Hair today, Ronde tomorrow. Photo Cor Vos

Hair today, Ronde tomorrow. Photo Cor Vos

On Rule #33: The Sagan Clause

by / / 117 posts

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

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

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

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

// Awesome Slovakian Guys // The Rules

  1. @Brett

    Dilemna is not a typo? Is it a word? Never heard or seen it before, neither has my dictionary.

  2. @Gianni

    A quick google reveals ……..

    the origin of the word is from the Greek word DI meaning two, and LEMMA meaning propositions or alternatives.
    So the correct spelling of the word is definitely
    ‘Dilemma’ …and always has been…always…

  3. By the way, we blame the Velominati for the now-frequent usage of ‘guns’ for legs. To old-timers, this is anathema. Guns = arms (in Australasia). Guns = guns in the US. ‘Pins’ is ok, but ‘guns’ is just stupidly confusing. How about ‘legs’?

  4. Excellent timing on Rule #33 and Sagan. I believe being world champion allows him a pass. I shave until winter riding starts and then legs are covered up by then anyhow. I must say I think shaved legs certainly give a mental boost.. This past Sunday was the Hurricane ridge cogal and it was wet and cold, but as we hit the last 20 km into town we ramped it up, the legs were hurting but the power of the V was flowing through the freshly shaven legs and it was the mental boost I needed.

  5. Well it’s what we were taught in school… Australian school, so that’s possibly the problem.

  6. Some things may be tolerated if one happens to be the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey. Are you the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey? If not, you will shave your legs, you shall not wear white shoes and you shall not start olympic XCO race. Sure, let’s call it Sagan clause, you can sport bushy pins if your name is Sagan and you have recently won the elite world championship race on the road…

    I am shocked to even read about this type of fundamental violation on Velominati. Cyclingnews forum maybe, but not here…shocking.

  7. The temperate rainy winters of the PNW demand year-round pin upkeep – hair mixed with road grime is no good when you’re in and out of the rain, leg warmers are mostly pointless but for the rare clear/cold combo, and cleanup at the car is so much easier on slick skin. Serves as a good reminder to not sit too close to the dinner table also..

  8. @Brett

    Yep, it’s always been “dilemma” here. You Aussies are so weird.

  9. Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

  10. @Brett

    Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

    How is Oz vs the Rest of the World a world wide debate? (Insert punctuation abuse as required)

  11. @Teocalli

    @Brett

    Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

    How is Oz vs the Rest of the World a world wide debate? (Insert punctuation abuse as required)

    It’s like Captain Redbeard’s debate on the necessity of a ship having a crew:

    “Opinion is divided on the subject. All the other captains say it is. I say it isn’t.”

  12. @Teocalli

    @Brett

    Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

    How is Oz vs the Rest of the World a world wide debate? (Insert punctuation abuse as required)

    Well maybe have a read of some of the articles I linked and you’ll see.

    This is from the first one…

    Are you one of the possibly millions of people worldwide that were taught to spell Dilemna with an ‘N’

    http://dilemna.info/

  13. @Olli

    Some things may be tolerated if one happens to be the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey. Are you the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey? If not, you will shave your legs, you shall not wear white shoes and you shall not start olympic XCO race. Sure, let’s call it Sagan clause, you can sport bushy pins if your name is Sagan and you have recently won the elite world championship race on the road…

    I am shocked to even read about this type of fundamental violation on Velominati. Cyclingnews forum maybe, but not here…shocking.

    I concur! This heresy is in direct conflict with Rule #1 and Rule #3. These types of exceptions will result in total anarchy. What is next non level handlebars? Unslammed stems? It is all crazy talk I tell ‘ya!

    The only exceptions to rules should be for those who wear rainbow or yellow jerseys. If one wearing said jerseys decides to willingly violate Rule #33 or Rule #42 that is acceptable. Otherwise, unshorn guns should be considered a rules violation regardless of circumstances.

    Who is with me!?

  14. @Brett

    I found it on the internet so it has to be true?

  15. @Rick

    @Olli

    Some things may be tolerated if one happens to be the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey. Are you the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey? If not, you will shave your legs, you shall not wear white shoes and you shall not start olympic XCO race. Sure, let’s call it Sagan clause, you can sport bushy pins if your name is Sagan and you have recently won the elite world championship race on the road…

    I am shocked to even read about this type of fundamental violation on Velominati. Cyclingnews forum maybe, but not here…shocking.

    The only exceptions to rules should be for those who wear rainbow or yellow jerseys. If one wearing said jerseys decides to willingly violate Rule #33 or Rule #42 that is acceptable. Otherwise, unshorn guns should be considered a rules violation regardless of circumstances.

    Who is with me!?

    I don’t think we’re in the business of making rules for the pros.

  16. @RobSandy

    I agree, pros can do whatever they like. Perhaps I got carried away with my jersey exceptions but I was attempting to make a point.

    I was on a bit of a roll.

  17. @Rick

    @RobSandy

    I agree, pros can do whatever they like. Perhaps I got carried away with my jersey exceptions but I was attempting to make a point.

    I was on a bit of a roll.

    It’s nice to get excited.

    But yeah, if we started saying ‘the pros do it, so we can’ all would be chaos. The point is that there are plenty of rules the pros break, and look shit when they do. For example, when they choose not to shave their legs, or disfigure their beautiful bikes with frame pumps or EPMS’s. Or go for a jog during a key stage Le Grande Boucle.

    We don’t do anything that looks shit on a bike. That’s why we come to this site.

  18. @RobSandy

    @Rick

    @RobSandy

    I agree, pros can do whatever they like. Perhaps I got carried away with my jersey exceptions but I was attempting to make a point.

    I was on a bit of a roll.

    It’s nice to get excited.

