Sure, turn that thing upside down. (I said it ironically, so it's not bad luck.)

On Rule #49: Keep the Rubber Side Down

by / / 88 posts

Gobbles already violated Rule #95 this year when he became the first rider to celebrate winning a Monument by lifting his bike over his head as if he were some kind of savage; not a Belgian road Cyclist, the most civilized of the Cycling Breed.

But Rule #49 is another matter altogether. It astounds me whenever I see a bicycle helplessly turned upon its handlebars and saddle while the pilot optimistically leverages every muscle in their face to inspect the vehicle for evidence of its mysterious ailment. (Surprise ending: It’s the rider, not the machine.)

We, the Velominati, we see the Cycling world through a different lens. We see Cycling through the rose-colored lense of our passion and our reverence for the history, culture, and etiquette of our sport.

Hence, I find myself in disbelief to find none other than The Prophet himself, cluelessly riding alongside his team car in 1976 with a spare bike on its roof inexplicably turned upside down. This was the Year of My Birth; I feel a little bit sullied knowing that such an atrocity occurred while I was in gestation. (It also might explain a few things about my temperament.)

It just so happens that 1976 was the year in which Merckx began his irrevocable slide towards retirement; perhaps his failure to spot the upturned steed was an early sign that the fire in his breath was starting to temper.

// Anatomy of a Photo // The Hardmen // The Rules

  1. That’s one of the rules I’m not so sure about. Sure it looks weak, but when changing a flat on the side of the road it’s tje safest way to keep from scratching tje paint. You might scratch the saddle and bar tape , but those are easliy replaced. Paint is permanent.




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  2. tje=the :)




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  3. @Danny shaw

    That’s one of the rules I’m not so sure about. Sure it looks weak, but when changing a flat on the side of the road it’s tje safest way to keep from scratching tje paint. You might scratch the saddle and bar tape , but those are easliy replaced. Paint is permanent.

    If your trusty steed falls from the position with the rubber side up paint may be the absolute least of your worries.




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  4. @Rick

    @Danny shaw

    That’s one of the rules I’m not so sure about. Sure it looks weak, but when changing a flat on the side of the road it’s tje safest way to keep from scratching tje paint. You might scratch the saddle and bar tape , but those are easliy replaced. Paint is permanent.

    If your trusty steed falls from the position with the rubber side up paint may be the absolute least of your worries.

    I used to put mine upside down when changing a rear flat but then had issues with the chain coming off the chain ring. I now carefully lay it down on its non-drive side if no one is available to hold it for me.




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  5. I’m just going to say that this is one where I observe the Masturbation Principle. Sure, it might happen, once in a while. But I’m not going to brag about it and I’m sure as hell not going to do it with anyone watching.

    But I love the conjecture that the upside down bike so close to the Prophet’s mighty presence somehow sucked the V away.




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  6. Every time I take my 9,5 kilogram carbon road bike out for a spin, I pack a 6,5 kg Park work stand and a 2 kg toolbox into a specially sewn, tubular canvas casing, sling it over my shoulder and bring that along for the ride. Problem solved.

    But seriously – as @Philip Mercer says: lay her gently down on the grass (or, even more gently, on pavement, if that cannot be avoided) with the drive side up. (I must admit at this point that it can be quite a challenge for someone as clumsy as yours truly, to successfully re-insert the rear wheel ‘with one hand’ while only having the other hand available to steady the machine. Front wheel = never a problem.) Clever tips, anyone?




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  8. or find a convenient tree as was posted here somewhere last year and hang the bike by it’s saddle.

    Re the Photo – maybe it’s a sign of distress like flying a national flag upside down?




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  9. @ErikdR

    hi Erik, I was reading a book from a Dutch author, Wilfried de Jong (De man en zijn fiets, or the man and his bike) where somewhere he mentioned having met Jan Janssen who had a way of keeping his rear wheel between his legs and then sway the bike/frame over it in such a way that he kept his hands clean, ie without touching the chain. Yeah, I’d like to see that move!!! That’s the gif I will put on my social media…




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  10. Umm – caption didn’t appear on the above.

