Breaking The Rules: #29

Breaking The Rules: #29

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As we gingerly assembled outside the gite, the Belgian sun shining for the first time in the three days we’d been in the spiritual home of cycling, the conversation was muted; what do you say to a legend of the sport, an apostle in his parish about to hold a sermon on two wheels? I can’t recall who it was who said it, but I remember the sentiment. Something along the lines of “yeah, we do that because that’s a Rule”. The rebuttal was swift and concise, its message with little to zero chance of being misinterpreted.

“NO RULES!”

I felt the collective wind rapidly leaving the sails of everyone within earshot. Those who didn’t hear it could sense that something was amiss.

When you have been told in no uncertain terms that the very essence of what you have built your reputation, your persona, indeed your identity on doesn’t mean a thing to someone you presumed would be a poster boy for all things Pro and style, it’s like being given the keys to a Ferrari then discovering it’s fitted with a speed limiter set to 60kmh. As we rolled through the farm tracks, byways and cobbled climbs around Kemmel, the Apostle seemed now keen to learn more of The Rules and what they encompassed in relation to not exactly looking Pro, but Looking Fantastic. This seemed to sit better with our guest, and by the end of the ride the “no rules” statement was long forgotten. But the sentiment was easier for us to comprehend; you can make the rules, you can bend them, even break them if you want, but if you must flout them, then do it with the same ideals with which you would obey them.

Which brings us to one of the most divisive Rules in the set; #29. “A saddle bag has no place on a road bike…” I think I even coined this particular one, and have been a long time advocate of its use. And because of my strict adherence to it, my bike always looked great but my jersey pockets started to resemble a camel named Humphrey. There was so much crap stuffed in there that my lower back would ache on any ride longer than down to the corner shop. Items were discarded ad hoc until the real danger was never being able to make it home without the help of a pump-wielding, tube-proffering riding mate.

I found what I thought might be the solution; a tiny ‘tube pack’ from Continental, which velcro’d to the seat rails like so many other packs, but was barely noticeable (by comparison). At least until you rode over anything rougher than the smoothest seal, when the Co2 canister inside would rattle itself against the seat base relentlessly and annoy the crap out of me (and anyone within a 2km radius). I’ve had it eject itself from my seat at the most inopportune times. So I’d stuff it into my jersey pocket, and be pretty much back at square one, only a slightly neater square one.

Our partnership with fi'zi:k gots me to thinkin’ though, and their small saddle pack looked at least like it had a cool mounting system with no chance of it rattling against the seat. Why the hell not? Now, while this pack is small and stylish, it’s still a saddle pack, and I’ll never really be a fan. They just cloud the aesthetic of any bike. But I’ve never been one to shy away from experimentation. Here’s the results so far:

Yes, it’s pretty compact. I can easily stuff a tube, 2 Co2 canisters, a lever, glueless patch kit and a multitool in there (though I never carry a tool). I’m sure another tube and a fair bit of useless stuff could be squeezed in too. Yes, the mounting system is cool, if you have a fi'zi:k saddle; it slides into the slot built into the base and can be adjusted to the angle best suited to the seat. If you don’t have a fi'zi:k saddle (why the hell not?) then there’s a velcro strap version too. But when mounted, the pack sticks out quite a way behind the saddle, which looks a bit weird to my eyes. So I struck on a solution; undo the hinge bolt on the pack’s mount, slide it out and turn the mounting arm around. Then slip it into the mounting slot from under the saddle (the front rather than the rear) and voila… tucked away nicely, looks way tidier and still easily accessible.

But, it’s still a saddle bag. While a functional, good looking one, the fact remains that any saddle bag looks worse than none at all. I can’t see it gracing my bike except for very long rides, when the maximum of gear needs to be carried. So if you’re going to mess with Rule #29, do it in style, keep it small, tidy and only filled with the bare essentials. I’m sure even an Apostle will back me up on this one.

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// Accessories and Gear // Breaking The Rules

  1. @PeakInTwoYears

    Dear Northwest North America,

    Why do some people from Bellingham and Vancouver like to wear black knee socks when riding a bike?  I think it looks weird.  But then I’m just some middle-aged git who used to ride a bike a long time ago.

    Thank you.

    I think it might be a bizarre form of irony, incubated by too much rain, coffee and craft brew.

  2. Irony is so meta.

  3. @PeakInTwoYears

    Irony is so meta.

    Massive violation of the Goldilocks Principle.

  4. It’s like they’re deliberately flouting the Principle and flaunting their flouting of the Principle on purpose. Like they’re fucking Nihilists.  /marmot vid/

  5. My genius bike-marketing idea on our ride this morning… inspired by a guy who showed up on his brand new piece of carbon fibre and managed to ride about 40km before getting in the truck.

    Rule V-bikes… you’re allowed to buy the bike, but if you don’t ride far enough or hard enough you have to give it back.

    The sales contract would specify the performance measures, and a depreciation value set so that the company could re-sell the bike to a more worthy owner. It could come equipped with a computer of your choice linked to Strava etc.

    I think it would be a great USP – you would know that anyone who had one was a proper rider and the owners would have the satisfaction of being part of an exclusive club.

    Anyone got contacts in Taiwan ?

  6. @PeakInTwoYears

    There’s a strange rugby-sock subculture in the UK which is equally baffling. Banker-types commuting on smart carbon bikes wearing proper shoes and … saggy old stripey woollen calf-foreskins. Dreadful. I think the explanation might have to do with traditional British approval for the amateur; too much pro gear looks like trying too hard.

    God knows about the black knee socks. I have friends in Vancouver who think it’s ok to ride in those absurd triathlon vest tops.

  7. @sthilzy

    @PeakInTwoYears

    Irony is so meta.

