The Rules

We are the Keepers of the Cog. In so being, we also maintain the sacred text wherein lie the simple truths of cycling etiquette known as The Rules. It is in our trust to maintain and endorse this list.

The Rules lie at the beginning of The Path to La Vie Velominatus, not at the end; learning to balance them against one another and to welcome them all into your life as a Velominatus is a never-ending struggle waged between form and function as we continue along The Path towards transcension.

See also The Prophet’s Prayer.

  1. // Obey The Rules.
  2. // Lead by example.It is forbidden for someone familiar with The Rules to knowingly assist another person to breach them.1
  3. // Guide the uninitiated.No matter how good you think your reason is to knowingly breach The Rules, it is never good enough.
  4. // It’s all about the bike. It is, absolutely, without question, unequivocally, about the bike. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously a twatwaffle.
  5. // Harden The Fuck Up. 2,20
  6. // Free your mind and your legs will follow.Your mind is your worst enemy. Do all your thinking before you start riding your bike.  Once the pedals start to turn, wrap yourself in the sensations of the ride – the smell of the air, the sound of the tires, the feeling of flight as the bicycle rolls over the road.
  7. // Tan lines should be cultivated and kept razor sharp.Under no circumstances should one be rolling up their sleeves or shorts in an effort to somehow diminish one’s tan lines. Sleeveless jerseys are under no circumstances to be employed.
  8. // Saddles, bars, and tires shall be carefully matched.3Valid options are:

    Match the saddle to the bars and the tires to black; or

    Match the bars to the color of the frame at the top of the head tube and the saddle to the color of the frame at the top of the seat tube and the tires to the color where they come closest to the frame; or

    Match the saddle and the bars to the frame decals; or

    Black, black, black

  9. // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.Fair-weather riding is a luxury reserved for Sunday afternoons and wide boulevards. Those who ride in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of riders who, on the morning of a big ride, pull back the curtain to check the weather and, upon seeing rain falling from the skies, allow a wry smile to spread across their face. This is a rider who loves the work.
  10. // It never gets easier, you just go faster.As this famous quote by Greg LeMan tells us, training, climbing, and racing is hard. It stays hard. To put it another way, per Greg Henderson: “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.” Sur la Plaque, fucktards.4
  11. // Family does not come first. The bike does.Sean Kelly, being interviewed after the ’84 Amstel Gold Race, spots his wife leaning against his Citroën AX. He interrupts the interview to tell her to get off the paintwork, to which she shrugs, “In your life the car comes first, then the bike, then me.” Instinctively, he snaps back, “You got the order wrong. The bike comes first.”21
  12. // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.
  13. // If you draw race number 13, turn it upside down.Paradoxically, the same mind that holds such control over the body is also woefully fragile and prone to superstitious thought. It fills easily with doubt and is distracted by ancillary details. This is why the tape must always be perfect, the machine silent, the kit spotless. And, if you draw the unlucky Number 13, turn it upside down to counter-act its negative energy.
  14. // Shorts should be black.Team-issue shorts should be black, with the possible exception of side-panels, which may match the rest of the team kit.
  15. // Black shorts should also be worn with leader’s jerseys.Black shorts, or at least standard team-kit shorts, must be worn with Championship jerseys and race leadership jerseys. Don’t over-match your kit, or accept that you will look like a douche.
  16. // Respect the jersey.Championship and race leader jerseys must only be worn if you’ve won the championship or led the race.
  17. // Team kit is for members of the team.Wearing Pro team kit is also questionable if you’re not paid to wear it.  If you must fly the colors of Pro teams, all garments should match perfectly, i.e no Mapei jersey with Kelme shorts and Telekom socks.
  18. // Know what to wear. Don’t suffer kit confusion.No baggy shorts and jerseys while riding the road bike. No lycra when riding the mountain bike (unless racing XC). Skin suits only for cyclocross.
  19. // Introduce Yourself.If you deem it appropriate to join a group of riders who are not part of an open group ride and who are not your mates, it is customary and courteous to announce your presence. Introduce yourself and ask if you may join the group. If you have been passed by a group, wait for an invitation, introduce yourself, or let them go. The silent joiner is viewed as ill-mannered and Anti-V. Conversely, the joiner who can’t shut their cakehole is no better and should be dropped from the group at first opportunity.
  20. // There are only three remedies for pain.These are:

    If your quads start to burn, shift forward to use your hamstrings and calves, or

    If your calves or hamstrings start to burn, shift back to use your quads, or

    If you feel wimpy and weak, meditate on  Rule #5 and train more!

