New Rule: 52 (Plus a Guest Reverence)

Things are about to get serious…

With the writing of our first book supposedly well underway (but in reality being discussed ad-nauseum in the Boardroom rather than actually committed to text), The Rules have at least been getting some form of attention from The Keepers. When deciding which Rules each of us were to curate, no-one really had much idea what exactly was in there; ask me what Rule #64 is, and I’m giving you a blank stare.

So a list was drawn up, and we found some deadwood hiding away, dry and rotten and ready to be tossed into the fiery cauldron atop Mt Velomis. Yep, time for a burnin’. We get a good number of suggestions for new Rules weekly, some are pure gold, some warrant a sternly-worded rebuttal, but all are usually forgotten quickly as we are just too damned useless to actually commit them to the Canon Of Cycling Etiquette. Which is why this one comes from within our ranks; it’s easier than looking back through dozens of old emails.

Without further ado, we present the newest Rule, slotting in at #52, replacing one that if any of you can recall what it was, then you deserve accolades (or sympathy) for committing such nonsense to memory.

Rule #52 // Drink in Moderation.

Bidons are to be small in size. 500ml maximum, no extra large vessels are to be seen on one’s machine. Two cages can be mounted, but only one bidon on rides under two hours is to be employed. Said solo bidon must be placed in the downtube cage only. You may only ride with a bidon in the rear cage if you have a front bidon, or you just handed your front bidon to a fan at the roadside and you are too busy crushing everyone to move it forward until you take your next drink. Bidons should match each other and preferably your bike and/or kit. The obvious exception is the classic Coca-Cola bidon which by default matches any bike and/or kit due to its heritage. Coca-Cola should only be consumed flat and near the end of a long ride or all-day solo breakaway on the roads of France.

There you have it. Let the discussions/arguments/bitching begin.

In the meantime, nutcase Aussie/esteemed community member @harminator gives us his take on the humble (and definitely small) bidon.

Yours in Cycling,

Brett

REVERENCE: THE BIDON.

The history of cycling is punctuated by technological advancement. Some developments come in giant leaps while others evolve more slowly. Either way, the march of progress is well resourced and never tires. It seems like every second week there’s a new gadget, composite material or design innovation which is absolutely necessary. I mean who could possibly continue to exist without a laser-etched, co2-filled tyre lever forged from West Flandrian unobtanium. Right?

The bidon is the forgotten cousin in the technology family. Back in the day, transporting water away from its source was pure genius. We take it for granted now, but it’s the bidon that makes endurance bike riding possible. Without it we’d be limited to riding around tracks, beside streams or from the billabong to the waterhole. Just imagine the indignity of Moser slurping from a puddle Bear Grylls-style, or a Grand Tour with Evian mountain-top drinks breaks?

But for me, the real fascination of the bidon lies with two paradoxes. Regardez-vous:

The first relates to value. On the surface they seem absolutely critical. The team necessarily commits a couple of riders to work all day on the bottles: Drop back to the car, cram one in every available jersey space, toil back up to the bunch, distribute, repeat. But the bidon itself is worthless in comparison to its contents. To the Pro, it’s a glorified bar wrapper. Drink then discard. For the average Velominatus Budgetatus, the decadence is exhilarating. I can only imagine the moment in a young Pro’s life when he first gets to fling an empty to the side of the road. There must be no clearer sign that you’ve hit the big time.

Further, when the bidon gets tossed aside, it becomes infinitely valuable again. Spectators who go nuts for all the crap thrown out by the caravan have been known to trample their own ailing Grandmothers for the things. They salute as if they’ve won the fucking Stage when they souvenir a grotty piece of cheap plastic dripping with Belgian Toothpaste. In the world of the bike race spectator, the bidon is the ducks nuts.

The second paradox centres on its use. The bidon has become part of the glorious realm of cycling gamesmanship. A rider’s use of the bidon should not give anything away about his or her level of suffering. Many of us have felt the total demoralisation of inhaling wasps, trying to hold on to the group, when the rider in front takes a drink as if they’re sipping a Mojito by the pool. Don’t get played. It’s a standard show of strength and often all bluff. The bottle is probably empty. Conversely, if you’re about to expire from dehydration, it’s critical not to show it by guzzling lustily. You might as well announce that you’re suffering badly and that now would be a good time to attack.

