Velominati › Look Pro, Part V: The Power of Hair

Which has helmet hair and which has clenbuterol? Photo: REUTERS/LIONEL BONAVENTURE/POOL

Look Pro, Part V: The Power of Hair

by frank / Apr 18 2011 / 68 posts

The power of hair is not to be underestimated. Especially when it comes to having it carefully disheveled, with little bits poking out of the vents of your helmet. Indeed, hair sticking out of your helmet vents can be thought of as a conduit to The V; the strands reaching into the Ether, channeling its power like a lightening rod into your very being.

Anybody watching Amstel Gold on Sunday would have seen that Andy Schleck dangled off the front of the bunch until 500 meters to go, before being swallowed whole by a certain speeding Gilbertron. Granted, the final 500 meteres happen to be the longest meters in any race – even more so for the guy hanging off the front – but never-the-less, it is uncommon to watch the Grimplette get passed going uphill. There was something missing from his pedal stroke, a certain fluidity was gone that normally rests easy within his legs. Then I saw it: his hair was too short with not enough of it left peeking through the vents.  Look for yourself, disaster. I am convinced beyond contestation that had he worn his hair as he does during the Tour de France, he would have stayed away.

For all you baldies out there who are jumping over to the Rogaine website in a panic, I raise this for your consideration: your hairless head does not preclude you from the possibility of channeling The V. Indeed, lightning does strike where there is no rod; it’s just not as predictable.

When it comes to having your hair sticking out of your helmet, keep these considerations in mind:

  1. The power of hair only applies to the hair growing out of your planter. Shave your legs. No beards. (Note: Never shave your face on race day or any other day on which you will demand more from your legs than they can reasonably provide.) Goatees only when your are intentionally or unintentionally bald, and even then it’s suspect if you don’t go by the moniker, Il Pirata. See Rule #50.
  2. Hair growing long upon the guns is a conduit for the Anti-V; unregulated hair growth on one’s legs will soon cause you to spill burrito guts on your already dirty t-shirt on your way to a Critical Mass gathering.
  3. The Goldilocks Principle applies to hair as well as to shorts and socks. It may not be too long or too short. No ponytails. No Mullets. No exceptions.
  4. Being Casually Deliberate applies here as well; your hair should not stick out of every vent. Instead, shoot for 25% to 50%.
  5. Having a few curls sticking out between your ears and helmet can also help to channel The V, but be careful not to wander into Mullet territory.  See item three above.

A few samples for review and consideration.  You can see from this listing that this technique has been tried and tested for some time.

Freddy Maertens, rockin’ a Five and Dime in Rule #9 conditions on the Muur de Huy.


Here we have a young Hinault being squarely crammed into the hurtlocker by three bullies with hair in their vents. The look on Merckx’s face says it all: take that shower cap off and ride your bike, puppy dog.


Bungo’s casual expression and Mottet’s pain face tell you all you need to know. It’s the hair.


Johan van Summeren showing an almost perfect hair distribution; nice vent exposure, good ear curls. The cobblesone was a formality.

// Etiquette // Folklore // Look Pro // Nostalgia

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