Velominati: You Must Obey

Velominati: You Must Obey

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What motivates a Velominatus?  It seems a simple question, but the answer is complicated and gets into various issues that are neither interesting nor compelling.

For me, cycling has been a life-long obsession.  I enjoy any kind of riding.  I enjoy technical, single-track mountain biking, I enjoy riding on dirt roads or wide trails.  I enjoy commuting by bike, and I enjoy riding my bike to the local markets. I love riding an old clunker bike around a city like Amsterdam.  But my heart has always belonged to road cycling.

When I was a kid, my dream was to start a frame-building business.  In my free time, I sketched bicycles – anything from standard road bikes to exotic time trial machines.  I even designed logos for my imagined company, humbly named Strack Cycles.  When not designing frames, the next priority was to dream up the names and kits for the teams Strack Cycles would invariably sponsor.

When time allowed during the Summer months, I would go for multiple training rides per day, some on the road, and some off. Officially a Nordic ski racer, I realized that I had become a cyclist when the shortening of the days as Fall approached was met with dread that the cycling season was coming to a close rather than excitement for the imminent ski season.

Long hours on the road bike were filled with fantasies of being in day-long solo breakaways at the Tour de France; motivation to climb aboard my bike in the rain was eased by imagining I was racing in a Belgian Spring classic.

Such are the motivations of this particular Velominatus.

Then came Velominati.  We've carried on long conversations.  We've established our own vernacular. Most of us are probably on some psychiatric “People of Interest” list.  And, we have our own kit. In addition to bearing the Velominati colors and logos, the kit bears various details that only those of us in the know will appreciate:  the “Obey the Rules” emblem appears in various places, and the right leg of the bibs bear three Rules, referred to only by number and oriented such that they are legible for the wearer.  We modestly believe it to be the most awesomest kit on the planet, ever.

A non-nondescript box greeted me upon my arrival home from work yesterday.  The box bore a simple, handwritten note: “Velominati – You Must Obey”, signalling the arrival of the first order of the Velominati Kit (which leads me to believe the folks at Castelli subscribe to Rules Holism). My hands were shaking as I opened the box and gazed in at the oblique realization of a lifelong dream.

With that, I present the Velominati kit, made by Castelli and designed by KRX-10. We'll be placing more orders throughout the year, so just drop us a line if you'd like to put the whole Rule #17 issue to bed and fly the Velominati colors.

UPDATE: I have updated the set of photos in the post to more accurately reflect the colors of the actual kit.  The kit is black, and in no way brownish or purple, as some of the photos appear to be.

[dmalbum path=”/ Galleries/ Kit Arrival/”/]

// Accessories and Gear // Kit // Nostalgia // The Rules

  1. On TV, I also prefer to watch road racing. Live, I think XC MTB might have the edge. It certainly did the day Paola Pezzo came to Wellington in the early 90’s and won the World Cup race around our favourite tracks on Mt Victoria. Though that may have had more to do with Paola (and her gold lyrcra shorts) than the racing.

  2. @Geof

    Way to take the Velominati kit exclusivity from me in Welly!

    The World Cup on Mt Vic was 98. It was also Cadel’s first WC win. A mate of mine was his mechanic, and we got his used Diamond Back bikes at the end of the season to use or sell. There’s still one kicking around in Newcastle.

    I had one of his T-shirts too, with ‘CE’ in marker pen on the label… it was a SRAM ESP Grip Shift shirt, pretty cool… ended up as rags.

  3. @Geof
    Kudos on the very wiley domestic tactics that scored the new kit! I am using the old chestnut of “Oh look what came today – you remember I ordered it last winter?” It may be a cool start to a hot summer.

  4. @brett
    OK. Thanks. That way I won;t breach Rule #58.

    Was the ’98 WC the second time they’d run it here or the first? The one I was thinking of, when Paola raced, was the first one they held here. We hired a couple of pro DHers to take some of us and some clients who were MTBers around the course. The DHers brought spot prizes. We asked them to only give them to our clients. But they gave me the best one – a new helmet – for my “endo with three metre fall and half twist onto waiting instructor not quick enough to get out of the way”, which I completed (with all the grace of a dead chook) on the chute which dropped into the Velodrome. Then a few days later I watched all the pros ride the chute effortlessly at pace and in the wet. I realised then that I could never date Paola.