In the world of the amateur group ride, the bidon can be a measuring stick for rider competency. You can tell a lot about a rider by the way they take a drink. When the new guy in the group keeps his eyes ahead, makes a clean pickup, drinks modestly, and re-cages surely, all the while observing Rule #59, you know they’ve got their shit together. But if they throw an empty to the side of the road, prepare to hang tough – things are be about to get very messy.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/[email protected]/bidons/”/]

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300 Replies to “New Rule: 52 (Plus a Guest Reverence)”

  1. Anything over 2 hours, two full-size bidons for sure… this one of the very few rules I break… I’d rather be well hydrated and crushing my opponents than looking good while I’m bonking ;)

  2. @San Tonio

    Is there a rule about these things?

    The Rule… These are forbidden.

    @brett “Do you need to ask? Jesus…” At first glance this read — “Shouldn’t you be asking Jesus?”

  3. @IcemanYVR

    Anything over 2 hours, two full-size bidons for sure… this one of the very few rules I break… I’d rather be Well Hydrated and crushing my opponents than looking good while I’m bonking ;)

    It appears we are at an impasse.

  4. @Oli

    @Ken Ho You don’t seem to get it at all, are you sure you’re even in the right place?

    Just poinitng out a looming violation.

    I’m in the right place when it comes to Rules #5, #9 and #10.  They transcend all other rules.  Besides which, the topic of the article was re-considering the Rules.

    There really only needs to be one rule about Looking Fantasitc.  That would be “Look Fantastic”.

    Master Cyslists, as opposed to “mastur-cyclists” know how to do this.  Now I know that middle aged blokes are infamous for their lack of style. and ability dress like, and I quote Spike Milligan”, “sacks of shit tied up with string” . The other rules could be re-categorised into an advisory section for those lads.

    Me, I always look fantastic.  Would not leave home otherwise, and I don’t need a bunch of style police to know it.

    The rule that is missing from the list is the last rule, the one rule that rules them all.

    The Omega Rule.

    Ride Your BIke.

  5. @frank, @universio

    Well planned and excellent responses. (seriously!)

    How ignorant am I?  Diddn even know there was a Six days race, maybe they named it after me.  (but probably not)

    I be from the Dark Side, a cross-country mountain biker from the part of OZ where there’s no mountains, only searing heat and humidity.  Any bidon less than 750ml is passed to my 2 year old son for liquid nourisment with his tinned spaghetti dinners.

    Maybe my circumstances are different, but I wave my private parts at your new “Rule #52”

    In 35C heat, and 80%+ humidity I’m consuming 1.5lt per hour and still going backwards.  Mrs Days won’t cuddle me until I’ve had three showers.   Camelbak with water, bidon with sweet sugary gunk is the only way.

    Followed by a post ride malted recovery beverage, of course.  (and maybe another).

    GIddy Up.

  6. @Sixdays Google Danny Clark – possibly the best Six Day Rider ever. Certainly the best Six Day Rider-Singer ever.

    And an Australian.

  7. @universio

    @Sixdays Is your post ride malted recovery beverage really FRS?

    Sure, why not?

    Let’s go with “yes” to maintain the illusion

  8. Wow, Danny Clark! Now there’s a blast from the past. A website devoted to everything that is cool about cycling and reveres the hardmen of the road yet here’s a reference to the hardest man of the track, ever! As long as I live, I’ll never forget the greatest display of physical dominance that I have ever seen in any sport, when Danny Clark came off the final bend at the Northcote velodrome in the 1990 Austral Wheelrace (a handicap track race)with riders half way up the straight, threw his hands in the air in the knowledge that he had them covered and flew past them like they were standing still while saluting the crowd’s deafening roar! What a moment! One of the few memories that still gives me goosebumps 22 years later. That was so fucking good! ‘Course, he was an Aussie!

