Doing It Wrong

Cycling is a complex sport, one whose fabric is densely woven from the fibers of a Hundred Years War between evolution and tradition. The Rules were laid out in part to provide a path through the chaos, helping lead the disciple towards transcendence. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

This simple idea tugs at the underlying fact that the human mind tends to process ideas from the most obvious or easy to understand inward towards the most complex and difficult to understand. In other words, we start with What, then move to How, before finally arriving at Why. But because only 1/3 of the human mind is capable of rational thought while 2/3 of it operates on emotional or instinctual levels, the implication is that the How and the Why tend to be more instinctual or emotional than they are rational. Which is why we often know “Wrong” when we see it without necessarily being able to articulate the reasons behind it.

The Rules codify many aspects of Cycling; we can follow this code and understand fairly well when someone is in contravention of them; in essence, they provide the framework to elevate the “wrong” out of our instinctual mind and into the rational. At least when it comes to looking good on a bike or at the café.

Once in motion, the Velominatus sets themselves apart from other Cyclists by not only their outwardly aesthetic mastery, but by their comfort with how the bicycle moves beneath them; while in motion they handle themselves as if the machine is an extension of their body if not their very soul. Today’s objective is to begin to lay out a foundation for a framework on how to recognize when the actual act of riding the bicycle may be performed incorrectly. Keep in mind, as you coinsider this weighty subject, that Cycling is a sport which flaunts the Laws of Physics with not an inconsiderable sense of entitlement.

  1. If at any point you find yourself awakening from your ride in a hospital bed, there is a strong possibility that you have done something wrong.
  2. If at any point you find yourself in the dentist’s office having your jaw and/or teeth reconfigured as a result of launching face-first into an immovable and impermeable barrier of any kind, you probably demonstrated an overconfidence in either the mobility of permeability of said object, thereby doing it wrong.
  3. If at any point you find yourself surprised at how briskly the human body slides over tarmac before collecting yourself and riding to the emergency room where a curmudgeonly doctor briskly removes road debris from your wounds using a steel brush while muttering to himself about people’s “sense of invulnerability”, you probably overestimated your ability to hang ten in that one corner.
  4. If at any point you decide that the best way to learn to bunnyhop barriers in Cyclocross at full speed is to “commit” without first practicing this dark art, you are definitely doing it wrong.
  5. If you see an object in the road such as a pothole, log, or broken glass and ride through it before being astounded by the fact that this action resulted in a flat tire, you are doing it wrong.
  6. If you are riding in a group and touch another rider’s wheel with your wheel, you are doing it wrong. If you also thereby cause a crash, then you are doing it wrong to the point that you need to reconsider how well you concentrate while riding. If you react to said crash in any way other than assuming full responsibility and apologizing to the poor wretch(es) who are now possibly facing variations of points 1, 2, and 3 above, you are quite possibly an asshole which is one of the worst ways of Doing It Wrong (and a Rule #43 violation).
  7. If you arrive at a stoplight and fail to unclip from your pedals before falling over, you are doing it wrong. If this fall results in you breaking both your hand and elbow then you did it extra wrong. (I’m looking at you, @blackpooltower.)
  8. If you jovially parked your car in a garage while simultaneously and unintentionally removing your bicycles from your roof rack, you did it extra special wrong.
  9. If at any point during the climb you get off and walk, you are doing it extra special wrong times infinity.
  10. If at any point during your Cycling life you did any of the above without later laughing about it and spinning it into a wildly amusing tale of hubris and hyperbole then you are doing it extra special wrong times infinity with no backs.

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69 Replies to “Doing It Wrong”

  1. @chuckp

    @frank

    I’m really amazed at how many of you are admitting to breaking #9. This is the most egregious of the lot.

    I don’ think I’ve done #9 since I was a kid (pre-teen), having to push a single-speed banana seat bike up the hill to my parents’ house on Crestview in Daly City, CA (according to Google, 0.1 mi and 13% grade).

    To be clear, even on a cross bike or mountain bike, its still doing it wrong, even though its strikingly prolific.

  2. @chuckp

    @frank

    I’m really amazed at how many of you are admitting to breaking #9. This is the most egregious of the lot.

    I don’ think I’ve done #9 since I was a kid (pre-teen), having to push a single-speed banana seat bike up the hill to my parents’ house on Crestview in Daly City, CA (according to Google, 0.1 mi and 13% grade).

    I say you get a pass because on a banana seat it’s not Cycling, that’s just being a kid, having fun.  And man that ride down must have been a blast!

  3. @frank

    I’m really amazed at how many of you are admitting to breaking #9. This is the most egregious of the lot.

    @blackpooltower

    @Frank that is NOT how I broke my elbow/hand/rib/self-esteem.

