Urs Freuler

Guest Article: Breaking the Rules- A Note on Rule #50

Guest Article: Breaking the Rules- A Note on Rule #50

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I have no dog in this fight but @Henrik does. I can’t swim in the serious ‘stache growing gene pool. And yes, it’s already Vajanuary, we left Mo’vember with nary a nod, why, because it’s stupid. Rule #50 could have included having the last name Freuler and wearing the prison stripped Atala kit as the second exception for facial hair, for he was a stud. I could be accused of putting too many photos of him on this site already and to that, I would plead happily guilty.

VLVV, Gianni

Personally I consider myself an enforcer of The Rules constantly (though admittedly with at least an effort of subtlety) correcting friends and family over issues such as how to wear their shades, sock length, or the the dreaded long-tights-short-sleeves-combination. However, complete compliance with The Rules is hard. I have on several occasions been caught with a premature aero tuck (I defend myself with the need to practice) and back in the day I have also been seen rolling around in unforgivably hi-viz jackets and jerseys.

More recently there is only one Rule that I regularly and willingly break: Rule #50. The no facial hair rule. This Rule states that the only facial hair allowed is a goatee and then only if your name starts with Marco and ends with Pantani. I have neither goatee nor the appropriate name and thus my moustachoid appearance is in clear violation.

But this transgression is not just mindless ignorance, I do have feelings about this Rule. Currently””and admittedly for quite some time””facial hair is a rarity in the pro peloton. There are of course the comedy moustache of Dave Zabriskie (which wasn’t particularly nice looking), Wiggo’s now-shaven sideburns, and the slight and youthful pencil-moustache of Lochlan Morton. Otherwise, it is a rarity (though out of competition ‘staches can be spotted regularly, see the “Movember” article on Cycling Tips). In the history of cycling, and especially in the early days, things were quite different. Maurice Garin had moustache of course, and so did many of his contemporaries. As was pointed out on Velominati, Urs Freuler wore a cyclo-stash proper thoughout his career. One could go on here but I choose not to and instead refer the reader to said article. Although there is a plentitude of historical prejudication to draw from that might instill lenience on the application of this Rule, that is not my point.

I do my best to ride all year around, in direct conflict with the place which I call home. I am a Swede currently living on the windy, and fertile plains of the south. It doesn’t get quite as cold down here as further north, but the weather is hell by any measure you choose. Every winter has snow, albeit to varying degree. Sometimes it lays around for months on end, other winters it will quickly rain away. However, since the temperature often hovers around freezing one usually will often go on rides where part of the route is snowy, part is slushy, and part is just plain wet. The relative lack of forests and flat landscape also does little to stop the winds. The summers are plenty windy but fall and winter is much worse, especially with the frequent storms. The intermediate position of southern Sweden also promises much darkness, there will hardly never be the kind of snow cover that provide some reflective light, but the days are still short, which means a lot of riding in the dark. In the last couple of weeks I have ridden in complete darkness (this is a component in almost every ride), 15 cm of snow, 25m/s winds, 1°C temperatures and relentless rain, and so on. It is impossible to stay warm and dry and one will often come home after a few hours with no sensation in hands and feet. In other words: Rules #5 and #9 comes to mind.

So the point is, one should consider The Rules not as completely set in stone, the different principles can influence one another, and compliance with some Rules can earn you the right to break others. The many hours spent freezing my nuts off, sliding across ice and slush, on dark and windy afternoons have earned me the right to sport a moustache.

// Breaking The Rules // Guest Article

  1. @PedallingTom

    @meursault

    I don’t know about baseball or any other US sport for that matter but your point about realising that our attempts to justify our rule violations are wrong is spot on. As cycling disciples we are attempting to stay on the path; to keep our line and guiding others. Even when we stray from the path the Rules shine in the dark showing us the true line.

    And what place has Joe Strummer in these pages?!

