On the Rivet

I’m proud to declare that I am fluent in three languages: Hyperbole, Dutch, and English. All of them rubbish. The language of the peloton is, by and large, the most beautiful and expressive in French and Italian, which already make anything sound sexy. But they really excel in le langage du peloton: Sur la plaqueLa Volupte, Grinta, La Fringale – each of those smash their English translations with pure linguistic voluptuousness.

The exception is, of course, the term “on the rivet”. Don’t ask my why we all slide forward on our saddles when we’re riding hard, but we all do. Slip your saddle forward a bit to accommodate the forward position, and you’ll still slip forward once you start laying down The Five. It’s one of life’s great mysteries, alongside gravity and how the frosting got inside the twinkies.

Saddles used to have a rivet on the front, to hold the the crotch-numbing slab of leather in place because Cycling saddles at the time were modelled after Western horse saddles. And whenever you were well and truly on your limit, you’d have your rump precariously perched right over that brass nubbin. Hence the term, on the rivet.

To kindly demonstrate the point, no one does “On the Rivet” better than former Manchester DC legend, Pete Five Face Boydell. Even his saddle is having a shit.

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94 Replies to “On the Rivet”

  1. its phycological. I have noticed for some reason that when I’m trying to pedal extra hard, I slide back. I have always been odd.

  2. Impressive use of the elbows to get hunkered down into V-locus position…one wonders why he didn’t just drop his stem…a foot or two…

  3. True!  Forward when pushing hard at high cadence.  Rearward when tired and grinding hard up steep grade.

    Have to wonder how many Velominati are actually are on rivets when riding on the rivet.  Pretty heavy saddles.  I ride a Brooks C17, but thats because it simply fits and is unaffected by water/sweat.

  4. Great shot. Single ring, single DT shift lever, high flange hubs, no rubber hoods on the levers, pump, and a sewup under the saddle. And he is killing it!!

  5. @Chipomarc

    @freddy

    …and this was before Strava, right?

    Then what would be the point of hammering like that?

    If we could zoom out of the frame we might know who else is on the rivet–or maybe he’s going against the clock.

  6. I’ve got a Brooks C17 on one of my bikes. I reckon the future involves making that “all, and a spare for when I have a test bike”

  7. Where do I start:

    He’s got a single chainring because he’s in a time trial (run under RTTC rules) although some might say it’s because he’s on a Merlin frame which comes from Leeds which is in Yorkshire and we know that they don’t spend money frivolously up there. He’s got the handlebar stem and saddle almost level because thats what was the rule laid down by Ron Kitchen’s catalogue and handbook! It’s a tub (derivation – Tubular) not sew up!

    Bet the photo was taken by Bernard Thompson! Guess who got out off bed the wrong side this morning?

  8. And note the stopwatch on the bars. This is a wonderful photo isn’t it. I remember those Sunday mornings of pain before we discovered the right way – riding together hurting each other.

  9. I think he’s ‘on the rivet’ in an effort to lighten the front wheel so as those fucking forks do not just snap off.

  10. @Wingnuts

    Where do I start:

    He’s got a single chainring because he’s in a time trial (run under RTTC rules) although some might say it’s because he’s on a Merlin frame which comes from Leeds which is in Yorkshire and we know that they don’t spend money frivolously up there. He’s got the handlebar stem and saddle almost level because thats what was the rule laid down by Ron Kitchen’s catalogue and handbook! It’s a tub (derivation – Tubular) not sew up!

    Bet the photo was taken by Bernard Thompson! Guess who got out off bed the wrong side this morning?

    Spot. On. You’re a kindred spirit. Look at the brakes too. Likely the cheapest, flimsiest alloy brakes he could buy that would get him past the time-keeper and commissaire.

    Those shorts are wool, with a crap chamois in them offing no padding/protection against the rivet that is burrowing into his crotch.

    I don’t know how far the TT is that he’s riding – maybe a 10 or a 25 hence no bottle. I do know that if it’s a 10 he’ll be close to 20 minutes and if it’s a 25 he’ll be way under the hour. Cycling is way more pop[ular in the UK now than it was in the 70s and 80, but those were glory years for the TT scene.

