La Vie Velominatus: The Goldilocks Principle
The Rules are about cultivating a passion for riding our bikes to gain the maximum enjoyment possible. This requires humility, for one thing, and devotion, for another. It requires a balance between focusing on progress and enjoying the journey. It demands a reverence for our history paired with a hunger for evolution. The Rules teach us balance, to embrace the contradiction of opposing forces for the positive that each can bring us.
And so it could be said that The Goldilocks Principle is one of the fundamental tenets of Rule Holism. Along our journey to La Vie Velominatus, we will swing like a pendulum from left to right before we find our resting place somewhere between two extremes, whether in our training, our position, or kit, or even our very commitment to Cycling itself. No one can tell another where this balance lies; the path is for each of us to walk, we can only be shown The Way.
My STRAVA account is a good example of this. A beautifully designed service, this is a powerful training tool that lets you measure yourself against your previous performances and those of others. And therein lies the rub: since my return from Belgium, each ride I’ve been on I’ve buried the pin going after a KOM or personal best on a particular segment. This, of course, is the principle danger in training by numbers and flies in the face of Training Properly. But the tool is new to me, and I will allow myself this dalliance on the condition that I learn to cope with the pressure of having a computer that is recording my ride for future analysis. Failing that, the computer will be relegated to use only on those rides where I wish to test myself. Balance.
But the Goldilocks Principle also applies to wearing of the kit – in particular the length of sleeves, shorts, knickers, and socks. We have seen a dangerous trend of late – spearheaded by the English-speaking population of the Pro peloton, into the realm where shorts flirt with becoming knickers, socks threaten to become shin guards, and short-sleeves portend to their supposed fate as three-quarter tees.
As Velominati, it is our duty to band together and provide guidance to the rest of the Cycling community of which we are part: boundaries give us definition, and definition distinguishes us from the savages. Looking at the peloton and my peers on the road, it is clear to me that it is our obligation to issue a refresher on The Goldilocks Principle as it relates to cycling kit fit:
- Shorts Leg Length: Whether worn with knee-warmers or not, the grippers on the legs of shorts must fall somewhere between the midpoint of the thigh and the base of the base of the rectis femoris. The rectis femoris is the muscle on your thigh that, together with the Vastus Lateralis and Vastus Medialis form the shape of a V on your guns. Under no circumstances should your shorts cover this point up, as it is one of the primary focus points of The V. The more massive the cannons, the higher the accepted line can be, though it should be noted that the reverse does not apply to lowering the line to cover up a pair of starter pistols.
- Socks Length: Socks must cover the ankle in its entirety, and should end just above the narrowest point of the shin. Under no circumstances may the sock extend to the point beyond which the calf muscle is reached or exceed the maximum width of the anklebone.
- Jersey Sleeve Length: Jersey sleeves must extend beyond the deltoid muscle and come to rest at a point somewhere between zero and twenty-five percent of the bicep muscle. This point should be determined when the arm is relaxed at one’s side.
- Jersey Torso Length: The back of the jersey must extend to a point beyond the waist and above the gluteus maximus. Ideally, the jersey should come to rest somewhere along the rearward up-facing plane created by the forward rotation of the hips and torso; under no circumstances may the jersey sag down beyond this point to cover any portion of the buttocks.
- Knicker/Knee Warmers: Knickers embody the very essence of the Goldilocks Principle when it comes to kit; this garment is neither shorts nor tights and their length should demonstrate this fact. Knickers/Knee Warmers should extend past the bottom of the knee joint to the point at which the calf is at its widest point. Under no circumstances should the lower extremity of said garment venture significantly past the calf where it may be confused with being a too-short pair of tights.
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