The Col-onisation of THE RULES

  1. Nice article Johnny Klink, thanks. I think, no I definately know, guys like Col. Some are in the world of cycling, some are in the world of free-heel skiing, and yet others are in the world of whitewater and sea kayaking. These are the types of dudes I looked up to when I ventured into these lifestyles and I can only humbly aspire to emulate. Somewhat ramshackle gear yet supremely functional and affective, great stories to tell and lessons to share, and the type of guys who are alway the first on the road and the last off. It’s sort of like when I was little and saw my teacher outside of school for the first time. It never dawned on me that teachers were ever anywhere other than school. Dudes like Col may indeed live rich lives off the bike but to me, they seem misplaced unless their legs are thrown over a top tube.

  2. It is good to know the origins of The Mighty Rules, thanks to Klink, Brett and the Frankster for promulgating them to a world in need!

    We all have friends and or meet the Cols of the world and they have their own style that is a plus to life in general. Then there are the types who are at the other end of the spectrum, just as dedicated, just as massively hardcore but with machines, kit and a style that is what we aspire to.

    Thanks Brett

    P. S. I just hope I am somewhere in the middle??

  3. Col is a gem…. at the moment he’s hardmanning it in Canada in one of the world’s toughest MTB races. Here’s his email after seeing himself immortalised on this site;

    “nice one Klink
    nice one BK

    the good thing about photos is at least you can’t hear the sound of the bike; the TCR for instance….. but there is nothing wrong with string. String is good. String is fine. String is … well … string! Nothing more need be said.

    I write this in a lather of sweat, having just completed the prologue of the BC Bike Race which just started in Nth Vancouver today. (

    Check it out. See if you can spot me and the deliberate transgression of “the rules” that I will make on a daily basis in order to test your powers of observation.”


  4. These pictures of Col are a masterpiece. I love the first one, with only one arm warmer on. Classic.

    Johnny Klink, or – as we in the Pacific Northwest would spell it – Tling, I’ve been waiting a long time for this contribution from you, and I am not disappointed, to say the least.

    Your explanation here of the genesis of The Rules is exactly what it has meant to me as well, and why I’ve taken such a love to this humble set we have here. I was never clever enough to coin a term so simple and concise; in my family, I have always been teased for being preoccupied with “The Pro Look”. It’s basically the same concept as The Rules, only it applies to more sports: Be good at your sport, and look good doing it. Take the Pros as your example, and you’re not far from the mark, I always think. I’ve never been too proud to copy or imitate someone who is better at something that I am. If I were to pick up football, I’d start by copying everything about the best player in the world.

    Looking good doing it. What does that mean? It means first and foremost that you have to be skilled at your craft. The pot-bellied pigs jumping on the USPS Treks in full USPS kit only to crack their carbon frames under their immense girth as they roll around a local park and call it a day are the farthest thing from being skilled; they have the kit, but look like shit. In cycling, you first need a good stroke, and a good position on the bike that works for you. You have to know your bicycle and be comfortable with it. That is function, and it has to come first, always.

    But once you achieve that, form is what makes sport obsession-worthy. And I’ve been obsessed with it my whole life. Not for anyone else – I’ve never cared about what people think of me – but for myself, for my own personal enjoyment. Even when I was eight years old, skiing the Mora Vassalopet, I did it with my hat on just so, and the gloves and skis that looked like those of my favorite skiers. With cycling (which I started two or so years later), it’s been the same. A lifelong quest of picking out my favorite riders and doing my best to emulate them.

    Looking over The Rules, I see very few of them that have any thing to do with riding. I think that bit is for everyone to figure out for themselves. You’re on your own, mostly, to figure out why you love this sport. No one can tell you why you should swing your leg over a bike, other than maybe because it’s healthy (assuming you don’t fall off or run into a car or some such thing).

    But since you’re at this site, you presumably have already figured that bit out. We can help you with the rest. To figure out what the world of a cyclist is about. The deeper history, and etiquette of this very complex culture. Because we’ve studied this all our lives.

    Sure, there are some great riding-related rules; Rule #5, Rule #6, Rule #10, Rule #20, Rule #59, Rule #64, Rule #67, Rule #70, Rule #71, and Rule #72. The others help, too, in more subtle ways. But the others are those about the more subtle points of our sport; those little details that Johnny Klink is talking about. The ones that make the Fred on the roadside look at you as you ride by and maybe become a little bit interested in our sport. Or who sees your bike and comments on it, despite knowing nothing about cycling. A non-cyclist once saw my bike and said, “I didn’t know bikes could look sexy, but that one does.” (It’s the big, long seat post.)

    Everything else – what The Rules and this site are about – those things, to me, is La vie Velominatus and is the reason why I love this sport so deeply.

    Thanks, Johnny. You’re one of us.

  5. Great post.

  6. @frank Beautiful, Frank. “That is function, and it always has to come first. . . . But once you achieve that, form is what makes the sport obsession worthy.” I’ve been pushing hard on the line that the desire to look good while doing it has nothing to do with doing it. And the more you value doing it, the less you should value looking good while doing it. Fucking Col is a new hero of mine. He just doesn’t give a shit about looking good while doing it. He just has a deep passion for doing it. Pure, authentic cycling. Fuck appearances.

  7. @david In fact, one might say Col is the flesh and blood manifestation of Rule #5.

  8. A frame pump on a carbon fiber frame. Awesome.

  9. looks like Col is sitting 64th in BC in the master’s class. if it’s the same Col and same race in BC. Nicely done

  10. @Marko

    That’s him! He’ll drive back from Canada to Aus after this, too…

  11. I think we are all pulling for him – that is some race, makes me feel the itch…

  12. brett :


    That’s him! He’ll ride his bike back from Canada to Aus after this, too…

    fixed your post

  13. The critics of The Rules must read this
    before start complaining.

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  15. Here’s to Col. Thank you!!!

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