On Rule #33: The Sagan Clause

Rule #33 has to be one of the most discussed, deconstructed and divisive of all the Rules. I suppose there’s something about grown men who are non-professional cyclists taking a razor to their pins that brings out some strong emotions and it never fails to generate conversation and opinion. But really, who cares what someone else does to their own body and what business is it of ours to question or berate them for it?

The crux is that hairy legs on a road cyclist look like shit. There’s no getting away from it. On a mountain biker, hirsute guns may even look better, unless you’re an XC racer which is really just a roadie with suspension. If you’re a proponent of both, then you have a dilemna. Unless you’re the World Champion of course, then you can do what the hell you like. When Peter Sagan turned up for the early season with a healthy thatch on each of his pistons, the interwebs went into overdrive; how dare the Rainbow Jersey be sullied by such insolence. The counter argument being: awesome, he looks just like me now.

No, he doesn’t. Never will. No matter if he turned into a wookie overnight, he will never look like you/us. But what did happen back in the pre-Spring was he gave gave us all a clause, an out, a caveat for our own hairiness. Now, I’m not suggesting we all just throw away the razors and party like it’s 1969. That’s careless and irresponsible. But, having endured a winter marked by injury, laziness, lack of motivation and too much work, I am using Sags’ example as an adjunct to Rule #33. See, if you’re not actually riding a bike, and it’s cold, and your legs are mainly out of sight (or seen exclusively on a mountain bike), then why go to the trouble of keeping them smooth? It’s not like there’s any muscle, definition, or tan lines to show off.

So it’s decreed that under certain conditions, as outlined above, that the Sagan Clause can be invoked and a Cyclist––on temporary hiatus––can let their hair down until such time as some form of fitness returns or regular chamois time is being logged. Once you feel like a Cyclist again, then the razor can and must come out, because no matter how often you may try to convince yourself otherwise, that shit just don’t belong.

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120 Replies to “On Rule #33: The Sagan Clause”

  1. @Steve Trice

    I used to find (back when I first started riding, a few decades back) that any leg hair would get pulled by the shorts + knee warmer combo, knees always want to slide down, shorts up, trap hair and rip. I’m using Assos S7 leg warmers – super long and stay in place so no hair issues. I think it’s the movement that makes hair poke through.

    shaved legs, embro and rain is a magical combo. The legs glisten with the water and the embro activates and warms. Recommended. Try a tub of Qoleum (Just not with hair! You’d have to shampoo your legs after the ride!)

    assos and Rapha now have water resistant leg warmers – my problem solved (love Castelli Gabba jersey but the knee and leg were really uncomfortable)

  2. @piers.fraser

    I suppose there should also be a Froome Clause for Rule #42 allowing the occasion run at the end of a bike race?

    It’s like Mornington Crescent – you just need to declare the Froome TdF Stage 12 variant to get around the deviation.

  3. @piers.fraser

    I’m not familiar with that variant.

    For those not familiar with Mornington Crescent it’s virtually impossible to explain.

    For those who are familiar with Mornington Crescent it’s also virtually impossible to explain and against the rules to explain anyway.

  4. @Teocalli

    @piers.fraser

    I’m not familiar with that variant.

    For those not familiar with Mornington Crescent it’s virtually impossible to explain.

    For those who are familiar with Mornington Crescent it’s also virtually impossible to explain and against the rules to explain anyway.

    So a bit like not talking about Fi**t Club then?

  5. @Teocalli

    @piers.fraser

    I’m not familiar with that variant.

    For those not familiar with Mornington Crescent it’s virtually impossible to explain.

    For those who are familiar with Mornington Crescent it’s also virtually impossible to explain and against the rules to explain anyway.

    I’m in Nid anyway.

  6. What a timely article! Just shaved the guns this morning. I find about every 3-4 days max does the trick. Just got back from a couple of weeks vacation when shaving the guns wasn’t really possible. Drove me crazy to have hairy legs and they looked like shit.First day home, shaved away and normality reigned again.

