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.


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.

12,462 Replies to “The Rules”

  1. @ all: Lets all reflect a moment on Rule #5, over and over and over. Maybe that will sink it all in.

    Just beat a punkass on his moped in a street drag across a town.

    beat him by a block:-)

  2. Quite bizarrely, although Steampunk is verging on the Cognoscenti hardcore views of things, the approach that, amongst others, frank, rob and myself can draw parallels with that of the Steampunk. Where Steampunks display a love of Victorian technology or create facsimiles of items the wearer believes would have existed in a technologically advanced Victorian era, the Velominati display a love of the heritage of professional cycling and create facsimilies of what the individual believes the riders from those eras would have ridden and worn if the technology had existed for them

  3. @Jarvis

    What can I say? I’m an enigma. “Steampunk” works for me on a variety of levels, not least the ones you mention above, though I find myself more intrigued by questions of how our technologies haven’t advanced significantly since the steam age. And I’m drawn to technologies and materials that last. Plastic is evil. By trade, I’m an historian of science, technology, and the environment, so many of these questions overlap vocational and avocational interests for me. Also, as an historian, I have a deep-seated appreciation for the love of cycling heritage and tradition that is so aptly presented on these pages.

    On the bike, however, I am a different animal. I can appreciate the aestheticism mentioned by holists above, but I cannot fully be a part of that world. I am not””and never will be””a small, slight rider with spindly legs and toothpicks for arms. I am more mountain man (complete with bushy beard””I do not adhere to Rule #50) than aesthete. Cranks are for grinding, not dancing upon. My bike is not a fashion accessory; it is a tool or a weapon (cue: deep-throated howl).

    Part of the appeal of Rule #5 and the cult of the Cognoscenti stems from its unbridled and unapologetic irreverence. A healthy dose of irreverence is something I find I am drawn to in art, science, and play. It is a playful, mocking bending of societal rules that can only be performed by those who understand those rules best. I can relate to that and it’s something to which I aspire. A true Cognoscenti is one who has learned the rules, knows the inner meaning of each and every one, and then””as david cogently described in a couple of previous posts””knows how to whittle them down to their most common denominator. Which brings form back into the equation. And, yet, irreverence ensures the unique character of each rider. Rule #5 is not something you impart on another rider; it is a message only for the self.

  4. On Rule #5.

    I was actually writing a manifesto. It got too serious and too lengthy, so I set it aside. I’ve introduced a few pieces of it in the last two days. I should at least, though, offer up this Cognoscenti’s interpretation of Rule #5.

    Rule #5 is not a savage rule. It does not demand that you wear only shorts at 32F. It does not demand that you can beat a moped by a block. It doesn’t demand that you do 20 intervals when you scheduled 6. It certainly doesn’t demand that you drink the heaviest, thickest, most stringent German beer you can find. The Rule is deceptively elegant. It’s veneer is crude, but underneath the veneer is found a pearl of wisdom.

    The work of a bicycle racer is to win, either by winning himself or sacrificing himself for a teammate to win. Winning requires defying the laws of nature, either by putting one’s nose into the wind or by going uphill faster than everyone else.

    The laws of nature declare that the power needed to overcome air resistance increases exponentially in proportion to increases in speed. That is, the faster you go, the harder and harder it is go even faster. On flat land, the winner is nearly always the one who can endure the searing pain of generating the power required to go even faster, when he and everyone else is already giving everything they have to go faster and faster.

    While the power requirements for overcoming the force of gravity are not exponentially related to increases in grade, do not be deceived about Nature’s brutal demands. Just consider that on flat land with relatively neutral wind, a decent cyclist can pedal along for a good while at 35-40 kph. The same cyclist will be lucky to ride half that speed on any decent slope. She says, if you want to go fast uphill, you’ll need far, far greater power. Racing uphill hurts, and going faster than everyone else uphill hurts badly.

    The laws of nature exact pain and suffering from those who defy them. Only the hard can endure their toll. Only the hard can complete the work. Hardness is the first virtue of bicycle racing.

