La Vie Velominatus: The Goldilocks Principle

La Vie Velominatus: The Goldilocks Principle

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/frank@velominati.com/Golidlocks/”/]

// Kit // La Vie Velominatus // Look Pro // Nostalgia // The Rules

  1. I get my shorts/bibs/jerseys mostly from a certain company where I know a certain someone who gets me the employee discount. Top-line, very comfortable stuff for dirt cheap. The only issue is that the shorts/bibs are just a little too long, putting me in violation of the first point above, a la the picture of Pharmstrong in the article. Right now, the scales tip in favor of Velominatus Budgetatus considerations over strict compliance with the Goldilocks Principle. If I could only get my femurs to elongate by about 4cm, I’d be golden.

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  2. I guess I’m built weird because if I order bibs that would adhere to the Goldilocks Principle as to where they stop on the Guns the bib straps would only come up to my nipples.

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  3. I LOVE those Renault jerseys with the nylon front and sleeves. Generally only worn in the spring classics, they were the perfect compromise between jersey and jacket. If I had SY’s guns, with the scary-as-hell veins, I’d roll the shorts up too. Alas, I think some of the creeping length of sleeves and socks is due to increased desire for sponsor names/logos. Still, Valverde wears short socks so there’s something to like about him . . .

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  4. Nice article Frank – hot on the heels of the Wiggo sock-debacle on display during his win today at the Tour of Romandie and subsequent discussion in the Rules.

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  5. Spot on Frank! Great pics to keep us all in line. Yeats was a bad ass but not so much so that he could wear those shorts. Team management should have got involved.

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  6. Great win for Wiggo today, it the socks really are bad! Hopefully things will improve for July…..

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  7. I recently came around on white socks – I think I avoided them for so long because I was afraid they’d get dirty too quickly while riding, but they look great with black shoes (and certainly better than black shoes AND black socks together). Castelli has medium height sock option of a 9 cm cuff length which seems just about perfect to me.

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  8. You had me at Hinault. Nice work Frank

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  9. Yates veins = nasty. Looks like some form of worm infestation.

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  10. @936adl

    Great win for Wiggo today, it the socks really are bad!

    Hopefully things will improve for July…..

    I doubt it. He’ll get loads of new gear and if he wins yellow, then Merckx knows what he’ll look like.

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  11. “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.” Very nicely stated! And, I must say that I think it came at an apropos moment; as the group and the site gain in prominence with the KT & the related stories & photos folks begin to wonder what were all about. Rule #91? How stupid! Well, I think that opening paragraph sums things up nicely and needed to be said as some new folks wander in and wonder what we’re going on about. Wearing of the slickest kit is a long-time passion of mine, from when I first was given a uniform in Little League right through college, when the uni provided some really nice stuff for us, making me feel just a bit PRO. I’ve always tried to wear it to the best of my abilities & still cannot understand people in sloppy gear – dirty, saggy, threadbare, etc. I’ve finally found a favorite jersey. Even though it’s a summer weight I wore it all winter. Alas, the sleeves are just ever so short that a gap will occur between sleeves and warmers. Ugh, the search continues. “Ullrich showing that the bigger the guns, the higher the acceptable line can be.” On the flipside of this, I go with slightly longer socks, showing that the smaller the lower legs & ankles, the higher the acceptable line. My thighs & calves are respectable, but no matter how much I ride, my ankles and lower legs are just damn skinny. I even broke my right leg playing sports & it grew back thicker, but still too thin for my liking. If I’m trying to ride hard it’s demoralizing to look down at those skankles. Thus, I violate the G-Principle in order to more aggressively pursue the V when riding.

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  12. Those long socks suck.

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  13. @wiscot

    @936adl

    Great win for Wiggo today, it the socks really are bad!

    Hopefully things will improve for July…..

    I doubt it. He’ll get loads of new gear and if he wins yellow, then Merckx knows what he’ll look like.