  21. // Cold weather gear is for cold weather.Knickers, vests, arm warmers, shoe covers, and caps beneath your helmet can all make you look like a hardman, when the weather warrants their use. If it isn’t wet or cold, save your Flandrian Best for Flemish weather.
  22. // Cycling caps are for cycling.Cycling caps can be worn under helmets, but never when not riding, no matter how hip you think you look. This will render one a douche, and should result in public berating or beating. The only time it is acceptable to wear a cycling cap is while directly engaged in cycling activities and while clad in cycling kit. This includes activities taking place prior to and immediately after the ride such as machine tuning and tire pumping.  Also included are cafe appearances for pre-ride espressi and post-ride pub appearances for body-refueling ales (provided said pub has sunny, outdoor patio – do not stray inside a pub wearing kit or risk being ceremoniously beaten by leather-clad biker chicks).   Under these conditions, having your cap skull-side tipped jauntily at a rakish angle is, one might say, de rigueur. All good things must be taken in measure, however, and as such it is critical that we let sanity and good taste prevail: as long as the first sip of the relevant caffeine or hop-based beverage is taken whilst beads of sweat, snow, or rain are still evident on one’s brow then it is legitimate for the cap to be worn. However, once all that remains in the cranial furrows is salt, it is then time to shower, throw on some suitable aprés-ride attire (a woollen Molteni Arcore training top circa ’73 comes to mind) and return to the bar, folded copy of pastel-coloured news publication in hand, ready for formal fluid replacement. It is also helpful if you are a Giant of the Road, as demonstrated here, rather than a giant douchebag. 5
  23. // Tuck only after reaching Escape Velocity.You may only employ the aerodynamic tuck after you have spun out your 53 x 11; the tuck is to be engaged only when your legs can no longer keep up. Your legs make you go fast, and trying to keep your fat ass out of the wind only serves to keep you from slowing down once you reach escape velocity. Thus, the tuck is only to be employed to prevent you slowing down when your legs have wrung the top end out of your block. Tucking prematurely while descending is the antithesis of Casually Deliberate. For more on riding fast downhill see Rule #64 and Rule #85.
  24. // Speeds and distances shall be referred to and measured in kilometers. This includes while discussing cycling in the workplace with your non-cycling coworkers, serving to further mystify our sport in the web of their Neanderthalic cognitive capabilities. As the confused expression spreads across their unibrowed faces, casually mention your shaved legs. All of cycling’s monuments are measured in the metric system and as such the English system is forbidden.
  25. // The bikes on top of your car should be worth more than the car. Or at least be relatively more expensive.  Basically, if you’re putting your Huffy on your Rolls, you’re in trouble, mister. Remember what Sean said.
  26. // Make your bike photogenic.When photographing your bike, gussy her up properly for the camera. Some parameters are firm: valve stems at 6 o’clock. Cranks never at 90 or 180 degrees. Others are at your discretion, though the accepted practices include putting the chain on the big dog, and no bidons in the cages.
  27. // Shorts and socks should be like Goldilocks.Not too long and not too short. (Disclaimer: despite Sean Yates’ horrible choice in shorts length, he is a quintessential hard man of cycling and is deeply admired by the Velominati. Whereas Armstrong’s short and sock lengths are just plain wrong.) No socks is a no-no, as are those ankle-length ones that should only be worn by female tennis players.
  28. // Socks can be any damn colour you like.White is old school cool. Black is cool too, but were given a bad image by a Texan whose were too long.  If you feel you must go colored, make sure they damn well match your kit. Tip: DeFeet Wool-E-Ators rule.
  29. // No European Posterior Man-Satchels.Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases.
  30. // No frame-mounted pumps.Either Co2 cannisters or mini-pumps should be carried in jersey pockets (See Rule #31). The only exception to this rule is to mount a Silca brand frame pump in the rear triangle of the frame, with the rear wheel skewer as the pump mount nob, as demonstrated by members of the 7-Eleven and Ariostea pro cycling teams. As such, a frame pump mounted upside-down and along the left (skewer lever side) seat stay is both old skool and Euro and thus acceptable. We restate at this time that said pump may under no circumstances be a Zefal and must be made by Silca. Said Silca pump must be fitted with a Campagnolo head. It is acceptable to gaffer-tape a mini-pump to your frame when no C02 cannisters are available and your pockets are full of spare kit and energy gels. However, the rider should expect to be stopped and questioned and may be required to empty pockets to prove there is no room in them for the pump.
  31. // Spare tubes, multi-tools and repair kits should be stored in jersey pockets.If absolutely necessary, in a converted bidon in a cage on bike. Or, use one of these.
  32. // Humps are for camels: no hydration packs.Hydration packs are never to be seen on a road rider’s body. No argument will be entered into on this. For MTB, they are cool.
  33. // Shave your guns.Legs are to be carefully shaved at all times. If, for some reason, your legs are to be left hairy, make sure you can dish out plenty of hurt to shaved riders, or be considered a hippie douche on your way to a Critical Mass. Whether you use a straight razor or a Bowie knife, use Baxter to keep them smooth.
  34. // Mountain bike shoes and pedals have their place.On a mountain bike.
  35. // No visors on the road.Road helmets can be worn on mountain bikes, but never the other way around. If you want shade, see Rule #22.
  36. // Eyewear shall be cycling specific.No Aviator shades, blueblockers, or clip-on covers for eye glasses.
  37. // The arms of the eyewear shall always be placed over the helmet straps.No exceptions. This is for various reasons that may or may not matter; it’s just the way it is.
  38. // Don’t Play Leap Frog.Train Properly: if you get passed by someone, it is nothing personal, just accept that on the day/effort/ride they were stronger than you. If you can’t deal, work harder. But don’t go playing leap frog to get in front only to be taken over again (multiple times) because you can’t keep up the pace. Especially don’t do this just because the person overtaking you is a woman. Seriously. Get over it.
  39. // Never ride without your eyewear.You should not make a habit of riding without eyewear, although approved extenuating circumstances include fog, overheating, and lighting condition. When not worn over the eyes, they should be neatly tucked into the vents of your helmet.  If they don’t fit, buy a new helmet. In the meantime you can wear them backwards on the back of your head or carefully tuck them into your jersey pocket, making sure not to scratch them on your tools (see item 31).
  40. // Tires are to be mounted with the label centered over the valve stem.Pro mechanics do it because it makes it easier to find the valve. You do this because that’s the way pro mechanics do it. This will save you precious seconds while your fat ass sits on the roadside fumbling with your CO2 after a flat. It also looks better for photo opportunities. Note: This obviously only applies to clinchers as tubulars don’t give you a choice.
  41. // Quick-release levers are to be carefully positioned.Quick release angle on the front skewer shall be an upward angle which tightens just aft of the fork and the rear quick release shall tighten at an angle that bisects angle between the seat and chain stays. It is acceptable, however, to have the rear quick release tighten upward, just aft of the seat stay, when the construction of the frame or its dropouts will not allow the preferred positioning. For Time Trial bikes only, quick releases may be in the horizontal position facing towards the rear of the bike. This is for maximum aero effect.9
  42. // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.If it’s preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run, it is not called a bike race, it is called duathlon or a triathlon. Neither of which is a bike race. Also keep in mind that one should only swim in order to prevent drowning, and should only run if being chased. And even then, one should only run fast enough to prevent capture.
  43. // Don’t be a jackass.But if you absolutely must be a jackass, be a funny jackass. Always remember, we’re all brothers and sisters on the road.
  44. // Position matters.In order to find the V-Locus, a rider’s handlebars on their road bike must always be lower than their saddle. The only exception to this is if you’re revolutionizing the sport, in which case you must also be prepared to break the World Hour Record. The minimum allowable tolerance is 4cm; there is no maximum, but people may berate you if they feel you have them too low.
  45. // Slam your stem.A maximum stack height of 2cm is allowed below the stem and a single 5mm spacer must always – always – be stacked above. A “slammed down” stack height is preferable; meaning that the stem is positioned directly on the top race of the headset.
  46. // Keep your bars level.Handlebars will be mounted parallel to the ground or angled slightly upward. While they may never be pointed down at all, they may be angled up slightly; allowed handlebar tilt is to be between 180 and 175 degrees with respect to the level road. The brake levers will preferably be mounted such that the end of the brake lever is even with the bottom of the bar.  Modern bars, however, dictate that this may not always be possible, so tolerances are permitted within reason. Brake hoods should not approach anything near 45 degrees, as some riders with poor taste have been insisting on doing.
