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La Vie Velominatus: A Rule #25 Reasoned Decision

La Vie Velominatus: A Rule #25 Reasoned Decision

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There was no clear indication that Rick’s car had actually come to a complete stop. It wasn’t that the car hadn’t stopped its forward trajectory – it had – it was just that the car hadn’t actually stopped moving. Long after the vehicle had come to rest in what could only be considered a legitimate parking spot by the most liberal of reasoning, bits and pieces kept clanking about, seeming almost to defy the laws of perpetual motion.

I was more familiar with his car than I wished I was. For one thing, the cafeteria tray on the passenger side that covered the hole between the wheel well and interior was not nearly as effective as Rick supposed, though to be fair, it was hard to discern that particular draft from the various other drafts whipping about the cabin. For another, I was uncomfortable with how the entire contraption shook when it accelerated beyond walking speed. This shaking did not prevent him from punching well beyond the freeway speed limit, usually with one hand on the wheel and somewhere between zero and two eyes on the road.

Once the car had shimmied to rest, Rick climbed out with his usual happy grin and motioned towards the pristine, full suspension mountain bike perched atop the rack affixed to the roof of his car. Without so much of a hint of justification, he pronounced a phrase that stuck with me and eventually evolved into Rule #25: “Hey, the bike’s always gotta be worth more than the car, right?”

This was Rick’s typical flavor of genius: simple and concise, irrefutable in its logic. The car exists only to carry us to The Ride. Beyond that, all it does is suck money away from The Bike. The first cars I owned fell comfortably into this way of thinking, though I was never able to afford the rack required to actually get the bikes on the roof of the car. It was on that technicality, then, with my bikes shoved inside instead of atop my car, that I went merrily along my way knowing the vehicles I drove were only minimally siphoning money from my bicycle fund.

Rule #25 has been a challenge ever since we sold our fun little beater car and bought a nice car. After a few years of wrestling with what to do about our negative Car to Bike Value Ratio (CBVR), I came to the conclusion that we needed to buy another crappy car and use that one to drive out to our riding destinations. After a while, the crappy car sucked so much more than the nice car that we never drove it, so we sold the crappy car and bought a second nice car. Now we were really in deep water from a negative CBVR perspective, if not from the perspective of enjoying locomotion or safety.

The solution, of course, is rather simple. Within the next year, we’ll own both cars, which means they must be nearly worthless as otherwise neither the bank nor the car dealership would allow such a thing as “ownership” to happen. Barring that, owning a nice car simply dictates that one is to buy more and better bikes. This also requires, of course, a rather significant ancillary investment into roof racks for your vehicle if you don’t have any welding or nunchuck skills that you can use to fashion your own.

Just remember that a happy bike is a bike that gets ridden; there is nothing sadder than a loyal steed who sits unused in the basement.

// Accessories and Gear // Defining Moments // La Vie Velominatus // The Rules // Tradition

  1. This is what the inside of my car looks like.

    Surprisingly, with the rear seats folded down I can fit my bike in (56 cm road bike) without taking the wheels off, by turning the front wheel to the left. It’s been very handy, not having to fuck with a carry system, and I like having my bike locked in my car just in case I need to stop somewhere before/after.

    When @scaler911 and myself carpooled up to the Seattle cogal last summer, BOTH our bikes fit inside after removing the wheels and placing a thick blanket over one frame for padding, with the other frame then placed on top. Ghetto but it worked.

  2. With baby #3 due in April, we traded in our car for a minivan…..I fought it at first but was shrewdly sold on it by mrs. graham d.m. as not only a minivan, but a climate controlled bike carrier….smart lady

  3. 1999 Ford Explorer with copious scabs of body rot on the passenger side doors. My wheels are worth more than the car. The bike rides inside.

  4. @graham d.m. bubs #1 is due to drop in May, hence the upgrade to a vehicle that was much more satisfactory in the VMH’s eyes…

  5. @graham d.m.

    With baby #3 due in April, we traded in our car for a minivan…..I fought it at first but was shrewdly sold on it by mrs. graham d.m. as not only a minivan, but a climate controlled bike carrier….smart lady

    climate controlled bike carrier – that’s Lexicon worthy! Bike fits in car!

  6. @Mikael Liddy Congratulations, mate! Yes, indeed, “happy wife = happy life” seems to be a true equation.

  7. @graham d.m.

    @Mikael Liddy Congratulations, mate! Yes, indeed, “happy wife = happy life” seems to be a true equation.

    Careful, happy wife most usually means she is fucking another guy.

  8. @Marcus

    @graham d.m.

    @Mikael Liddy Congratulations, mate! Yes, indeed, “happy wife = happy life” seems to be a true equation.

