Velominati: You Must Obey

What motivates a Velominatus?  It seems a simple question, but the answer is complicated and gets into various issues that are neither interesting nor compelling.

For me, cycling has been a life-long obsession.  I enjoy any kind of riding.  I enjoy technical, single-track mountain biking, I enjoy riding on dirt roads or wide trails.  I enjoy commuting by bike, and I enjoy riding my bike to the local markets. I love riding an old clunker bike around a city like Amsterdam.  But my heart has always belonged to road cycling.

When I was a kid, my dream was to start a frame-building business.  In my free time, I sketched bicycles – anything from standard road bikes to exotic time trial machines.  I even designed logos for my imagined company, humbly named Strack Cycles.  When not designing frames, the next priority was to dream up the names and kits for the teams Strack Cycles would invariably sponsor.

When time allowed during the Summer months, I would go for multiple training rides per day, some on the road, and some off. Officially a Nordic ski racer, I realized that I had become a cyclist when the shortening of the days as Fall approached was met with dread that the cycling season was coming to a close rather than excitement for the imminent ski season.

Long hours on the road bike were filled with fantasies of being in day-long solo breakaways at the Tour de France; motivation to climb aboard my bike in the rain was eased by imagining I was racing in a Belgian Spring classic.

Such are the motivations of this particular Velominatus.

Then came Velominati.  We've carried on long conversations.  We've established our own vernacular. Most of us are probably on some psychiatric “People of Interest” list.  And, we have our own kit. In addition to bearing the Velominati colors and logos, the kit bears various details that only those of us in the know will appreciate:  the “Obey the Rules” emblem appears in various places, and the right leg of the bibs bear three Rules, referred to only by number and oriented such that they are legible for the wearer.  We modestly believe it to be the most awesomest kit on the planet, ever.

A non-nondescript box greeted me upon my arrival home from work yesterday.  The box bore a simple, handwritten note: “Velominati – You Must Obey”, signalling the arrival of the first order of the Velominati Kit (which leads me to believe the folks at Castelli subscribe to Rules Holism). My hands were shaking as I opened the box and gazed in at the oblique realization of a lifelong dream.

With that, I present the Velominati kit, made by Castelli and designed by KRX-10. We'll be placing more orders throughout the year, so just drop us a line if you'd like to put the whole Rule #17 issue to bed and fly the Velominati colors.

UPDATE: I have updated the set of photos in the post to more accurately reflect the colors of the actual kit.  The kit is black, and in no way brownish or purple, as some of the photos appear to be.

[dmalbum path=”/ Galleries/[email protected]/Velominati Kit Arrival/”/]

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66 Replies to “Velominati: You Must Obey”

  1. @Dan O

    Thanks, man! We’re really pleased with how it turned out. For the time being it’s $90 US for the jersey and $175 for the bibs, but those prices are subject to change.

    We are using the top of the line Castelli stuff (that Cervelo TestTeam is using), which retails for $130 for the jersey and $230 for the bibs; in that light, it’s a good deal.

  2. Oh hell yes! Bring it, send it, show me da love! Frank, I say again, you are a mad genius and this is more proof.
    And Respect to KRX10, graphic designer extraordinair. Why didn’t I buy two kits? Why?
    Tour du Blast, look out.

  3. @frank
    ignoring the kit side of things, this post deals with the essence of who we are so I’ll reply to it when I have the time to give it the consideration it deserves.

  4. Oh Jaysus Frank watching that slide show was like having sex but it won’t end til I open up my own box of Kit!

    Great job! Both to you, KRX10 and the vaunted Velominatus for the inspiration, the love and the brilliance.

    Now I will have to peak sooner so that I can be the representative of the the Keepers that I truly want to be! Rule #5!!

  5. I’ve had time to re-read, digest and think about the article and @frank, there is nothing that you haven’t covered about my own life and cycling obsession – although I didn’t dream about being a frame-builder and I’ve never been skiing. It is almost identical.

    I find it strange that I’ve never been able to connect with PRO MTBing as I can with road-racing.

    One day I will be able to own a Velominati jersey, but just not this moment in time.