    I’ll take a picture of Mr. Strummer anyday over Chris Froome in lingerie. Also, I take it you weren’t around when the prancercize video was uploaded? If so, count yourself lucky!

  2. @Dan_R

    @wiscot That would have been awesome! And maybe just a little intimidating. Either that, or he would have thought he was dealing with Baron Von Munchhausen.

    Dan, you could create an alter-ego called Baron von Roubaix! A skewed take on Monty Python’s Bicycle Repairman sketch. Except you find yourself unable to fix Specialized bikes.

  3. @Steampunk

    Snidely Whiplash?

  4. @Sundqvist

    As a fellow Swede I can attest to facial hair sometimes helping against blistering cold, and yes, small icicles will form after a while…

    Spot-on. I too live on the flat lands of southern Sweden now, not far from Henrik it seems. I once went out running with a colleague in -10 degrees and his copious amounts of ear hair came back looking like icebergs – for a moment I couldn’t quite work out what it was.

    @JACD214

    I’ll take the necessary hits for the violation. I grew my Van Dyke (goatee with a ‘stache) 20 years ago. I started cycling 16 months ago.

    Yes, I also grew this finely cultivated look 20 years ago -it is me- but only discovered my destiny to follow The Rules mid last year in my first full year of ‘proper’ cycling.

  5. @RondeVan

    @livingminimal

    Merckx and Strummer in the same sentence? You just broke the Cool-O-Meter.

    Shattered it in fact.

  6. @xyxax

    Nah. I’m more beret than top hat. (Careful, though: you may be dating yourself here””I was awfully tempted to say “who??”).

  7. @Steampunk

    Alas, Dudley, Nell, and Snidely were my frame of reference for Canadians for nearly 50 years. And then I met you.

  8. @Steamy, tough winter? Get a grip man you’ll be riding in only 4 months!

  9. @meursault

    As long as we don’t go down the road, currently fashionable in US baseball, the redneck full beard. (Other US sports are available, but I don’t watch any of them)

    The many hours spent freezing my nuts off, sliding across ice and slush, on dark and windy afternoons have earned me the right to sport a moustache.

    At various times, we all attempt to justify our rule violations, you end up realising you were wrong.

    Well said.  Yesterday I spent at least an hour (and finally gave up) crafting a well-honed comment trying to justify this:

    Some of the rationalizations included:

    1. ‘cross season is kind of a gray area.
    2. It’s not ironic.  And those inordinately thick frames are holding ridiculously myopic corrective lenses.
    3. That’s not a beard, it’s a home-grown balaclava.

    On New Year’s Day we had our first team ride in several months.  My hirsute visage was cause for much scorn and many reminders of the 5oth tenet.

    That episode, and @meursault’s comment, compelled me to this conclusion:

    Inevitably, rules will be broken.  We are fallible and prone to bouts of weakness.  However, no amount of time in the saddle, or degree of suffering, justifies breaking the rules.

  10. @Optimiste

    That was a full and thoughtful confession, admirable and worthy of grace. And the beard of which you were either brave or foolhardy enough to post a photo doesn’t even look as disgusting as it might. If you weren’t a cyclist, it might be thought acceptable.

  11. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/Steampunk/2014.01.04.09.44.15/1//Steampunk-2014.01.04.09.44.15-1-Photo on 1-4-2014 at 12.59 PM.jpg': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@Steampunk

    Don’t ever do that again or I’ll ban you for life.

  12. @Steampunk You’re just trying to look like Franz Nicolay

  13. Just in case anyone is confused re: what your ‘tash really looks like

  14. well that didn’t work did it?

  15. @frank

    Do what? Grow it or post it (admit it: you posted the picture again in order to help with your bib-stretching service, didn’t you””it’s okay; I’m a little weirded out, but I know the moo-stash can be a little bewitching)? Slap on a cap and a woollen sweater, and it looks pretty badass. As in Hyppolite Aucouturier badass.