  47. // Drink Tripels, don’t ride triples.Cycling and beer are so intertwined we may never understand the full relationship. Beer is a recovery drink, an elixir for post-ride trash talking and a just plain excellent thing to pour down the neck. We train to drink so don’t fool around. Drink quality beer from real breweries. If it is brewed with rice instead of malted barley or requires a lime, you are off the path. Know your bittering units like you know your gear length. Life is short, don’t waste it on piss beer.
  48. // Saddles must be level and pushed back.The seating area of a saddle is to be visually level, with the base measurement made using a spirit level. Based on subtleties of saddle design and requirements of comfort, the saddle may then be pitched slightly forward or backward to reach a position that offers stability, power, and comfort. If the tilt of the saddle exceeds two degrees, you need to go get one of those saddles with springs and a thick gel pad because you are obviously a big pussy. The midpoint of the saddle as measured from tip to tail shall fall well behind and may not be positioned forward of the line made by extending the seat tube through the top of the saddle. (Also see Rule #44.)
  49. // Keep the rubber side down.It is completely unacceptable to intentionally turn one’s steed upside down for any reason under any circumstances. Besides the risk of scratching the saddle, levers and stem, it is unprofessional and a disgrace to your loyal steed. The risk of the bike falling over is increased, wheel removal/replacement is made more difficult and your bidons will leak. The only reason a bicycle should ever be in an upside down position is during mid-rotation while crashing. This Rule also applies to upside down saddle-mount roof bars.23
  50. // Facial hair is to be carefully regulated.No full beards, no moustaches. Goatees are permitted only if your name starts with “Marco” and ends with “Pantani”, or if your head is intentionally or unintentionally bald. One may never shave on the morning of an important race, as it saps your virility, and you need that to kick ass.
  51. // Livestrong wristbands are cockrings for your arms.While we hate cancer, isn’t it better to just donate some money and not have to advertise the fact for the next five years? You may as well get “tryhard wanker” tattooed on your forehead. Or you may well be a bogan.
  52. // Drink in Moderation.Bidons are to be small in size. 500-610ml maximum, no extra large vessels are to be seen on one’s machine. Two cages can be mounted, but only one bidon on rides under two hours is to be employed. Said solo bidon must be placed in the downtube cage only. You may only ride with a bidon in the rear cage if you have a front bidon, or you just handed your front bidon to a fan at the roadside and you are too busy crushing everyone to move it forward until you take your next drink. Bidons should match each other and preferably your bike and/or kit. The obvious exception is the classic Coca-Cola bidon which by default matches any bike and/or kit due to its heritage. Coca-Cola should only be consumed flat and near the end of a long ride or all-day solo breakaway on the roads of France.
  53. // Keep your kit clean and new.As a courtesy to those around you, your kit should always be freshly laundered, and, under no circumstances should the crackal region of your shorts be worn out or see-through.
  54. // No aerobars on road bikes.Aerobars or other clip-on attachments are under no circumstances to be employed on your road bike. The only exception to this is if you are competing in a mountain timetrial.
  55. // Earn your turns.If you are riding down a mountain, you must first have ridden up the mountain. It is forbidden to employ powered transportation simply for the cheap thrill of descending. The only exception to this is if you are doing intervals on Alpe d’Huez or the Plan de Corones and you park your car up top before doing 20 repeats of the climb.
  56. // Espresso or macchiato only.When wearing cycling kit and enjoying a pre or post ride coffee, it is only appropriate to drink espresso or macchiato. If the word soy/skim latte is heard to be used by a member wearing cycling apparel, then that person must be ceremonially beaten with Co2 canisters or mini pumps by others within the community.6
  57. // No stickers.Nobody gives a shit what causes you support, what war you’re against, what gear you buy, or what year you rode RAGBRAI.  See Rule #5 and ride your bike. Decals, on the other hand, are not only permissible, but extremely Pro.
  58. // Support your local bike shop.Never buy bikes, parts or accessories online. Going into your local shop, asking myriad inane questions, tying up the staff’s time, then going online to buy is akin to sleeping with your best friend’s wife, then having a beer with him after. If you do purchase parts online, be prepared to mount and maintain them yourself. If you enter a shop with parts you have bought online and expect them to fit them, be prepared to be told to see your online seller for fitting and warranty help.
  59. // Hold your line.Ride predictably, and don’t make sudden movements. And, under no circumstances, are you to deviate from your line.
  60. // Ditch the washer-nut and valve-stem cap.You are not, under any circumstances, to employ the use of the washer-nut and valve-stem cap that come with your inner-tubes or tubulars. They are only supplied to meet shipping regulations. They are useless when it comes to tubes and tires.
  61. // Like your guns, saddles should be smooth and hard.Under no circumstances may your saddle have more than 3mm of padding. Special allowances will be made for stage racing when physical pain caused by subcutaneous cysts and the like (“saddle sores”) are present. Under those conditions, up to 5mm of padding will be allowed – it should be noted that this exception is only temporary until the condition has passed or been excised. A hardman would not change their saddle at all but instead cut a hole in it to relieve pressure on the delicate area. It is noted that if Rule #48 and/or Rule #5 is observed then any “padding” is superfluous.7
  62. // You shall not ride with earphones.Cycling is about getting outside and into the elements and you don’t need to be listening to Queen or Slayer in order to experience that. Immerse yourself in the rhythm and pain, not in whatever 80’s hair band you call “music”.   See Rule #5 and ride your bike.8
  63. // Point in the direction you’re turning.Signal a left turn by pointing your left arm to the left. To signal a right turn, simply point with your right arm to the right. This one is, presumably, mostly for Americans: that right-turn signal that Americans are taught to make with your left arm elbow-out and your forearm pointing upwards was developed for motor-vehicles prior to the invention of the electric turn signal since it was rather difficult to reach from the driver-side all the way out the passenger-side window to signal a right turn. On a bicycle, however, we don’t have this limitation and it is actually quite easy to point your right arm in the direction you are turning. The American right-turn signal just makes you look like you’re waving “hello” to traffic.
  64. // Cornering confidence increases with time and experience.This pattern continues until it falls sharply and suddenly.
  65. // Maintain and respect your machine.Bicycles must adhere to the Principle of Silence and as such must be meticulously maintained. It must be cherished, and when leaning it against a wall, must be leaned carefully such that only the bars, saddle, or tires come in contact with the wall or post.  This is true even when dismounting prior to collapsing after the World Championship Time Trial. No squeaks, creaks, or chain noise allowed. Only the soothing hum of your tires upon the tarmac and the rhythm of your breathing may be audible when riding. When riding the Pave, the sound of chain slap is acceptable. The Principle of Silence can be extended to say that if you are suffering such that your breathing begins to adversely affect the enjoyment of the other riders in the bunch, you are to summarily sit up and allow yourself to be dropped.10
  66. // No  mirrors.Mirrors are allowed on your (aptly named) Surly Big Dummy or your Surly Long Haul Trucker. Not on your road steed. Not on your Mountain bike. Not on your helmet. If someone familiar with The Rules has sold you such an abomination, return the mirror and demand a refund, plus interest and damages.
  67. // Do your time in the wind.Nobody likes a wheel sucker. You might think you’re playing a smart tactical game by letting everyone else do the work while you sit on, but races (even Town Sign Sprints) are won through cooperation and spending time on the rivet, flogging yourself and taking risks. Riding wheels and jumping past at the end is one thing and one thing only: poor sportsmanship.
  68. // Rides are to be measured by quality, not quantity.Rides are to be measured by the quality of their distance and never by distance alone. For climbing rides, distances should be referred to by the amount of vertical covered; flat and rolling rides should be referred to by their distance and average speed. For example, declaring “We rode 4km” would assert that 4000m were climbed during the ride, with the distance being irrelevant. Conversely, a flat ride of 150km at 23kmh is not something that should be discussed in an open forum and Rule #5 must be reviewed at once.7