    Human beings by nature seek to maximize their own pleasure and minimize their own pain. That is to say, by nature we are all fallen. No one is a perfect hardman. Who has not scheduled five brutal climbing repeats only to fold after three and ride home like a pussy? Who has not heard the rain fall outside and then decide quickly that today really should be a “rest day”. Who has not folded like Marcus Sommers in the crucial moment of a race? The Cognescenti recognize our fallen nature. But we believe the correct response to the grasp of it is simply to harden the fuck up. If we work hard and we are fortunate, we may manage it now and then.

    Do not underestimate the profundity of Rule #5. It both presupposes our fallen nature and prescribes the only proper response to it. In 2010 Bjarne Riis did not pull up to Spartacus at two kilometers from the Roubaix velodrome and say, “Harden the fuck up.” Spartacus had just crushed some of the strongest riders on the planet with a 50 km solo attack. The rule did not apply. Spartacus had transcended his fallen nature. The rule only applies, only makes sense as a rule, when are human, i.e., fallen. When Cadel Evans put on the Rainbow jersey, he solemnly said to himself, “Harden the fuck up, mate.” He has yet to transcend his fallen nature. He should continuously reflect on Rule #5.

    Given an authentic commitment to the work, and the fact of our fallen nature, it follows that Rule #5 is The Rule of all Rules. There is no winning without adhering to it, except by accident. And, nothing will more promote you ability to complete the work than adherence to it.

  5. Jarvis :But what if it’s not about winning the bicycle race? Yes, that applies to PROs and PROcycling and to those aiming to be PROs, but what about the rest of us?

    I don’t know how to answer the question. I’ve mentioned before that I’m inclined to think there is some cycling culture out there that the Rules are trying to describe. It’s not simply the culture of racers. It’s not just the broader community of cyclists. Where I’m from, the broader community of cyclists includes commuters, racers, fixies, recreational riders, fitness riders, MTBers, cross riders, environmental activists who ride bikes, people who just ride their bikes to the grocery store, etc. Surely the Rules are not for all of these cyclists. Who are they for? They are not specifically for actual racers. They certainly are not for pure commuters. I’m struggling with this.

    I kind of like the craftsman, or artisan model. The Rules are for someone who takes riding a bike to be a craft, an art, or a techne, as the ancient Greeks would say. The European road racers, currently and of legend, are the best at the craft. They are artisans on a bike. Hence, Rules derived from their practice, ought to govern those who take riding a bike to be a craft, even if they are not racing like the European road racers, currently or of legend. So, buy your steel frame bike. (Titanium?? If titanium, why not aluminum or carbon fiber?) When you ride, treat it like a master carpenter treats one of his prized tools. Ride it well, with skill, and style, even if you are not ridding it to win a race. That’s the best I can do at the moment. The burden is on the Velominati to explain why Rules derived from the practices of European road racers should govern cyclists who are not racing.

  6. @David
    you are brilliant. With this:

    The Rules are for someone who takes riding a bike to be a craft, an art, or a techne, as the ancient Greeks would say. The European road racers, currently and of legend, are the best at the craft. They are artisans on a bike. Hence, Rules derived from their practice, ought to govern those who take riding a bike to be a craft, even if they are not racing like the European road racers, currently or of legend.

    you have distilled the essence of what I believe the Velominati to be about, or at least what I am about when riding a bike. Biut the rules do not apply to commuters, I believe they are there merely for those people who ride road bikes for “sport”. If The Rules try to cover mountain bikes and commuting, then you risk having too many Rules that are too confusing and so dilute the power of The Rules. I have already campaigned to consolidate some of the Rules and to remove others, because i believe them to be misleading and confusing.

    Titanium, because like Steampunk, I’m am drawn to technologies and materials that last

  7. You guys are on a roll.

    I am amazed that a term, ‘The Rules’, that was first coined by myself and my mate Johnny Klink to simply state that some taste must be employed by riders, has become such an icon and a source of inspiration, an entity that has absorbed many aspects of religious imagery and even possibly zealotry (is that even a word?).

    When probably all we were really saying was, “if you’re sharing our sport, our passion, then do it with some fucking style.”

    And then we rode our bikes… Because that’s what we do.