  6. @Rob, @john
    They are even more awesome than the pictures and the design hinted at. They are all in the mail. Their arrival is imminent.

    For the record, some of the pictures make it look like the kit might have a purple tint to it; it is black, baby. Well, almost. It’s very, very dark gray. The same color as the the dark banners and buttons on the site. In fact, all the colors are based on the site’s design.

  7. @Jarvis
    Despite some really cool years in racing – like the NORBA years with Julie Furtado, John Tomac, and Ned Overend, I’m with you completely on this: it’s just hard to get into mountain bike racing.

    I think a big part of that is the rich history, tradition, and mythology that surrounds road cycling. Mountain Biking just doesn’t have that same je ne c’est quoi.

  8. @frank I don’t think the money disappearing from MTBing around the turn of the century and the loss of the MTB teams makes it harder to form an allegiance with riders. Somehow teams help with that, you add team rivalry to individual one-on-one.

    Besides, XC racing is so dull to watch on TV, as bad a time-trial.

  9. So, last night’s conversation in our household goes something like this:

    Wife: I bought something a little bad today.
    Me (alarmed): Oh? What?
    Wife (with guilty look on face): More shoes.
    Me (increasingly alarmed): Like you need more shoes! What type?
    Wife (laughing): These. (Holds up pair of bright pink patent leather knee high boots.)
    Me (after recoeving my poise): WTF?!
    Wife: (Laughs)
    Me: Well in that case I’m going to buy something too.
    Wife (alarmed): Oh? What?
    Me (with guilty look on face): More bike kit.
    Wife (increasingly alarmed): Like you need more bike kit! What type?
    Me (laughing): Velominati kit.
    Wife: WTF?!
    Me: At least it’s not pink.

    Will get an order off to you shortly, Frank.

  10. I’m looking to scrape up the dough for the official Velominati jersey. I dig it.

    I think many of us have dreamed of building frames. For me, the pieces of the puzzle started forming early – before the notion even entered my defective head. In school, I took drafting and pre-engineering classes, plus many metal shop and welding classes. Then add in gear head motorcycle and car stuff, finally topped off with a few bike shop years, a few zillion miles of riding, and the insane amount of bicycle related reading and research. And with all that, I never attempted to build a frame. I’d dig taking a frame building course someday.

    My thinking over the last few years has changed however. My dream (one of many) still revolves around starting a bike company. However I won’t be manning the torch. Like oh so many companies today, I’d contract out my design to be manufactured elsewhere. Look how Hampsten does it:

    Other option would be off-shore, like most other places. Same soul as the one man or small US shop? No. Still super quality, low production frames? Yes. Unless you really, really like metal work – which frame building is – be more fun on the marketing/design side. No?

    As for mountain bike XC racing – for sure, the old school NORBA days were the best. I followed all of it back then, it was a cool era. The big sponsor XC days appear to be over. As far as boring to watch, that’s all in the eye of the beholder.

    A few XC related DVDs worth checking out are 24 Solo, Off Road to Athens, and Race Across the Sky. All do a pretty cool job of documenting XC racing without being boring. I am biased though, XC mountain biking is still super cool to me.

    Once again, gentleman – cool blog and feedback from all.

  11. On TV, I also prefer to watch road racing. Live, I think XC MTB might have the edge. It certainly did the day Paola Pezzo came to Wellington in the early 90’s and won the World Cup race around our favourite tracks on Mt Victoria. Though that may have had more to do with Paola (and her gold lyrcra shorts) than the racing.

  12. @Geof

    Way to take the Velominati kit exclusivity from me in Welly!

    The World Cup on Mt Vic was 98. It was also Cadel’s first WC win. A mate of mine was his mechanic, and we got his used Diamond Back bikes at the end of the season to use or sell. There’s still one kicking around in Newcastle.

    I had one of his T-shirts too, with ‘CE’ in marker pen on the label… it was a SRAM ESP Grip Shift shirt, pretty cool… ended up as rags.

  13. @Geof
    Kudos on the very wiley domestic tactics that scored the new kit! I am using the old chestnut of “Oh look what came today – you remember I ordered it last winter?” It may be a cool start to a hot summer.