  69. // Cycling shoes and bicycles are made for riding.Any walking conducted while wearing cycling shoes must be strictly limited. When taking a slash or filling bidons during a 200km ride (at 38kmh, see Rule #68) one is to carefully stow one’s bicycle at the nearest point navigable by bike and walk the remaining distance. It is strictly prohibited that under any circumstances a cyclist should walk up a steep incline, with the obvious exception being when said incline is blocked by riders who crashed because you are on the Koppenberg. For clarification, see Rule #5.7
  70. // The purpose of competing is to win.End of. Any reference to not achieving this should be referred immediately to Rule #5.11
  71. // Train Properly.Know how to train properly and stick to your training plan. Ignore other cyclists with whom you are not intentionally riding. The time for being competitive is not during your training rides, but during competition.
  72. // Legs speak louder than words.Unless you routinely demonstrate your riding superiority and the smoothness of your Stroke, refrain from discussing your power meter, heartrate, or any other riding data.  Also see Rule #74.
  73. // Gear and brake cables should be cut to optimum length.Cables should create a perfect arc around the headtube and, whenever possible, cross under the downtube. Right shifter cable should go to the left cable stop and vice versa.
  74. // V Meters or small computers only.Forego the data and ride on feel; little compares to the pleasure of riding as hard as your mind will allow. Learn to read your body, meditate on Rule #5, and learn to push yourself to your limit. Power meters, heart rate monitors and GPS are bulky, ugly and superfluous. Any cycle computer, if deemed necessary, should be simple, small, mounted on the stem and wireless.
  75. // Race numbers are for races.Remove it from your frame before the next training ride because no matter how cool you think it looks, it does not look cool. Unless you are in a race. In which case it looks cool.
  76. // Helmets are to be hung from your stem.When not worn, helmets are to be clipped to the stem and draped over your handlebars thusly.
  77. // Respect the earth; don’t litter.Cycling is not an excuse to litter. Do not throw your empty gel packets, energy bar wrappers or punctured tubes on the road or in the bush. Stuff em in your jersey pockets, and repair that tube when you get home.12
  78. // Remove unnecessary gear.When racing in a criterium of 60 minutes or less the second (unused) water bottle cage must be removed in order to preserve the aesthetic of the racing machine.13
  79. // Fight for your town lines.Town lines must be contested or at least faked if you’re not in to it or too shagged to do anything but pedal the bike.
  80. // Always be Casually Deliberate.Waiting for others pre-ride or at the start line pre-race, you must be tranquilo, resting on your top tube thusly. This may be extended to any time one is aboard the bike, but not riding it, such as at stop lights.15
  81. // Don’t talk it up.Rides and crashes may only be discussed and recounted in detail when the rider required external assistance in recovery or recuperation. Otherwise refer to Rule #5.
  82. // Close the gap.Whilst riding in cold and/or  Rule #9 conditions replete with arm warmers, under no circumstances is there to be any exposed skin between the hems of your kit and the hems of your arm warmers. If this occurs, you either need to wear a kit that fits you properly or increase the size of your guns. Arm warmers may, however, be shoved to the wrists in Five and Dime scenarios, particularly those involving Rule #9 conditions. The No-Gap Principle also applies to knee and leg warmers with the variation that these are under no circumstances to be scrunched down around the ankles; Merckx have mercy on whomever is caught in such a sad, sorry state. It is important to note that while one can wear arm warmers without wearing knee or leg warmers, one cannot wear knee or leg warmers without wearing arm warmers (or a long sleeve jersey). It is completely inappropriate to have uncovered arms, while covering the knees, with the exception of brief periods of time when the arm warmers may be shoved to the wrists while going uphill in a Five and Dime situation. If the weather changes and one must remove a layer, the knee/leg coverings must go before the arm coverings. If that means that said rider must take off his knee or leg warmers while racing, then this is a skill he must be accomplished in. The single exception would be before an event in which someone plans on wearing neither arm or leg warmers while racing, but would like to keep the legs warm before the event starts; though wearing a long sleeve jersey over the racing kit at this time is also advised. One must not forget to remove said leg warmers. 16
  83. // Be self-sufficient.Unless you are followed by a team car, you will repair your own punctures. You will do so expediently, employing your own skills, using your own equipment, and without complaining that your expensive tyres are too tight for your puny thumbs to fit over your expensive rim. The fate of a rider who has failed to equip himself pursuant to Rule #31, or who knows not how to use said equipment, shall be determined at the discretion of any accompanying or approaching rider in accordance with Rule #84.17
  84. // Follow the Code.Consistently with The Code Of The Domestique, the announcement of a flat tyre in a training ride entitles – but does not oblige – all riders then present in the bunch to cease riding without fear of being labelled Pussies. All stopped riders are thereupon entitled – but not obliged – to lend assistance, instruction and/or stringent criticism of the tyre mender’s technique. The duration of a Rule #84 stop is entirely discretionary, but is generally inversely proportional to the duration of the remaining time available for post-ride espresso.17
  85. // Descend like a Pro.All descents shall be undertaken at speeds commonly regarded as “ludicrous” or “insane” by those less talented. In addition all corners will be traversed in an outside-inside-outside trajectory, with the outer leg extended and the inner leg canted appropriately (but not too far as to replicate a motorcycle racer, for you are not one), to assist in balance and creation of an appealing aesthetic. Brakes are generally not to be employed, but if absolutely necessary, only just prior to the corner. Also see Rule #64.18
  86. // Don’t half-wheel.Never half-wheel your riding partners; it’s terrible form – it is always the other guy who sets the pace. Unless, of course, you are on the rivet, in which case it’s an excellent intimidation technique.22
  87. // The Ride Starts on Time. No exceptions.The upside of always leaving on time is considerable. Others will be late exactly once. You signal that the sanctity of this ride, like all rides, is not something with which you should muck. You demonstrate, not with words but with actions, your commitment. As a bonus, you make more time for post-ride espresso. “On Time”, of course, is taken to mean at V past the hour or half hour.
  88. // Don’t surge.When rolling onto the front to take your turn in the wind, see Rule #67, do not suddenly lift the pace unless trying to establish a break. The key to maintaining a high average speed is to work with your companions and allow no gaps to form in the line. It is permissible to lift the pace gradually and if this results in people being dropped then they have been ridden off your wheel and are of no use to the bunch anyway. If you are behind someone who jumps on the pedals when they hit the front do not reprimand the offender with cries of ‘Don’t Surge’ unless the offender is a Frenchman named Serge.
  89. // Pronounce it Correctly.All races shall be referred to by the name given in its country of origin, and care shall be taken to pronounce the name as well as possible. For Belgian Races, it is preferable to choose the name given in its region of origin, though it is at the speaker’s discretion to use either the Flemish or Wallonian pronunciation. This principle shall also be extended to apply to riders’ names, bicycle and component marquees, and cycling accoutrements.
  90. // Never Get Out of the Big Ring.If it gets steeper, just push harder on the pedals. When pressed on the matter, the Apostle Johan Museeuw simply replied, “Yes, why would you slow down?” It is, of course, acceptable to momentarily shift into the inner ring when scaling the 20% ramps of the Kapelmuur.
  91. // No Food On Training Rides Under Four Hours.This one also comes from the Apostle, Johan Museeuw, who said to @frank: “Yes, no food on rides under four hours. You need to lose some weight.” Or, as Fignon put it, sometimes, when we train, we simply have to go out to meet the Man with the Hammer. The exception is, of course, hard rides over two hours and races. Also, if you’re planning on being out for more than four hours, start eating before you get hungry. This also applies to energy drink supplements.
  92. // No Sprinting From the HoodsThe only exception is riders whose name starts with Guiseppe and ends with Saronni. See the Goodwood Worlds in 82.24
  93. // Descents are not for recovery. Recovery Ales are for RecoveryDescents are meant to be as hard and demanding as – and much more dangerous than – the climbs. Climb hard, descend to close a gap or open one. Descents should hurt, not be a time for recovery. Recovery is designated only for the pub and for shit-talking.25
  94. // Use the correct tool for the job, and use the tool correctly.Bicycle maintenance is an art; tools are designed to serve specific purposes, and it is essential that the Velominatus learns to use each tool properly when working on their loyal machine.
  95. // Never lift your bike over your head.Under no circumstances is it acceptable to raise one’s machine above your head. The only exception is when placing it onto a car’s roof-rack.

