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. @Cyclops

    Train properly.

    @frank

    When you call them “tubbies” I think of Teletubbies and that makes me die a little inside.  Please don’t call them “tubbies” unless you are prepared to call your components “Campy.”

  2. @Cyclops

    I’m such a dickhead – last night I was on a “fat burning” ride.  I wanted to ride at 65% of Max HR for two hours.  That had me only going about 24kph but I was being disciplined for the first 90 minutes until a guy went by on a cross road so I turned after him and blew by him at about 45kph.  I settled in at around 40kph but then I slowed down as the road turned into a cross wind and I noticed that he was trying close the gap so I dropped the hammer again when I turned back into the tailwind and he was gone.  I’m a prick.

    You’re not a dick, but you should learn to Train Properly. Competitiveness only has a place in a race. Or a ride designated as an equivalent.

  3. @Cyclops

    God I hate when that happens. Not that I can exactly speed around and catch people at will, but I had the same thing happen this past weekend, and it made me feel slightly better that I was going uphill at the time.

    I actually caught the same couple twice. Passed them shortly after leaving the resort, then saw some friends by the river getting ready for a rafting trip, so I stopped for a few minutes to chat with them. Departed, caught up with the same couple again (on road bikes in lycra, I wasn’t catching normals), passed them going uphill, and then when my turn came up the road a few minutes later they were nowhere to be seen behind me.

    When I saw them ahead of me I couldn’t help but to try and catch up to them. I wasn’t on any specific type of ride, I was just riding to ride, so I didn’t need to stick to a plan of any sort.

    For me it’s not so much that I need to “prove” something or whatever, but if I’m going slightly faster than someone else and I eventually catch up to them, it just feels so awkward to sit behind them, coasting on and off. So I pass them.

  4. @ChrisO That Clubman would be a fine thing for running round London and days out with the family when a mountain bike isn’t necessary.

  5. @itburns

    +1

  6. @mcsqueak It’s part of your DNA to “move up” and when I (myself) catch someone, there is an instant to “see” if there is any reason to slow and chat awhile. Or just move onward. Usually the bike that another rider is on will become an ice breaker. This week I experienced the opposite situation: I had just crossed the lake dam on the lower side and after climbing back up (still solo) was about to merge into the median to U turn and return across the upper portion of the dam (the dam entrance). I always look over the left shoulder and… I did so. There was another rider killing it (coming up) to overtake me on my left. I see him just before as I am about to cross the line to move over. Throwing my hand up he realizes that passing me on the left is bad at this point. He goes to the right “safely” and without a word. I made him aware of his poor communicating skills by throwing up the hand — taking my line — and never said a word to him either. But I did look him straight in the “eyewear” — Bastard!

  7. @Chris

    @ChrisO That Clubman would be a fine thing for running round London and days out with the family when a mountain bike isn’t necessary.

    And frankly, unless you’re on a mountain…

    Gorgeous aren’t they.

  8. @wiscot

    @Dan_R

    @scaler911

    @marko

    @scaler911

    …….Keepers writing articles saying it’s OK to break the rules is like  Moses banging his neighbors wife and writing a chapter about it.

    That just went over my head.

    You know; Moses, the guy who gave us the 10 commandments in the christian bible (#3ish: thou shalt not bang thy neighbors wife or some shit like that). Apologies to all the religious VM out there.

    The Big Ring is Lord and Merckx is The Prophet. Inshmerckx!

    “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

    I guess that includes your neighbor’s bike too. But what if it has an EPMS? Is covet the same as “banging”?

    Desire would be a better simile – put it this way if your interpretation is correct I’ll sin by going for the wife and female servant and you can make your own mind up…

  9. @ChrisO

    @the Engine

    Nowt wrong with that, assuming she isn’t planning to take it out on the Sunday club run.

    So does Mrs ChrisO and I’m thinking of buying her one of these. http://www.pashley.co.uk/products/princess-sovereign.html

    Anyone who can look at a Pashley Princess and not think it a thing of beauty has no soul.

    They are indeed things of beauty

  10. Rule #92: “Flaunt” and “flout” do not mean the same thing.

    To flout a rule is to willfully disobey it.  To flaunt a rule is to, say, print a rule on a big banner and wave it around yelling, “hey, everybody, look at my awesome rule!”  Which is kind of the same thing as refusing to use a saddle bag when you clearly need one, but I think you meant the former.

  11. @frank

    @The Oracle@the Engine

    Proper VMH Bikes.

    Exhibit A, the Rain Bike. Record-equipped Bianchi XLEV4 – Ullrich-style build.

    Exhibit B, Bike #1; Cervelo Record-equipped R3SL, Zipp 404. The only point of contention here is she would be even more badass on a set of 202 tubbies. And even more impossible to catch once the road heads uphill.

    You haven’t met Mrs Engine have you?

    I’m working on the principle that if I can get her on a bike (other than a unicycle or recumbent) then I’m laying the foundation to have a conversation at some point next spring along the lines of, “Now your guns are like steel and you can stay upright wouldn’t you like to try something like those nice bicycles that those chaps rode past us very quickly in France? Mmm?”

  12. @ChrisO

    @frank

    She won’t be taking that across frosty Tooting Common in winter to drop the nine-year-old at school and pick up milk on the way home.

    The difference between a Velomissus and a VMH I suppose.

    Quite – although I insist on referring to Mrs Engine as a VMH. Much as some of the folks on here have projects rescuing unpromising bits of metal and turning them back into the dream bikes of the 1980’s, so I have a project that SWHMBIAV can be turned in to a handy training partner.

