Guest Article: Breaking the Rules- A Note on Rule #50
I have no dog in this fight but @Henrik does. I can’t swim in the serious ‘stache growing gene pool. And yes, it’s already Vajanuary, we left Mo’vember with nary a nod, why, because it’s stupid. Rule #50 could have included having the last name Freuler and wearing the prison stripped Atala kit as the second exception for facial hair, for he was a stud. I could be accused of putting too many photos of him on this site already and to that, I would plead happily guilty.
Personally I consider myself an enforcer of The Rules constantly (though admittedly with at least an effort of subtlety) correcting friends and family over issues such as how to wear their shades, sock length, or the the dreaded long-tights-short-sleeves-combination. However, complete compliance with The Rules is hard. I have on several occasions been caught with a premature aero tuck (I defend myself with the need to practice) and back in the day I have also been seen rolling around in unforgivably hi-viz jackets and jerseys.
More recently there is only one Rule that I regularly and willingly break: Rule #50. The no facial hair rule. This Rule states that the only facial hair allowed is a goatee and then only if your name starts with Marco and ends with Pantani. I have neither goatee nor the appropriate name and thus my moustachoid appearance is in clear violation.
But this transgression is not just mindless ignorance, I do have feelings about this Rule. Currently””and admittedly for quite some time””facial hair is a rarity in the pro peloton. There are of course the comedy moustache of Dave Zabriskie (which wasn’t particularly nice looking), Wiggo’s now-shaven sideburns, and the slight and youthful pencil-moustache of Lochlan Morton. Otherwise, it is a rarity (though out of competition ‘staches can be spotted regularly, see the “Movember” article on Cycling Tips). In the history of cycling, and especially in the early days, things were quite different. Maurice Garin had moustache of course, and so did many of his contemporaries. As was pointed out on Velominati, Urs Freuler wore a cyclo-stash proper thoughout his career. One could go on here but I choose not to and instead refer the reader to said article. Although there is a plentitude of historical prejudication to draw from that might instill lenience on the application of this Rule, that is not my point.
I do my best to ride all year around, in direct conflict with the place which I call home. I am a Swede currently living on the windy, and fertile plains of the south. It doesn’t get quite as cold down here as further north, but the weather is hell by any measure you choose. Every winter has snow, albeit to varying degree. Sometimes it lays around for months on end, other winters it will quickly rain away. However, since the temperature often hovers around freezing one usually will often go on rides where part of the route is snowy, part is slushy, and part is just plain wet. The relative lack of forests and flat landscape also does little to stop the winds. The summers are plenty windy but fall and winter is much worse, especially with the frequent storms. The intermediate position of southern Sweden also promises much darkness, there will hardly never be the kind of snow cover that provide some reflective light, but the days are still short, which means a lot of riding in the dark. In the last couple of weeks I have ridden in complete darkness (this is a component in almost every ride), 15 cm of snow, 25m/s winds, 1°C temperatures and relentless rain, and so on. It is impossible to stay warm and dry and one will often come home after a few hours with no sensation in hands and feet. In other words: Rules #5 and #9 comes to mind.
So the point is, one should consider The Rules not as completely set in stone, the different principles can influence one another, and compliance with some Rules can earn you the right to break others. The many hours spent freezing my nuts off, sliding across ice and slush, on dark and windy afternoons have earned me the right to sport a moustache.