    Careful, happy wife most usually means she is fucking another guy.

    You must have a little dick…

  9. @gregorio

    1999 Ford Explorer with copious scabs of body rot on the passenger side doors. My wheels are worth more than the car. The bike rides inside.

    1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme — a mother-in-law free car special. My MX Leader could ride with the fork up on the back seat. It will be tough to replace the ‘Bikemobile’ — stopped running 3 months ago.

  10. @sthilzy

    I sold my ’92 Corolla last year for $200 and bought two tyres and tubes.

    If I had 25,000 Euro’s, I’d may consider this;

    Lamborghini 50th Anniversary Edition released by BMC from Cycling Tips.

    Only 50 to be built.

  11. @graham d.m.

    @Mikael Liddy Congratulations, mate! Yes, indeed, “happy wife = happy life” seems to be a true equation.

    in my case this is true but also she pays it forward by not questioning my 2,3 and 4 hour rides plus having  malted beverage waiting.

  12. @wiscot Not at all, my friend.  It’s all been Indoors at the Five and Dime, for me.  Thinkin’ there may be a short ride in store this weekend, tho’.

  13. Driving to the KT – lots of opportunities will be afforded to contrast the Ridley with the Citroen therefore.

    C4 is the weapon of choice for driving #1 child to training and games so filled with the leavings of a teenage lifestyle as well as all the crap that MTB’s drop in winter.

    Smells of rubber, lube, sweat and that chlorinated damp smell from swimming pool.

    Mid life crisis ended when I realized that I couldn’t get a bike inside a Z4M…

  14. Another vote for in-car storage. You don’t need that rear space anyway if you’re going for a ride. Even my parent’s dinky Honda Jazz fits my 58cm bike with the front wheel removed. Living in a dusty, dry country with frequent sandstorms, I’ve had to clean my bike post-driving way too much times when it was roof-mounted.

    Although, when the whole family heads out to race, it’s three bikes on the Forester, three racers + baby brother in the car and a whole lot of luggage in the rear. Rule #25 compliance achieved by having a custom Magnesium frame, a carbon TT rig and a Dash-adorned Cannondale.

    I’m debating purchasing a car for myself now: Moved to Uni and need my own car to reach the team rides. A small Daihatsu is on my radar – big enough to fit the bike, small enough to be fuel-efficient and Rule #25 compliant. Not sure how I’ll fit the TT rig in there, though – integrated external forks are not very compact.

  15. There’s not a lot about my Pajero Sport that I like (nor dislike, I’m just intensely neutral) other than the fact that it can fit my bike in the back, seats folded, without having to take off a wheel.

    The only other plus point is off-road ability, which I don’t use a lot but enough to be glad of it.

  16. @Chris Yes trailers are wildly popular in Belgium in fact if and when we move back to the US I fully intend to purchase a trailer.  They drive dinky diesel cars with giant 4×8 trailers for Home Depot (Brico here) runs, etc.  Its a really good idea.  However for bikes I like the convenience of a roof rack and am sticking to it.  Putting a bike inside your car is inviting damage for both items.

  17. @harminator your mum never complains. But then again it’s pretty hard to talk with a gimp mask on

  18. @mcsqueak

    This is what the inside of my car looks like.

    Surprisingly, with the rear seats folded down I can fit my bike in (56 cm road bike) without taking the wheels off, by turning the front wheel to the left. It’s been very handy, not having to fuck with a carry system, and I like having my bike locked in my car just in case I need to stop somewhere before/after.

    When @scaler911 and myself carpooled up to the Seattle cogal last summer, BOTH our bikes fit inside after removing the wheels and placing a thick blanket over one frame for padding, with the other frame then placed on top. Ghetto but it worked.

    Hey, nothing ghetto about the blanket between two bikes!

  19. Does non-ownership of a car mean +100% CBVR or is it like dividing by zero?

  20. @unversio

    @gregorio

    1999 Ford Explorer with copious scabs of body rot on the passenger side doors. My wheels are worth more than the car. The bike rides inside.

    1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme “” a mother-in-law free car special. My MX Leader could ride with the fork up on the back seat. It will be tough to replace the ‘Bikemobile’ “” stopped running 3 months ago.

    I neglected to mention the emergency bottle of Febreze to take the edge of the mildew when we can’t ride with the windows down. Ancient layers of dog hair provide a softer bed my steed.

  21. @DrewG

    Does non-ownership of a car mean +100% CBVR or is it like dividing by zero?

    Clearly there is a hole in the CBVR asymptote.

