On Rule #43: Notes for Bike Inspectors

A study in  <a href=
Rule #1, #2, #3, and 43." src="http://www.velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/DSCF2144-620x465.jpg" width="620" height="465" srcset="https://www.velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/DSCF2144-620x465.jpg 620w, https://www.velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/DSCF2144-1024x768.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 620px) 100vw, 620px" /> A study in Rule #1, #2, #3 and #43

This week’s Guest Article comes from our friend, @blacktoolpower (l) and our editor Drummond Moir (r). In anticipation of our book’s imminent release, these two donned their lab coats and headed out to the streets of London to assess the state of Rule Compliance in the city’s commuter crowd. Always remember: leave this kind of inspection to professionals and should you find yourself in such a position, take special care to observe Rule #43.

Yours in Cycling, Frank

Friday 24th March was a day of reckoning for the cyclists of London. In anticipation of the imminent publication of The Rules: The Way of the Cycling Disciple, we took to the streets, vigilante-style, to assess whether the Cycling population of the capital were Rules Compliant, or Rules Violators.

We were ruthless. We were professional. No fool was suffered gladly.

Do Not Complain If, During Guerilla Bike Inspections, You Get a Cold.

It was rather wet. And cold. And I didn’t have a jacket. But to complain of the subsequent pestilence would be to fail, pure and simple. To Cycle is to suffer; to seek out Rules Violators during the coldest Spring in over 30 years is sheer bravery and dedication. What sort of Bike Inspector would I be if I couldn’t follow that most basic and fundamental of Rules, Rules #5?

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Do Not Fear the Common Man

I had minor reservations about Dr. Spackman’s wellbeing should our benevolent intentions during assessment be misconstrued. Fortunately, I was being over-cautious. From the very first Cyclist we flagged down, to the final pair of socks we measured, London’s Cyclists were as accommodating and as friendly as we could have hoped. Rule #43 was adhered to at all times.

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Do Not Succumb to Wrath, or to Despair

There were moments of pain. Of hopelessness. Of despondency tinged with impotent fury.

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So many EPMSs!

But Dr Spackman and I pressed on, strengthened by sheer conviction in our mission.

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59 Replies to “On Rule #43: Notes for Bike Inspectors”

  1. I’ve lost count of the times this site has made me spray a mouthful of tea over my keyboard and monitor – great stuff!

  2. Evaluating commuters for rule violations? Cruel!

    I think they should have taken one copy of the book with them to hand out to the first bike that did not violate any rules.

  3. @G’rilla

    Evaluating commuters for rule violations? Cruel!

    I think they should have taken one copy of the book with them to hand out to the first bike that did not violate any rules.

    If its anything like the Commuter scene in Seattle, then yes!

    On a ride on Tues, I got back into town after about 200km out and was unfortunate to be caught out in the Commuter Grand Prix. Merckx, it was awful, what a competitive bunch of people who apparently love nothing more than to pass a rider in kit…one guy was on a bike with a little motor and just MASHING the pedals in the Sit up and Beg position – actually red-faced launching out of every stop light to try to stay ahead of me. I eventually just took the little back roads home to avoid the mob.

  4. Great costume, nothing like a white lab coat to look imperious. It’s nice the English can have a laugh about this. Americans would not be so fun. Though someone should do this in Seattle and Portland, inspectors would be very busy and offense would be taken at every opportunity.

    Nice work, what a proper way to promote a book.

  5. Hilarious!

    You should do a limited edition of the book that includes those cards. I could use more than a few just in the bike parking at our office.

    Just got word from Amazon UK that my copy has been dispatched. Next Friday the 21st will be like Christmas in June!

  6. My oh my oh my that is fine looking book…It was laying on the table in the light yesterday evening and I couldn’t resist taking a shot of it!

  7. First time posterhere… Just got a shipping notice from Amazon to say my book is winging it’s way to me as I type.

    S T O K E D

  8. Absolutely, hilariously brilliant work and article.  I wish wish wish I’d been in London to witness it.  This community never ceases to amaze and entertain me. Are the inspectors going on the road to other cities?

  9. @RedRanger

    I ordered the book last night from amazon.