    Leg Warmers like these do have a place! Thanks Calmante. Where is Calmante? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFTJW4Merbs&feature=plcp

    There is only one person in the world as far as I am concerned who is permitted wear anything knee length and we have already seen her…but by way of a bump….

  8. @Deakus Bump appreciated.

  9. Hell. I am going there.

  10. Something about this was bugging me, and I finally remembered it.  You don’t want to mess with the “the exquisite lines of my kit.”

    Duct tape is PRO. Thank you to bobkestrut.com, which is apparently only an archive of awesomeness now.

    Bobke Strut: Hey Oscar, why not a mini-pump bracket?
    Oscar Freire: Well…I think Ernesto Colnago would crap his pants if one of those brackets appeared on my ride.
    BS: And duct tape is ok?
    OF: Hell yeah.
    BS: What about jersey pockets?
    OF: But that would mess up the exquisite lines of my kit. Plus, don’t you know that guys like me don’t have functioning pockets? They’re sewn shut, just there for show. If I need something to eat, I just stop at somebody’s house. Everyone in Torrelavega knows Oscar Freire. If I need a tube, I flag down a fellow cyclist and he gives me his. If he doesn’t have a spare tube, then I just take one out of his wheel. Then he gets on the cell and calls to get picked up.
    BS: Then why bother with the mini-pump? Wouldn’t said rider have a pump you could scam, too?
    OF: I need it to whack smart-ass journalists upside the head. No more questions from you…

  11. @ChrisO Yes! Awesome idea.

  12. @ChrisO – I like that idea. Very nice idea indeed.

    Since this post was originally about Rule #29 avoidance, I thought I’d share my own Rule #29 success. I finally picked up a Leyzene Caddy Sack and used it yesterday. Not a horribly long ride – about 93km – but definitely tough. (Note to self: Hicks Road is NOT a recovery ride!) The Leyzene Caddy Sack helped keep the bike looking as nice as any unwashed bike can look.

    I’ll keep the wedge pack for the really long and remote rides though.

  13. @Xyverz

    Well done.

  14. The fi'zi:k packs deserve a rule exemption based on one key point… they’re immediately removeable. There’s no web of velcro that needs to be done or undone that proceeds to catch on every piece of fabric in a ten foot radius. It’s such a simple mechanism that it elevates the pack to almost watter bottle like status. You don’t always need two water bottles but, for those rides which you do, it’s fully compliant to carry two… you certainly don’t always need the extra space but, for those rides when you do, the functional utility and temporary mount is a reasonable option for those of us without follow cars. The obvious provisions of the exemption being that the ride justify its presence and that it never remain on the bike beyond the duration of the ride for which it’s required.

  15. @Leroy

    The fi’zi:k packs deserve a rule exemption based on one key point… they’re immediately removeable. There’s no web of velcro that needs to be done or undone that proceeds to catch on every piece of fabric in a ten foot radius. It’s such a simple mechanism that it elevates the pack to almost watter bottle like status. You don’t always need two water bottles but, for those rides which you do, it’s fully compliant to carry two… you certainly don’t always need the extra space but, for those rides when you do, the functional utility and temporary mount is a reasonable option for those of us without follow cars. The obvious provisions of the exemption being that the ride justify its presence and that it never remain on the bike beyond the duration of the ride for which it’s required.

    Ahhhh  interesting point ……  however the answer is still NO !

  16. hmm, what’s this on david millar’s bike

    https://fr.twitter.com/millarmind/status/259019575658684416

    millar bike

  17. the fucking hipsters have been listening to @brett:

  18. Uh ha !!

    ( Think that obnoxious kid from The Simpsons)

    Tihs is the dumbest rule.  Jersey pockets are for banananananananananananananas, not tools and crap.

  19. @daniel

    hmm, what’s this on david millar’s bike

    https://fr.twitter.com/millarmind/status/259019575658684416

    millar bike

    hahaha. that’s amazing. love that there’s a Lezyne road drive (large) strapped to the down tube too.

  20. @Cyclops tool. not prick.

  21. Slideshow:

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    My Colnago only has a single bottle cage mount, so I have to carry my second bottle in the jersey’s center pocket.  This by itself isn’t  an issue, but has led me to figure out ways to move the tube and assorted paraphernalia out of my pockets.  Recently, I stumbled upon a solution.  In order to remain Rule #29 compliant, I have devised the above method using an old nylon watch strap.  So far, it’s proven to be robust.  I also think it looks pretty old school in a rad way.

    The nozzle is threaded onto the CO2 cartridge until it just tightens, then held in place using a piece of electrical tape.  A small piece of yellow 3M tape covers the other end of the nozzle to prevent road debris from getting in.  A double layer  of electrical tape covers the outside of the tube to prevent damage from rubbing against saddle or seatpost.  This setup also ensures that I have about 8 to 10 inches of electrical tape on my bike ready to go at all times, which has come in handy.  Of course, I still have to carry a small flat pack multi tool in my pocket, but the weight distribution problem is significantly improved.

  22. @EricW Thomson is not offset leaving those rails in a dubious position on the front.

  23. @mxlmax Noted.  Although it’s been set up like that for a while and I’ve not noticed any ill effects.  Thomson setback posts don’t work because the bend is too low.  I may eventually get a Moots setback post though.

  24. I think the picture of the dilly bag at the top of this page look, well, like a dilly bag.  I.e. your seat has testicles – way to far back.  I much prefer, if it is absolutoey necessary, a bag that fits between the rails and almost hides up under the seat out of sight.  Mostly I adhere to The Rule #31 and have a cut down bidon in the seat tube cage.

    On a similar note, hard men use a pump.  CO2 is for pussies whos arms are to blown to use a pump.  Personally I like the Lezyne mini pump that fits to a bracket under your bidon cage.

    That’s just my personal opinion.

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