    I use one good razor for the face and a 5-blader from the dollar store (2 for a buck) on the guns plus Barbasol shaving cream.

    Sagan can do what he likes. Clearly didn’t hamper his season one bit.

  7. @Iandays

    I do have a beard, but I shave my neck (I’d look like a railroad hobo otherwise) and use the same razor for legs and face.  Either Mach 3 or Dollar Shave Club 4-bladed.  Cremo Cream has been my favorite for a few years now.

    Just started shaving my arms too this season.  I figured the aero gains there negate my Rule #50 violation.

    I used to let the hair grow out in the winter, but now that I’ve moved back to the land of perpetual good training weather I plan to keep the guns shaved year round from now on.

  8. Nice one, Brett! Got a laugh out of the “dilemna” typo, as I’m a pretty big fan of the show Trailer Park Boys and Ricky’s malapropisms and/or invented words crack me up.

    I just found myself thinking the other day if an electric shaver for the Guns is a good or bad idea? If Roger’s soigneur used one on his impressive guns, why can’t I?

    Also, there is no denying Sagan is an Awesome Slovakian Guy. But, as a life-long ice hockey player and fan and being much more recent to cycling…the NHL is packed with them. Hossa and Gaborik are fucking bonkers. Pavol Demitra, RIP. What a solid two-way player. And as a Sabres fan…it was pretty fun having a guy on the team named Satan (Miroslav).

  9. @Gianni

    A quick google reveals ……..

    the origin of the word is from the Greek word DI meaning two, and LEMMA meaning propositions or alternatives.
    So the correct spelling of the word is definitely 
    ‘Dilemma’ …and always has been…always… 

  10. By the way, we blame the Velominati for the now-frequent usage of ‘guns’ for legs. To old-timers, this is anathema. Guns = arms (in Australasia). Guns = guns in the US. ‘Pins’ is ok, but ‘guns’ is just stupidly confusing. How about ‘legs’?

  11. Excellent timing on Rule #33 and Sagan. I believe being world champion allows him a pass. I  shave until winter riding starts and then legs are covered up by then anyhow.  I must say I think shaved legs certainly give a mental boost.. This past Sunday was the Hurricane ridge cogal and it was wet and cold, but as we hit the last 20 km into town we ramped it up, the legs were hurting but  the power of the  V  was flowing through the freshly shaven legs and it was the mental boost I needed.

  12. Some things may be tolerated if one happens to be the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey. Are you the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey? If not, you will shave your legs, you shall not wear white shoes and you shall not start olympic XCO race. Sure, let’s call it Sagan clause, you can sport bushy pins if your name is Sagan and you have recently won the elite world championship race on the road…

    I am shocked to even read about this type of fundamental violation on Velominati. Cyclingnews forum maybe, but not here…shocking.

  13. The temperate rainy winters of the PNW demand year-round pin upkeep – hair mixed with road grime is no good when you’re in and out of the rain, leg warmers are mostly pointless but for the rare clear/cold combo, and cleanup at the car is so much easier on slick skin.  Serves as a good reminder to not sit too close to the dinner table also..

  14. Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings. 

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

     

  15. @Brett

    Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

    How is Oz vs the Rest of the World a world wide debate?  (Insert punctuation abuse as required)

  16. @Teocalli

    @Brett

    Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

    How is Oz vs the Rest of the World a world wide debate? (Insert punctuation abuse as required)

    It’s like Captain Redbeard’s debate on the necessity of a ship having a crew:

    “Opinion is divided on the subject. All the other captains say it is. I say it isn’t.”

  17. @Teocalli

    @Brett

    Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

    How is Oz vs the Rest of the World a world wide debate? (Insert punctuation abuse as required)

    Well maybe have a read of some of the articles I linked and you’ll see.