Posts related to The Rules may be found here.

Submit your suggestions in the posts, or via email here.

Credits

1 Thanks to Geof for this submission.
2 Stijn Devolder on Rule #5, in defense of staying in Belgium when his teammates went off to train in sunny Spain: “It is not so cold that you freeze on to your bike. You go from a temperature of zero (Celsius) to minus one and you’re not dead; It hardens your character.”
3 It is possible for experts to mix these matching guidelines successfully without breaking The Rules.  This is a very risky undertaking and can yield unpredictable results.  Proceed carefully and, if in doubt, run your configuration by the Keepers for approval.
4 Famous quote by Greg LeMond, hardman and American Cycling legend. Greg Henderson quote courtesy of Neil. (Incidentally, it does not matter how fast you go, but you may never give up.)
5 Thanks to James for his sound input on modifying this submission from it’s original draft which read, “An exception to wearing a cap when not riding is: If you have a soigneur (you don’t) and he places the cap on your head after you’ve just won a mountain top finish or soloed into the velodrome (you haven’t).”
6 Thanks to Rob for this submission.
7 Thanks to Rob (different from Rob in 6) for this submission.
8 Thanks to Saul at Speedy Reedy for this submission.
9 Thanks to BarryRoubaix for the astute observation regarding Time Trial Bikes.
10Thanks to Souleur for the astute observation regarding the Principle of Silence.
11 Thanks to Charlie for this addition.
12 Thanks to Jarvis and Steampunk for their tidy ways.
13 Thanks to Cyclops for this sensibly aesthetic addition.
15 Thanks to SupermanSam via our friends at CyclingTipsBlog.
16 Thanks to Rusty Tool Shed and Reid Beloni for assistance in helping craft the language of this Rule.
17 Thanks to Karim for this most accurate contribution.
18 Thanks to SterlingMatt for this most accurate contribution.
21 There are variants of this story, including one which is more likely to be the actual way this story unfolded, which goes that Sean Kelly is met by his wife after a the ’84 Amstel Gold Race and they get in his Citroen AX: “Ah, Sean” says his beloved wife, “in your life the car comes first, then the bike, then me.” “You got the order wrong,” Kelly scowls, “the bike comes first.” Thanks to Oli Brooke-White for helping sort out the details of the story.
22 Thanks to David Ezzy for this excellent contribution and fantastic ride out to Kaupo and back.
23 Thanks to Donnie Bugno for this most accurate contribution.
24 Thanks to Robert Millar – yes the Robert Millar for filling this most glaring omission.
25 Thanks to @urbanwhitetrash for the submission.