  5. Just got back from a three day work stint (the sea kayakers kit is now where near as rad as this). those pics must live forever. good work frank, KRX-10 and velominati in the kit design and making it happen. i’m checking the mailbox daily.
    the colour palette is really gonna be sweet with the new tatoo. hell ya.

  6. Okay, Paola may be gone. But we now have Emily Batty – oh my.

    I attended a NORBA national in the ’90s at Spokane, WA. I don’t remember the exact year at the moment – brain fade. All the big name XC racers in the flesh and dust. I even got meet Julie Furtado – cool, eh?

    I big fan of seeing girls race and ride well. Not in the sexist sense, well – there is an element of that – but for the fact that it’s just damn cool. Woman mountain bike and ‘cross racers? Man, that’s awesome. We need more of ’em.

  7. @Dan O
    “I big fan of seeing girls race and ride well. Not in the sexist sense.” I’m a big fan of seeing girls race and ride well just in the sexist sense.

  8. @Dan O, @david

    Amen, brothers. I watched my woman drop me handily today, mashing a massive gear up the Sea-to-Sky climb on our route, resplendit in her new Velominati kit. Let me say it wasn’t a bad view…

    There are so many awesome chick racers, I wish there was more coverage. I mean, Nicole Cooke is a TOUGH BITCH. Chick fucking lives in the big ring. She rode the whole Olympic Road Race in her 53×11. She pops 15T cogs in the toaster in the morning, spreads on some fucking Dumonde Tech for flavor and eats that shit for breakfast.

    I would love to see more women’s racing coverage. And they look way hotter in Spandex than a bunch of sweaty dudes.

    And David, to quote Nigel Tufnel, “What’s wrong with being sexy?”

  9. @frank
    A woman in tight spandex who can grind in the big ring is just too hot. No doubt.

  10. @frank no doubting Nicole is tough, but she does not apply herself well to The Rules. No style. At 15/16 she would be out in winter in shorts and arm warmers, but she’d still be there in the last group with the a handful of Elite men at the end of a 160km training ride.

  11. Marko, really? A Velominati tattoo? You know that shit doesn’t rub off, right?

  12. @brett
    you’re kidding right? it’s still healing and thus a little rough looking but it turned out well:

    v-cog tattoo

  13. I can envision Brett with his girlfriend as the relationship “gets serious”.

    ShopGirl347: So Breeeeeeeeeettttt? We’re getting serious right?
    Brett: Crykie! Sure thing, mate! I haven’t laughed in ages! Put another shrimp on the barbie!
    ShopGirl347: That’s not the kind of “serious” I mean. What do you think of getting married?
    Brett [cross-eyed]: Say again?
    ShopGirl347: Are we gonna get married some day?
    Brett: You know that shit is for ever, right?
    ShopGirl347: Buh-bye.
    Brett: Now, where’s my Bowie Knife?

  14. Marko – images? Might have to change my thoughts on tats. Whooa I was writing that as you posted!! Knarly (now), how big?

    Frank, and all, I have been having nervous thoughts about being a representative of Velominati now that the kit is real. Can you please help with replies to the questions? I know this sounds a total lack of #5 but it is just stage fright (lets face it racing is 1/10th psyching) and while the kit definitely does not need explaining I do feel the need for quick pithy Velominati ripostes.

    Actually I would love to have some cards printed because there have been times in the past month where I ride with some stranger, who is in the grove and the verbal heads up about the V. is often met with confusion. Now the kit is going to up that and a card would negate the useless chitchat.

    I stand ready for a total ripping on this one but my strength is on the bike not talking about it…

  15. @Marko
    One word: commitment.

  16. @Rob
    About an inch diameter

  17. Today is the DAY!

    Frank and all, It is here The New Kit, Stunning! The best of all is that it makes me look thin!!! This will mean that I will be peaking in a month.

    For all those out there whose old kit has too many holes (hopefully from race crashes) or who no longer ride for a team (hopefully not because of drugs) this is THE Kit you will want.

  18. That is one beautifully designed and rendered kit. Is there an application form to determine whether prospective orders are worthy of this? The big task will be persuading the missus…

  19. @SteampunkGo with Geof’s technique – timing is everything.

  20. P.S. I don’t fing (how slow am I??) believe it, I just got the “frozen potatoes” ho, ho. so focused on the Kit that I missed the box.

