Cycling is a complex sport, one whose fabric is densely woven from the fibers of a Hundred Years War between evolution and tradition. The Rules were laid out in part to provide a path through the chaos, helping lead the disciple towards transcendence. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
This simple idea tugs at the underlying fact that the human mind tends to process ideas from the most obvious or easy to understand inward towards the most complex and difficult to understand. In other words, we start with What, then move to How, before finally arriving at Why. But because only 1/3 of the human mind is capable of rational thought while 2/3 of it operates on emotional or instinctual levels, the implication is that the How and the Why tend to be more instinctual or emotional than they are rational. Which is why we often know “Wrong” when we see it without necessarily being able to articulate the reasons behind it.
The Rules codify many aspects of Cycling; we can follow this code and understand fairly well when someone is in contravention of them; in essence, they provide the framework to elevate the “wrong” out of our instinctual mind and into the rational. At least when it comes to looking good on a bike or at the café.
Once in motion, the Velominatus sets themselves apart from other Cyclists by not only their outwardly aesthetic mastery, but by their comfort with how the bicycle moves beneath them; while in motion they handle themselves as if the machine is an extension of their body if not their very soul. Today’s objective is to begin to lay out a foundation for a framework on how to recognize when the actual act of riding the bicycle may be performed incorrectly. Keep in mind, as you coinsider this weighty subject, that Cycling is a sport which flaunts the Laws of Physics with not an inconsiderable sense of entitlement.
- If at any point you find yourself awakening from your ride in a hospital bed, there is a strong possibility that you have done something wrong.
- If at any point you find yourself in the dentist’s office having your jaw and/or teeth reconfigured as a result of launching face-first into an immovable and impermeable barrier of any kind, you probably demonstrated an overconfidence in either the mobility of permeability of said object, thereby doing it wrong.
- If at any point you find yourself surprised at how briskly the human body slides over tarmac before collecting yourself and riding to the emergency room where a curmudgeonly doctor briskly removes road debris from your wounds using a steel brush while muttering to himself about people’s “sense of invulnerability”, you probably overestimated your ability to hang ten in that one corner.
- If at any point you decide that the best way to learn to bunnyhop barriers in Cyclocross at full speed is to “commit” without first practicing this dark art, you are definitely doing it wrong.
- If you see an object in the road such as a pothole, log, or broken glass and ride through it before being astounded by the fact that this action resulted in a flat tire, you are doing it wrong.
- If you are riding in a group and touch another rider’s wheel with your wheel, you are doing it wrong. If you also thereby cause a crash, then you are doing it wrong to the point that you need to reconsider how well you concentrate while riding. If you react to said crash in any way other than assuming full responsibility and apologizing to the poor wretch(es) who are now possibly facing variations of points 1, 2, and 3 above, you are quite possibly an asshole which is one of the worst ways of Doing It Wrong (and a Rule #43 violation).
- If you arrive at a stoplight and fail to unclip from your pedals before falling over, you are doing it wrong. If this fall results in you breaking both your hand and elbow then you did it extra wrong. (I’m looking at you, @blackpooltower.)
- If you jovially parked your car in a garage while simultaneously and unintentionally removing your bicycles from your roof rack, you did it extra special wrong.
- If at any point during the climb you get off and walk, you are doing it extra special wrong times infinity.
- If at any point during your Cycling life you did any of the above without later laughing about it and spinning it into a wildly amusing tale of hubris and hyperbole then you are doing it extra special wrong times infinity with no backs.