  14. @brett
    OK. Thanks. That way I won;t breach Rule #58.

    Was the ’98 WC the second time they’d run it here or the first? The one I was thinking of, when Paola raced, was the first one they held here. We hired a couple of pro DHers to take some of us and some clients who were MTBers around the course. The DHers brought spot prizes. We asked them to only give them to our clients. But they gave me the best one – a new helmet – for my “endo with three metre fall and half twist onto waiting instructor not quick enough to get out of the way”, which I completed (with all the grace of a dead chook) on the chute which dropped into the Velodrome. Then a few days later I watched all the pros ride the chute effortlessly at pace and in the wet. I realised then that I could never date Paola.

  15. Just got back from a three day work stint (the sea kayakers kit is now where near as rad as this). those pics must live forever. good work frank, KRX-10 and velominati in the kit design and making it happen. i’m checking the mailbox daily.
    the colour palette is really gonna be sweet with the new tatoo. hell ya.

  16. Okay, Paola may be gone. But we now have Emily Batty – oh my.

    I attended a NORBA national in the ’90s at Spokane, WA. I don’t remember the exact year at the moment – brain fade. All the big name XC racers in the flesh and dust. I even got meet Julie Furtado – cool, eh?

    I big fan of seeing girls race and ride well. Not in the sexist sense, well – there is an element of that – but for the fact that it’s just damn cool. Woman mountain bike and ‘cross racers? Man, that’s awesome. We need more of ’em.

  17. @Dan O
    “I big fan of seeing girls race and ride well. Not in the sexist sense.” I’m a big fan of seeing girls race and ride well just in the sexist sense.

  18. @Dan O, @david

    Amen, brothers. I watched my woman drop me handily today, mashing a massive gear up the Sea-to-Sky climb on our route, resplendit in her new Velominati kit. Let me say it wasn’t a bad view…

    There are so many awesome chick racers, I wish there was more coverage. I mean, Nicole Cooke is a TOUGH BITCH. Chick fucking lives in the big ring. She rode the whole Olympic Road Race in her 53×11. She pops 15T cogs in the toaster in the morning, spreads on some fucking Dumonde Tech for flavor and eats that shit for breakfast.

    I would love to see more women’s racing coverage. And they look way hotter in Spandex than a bunch of sweaty dudes.

    And David, to quote Nigel Tufnel, “What’s wrong with being sexy?”

  19. @frank no doubting Nicole is tough, but she does not apply herself well to The Rules. No style. At 15/16 she would be out in winter in shorts and arm warmers, but she’d still be there in the last group with the a handful of Elite men at the end of a 160km training ride.

  20. Marko, really? A Velominati tattoo? You know that shit doesn’t rub off, right?

  21. I can envision Brett with his girlfriend as the relationship “gets serious”.

    ShopGirl347: So Breeeeeeeeeettttt? We’re getting serious right?
    Brett: Crykie! Sure thing, mate! I haven’t laughed in ages! Put another shrimp on the barbie!
    ShopGirl347: That’s not the kind of “serious” I mean. What do you think of getting married?
    Brett [cross-eyed]: Say again?
    ShopGirl347: Are we gonna get married some day?
    Brett: You know that shit is for ever, right?
    ShopGirl347: Buh-bye.
    Brett: Now, where’s my Bowie Knife?

  22. Marko – images? Might have to change my thoughts on tats. Whooa I was writing that as you posted!! Knarly (now), how big?

    Frank, and all, I have been having nervous thoughts about being a representative of Velominati now that the kit is real. Can you please help with replies to the questions? I know this sounds a total lack of #5 but it is just stage fright (lets face it racing is 1/10th psyching) and while the kit definitely does not need explaining I do feel the need for quick pithy Velominati ripostes.

    Actually I would love to have some cards printed because there have been times in the past month where I ride with some stranger, who is in the grove and the verbal heads up about the V. is often met with confusion. Now the kit is going to up that and a card would negate the useless chitchat.

    I stand ready for a total ripping on this one but my strength is on the bike not talking about it…

  23. Today is the DAY!

    Frank and all, It is here The New Kit, Stunning! The best of all is that it makes me look thin!!! This will mean that I will be peaking in a month.