  13. @the Engine

    Quite – although I insist on referring to Mrs Engine as a VMH. Much as some of the folks on here have projects rescuing unpromising bits of metal and turning them back into the dream bikes of the 1980″²s, so I have a project that SWHMBIAV can be turned in to a handy training partner.

    I have to be careful of my words here–this is a public place and therefore “discoverable,” and I could have my balls handed to me by a certain female creature–but I am well on the way to having not only a live-in training partner but an increasingly rule-compliant one who can make me suffer on long climbs–admittedly not in the least a high bar, but this is all about me and my needs in the present.

    It was a matter of careful, gradual treatment for a long addiction to mountain biking and an equally gradual introduction to the aesthetics of the road.  Four months into this transformation, we just have to get her into Portland or Seattle with a few hours to spare to gain Rule #34 compliance.  It’s comical, if painful, to see her throw a leg over her bike in her Castelli kit and new Giro Aeon and click her mtb shoes into an old pair of SPDs I had lying around…problem with living in the far boonies and working too much.  But she wants Speedplays, which I take to be auspicious.

  14. @ChrisO The again, one of these might be the way to go, enough space for a small picnic and a couple of beers.

  15. @Chris

    @ChrisO The again, one of these might be the way to go, enough space for a small picnic and a couple of beers.

    Heh, my girlfriend wants one of these, as she is scared to death of tipping over on a normal bike.

    To be fair, I quite like my bike time as “my time” and she’s an awesome lady who supports my cycling addiction, so I’m going to try and force a normal bike on her, and I have no illusions of ever having her be a training partner for me, just like she knows I’ll never go running with her. But it would be nice to take our city bikes to the pub or out for dinner rather than always driving…

  16. er, so I’m NOT going to force a regular bike on her. Proofread, proofread, damnit…

  17. @mcsqueak

    @Chris

    @ChrisO The again, one of these might be the way to go, enough space for a small picnic and a couple of beers.

    Heh, my girlfriend wants one of these, as she is scared to death of tipping over on a normal bike.

    To be fair, I quite like my bike time as “my time” and she’s an awesome lady who supports my cycling addiction, so I’m going to try and force a normal bike on her, and I have no illusions of ever having her be a training partner for me, just like she knows I’ll never go running with her. But it would be nice to take our city bikes to the pub or out for dinner rather than always driving…

    With that one, she could bring you back from the pub regardless of your state.

  18. Uncovered why Brett is hanging this medium sized EPMS. Just a small amount of VooDoo to control the pace!

  19. @frank

    @The Oracle@the Engine

    Proper VMH Bikes.

    Exhibit A, the Rain Bike. Record-equipped Bianchi XLEV4 – Ullrich-style build.

    Exhibit B, Bike #1; Cervelo Record-equipped R3SL, Zipp 404. The only point of contention here is she would be even more badass on a set of 202 tubbies. And even more impossible to catch once the road heads uphill.

    I tried to explain Rules #2 and #3 to her (not to mention all the other Rules she was breaking), but she then proceeded to bore holes through my skull with her optical lasers, and believe you me, those fuckers weren’t set on “stun.”

  20. ^ Heh, heh.  On one of our first rides together, it took everything I had not to ridicule her leg warmers flopping around her ankles and calves.  After spending a number of years with her, I know what I can get away with and what will turn and bite me savagely in the ass.

  21. wow, just read the article, as i have been busier than a levitra salesman in Charlotte this week, and all I can say how did we come to this??  Rules are rules fella’s, even if fi'zi:k makes the greatest goods out there, saddlebags just don’t belong, unless your name starts with Jens and ends in Voigt…then go ahead

  22. My opinion, stated elsewhere, repeated here:

    Technically one could argue that these small bags that fit under the seat are not the same thing as “saddlebags” which used to be the size of small suitcases and were hung from Brooks saddles on Raleighs with Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hubs… Just sayin’.

    A wedge pack is not a saddle bag, hence no rule violation…  Besides sometimes you need more than can possibly fit in your jersey pockets.

  23. @Jay “… one could argue” Well then, you are in the right place!

  24. @the Engine

    @wiscot

    @Dan_R

    @scaler911

    @marko

    @scaler911

    …….Keepers writing articles saying it’s OK to break the rules is like  Moses banging his neighbors wife and writing a chapter about it.

    That just went over my head.

    You know; Moses, the guy who gave us the 10 commandments in the christian bible (#3ish: thou shalt not bang thy neighbors wife or some shit like that). Apologies to all the religious VM out there.

    The Big Ring is Lord and Merckx is The Prophet. Inshmerckx!

    “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

    I guess that includes your neighbor’s bike too. But what if it has an EPMS? Is covet the same as “banging”?

    Desire would be a better simile – put it this way if your interpretation is correct I’ll sin by going for the wife and female servant and you can make your own mind up…

    Depends on the donkey. Is he on EPO? Then he can drag my ass up Ventoux next time I need a wheel…

  25. 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.

  26. @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.

  27. Irony is so meta.

  28. @PeakInTwoYears

    Irony is so meta.

    Massive violation of the Goldilocks Principle.

  29. 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/

  30. 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 ?

  31. @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.

  32. @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….

  33. @Deakus Bump appreciated.

  34. Hell. I am going there.

  35. 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…

  36. @ChrisO Yes! Awesome idea.

  37. @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.

  38. @Xyverz

    Well done.

  39. 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.

  40. @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 !

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

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

    millar bike

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

  43. Uh ha !!

    ( Think that obnoxious kid from The Simpsons)

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

  44. @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.

  45. @Cyclops tool. not prick.

  46. Slideshow:

    Fullscreen:

    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.

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

  48. @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.

  49. 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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