A Study in Casually Deliberate: Wait Properly

A Study in Casually Deliberate: Wait Properly

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We spend a small enormity of time waiting. We wait for lights to turn green. We wait for riders to arrive to the ride. We wait for riding partners to finish repairing a flat or mechanical. Due to various practical considerations including the perceived notion that armchairs don’t stuff well into jersey pockets, we generally find ourselves doing our waiting astride our machines rather than more customary accommodations.

Like all Cycling activities, waiting must be undertaken with utmost attention to style and class, with the principles of Casually Deliberate applying in spades. This presents a number of technical challenges, however. Noting that we are clad in full-body spandex, ballet slippers, and what amounts to a hollowed-out coconut on our heads, the matter of looking cool is complicated not insignificantly when seeking to appear at ease perched upon the crossbar of our bikes, a device more likely to be used to provide sterility treatment than comfortable seating.

Take, for example, this photo of Faboo, Burghardt, and Huevo Rancheros. Motorcus and Burggie are using my preferred method of extending the right leg while resting the topmost portion of the hamstring on the top tube just fore of the seatpost. I prefer this technique not only for its obvious casual nature, but for its numerous functional qualities. First, having the right leg, not the left, extended ensures we don’t inadvertently apply the Cat 5 Tattoo. Second, it ensures our hamstring doesn’t become a hamstrung should the right foot suffer unexpected slippage.

Huevo, in contrast, is using an entirely unorthodox approach adopted, I’m assuming, from riding his skuut. Knowing he’s had some work done in the region, I suspect it might be more comfortable for him than for anyone not similarly unaltered and it is with that consideration that I strongly recommend this approach be avoided.

A broad glance at the riders in this photo reveals myriad examples of Waiting Properly while employing subtle differences in execution. The similarities are clear, however:

  1. Under no circumstances is one to look straight ahead or focus on a single object, however interesting that object may be. Instead, always look up or down, or try looking thoughtfully into the distance; just because you’re a Cyclist doesn’t mean you’re not also concerned about world issues.
  2. Just like in band photos, never smile unnecessarily. Sure, you enjoy cycling, but your bike isn’t telling amusing anecdotes. Also don’t frown, because that’s depressing. Accepted facial expressions include keeping a straight face or grimacing because of how hard you just drilled it coming up to the light.
  3. Decide what to do with your hands. Rest your elbows on the tops of your bars, lean with your hands on the hoods on locked elbows, or sit upright with your hands loosely draped in your lap. Experts may mix and match.
  4. Waiting at a café while sipping an espresso and perusing the morning paper may be done while leaning against the toptube of the bicycle, but risks include having the bicycle roll to the right or left unexpectedly, resulting in the obvious undesirable effects.
  5. Waiting at a café may also be undertaken while the bicycle has been lovingly leaned against a nearby wall. In this case, however, one must be careful to read a French daily.

// Etiquette // Look Pro // Technique // Tradition

  1. @D-Man

    @Dr C
    To trackstand whilst espousing “Casually Deliberate” one must remain seated (technically a tracksit).

    which is really only possible with a photograph and a cardboard cut out, so really best avoided

    @Tartan1749
    I wouldn’t get a tattoo done even if held at gunpoint, but if I had a gun pointed at me, this is what I’d request – class +1

  2. @frank

    @grumbledook

    Despite the common dismounting maneuver, there is no rule how to sit Casually Deliberate when waiting for a cyclocross race to start.

    Exquisite

    this photo clearly demonstrates that living somewhere in black and white makes you look a lot harder and cooler than living in a technicolor country

  3. A few thoughts.

    -It will always be easier to look like the pros then to actually perform like the pros. Hell, let’s face it, I’m never going to perform like them. Might as well make suffering look good though. When I first got into cycling there was this guy who always looked fantastic. I mean he had multiple helmets and shoes just so that he could always match. He had perfect posture on and off the bike. Just looked pro. I remember always thinking, “This guy must be hella strong.” Once, I was strong enough to join the A ride and I got to see him perform, I was extremely dissapointed. He was absolutely weak. I had been duped by the casually deliberate.

    -Your comment on the cat-5 tattoo forced an actual LOL out of me. It brought back memories of how my buddy and I used to tell noobies, “Two things you never want to get caught with, hairy legs or grease on your calf, and God help you if I catch with both at the same time!!”

    -That picture of Voeckler is simply epic.