    For all those out there whose old kit has too many holes (hopefully from race crashes) or who no longer ride for a team (hopefully not because of drugs) this is THE Kit you will want.

  24. That is one beautifully designed and rendered kit. Is there an application form to determine whether prospective orders are worthy of this? The big task will be persuading the missus…

  25. P.S. I don’t fing (how slow am I??) believe it, I just got the “frozen potatoes” ho, ho. so focused on the Kit that I missed the box.

    New term in the lexicon for now you will be “climbing like an eagle” to completely confuse the competition?

  26. @Rob

    Don’t feel bad. I didn’t see the frozen potatoes box until this morning either and I’m usually the master of picking out obscure details in pics.

    and by the by, I whole heartedly support your velominati card idea for the exact same reasons you mention.

  27. Rob :@SteampunkGo with Geof’s technique – timing is everything.

    That never works in our house; she’s way too smart for that. This is going to be tricky.

  28. Rob :I know this sounds a total lack of #5 but it is just stage fright (lets face it racing is 1/10th psyching) and while the kit definitely does not need explaining I do feel the need for quick pithy Velominati ripostes.

    I have been wondering the same type of thing – what do I do when someone says “Why do you have “Obey The Rules”” on your bumper? Are you a cop?” I have reached the tentative conclusion that the only appropriate Velominati riposte is to quote a rule at them. For example, some people might deserve a simple recitation of Rule #5. Others (such as those who look bigger and/or more heavily armed than me) might best be directed towards something a bit less confrontational – perhaps Rule #4. Those who have obviously recently injested a heavy dose of recreational pharmaceuticals can be directed to one of the other rules, chosen at random, on which they can trip for the next hour or so. Etc. This seems to me to be consistent with the Velominati ethos – at least, for those of us who are Rule Holists. The Cognoscenti will, presumably, restrict themselves to repeating Rule #5 – the greater size and/or weaponry of their interlocutor merely underscoring how seriously they take it. But I am still new to all of this, and possibly those with more experience will have a more informed view.

  29. @all
    So, are we thinking we should be doing business cards for Velominati? I similar idea occurred to me, so also drop a pile off at bike shops etc. But while riding? Are you going to hand out sweaty cards? I like the idea. Maybe just carry them in a ziploc baggie?

    I am bracing myself for what David and Jarvis will have to say on this.

  30. @Marko
    Thanks for making me feel better and to top it off I misquoted myself:

    “New term in the lexicon for now you will be “climbing like an eagle” to completely confuse the competition?”

    Should have read:
    “New term in the lexicon: You will be climbing like a “frozen potato!” for you will be “climbing like an eagle” to completely confuse the competition?”

    On the card thing if the committees approve how about just “Obey the Rules” and a web address?

  31. @Rob, @Marko
    I took the box inside, unpacked it, put on one of the kits, had Michelle photograph me, packed and shipped all the kits, wrote the article, and posted the photos all without ever, once, noticing the frozen potatoes.

    Not until Timo made the comment did I notice.

    So none of you feel bad on that.

  32. @frank See above – I think my plan when I wear the kit (by the way never on “Sweet Pea”) is to bury the competition so there are no Questions!

  33. Okay, so I’ve been mulling over this card idea. It’s pretty important to me because of this new v-cog tattoo of mine. I’ve gotten a couple questions on it and have realized that telling people it’s a cycling blog I contribute to just isn’t enough. I ,of course, know it’s much more than that as do you all. We are not a blog or just a group of cyclists. We are the velominati. So to this end, I’ve decided I will give the following the answer when asked about the new tat. Of course, it’ll work well for the kit too:

    A velominatus is a cycling disciple of the highest order. We spend our days pouring over the very essence of what makes cycling such a special sport and how that essence fits into cycling’s colorful fabric. This is the Velominati’s raison d’être. This is our agony – our badge of honor – our sin. There is a blog but the road is where the Velominati can be themselves.

  34. @Marko
    Amen to that. I would only suggest adding an optional final sentence, to be used only where it appears needed, along the lines of “Now – HTFU and ride.”

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