On Rule #49: Keep the Rubber Side Down
Gobbles already violated Rule #95 this year when he became the first rider to celebrate winning a Monument by lifting his bike over his head as if he were some kind of savage; not a Belgian road Cyclist, the most civilized of the Cycling Breed.
But Rule #49 is another matter altogether. It astounds me whenever I see a bicycle helplessly turned upon its handlebars and saddle while the pilot optimistically leverages every muscle in their face to inspect the vehicle for evidence of its mysterious ailment. (Surprise ending: It’s the rider, not the machine.)
We, the Velominati, we see the Cycling world through a different lens. We see Cycling through the rose-colored lense of our passion and our reverence for the history, culture, and etiquette of our sport.
Hence, I find myself in disbelief to find none other than The Prophet himself, cluelessly riding alongside his team car in 1976 with a spare bike on its roof inexplicably turned upside down. This was the Year of My Birth; I feel a little bit sullied knowing that such an atrocity occurred while I was in gestation. (It also might explain a few things about my temperament.)
It just so happens that 1976 was the year in which Merckx began his irrevocable slide towards retirement; perhaps his failure to spot the upturned steed was an early sign that the fire in his breath was starting to temper.