As a matter of fact, no, I hadn't forgotten how awesome I am.

As a matter of fact, no, I hadn't forgotten how awesome I am.

Body Language

by / / 87 posts

A true leader rarely asks someone to do something for them; the best leaders inspire through their own example those around them to follow suit and join them in their cause. The leader is fueled by something that is not externally driven, it is born from within and appears in this world as passion and conviction. These qualities, in their genuine state, are irresistible.

Style is a special kind of art, it is not the kind of art that is hung on the wall and gazed upon by passers by; like leadership, it is not externally focussed but instead is something one uses to shape how we feel. We become a piece of living, breathing art. And then, hypothetically, after you spill some mustard down the front of your lovely, crisp shirt, the art might also take on an olfactory quality as well.

A foundational principle of La Vie Velominatus is the power of Looking Fantastic: of dressing up in impeccable, matching kit and climbing aboard a perfectly curated, cleaned, and tuned machine before setting out onto the road brimming with confidence and oozing morale. As Paul Fournel said, “To look good is already to go fast.”

There might actually be some science behind it, which I’ve never needed but always assumed there would be.

Research suggests that our own body language can alter our hormonal levels to the effect that they significantly change the way we perceive ourselves. (If you haven’t watched Amy Cuddy‘s TED Talk on Body Language, you should.) In her studies, she found that something as simple as adopting a high power stance for two minutes can increase testosterone levels by 80% (making one more confident and assertive) and reduce cortisol levels by 25% (making one less reactive to stress).

Both of these sound a lot like how kitting up for a cold, rainy ride in my Flandrian Best makes me feel; I will set out into the deluge brimming with confidence and ready to face the cold and risks that come as a part of not only riding a bike, but riding one in wet, poor-visibility conditions. At high speed. If standing in a bathroom with your arms in the air for two minutes can measurably change your hormone levels for the better, then I have every reason to believe that knowing that you Look Fantastic at All Times would have the same, if not stronger, effect.

Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// Belgian Affirmations // La Vie Velominatus // Look Pro // Musings from the V-Bunker

  1. @frank

    @hudson

    Both of these sound a lot like how kitting up for a cold, rainy ride in my Flandrian Best makes me feel; I will set out into the deluge brimming with confidence and ready to face the cold and risks that come as a part of not only riding a bike, but riding one in wet, poor-visibility conditions.

    This! This is what its about. As much as i adore tanned guns and the quiet hum of the tires on the road on a June afternoon, out sprinting my ghost adversaries…i even more so have fallen lustfully over the V that it takes to kit up at 5 am knowing full well the pain of the frigid air awaiting me and the slush that has been deposited on the road while i slumber, taping over the cleats just so i can make it through the snow in the drive to get to the road. To me this is cycling at its finest. Early morning hours or not, i will look fantastic even if no one sees me.

    Yes! We Look Fantastic first and foremost for ourselves, the fact that other people see us and bask in our Awesome is just icing on the cake.

    And you’re riding in slush? On what kind of tires? The only time I reach for the trainer in lieu of a road ride is when it’s black-ice territory. Which isn’t to say I don’t ride the trainer otherwise – I do because it is good training and makes the stroke more magnificent, but the only weather that keeps me indoors irrespective is ice…

    S-Works Turbo 26mm, nothing special…the VMW won’t let me purchase a cross bike for the task or it “comes out of my funds for my new #1”. I justify the stupidity of being ill equipped by calling it “Bike handling skills training”. They do tend to be adventurous mornings! I refuse to go to a trainer, i see too many that make it a “go to” from October to March. I do not deny the training value of them and perhaps i’m cutting myself short, but for me road cycling is done on a road. I wouldn’t train for football/soccer on a treadmill. Maybe if i lived in the PNW i’d have a different outlook.

  2. @RobSandy

    @Ron

    One of them is actually the person who accidentally gave me the nickname “Ron,” which stuck.

    Wait a minute, are you telling us NOW that Ron isn’t you’re real name? Not sure I can deal with that.

    Hey Rob. Sorry for the misrepresentation. It was completely unintentional. Give first name = Ryan. Named used by anyone friendly with me post-2001 = Ron.