    Anyway – point is what about the scenario in the picture?

    I avoided the Rule #49 violation but broke a bunch of others (which you’ll all be delighted to list).

    Will I burn in the deepest pit of hell being sodomised by Pharmstrong for eternity or are there mitigating factors to be taken into account?




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  11. Speaking about Jan Janssen…




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  12. @the Engine

    Umm – caption didn’t appear on the above.

    Anyway – point is what about the scenario in the picture?

    I avoided the Rule #49 violation but broke a bunch of others (which you’ll all be delighted to list).

    Will I burn in the deepest pit of hell being sodomised by Pharmstrong for eternity or are there mitigating factors to be taken into account?

    Could one of the more obvious violations be that your saddle is not horizontal?




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  13. @KogaLover

    @ErikdR

    hi Erik, I was reading a book from a Dutch author, Wilfried de Jong (De man en zijn fiets, or the man and his bike) where somewhere he mentioned having met Jan Janssen who had a way of keeping his rear wheel between his legs and then sway the bike/frame over it in such a way that he kept his hands clean, ie without touching the chain. Yeah, I’d like to see that move!!! That’s the gif I will put on my social media…

    Hey there K.L. Sounds interesting – and I can actually almost see what he might be on about. Never tried it myself, but keeping a rear wheel fixed with one’s own two legs and then sort of bringing the bike back towards oneself… Could be. And I can even imagine developing just the right ‘slight-of-hand’ to make the chain sway sideways at exactly the right moment/amount to make it past the cassette.

    I’m always amazed – and hugely impressed – by how quickly pro mechanics can fit a new rear wheel into a road bike during races. They do seem to mess it up occasionally, but most of the time there’s Formula 1 grade expertise on display.

    OK – back to work – and to quietly rejoicing over Tom D’s masterful work in the Giro. Dare we dream of (even more) good times ahead for Dutch cycling?




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  14. @ErikdR

    @KogaLover

    @ErikdR

    hi Erik, I was reading a book from a Dutch author, Wilfried de Jong (De man en zijn fiets, or the man and his bike) where somewhere he mentioned having met Jan Janssen who had a way of keeping his rear wheel between his legs and then sway the bike/frame over it in such a way that he kept his hands clean, ie without touching the chain. Yeah, I’d like to see that move!!! That’s the gif I will put on my social media…

    Hey there K.L. Sounds interesting – and I can actually almost see what he might be on about. Never tried it myself, but keeping a rear wheel fixed with one’s own two legs and then sort of bringing the bike back towards oneself… Could be. And I can even imagine developing just the right ‘slight-of-hand’ to make the chain sway sideways at exactly the right moment/amount to make it past the cassette.

    If you can’t get the chain to sway, the way to do it and keep your hands clean is to push the rear mech down to slacken the chain, then slot the wheel in. Never touch the chain.




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  15. @KogaLover

    @the Engine

    Umm – caption didn’t appear on the above.

    Anyway – point is what about the scenario in the picture?

    I avoided the Rule #49 violation but broke a bunch of others (which you’ll all be delighted to list).

    Will I burn in the deepest pit of hell being sodomised by Pharmstrong for eternity or are there mitigating factors to be taken into account?

    Could one of the more obvious violations be that your saddle is not horizontal?

    The top tube slopes upwards to I’m sure when the wheel is in the saddle would be perfectly level. @the Engine isn’t a savage…




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  16. @the Engine

    What the hell is under that saddle?




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  17. Volvo…




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  18. @Phillip Mercer

    @the Engine

    What the hell is under that saddle?

    I suspect that was a wee bit more than a 4 Hr ride………..




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  19. @RobSandy

    If you can’t get the chain to sway, the way to do it and keep your hands clean is to push the rear mech down to slacken the chain, then slot the wheel in. Never touch the chain.

    Already do that but there’s still some greasy dirt cropping up in the cages. Which messes with my clean white bartape. Which I do not like. So if anyone can figure out how Janssen does it, I’d be keen to emulate the pros!