    B. Cog

  4. @Jeff in PetroMetro

    @grumbledook
    Right. Agreed. I wasn’t talking about how I sat before a race. I was talking about why I pull my right foot out at lights (instead of my left).
    Before races, I usually stood with both feet down, bent over the bike, with my elbows resting on the bars. I was pretty anxious and I found anytime I felt jittery, on or off a bike, I’d stand bent over. Right before the start, I’d clip in my left foot (clips and straps), then the gun went off and I’d roll while clipping in the right and pulling on the stap button at the end of the Binda strap. Ancient history.

    Right before the start I clip in both shoes and wait “track-standing”.
    This is a huge advantage when the pack is small and you can start first line :)

  5. @frank

    @grumbledook

    Despite the common dismounting maneuver, there is no rule how to sit Casually Deliberate when waiting for a cyclocross race to start.

    Exquisite.
    By the way, is the an IF Titanium ‘cross bike? Considering having a local frame builder make me a Ti ‘cross bike and wondering how the material performs for the discipline.

    Yes, it is. Ti is perfect for CX. Due to the huge variety of available
    tubing dimensions (diamters, wall thickness, +/- butting) the ride can
    be fully customized (sofa-soft or hard as a rock). And I like the shot-peened
    surface of my IF! You don’t need to care about scratches, about paint chipping off
    and of course not about corrosion. Together with the complete Chris King
    package (HS, hubs, BB) and a stainless steel chain, I don’t mind to use the
    pressure washer after each ride. Let it dry and apply a bit of chain lube
    afterwards and the bike is ready for the next one :)

  6. @RedRanger

    @Buck Rogers
    I have been trying to get my hands on Le Métier but cant seem to find it in stock. Any one have any ideas on a good source?

    I bought the second edition for half price on competitivecyclist.com. I really wanted the first edition but it is all sold out. There is a special edition first edition still available but it is something like one hundred bucks or something.

    This book is really sooooooo worthy.

  7. @DerHoggz

    Millar is listed on the o.symetric website as having has some success with their rings. They look a bit more squashed than the rotors. There was an article on them a while ago in Cycle Sport Magazine. A lot of team sky use them as well.

  8. @Buck Rogers
    Looks to be sold out with them as well.

  9. @RedRanger

    It’s available here, not sure what shipping would be like to the states though.

  10. @Chris
    Ah I knew that Garmin used Rotors, or at least some on the team do. The did look a little more squashed.

  11. @Buck Rogers

    @Chris
    Wiggle would set me back about 70$ for the book. I may have another lead on the book. Last night I emailed M. Barry about it via his blog and today he got back to me and passed on his fathers email address, he says his father has a few in stock.

  12. @DerHoggz

    @Tartan1749
    Sweet another dude from WPA! Where are you at? I’m about an hour north of PGH on the turnpike.

    I live in Highland Park (Pittsburgh), about 2/3 of a mile from the zoo. Definitely need to meet up in the Spring.

  13. @RedRanger

    @Buck Rogers
    @Chris
    Wiggle would set me back about 70$ for the book. I may have another lead on the book. Last night I emailed M. Barry about it via his blog and today he got back to me and passed on his fathers email address, he says his father has a few in stock.

    Strong work! I checked a bunch of places and it seems to be out everywhere. Really cool that he got back to you so quickly and is helping to set it up personally. Nell, you should ask him to sign it before they send it!

  14. @Buck Rogers
    That crossed my mind but I don’t want to be to pushy considering he is already helping me out. Plus he may still be in the UK and his dads shop is in Canada.

  15. @RedRanger
    Pic of my signed copy here. He was in town about a month ago…

  16. @Steampunk
    I’ll see what his pops says then maybe slide that request in. My main goal is to get the book and read it.

  17. @RedRanger

    @Steampunk
    I’ll see what his pops says then maybe slide that request in. My main goal is to get the book and read it.

    I was all tongue-in-cheek on my comment. I would not ask for it to be signed, unless you knew that he was with his dad, o/w risks being a bit rude, in my opinion.

    But the main thing is to get the book and read it as it is really amazing.

  18. @Buck Rogers
    My thoughts exactly.

  19. @MrBigCog

    A few thoughts.
    -It will always be easier to look like the pros then to actually perform like the pros. Hell, let’s face it, I’m never going to perform like them. Might as well make suffering look good though. When I first got into cycling there was this guy who always looked fantastic. I mean he had multiple helmets and shoes just so that he could always match. He had perfect posture on and off the bike. Just looked pro. I remember always thinking, “This guy must be hella strong.” Once, I was strong enough to join the A ride and I got to see him perform, I was extremely dissapointed. He was absolutely weak. I had been duped by the Casually Deliberate.
    -Your comment on the cat-5 tattoo forced an actual LOL out of me. It brought back memories of how my buddy and I used to tell noobies, “Two things you never want to get caught with, hairy legs or grease on your calf, and God help you if I catch with both at the same time!!”
    -That picture of Voeckler is simply epic.
    B. Cog

    Brilliant. Your guy obviously was a little too casual and not deliberate enough. Issue being to find the line between looking good and also laying down The V. You can only look Pro if you lay down the V and Look Fantastic. And remember, laying down the V doesn’t have anything to do with how fast you go, it has to do with how hard you push yourself. Your guy obviously didn’t get this aspect of cycling.