  8. @brett

    then why didn’t you fucking say that at the start and you would have saved us all a load of fucking hassle…

  9. Outstanding and uplifting. Wounds are healing, doctrinal disputes are dissolving, accommodations are being reached, a shared focus on the things we have in common is taking precedence over a series of searches for the things which set us apart – and the Cognoscenti have started to sound like Holists and the Holists have started to sound like Cognoscenti. Yea, verily, I tell you that the wolf shall lie down with the lamb. Or something. Nice work, all.

  10. Jarvis :@brett
    then why didn’t you fucking say that at the start and you would have saved us all a load of fucking hassle…

    He got distracted selling mirrors and frame-mounted pumps …

  11. @brett
    no torment I’m very happy with the position we have reached. It just might have been reached earlier, is what I’m saying. And I’ve learnt about steampunks.

  12. @Steampunk
    I go to the office every day carrying a briefcase and umbrella, and wearing a topcoat and derby hat. When I stray into the hipper parts of town, the tattooed and pierced store clerks often ask me if I’m into Steampunk.

    Then I casually mention that I shave my legs.

  13. Wow. Each time I look at this it has evolved deeper into the ethereal matters of the origins of essence, and you guys all deserve a really pat on the back.

    @david: Brilliantly put, simply brilliant and thanks.

    I think you really hit on something I have been trying to put into words for a long time, you know, things we think about between intervals, when we actually like riding and seeing our surroundings, listening to birds sing and smelling honeysuckle in full bloom. You said: Human beings by nature seek to maximize their own pleasure and minimize their own pain.

    That is the very essence of what separates cycling from many other sports. In order to be a true rider, one must become acquainted with this, ie Rule #5 and totally flip this relationship between pain and pleasure. You nailed that.

    Now, here is something steampunk and some others were asking about, that of the universal nature of the Rules and their origins.

    I do think they have a universal application here. No doubt, specifically they are designed for us…roadies, pure Euro clad style roadies. But, hey, minus those roadie specific Rules, the first 5 are universal. Then Mtn bikers could apply aptly their idiosynchracy’s, Fixies et. al. There are some universal truths revealed here in the Rules, and the brilliance of you guys for putting them together is a real tribute to both cycling and yourselves.

    Secondly, that of origins. I obviously didn’t have crap to do with them, but in retrospect, looking back on the Rules, I can see their origins deeply rooted in our sport, originating somewhere in Belgium on a long stretch of pave’ with a bitterly cool north wind and a whisp of snow in the 1950’s. Riding across an area that had just been pummeled by WWII, bombs dropped, lives lost and only a cyclist could ride through such an area and see ‘beauty’.

    Lastly, to get caught up…@ jarvis, forget Ti, its a noodle. Keep on steel and go w/pegoretti responsorium or a indy fab stainless steel. Timeless, smooth, classic and stiff.

  14. @david

    This is fantastic perspective and you’re really putting your finger on it. If we take the idea of craft/techne and apply it to cycling it then becomes not only an activity or sport but a process. As we say on our “about” page this process is our raison d’être. We take great care in the selection of components and maintenance of our bicycles and thankfully form follows function, we study the actions and style of hardmen so that we might emulate them, we take inspiration from riders we admire, and ultimately live and aspire to Rule #5 in our own minds and bodies.

    This may sound a bit trite, but yesterday I did my first 200k ride of the year. I was alone on the road but not in my mind. As the k’s clicked by my mind drifted from my surroundings, to the Velominati, to the subtleties of my bike, to my performance, to the European pros who do such rides day in day out, and to the other cyclists I saw along the way. And when I started to feel myself fatigue and soften I looked down at my right leg and read Rule #1, Rule #5, and Rule #10 on my kit. It seriously motivated me. Especially at 150k when those two fucking huge black labs came outta nowhere and one of the goddamn mongrels got his snout on my ankle. I think I know now what it feels like to really do an all out sprint after a long day in the saddle. Now where’s my b-b gun?

    I like the new gravatar.