    He’ll be riding around in yellow compression socks or something equally horrendous, no doubt.

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  14. @The Oracle, @Cyclops Doesn’t matter. There is nothing that says you have to stretch the legs of your bibs all the way down as far as they go. Just pull them up to where they should be, and let the sandex do the rest. Its OK if it bunches a little bit along the way. Properly fitting bibs will always have some bunching of the spandex in order to accomodate our massive guns.

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  15. @Ron

    I’ve finally found a favorite jersey. Even though it’s a summer weight I wore it all winter. Alas, the sleeves are just ever so short that a gap will occur between sleeves and warmers. Ugh, the search continues.

    Have you tried DeFeet arm skins? You can pull them up nice and high so there won’t be a gap, unless your sleeves violate point two above.

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  16. You can’t see it super well, but there is bunching all the way along Boonens bibs here: In fact, Yates achieved his in-compliance with #1 by bunching – it looks better than having them too long:

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  17. Sooooooo… I’m in China for a few days on a school trip with some students, and all text apart from titles and links are missing from the site. This explains why bike riders you see in China don’t look so V, I suppose.

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  18. And yes, I cannot see that last comment. Just my name. Hah! If I press “quote” on any of the posts they show up in the comment box. Sweet! Hacking the system.

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  19. Wiggo, Andy and many others will need a reference to the humerus to determine sleeve length because of a distinct lack of bicep / tricep.

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  20. @Blah It seems the default font color on the site is suddenly white, except for embedded links to rules, lexicon entries, etc. Used code to make my text black.

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  21. @Nate

    @Blah
    It seems the default font color on the site is suddenly white, except for embedded links to rules, lexicon entries, etc. Used code to make my text black.

    Woops. Fixed again. And its not pure black – we have a classier site design than that. Its about 98% black, backed ‘er off full throttle for a touch of subtlety.

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  22. @frank

    @Nate

    @Blah
    It seems the default font color on the site is suddenly white, except for embedded links to rules, lexicon entries, etc. Used code to make my text black.

    Woops. Fixed again. And its not pure black – we have a classier site design than that. Its about 98% black, backed ‘er off full throttle for a touch of subtlety.

    What you call “subtlety” could also be called “OCD.”

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  23. @Nate

    @frank

    @Nate

    @Blah
    It seems the default font color on the site is suddenly white, except for embedded links to rules, lexicon entries, etc. Used code to make my text black.

    Woops. Fixed again. And its not pure black – we have a classier site design than that. Its about 98% black, backed ‘er off full throttle for a touch of subtlety.

    What you call “subtlety” could also be called “OCD.”

    Pretty sure he accepted that label a long time ago!

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  24. @Mikael Liddy “diagnosed with” more than “accepted”!

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  25. Is Sean Yates the only guy to have his lever tips below the line of the drops?

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  26. @harminator No, Fignon did as well. But not as much as Seanyboy did. What the fuck, it must have been to give him enough reach…I can’t think of a reason to do that other than to get them farther away. Looked like total shit, but don’t tell him I said that. I’m kinda scared of him. [dmalbum: path=”/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/frank/2012.04.25.23.58.55/”/]

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  27. It looks wrong. But that badass tricolore bar tape job more than makes up for it. Is that a speedo mounted on the Professor’s fork?

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  28. Yeah seeing all these photos makes me wonder how the lads were able to reach their levers in the olden days. Now the standard seems level or even a bit up/back. In many of the 80s photos the lever definitely look really low. I wonder if it’s just what they were used to or what. Also, is Le Badger wearing his wristwatch over his arm warmers (glove cuff?)? That has to be a Rule violation right there. harminator – yeah, I’ve noticed that computer on his fork before. I wonder if the goal was to try and read it as you motored along? Talk about getting sea sick!