  9. Oh, and Danny knew he was good too. You didn’t even need to ask him to find out how good!

  10. @Sixdays

    Here in Singapore it’s the same story. You just can’t drink enough. Riding for a couple of hours before work sees me toting a bidon to class and usually slipping out a some point to refill during most lessons. Even then, I can usually feel a headache coming about 1pm  on if the hitout was particularly tough.

  11. This rule is a weird one, and it’s hard to see where you’re coming from. I got the food one, despite it being stupid and unpopular, but water too?

    So one bidon for rides under two hours? But ostensibly it’s not about drinking less as, when questioned, you’ve stated you can stop and refill. Fine.

    But two bidons for rides over two hours. Wouldn’t you just stop and refill, like, more?

    Or was the rule written with the intention that it be about drinking less?

  12. Be careful, all this talk of 750ml and two bidons, you drink too much you could wind up like the Belgian cyclist here….

    Van Hoecke

  13. @Blah I think this rule it’s more about the aesthetics of the bike

    than how much we have to drink.

    Have to find a photo of me on the Stelvio Pass with just a bottle in the jersey, that day we climbed it from both side…

  14. While I love this rule in principle… it would never work for me in practice apart from maybe a month a year. It’s mid-October and it was 37 degrees out at 4:30pm when I rolled out to ride today. In that kind of heat, I’m downing at least a bottle an hour.

  15. The Rule is about the size of bidons, not how much you drink. A ride under two hours can be one hour, or 45 minutes, or and hour and a half.

    If you are going out in 35c heat, then you probably should have a couple of litres in you before you go near the bike. And if you’re riding over two hours in that kind of heat, well you’re probably a little bit mad anyway. I know, I’m Australian, I did it for years. And it sucks when in summer you are risking heatstroke by doing something you love (or even leaving an air-conditioned house!). That’s why I moved away from that infernal climate, so I could actually ride in summer.

  16. @brett Well… in that case, does anyone know the capacity of a “clean bottle”? It’s definitely less than a 750ml but seems larger than a 500ml… maybe 600ml? I guess I’m just trying to justify my rule violation!

  17. @brianc I have pondered that too. Underhand is practical for getting that last bit out of the bidon, I find. I kid myself it looks kind of pro too, but I suspect in reality it looks a bit hamster-like.

  18. @Oli

    @Ken Ho I’m riding my bike right now, what are you doing?

    Not to be pissy, but I grovelled my out of work early so I could drive 50km from the epissant little town I’m working in, to the next big town to ride in my first crit.

    It’s spring here, and it’s lovely new track and the ride into the twilight was sublime.   It’s m,y favourite time of the day to ride. I maintained my perfect record as a Carbon Craplet, but had a great time despite that.  I’m using the “I rode 50km solo before work today” as my excuse.  NOw I’m stuffing my face with celebratory noodles.

    I suspect we are on the same page.  I went through the “pulling everything to pieces to maintain pristine perfection” thing with a Ducati 916 for a few years, and TBH, I’m a bit over that.  It’s not that I disrespect The Rules. just that I respect the practical ones more, and the style police ones less.  I have a bit of an eclectic fashion sense and resist attempts to make me conform to a dull middle aged bloke norm.

  19. @motor city

    I like the idea behind that but the proprietary bottles is a killer for me. I’m not usually a Trek guy but the Bontrager RXXXL cages have done well by me… a bit pricey but they hold bottles very well and weigh next to nothing.

  20. @Ken Ho Good on you, I’m all for non-conformist behaviour. I’m just gently mocking, I mean no harm. How did the crit go?

  21. @frank

    @Sixdays

    Indeed, you six day guys have it sorted. No bidons to be seen here. Question, what do you guys have against spokes?

    Ah, not to put too fine  point on it but that’s a match sprinter. 6 day racers use the track version of a deep aero tubular.

    Of course you knew that with your giant freak sized brain of yours up there in that lofty, lofty noggin.

    Erm,

  22. @motor city I’ve heard very little about those but they’ve been universally terrible. Bottle ejection system is a phrase that springs to mind.

    It is a very small sample but that may also be telling.

  23. @Oli

    @Ken Ho Good on you, I’m all for non-conformist behaviour. I’m just gently mocking, I mean no harm. How did the crit go?