    Story is pretty funny. Was in a large college course, raised my hand to make a smartass comment to try and get my friends laughing. Professor calls on me, “Your name, please, first.” I said Ryan, but I’m a low talker. “Okay, go ahead Ron…” Numerous friends throughout the room let out a low laugh. I just let it go, though I raised my hand as much as possible that semester so she’d call me Ron again. Summer off, then I spent a semester abroad. I return a full year later and have a much smaller class with the same professor. She asks me to stay after class on the first day. “Oh god, I’ve already made a bad impression and am getting a talking to?!” She asks if I prefer to be called Ryan or Ron. I had completely forgotten, it being a year on (very long ago for a teenage mind). “You can call me whatever you want, but my given name is Ryan.” I didn’t realize until I was walking back to my dorm what had happened.

    She became my advisor and actually told my parents that story at my college graduation when she met them. Good god, a full adult, a college grad…and I was still the same wise guy I was in 2nd grade.

    So, there ya go! I see it as a sign of affinity, since only my pals and those close to me call me that. And, since I feel like I’m amongst pals here, I just decided to use my nickname. Sorry for the confusion and I hope we can still be friends.

    TGIF everyone. Commuted in full kit this morning on the carbone road bike, which feels a lot more awesome than riding the heavy commuter steed. Enjoy your weekends!

  3. @David Beers

    @Barracuda

    OK I give up: who is that simply relaxed Mapei billboard, and how can I get some of that cozy-looking kit? I’m breaking in my new Mapei Team Colnago EPS and I just gotta wear that full-on hideous outfit. While Looking Pro over a Cappuccino, it’s so important to look fast while sitting still. Deliberately.

    Try here……. http://www.prendas.co.uk/teams/mapei-retro-team.html

  4. @frank

    @PeakInTwoYears

    I’ve listened to that TED Talk more than once and loved it. Can’t believe I didn’t consciously connect it to Fournel’s Theorem.

    Did you watch the one I linked to the other week on The Golden Circle? Brand Management is near and dear to my heart for the obvious reasons, and the simplicity of that message, not to mention the biological connection to the style of communication is just brilliant.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en

    Just watched it. Yeah, that’s a fabulous talk. (And I could listen to his mid-Atlantic accent all day.)

  5. @Ron

    @RobSandy

    @Ron

    One of them is actually the person who accidentally gave me the nickname “Ron,” which stuck.

    Wait a minute, are you telling us NOW that Ron isn’t you’re real name? Not sure I can deal with that.

    Hey Rob. Sorry for the misrepresentation. It was completely unintentional. Give first name = Ryan. Named used by anyone friendly with me post-2001 = Ron.

    Story is pretty funny. Was in a large college course, raised my hand to make a smartass comment to try and get my friends laughing. Professor calls on me, “Your name, please, first.” I said Ryan, but I’m a low talker. “Okay, go ahead Ron…” Numerous friends throughout the room let out a low laugh. I just let it go, though I raised my hand as much as possible that semester so she’d call me Ron again. Summer off, then I spent a semester abroad. I return a full year later and have a much smaller class with the same professor. She asks me to stay after class on the first day. “Oh god, I’ve already made a bad impression and am getting a talking to?!” She asks if I prefer to be called Ryan or Ron. I had completely forgotten, it being a year on (very long ago for a teenage mind). “You can call me whatever you want, but my given name is Ryan.” I didn’t realize until I was walking back to my dorm what had happened.

    She became my advisor and actually told my parents that story at my college graduation when she met them. Good god, a full adult, a college grad…and I was still the same wise guy I was in 2nd grade.

    So, there ya go! I see it as a sign of affinity, since only my pals and those close to me call me that. And, since I feel like I’m amongst pals here, I just decided to use my nickname. Sorry for the confusion and I hope we can still be friends.

    TGIF everyone. Commuted in full kit this morning on the carbone road bike, which feels a lot more awesome than riding the heavy commuter steed. Enjoy your weekends!

    Great story! And FWIW, my real name’s not Wiscot . . . I’d be quite interested in knowing what some of the other Velominati are really called. I heard Frank’s real name is Hennie.

    I might get out for a ride on Sunday – mid 30’s forecast!