    New term in the lexicon for now you will be “climbing like an eagle” to completely confuse the competition?

  21. @Rob

    Don’t feel bad. I didn’t see the frozen potatoes box until this morning either and I’m usually the master of picking out obscure details in pics.

    and by the by, I whole heartedly support your velominati card idea for the exact same reasons you mention.

  22. Rob :@SteampunkGo with Geof’s technique – timing is everything.

    That never works in our house; she’s way too smart for that. This is going to be tricky.

  23. Rob :I know this sounds a total lack of #5 but it is just stage fright (lets face it racing is 1/10th psyching) and while the kit definitely does not need explaining I do feel the need for quick pithy Velominati ripostes.

    I have been wondering the same type of thing – what do I do when someone says “Why do you have “Obey The Rules”” on your bumper? Are you a cop?” I have reached the tentative conclusion that the only appropriate Velominati riposte is to quote a rule at them. For example, some people might deserve a simple recitation of Rule #5. Others (such as those who look bigger and/or more heavily armed than me) might best be directed towards something a bit less confrontational – perhaps Rule #4. Those who have obviously recently injested a heavy dose of recreational pharmaceuticals can be directed to one of the other rules, chosen at random, on which they can trip for the next hour or so. Etc. This seems to me to be consistent with the Velominati ethos – at least, for those of us who are Rule Holists. The Cognoscenti will, presumably, restrict themselves to repeating Rule #5 – the greater size and/or weaponry of their interlocutor merely underscoring how seriously they take it. But I am still new to all of this, and possibly those with more experience will have a more informed view.

  24. @all
    So, are we thinking we should be doing business cards for Velominati? I similar idea occurred to me, so also drop a pile off at bike shops etc. But while riding? Are you going to hand out sweaty cards? I like the idea. Maybe just carry them in a ziploc baggie?

    I am bracing myself for what David and Jarvis will have to say on this.

  25. @Marko
    Thanks for making me feel better and to top it off I misquoted myself:

    “New term in the lexicon for now you will be “climbing like an eagle” to completely confuse the competition?”

    Should have read:
    “New term in the lexicon: You will be climbing like a “frozen potato!” for you will be “climbing like an eagle” to completely confuse the competition?”

    On the card thing if the committees approve how about just “Obey the Rules” and a web address?

  26. @Rob, @Marko
    I took the box inside, unpacked it, put on one of the kits, had Michelle photograph me, packed and shipped all the kits, wrote the article, and posted the photos all without ever, once, noticing the frozen potatoes.

    Not until Timo made the comment did I notice.

    So none of you feel bad on that.

  27. @frank See above – I think my plan when I wear the kit (by the way never on “Sweet Pea”) is to bury the competition so there are no Questions!

  28. @frank


    I figured since Rob got his today mine would be here when I got home. None such luck. I anticipate manana.

  29. @Marko
    Well, it probably takes a couple extra days for the sled dogs to make it up there to your place.

  30. Rethink on the card thing while the adds are on…

    -Keepers of the Cog-
    Rule #1 Obey the Rules, Rule #5 HTFU, Rule #10 It never gets easier you just go faster.

  31. It HAS arrived. Gorgeous, badass looking kit. Going for a ride.

  32. @Rob
    Love it.


  33. Okay, so I’ve been mulling over this card idea. It’s pretty important to me because of this new v-cog tattoo of mine. I’ve gotten a couple questions on it and have realized that telling people it’s a cycling blog I contribute to just isn’t enough. I ,of course, know it’s much more than that as do you all. We are not a blog or just a group of cyclists. We are the velominati. So to this end, I’ve decided I will give the following the answer when asked about the new tat. Of course, it’ll work well for the kit too:

    A velominatus is a cycling disciple of the highest order. We spend our days pouring over the very essence of what makes cycling such a special sport and how that essence fits into cycling’s colorful fabric. This is the Velominati’s raison d’être. This is our agony – our badge of honor – our sin. There is a blog but the road is where the Velominati can be themselves.

  34. @Marko
    Amen to that. I would only suggest adding an optional final sentence, to be used only where it appears needed, along the lines of “Now – HTFU and ride.”

  35. @frank
    Jesus, I’m not that hardcore am I? Anyone the business card idea, load of toss. The Rules are something that you have to find out about gradually, you have to immerse, soak yourself in them. They are a viking feast, not a pot noodle (how about that for a tag-line?).

