have a new bike lined up and whilst it is not a road machine it is infinitely better than the piece of sh*t I ride at the moment. I have also ordered various pieces of kit and apparel at the shop I am buying the bike from and will soon be the proud owner of some half decent cycling gear and something worth riding.

    JoD

  16. @michael

    @paolo
    Well then let them go to waste in your drawer then. I have a pair of blue Defeet XL gloves which I won in a race that sit in the back of my drawer that I’d be willing to trade for your useless Defeet shoe covers

    No no, they are black defeet socks. If you really want me to send you a $10 pair of used socks I can. Or I can just let the cat play with them.

  17. @John of Denbigh

    … And is it any better or worse than this?

    I think there should be a rule against this sort of thing and Wiggo does not transcend the rule.

    I recall the designer and cycling enthusiast Sir Paul Smith, on being asked if he wore black or white socks when cycling, ” do they make black socks? “.

  18. @michael

    Shall we discuss this photo gentlemen?

    Greens don’t match. Boooooo.
    He’s matched his socks to his shoes and helmet, I think, but not really got it right. Or matched it to the PMU sponsor colour.
    SRM head unit is the right colour to match the jersey, but is still wrong, wrong, wrong.

  19. @Gianni , you are a purist of the highest order. Our sport, our method, our very way depends on those like you who stand up for what is right and just.

  20. @Gianni

    Bravo Gianni. And I believe that the spats being sported by the carabiniero in Exhibit A also support your argument.

  21. @huffalotpuffalot

    @michael

    Shall we discuss this photo gentlemen?

    fk he’s fat would be my opener.

    I would chuck stones but, ah, well when you see him in civvies he’s a f’ken midget. That and I’m getting my arse handed to me by kids on those teeter totter walky bike things right now so I have no grounds on which to complain.

    I’ve never liked matching the entire kit to whatever jersey the rider holds that much, with the recent exception of Tommy V cos that was fucking awesome. If you were going to try and mug him for it he’d have grown a third limb to stop you.

  22. White socks white sock white socks. Agree completely. Except in Rule #9 conditions, when wearing white socks means buying new ones. Especially when wearing the White Ladies, it’s a really bugger to find a white enough sock. I have socks that I ride only in good weather, on clean roads. Other socks that have already been besmirched and have lost their crispness before that I’ll wear when it’s mostly dry but I expect some upspray from the roads.

    But on days like today, when I rode for 5 and half hours in a mix of rain, wet roads, and roads with so much rotting leaf jizz on it that I actually had to stop once and pull a rotty leaf puck out of my front fork because it was like riding with the brakes on.

  23. @G’phant

    I applaud this. Not because I obey Gianni’s edict – quite the reverse – but because it is important to have standards, and someone reminding us of those standards, in order to keep us more aesthetically anchored than otherwise we would be.

    While also in complete and total support of standards, this is a natural problem you have when establishing them.

    Back in the late ’90’s, I started a site for artists somewhat similar in spirit, now that I think of it, to Velominati. It was called “Control Freak” and the byline was, “Control Freak: A term used by lazy people to describe someone with standards.” I always liked that notion. Too bad some other company was already called Control Freak and they sued me. That sucked.

  24. @Routier

    Things get a little tricky though when a rider wears dark kit and light coloured shoes. Here we have three guys with three different answers:

    Obviously they should be sporting dark shoes but personal sponsorship deals cannot be ignored. Modern life can be so complicated can’t it…

    Good call, except the answer is still white. And Barry, as much as I love the guy, has got to abandon the Shoe Kippah. What the fuck, dude. Shit or get off the pot. Belgain booties, no overshoes, overshoes – your call. Just not the little half cap. It’s as bad as Cav’s 3/4 sleeve skin suit.

    Note: Nothing against the Kippah; I just don’t think they belong on a shoe. I assume those of you of a Jewish nature agree.

  25. @frank

    “Control Freak: A term used by lazy people to describe someone with standards.” I always liked that notion. Too bad some other company was already called Control Freak and they sued me. That sucked.

    Love this. So true. Last line made me laugh out loud.

  26. @John of Denbigh

    I have also ordered various pieces of kit and apparel at the shop I am buying the bike from and will soon be the proud owner of some half decent cycling gear and something worth riding.

    If it’s got two wheels, its worth riding! Well, two wheels and a single Saddle.

    @paolo

    @michael
    If they were on my hands I wouldn’t be able to type…..

    Well played.

    @paolo

    @michael

    Shall we discuss this photo gentlemen?

    I think Cav transcends the rules.

    You can think that, but you’d be wrong. The guy is a bubbling mess of bad taste and worse judgement.

  27. Piffle and rot! Socks should match kit. If we ever get V-socks, I’ll wear whatever color is offered.
    @paolo

    @michael

    Shall we discuss this photo gentlemen?

    I think Cav transcends the rules.

    This.

  28. I’m sure Gianni intentionally selected the lead photo for many reasons, but I’ll point out that the gendarme is mimicking the look of the prophet with his little gaters.

  29. @sgt
    Agree about the socks. Could you imagine Team BMC wearing white socks with that black and rd kit?

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