  15. Yeah, I know what you mean. I’m sure we look like jackasses, haggling over all this stuff. But, aside from just having fun with it, if you can find a set of rules, rituals, or practices that you are sincerely committed to, it can definitely inform your own practice. I go out and ride, and I’m getting a bit lazy. I’ve been saying to
    myself, “Here you are, babbling on about Rule #5 in front of people you hardly know. And now you are riding like a slug. Don’t you have any shame!? Rule #5, harden the fuck up. Finish your work.” It works.

  16. @Marko On the old Greek conception of an art, or techne, (from which we get the words “technology”, “technique”, etc.) the artisan or craftsman is someone who can manipulate matter so that it comes to have a certain form. A furniture maker manipulates wood as well other materials so that the material comes to be a chair or table. He has this ability due a wide variety of things. He possesses knowledge of the properties of wood, glue, metal, how they behave under certain conditions, etc. E.g., cross-cutting wood is liable to splinter the wood. He has tools for manipulating the matter. Saws, planes, chisels. He knows what the tools can do. If he’s a good furniture maker, he handles the tools expert technique, deliberately, smoothly and efficiently, and the reason for this is that by doing so he most likely will get the results he wants. He buys the absolute best tools he can, and he treats them with the utmost respect. His own art is informed by studying past and current masters. He abides by a set of formal and informal rules of varying types. “Measure twice, cut once.” “Avoid exposing end grain.” He has formed rules himself from hard experience, or has been taught them by prior craftsmen.

    It’s clear there are parallels between an art like this and cycling. In fact, the ancient Greeks probably would have identified cycling as a techne, even though it does not involve producing an object like a piece of furniture. Not all technai were of that sort. A good cyclist, the artisan on a bike, has to have all sorts of knowledge. Knowledge of some of the laws of physics can really help, air resistance, gravity, characteristics of drafting, force vectors in cornering, rotational momentum. (I got dropped in one of my first road races, because I was dangling off the back eating and drinking in a tailwind, under the thought that it would be easy to catch back on in a tailwind. D’oh.) Knowledge about equipment. Wheel weight. The advantages and disadvantages of carbon fiber wheels vs. aluminum wheels. Course knowledge is a big advantage in some races. Knowledge about human physiology. You need to put sugar back into your blood at around 30 to 45 minutes after start riding. He will have a riding technique that distinguishes him from from fixies, commuters, and recreational riders. He will know that bent elbows and a fairly loose grip on the bars is a necessity for avoiding crashes and he knows why. (In fact, there should be a Rule about this. It definitely separates a craftsman on a bike from a poser.) Cornering at any decent speed requires applying pressure to the outside pedal. Start a climb in the lowest gear you can, and then eventually shift up. Shift up a gear or two when you go to climb out of the saddle. He will be able to ride smoothly inside a white traffic line for hundreds of meters at least, and have a smooth, round pedal stroke, like a master furniture maker has a smooth, graceful planning stroke. He studies and learns from past and current masters, their technique, their rules, their prized pieces of work. (It’s surprising the little things pros know about how to ride a bike that are not intuitive and that you can’t find in books or online.) He buys the best equipment he can, and treats it with the utmost respect. And so on.

    The problem with the model is this. And this goes back to earlier controversies. In a techne all the knowledge, rules and technique are for one end, producing the form in the matter. All of the things I’ve mentioned above serve the end of winning a bicycle race. If you are not racing, you have to look at these in a different way. Why do you wish to ride a bike like a craftsmen? Because it’s beautiful? It’s enjoyable to know I am? If that works for you. Or, the bike is a like a fine tool, and if you are going to use a tool to accomplish anything, whether riding for enjoyment, fitness, or to commute, you ought to try to use it as best you can. It’s just a personal declaration of who I am. In any thing I do, I will try to do it as best as it can be done. That’s for y’all to decide if you like this way of looking at cycling. (The more I think about it, the more I like it too. I’m gonna clean my bike today very carefully and deliberately. It deserves more respect than I give it.) It’s easier, clearer for me. I’m interested in the craft to win races.

    Anyway. I’ve written way too much over the last week. But, I think I’ve said what I want to say. Thanks for indulging me. I’m trying to understand cycling myself, since over the years it’s come to dominate more and more of my life.

