On Rule #33: The Sagan Clause

Rule #33 has to be one of the most discussed, deconstructed and divisive of all the Rules. I suppose there’s something about grown men who are non-professional cyclists taking a razor to their pins that brings out some strong emotions and it never fails to generate conversation and opinion. But really, who cares what someone else does to their own body and what business is it of ours to question or berate them for it?

The crux is that hairy legs on a road cyclist look like shit. There’s no getting away from it. On a mountain biker, hirsute guns may even look better, unless you’re an XC racer which is really just a roadie with suspension. If you’re a proponent of both, then you have a dilemna. Unless you’re the World Champion of course, then you can do what the hell you like. When Peter Sagan turned up for the early season with a healthy thatch on each of his pistons, the interwebs went into overdrive; how dare the Rainbow Jersey be sullied by such insolence. The counter argument being: awesome, he looks just like me now.

No, he doesn’t. Never will. No matter if he turned into a wookie overnight, he will never look like you/us. But what did happen back in the pre-Spring was he gave gave us all a clause, an out, a caveat for our own hairiness. Now, I’m not suggesting we all just throw away the razors and party like it’s 1969. That’s careless and irresponsible. But, having endured a winter marked by injury, laziness, lack of motivation and too much work, I am using Sags’ example as an adjunct to Rule #33. See, if you’re not actually riding a bike, and it’s cold, and your legs are mainly out of sight (or seen exclusively on a mountain bike), then why go to the trouble of keeping them smooth? It’s not like there’s any muscle, definition, or tan lines to show off.

So it’s decreed that under certain conditions, as outlined above, that the Sagan Clause can be invoked and a Cyclist––on temporary hiatus––can let their hair down until such time as some form of fitness returns or regular chamois time is being logged. Once you feel like a Cyclist again, then the razor can and must come out, because no matter how often you may try to convince yourself otherwise, that shit just don’t belong.

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120 Replies to “On Rule #33: The Sagan Clause”

  1. My 13 year old son just laughed when I tried to tell him people think it’s spelled with an ‘n’…

  2. @Brett

    Also, how can you say you’ve never seen it spelled with a double-m!? I can (grudgingly) accept that you’ve seen it spelled wrong before, as people perpetrate an ongoing mistake, but have you never looked at a dictionary? A thesaurus? A book with the word ‘dilemma’ in it? I’ve just looked at my Roget’s, my OED, my Collins, and my Merriam-Webster’s – none of which even offer the word ‘dilemna’ as an alternative spelling of ‘dilemma’.

  3. @Brett

    I didn’t say you made it all up, and I know you’re no moron. I just know you’re wrong so I’m mocking you, same as we all mock each other about myriad pointless shit. Jeez.

     

    Just tell me one more word you can definitively tell me you remember being taught. As I said, just because you thought you were taught it doesn’t mean you actually were; to reiterate, it’s a cognitive dissonance that is simply tricking your mind into thinking the wrong spelling is what you were taught, when more likely you just got it wrong at some point and you are subconsciously justifying the error. People do this all the time with things like the ‘i before e’ confusion, etc..

  4. @Oli

    @Brett

    I didn’t say you made it all up, and I know you’re no moron. I just know you’re wrong so I’m mocking you, same as we all mock each other about myriad pointless shit. Jeez.

    Just tell me one more word you can definitively tell me you remember being taught. As I said, just because you thought you were taught it doesn’t mean you actually were; to reiterate, it’s a cognitive dissonance that is simply tricking your mind into thinking the wrong spelling is what you were taught, when more likely you just got it wrong at some point and you are subconsciously justifying the error. People do this all the time with things like the ‘i before e’ confusion, etc..

    I know mate, it really doesn’t worry me, but don’t tell me I don’t know what I, and many more, were taught.

    Cognitive dissonance eh… like eating animals. (Puts on flame retardant suit.)

  5. @Brett

    I eat animals but wouldn’t deny the cognitive dissonance/justification/hypocrisy for a nano-second. Refer also to other conundrums like God, 9/11 conspiracy theories, paleo, flat earth, etc., etc.

     

    But I flat out refuse to believe you were specifically taught the word, no matter what the spelling – school isn’t like that. I defy you to remember with absolute clarity being taught the spelling of ANY word you ever learned. I sure can’t.

  6. I am Australian. I’ve never met anyone that spells Dilemma with an “N”. This is absolutely the first time I’ve heard of this. I’m assuming your English Teacher was, in fact, a PE teacher filling in and seriously taking the piss.

  7. In all the years I’ve been following this site and of all the relevant subjects surrounding disc brakes, carbon frames, riders, races, kits, pumps etc… it’s the spelling of an irrelevant word that may well be generating the most intense debate! There’s a picture of hamster pants on this thread too you know ? Isn’t that far more troubling than an attempt to substitute a couple of proper m’s with an inappropriate letter yes?

    BTW: I’m thinking I could probably remember learning the spelling of Mississippi.

    Cheers

  8. I absolutely, positively remember being taught how to spell Mississippi. There’s a mnemonic rhyme that goes with it.

    Oh shit, did I spell “mnemonic” right? Or is it “nnemonic”?

  9. @Scott

    I absolutely, positively remember being taught how to spell Mississippi. There’s a mnemonic rhyme that goes with it.

    Oh shit, did I spell “mnemonic” right? Or is it “nnemonic”?

  10. Under no circumstances it has to be allowed to compete with the hair, especially if you’re the world champion.

    A world champion should teach how to behave.

  11. @Teocalli

    Mnemonic.

    I always have problems spelling Connecticut. MS I remember as it’s mi-ssi-ssi-ppi.

    I have problems pronouncing Missouri. Apparently it’s pronounced Mizzoora. And if Arkansas is Arkansaw, why isn’t Kansas pronounced Kansaw?

    Answers on a postcard to . . .

  12. Commuter, road bikers, mountain biker, I do it all and I shave dem pins. I prefer to shave year around and have been for years but my lady has convinced me the last couple winters to lay off the the razor. It makes me crazy but it makes her happy. However it also makes that first shave come shorts season that much greater.

  13. @Feeling really old

    Based on the premise that you should save the heavy artillery for the bike, the correct nomenclature should be:

    Guns = Arms

    Cannons = Legs.

    Simple.

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