12,414 Replies to “The Rules”

  1. @King Clydesdale :  As an unbiased onlooker, let me say I can understand where you are coming from.  It seems odd to have groups divided by such small increments as @ChrisO said.  I agree with you though, if the speed is advertised then that’s what it should be around.  If there is no speed advertised and just levels (ie: a, b, c, etc) than I do think its a do or die situation as @mxlmax said, but IMO of they gave you a specific speed avg that seemed set in stone and then blew it up -that sucks.  If I buy a product, take a class, or order a menu item at a cafe – I expect to get what’s advertised and am disappointed when that’s not the case. I think I’d check the status and see if these speed levels are written in stone or more like suggestions.  Either way keep hammering and pay them all back!

  2. @graham d.m.

    Tomorrow is a century ride (Imperial) that will do about a third of the distance, come back to the start, and pick up stragglers and those who can’t do the full distance. Since I have work till around the first start, I’m going to be a straggler. I’m considering trying the A’s over a full metric and change as revenge. They can’t go bananas the whole time and with my current legs I may be able to hang. If not I’ll drop back to my BB brethren. They enjoy when I pull for them.

  3. About a week ago I began a six week rental of a PowerTap wheel (courtesy of my employer, no less), and it’s been a revelation. The biggest surprise has been how often I’ve been surging, and by how much. I went for a longish ride yesterday, and by just by keeping a constant power, and varying cadence to control my HR, for the first time I was able to consistently drop the bunch on the climbs. It seems that by bending (okay, completely violating) Rule #74, I’ve been able to maximise Rule #71. I suppose that sometimes the poverty stricken can use an accountant to help the learn to manage their meagre funds…

  4. @ChrisO The words “club” and “group” imply a collegial body which as such should consider the needs of the assembled parties.  If you make the mistake of falling in with the “go-fasters” then it’s your fault and you best know your way home.  But the “weak must die” attitude sucks!  Unless your name is Cuddles, Wiggo, or Schleckles do you really feel better raisng the tempo until you drop one or more of the group? Maybe solo is a better fit for you.  Anyway, King Clyde, keep the faith! Give er all you got!

  5. @KC If I may offer some gratuitous but well-intentioned advice, the best sort.

    It sounds to me from your subsequent descriptions of doing long steady pulls on the B rides that you are fit and can crank out miles, but maybe the up and down of the faster rides is what you find difficult ? Going into the red to catch a wheel or keep one going up a short slope, and finding it takes a toll ?

    Keeping your fitness up over winter and next season focusing on less slogging and more interval training might help. It’s just a guess so feel free to ignore me.

  6. @ KC … and to add one more point about your BB to A transition, it’s always a good idea to remember that a sample size of 1 is never a good indicator of the natural order of things. This brings me to a point I had forgotten to mention in my last reply, and that is timing is everything. I know there’s variability in all things, but there’s a general consensus with group rides (around here anyway) that are organized Spring to Fall (but dormant in the winter). That consensus is to more strictly honor the no-drop code in the early spring weeks (some refer to this as Spring Rules). Whereas, when the spring fades and the summer months dominate, this no-drop mentality is generally phased out and replaced with a more aggressive form of riding. As you move up into the higher ranks, the progressive or collective awareness that no-drop has been replaced by no-mercy is likely exaggerated and strictly enforced by the man with the hammer. So by the time the group ride season is coming to a close for the AA’s or even A’s, it’s likely that the no-mercy mentality is firmly entrenched into the majority of that particular population of riders. It’s not personal (in most cases), that’s just how A’s (CAT-3’s?) or AA’s (CAT 1-2’s?) prefer to ride.

    I would be willing to bet that if you jumped on with the A’s early next spring, you’ll be just fine…

  7. Lets talk nutrition.  Does anyone have some good recipes with fruits and veggies?  My school somehow ruins vegetables especially.

  8. @JFT

    @ KC … and to add one more point about your BB to A transition, it’s always a good idea to remember that a sample size of 1 is never a good indicator of the natural order of things. This brings me to a point I had forgotten to mention in my last reply, and that is timing is everything. I know there’s variability in all things, but there’s a general consensus with group rides (around here anyway) that are organized Spring to Fall (but dormant in the winter). That consensus is to more strictly honor the no-drop code in the early spring weeks (some refer to this as Spring Rules). Whereas, when the spring fades and the summer months dominate, this no-drop mentality is generally phased out and replaced with a more aggressive form of riding. As you move up into the higher ranks, the progressive or collective awareness that no-drop has been replaced by no-mercy is likely exaggerated and strictly enforced by the man with the hammer. So by the time the group ride season is coming to a close for the AA’s or even A’s, it’s likely that the no-mercy mentality is firmly entrenched into the majority of that particular population of riders. It’s not personal (in most cases), that’s just how A’s (CAT-3″²s?) or AA’s (CAT 1-2″²s?) prefer to ride.

    I would be willing to bet that if you jumped on with the A’s early next spring, you’ll be just fine…

    In our club we find that shouting “slow down ya fannies” from the back to the front generally keeps things together

  9. @meursault I’ve been enjoying a sandwich consisting of whole wheat bread, tomato slices, mozzarella cheese, and pesto. Just go heavy on the tomato. Also asparagus roasted in garlic and olive oil.

  10. @ten B That’s pretty cool. I’ve been curious about how low my account would be using one.  I don’t think I’d put the money out for one, but in your experimental scenario, it’s pretty great and evidently gave you info on how to budget. For better or worse I tend to get motivated by numbers like that and I’d bet it’d help me train a bit harder.

  11. @DerHoggz

    Lets talk nutrition.  Does anyone have some good recipes with fruits and veggies?  My school somehow ruins vegetables especially.

    The obvious answer is spice, right? I find that in a pinch if you have to eat ruined veggies, adding strong flavors via spices/herbs make things edible and add no calories (if one was interested in such things).  Our house’s fall back is indian flavors.  My wife took an Indian cooking class and seriously that girl can make anything taste good with curries, cardamom, cumin, etc……if you aren’t concerned with calories (even if you are it is a helthy fat) then coconut oil will rescue any veggie.             http://allrecipes.com/recipes/world-cuisine/india/vegetarian/top.aspx     

     

  12. @graham d.m.

    The texture is also part of the problem in the cafeteria, but I can always make stuff in my room.  Thanks for the link.  (Everyone else as well)

  13. Rule #80 might be re-worded to remove ambiguity about resting on the top bar at stop lights. Switching the last two parts would take care of it.

    “This may be extended to any time one is aboard the bike, such as at stop lights, but not while riding it.”

  14. @King Clydesdale After riding solo for the past two years, I hooked up with a group on an Imperial Century last month. Ended up DFL at each of the rest stops but took up their offer to join them on their weekly rides. After a month I can ride faster than I thought possible and while I still struggle, with each passing week it’s easier to keep up.