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  20. @Teocalli

    Three days and 36 hours on the road – including a long walk




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  21. @KogaLover

    @RobSandy

    If you can’t get the chain to sway, the way to do it and keep your hands clean is to push the rear mech down to slacken the chain, then slot the wheel in. Never touch the chain.

    Already do that but there’s still some greasy dirt cropping up in the cages. Which messes with my clean white bartape. Which I do not like. So if anyone can figure out how Janssen does it, I’d be keen to emulate the pros!

    Keep your cages clean.




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  22. @KogaLover

    Speaking about Jan Janssen…

    Yeah, I watched the vid. Janssen and Zoetemelk were both there. Classy move all around! (BTW, that’s Joop next to Tom.)




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  23. @ErikdR

    @KogaLover

    @ErikdR

    hi Erik, I was reading a book from a Dutch author, Wilfried de Jong (De man en zijn fiets, or the man and his bike) where somewhere he mentioned having met Jan Janssen who had a way of keeping his rear wheel between his legs and then sway the bike/frame over it in such a way that he kept his hands clean, ie without touching the chain. Yeah, I’d like to see that move!!! That’s the gif I will put on my social media…

    Hey there K.L. Sounds interesting – and I can actually almost see what he might be on about. Never tried it myself, but keeping a rear wheel fixed with one’s own two legs and then sort of bringing the bike back towards oneself… Could be. And I can even imagine developing just the right ‘slight-of-hand’ to make the chain sway sideways at exactly the right moment/amount to make it past the cassette.

    I’m always amazed – and hugely impressed – by how quickly pro mechanics can fit a new rear wheel into a road bike during races. They do seem to mess it up occasionally, but most of the time there’s Formula 1 grade expertise on display.

    OK – back to work – and to quietly rejoicing over Tom D’s masterful work in the Giro. Dare we dream of (even more) good times ahead for Dutch cycling?

    Funny you should say that. I’ve always been amazed at how poorly a lot of bike mechanics swap out wheels. I know the F1 teams practice like crazy to save just a few seconds on a pit stop., You’d think each year, pro team mechanics would go through some boot camp of switching out wheels. It should involve riders too – as it would certainly speed up the whole process if the rider, upon stopping for, say, a puncture, dropped the chain onto the smallest cog.




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  24. @RobSandy

    @KogaLover

    @RobSandy

    If you can’t get the chain to sway, the way to do it and keep your hands clean is to push the rear mech down to slacken the chain, then slot the wheel in. Never touch the chain.

    Already do that but there’s still some greasy dirt cropping up in the cages. Which messes with my clean white bartape. Which I do not like. So if anyone can figure out how Janssen does it, I’d be keen to emulate the pros!

    Keep your cages clean.

    Which means I must stop riding?




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  25. @wiscot

    Ha! You may well have exposed me as one who watches wáy too little pro cycling nowadays. (I try to convince myself that it’s because I’m ‘too busy’).

    I don’t have much (or any) evidence to support my claim – other than the fact that I have seen (or at least: I seem to remember having seen) pro mechanics switching rear wheels – and sending riders on their merry way again with a frantic push – in a matter of seconds. Conversely, I myself have been known, after puncture repairs, to fiddle with my rear wheel for what felt like minutes (and still not get it quite right sometimes, as I would discover upon re-mounting the bike). Maybe I’m just setting the bar pretty low.

    Good point about dropping the chain to the smallest cog, by the way. In fact, I would have expected pro riders ALWAYS to do that? (Even I am usually smart enough, once I’ve become aware of a rear puncture, to push the shifter for the rear mech all the way forward before dismounting…)




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  26. @wiscot

    @KogaLover

    Speaking about Jan Janssen…

    Yeah, I watched the vid. Janssen and Zoetemelk were both there. Classy move all around! (BTW, that’s Joop next to Tom.)

    That’s an interesting picture. As a devote follower of Zoetemelk’s career, I can say that I have never seen Joop look so ecstatically happy in any photograph – not even those that document his own TdF win in 1980.

    As Krabbé said: few have taken the job of being a professional cyclist more seriously than Joop Zoetemelk.




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  27. @ErikdR

    As Krabbé said: few have taken the job of being a professional cyclist more seriously than Joop Zoetemelk.

