Breaking the Rules: 33

There’s been a lot of talk around these parts lately, a lot of strange, crazy talk. Grown men discussing their weight and height and BMI, discussing how sensitive we are to the offence caused by the terms with which we describe our female riding (and life) partners, grown men talking about other stuff that probably isn’t anywhere near as sensitive as those other things, but makes me wonder what the hell we are on about anyway.

I’d even labelled those community members who were actively discussing their weight/height as “ladies”, in what could be interpreted as a somewhat derogatory manner, although intended only in jest. It was suggested that the term Velomihottie be replaced (yet ultimately joined) by the more PC term Velominata. I was a walking contradiction, a hypocrite, and calling into question my very own values. Was I a SNAG, or a Caring Understanding Nineties Type?

I had ever more questions in my internal dialogue; “Are we not men?” (Or are we DEVO?) Someone posed that the term hardman also be put up for review, while others actually used that very term to describe Jeannie Longo, a Velominata hard enough to kick our collective sorry asses, even at 50 odd years old. While all this was going on, it led me to question my own interpretations and deployment of The Rules, and what, if indeed anything, they meant to me, and how ultimately some Rules are open to broader interpretation than others, with even some latitude for bending or breaking them completely.

I’ve had plenty of time to ruminate on them too, with nary a leg (I refuse to refer to my pins as ‘guns’) thrown over a top tube in anger, or a half-hearted attempt at anger, for over two weeks due to the typical cyclists gamut of excuses;  flu, work, social calender, weather, all conspiring against my attempts to resemble someone who was once passable as a ‘cyclist’. The will to get on the bike was still present, but the unstoppable river of snot and green lung nuggets said otherwise. As my knives (the natural antithesis of guns, kind of like bringing a knife to a gunfight) atrophied and became more like butter spreaders than machetes, long-forgotten hair started to reappear on them like lichen growing on old, rotting, fallen tree limbs. Others started to notice, and soon comments like “what the fuck is going on there?” became more frequent, and less welcome. A slew of excuses such as “I’m cultivating the forest so I can fell it” held my tormentors at bay for a short while, but ten days on and with the potential for leg dreadlocks becoming more than a weird premonition, they remained bushy and free from the sting of hot wax or the cold comfort of Baxter and a steel blade.

Now they have finally been waxed, well, at least to the tan line (a pathetic effort at Rule #7 over the summer too, if we are being totally frank, which for some unknown reason, I am). Do you have any idea how long a self waxing takes? Three frikkin days, that’s how long. Yep, half a leg at a time, well a quarter done in each sitting anyway. But what to do if you really have to get on the bike when the opportunity arises, and you aren’t exactly smooth as a baby’s bum? You suck it up and hope no-one gets close enough to realise you are half-man half-spider. And while riding with smooth calves and hairy thighs may sound like not too much of a problem, let me tell you, it certainly elicits some strange glances, even stares. But now, as I sit here a week after the waxing idea was first brought to fruition, I’m back to full smooth. And you know what? Even though I may not perform like one, I actually feel like a rider again.

What does it all mean to you, besides sweet FA? The Rules are there to be obeyed, yes, but they are also open to some bending (I’m not gonna tell Thor that he can’t run a saddlebag, are you?). Does it matter if you’re a hairy hippy douchebag? No. But it’s not exactly desirable either. And f you are dishing out The V on a regular basis, be it to others or merely yourself, then Do What Thou Wilt shall be the whole of The Rules.

Related Posts

73 Replies to “Breaking the Rules: 33”

  1. Nice one, Brett!

    Would be pretty damn funny to see a half cyclist, half spider some day when out on a ride.

    I like this a lot. Some of The Rules are clearly very, very important. Others, well, I think there is some room for personal maneuvering. Let Thor do as he pleases is right.

    Despite possible Rules violations, I think it is pretty easy to discern a Follower out on the road, even in that instant when you come around a bend in the road, spot someone turning the cranks going the other way but are able to say in your mind as you continue on, “Yep, there goes one…” Just as much as one must outwardly manifest Casual Deliberateness, one must also radiate a beam of inner harmony when on the machine.

  2. As long as you obey the V, many of the others can be treated as…well…guidelines? For example. Yesterday, I had apple crumble and a piece of toast for lunch, then went out in the evening and rode up hills, in the dark, in the cold, until midnight. All that with my beardy hippy, Zabriskie legs.
    This morning, I’ve eaten 2 sausages, a side of Bacon and a vat of strong black coffee. I am feeling quite extremely potent. At lunch I will go to the pub and consume multiple pints of beer. Tomorrow, I’ll go for another ride.

  3. I kind of thought The Rules were like a goal, an aspiration, a description of cyclist perfection. We all follow most of them, but don’t always follow all of them. Following all of them is kind of like reaching cycling enlightenment, right? While we all have it in our inner nature to follow all the rules, and reach that state of cycling perfection, it is not easy and is accomplished by only a few. But we all have the perfect cycling nature inherent in each of us if we can just discover it and bring it out. And we can all exhibit many or most of the qualities of a velominatus at all times, which is what it is all about.

    Yes, this line of thinking has a direct correlation with Buddhist thought. But that is certainly no accident. Because The Rules are in fact the path to Cycling Enlightment.

  4. @ il ciclista medio – Custard. Spot on. For shame, I think I had a spoon of greek yoghurt with it instead. Nobody’s perfect… ;)

  5. It’s takes a complete and total embrace of the rules….. to even begin to know how to break them.

    *Unruly* Hippy wanker junk,wouldn’t even know what a rule *is* ;)

    Rock on Brothers

  6. Edit: It takes a complete and total embrace….. and shaping of one’s self… by the rules….. before one would even know where to begin to break them.

