Canon of Cycling’s Etiquette: The Rules

Canon of Cycling’s Etiquette: The Rules

by / / 43 posts

In the roughly six months since launching the Velominati, we have gradually moved from covering races, rumors, and doping to pouring over the very essence of what makes ours such a special sport – its history, culture, legends, traditions, races, and its physical and cultural challenges – and how those threads fit into cycling’s colorful fabric.  It binds us and penetrates us, much like the Force, but for bike weenies.

This is what has, over time, become the Velominati’s raison d’être.  Brett gave it a name in September when he wrote about the dilemma of handlebar/saddle color selection in a post entitled with the phrase that would become the most important term in the Velominati lexicon.  Since then, we have been informally maintaining the canon of cycling’s sacred text: The Rules.

This document has finally reached a stage where it presents a foundation upon which to build and we, the Keepers, have decided the time has come to make it public.  This is a living document and will grow and evolve as our sport does.  Read it often.  Consult it often.  Consume it.  Worship it.  We are the Velominati, the Keepers of the Cog, and it is within our trust that we keep this sacred text.  And also to be awesome.


// General

  1. #22. If your legs are to be left hairy, make sure you can dish out plenty of hurt to shaved riders, or be considered a hippy douche.”

    Uh oh.

  2. @Marko
    Don’t tell me you don’t shave. Once you go for it, you’ll never go back. I even shave when I’m wearing tights. I shave more often (and do a better job) than most women I know. It also means I don’t have to ride as hard or as well. And it’s also very effective as a conversation starter. Provided you don’t enjoy making conversation.

    Random Stranger: Hello, I’m Pat. I like horses and motorcyles. How are you doing?
    Frank: I’m doing fine, thank you. My name is Frank. It’s spelled like “Frank” but pronounced like “Frahnk” because I’m a hippie quasi-Euro douche. I’m also rather pleased with this morning’s leg-shaving performance. Rather pleased indeed.
    Random Stranger: I think that’s my dog calling my name. [wanders off]
    Frank: [to self] Nice chat.
  3. @frank

    That’s a lot of manscaping for me to keep up with dude. If you remember, I live without running water and a shower. It’s enough for me to keep up with my face and sack in the thrice weekly sauna, let alone my gangly hairy ass legs. Guess I’ll have to train harder and put the hippy douche hurt on some muthafuckas. Either that or get a norelco for the daily treatment.

  4. @Marko
    I guess that’s your only option, man! Put that hippie hammer down!

  5. @Marko
    By the way, did you say “sack”? I hope you’re not using the same razor. Or, if you are, that you’re going in the right order.

  6. Marko, sounds like you are a candidate for a ‘sack, back and crack wax’. Oh, and your legs too…

  7. @brett

    sounds painful ala Steve Corell in 40 yr old virgin. but much much worse.

  8. By the by: the link below definately violates Rules #11 and #24 in some way but is dooshy enough to probably warrant its own rule. Now where are my tight pants…

    http://www.ecouterre.com/8575/finally-bike-helmets-that-dont-make-you-look-like-a-dork/

  9. Oh Christ, that is awful. While that link provides countless reasons to run, screaming, from that site, I think the highlight is the following comment, left by “dennis” who is aparently a “bike shop owner”. I have a suspicion that he exagerating his role and is in fact just the manager of the sports section at the village Walmart:

    Interesting that “approved” bike helmets (Giro, Bell, Specialized, etc) offer no front or temple protection and that the majority of these helmets (even among serious road and mountain bike racers) are hardly ever worn with a chin strap tight enough to keep the helmet in place, yet designs such as Bern and these are non-approved.

    WTF?? The Rules aside, I don’t even know where to start with this. It would be like arguing with someone over whether or not the Sun exists.

  10. bluesdawg (whoever that is) put it best in his remarks:

    “Those are the dorkiest looking helmets I’ve ever seen.”

  11. frank :@Marko
    Don’t tell me you don’t shave. Once you go for it, you’ll never go back. I even shave when I’m wearing tights. I shave more often (and do a better job) than most women I know. It also means I don’t have to ride as hard or as well. And it’s also very effective as a conversation starter. Provided you don’t enjoy making conversation.