    I didn’t realise it was available yet – it was preorder only with expected release on 6/20 from Amazon UK when I looked.  Looks like I’m $26.01 poorer…

  10. @Mike_P

    Absolutely, hilariously brilliant work and article. I wish wish wish I’d been in London to witness it. This community never ceases to amaze and entertain me. Are the inspectors going on the road to other cities?

    A-Fuck’in-Men!!!  Was anyone shooting video?  That was such a brilliant idea!

  11. The inspectors would be rather overwhelmed in Cambridge… but I’ll admit to my commuter not being rules compliant. Apart from anything, it was bought before I knew of the rules. It doesn’t yet deserve a full new groupset, so it can stay on a triple. And it has disc brakes, because  they’re better in the wet. Rain is no excuse to not commute. I have, however, matched the bar tape to the (full length) mudguards, Which are white. On a black bike.

    I note no mention of pannier racks in The Rules…

  12. Drummond Moir, what an extremely Jockinese name that is ! But I bet he’s from dan sarf, poor lad. I love those 2 surname names though.

  13. @Mike_P

    Absolutely, hilariously brilliant work and article. I wish wish wish I’d been in London to witness it. This community never ceases to amaze and entertain me. Are the inspectors going on the road to other cities?

    I’m sure there would be abundant violators in Edinburgh, but I wouldn’t recommend going to Glasgow or Paisley and going up to a punter and measuring his socks or giving him a ticket for mis-matched tires, bar tape and saddlle.

    “:Good afternoon good sir, may we inspect yourself and your trusty velocipede for adherence of the Rules and possible violations?

    “Whit?”

    “Rule compliance sir. Designed and fabricated to the highest possible standards in Seattle, Washington and inspired by the prophet Merckx.”

    “Ah, dinnae ken whit the fuck you’re oan aboot son, but if you gie me wan y they tickets, ah’ll boot yer baws so hard you’ll hiv three Adam;’s apples..”

    “Carry on sir and have a splendid day on your velocipede.”

    “Away tae fuck ya white coated cunt.”

  14. The White Coat of Authority.

    Fantastic work and a great way to promote the book. How many stickers ended up covering a Boris bike then?

  15. @strathlubnaig Drummond is pure jock by the way. He just works in London. And I’m still laughing from Frank’s innuendous mis-spelling of my handle. Laughing like this: “grrrrrrrrr”

  16. @wiscot

    @Mike_P

    Absolutely, hilariously brilliant work and article. I wish wish wish I’d been in London to witness it. This community never ceases to amaze and entertain me. Are the inspectors going on the road to other cities?

    I’m sure there would be abundant violators in Edinburgh, but I wouldn’t recommend going to Glasgow or Paisley and going up to a punter and measuring his socks or giving him a ticket for mis-matched tires, bar tape and saddlle.

    “:Good afternoon good sir, may we inspect yourself and your trusty velocipede for adherence of the Rules and possible violations?

    “Whit?”

    “Rule compliance sir. Designed and fabricated to the highest possible standards in Seattle, Washington and inspired by The Prophet Merckx.”

    “Ah, dinnae ken whit the fuck you’re oan aboot son, but if you gie me wan y they tickets, ah’ll boot yer baws so hard you’ll hiv three Adam;’s apples..”

    “Carry on sir and have a splendid day on your velocipede.”

    “Away tae fuck ya white coated cunt.”

    Almost right, but they dinnae use the word ‘ken’ in Paisley / Glasgow, otherwise a probable conversation, aye.

  17. @blackpooltower

    @strathlubnaig Drummond is pure jock by the way. He just works in London. And I’m still laughing from Frank’s innuendous mis-spelling of my handle. Laughing like this: “grrrrrrrrr”

    Ah, I am glad about that. Did he do the talking ? It’s like that old joke, a young lad from Scotland heads to London to start his new job. At Xmas he goes back to Scotlandshire for a visit, and his Pa said “whit dae ye think o’ the English son ?” to which the braw lad o’ pairts replies “Ah dinnae ken, Pa, I only met the Bosses”

  18. Obviously the Keepers need to place the cards for sale so the rest of us may employ them in similar fashion.

  19. @strathlubnaig Haha! Love it. I’ll ask Mrs Blackpooltower about that (a Weegie). Drummond did most of the talking, I did most of the sock measuring. Best bit of all was the security guard at Liverpool St station who we thought was going to give us a hard time. Drummond explained what we’re doing, at which point the guard pointed at a nice Wilier on the racks, saying “that’s my bike … well, it’s my weekday bike anyway. The good one’s back at home”. Strong work.