  6. @litvi

    You know how it goes. There are no pants pockets on fast kit. If you don’t have a bike to hold or lean on, what are you going to do? I suppose there is the “Napoleon” solutions, but really…

  7. Years ago when doing a surgery rotation as a student, one of the Surgical Attendings loudly told a turtle-neck wearing intern to go home and put on a “proper shirt and tie” because he looked like a “fucking neurologist.” That has stuck with me.

    Looking the business extends beyond the bike. Gotta look the part to be the part. (Apologies to all the turtle neck wearing Neurologists who may be reading this).

  8. @Teocalli

    @David Beers

    @Barracuda

    OK I give up: who is that simply relaxed Mapei billboard, and how can I get some of that cozy-looking kit? I’m breaking in my new Mapei Team Colnago EPS and I just gotta wear that full-on hideous outfit. While Looking Pro over a Cappuccino, it’s so important to look fast while sitting still. Deliberately.

    Try here……. http://www.prendas.co.uk/teams/mapei-retro-team.html

    Funny to think that this Mapei kit was seen by many as particularly ghastly back in the day, even by mid90s full-on hideous standards.I remember Vittorio Adorni writing in his Bicisport column that having to wear that kit -especially those bib shorts- was a human rights violation or something of the kind…

    How time passes… We know look at Museeuw in awe, we see a champion, one of the last true greats -he could make any piece of bike clothing look great. Even those terrible cycling shorts you see in discount retail chains in July. Even the Footon-Servetto kit from 2010.

  9. @Mick

    @Teocalli

    @David Beers

    @Barracuda

    OK I give up: who is that simply relaxed Mapei billboard, and how can I get some of that cozy-looking kit? I’m breaking in my new Mapei Team Colnago EPS and I just gotta wear that full-on hideous outfit. While Looking Pro over a Cappuccino, it’s so important to look fast while sitting still. Deliberately.

    Try here……. http://www.prendas.co.uk/teams/mapei-retro-team.html

    Funny to think that this Mapei kit was seen by many as particularly ghastly back in the day, even by mid90s full-on hideous standards.I remember Vittorio Adorni writing in his Bicisport column that having to wear that kit -especially those bib shorts- was a human rights violation or something of the kind…

    How time passes… We know look at Museeuw in awe, we see a champion, one of the last true greats -he could make any piece of bike clothing look great. Even those terrible cycling shorts you see in discount retail chains in July. Even the Footon-Servetto kit from 2010.

    It also doesn’t hurt that kit AT ALL that he is in the rainbow jersey. I still maintain that it was (is) a hideous kit but the jersey was made incredibly better with the rainbow jersey.

  10. @Ccos

    Years ago when doing a surgery rotation as a student, one of the Surgical Attendings loudly told a turtle-neck wearing intern to go home and put on a “proper shirt and tie” because he looked like a “fucking neurologist.” That has stuck with me.

    Looking the business extends beyond the bike. Gotta look the part to be the part. (Apologies to all the turtle neck wearing Neurologists who may be reading this).

    Conformity has its place/use. But there’s also something to be said about not going along with everyone else and just being different. Being “proper” can be oh so dull and boring. You need to have fun every once in a while.

  11. @wiscot

    Great story! And FWIW, my real name’s not Wiscot . . . I’d be quite interested in knowing what some of the other Velominati are really called. I heard Frank’s real name is Hennie.

    FFS … Frank’s real name is Francis … and he is a she.

  12. @Buck Rogers

    @Mick

    @Teocalli

    Funny to think that this Mapei kit was seen by many as particularly ghastly back in the day, even by mid90s full-on hideous standards.I remember Vittorio Adorni writing in his Bicisport column that having to wear that kit -especially those bib shorts- was a human rights violation or something of the kind…

    How time passes… We know look at Museeuw in awe, we see a champion, one of the last true greats -he could make any piece of bike clothing look great. Even those terrible cycling shorts you see in discount retail chains in July. Even the Footon-Servetto kit from 2010.

    It also doesn’t hurt that kit AT ALL that he is in the rainbow jersey. I still maintain that it was (is) a hideous kit but the jersey was made incredibly better with the rainbow jersey.