    @Dr C

    @frank

    @grumbledook

    Despite the common dismounting maneuver, there is no rule how to sit Casually Deliberate when waiting for a cyclocross race to start.

    Exquisite

    this photo clearly demonstrates that living somewhere in black and white makes you look a lot harder and cooler than living in a technicolor country

    Ha!

  20. @ChrisO
    @Potato Man This answer may or not be influenced by my inability to do track stands but personally I think they fall on the rather too deliberate side of casual.

    @frank

    @The Potato Man

    So, back on the Casually Deliberate waiting for lights to change. What is the ruling on track standing? Obviously one has to be sufficiently skilled to carry it off with aplomb, but does this still count as Casually Deliberate?

    Track stands are out. You should be able to do one, but they are by their very nature too deliberate and not enough casual.
    Track stands are the equivalent of the jogger who runs in place at the stop light. Ever notice how all the good runners just stop and wait, realizing that running in place does nothing to maintain your rhythm and just wastes energy?
    Just put your foot down and relax. Its what all the cool kids do.

    I feel I must defend the trackstand as a method of awaiting the green light as it is my preferred style.

    Yes I agree, rather more deliberate than casual, but when done well it can exude confidence and “oneness” with your machine that is hard to ignore. Of course one has to be rock solid but relaxed in ones trackstand to achieve this. A well executed trackstand proves that you have done the hard yards and learnt to handle your bike in every situation with aplomb. This isn’t even mentioning the awesomeness of the seated trackstand pointed out by Dr C. This requires a skill level so far above that of any onlookers that they immediately give you the respect that you deserve as a master of the cycling craft.

    And importantly, no matter how bad the execution of the trackstand, is is far better than missing a clip in and spend the rest of the intersection looking at your shoes as they skid off pedals in your ever increasing desperate attempts to re-engage with your bike. Seriously not PRO.

  21. I think what is missed by many is that most motorists don’t have a feel for the exquisite nuances of cycling. I unclip and put my foot down on the ground at every intersection that requires a stop. Why? Because that is the only visual queue most drivers will interpret correctly as “stopping”. Don’t get me wrong, track stands are bad ass (and beyond me), but to ask the average driver to interpret someone doing a cirque du soleil at the intersection as a “stop” is absurd. Be blatantly obvious about intentions at all times. This is the spirit of Rule #63.

  22. @itburns

    I think what is missed by many is that most motorists don’t have a feel for the exquisite nuances of cycling. I unclip and put my foot down on the ground at every intersection that requires a stop. Why? Because that is the only visual queue most drivers will interpret correctly as “stopping”. Don’t get me wrong, track stands are bad ass (and beyond me), but to ask the average driver to interpret someone doing a cirque du soleil at the intersection as a “stop” is absurd. Be blatantly obvious about intentions at all times. This is the spirit of Rule #63.

    Yeah unless I can see that the light is in the process of changing my way (Adelaide has heaps of 4-way intersections with very simple patterns & timing) I’m unclipping every time. If I’m likely to be still for more than 5 seconds my foot is going down both because I’m happier relaxing at a stop and it lets everyone around know I’m stopping.

  23. @The Potato Man

    And importantly, no matter how bad the execution of the trackstand, is is far better than missing a clip in and spend the rest of the intersection looking at your shoes as they skid off pedals in your ever increasing desperate attempts to re-engage with your bike. Seriously not PRO.

    Being in the same trackstanding league as @itburns, I’ve found it far more useful to perfect my clip in technique by playing in traffic (i.e., commuting) on a regular basis.

  24. So, what does it mean if I get a Cat. 5 tattoo in my arm while on a MUP?

  25. Was riding with two pals this weekend, ran into two other pals. Most of us went for some variety of the Casually Deliberate tt crouch/slouch/lounge as we talked for a minute.

    Aside from looking cool, it’s also a nice touch to bend over and provide some coverage when one is in Lycra. Yeah, we all realize we’re in ridiculous outfits without much possibility to cover up, but sitting is better than a standing stretch.

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