    @marko

    As a matter of fact, I had him over for dinner in the fall. Nice guy, but no longer sporting the moo-stash. I like me fine.

  16. @Steampunk

    Keep going and you might be able to melt snow and ice, if not time.

    Dali 1

  17. @Steampunk Daniel Simpson Day

  18. @PeakInTwoYears

    @Optimiste

    That was a full and thoughtful confession, admirable and worthy of grace. And the beard of which you were either brave or foolhardy enough to post a photo doesn’t even look as disgusting as it might. If you weren’t a cyclist, it might be thought acceptable.

    I appreciate that.  The winter can sure wreak havoc on one’s psyche.  But better to work out the demons now than during the racing season.

  19. @Steampunk

    @frank

    Do what? Grow it or post it (admit it: you posted the picture again in order to help with your bib-stretching service, didn’t you””it’s okay; I’m a little weirded out, but I know the moo-stash can be a little bewitching)? Slap on a cap and a woollen sweater, and it looks pretty badass. As in Hyppolite Aucouturier badass.

    @marko

    As a matter of fact, I had him over for dinner in the fall. Nice guy, but no longer sporting the moo-stash. I like me fine.

    I thought these Where’s Waldo pictures were supposed to be challenging.  He’s right there, like three times!

  20. @Optimiste  “That’s not a beard, it’s a home-grown balaclava.”

    Perfect…you just dodged a rule infraction….if it is not a beard or facial hair but in fact a type of facial barrier akin to a rhinos horn then you are in fact nowhere near breaching…Chapeau!

    Masturbation Principle aside, if are going to do over to the dark side of the this rule then do it properly..don’t fuck around with bum fluff and billy goat chins….get some fur on there boys and girls!

  21. My contribution…

  22. @Steampunk Funny six degrees. I’ve sat at a table with him as well. My first wife grew up with the guitar player in The Hold Steady. When they’d come to town we’d go out for drinks with the band. That was right when Franz started playing with them I think.

  23. @marko

    His solo stuff is kind of fun (light years away from the Hold Steady). When he was in town he performed this new song, the title of which still makes me chuckle.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKUCjUiOIFA

  24. @Pedale.Forchetta

    The wisdom of this rule is becoming clearer and clearer.

  25. @Optimiste …a picture is worth a thousand words…

     

  26. why shave the guns and leave the face, it makes no sense.

    its like having a salad at McDonalds !

  27. @Optimiste are you on a zanc as well?

  28. Who allowed that articale to be published? Oh that’s right, the same guy trying to convince us an EPMS is acceptable! What the hell is going on here, have I stumbled into a confessional?

    @Weldertron

    This is not me, nor do I know who he is, but he’s from where i’m from. It was -34c a couple days ago.

    The solution here is obvious! Obey Rule #50 and you won’t have icicles hanging from your face FFS.

  29. @roger

    @Optimiste are you on a zanc as well?

    Yes, and loving it.  I’m on the western contingent of Mike’s road team, so we’re all riding steel.

  30. Remember this guy?

  31. @Puffy

    Who allowed that article to be published? Oh that’s right, the same guy trying to convince us an EPMS is acceptable! What the hell is going on here, have I stumbled into a confessional?

    Yeah, that’s right. It’s a guest article, we don’t have to agree with the guest. If he wants to walk into a buzz-saw, he can. I certainly did with my short lived EMPS escapade. These articles keep the blood flowing.

  32. @Gianni

    It’s a guest article, we don’t have to agree with the guest.

    That implies we have to agree if it is not a guest article?

  33. I’ve been married for over 30 years and my inlaws have never seen me Rule #50 compliant, nor have my adult children.  This one just isn’t going to happen for me, ever.

  34. @Andre the Fish @RondeVan Im just working for the Clampdown.

  35. @Teocalli

    @Gianni

    It’s a guest article, we don’t have to agree with the guest.

    That implies we have to agree if it is not a guest article?