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  29. @frank

    @The Oracle, @Cyclops
    Doesn’t matter. There is nothing that says you have to stretch the legs of your bibs all the way down as far as they go. Just pull them up to where they should be, and let the sandex do the rest. Its OK if it bunches a little bit along the way. Properly fitting bibs will always have some bunching of the spandex in order to accomodate our massive guns.

    I thought that wasn’t bunching, it was V ripples.

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  30. Under your collective influence I’ve become very Goldilocks-aware, but I still haven’t sussed out how my shorts are too long with femurs longer than a double root canal. But now that I’m ready for summer, is there such thing as too white?

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  31. Who is the current pro who rocks the shortest bibs? It’s gotta be Hoogerland, yes?

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  32. @xyxax

    Under your collective influence I’ve become very Goldilocks-aware, but I still haven’t sussed out how my shorts are too long with femurs longer than a double root canal.
    But now that I’m ready for summer, is there such thing as too white?

    I have a teammate, Merckx bless the guy I love him. Our kits are mostly white, helmets white, glasses white (all with red trim). But while I ride a black bike, and most of the rest of the team ride other variations of not white ones, his race bike is a screaming white Fuji with red trim. And white shoes. Kinda too much. Though he does look “pro” and is fast. Just not something I’d do.

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  33. @VeloVita Check the guns though:

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  34. @scaler911

    I have a teammate, Merckx bless the guy I love him. Our kits are mostly white, helmets white, glasses white (all with red trim). But while I ride a black bike, and most of the rest of the team ride other variations of not white ones, his race bike is a screaming white Fuji with red trim. And white shoes.
    Kinda too much. Though he does look “pro” and is fast. Just not something I’d do.

    It’s like in the TdF, when the entire leader’s kit plus bike is yellow, or even worse, has come down with the measles. Too much matching is bad. However, to @xyxax’s photo, I think the white shoes/socks/helmet is quite good. As long as the entire bike and kit isn’t also white.

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  35. @xyxax

    Under your collective influence I’ve become very Goldilocks-aware, but I still haven’t sussed out how my shorts are too long with femurs longer than a double root canal.
    But now that I’m ready for summer, is there such thing as too white?

    No, there is not. That is perfect. Well done, my son. You are on your way.

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  36. @VeloVita

    Who is the current pro who rocks the shortest bibs? It’s gotta be Hoogerland, yes?

    Yeah, that or Voekler. But check out the V-eins on Hoogie via @DerHoggz! My Merckx in heaven, no wonder he bled so much!

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  37. @frank maybe Pippo wins the shortest shorts award? Sorry for posting this. I should know better.

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  38. @Ron

    Also, is Le Badger wearing his wristwatch over his arm warmers (glove cuff?)? That has to be a Rule violation right there.

    No way, the wristwatch look is proper oldschool style.

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  39. And now for the fugliest race jerseys in history. “Hey, let’s make it look like they are wearing their bibs over their jerseys!”. Only in America.

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  40. @Marcus

    And now for the fugliest race jerseys in history.

    “Hey, let’s make it look like they are wearing their bibs over their jerseys!”.

    Only in America.

    I think they are trying to pay some sort of homage to the Castorama kit:

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  41. Yates used to rock the short-shorts on purpose, even ordering special shorts during his last years at Motorola. Supposedly because he was living on the Riviera at the time and didn’t like the tan lines when he was off the bike on the beach. I’m not sure if that is casually deliberate, or a rules violation.

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  42. @harminator Indeed. In the earlier days of cyclocomputers, after the first wave of the avocets and the cat-eyes, but before euro-pros really bought into the idea of them, a couple of European companies made computers that mounted directly to the forks, so that you didn’t have to run complex and unsightly wires up to the handlebars. Not the best idea, perhaps, but not bad for riders who weren’t completely sure that they wanted computers in the first place.

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  43. @Marcus Good evidence that the Pros don’t always get it right. Sporting team kecks out on a ride takes over matching kit to a new level.

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  44. What the….. go Grandad….. what an awesome finish

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