    Besides, handing out business cards is a bit city-boy-soft and would open us up to ridicule as we; as being patronising to others and potentially putting them off ever wanting to discover more about the sport. However, if someone sees a stylish rider cruising past silently them on a perfectly fitted bike, then it should leave them wanting to be that rider, admiring the skill and dedication that it takes to look that good on a bike. They will want to be a Velominati.

    The tattoo – hard as fuck – that is your business card. Marko at comment #49 nails it to the rafters.

  36. Agreed Jarvis… are we in danger of disappearing up our own asses? I mean, business cards? It’s enough that Marko got a tattoo that suspiciously looks like it’s not a temporary one!

  37. @Jarvis


    To fucking right. I knew that common sense to all this would be forth coming and you are both right. The card thing was a wimpy attempt to try to explain what should be obvious by my riding/form on the bike in the Kit. Anyway the Kit has it all.

    I am back in HTFU land and if there are any questions in the pace line I will just drop the bastards.

    I leave now for the first group ride in Kit – Thanks.

  38. I’m a little on the fence re. the cards, but I get the criticisms. What you really need is a website where you can post illuminating guidelines and commandments and the like. Oh, wait a minute. Never mind.

  39. @Rob

    Right on.

  40. @brett You are the voice of “get realness” and I do drift toward the girlie “what ifyness” side of things, so again thanks.

    To all –
    Just back and the new Kit has been very well received by the group. It is supremely comfortable fit wise and in the details like the padding, it is just right. (I am so glad that the thick padding stage is over it felt like you were sitting on a Maxi pad all day.) The cut was in complete agreement with Rule #7 and it felt like a second skin.

    The guys all liked the design and were definitely curious about the rules. There was a very short questioning about if the Kit was made in Australia?? Something about the pouch in the front of the jersey but that’s when I slammed it in the big ring and put some hurt on.

    @Steampunk +1

  41. Got my kit! Awesome, definitely not browny/purple as it seems to appear in the pics above; it’s black and badass! Nice work Frank and KRX…

  42. Just went to order my kit, but wasn’t sure how to ensure I get the right sizing. I dare not describer myself as “skinny”, lest I get something that would fit Gesink but would struggle to cope with a 46 year old midriff which is stubbornly less taut than once it was. However, if I describe myself as “reasonably normal for a 46 year old recreational cyclist” I run the distinct risk of conjuring a mental picture of a lardass, which would also be inaccurate. It’s a bit like trying to order a curry. I dare not say “medium” in case I get what the Indian restrauteur would consider medium (i.e. something that scorches my lips off from three paces). But then I get pissed off when I say “mild” and the restaurateur assumes I want whhat a curry virgin would regard as mild (i.e. something which requires steamed rice to give it flavour). In NZ, this issue is often resolved by proprietors of relevant restaurants asking whether, by “medium”, one means “Kiwi medium” or “Indian medium”. I thought that perhaps there would be a role for a similar methodology in cycling sizing – I would be “cyclist average” but “normal skinny”. And a whole bunch of entertaining additions to the Lexicon might follow.

    But then I remembered that internet purchases are evil and banned (with the exception of Velominati kit), so it would be wrong for us to be involved in anything which makes them easier. So I’ll just email Frank my height and hope for the best …

  43. You’ll need XL mate. I got L and it’s too small.

  44. I am 5’11”, 170 lbs with pouch (planning to get to 160-5 ish to loose the pouch) and large is perfect.

  45. I’m 5’10”, 195 lbs without much pouch (wishing I could harness shoulders and chest on the bike) and fit XL comfortably in other Castelli products. Submitted my order the other day: looking forward to the second generation kit…

  46. @all
    I would say, trust the size chart here to give you a very snug fit. The kit is extremely comfortable, however, and despite feeling snug off the bike, it is like a second skin when riding.

  47. Here’s a video of the some of the exchanges that have gone on while deciding on kit size:

  48. Nice one! Sums up the Kit sizing dilemma and touches on all the issues of peaking.

  49. @all
    I have updated the set of photos in the post to more accurately reflect the colors of the actual kit. I’ll restate that the kit is black, and in no way brownish or purple, as some of the photos appear to be.

    Also, additional photos of Brett’s kit can be found here.

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