    No, disagreeing with a Keeper article just means you’re automatically wrong. Disagreeing with a Guestie means you are wrong if you diverge from the Keepers’ position on the matter.

  36. What’s the go on a 5 o’clock shadow?

  37. @frank

    Velominati: the last Latin American dictatorship.

    @sthilzy

    Inevitable & approved. It means (1) you have been on the bike a very long time, and (2) shaving on race day (or long ride day) saps your energy, apparently (in some Latin American dictatorships).

  38. @sthilzy

    What’s the go on a 5 o’clock shadow?

    Never shave the morning of; stubble is a source of virility and will make you go faster. Shave, and you will lose all your mojo. I mean, you may as well have sex during the season at that point.

  39. ( Martha Stewart voice ) “Not a good thing…”

  40. @frank

    @Teocalli

    @Gianni

    It’s a guest article, we don’t have to agree with the guest.

    That implies we have to agree if it is not a guest article?

    No, disagreeing with a Keeper article just means you’re automatically wrong. Disagreeing with a Guestie means you are wrong if you diverge from the Keepers’ position on the matter.

    I was reading the reviews of The Book on Amazon the other day, and this is exactly the type of humor that the negative reviewers don’t seem to get.

    Except for the guy who took Frank to town for having only a superficial understanding of cycling’s history and traditions.  That was an entertaining read.  I especially like it when he calls @Frank (and by extension, the rest of us), members of cycling’s “Nouveau Riche.”

  41. @The Oracle

    @frank

    No, disagreeing with a Keeper article just means you’re automatically wrong. Disagreeing with a Guestie means you are wrong if you diverge from the Keepers’ position on the matter.

    I was reading the reviews of The Book on Amazon the other day, and this is exactly the type of humor that the negative reviewers don’t seem to get.

    He was joking?

  42. @unversio

    ( Martha Stewart voice ) “Not a good thing…”

    What’s up with those sleeves FFS? Half length? Also looks like Wiggo’s been at the ink shop again too. Sorry to see that, I was quite enjoying the fact that most pro cyclists seemed to be tat-averse unlike some other sports where the “individuality” bestowed by tattoos simply makes them seen all the more homogeneous.

  43. @The Oracle

    @frank

    @Teocalli

    @Gianni

    It’s a guest article, we don’t have to agree with the guest.

    That implies we have to agree if it is not a guest article?

    No, disagreeing with a Keeper article just means you’re automatically wrong. Disagreeing with a Guestie means you are wrong if you diverge from the Keepers’ position on the matter.

    I was reading the reviews of The Book on Amazon the other day, and this is exactly the type of humor that the negative reviewers don’t seem to get.

    Except for the guy who took Frank to town for having only a superficial understanding of cycling’s history and traditions. That was an entertaining read. I especially like it when he calls @Frank (and by extension, the rest of us), members of cycling’s “Nouveau Riche.”

    That guy was actually really helpful. He pointed out almost every error in the book which we just packaged up and sent to the publisher for correction in later printings and for the  US release coming up in April. I bet he never expected that.

  44. @Steampunk

    @frank

    Velominati: the last Latin American dictatorship.

    @sthilzy

    Inevitable & approved. It means (1) you have been on the bike a very long time, and (2) shaving on race day (or long ride day) saps your energy, apparently (in some Latin American dictatorships).

    Seattle’s in Latin America? Damn, I thought it was part of Canada.

  45. I would like to formally offer additional scientifical type evidence that the beard will make you a better cyclist…Keep the Beard – Perform better, I have proof!  have a read :

    http://www.inceptioncyclery.com/7/post/2014/01/why-the-beard-is-important-to-cycling-performance-roadies-take-note.html

  46. Let me know how a beard does after 2 hours in a crit in July at %80 threshold.

  47. Was a good weekend for the ‘tache on the cobbles.

    Mighty Degs over the pave

    and Alex Edmondson (younger brother of Wiggle Honda’s Annette) in the U23 Ronde

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