  22. Ultimate car rack?  At least Morgan was thoughtful enough to use a steel steed

    Morgan @ Geneva Auto Show

  23. Years ago I worked at a bike shop in Salt Lake City.  Me and 3 of my fellow shop rats stopped to get gas on the way to a mountain bike ride.  We had a total of about $14,000 worth of bicycles on top of my buddy’s old Subaru wagon that could not have been worth more than $1,000.  Some guys in a brand new NIssan Pathfinder pulled in next to us with a couple of decent, but maybe $700 bikes on top.  They looked at us, our car, and our bikes and told us we had our priorities straight.  We said, “yes, we know.”  Did not know about Rule #25 then, but certainly followed it as I did not have a car at all and 4 bikes.

  24. #1 fits into the ’96 Corolla quite nicely, front wheel on, with the front passenger seat shoved forward. As an added bonus, accumulated road filth is scrubbed from the left crank arm and bottom bracket by the rear seat, assuring enhanced depreciation of the vehicle as a whole whilst nicely polishing said regions of the ‘Bolt. Rule #25 compliance is further supported by vehicular glitches such as the driver’s side door lock failing to function, followed shortly thereafter by the door handle snapping clean off on an otherwise lovely crisp and frosty winter morning. Picture me holding the offending plastic up like a freshly removed head and exhorting the mob to ‘behold! and fear my wrath!!!’. Fuck I was pissed off.

    Only slightly off topic, and in the spoiler department, OGre won the double T-A and P-N this morning, whereas O Pha Q came up empy handed.

  25. I have a used, bright orange toyota yaris bought for a song, since it’s bright orange.  One or two bikes in the back of that thing, and my CBVR is definitely positive.  The best part of the yaris is that I can get 4, 58 cm bikes in the back of it, no problem.  I’ve done it to the odd cross race.  The worst part of the car, is that it’s painfully slow, emasculatingly tiny, and bright orange.

  26. It was a dark and stormy night, er, umm, day…  …as Frank is putting Cyclops’ $10,000 bike on the roof rack of his Range Roamer…

    Cyclops: I hate having my bike outside the vehicle.

    Frank:  Really?  That’s weird.

    Moments later His Fronkness proceeds to run Cyclops’ LOOK 586 R-Light Limited Edition (#28 of 200) into a low hanging branch.   Luckily the French are more adept at building bikes than cars as the LOOK came away unscathed.  This is why I always drive to races myself and never carpool.  THE BIKE GOES IN THE CAR!!!

  27. @wiscot

    Hey, nothing ghetto about the blanket between two bikes!

    Well, it’s sort of lame that I’ve never bothered to purchase a rack of any sort, but as the only cyclist in my family (girlfriend and cat sadly don’t indulge in our obsession) I’ve never needed it before then.

  28. Rule #25 is easy for me. I don’t own a car & the VMH’s is a handed-down Camry, thus both two main road bikes & my cross bike are worth a lot more than the car. But, the car is in incredible shape & if cared for should allow a few more bikes to be added to the stable before a new auto.

    One of the very few wedding gifts we received last year that was at all exciting for me was a Thule XTR tray carrier rack. Nicer than a roof rack, especially for a guy on the shorter side, but damn, $400 and they don’t include stainless/rust protected bolts & nuts? I’m pretty let down for that money. I think Thule is living on their reputation. Aside from the rust issue, one of the arms didn’t work (they did replace it) and it’s heavy as fuck. Why do I need a 25 kg rack to carry a 7 kg bicycle?

  29. @Tartan1749 They should have used a wooden bike. Maybe something in Bamboo to accent the wooden car.

  30. The rule is irrefutable but misunderstood.  People seem to think they should drive a heap of shit but this is simply wrong….you should drive a very expensive car but……a much more expensive bike, thus complying with the rule and being completely awesome!!!

    This may not however be consistent with your earnings, but who said bank robbery had no cause or reason!

  31. @lordmoos3 I could be incorrect, but I don’t think the new-ish Aero 8’s have a wooden chassis like their original counterparts.

  32. @Tartan1749

    @lordmoos3 I could be incorrect, but I don’t think the new-ish Aero 8″²s have a wooden chassis like their original counterparts.

    But then, that’s not the Aero 8 – doh!

  33. @lordmoos3

    @Tartan1749 They should have used a wooden bike. Maybe something in Bamboo to accent the wooden car.

    But then it wooden go…

  34. @Deakus

    The rule is irrefutable but misunderstood. People seem to think they should drive a heap of shit but this is simply wrong….you should drive a very expensive car but……a much more expensive bike, thus complying with the rule and being completely awesome!!!

    This may not however be consistent with your earnings, but who said bank robbery had no cause or reason!

    Wisdom!

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    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@Mikael Liddy

    I’ve a feeling we’re definitely in negative CBVR territory but I think the two go together pretty nicely…

    Rule #25a; the computer on top of your bike should be worth less than your bike. Ideally, it should be worth so little that it does not exist.