  17. Holy Shite!!! Our cable co. crashes because of a storm, I m busy for 2 days and come back to all is calm and quiet! The schism is now healed and the clouds have parted.

    David you ARE a genius and as a craftsman and an apprentice hardman I love the conclusions and the clarity of your thoughts.

  18. And kudos to Brett and Johnny K. the inspiration, the sentiment and the “if you’re sharing our sport, our passion, then do it with some fucking style.”

  19. Rob :And kudos to Brett and Johnny K. the inspiration, the sentiment and the “if you’re sharing our sport, our passion, then do it with some fucking style.”

    +1 to that.

    david :Yeah, I know what you mean. I’m sure we look like jackasses, haggling over all this stuff. But, aside from just having fun with it, if you can find a set of rules, rituals, or practices that you are sincerely committed to, it can definitely inform your own practice. I go out and ride, and I’m getting a bit lazy. I’ve been saying tomyself, “Here you are, babbling on about Rule #5 in front of people you hardly know. And now you are riding like a slug. Don’t you have any shame!? Rule #5, harden the fuck up. Finish your work.” It works.

    I think we all have these issues (hell, i know i do on a regular basis) and you have hit the nail on the head. “Harden the fuck up. Finish your work.” I may just stick that above my door.

  20. Found a missing rule:
    Thou shalt never run a compact chainset – no matter what the modern PRO’s may say

  21. I’ve been going back over this sprawling page: the rules and the comments, in an attempt to ensure I am happily aligned with them especially in light of recent developments of the essence of the Velominati and because I think there is too much and it all needs a tidy-up.

    I found that I first appeared at comment #37 and I realised how much my thinking on The Rules has changed in six weeks. I was completely wrong in thinking that Aluminium and Crabon have no place in The Rules. I realise now that it was the steampunk in my resenting these materials. They do have a place; but they have to look good.

  22. @Jarvis

    Do the bikes have to look good, or do you have to look good on them? And I’m never sure what a good-looking bike is: are we talking about frame geometry, or color scheme (I adhere to the bar tape rules), or components, or wheels, or some unspoken combination of all of the above?

  23. @steampunk
    all of the above. There is a requirement for bikes and riders to be aesthetically pleasing. It’s a matter of style and taste.

  24. Fair ’nuff: that’s what I figured. I must admit, though, I have very little time for worrying about whether my kit matches my bike on any given day. I get their place in the rules, but I guess my wariness is what makes me a barking-mad Cognoscenti (@Frank: maybe the next step is to develop a new kit for the Cognoscenti?).

  25. david :

    @Jarvis Fuck aesthetically pleasing.

    Is this the same person who also said “But I’m all for a Rule on compacts. It is a matter of style.”?

    Maybe you should change your name to Captain Contradiction of the Cognoscenti

  26. @brett: Maybe you should change your name to Captain Conntradiction of the Cognoscenti… Oh, that’s just brutal, and my quote is out of context. Defending cycling against the venal forces of capitalism is a far different thing than defending aesthetic preferences in cycling. Apples and oranges.

  27. @david

    Venal forces, by your own definition, also gave us all of the advancements that you champion (STI, carbon, aero wheels), which I have mentioned already, as well as the ones you vilify (compact cranks). What’s the difference? That’s right, there is none! Do you not eat apples because they don’t taste as good as oranges? Or do you not eat them because you don’t like the colour?

  28. Argh. There’s some miscommuncation here. Maybe my fault. I don’t know. I’m fairly blitzed right now. Drinking beer and posting is fun. There are innovations which make one go faster, stronger, longer, and there innovations pushed on us by the evil capitalists despite our own interests. I’m claiming the compact crank is of the latter. Who is the compact good for? LeakyGas pros racing up 20% grades. Cyclists recovering from broken necks. 70 year old men. Young Nathan is none of them. If his only aim is to ride up his 5% grade in comfort, given his current strength and fitness, fine, sell him a compact. I don’t think it is. I take him to be a budding young cyclist, interested enough in the sport to give serious attention to the Rules. Given such, he should be sold a bike that he can eventually ride like a craftsmen along with other serious cyclists. That is not a compact.