    Random Stranger:
    Hello, I’m Pat. I like horses and motorcyles. How are you doing?

    Frank:
    I’m doing fine, thank you. My name is Frank. It’s spelled like “Frank” but pronounced like “Frahnk” because I’m a hippie quasi-Euro douche. I’m also rather pleased with this morning’s leg-shaving performance. Rather pleased indeed.

    Random Stranger:
    I think that’s my dog calling my name. [wanders off]

    Frank:
    [to self] Nice chat.

    Heheheehehe. That is genius stuff right there. Back to the leg shaving for a moment. I very much like riding with shaved legs. I don’t enjoy the actual shaving part. Too much real estate, awkward to see and work on, I can barely keep my face shaved enough but for some reason, riding all shaved and fit is the best. Hairy legs are rubbish. There.

    It does add some performance pressure, you can’t afford to suck when all shaved up but if you are going to suck you will look so much better on the bike whilst sucking. It’s just hair. Sure it brings up the awkward moments wearing shorts sitting next to your father-in-law but those are golden moments in life. Own your guns.

  12. @Marko
    Seriously. And, the chick on the right with her helmet (or hat) tipped back. WTF? How can you question why they are not SNELL-certified?

  13. @john

    Own your guns indeed. That needs to be its own post right there. Or at least a Rule.

    I really see this as a package deal with your tan lines. Aside from shaving my legs and doing my best to casually drop that fact during business meetings I also make a point of always wearing the elastic of all my shorts at exactly the same place to ensure a razor-like tan line. I also never go the beach or let the upper part of my thigh see the light of day under any circumstances. I’ve been doing this so long, my tan line stays all through winter. It’s as if from mid-thigh downwards, my legs have been genetically altered. It’s probably skin cancer, but whatever it is, it makes me look ‘core.

    Which brings me back to my point: my goal is to have my legs look so ridiculous to non-cyclists that the fact that I shave them becomes a non-issue. I had some chick in Vegas ask me once if I’m a truck driver because of the tan line on my arm. That was probably the proudest day of my life.

  14. @john

    The only issue I see with referring to your legs as your “guns” is that it makes the “wanna see a gun show” joke a little awkward when you kiss you guns. But its probably a non-issue after they see the tan line and the razor burn.

  15. For those of you who haven’t followed the link…here’s the picture Marko and I are referring to:

  16. @all

    Okay, enough already. I hereby publicly proclaim and commit to the Velominati that next season I will begin to shave my legs. I’ve always been shavecurious anyway as I’ve reaped the benefits to my nether regions for years now.

    And since we seem to have a quorum, I’d like to make a motion for a new rule.
    26. Quick release angle on the front skewer shall be an upward angle which tightens just aft of the fork and the rear quick release shall tighten at an angle that falls equidistant from the seat and chain stays.

  17. @Marko

    Excellent work on both counts, Brother Marko. Your rule needs to be discussed just a bit, though. You’re dead on with the front skewer. The rear is more complicated, however, and needs further discussion. We also agree, I think, that the rear should under no circumstances be pointing downward or, heaven forbid, down and forward. I submit, however, that the rear should point up, as closely as the frame permits, and should come to rest just aft of the rear chain stay.

  18. @frank

    Though I can see your point, I need to look no further than one of the true hard men for my guidance. Perhaps he wasn’t pointing at his knee at all and was, in actuallity, demonstrating the proper position of the rear quick release.

  19. @Marko

    Interesting. His skewer is definitely positioned as you describe. You can’t argue with the Lion. I also went downstairs to consult The Stable and I realize that, although I never make any egregious violations, my rear skewer positioning is haphazard at best.

    I believe the rule should state that, when the frame construction permits, it should bisect the angle but it is acceptable to have it come up along the seat stay when the dropouts don’t allow preferred positioning. (For example, the beefy dropouts on the R3s don’t allow for it.)

  20. @frank

    Thus, I move to adopt rule number 32 and it shall read:

    32. Quick release angle on the front skewer shall be an upward angle which tightens just aft of the fork and the rear quick release shall tighten at an angle that bisects, equidistantly, the seat and chain stays. But it is acceptable to have the rear quick release tighten upward, just aft of the seat stay, when the construction of the frame or its dropouts will not allow the preferred positioning.