    I know I’m in the minority with this group, but I loved it then and still do. The Mapei kit was so hideous it was beautiful. So 90s, which was the apex of my racing days.

  13. @Buck Rogers

  14. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    The 90s! Spinergy wheels and Spinacis! One of teammates rode the former and I had the latter. It was a sad day when Spinacis were outlawed.

  15. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

  16. Thanks Frahnk for proving my point. JeeeZHUS that kit looks as bad a mullet on a spindly Dude wearing MC Hammer pants trying to lip sync Vanilla Ice. Fuck, leave it for dead, will ya, already!

  17. On the topic of Mapei looking better with the rainbow stripes, is there any way Sagan is going to make this look good?

  18. @DeKerr

    I won’t hit Quote as that pic should never be seen again. It’s like one of those shitty paintings that supposedly contain a picture if you look long enough. Alas, with this kit you could look at it for a month and all you’d see is pain. Fortunately it was only used as “training” kit. No-one could make it look good; however, next to that Mapei shit-fest kit, it looks as good as La Vie Claire.

  19. @chuckp

    @wiscot

    Great story! And FWIW, my real name’s not Wiscot . . . I’d be quite interested in knowing what some of the other Velominati are really called. I heard Frank’s real name is Hennie.

    FFS … Frank’s real name is Francis … and he is a she.

    Makes sense given his constant fretting and worrying about his weight. Mind you, most women wouldn’t brag about their chest size being smaller than their hips as Francis did the other week.

  20. @wiscot

    @DeKerr

    I won’t hit Quote as that pic should never be seen again. It’s like one of those shitty paintings that supposedly contain a picture if you look long enough. Alas, with this kit you could look at it for a month and all you’d see is pain. Fortunately it was only used as “training” kit. No-one could make it look good; however, next to that Mapei shit-fest kit, it looks as good as La Vie Claire.

    Oi!!! Let’s not get carried away there, Mate!!! You should know better than comparing anything to the La Vie Claire kit. That’s like comparing someone to the Virgin Mary when speaking with a Catholic; it’s just not done.

  21. @Buck Rogers

    @wiscot

    @DeKerr

    I won’t hit Quote as that pic should never be seen again. It’s like one of those shitty paintings that supposedly contain a picture if you look long enough. Alas, with this kit you could look at it for a month and all you’d see is pain. Fortunately it was only used as “training” kit. No-one could make it look good; however, next to that Mapei shit-fest kit, it looks as good as La Vie Claire.

    Oi!!! Let’s not get carried away there, Mate!!! You should know better than comparing anything to the La Vie Claire kit. That’s like comparing someone to the Virgin Mary when speaking with a Catholic; it’s just not done.

    But that’s my point! The LVC kit is ne plus ultra. The Mapei kit is one of the worst of all time!

  22. @wiscot

    Damn! Never mind! That was just me commenting before doing a full read again. Hell, at least I read enough of your post to see La Vie Claire, right?

  23. @Buck Rogers

    @wiscot

    Damn! Never mind! That was just me commenting before doing a full read again. Hell, at least I read enough of your post to see La Vie Claire, right?

    Me, I just look at the pictures. And right now, a picture of the Atala kit would do just nicely. (Hint, hint to people with better tech skillz than me.)

  24. @Teocalli

    None of those are a real replica of the proper classic 90s Mapei kit.

  25. @Buck Rogers

    @wiscot

    @DeKerr

    I won’t hit Quote as that pic should never be seen again. It’s like one of those shitty paintings that supposedly contain a picture if you look long enough. Alas, with this kit you could look at it for a month and all you’d see is pain. Fortunately it was only used as “training” kit. No-one could make it look good; however, next to that Mapei shit-fest kit, it looks as good as La Vie Claire.

    Oi!!! Let’s not get carried away there, Mate!!! You should know better than comparing anything to the La Vie Claire kit. That’s like comparing someone to the Virgin Mary when speaking with a Catholic; it’s just not done.

    Ahem.

  26. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @wiscot

    @DeKerr

    I won’t hit Quote as that pic should never be seen again. It’s like one of those shitty paintings that supposedly contain a picture if you look long enough. Alas, with this kit you could look at it for a month and all you’d see is pain. Fortunately it was only used as “training” kit. No-one could make it look good; however, next to that Mapei shit-fest kit, it looks as good as La Vie Claire.