  11. @wiscot

    @Wingnuts

    This post inspired me to google Bernard Thompson’s photos – there are some gems. Made me feel nostalgic for the old UK TT scene even though I wasn’t born. Anyway, my favourite photograph of the ones I’ve seen today is this beauty.

  12. Funny you should choose that pic – we were just discussing hill climb TTs the other day! That pic will be from the mid 80s I reckon. A Manchester Wheeler rider has just finished, utterly spent, and there are folks there to catch him as he’s riding fixed and his feet are firmly strapped in. Notice how the bike is as light as possible with only a front brake. He must have been a pretty good rider too – at #70 (if it was a full field of 120) then he would be the #5th ranked rider starting. The favorite would have gone off last at #120.

  13. @Wingnuts

    Call it a tub all you want, but on my side of the Atlantic they have been sewups since I started gluing them with that damn red shit in 1984.

  14. Great shot — I know he’s hurting, but I can almost hear a, “yaaaaaahoooooooooooooo!” He knows he’s fast. When I’m riding hard I look like I’m about to punch someone, more great white than whale shark. 

    In terms of shifting about on the saddle, I notice that I slide forward when I am on the hoods and lowering my upper body to go for it on the flat, but then slide back when I’m really working a climb, whether my hands are on the hoods or the tops. 

  15. Fucking awesome photo @frank.

    I had a look around on googel to see if I could find out a bit more about Mr Boydell, not much going on there (I’ll see if my old sensei Mr Cammish can come up with) but I did find this.

    Despite having the sort of beard usual reserved for religious nutter and sex pests, this chap was obviously capable of laying down so much V that his bars needed reinforcement.

    Another weird single ring subset of British cycling, a hill climber this time not a tester.

  16. @chris

    Fucking awesome photo @frank.

    I had a look around on googel to see if I could find out a bit more about Mr Boydell, not much going on there (I’ll see if my old sensei Mr Cammish can come up with) but I did find this.

    Despite having the sort of beard usual reserved for religious nutter and sex pests, this chap was obviously capable of laying down so much V that his bars needed reinforcement.

    Another weird single ring subset of British cycling, a hill climber this time not a tester.

    But scope that head tube Lugg!

  17. @Oli

    @freddy

    He’s “testing”, for sure. You can see his stopwatch on his handlebars.

    He’s also using a psychological technique that always worked pretty well for me: look that stopwatch straight-on, and yell “say ‘tick’ again, motherfucker! Go ahead, I DARE you!”

  18. @RobSandy

    @freddy

    …and this was before Strava, right?

    Have to say this, with no disrespect to RobSandy, but if it’s on Strava, I really don’t give a fuck! Strava’s just another enabler of smart phone addiction.

  19. @Matt

    @chris

    Fucking awesome photo @frank.

    I had a look around on googel to see if I could find out a bit more about Mr Boydell, not much going on there (I’ll see if my old sensei Mr Cammish can come up with) but I did find this.

    Despite having the sort of beard usual reserved for religious nutter and sex pests, this chap was obviously capable of laying down so much V that his bars needed reinforcement.

    Another weird single ring subset of British cycling, a hill climber this time not a tester.

    But scope that head tube Lugg!

    I’m sure it’s likely a handmade steel frame. I think the struts are there to provide some kind of stability/security for the stem. The expander bolt can’t be in that headtube by much!

    No socks = mo faster. Fact.

  20. @wiscot

    @RobSandy

    @freddy

    …and this was before Strava, right?

    Have to say this, with no disrespect to RobSandy, but if it’s on Strava, I really don’t give a fuck! Strava’s just another enabler of smart phone addiction.

    Amen brother (ironically typed on my cell phone…)

  21. @Ccos

    @wiscot

    @RobSandy

    @freddy

    …and this was before Strava, right?

    Have to say this, with no disrespect to RobSandy, but if it’s on Strava, I really don’t give a fuck! Strava’s just another enabler of smart phone addiction.