    However, the way I in fact DID do it was … actually on reflection just as foolish, so I’ll say no more about it, beyond “smart shoes and fixed gears don’t mix, folks”.

    As you were.

    Sure it wasn’t.

    @frank What if I admit to ascending a 19% ramp in our local area, being that determined not to transcend into a # 9 situation, that an eventual #7 happened.

    Wrong and right all at the same time.

    However, laughter and swearing was had and heard.

    At least I wasnt like the guy next to me who was trying to alleviate his own personal battle with #9 that he ending up blowing chunks of breakfast all over bike and road and ended up on side of road anyway.

     

    Ahhh, good times

  4. @Barracuda

    @frank

    I’m really amazed at how many of you are admitting to breaking #9. This is the most egregious of the lot.

    @blackpooltower

    @Frank that is NOT how I broke my elbow/hand/rib/self-esteem.

    However, the way I in fact DID do it was … actually on reflection just as foolish, so I’ll say no more about it, beyond “smart shoes and fixed gears don’t mix, folks”.

    As you were.

    Sure it wasn’t.

    @frank What if I admit to ascending a 19% ramp in our local area, being that determined not to transcend into a # 9 situation, that an eventual #7 happened.

    Wrong and right all at the same time.

    However, laughter and swearing was had and heard.

    At least I wasnt like the guy next to me who was trying to alleviate his own personal battle with #9 that he ending up blowing chunks of breakfast all over bike and road and ended up on side of road anyway.

    Ahhh, good times

    You forgot to mention that you were also riding in weather that was being provided directly from Satan’s furnace…

  5. @Mikael Liddy

    @Barracuda

    @frank

    I’m really amazed at how many of you are admitting to breaking #9. This is the most egregious of the lot.

    @blackpooltower

    @Frank that is NOT how I broke my elbow/hand/rib/self-esteem.

    However, the way I in fact DID do it was … actually on reflection just as foolish, so I’ll say no more about it, beyond “smart shoes and fixed gears don’t mix, folks”.

    As you were.

    Sure it wasn’t.

    @frank What if I admit to ascending a 19% ramp in our local area, being that determined not to transcend into a # 9 situation, that an eventual #7 happened.

    Wrong and right all at the same time.

    However, laughter and swearing was had and heard.

    At least I wasnt like the guy next to me who was trying to alleviate his own personal battle with #9 that he ending up blowing chunks of breakfast all over bike and road and ended up on side of road anyway.

    Ahhh, good times

    You forgot to mention that you were also riding in weather that was being provided directly from Satan’s furnace…

    Fuck it was hot wasn’t it !!!!

    In my defence or just in my mind, I was slowing to see how Dan was after losing his lunch.

    You on the other hand, machine Sir.  I still tell people I meet who share the same love of cycling of your efforts that day and the 100 + Km ride in the dark the night before just to make the staring line.

    But yes, it was even too hot for a fire to start.  Now that’s hot

  6. @litvi

    @chuckp

    @frank

    I’m really amazed at how many of you are admitting to breaking #9. This is the most egregious of the lot.

    I don’ think I’ve done #9 since I was a kid (pre-teen), having to push a single-speed banana seat bike up the hill to my parents’ house on Crestview in Daly City, CA (according to Google, 0.1 mi and 13% grade).

    I say you get a pass because on a banana seat it’s not Cycling, that’s just being a kid, having fun. And man that ride down must have been a blast!

    I think even as a kid I only walked my bike up the hill but a few times. Most of the time we rode but had to zig zag up the hill. Although I’m probably a “natural” climber by body type/weight, having to ride up the hill at the end of every ride probably did a lot to help develop my ability to climb (even though I didn’t become a serious cyclist until I was an adult in my late 20s).

    Yeah, riding down the hill was a blast. There was an even longer (but not as steep) hill in our neighborhood that we used to fly down too. But what was truly frightening was riding down on late 60s/early 70s era skateboards!

  7. Q: Where does one fall if they combine a #5 that was not called out, an inability to recognize the effect said #5 had on their front tire, and a #3 about a half mile later in the first corner after the said #5?

     

     

     

    A: On the tarmac….and wrong.

  8. Oh I managed to do it very… very wrong about 2 years ago.

    It was a stunningly beautiful late spring day in the foothills (let’s be honest, they’re proper mountains) that surround Evergreen, Colorado and after being informed of a cancelled work meeting I decided to get a ride in, as you do.

    I was enjoying a splendid purple patch of good form, and although I was still too fat to climb, I was climbing quite well, so I climbed.

    My velomihottie (wife) was nine months pregnant with our second child and already enduring about a weeks worth of false contractions. So I figured one last ride and all.