    Oi!!! Let’s not get carried away there, Mate!!! You should know better than comparing anything to the La Vie Claire kit. That’s like comparing someone to the Virgin Mary when speaking with a Catholic; it’s just not done.

    Ahem.

    So you’re sayin’ that my kit has arrived?!?!?!

    Of course, the Vive La Vie kit is beyond approach and does not need or beg comparison.

  27. @Haldy

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    This is really, really bad. So bad you can actually make it work? And I’d still wear it before today’s Astana kits.

  28. @wilburrox

    @Haldy

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    This is really, really bad. So bad you can actually make it work? And I’d still wear it before today’s Astana kits.

    It’s so bad it’s good, like extra jalapenos in your pho.

  29. @wiscot

    @chuckp

    @wiscot

    Great story! And FWIW, my real name’s not Wiscot . . . I’d be quite interested in knowing what some of the other Velominati are really called. I heard Frank’s real name is Hennie.

    FFS … Frank’s real name is Francis … and he is a she.

    Makes sense given his constant fretting and worrying about his weight. Mind you, most women wouldn’t brag about their chest size being smaller than their hips as Francis did the other week.

    Hey y’all, minor point: ‘Francis’ is a he. (Think Francisco. Ooh… that’s fun to say… Francisco…)

    Anyway, a girl would be Frances. Or Francine.

    Or Frank.

  30. @frank

    @wilburrox

    @Haldy

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    This is really, really bad. So bad you can actually make it work? And I’d still wear it before today’s Astana kits.

    It’s so bad it’s good, like extra jalapenos in your pho.

    Tell you what… However fugly the kit was to some subjective viewers, it worked. I’ve used Mapei mortar for tiling jobs, specifically because I spotted the pastel geometric pattern across the aisle and that’s what I bought. Don’t forget that’s what it’s all about. 1) Pros get a pass on most rules in Part IV, and 2) De Vlaamse Leeuw pulled it off anyway. That’s style.

  31. I’ve got two pairs of the old Mapei-GB bib-shorts and they unfortunately have a pink square located right where the old twig and berries are most prominent, drawing ones eyes straight to the spot as I used to get told repeatedly in horrified and/or mocking tones.

  32. @chuckp

    Classic. Bow ties are the business for sure. I do have to slip out of the house covert-style when wearing them since my VMH is not a fan.

  33. @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @wiscot

    Damn! Never mind! That was just me commenting before doing a full read again. Hell, at least I read enough of your post to see La Vie Claire, right?

    Me, I just look at the pictures. And right now, a picture of the Atala kit would do just nicely. (Hint, hint to people with better tech skillz than me.)

    Frueler has been waiting to pull out the salami.

  34. Speaking of Mapei, a photo of a young Paolini, sans neck thingie and assos glasses.

    I would argue that the Mapei kits were the most “effective” of all time, as we are still talking about them 13 years after their last race. I liked that they changed it up every year, never the same. I liked the 1997 and 1998 versions the best. 2002 went a bit too far:

  35. ….and some just make it work (also note the dual computer rigging. you can never have enough data when training properly):

  36. @fignons barber

    ….and some just make it work (also note the dual computer rigging. you can never have enough data when training properly):

    Work it!

  37. @chuckp

    A masterclass in casually deliberate.

  38. @frank

    @wilburrox

    @Haldy

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    This is really, really bad. So bad you can actually make it work? And I’d still wear it before today’s Astana kits.

    It’s so bad it’s good, like extra jalapenos in your pho.

    It’s proof that Looking Fantastic starts within, attitude, calm, poise…then you can make nearly any kit look good. Nearly…except this one…no one could make the Polti kit look good. Digging Cassani in the MG kit though-

  39. I took a look at the TED Talk referred to at the outset of this post. It is a fluent and emotively laden pitch by an earnest speaker, but the substance of the talk is hardly a revelation. The positive link between posture, the endocrine system and hence behaviour, is well recorded and historically long established. Its relevance, and hence useful transfer to cycling however, is unlikely.