    And wasn’t it until his 38th that he finally earned to wear the rainbowjersey? I can still remember the thrills in 1985from when I was young eventhough I wasn’t into cycling yet.

    And on the TdF: other riders have had more than 16 starts, but none has yet matched Zoetemelk’s record of actually completing the event 16 times.




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  28. @KogaLover

    Yes, yes, goodness yes – I’ll never forget that as long as I live. 1985. 38 years old (Not me; Joop. I was 27 at the time). Thirty-eight! A strong field including Greg LeMond, Moreno Argentin, Stephen Roche… Joop sneaking off on the left side of the road, out-foxing the lot of ’em – and Mart Smeets, the Dutch sports commentator, utterly losing his shit. Good times. (I must have been peeling a lot of onions at the time, because there was a very distinct trace of salty liquid in the corners of my eyes when Joop crossed the line that day…)




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  29. @ErikdR

    @KogaLover

    Yes, yes, goodness yes – I’ll never forget that as long as I live. 1985. 38 years old (Not me; Joop. I was 27 at the time). Thirty-eight! A strong field including Greg LeMond, Moreno Argentin, Stephen Roche… Joop sneaking off on the left side of the road, out-foxing the lot of ’em – and Mart Smeets, the Dutch sports commentator, utterly losing his shit. Good times. (I must have been peeling a lot of onions at the time, because there was a very distinct trace of salty liquid in the corners of my eyes when Joop crossed the line that day…)

    Totally class move inviting Zoetemelk and Janssen to the shindig. Joop’s WC was an awesome win – as was his compatriot Gerrie Knetemann’s win in the 1985 Amstel Gold race. I was apparently peeling onions during the latter race . . . . Knetemann was also world champ in 1978. Both Knetemann and Zoetemelk rode for TI-Raleigh too.




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  30. @wiscot

    @ErikdR

    @KogaLover

    Yes, yes, goodness yes – I’ll never forget that as long as I live. 1985. 38 years old (Not me; Joop. I was 27 at the time). Thirty-eight! A strong field including Greg LeMond, Moreno Argentin, Stephen Roche… Joop sneaking off on the left side of the road, out-foxing the lot of ’em – and Mart Smeets, the Dutch sports commentator, utterly losing his shit. Good times. (I must have been peeling a lot of onions at the time, because there was a very distinct trace of salty liquid in the corners of my eyes when Joop crossed the line that day…)

    Totally class move inviting Zoetemelk and Janssen to the shindig. Joop’s WC was an awesome win – as was his compatriot Gerrie Knetemann’s win in the 1985 Amstel Gold race. I was apparently peeling onions during the latter race . . . . Knetemann was also world champ in 1978. Both Knetemann and Zoetemelk rode for TI-Raleigh too.

    Re Knetemann’s Gold Race: Yep – that was another memorable victory. And that time, it wasn’t so much the reporter(s), but Knetemann himself who cried his eyes out, if I remember correctly?




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  31. @ErikdR

    @wiscot

    @ErikdR

    @KogaLover

    Yes, yes, goodness yes – I’ll never forget that as long as I live. 1985. 38 years old (Not me; Joop. I was 27 at the time). Thirty-eight! A strong field including Greg LeMond, Moreno Argentin, Stephen Roche… Joop sneaking off on the left side of the road, out-foxing the lot of ’em – and Mart Smeets, the Dutch sports commentator, utterly losing his shit. Good times. (I must have been peeling a lot of onions at the time, because there was a very distinct trace of salty liquid in the corners of my eyes when Joop crossed the line that day…)

    Totally class move inviting Zoetemelk and Janssen to the shindig. Joop’s WC was an awesome win – as was his compatriot Gerrie Knetemann’s win in the 1985 Amstel Gold race. I was apparently peeling onions during the latter race . . . . Knetemann was also world champ in 1978. Both Knetemann and Zoetemelk rode for TI-Raleigh too.

    Re Knetemann’s Gold Race: Yep – that was another memorable victory. And that time, it wasn’t so much the reporter(s), but Knetemann himself who cried his eyes out, if I remember correctly?