  7. Isn’t there an old saying that one should follow the rules, until it is time to break the rules?

    Follow the biggies, enforce them even when not in compliance, and firmly plant tongue in cheek, except when consuming post ride ‘beverage’…

  8. It encourages me to hear that you’ve taken some liberty with the rules, Brett. Smooth calves and hairy thighs sounds close to a fashion I’m considering, namely leaving a small band of thicket around the knee.

    It would provide extra insulation where it’s needed most. And finding the right razor angle to traverse that complex surface requires more trigonometry than I’m comfortable with. Hot wax sounds painful.

  9. waxing? yowza.. just slap some Nair on those bad boys and be back to sparkly in no time..

  10. @Joe

    I envy you right now.

    @Il buccaneero

    I like your train of thought. Only through following all the rules will one reach true enlightenment, Buddha style. I guess once you reach that point you’ll know what nirvana is like.

  11. @ Steampunk – Ha, yes, spiders do climb well. Really well for their weight.

    @ many – I think that is the key – Rule V all the time, other Rules as best we can. Maybe that is why I/we ride daily, to chase the impossible dream of attaining complete compliance with all The Rules.

    We get out of bed each day and swing our leg over the top tube to work on full compliance. That is what keeps us going. Oh, and cycling makes us pretty damn happy.

  12. All I can say on that is
    when I shave my legs I always whistle Rory Gallagher old tunes
    it’s my ritual to remember beautiful past rides.

    Great article Brett!

  13. I can smell the cognitive dissonance and the justifications eminating from my laptop. It’s all too much.

    May Merckx have mercy on your souls.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make myself a root beer float and a bacon burger with extra cheese and maybe some chili.

  14. There is an old saying

    “Rules are for the guidance of the wise and blind adherence of fools.”

    I use the rules when people ask me questions, like “why don’t you do a triathalon”

    “Oh that would be against the rules you know”

    And every time I get on my bike I break the rules in some way, I ride with mtb shoes on a racer, I listen to music when I ride by my self, I try, but my tan lines are not razor sharp. I am sure that we all break the rules, but it is having rules that can be broken that makes the rules fun.

  15. @Jeff in PetroMetro

    Wow, black order! Nice job.

    If you’re using a Windows system, if you open the Character Map it’ll give you keystroke info for all manner of character sets. You can also copy and paste them.

    If you’re on a Mac, well… I don’t know. Sorry.

  16. This entire thread is a gross Violation of Rule #2.

    And all of you who advocate Rule breaking are in violation of Rule #3.

    Both of which violate Rule #1

    And to think a Keeper would instigate this; I’m appalled. Boy Oh Boy is Frank going to be pissed when he gets back. He’ll probably shit an umlaut.

    I’m outta here!

  17. @mcsqueak
    Thank you. And thank you. Yes, I’m on Windows and now I feel much smarter. I never have anything to write with foreign characters, but now I can find them.

    Gracias!

  18. Fully Rule compliant here at Mt Zoncolan, ‘cept the legs. Always been a hairy douche, aint never gonna change. I like the abuse from the rest of the chaingang tbh.

    As long as rule adhereance puts us above the snooty Road Clubs who THINK they are velominati then i say A-Merckx to them all. I however reserve the right to adapt rules as circumstance/cognitive ability/gradient allow.

    Now off to commune with Butterflies, but look PRO doing it.

  19. I shaved my legs up to my knees. no one has noticed thats what little hair I have anyway.

  20. @sgt

    The keepers seem to instigate a lot of rule violating when Frank isn’t here to oversee things. It’s like kids when they first get left alone during summer break, they somehow discover their father’s Playboy collection, cigarettes, all that.

  21. If I buy a Mac, does it come with one of those black mock turtleneck sweaters?

  22. “hair started to reappear on them like lichen growing on old, rotting, fallen tree limbs”

    I’m never going to look at you the same.

  23. mcsqueak :
    @sgt
    The keepers seem to instigate a lot of rule violating when Frank isn’t here to oversee things. It’s like kids when they first get left alone during summer break, they somehow discover their father’s Velo collection, cigarettes, all that.

    fixed

  24. sgt:
    This entire thread is a gross Violation of Rule #2.
    And all of you who advocate Rule breaking are in violation of Rule #3.
    Both of which violate Rule #1
    And to think a Keeper would instigate this; I’m appalled. Boy Oh Boy is Frank going to be pissed when he gets back. He’ll probably shit an umlaut.
    I’m outta here!

    Holy shit, I’m outta here too! I’ll meet you in Cuba, Sarge…

  25. Ron:
    @ Steampunk – Ha, yes, spiders do climb well. Really well for their weight.

    Really? If I weighed 25 grams and had eight legs? Wow! I’d be hooking up with Pinarello’s custom octo-crankset and lapping Alpe d’uez before breakfast.

  26. Wait – that would be the hexo crankset right? Just getting used to imagining a spider climbing and forgetting the bars…

  27. So Klöden won at P-N today. I’m not a fan of Radio Shack, but maybe someone can convince me to get behind Klöden.

    Merckx, look at my prolific use of the umlaut!

  28. @sgt
    Chapeau for the 1st image. A timeless classic.

    Where’s the blood bag in the 2nd? Just curious.

  29. @sgt

    The shot inside of the T-Mobile bus is probably one of my all-time favorite cycling images. I’m glad that the Velominati brought it to my attention with that article last year.

  30. I do think that going out of your way to follow some rules makes up for some indiscretions. Last week I didn’t get to ride all week, but it was raining Friday afternoon and I skipped out of work anyway to ride just so I could get some of that badass feeling. And it worked big time. I got in 7 hours on the bike in 3 days and hung with the big boys on the long Saturday group ride. I’m quite certain those three solid days of riding were karma for getting my ass out there in the rain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.