  36. @Deakus

    The rule is irrefutable but misunderstood. People seem to think they should drive a heap of shit but this is simply wrong….you should drive a very expensive car but……a much more expensive bike, thus complying with the rule and being completely awesome!!!

    This may not however be consistent with your earnings, but who said bank robbery had no cause or reason!

    This is absolutely right. Despite Rick’s example, the point is that your income should be disproportionately appropriated to the bike, not other things. It really boils down to Rule #4 in the end.

  37. @Tartan1749

    Ultimate car rack? At least Morgan was thoughtful enough to use a steel steed

    Morgan @ Geneva Auto Show

    A SS with an EPMS and flat bar? Fuck that. The only thing worth saving on that bike are the tires.

    The car, on the other hand, is fantastic.

  38. @frank

    @Tartan1749

    Ultimate car rack? At least Morgan was thoughtful enough to use a steel steed

    Morgan @ Geneva Auto Show

    A SS with an EPMS and flat bar? Fuck that. The only thing worth saving on that bike are the tires.

    The car, on the other hand, is fantastic.

    Looks like a Morgan Plus 8.  I lived in Malvern where the factory is for 10years…handcrafted frames from Ash…stunning!

  39. @RedRanger

    @frank build a set up like I got in my trooper. it was super cheap, keeps the bike standing up and it keeps it inside.

    I do use a fork mount inside the Rover, which I love because it keeps bikes dry and safe inside. Circumstances do prohibit its use, though, as we have 200 pounds of dog that we like like to car around with us, and our weekend camping trips usually result in loads of gear being carted around.

    @RedRanger

    I am fully Rule #25 compliant since bike #1 cost more than 133% the value of my truck. As such I make sure all my bikes ride in style with this very ingenious set up that cost me less than a night at the bar.

    The Niner is longer than the C’dale so I need to put her in like so,

    That’s pretty rad though.

    Of course, my seat pin has to come out in order to fit. Grrr.

  40. @Steampunk

    @MorganFreeman

    I’m with you on this one. I’d definitely want to add a rider to this Rule that acknowledges that whenever possible, the bike should ride inside the car.

    Its a good point. Ideally, there would be children or wives on the roof, with bikes and pets inside.

  41. The last trip we took with our ’63 Airstream last fall, I backed it into the driveway (as normal), unloaded the bike off the roof rack, disconnected the trailer and ran to the store before commencing proper unloading. Why do any of you care? I left the keys for the roof rack, trailer hitch lock, and bike tray (all on the same ring, not connected to my car key chain) on the rear bumper. Gone forever. I have $1000 roof rack/ bake tray/ basket thingy that’s unusable dead weight on the roof now. Bike goes in the car till I sort out a new key.

  42. @DrewG

    Does non-ownership of a car mean +100% CBVR or is it like dividing by zero?

    No, you only get a divide by zero error when there are no bikes involved. With no car, you still have a zero CBVR, which is actually the perfect value for the CBVR. When I say negative ratio, its misleading, or wrong, or both, or neither.

    You can’t have a negative ratio with two positive numbers; what you’re after is to get as close to zero as possible, mathematically speaking.

  43. @frank

    Of course, my seat pin has to come out in order to fit. Grrr.

    Is that the reason that the Campy Candy Van has the bubble?

  44. @ChrisO

    There’s not a lot about my Pajero Sport that I like (nor dislike, I’m just intensely neutral) other than the fact that it can fit my bike in the back, seats folded, without having to take off a wheel.

    The only other plus point is off-road ability, which I don’t use a lot but enough to be glad of it.

    The only thing not to like is that “Pajero” means wanker in Spanish, which is why they change the name for sale in Spain…

  45. Both of my current bikes out-value my vehicle. I bought a Chevy Blazer new back in 1998 and am still driving it today. The Blazer is the vehicle that gets me around with the bikes so I think I am well within Rule #25 guidelines. However, I do have an E60 M5 in the garage that completely ruins the CBVR of the household. ;)

    -Dinan

  46. My car 2001 Ford Taurus wagon 200k miles and on its last leg. My ride 1987 Trek 400 Elance with plenty of life left. The Trek rides a lot smoother and way more quietly than the Ford, so I think I am following Rule #25 even though they may be worth about the same.

  47. I know that this is an old thread, but I missed it before. Great story!

    Anyhow, a green 2005 Scion Xb with a manual gearbox (Painfully slow and dorky looking) and 195,000km on the odometer carries my Glorious Steel Waterford R-33 in the back seat with the front wheel removed. No roof rack yet since I’d hate to spend that money on the car, but if carrying the bike inside the car counts, then it’s definitely Rule 25 compliant.

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