  29. @steampunk

    I don’t think kit has to match the bike. I mean it shouldn’t clash too badly, but as long as the kit fits well and looks good then that’s OK

  30. @brett

    I dunno, Brett. I eat apples for the fibre.

    If the Cognoscenti have a “style” or an aestheticism, it involves embracing the hurt. I don’t see the contradiction in David’s position on compacts and his general rejection of aesthetics. And I share his anti-capitalist stance. The Cognoscenti revel in their irreverence, however difficult that can be to attain and however many contradictions Holists might perceive. At the end of the day, it’s about the ride.

  31. How about a Rule on Powertap meters and all.

    Some people that show up on a group ride will come in bragging and blowing about all this and that crap, when they really never use it, never develop it and get blown on any given ride.

    In my opinion, Powermeters are prohibited for the casual rider, the group rider, even the cat 5 racer. Really, until you hit the cat 3/4 there is only one thing necessary, as Eddy said, ride more, Powertappers need not apply.

    But this may not marry well w/Velomanti, so….what do you guys say??
    do you care how many watts you generate on a social ride?

  32. @Souleur
    Excellent point, my friend. But, I think this can be expanded to anything within the Posturing Douchebag range of comments. Seems the loudest riders are usually those who fall farthest behind the group when the rode slants uphill.

    How about this:
    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.

  33. @all:
    A reader proposed the following Rule:

    Unless there is a non-zero chance of affecting the group in any way, thou shalt refrain from hollering “Car Up!” at the sight of oncoming traffic.

  34. The rule is fine as stated, but it should never be acted on. There is always a nonzero chance of an oncoming car affecting the group, since there is always a nonzero chance someone moves into the opposite lane to attack, pass, or drop back off the front.

  35. “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.”

    Yes to the above but oh gwad lets not get into group ride shite in the Rules, please? I mean there is a guy who sits in the back of the group on the big spring rides shouting car back the whole effing way EVERY time, loud.

    Then the g-d dammed point at the hole thing – Hello, just watch the road yourself and if you’re to lazy/stupid not to know how you deserve the pinch flat from your underinflated/over inflated tire/backside.

    Then there is pace line etiquette and technique! Don’t get me started – there is something I’ll call a Long Island pull and I just do not want to go there in these pages.

    Ok, I’ll calm down and think about this for a second, right, done – NO. I mean this is about the beauty of the sport not the ineptitude, its not the learn the sport how-to site.

    Sorry if I have missed most of the scintillating compact discussion (in Sur la Plaque) and came back right to your question and now am commenting in such a negative way. It seems that you would open up discussion on a whole can of worms that are never addressed in racing. Sure we can talk about group rides but you know, things like “That pace line was freaky fast and when I got to the front I did not know if I should pull for 10 seconds or man up and do 15??”.

  36. What’s a Long Island pull? Briefly, please.

    Some nice videos on YouTube: Top 30 cyclists of all time, Parts 1, 2, and 3. Old clips of the masters and with their palmares.

  37. I’m with Rob and David on this. This is not a “how-to” site.

    Besides, I for one, no longer do group rides*

  38. It is not my term (thank you Elliot) – 6 or 7 in line and chap on front stays on front and stays and stays. Whats wrong with that? Nothing! But if your the guy behind him 1. you don’t know when to come through 2. you feel you have to do the same 3. lets rotate shorter and harder.

    Now are we going to chit chat about proper pace line rules at 28kph?

    Nice one on the YouTube!

  39. Yeah, that’s what I figured. It sucks. I guess I was more interested in the interesting name for it.

  40. @ frank: The Posturing Douchebag says it all and seems to cover it. There is alot of other minutia that I really don’t care about and isn’t intersting in the ride.

    Rob: had a good espresso this morning? your wound tight.

    Some of us do group rides, some don’t.
    I actually rarely do, nobody wants to ride w/me.
    But even the PRO will mix it up in a tuesday night ride, thursday night world championship, and there are some DB’s that go to.

    so, ride.

  41. @Rob
    I know you don’t want to get into group ride stuff, but what’s worse than the guy at the back of the group yelling “car back” is when he gets to the front and feels the need to echo the previous “car back” calls. Who the fuck does this douche think he is warning?

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