    Amen brother (ironically typed on my cell phone…)

    meh, the guy’s got a watch on his bars, there’s a bloke with a clipboard at the finish recording times, same thing.

  22. @wiscot

    @RobSandy

    @freddy

    …and this was before Strava, right?

    Have to say this, with no disrespect to RobSandy, but if it’s on Strava, I really don’t give a fuck! Strava’s just another enabler of smart phone addiction.

    Agree.  I gave up strava over a year ago.

    There is something about strava and so many of these newbie road riders out there now that just grates on me.

    In fact I’ve stopped waving or even smiling at a passing rider that doesn’t look proper.

  23. @piwakawaka

    @Ccos

    @wiscot

    @RobSandy

    @freddy

    …and this was before Strava, right?

    Have to say this, with no disrespect to RobSandy, but if it’s on Strava, I really don’t give a fuck! Strava’s just another enabler of smart phone addiction.

    Amen brother (ironically typed on my cell phone…)

    meh, the guy’s got a watch on his bars, there’s a bloke with a clipboard at the finish recording times, same thing.

    Ooh, valid point, except you’re talking about a race not some random stretch of road and it likely occurred without a narcissist aftertaste.

  24. @Ccos

    @piwakawaka

    @Ccos

    @wiscot

    @RobSandy

    @freddy

    …and this was before Strava, right?

    Have to say this, with no disrespect to RobSandy, but if it’s on Strava, I really don’t give a fuck! Strava’s just another enabler of smart phone addiction.

    Amen brother (ironically typed on my cell phone…)

    meh, the guy’s got a watch on his bars, there’s a bloke with a clipboard at the finish recording times, same thing.

    Ooh, valid point, except you’re talking about a race not some random stretch of road and it likely occurred without a narcissist aftertaste.

    Strava is both very cool and exceptionally annoying. The feed has become nothing more than a list of everyone you follow “joining” whatever challenge was posted that day. And then you’ve got the folks that’ll post every second spent on the bike or walking down the street and do so while attempting a clever title for their activity.

    I love posting races and revisiting with everyone else that was racing. Posting runs in cities I visit enables me to check out the map and get my bearings. Same with some interesting road or mtn bikes rides. And there are times when having a pop at a segment kom can’t be resisted.

  25. @Apex Nadir

    @Apex Nadir

    Oops, that was Maurice “Rocket” Richard. His brother Henri “Pocket Rocket” was born in 1936.

    Looks like he must be some sort of aircraft maintenance tech. ( not that’s there’s anything wrong with that )

  26. @wiscot

    @Matt

    @chris

    Fucking awesome photo @frank.

    I had a look around on googel to see if I could find out a bit more about Mr Boydell, not much going on there (I’ll see if my old sensei Mr Cammish can come up with) but I did find this.

    Despite having the sort of beard usual reserved for religious nutter and sex pests, this chap was obviously capable of laying down so much V that his bars needed reinforcement.

    Another weird single ring subset of British cycling, a hill climber this time not a tester.

    But scope that head tube Lugg!

    I’m sure it’s likely a handmade steel frame. I think the struts are there to provide some kind of stability/security for the stem. The expander bolt can’t be in that headtube by much!

    No socks = mo faster. Fact.

    Mercian Cycles, still in business.

    @Matt

    Lugs look like Nervex Pro.

  27. @wiscot

    @RobSandy

    @freddy

    …and this was before Strava, right?

    Have to say this, with no disrespect to RobSandy, but if it’s on Strava, I really don’t give a fuck! Strava’s just another enabler of smart phone addiction.

    I’m sorry to have started the Strava debate again. Couldn’t resist. I don’t even have a smartphone! And find Strava very useful for recording training data, and also staying motivated by checking out what my mates have been up to on the bike.

  28. @Chipomarc

    In fact I’ve stopped waving or even smiling at a passing rider that doesn’t look proper.

    Got the same inclination, however am I then not violating Rule #43 or miss out on an opportunity to elaborate on Rule #3?

  29. @Apex Nadir

    what a legend that guy is! the adversity he faced because he was french canadian is insane. there is a great movie from canada about him.

    <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/TkcFx1p4-Cg” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

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