    It went well, until I got dropped.  I need to learn to pace myself better.  I took plenty of pulls on the front, tending to hang there for a lap.  I noted another guy on the group barely did a quarter lap, and dropped back as soon as we turned into a headwind, leaving me on the front again.  Never mind, I really enjoyed it.  It was a beautiful ride.

    I have another lined up next week at home and track training begins next Thursday night.  Can’t wait.   I’m just scheming to get a nice Bianchi Pista dropped into the collection.  Luckily my VMH is a magpie and loves Bianchi bikes too, so should not be too hard.  She has a brand new MV Agusta F3 Serie Oro waiting in the shed for her licence to mature, so I have a generation of brownie points to spend.  Of course, no money, but that never stopped me yet.

  24. @pistolfromwarragul

    Wow, Danny Clark! Now there’s a blast from the past. A website devoted to everything that is cool about cycling and reveres the hardmen of the road yet here’s a reference to the hardest man of the track, ever! As long as I live, I’ll never forget the greatest display of physical dominance that I have ever seen in any sport, when Danny Clark came off the final bend at the Northcote velodrome in the 1990 Austral Wheelrace (a handicap track race)with riders half way up the straight, threw his hands in the air in the knowledge that he had them covered and flew past them like they were standing still while saluting the crowd’s deafening roar! What a moment! One of the few memories that still gives me goosebumps 22 years later. That was so fucking good! ‘Course, he was an Aussie!

    I was there too! My jaw dropped to see how DC ripped up Northcote’s concrete! I recall how much he looked like a VB ad guy, takes a swig, throws the leg over and rips the field apart, hops off and down’s a 750ml VB bottle!

  25. When riding with two bottles, upon finishing one, I always rotate the full bottle from the seat tube to the front cage and put the empty one In the back. This OCD behaviour is often ridiculed. During races I have figured out how to do it smoothly by biting down on the mouth piece of the empty bidon to allow quickly swapping over the full bottle To the other cage. I just don’t like drinking from a bottle from the seat tube……

  26. @Adrian

    When riding with two bottles, upon finishing one, I always rotate the full bottle from the seat tube to the front cage and put the empty one In the back. This OCD behaviour is often ridiculed. During races I have figured out how to do it smoothly by biting down on the mouth piece of the empty bidon to allow quickly swapping over the full bottle To the other cage. I just don’t like drinking from a bottle from the seat tube……

    How can your move be ridiculed? Moving the empty to the seat tube and the full bottle to the down tube is just pure sense! Why would anyone continue to use a full bottle from the seat tube when using the other cage is so much easier? You sir, do things the right way and should continue to do so.

  27. @wiscot

    @Adrian

    When riding with two bottles, upon finishing one, I always rotate the full bottle from the seat tube to the front cage and put the empty one In the back. This OCD behaviour is often ridiculed. During races I have figured out how to do it smoothly by biting down on the mouth piece of the empty bidon to allow quickly swapping over the full bottle To the other cage. I just don’t like drinking from a bottle from the seat tube……

    How can your move be ridiculed? Moving the empty to the seat tube and the full bottle to the down tube is just pure sense! Why would anyone continue to use a full bottle from the seat tube when using the other cage is so much easier? You sir, do things the right way and should continue to do so.

    Exactly what I do as well – it’s the only way to do it.

  28. @wiscot

    @Adrian

    When riding with two bottles, upon finishing one, I always rotate the full bottle from the seat tube to the front cage and put the empty one In the back. This OCD behaviour is often ridiculed. During races I have figured out how to do it smoothly by biting down on the mouth piece of the empty bidon to allow quickly swapping over the full bottle To the other cage. I just don’t like drinking from a bottle from the seat tube……

    How can your move be ridiculed? Moving the empty to the seat tube and the full bottle to the down tube is just pure sense! Why would anyone continue to use a full bottle from the seat tube when using the other cage is so much easier? You sir, do things the right way and should continue to do so.

    Now there are 2 bidons needlessly in hand with this scenario. One of them will drop into the wheels eventually.

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