    This is from the first one…

    Are you one of the possibly millions of people worldwide that were taught to spell Dilemna with an ‘N’ … 

    http://dilemna.info/

     

  18. @Olli

    Some things may be tolerated if one happens to be the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey. Are you the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey? If not, you will shave your legs, you shall not wear white shoes and you shall not start olympic XCO race. Sure, let’s call it Sagan clause, you can sport bushy pins if your name is Sagan and you have recently won the elite world championship race on the road…

    I am shocked to even read about this type of fundamental violation on Velominati. Cyclingnews forum maybe, but not here…shocking.

    I concur! This heresy is in direct conflict with Rule #1 and Rule #3. These types of exceptions will result in total anarchy. What is next non level handlebars? Unslammed stems? It is all crazy talk I tell ‘ya!

    The only exceptions to rules should be for those who wear rainbow or yellow jerseys. If one wearing said jerseys decides to willingly violate Rule #33 or Rule #42 that is acceptable. Otherwise, unshorn guns should be considered a rules violation regardless of circumstances.

    Who is with me!?

  19. @Rick

    @Olli

    Some things may be tolerated if one happens to be the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey. Are you the rightful wearer of the Rainbow Jersey? If not, you will shave your legs, you shall not wear white shoes and you shall not start olympic XCO race. Sure, let’s call it Sagan clause, you can sport bushy pins if your name is Sagan and you have recently won the elite world championship race on the road…

    I am shocked to even read about this type of fundamental violation on Velominati. Cyclingnews forum maybe, but not here…shocking.

     

    The only exceptions to rules should be for those who wear rainbow or yellow jerseys. If one wearing said jerseys decides to willingly violate Rule #33 or Rule #42 that is acceptable. Otherwise, unshorn guns should be considered a rules violation regardless of circumstances.

    Who is with me!?

    I don’t think we’re in the business of making rules for the pros.

  20. @Rick

    @RobSandy

    I agree, pros can do whatever they like. Perhaps I got carried away with my jersey exceptions but I was attempting to make a point.

    I was on a bit of a roll.

    It’s nice to get excited.

    But yeah, if we started saying ‘the pros do it, so we can’ all would be chaos. The point is that there are plenty of rules the pros break, and look shit when they do. For example, when they choose not to shave their legs, or disfigure their beautiful bikes with frame pumps or EPMS’s. Or go for a jog during a key stage Le Grande Boucle.

    We don’t do anything that looks shit on a bike. That’s why we come to this site.

  21. @RobSandy

    @Rick

    @RobSandy

    I agree, pros can do whatever they like. Perhaps I got carried away with my jersey exceptions but I was attempting to make a point.

    I was on a bit of a roll.

    It’s nice to get excited.

    But yeah, if we started saying ‘the pros do it, so we can’ all would be chaos. The point is that there are plenty of rules the pros break, and look shit when they do. For example, when they choose not to shave their legs, or disfigure their beautiful bikes with frame pumps or EPMS’s. Or go for a jog during a key stage Le Grande Boucle.

    We don’t do anything that looks shit on a bike. That’s why we come to this site.

    That is exactly the point I was trying to make. I believe the fact that I was watching Spartacus (the one with Kirk Douglas) as I was posting caused me to get a bit carried away……

  22. @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

  23. @ccos

    @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

    High enough to avoid hamster pants. 

  24. @Rick

    @ccos

    @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

    High enough to avoid hamster pants.

    Yes indeed, that’s a given. My comment was more in reference to one’s demarcation (or not) of the neither regions.

  25. @Ccos

    @Rick

    @ccos

    @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

    High enough to avoid hamster pants.

    Yes indeed, that’s a given. My comment was more in reference to one’s demarcation (or not) of the neither regions.

    That particular line of demarcation is a (very) personal decision. One that is typically not discussed even among cyclists.

    Perhaps this video at 0:26 will help.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  26. @Ccos

    Please refer to Bea comment #86 above.

    We are only concerned with what one can/should see in public (carefully checking I have the “l” in there…).

  27. @Rick

    @ccos

    @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

    High enough to avoid hamster pants.