    But yeah, if we started saying ‘the pros do it, so we can’ all would be chaos. The point is that there are plenty of rules the pros break, and look shit when they do. For example, when they choose not to shave their legs, or disfigure their beautiful bikes with frame pumps or EPMS’s. Or go for a jog during a key stage Le Grande Boucle.

    We don’t do anything that looks shit on a bike. That’s why we come to this site.

    That is exactly the point I was trying to make. I believe the fact that I was watching Spartacus (the one with Kirk Douglas) as I was posting caused me to get a bit carried away……

  19. Guys, please, just shave, ok?

  20. @bea

    Ha Ha! Nice one.

  21. @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

  22. @ccos

    @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

    High enough to avoid hamster pants.

  23. @Rick

    @ccos

    @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

    High enough to avoid hamster pants.

    Yes indeed, that’s a given. My comment was more in reference to one’s demarcation (or not) of the neither regions.

  24. @Ccos

    @Rick

    @ccos

    @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

    High enough to avoid hamster pants.

    Yes indeed, that’s a given. My comment was more in reference to one’s demarcation (or not) of the neither regions.

    That particular line of demarcation is a (very) personal decision. One that is typically not discussed even among cyclists.

    Perhaps this video at 0:26 will help.

  25. @Ccos

    Please refer to Bea comment #86 above.

    We are only concerned with what one can/should see in public (carefully checking I have the “l” in there…).

  26. @Rick

    @ccos

    @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

    High enough to avoid hamster pants.

    Oh god, I cannot un-see that. Hamster pants. Magic.

  27. alopecia cyclicus is real, and this is funny as hell. i haven’t shaved my legs in over ten years, but to this day, hair only grows on my kneecaps, between my quads above my knee, and on my toes of all places. just like my head: i shaved it for so long, by the time i decided to let it grow back, i was surprised to find out i was bald.

  28. @Brett

    @Teocalli

    @Brett

    Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

    How is Oz vs the Rest of the World a world wide debate? (Insert punctuation abuse as required)

    Well maybe have a read of some of the articles I linked and you’ll see.

    This is from the first one…

    Are you one of the possibly millions of people worldwide that were taught to spell Dilemna with an ‘N’

    http://dilemna.info/

    This is hilarious! From the very page you’ve linked to: “The shocking truth turns out to be that Dilemna has NEVER EVER been spelled with an N…Worse yet, it’s not even been given a passing mention as a possible alternative spelling in any dictionary going back hundreds of years!”

    In my life I’ve read thousands and thousands of books, magazines, comics, plays, pamphlets, etc., etc. and have never ever seen dilemma spelled with an ‘n’, silent or otherwise. In fact this article and silly argument is the first time it’s ever come up in my life.

    I just thought you did it as a deliferate spolling mistale.

  29. Shave em like you are in prison.

  30. @Gianni

    @Rick

    @ccos

    @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

    High enough to avoid hamster pants.

    Oh god, I cannot un-see that. Hamster pants. Magic.

    I’ve read here before… ya finish where your legs end. That seems simple enough for me to understand. But then again, I think someone also followed with, ya stop at your eyebrows. Well that’d sure make for a busy morning. The photo of this dude and his hamster pants I think is probably good evidence of someone with bigger issues around never being able to finish what they started. Magic ? Yeeesh.

  31. @Oli

    @Brett

    @Teocalli

    @Brett

    Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

    How is Oz vs the Rest of the World a world wide debate? (Insert punctuation abuse as required)

    Well maybe have a read of some of the articles I linked and you’ll see.

    This is from the first one…

    Are you one of the possibly millions of people worldwide that were taught to spell Dilemna with an ‘N’

    http://dilemna.info/

    This is hilarious! From the very page you’ve linked to: “The shocking truth turns out to be that Dilemna has NEVER EVER been spelled with an N…Worse yet, it’s not even been given a passing mention as a possible alternative spelling in any dictionary going back hundreds of years!”

    In my life I’ve read thousands and thousands of books, magazines, comics, plays, pamphlets, etc., etc. and have never ever seen dilemma spelled with an ‘n’, silent or otherwise. In fact this article and silly argument is the first time it’s ever come up in my life.

    I just thought you did it as a deliferate spolling mistale.

    So how did millions get taught it then?

    Are you one of the possibly millions of people worldwide that were taught to spell Dilemna with an ‘N’

    I’ve never seen it spelled with a double M. Doesn’t mean it’s the wrong, but that’s what I, and apparently millions of others, worldwide, were taught. I didn’t make it up.

  32. I work in the bike trade and have to ride both disciplines. I get more grief from mountain bikers about shaved legs, than I do from roadies about unshaven ones.

    You can guess which look I choose to rock.

  33. @Brett

    It’s more like millions (and how did they come up with that number? I’ve never, ever heard of it being spelled like that before and I’ve been around…) of you THINK it’s what you were taught – some sort of cognitive dissonance, I’m guessing. Like the spelling of “Berenstain Bears” – many people (possibly even millions) are convinced it used to be spelled “Berenstein”. Google that shit.

    If you genuinely got taught it you were taught by a fucking idiot.

  34. “POSSIBLY”

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

  36. @Brett

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

  37. @Oli

    Ok, I made it all up and I’m a fucking moron.

  38. @Brett

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

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

  39. @Oli

    @Brett

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

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

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

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

  40. @Brett

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

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

  41. @Oli

    Let’s talk about God!

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

  43. Haha, that shouldn’t cause any problems!

  44. @Brett

    @Oli

    Let’s talk about God!

    Don’t you mean Dog?

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

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

    Cheers

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

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

  47. @Scott

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

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

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

    A world champion should teach how to behave.

  49. @Teocalli

    Mnemonic.

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

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

    Answers on a postcard to . . .

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

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