Guest Article- When Is a Sticker Not a Sticker?
We are presently in the calm eye of the Spring Classics typhoon. Last weekend the Ronde blew through leaving more questions than answers and now this Sunday, blowing in the opposite French direction with just as much power, Paris-Roubaix. Between storms let us gather our inner cyclist and meditate upon our ancient scrolls of The Rules. These scrolls were found deep in a pain cave, above the River Merckx, by, wait for it, a shepherd, no, a peripatetic innertube repair person.
@Blacktoolpower asks for enlightenment on a question as old as the bike itself.
Every code, every philosophy, has its wrinkles; little contradictions and ambiguities that need solving, fudging, or avoiding with fancy logical footwork.
When The Keepers sit in their robes in the Velominati Star Chamber (they do that, right?) debating whether a ristretto coffee is allowed under Rule #56 or if listening to The Cycling Podcast with one earphone on a long steady ride round the park really contravenes Rule #62, they’re enacting cycling’s equivalent of the great debate in The Name of the Rose. That was the Dominicans versus the Franciscans on the motion “Did Christ, or did He not, own the clothes that He wore?” (translation: who’s more holy, the fatcats or the hobos? You don’t need a vatican tour to figure out who won). These small questions have far reaching implications.
So, here’s one for the Keepers: does appropriate support for my Local Bike Shop (Rule #58) allow me to contravene its adjacent Rule (#57 – No Stickers)?
The first time I had my beautiful titanium Enigma serviced by the always reliable, always friendly London Cycle Workshop, they put a cheeky green sticker on the down tube, saying “maintained with LCW”. Did I ask them to do it? No. Did the green match anything on my … excuse me titanium coloured bike? No. I took it off.
But when I returned a few weeks afterwards, to get my bike in top condition for the Dragon Ride – a hideously long cyclosportive in Wales – they checked everything, tightened some bearings, tuned the mech, pronounced it perfect … and didn’t charge me a penny.
I didn’t take off the sticker that time. Partly out of gratitude, partly because that “with” in the sticker’s wording (rather than “by”) struck me as appropriately respectful.
A bike shop that checks your machine for free and does other generous things like taking the time to explain the thread-count on Vittoria Open Corsas without ever trying to sell them to you and giving you maintenance tips that will result in less income for them … is a noble and life-affirming institution and worth bending a rule for, no?
I await the verdict …