    1.5k from where my car was parked after 4300ft of climbing I was zen like in a blissful orgy of swooping arcs down a little used canyon road. Then in a instant, all was not well. Carrying 50kph into a descending radius left hander a car found it prudent to pass me on the inside whilst crossing the yellow lines. I tried to adjust my line and ended up just above the gulch in the ravine with multiple fractures of my tibia and fibula (think Mini-Phinny) as a log poll pine was kind enough to break my flight.

    Funny thing is I knew instantly I’d done it wrong as my first thought was “my wife’s gonna kill me!!!”

    Body is healed with the help of copious amounts of titanium, but my wife is still very distrusting of ‘that damned bike.’

  9. Doing it wrong is sometimes just the lesson you need to remember to do it right thereafter.

    My own experience with negative reinforcement came when I foolishly tried to navigate a corner at speed bisected by slippery when wet train tracks during a downpour.  The cycling gods body slammed me to the pavement with such speed that my hands never even left the bars.

    A cracked helmet and a minor concussion and now I’m much more observant of the laws of physics and my own mortality when in the saddle.  I’m thankful for the lesson I received.

  10. Riding your Grifter aged 9 and with brake blocks down to the metal, you think it would be cool to brake by placing the sole of your adidas gazelle’s against the fast rotating front tire. Cue friction – grip – both feet catapulted up under the fork crown – front wheel lock up – launched headlong over handlebar. Two broken toes, emotional wounds incalculable. Did it wrong

  11. @Mikael Liddy

    When you’re a tourist in another country and get mixed up about what side of the road you should be driving on, that’s doing it wrong. Thankfully it doesn’t seem that the consequences will be too severe.

    http://cyclingtips.com/2016/01/giant-alpecin-confirms-degenkolb-barguil-haga-and-three-others-involved-in-collision-with-car-in-spain/

    FUCKING painful!  And guaranteed that this driver is sipping fucking margaritas by the pool right now if Spain is anything like the USA or England.  Supposedly the driver crossed the center line and hit them all head on.  Jail is too fucking good for her but she’ll never see a day inconvenienced for running over cyclists.

    Sorry for the rant but inattentive drivers, either texting or checking their GPS or watching inboard videos or fuckall have really made me nervous on the roads.  I know I sound like grandpa here but it really was not this bad 25 years ago.  Scares the hell out of me.

  12. @Mikael Liddy

    When you’re a tourist in another country and get mixed up about what side of the road you should be driving on, that’s doing it wrong. Thankfully it doesn’t seem that the consequences will be too severe.

    http://cyclingtips.com/2016/01/giant-alpecin-confirms-degenkolb-barguil-haga-and-three-others-involved-in-collision-with-car-in-spain/

    I know it’s wrong but I read those reports and couldn’t help thinking “What’s the weight of a finger, and does he really NEED it?”.

    Especially if you’re running Di2. I’ve thought this through.

  13. @ChrisO

    @Mikael Liddy

    When you’re a tourist in another country and get mixed up about what side of the road you should be driving on, that’s doing it wrong. Thankfully it doesn’t seem that the consequences will be too severe.

    http://cyclingtips.com/2016/01/giant-alpecin-confirms-degenkolb-barguil-haga-and-three-others-involved-in-collision-with-car-in-spain/

    I know it’s wrong but I read those reports and couldn’t help thinking “What’s the weight of a finger, and does he really NEED it?”.

    Especially if you’re running Di2. I’ve thought this through.

    He’s a sprinter so he probably does need a good grip. I expect if it had been a climber he’d have tried to persuade them to leave it off. Marginal gains…

  14. @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @Mikael Liddy

    When you’re a tourist in another country and get mixed up about what side of the road you should be driving on, that’s doing it wrong. Thankfully it doesn’t seem that the consequences will be too severe.

    http://cyclingtips.com/2016/01/giant-alpecin-confirms-degenkolb-barguil-haga-and-three-others-involved-in-collision-with-car-in-spain/

    I know it’s wrong but I read those reports and couldn’t help thinking “What’s the weight of a finger, and does he really NEED it?”.

    Especially if you’re running Di2. I’ve thought this through.

    He’s a sprinter so he probably does need a good grip. I expect if it had been a climber he’d have tried to persuade them to leave it off. Marginal gains…

    Whether it’s to lose weight or to be able to carry on racing, you would have thought that amputating body parts might be one step too far even for cyclists…

    …instead of abandoning the race, he abandoned the toe. He’d lugged it through the Alps but jettisoned the excess ballast ahead of the Pyrenees.

  15. @chris

    I recall seeing a story about one of the gold-medal-winning British men’s pursuit teams and their quest for marginal gains.

    Apparently they identified that three of them were all very aerodynamically similar but Ed Clancy (I have a vague idea it was him) was two inches wider in the shoulders.

    Apparently he asked if they wanted to cut some width out of his collarbone.

  16. finally had one idea to start right with building up (rebuilding) the Merckx on a BB stand

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