During the birth of The Rules, just like the Big Bang, there was a flurry of new activity, too much expanding and not enough contracting; certainly not enough thinking. It’s hard to keep the throttle back when divining the Word of Merckx in real time. The interweb tubes whistled with new Rules shuttling back and forth, beers consumed, genius conferred, make it so, make it so. We were young, carefree, we would live forever.
Now, with a small bit of introspection and a looming book deadline, the Keepers are actually re-reading these things. Yes, some should go, some should be mashed together, and thanks to our brilliant community, some new ones should go in. For example, Rule #48 and Rule #49 – both about saddle position and not even addressing height.
“Hey I got another one, keep your saddle level.”
“Ha ha ha! Yeah, can you believe people ride with the nose way up or way down? People are such dicks.”
“Oh, Oh, Oh, I got another one, slide your saddle back, can you believe how people ride with their saddle way forward?”
In a less beer-fueled world, those might have become one Rule, dealing with two connected yet dissimilar concepts. Now they will become one Rule, both addressing saddle position.
Rule #48 // Saddles must be level and pushed back.
The seating area of a saddle is to be visually level, with the base measurement made using a spirit level. Based on subtleties of saddle design and requirements of comfort, the saddle may then be pitched slightly forward or backward to reach a position that offers stability, power, and comfort. If the tilt of the saddle exceeds two degrees, you need to go get one of those saddles with springs and a thick gel pad because you are obviously a big pussy.
The midpoint of the saddle as measured from tip to tail shall fall well behind and may not be positioned forward of the line made by extending the seat tube through the top of the saddle. (Also see Rule #44 and Rule #48.)
This opens up Rule #49. Lord Merckx has decreed that all the Rules don’t switch one position if one is eradicated or subsumed. That would confound the universe and force one of Lord Merckx’s minions to write a lot of code. And that minion is the only minion capable of code writing because the other minions are dumb fucks.
Rule #49 // Keep the rubber side down.
It is totally unacceptable to deliberately turn one’s steed upside down for any reason under any circumstances. Besides the risk of scratching the saddle, levers and stem, it is unprofessional and a disgrace to your loyal steed. The risk of the bike falling over is increased, wheel removal/replacement is made more difficult and your bidons will leak. The only reason a bicycle should ever be in an upside down position is during mid-rotation while crashing. This Rule also applies to upside down saddle-mount roof bars. (Thanks to Donnie Bugno.)
This wise bit of advise comes from Donnie ‘Donnie Bugno’ Wiley. Donnie sagely added “I take this so seriously I am unable to offer any assistance or slow down no matter how much distress the rider may be in.” Donnie is wise. He is one of us.
Similarly to the above stated Rules, we have Rules #21 and #23 pertaining to cold weather gear and shoe covers. If memory serves us correctly, or not, someone back in the early days (it was surely one of the five of us who were the only ones reading the site at the time) asked what the fuck Hincapie was doing wearing shoe covers all the time. Regardless of how pro George ALWAYS looked otherwise, there had to be a Rule in there somewhere about shoe covers. Since we only had 22 Rules at the time, Rule #23 was decreed. But since hindsight is 20/20 it is time to redact Rules #21 and #23 into one Rule. Therefore:
Rule #21 // Cold weather gear is for cold weather.
Knickers, vests, arm warmers, shoe covers, and caps beneath your helmet can all make you look like a hardman, when the weather warrants their use. If it isn’t wet or cold, save your Flandrian Best for Flemish weather.
So what of the space vacated by the shoe covers in Rule #23, you ask? Well, we’re filling that space with what we’re calling “the Tuck Rule”.
You may only employ the aerodynamic tuck after you have spun out your 53 x 11; the tuck is to be engaged only when your legs can no longer keep up. Your legs make you go fast, and trying to keep your fat ass out of the wind only serves to keep you from slowing down once you reach escape velocity. Thus, the tuck is only to be employed to prevent you slowing down when your legs have wrung the top end out of your block. Tucking prematurely while descending is the antithesis of Casually Deliberate. For more on riding fast downhill see Rule #64 and Rule #85.
But we’re not finished there, no siree… A couple of other Rules needing to be combined are 18 and 19, pertaining to sensible choice of kit for road, mountain biking and cyclocross racing. Basically, don’t mix that shit up.
Rule #18 // Know what to wear. Don’t suffer kit confusion.
No baggy shorts and jerseys while riding the road bike. No lycra when riding the mountain bike (unless racing XC). Skin suits only for cyclocross.
Which leaves Rule #19 open. The Keepers have experienced the annoying practice of riders joining groups unannounced at an increasing rate of late. This brought about a Rule suggestion being raised in the Boardroom, and a timely post by community member @specialk reinforced our own beliefs that a little common courtesy goes a long way. We are not against riders joining a group, but you wouldn’t walk into a restaurant, sit down at an occupied table and start eating, so why just latch onto a stranger’s wheel and claim a free lunch?
Rule #19 // Introduce Yourself.
If you deem it appropriate to join a group of riders who are not part of an open group ride and who are not your mates, it is customary and courteous to announce your presence. Introduce yourself and ask if you may join the group. If you have been passed by a group, wait for an invitation, introduce yourself, or let them go. The silent joiner is viewed as ill-mannered and Anti-V. Conversely, the joiner who can’t shut their cakehole is no better and should be dropped from the group at first opportunity. (Thanks to specialk)
And so we have spoken. And the disciples shall digest these new Rules, and they shall Obey. Prophet V.V