  20. I wonder how this would go down at #Corrieris café in Stirling on a Saturday afternoon. Might need to outsprint the chasing bunch back up to the Kier.

  21. Is that a LeMan cycle captured in the wild in London that I see?

    I live near a college campus and have to witness horrid bikes in baaaaad shape on a daily basis. Most will have a few thousand dollars in computers/music machines/phones/sunglasses on hand…and be riding a bike with fully unreliable parts that they treat like shite. Makes me sad.

    I also want to know why the folks who convert older road bikes to “fixies” almost universally choose a bicycle that is two sizes two big. Hacked off derailleur hangers and 2 cm of seatpost seem to be the norm.

  22. And nice timing for this.

    I was out this morning on a ride, determined to climb the steepest local summit Pantani-style. Halfway up, as I turned one of the cutbacks (a minor cousin of a switchback), I approached a woman walking her bike up the hill. I slowed to ask if she was okay, then if she was getting all her gears. “That’s the problem.” I slowed and talked to her, the steered her onto a sideroad cut into the climb. She was shifting purely by guessing, having no idea how to send her chain in/out at the front or the back, no clue about FD/RD function. I did my best to help her out, being in my V-jersey. At one point I thought she was going to snap on me. Why are people so averse to even the shortest tutorial on shifting? I’ve had friends, family, and strangers refuse to listen to the basics about shifting, as if it is below them. Maybe drivers/non-cyclists think bike mechanics is below them?

    I sorted her out the best I could, then we finished the rest of the climb together, me offering advice but trying not to be preachy. She calmed down and got it, thanked me, and I wished her luck.

    I was impressed an older woman on a hybrid and in sandals would take on such a challenge but, my gosh. Nothing wrong with figuring out how to shift before taking on such a climb.

  23. @blackpooltower

    @strathlubnaig Drummond is pure jock by the way. He just works in London. And I’m still laughing from Frank’s innuendous mis-spelling of my handle. Laughing like this: “grrrrrrrrr”

    Classic. Perhaps too clever to be an accident..?

    And Drummond? I always wondered what Where’s Wally did for a day job.

  24. the Rules polizia……..great idea.

    Read the teaser last night,going to be a cracking read. Not sure i have ever seen mr Kelly smile though even in retirement.

  25. Fan-fucking-tastic! I wouldn’t have the Jacob’s to do that in Portland.

    (replace “walking” with “riding”).

  26. @scaler911

    In Portland, people would just take their clothes off in protest, and you’d damned well better have a big tub of brain bleach handy.

  27. @frank

    @scaler911

    I think with the US release we need to do one in Seattle, Portland, SFO, and NYC.

    Awesome idea and execution.  I know just the place(s) to do it in NYC if you’re serious.  And I’ve never known you not to be serious. (said in a teenage voice that always turns declarative sentences into questions)

  28. @PeakInTwoYears

    @scaler911

    In Portland, people would just take their clothes off in protest, and you’d damned well better have a big tub of brain bleach handy.

    After our local “World Naked Bike Ride” rolled past my office last week I heard a mother on the sidewalk seizing the teachable moment; “See, that’s why we wear clothes.”

  29. @pistard

    @PeakInTwoYears

    @scaler911

    In Portland, people would just take their clothes off in protest, and you’d damned well better have a big tub of brain bleach handy.

    After our local “World Naked Bike Ride” rolled past my office last week I heard a mother on the sidewalk seizing the teachable moment; “See, that’s why we wear clothes.”

    I am truly, physically laughing out loud.

  30. Well, that’s what I call work on the ground! What’s more it’s a perfect example of fulfilling of the Rule #3

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