    Yes indeed. He was very much at the tail end of his career and riding for Skil-Sem. The weather was appallingly wet and rainy and Knetemann needed his gl;asses to see.

    Some Gerrie goodness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKe6fwdN0NQ

    Some Joop goodness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atjxVhNfmw0




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  32. @ErikdR

    But seriously – as @Philip Mercer says: lay her gently down on the grass (or, even more gently, on pavement, if that cannot be avoided) with the drive side up. (I must admit at this point that it can be quite a challenge for someone as clumsy as yours truly, to successfully re-insert the rear wheel ‘with one hand’ while only having the other hand available to steady the machine. Front wheel = never a problem.) Clever tips, anyone?

    I use my left shoulder to brace the saddle and lift the bike up and I have the wheel upright between my legs.

    It leaves my left hand to hold the rear stay and bring it back and over the cassette and the right hand to push the rear mech down.

    Then you just bring the frame down and release the mech and it sort of slots in.

    I think… it’s one of those things I just sort of do. I certainly don’t touch the chain – there’s often a bit of grease on the cage but it’s not much and just on thumb and forefinger usually.




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  33. @RobSandy

    I’m just going to say that this is one where I observe the Masturbation Principle. Sure, it might happen, once in a while. But I’m not going to brag about it and I’m sure as hell not going to do it with anyone watching.

    But I love the conjecture that the upside down bike so close to the Prophet’s mighty presence somehow sucked the V away.

    And its for sure his bike too – not a lowly teammates’ – the bar tape is white, whereas his teammates had blue tape such as on the one sitting on the car’s boot.




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  34. @the Engine

    THE. FUCK.

    We’re way past the masturbation principle on that EPMS, my friend.

    @ErikdR

    Every time I take my 9,5 kilogram carbon road bike out for a spin, I pack a 6,5 kg Park work stand and a 2 kg toolbox into a specially sewn, tubular canvas casing, sling it over my shoulder and bring that along for the ride. Problem solved.

    But seriously – as @Philip Mercer says: lay her gently down on the grass (or, even more gently, on pavement, if that cannot be avoided) with the drive side up. (I must admit at this point that it can be quite a challenge for someone as clumsy as yours truly, to successfully re-insert the rear wheel ‘with one hand’ while only having the other hand available to steady the machine. Front wheel = never a problem.) Clever tips, anyone?

    Yes, lay ‘er down drive side up, resting on skewers, bar, and saddle edge. No frame paint ever touches the ground.

    Then just get used to snapping the wheel in under the chain, and into the frame. Doesn’t have to go in fully on the first try, once the wheel is close to the dropouts, you can let go of the frame and use both hands to slide it into place.




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  35. @wiscot

    Have just watched those two videos. Fantastic stuff. Cheers!




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  36. @KogaLover

    Speaking about Jan Janssen…

    Always so classy.




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  37. @ChrisO

    @ErikdR

    But seriously – as @Philip Mercer says: lay her gently down on the grass (or, even more gently, on pavement, if that cannot be avoided) with the drive side up. (I must admit at this point that it can be quite a challenge for someone as clumsy as yours truly, to successfully re-insert the rear wheel ‘with one hand’ while only having the other hand available to steady the machine. Front wheel = never a problem.) Clever tips, anyone?

    I use my left shoulder to brace the saddle and lift the bike up and I have the wheel upright between my legs.

    It leaves my left hand to hold the rear stay and bring it back and over the cassette and the right hand to push the rear mech down.

    Then you just bring the frame down and release the mech and it sort of slots in.

    I think… it’s one of those things I just sort of do. I certainly don’t touch the chain – there’s often a bit of grease on the cage but it’s not much and just on thumb and forefinger usually.

    Cheers. I’ll certainly give the shoulder-bracing trick that you describe a try, and experiment (read: muck about) with things until I can make it work. Like so many other things, it’ll probably require some practice.




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  38. Once you managed to make it work, can you use your right shoulder to sport a camera to record it and then put it on here,

    Reminds me that while ago @frank wrote an article about how to jump onto a cyclocross saddle. We need such detailed description in this case too. Or I will ask GCN to show it.




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