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    The assertion that, because I look fantastic, I feel better about myself and hence my performance improves, is a tenuous chain of associations, at best anecdotal and unworthy of serious empirical investigation. But that won’t stop me from pursuing the belief that it works for me.

  40. @chuckp

    @fignons barber

    ….and some just make it work (also note the dual computer rigging. you can never have enough data when training properly):

    Work it!

    Oh my eyes! They look like they fell in a bucket of sick.

  41. @fignons barber

    @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    Frueler has been waiting to pull out the salami.

    For the WIN!!! Holy smokes, this killed me. That sausage in hand with that pornstache in the prison cycling kit … this is a cycling cosmic moment long in the making. Thanks for that!

  42. @Buck Rogers

    @fignons barber

    @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    Frueler has been waiting to pull out the salami.

    For the WIN!!! Holy smokes, this killed me. That sausage in hand with that pornstache in the prison cycling kit … this is a cycling cosmic moment long in the making. Thanks for that!

    Well, I have to agree – 99%. The addition of Bilta almost ruins the jersey, just as Alpecin ruined the Giant jersey. Still, the Atala kit is still in the top 10 of all time. Mapei, one of the worst of all time.

    As for the sausage, Urs just played an age-old Swiss joke and pulled that sucker out of his shorts with the remark “what, you think everything I have is longer than normal?”

    And check out the tape and hoods on that Atala – pristine! and a Rolls saddle. We should all wear rubber wristbands with WWUD? on them – what would Urs do?

  43. Been lurking for a few months and this header pic made me finally join as I can see this is my tribe. I’m old and fat and slow now, but this pic is from my time, when I not only fell in love with the bike, but in all the weirdness (like the Mapei kit) that came along with it. It was this sort of thing that showed the world that we were more than guys that ride bikes, we are cyclists, racers.

    Also, if anyone has a pair of those Briko Stingers cluttering up a drawer somewhere, let me know.

  44. @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @fignons barber

    @wiscot

    Still, the Atala kit is still in the top 10 of all time. Mapei, one of the worst of all time.

    Bugno at the start of his career..looks good.

  45. ….and at the end of his career….still looks good.

  46. The concept behind this is just as applicable in our own offices as it is for the Lion in his.

    I work in a back office department at a bank where the dress code is “business wear”, which apparently can mean as little as pants, a shirt & leather shoes for the men. It’s no surprise to me when I suit up that it’s the “do no more than required to avoid getting fired” slobs that always ask why I’m so dressed up.

    Watching my boss (she may belong in the above camp) get worked up when people come to me with questions that should be asked of her is a delicious added benefit of looking fantastic.

  47. While on the subject of kits, sometimes it’s got to be painful to be a professional cyclist. Look at what two of the most stylish icons of their generation were forced to endure in public:

  48. @fignons barber

    While on the subject of kits, sometimes it’s got to be painful to be a professional cyclist. Look at what two of the most stylish icons of their generation were forced to endure in public:

    Merck knows I’m a Bugno fan AND a Fignon fan, but there’s a real contrast going on here. Gianni, being the Italian stud he is, seems to have coolly selected the slim fit nylon pants and a jacket that is longer than it is wide, instinctively understanding that these will make him look fit and cool and a chick magnet. He is, of course, 100% correct.

    M. Fignon on the other hand, seems to think that wearing the Chris Christie-size of gear will hide his perhaps too-fat-to-climb physique. Alas not. He looks like he’s wearing a diaper under there. Sloppy seconds for the Professeur.

  49. @fignons barber

    ….and at the end of his career….still looks good.

    The sly smile on the face says “this jersey is looking good . . . but can I please, please, please wear black shorts?”

  50. @fignons barber

    Speaking of Mapei, a photo of a young Paolini, sans neck thingie and assos glasses.

    I would argue that the Mapei kits were the most “effective” of all time, as we are still talking about them 13 years after their last race. I liked that they changed it up every year, never the same. I liked the 1997 and 1998 versions the best. 2002 went a bit too far:

    I got one of these, it looks pretty good with black shorts actually. Given that some small vendors of jerseys these days sell jerseys with patterns of parrots or fruit, I think it fits in quite well.

    I keep it for retro days on the steel though, extra special..

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