    Oh god, I cannot un-see that. Hamster pants. Magic.

  28. alopecia cyclicus is real, and this is funny as hell.  i haven’t shaved my legs in over ten years, but to this day, hair only grows on my kneecaps, between my quads above my knee, and on my toes of all places.  just like my head: i shaved it for so long, by the time i decided to let it grow back, i was surprised to find out i was bald.

  29. @Brett

    @Teocalli

    @Brett

    Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

    How is Oz vs the Rest of the World a world wide debate? (Insert punctuation abuse as required)

    Well maybe have a read of some of the articles I linked and you’ll see.

    This is from the first one…

    Are you one of the possibly millions of people worldwide that were taught to spell Dilemna with an ‘N’

    http://dilemna.info/

    This is hilarious! From the very page you’ve linked to: “The shocking truth turns out to be that Dilemna has NEVER EVER been spelled with an N…Worse yet, it’s not even been given a passing mention as a possible alternative spelling in any dictionary going back hundreds of years!”

     

    In my life I’ve read thousands and thousands of books, magazines, comics, plays, pamphlets, etc., etc. and have never ever seen dilemma spelled with an ‘n’, silent or otherwise. In fact this article and silly argument is the first time it’s ever come up in my life.

     

    I just thought you did it as a deliferate spolling mistale.

  30. @Gianni

    @Rick

    @ccos

    @GrahamL

    Another question from one who has never had polished guns – how high does one do the polishing?

    As high as you dare is what I was told. It’s best to use generalizations in this to avoid straying into TMI areas.

    High enough to avoid hamster pants.

    Oh god, I cannot un-see that. Hamster pants. Magic.

    I’ve read here before… ya finish where your legs end. That seems simple enough for me to understand. But then again, I think someone also followed with, ya stop at your eyebrows. Well that’d sure make for a busy morning. The photo of this dude and his hamster pants I think is probably good evidence of someone with bigger issues around never being able to finish what they started. Magic ? Yeeesh.

  31. @Oli

    @Brett

    @Teocalli

    @Brett

    Seems like it’s a worldwide source of debate or at least discussion between the two spellings.

    The two m’s just look really weird to me, so it’s been ingrained for a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard about it being spelled without an N!

    How is Oz vs the Rest of the World a world wide debate? (Insert punctuation abuse as required)

    Well maybe have a read of some of the articles I linked and you’ll see.

    This is from the first one…

    Are you one of the possibly millions of people worldwide that were taught to spell Dilemna with an ‘N’

    http://dilemna.info/

    This is hilarious! From the very page you’ve linked to: “The shocking truth turns out to be that Dilemna has NEVER EVER been spelled with an N…Worse yet, it’s not even been given a passing mention as a possible alternative spelling in any dictionary going back hundreds of years!”

    In my life I’ve read thousands and thousands of books, magazines, comics, plays, pamphlets, etc., etc. and have never ever seen dilemma spelled with an ‘n’, silent or otherwise. In fact this article and silly argument is the first time it’s ever come up in my life.

    I just thought you did it as a deliferate spolling mistale.

    So how did millions get taught it then?

    Are you one of the possibly millions of people worldwide that were taught to spell Dilemna with an ‘N’ 

    I’ve never seen it spelled with a double M. Doesn’t mean it’s the wrong, but that’s what I, and apparently millions of others, worldwide, were taught. I didn’t make it up.

  32. I work in the bike trade and have to ride both disciplines. I get more grief from mountain bikers about shaved legs, than I do from roadies about unshaven ones.

    You can guess which look I choose to rock.

  33. @Brett

    It’s more like millions (and how did they come up with that number? I’ve never, ever heard of it being spelled like that before and I’ve been around…) of you THINK it’s what you were taught – some sort of cognitive dissonance, I’m guessing. Like the spelling of “Berenstain Bears” – many people (possibly even millions) are convinced it used to be spelled “Berenstein”. Google that shit.

     

    If you genuinely got taught it you were taught by a fucking idiot.

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