    Do I have a second?

  21. @Marko
    Added with only a slight edit to compensate for the fact that “bisect” already means “equidistant”.

  22. Is this what you mean?

  23. @brett
    Yes, that is exactly what we mean. And dude – that is one tight bike you got there. That totally give me carbone.

    Oh, it’s not your bike, unless you got it posted on Cyclingnews. *sigh*

  24. @brett

    Really sweet bike. I especially like the TRP magnesium cantis. The white bar tape matched to the brakes is certainly not breaking any rules. I’ll be ordering myself a set of the carbon version TRP’s for the Alan. And if I keep saving I too will have a pair of Zipps.

  25. @frank

    my goal is to have my legs look so ridiculous to non-cyclists that the fact that I shave them becomes a non-issue.

    That is a worthy goal. I too proudly show off my bizarre body shading to my wife who always regards me with disbelief, “what is wrong with this person?” And she is a cyclist.

  26. @john

    Ha! That’s just a good sanity check to have. Obviously you are supposed to fail that sanity check.

    Michelle’s reaction to this thread was to cup her face in her hands and let out a long, slow sigh.

    I’m not sure what that means but it didn’t seem positive.

  27. Um, yeah na, that’s not my bike guys. It’s Todd Wells’ S Works Tricross. Heres my SS version.
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_MfGSW9CT06k/SAL5gZl_dAI/AAAAAAAABtg/QO6MoGyin4U/s1600-h/tricrss.jpg
    Yeah, yeah, it has a saddle bag…

  28. @brett
    You must be scared shiftless.

  29. ridiculous!

  30. @Marin
    One of our finer moments I’d say, Marin.

  31. About the leg shaving – I took the plunge last season but I was wondering, where do you stop? I’ve been stopping mid-thigh but should I be going full Brazilian or what?

  32. @Cyclops
    I’ve been shaving since I was thirteen, so these things don’t seem ambiguous to me – at least not on the surface.

    However, my eyes were opened when Marko took the plunge earlier this year and sent me a text message to the effect of, “How high up do you shave?”

    My phone made the “new message” sound and I asked Michelle to check my phone as I was driving at the time. She sighed deeply and said, “Well, that figures prominently on the list of messages a girl doesn’t want to see on her man’s phone.”

    So, in the words of Nigel Tufnel, I think it’s best we leave this one “unsolved”, really.

  33. @frank @cyclops

    I’ll man-up and answer this one. I think I started shaving at 14, as I said to my mum, “because the PROs do”, it was all about style, even back then. Anyway, the reason to shave is so that your team’s soigneur didn’t knacker his/her hands while doing the post-race massages. So if you follow that then your whole leg needs massaging, so you shave all the way up.

    Personally I tended to consider how I might look in various items of clothing and shaved appropriately. Perhaps consider your choice of underwear and swimming attire.

  34. @Jarvis
    I seem to recall that one of the early scenes in “Sunday in Hell” spends a bit of time showing (I think) RdV shaving his legs. From memory he shaves quite a way up, and an explanation is provided that this is a necessary part of preparing for massage. I recall this not only because of the discomfort I experienced, while watcjhing it, at the prospect of my wife walking in and wondering why I was watching another chap shave his legs, but also because (i) he uses an electric razor and (ii) he apparently only shaves for the purpose of massage prior to a race – which says something not very flattering about we anal retentives who ensure pristine smoothness throughout the year with obsessive use of scrape razors several times a week…

  35. The rules now live in Davis.

  36. Cripes…BUMP

  37. @harminator

    Cripes…BUMP

    Jeeezhus! What a time warp! It’s like seeing that Far Side of a young Carl Sagan pointing at the night sky and saying, “There must be hundreds of them!”

  38. Ha, awesome dredge! Never seen this article before…

  39. Front.

    Rear.

  40. @Oli
    Again, perfect.

  41. The first dozen or so posts in here take me back. Thanks for revisiting this article.

  42. @Oli Perfection!

  43. I am going to bump this again…..purely because it is absolute dynamite gold.  It only makes me sad that I was not present at the birth of The Rules because reading down this post it sounding like a shit load of fun!

    And it also demonstrates that we are still debating the correct angle of quick releases!

    Which is….

Leave a Reply