    As the newbie, I do my best to stay with the group, take a few pulls, and try not to do anything dangerous. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to learn from others more of more skill.  In addition to becoming a stronger rider, the process includes learning  the etiquette of group riding and the dynamics of the group.

    I realize that the curriculum in my education as a cyclist involves subjects that I cannot yet comprehend. I wonder if your disappointment is a result of things that you have yet to learn. Then again, they could be jackasses that don’t know Rule #43.

  15. I am sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, but I have a question about rule compliance. Is the entire Rapha line the full embodiment of The Rules, with the utmost respect for The Bike and The Ride, or is it just clothing for a bunch of pretentious wankers, adn ridiculously over-priced at that? I do own a couple of Rapha bibs (purchased at the end-of-season sale price), and I must admit that they are nice pieces, but I still question the motivation behind the clothing line. Please enlighten me.

  16. @The Mosquito

    Is the entire Rapha line the full embodiment of The Rules?
    God I hope not. Because I can’t even afford their damn nice pink t-shirt. I’d like to try some of their kit but it’s too much. It makes our Castelli custom printed kit look cheap. If it really is well designed and lasts for years, good on ’em. But no way do they have much to do with the Rules. One can still look fantastic and not wear Rapha. Their Sky kit should be great and interesting to see.

    They are somehow connected to Rouler which I also can’t afford. So they make great things that are expensive. I can’t fault them for that. Serotta makes great things that are expensive too. I’m just not their clientele. I wish I were. Or I’m a cheap fuck.

  17. @The Mosquito

    For me, it’s kind of both.

    Yes, the stuff generally looks good. Yes, it is said to work very well. Yes, there’s a whole heap of pretentious wank associated with it that has me turn to Castelli (not Assos; Assos guy makes my flesh crawl).

    Really, the pretension is just laid on soooo thick in rapha films it’s hard to believe that anyone buys it for anything other than douchebag marketing.

    I may be wrong (and the site’s predilection for fizik and lezyne may prove me wrong), but the rules ought to transcend brand. That said, the rules don’t say anything about brands you can’t use, either. If it works and looks fantastic, go for it.

    But the marketing guys at rapha are bellends.

  18. Is it not possible that the guys at Rapha also take a slightly less than serious approach to some of the stuff – after all, quite a few people come here and take The Rules as gospel without the tongue-in-cheek bits.

    The difference is that they are using it to flog their gear and with a design aesthetic that had disappeared from cycling.

    If you ignore the marketing their core proposition is about quality, function, simplicity and hard riding… and that is very much within The Rules.

  19. @ChrisO

    Is it not possible that the guys at Rapha also take a slightly less than serious approach to some of the stuff – after all, quite a few people come here and take The Rules as gospel without the tongue-in-cheek bits.

    Hmm… A difference is that the Keepers very often say that there’s a slightly tongue-in-cheek approach to this site.

    I have never got that impression from Rapha. They seem to take themselves very seriously.

    I’m sure it’s seriously great stuff, though.

  20. I like some of those Rapha movies; sure they sometimes have doucheness going on, but where doesn’t?

  21. @Gianni

    @The Mosquito

    Is the entire Rapha line the full embodiment of The Rules?
    God I hope not. Because I can’t even afford their damn nice pink t-shirt. I’d like to try some of their kit but it’s too much. It makes our Castelli custom printed kit look cheap. If it really is well designed and lasts for years, good on ’em. But no way do they have much to do with the Rules. One can still look fantastic and not wear Rapha. Their Sky kit should be great and interesting to see.

    They are somehow connected to Rouler which I also can’t afford. So they make great things that are expensive. I can’t fault them for that. Serotta makes great things that are expensive too. I’m just not their clientele. I wish I were. Or I’m a cheap fuck.

    Everything Gianni sai in this post is also true for me. My favourite bibs and jerseys are the ones that I’ve had for ages and are relatively flogged – I just see Rapha and think Wankers. No offence if you own their kit, I’m sure it’s nice but my response is solely to do with their marketing. Sky might be able to improve the association I have with their brand, but it’s unlikely.

  22. It’s funny.  I don’t see douchiness (youse Americains and your funny words) at all.

    From the films I’ve seen, they are trying to do something that describes intangibles, or perhaps the romance of cycling.  Things not unlike what this site espouses.  The way I see it, they are trying to make art. Now some of you may not respond to that, some may.

    FWIW, some of the cast members of the films done in Aus at least are Melbs locals who truly are worthy of representing a lifetime spent on the bike; ex National Champions and the like.

  23. @Blah

    @The Mosquito

    For me, it’s kind of both.

    Yes, the stuff generally looks good. Yes, it is said to work very well. Yes, there’s a whole heap of pretentious wank associated with it that has me turn to Castelli (not Assos; Assos guy makes my flesh crawl).

    Really, the pretension is just laid on soooo thick in rapha films it’s hard to believe that anyone buys it for anything other than douchebag marketing.

    I may be wrong (and the site’s predilection for fi’zi:k and Lezyne may prove me wrong), but the rules ought to transcend brand. That said, the rules don’t say anything about brands you can’t use, either. If it works and looks fantastic, go for it.

    But the marketing guys at rapha are bellends.

    Ha ha ha. Bellends. That’s amazing.

    I can never really decide. Sometimes their videos and ads make my stomach turn, sometimes it makes me feel like heading out on a ride. More often though I get the feeling that it’s not for me. I’d really like a set of their classic mitts, but I’d be afraid to wipe my nose on them due to the price.

    Last January I was doing a long group ride when I noticed the dude who kept sitting at the front was on a Pinarello and in full Rapha kit. What a dick, I thought. Ended up talking to him for most of the ride, he was cool as fuck and strong as fuck.

    So, don’t judge a dude by the prickjobs in marketing over at Rapha…

  24. @mouse

    From the films I’ve seen, they are trying to do something that describes intangibles, or perhaps the romance of cycling.  Things not unlike what this site espouses.  The way I see it, they are trying to make art. Now some of you may not respond to that, some may.

    FWIW, some of the cast members of the films done in Aus at least are Melbs locals who truly are worthy of representing a lifetime spent on the bike; ex National Champions and the like.

    I definitely appreciate art – I teach Drama (Drama teaching and school productions – artistic merit debatable, I know). But rapha films are marketing. They are trying to sell knicks by positioning themselves in the market.

    Always a funny subject, art and business. I find it hard enough sometimes when you can see concessions an artist has made, say, to get an audience to show up in enough numbers to pay for it all, let alone the business side of things being the entire point of the art (ie, an ad, like rapha films). Oh well. Are they any different to Red Bull and their Rampage? Good riding, fun to watch; all about fizzy drink in the end, you could say.

  25. @Ron

    Ha ha ha. Bellends. That’s amazing.

    Last January I was doing a long group ride when I noticed the dude who kept sitting at the front was on a Pinarello and in full Rapha kit. What a dick, I thought. Ended up talking to him for most of the ride, he was cool as fuck and strong as fuck.

    So, don’t judge a dude by the prickjobs in marketing over at Rapha…

    Nope, never would.

    Same deal here. I’ve even gone on a Rapha Ride here in Singapore to promote their pop up (!) store. A friend (he has  a Pinarello, haha) got an invite via the email (oh so exclusive, you just had to know someone) and we went along. Best thing was getting to see some new roads and meeting some new people in a 50+ group.

    Everyone was cool. A lot of strong people. Fun times.

    My greatest fear is that footage from the day will be used in an atmospheric film…

  26. @Oli

    Yes, I know.  Sorry about that old chap.  I didn’t intend to insult you by insinuating that you were from ‘Murika.

    Now, following on from this Rapha bizzo;  I’m mystified by people’s reactions.  Yes, it’s expensive, so is Assos, so is Castelli.

    Two threads here;

    1. Are we suggesting that people who wear Rapha are tryhard wankers? This certainly does not hold true in my experience. Are we too quick to judge someone for their apparel choices?  Stones/Glass houses….

    2.  The fact that Rapha use film as a marketing tool is problematic exactly how?  Have you watched them?  Have they been entertaining? From my perspective, yes on both counts.  Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they miss the mark. So what?  Will it prompt me to purchase their gear?  Probably not, though I’m a card carrying tightass, so that’s my excuse.

    And yes, of course it’s art in the service of marketing.  I’m not sure why we should be conflicted by that.

  27. I have one set of Rapha kit.  The chamois is the most comfortable I’ve ridden, and I appreciate the zipped pockets on their jerseys.

    The stuff seems pretty tough.  I bailed on Saturday on wet paving stones.  Ended up with road rash under my bibs, but no damage to the bibs.  I’m almost sad that I don’t get the chance to try their free repair warranty…

  28. Man, I’ll never be able to live that down will I Steamy!  Had you not woke me up, I feel I could have been asleep until 10pm that evening.

  29. @Davidxvx

    I have one set of Rapha kit.  The chamois is the most comfortable I’ve ridden, and I appreciate the zipped pockets on their jerseys.

    The stuff seems pretty tough.  I bailed on Saturday on wet paving stones.  Ended up with road rash under my bibs, but no damage to the bibs.  I’m almost sad that I don’t get the chance to try their free repair warranty…

    It is tough.  I bellyflopped on a Rapha jersey and knee warmers.  Opened my chin right up, and had to go home.  I figured the kit was finished, between abrasions and blood.  I washed it a couple days after and it was much less scathed than I was.

  30. @roger

    @Gianni Which shirt are you referencing?  The pink wool V-neck?

    Nah, just the pink t-shirt that says Rapha on the front.

    Everyone-I enjoy the Rapha movies, I like the look of their kit, but like @mouse I’m a bit of a tight ass and I can’t spend $140 for a fucking jersey too often. And I think they are good for the world of cycling. I just think it’s too expensive for my spending habits. I am a cheap ho.

  31. Is breach of Rule #50 temporarily lifted for the month of No(Mo)vember? As long as a mustache is being grown for the cause and not for a chance to see what you would look like with a mustache without fear of being ridiculed?

  32. @Weldertron

    Is breach of Rule #50 temporarily lifted for the month of No(Mo)vember? As long as a mustache is being grown for the cause and not for a chance to see what you would look like with a mustache without fear of being ridiculed?

    As long as you go all old-school with your attire and bike you should be fine:

  33. @mouse

    @Oli

    Yes, I know.  Sorry about that old chap.  I didn’t intend to insult you by insinuating that you were from ‘Murika.

    Now, following on from this Rapha bizzo;  I’m mystified by people’s reactions.  Yes, it’s expensive, so is Assos, so is Castelli.

    Two threads here;

    1. Are we suggesting that people who wear Rapha are tryhard wankers? This certainly does not hold true in my experience. Are we too quick to judge someone for their apparel choices?  Stones/Glass houses….

    2.  The fact that Rapha use film as a marketing tool is problematic exactly how?  Have you watched them?  Have they been entertaining? From my perspective, yes on both counts.  Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they miss the mark. So what?  Will it prompt me to purchase their gear?  Probably not, though I’m a card carrying tightass, so that’s my excuse.

    And yes, of course it’s art in the service of marketing.  I’m not sure why we should be conflicted by that.

    I’m from Melbourne, too.

    1. Nope, not at all. As I said, it’s apparently (modifier only because I haven’t used it) good stuff. It does look pretty good in a classic way.

    2. Using film for marketing isn’t a problem at all. It’s a great marketing tool. I have watched one all the way through – the Tasmania one – and thought it interesting. Nice scenery, a bit heavy on the atmospheric devices. I haven’t watched others all the way through because I usually find them too artsy and/or fartsy and turn them off through irritation shortly after the first bearded tattoo clips in and hits the gravel road.

    Does this stigmatise the brand? Of course it does, in a way. If you’re going to market your brand according to aesthetics – not just the aesthetics of the product, but also the aesthetics of the medium used itself – your going to attract people and repel others. That’s how aesthetics work.

    Ironically, their gear is very neutral and classic. Who could object to it? Their marketing isn’t; it’s obviously a bit polarising as as many people find it pretentious as it appeals to (does that sentence even make sense?). When you add that to the price, you’ve got people thinking the brand is aimed at an elitely wealthy, short film watching class. Who use shoe trees.

    But anyway, the stuff is good, it looks good. It has a whiff of pretentious wanker about it, but I don’t think anyone using it is a wanker, unless they let on they bought the shoe trees.

    Or they’re using one of the seat bags. A “classic”, simple bag that says you paid sixty bucks to look like you’ve improvised a bag from some cloth and a toe strap. It carries the warning “PLEASE NOTE: The pack and the toe strap should be checked before every ride to ensure it is fastened as securely as possible” which screams that you paid sixty bucks for something that works as well as something improvised from some cloth and a toe strap.

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