The Shaving

[rule number=50]

Back when this Rule was coined, it seemed to have little meaning or relevance at all to Cycling. The only beard we’d ever witnessed on a Cyclist was that of the nasty Russian guy in American Flyers, and we all knew he, like Kevin Costner’s acting ability, didn’t actually exist.

Then along came Pantani, plus a slew of mountain bikers in the early 90s sporting goatees and variations of pointy sideburns, not the cool kind like the true stylemeisters De Vlaeminck and The Prophet wore. The goatee quickly became a partody of itself, especially when paired with dyed flouro-coloured hair, or worse, dyed as well as the hair. Sadly, I was guilty on all counts, culminating in an embarrassing situation when my best friend’s father died a couple of days after I turned my head a retina-scorching shade of Slazenger Yellow. It made for some welcome lightening of the mood at the funeral and wake though. It’s how he would’ve wanted it, so his widow told me, without a hint of irony or sarcasm. When Il Pirata did it on the Champs Elysees a few years later, I felt somewhat vindicated for my funeral faux pas. The crux of it though was both The Pirate and I looked ridiculous, even if we felt like rebels, but it did predicate the Pantani Clause in Rule #51.

That’s the whole trouble with the beard epidemic of the last year or so. When one person does something that goes against the grain of society, they’re a rebel by default. If the whole of the population, or close to it, is doing it, then it’s just a flock of sheep situation. And you know who stands out then? The sheep who’s been shorn. Maybe he’s covered in bloody cuts and nicks and has a few dags hanging off his arse, but he’s still the one that everyone is looking at. When Luca Paolini showed up with the makings of a full ginger bushranger face a couple of seasons ago, he garnered attention because it was individualistic. “The guy with the beard” stood out like dog’s balls. Then one or two others started sprouting some stubble here, a moustache there. It worked a treat for my mate Alex when he turned up at the World Cup cyclocross races in 2012 with his full handlebar upper lip warmer, because he stood out. Now there’re other imitators playing the same card with not as much success, because it’s been done. Originality is key.

I say it’s time for the beard to be banished from the peloton, and the bunches of the world. It’s time we took the razor to our faces as well as our legs; another mate Josh has even gone the extra step and has started using a cutthroat blade. If hipsters have taught us one thing, it’s that anything cool will soon be tarnished, besmirched and ruined by their appropriation of it. They did it to the Cycling Cap, and we’re only just reclaiming its rightful position as For Cycling Only. The beard, well we can let them have it, because it is soiling good reputations of fit men with smooth guns, smooth faces and smooth pates that are a hallmark of our sport. Shit, when even Tommeke has more hair on his chin than on his head, things have gone too far.

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93 Replies to “The Shaving”

  1. Here here! I’m so fucking tired of seeing hobo beards on professional athletes. It’s a disgrace. And yes, nothing worse than something thinking they’re original but just being a fucking bored sheep.

    I’ve been seeing lots of fat guys with carefully groomed beards. Is being fat now hip? I’ve even seen a lot of fat guys jogging, which really confuses the shit out of me.

    Don’t let the PRO peloton become the NBA or MLB. And, I did notice the Boonen enters 2015 with an increasingly bald head.

  2. @Ron

    Absolutely ban the beards….as an uncle if mine used to say “Never cultivate

    on your face what grows freely around your arsehole!”

  3. @Ron

    I’ve been seeing lots of fat guys with carefully groomed beards. Is being fat now hip? I’ve even seen a lot of fat guys jogging, which really confuses the shit out of me.

    One has to jog for quite a while before one stops being fat.

    I’ve had a beard for fifteen years now, but I’m a Dirty Mountain Biking Hippie and I couldn’t care less about what scrawny hipsters are doing.

  4. Oh so true and so long overdue. It’s not only pro cyclists and other sportsmen (I can say men because I’ve seen no hairy faced ladies since the fall of the Iron Curtain) but it’s the other bunches of the world.

    I’m in Scottish law enforcement and in particular the armed branch and it’s a hirsute epidemic. All you get is ‘it’s a special forces beard’ Fuck off, you are in police not the SAS or the US Seals and you can access a razor on a daily basis because you are not dug into a hole ion the ground watching or waiting on terrorists!

    Get a life and stop watching Lone Survivor on repeat.

    Rant over. Off for a turbo session.

  5. I did grow a Grizzly Adams Junior beard these past few weeks in winter.

    I had shaved it smooth just before my wedding anniversary (today), but in truth the shave happened solely to get right for this past Saturday’s ride. Took it down with an electric shaver that prior Friday evening to say “Yo, I’mma gonna shave this!” Then that night I began to prepare to shave for a date with my true love, the road — and some other guys ??

  6. Brett, science has your back! We’ve hit Peak Beard, they say.

    Beards on a cyclist look shit. On a ghoulish skinny climber they make the face too big. On a Classics hardman they make for terrible Belgian tans. It doesn’t fit with skin-tight lycra and the shining, shaven guns.

  7. What about seasonal beards? I’ve been letting my facial hair grow pretty much unabated since November but intend to remove it no later than March 1 — the beginning of meteorological spring.

    I have to say, the cold weather chin, neck, and cheek warming benefits of riding with a full beard cannot be overstated.

  8. Beards were cute for about 5 seconds, but they became a Thing, and so much of a Thing they’ve spawned the uncouth term “Lumbersexual” to describe that faux-rugged bar dwelling ironic Pabst drinker that you think might be in a band and hasn’t bought a new shirt since his first Alice In Chains show.
    At first I thought a better term about have been “Timbersexual”, but then I ruminated a bit and decided that “Lumber” was perfect – it came from nature, to be sure, but it’s been cleaned, dried, refined, and made uniform to match every other piece of lumber in the yard. Just like the latest wave of apathy-beard models. There’s nothing rugged about you and your soy latte, even if you drive a Subaru.
    That’s not to say that facial hair is verboten. I have a few friends who sport outrageous and innovative mustaches, for example. But I know in most cases their wives (bless them) will not touch them while in this state.
    So if you’re going to do it, put some creativity into it. Just like the bike and the kit. Don’t just get lazy and try to call it art. Grizzly mountain men look as they do because they lack running water and a Dollar Shave Club membership, not because they think they’re impressing the elk.

  9. Ullrich’s expression in that last photo is priceless.

    “Will you *look* at this f’ing guy?”

  10. @JohnB, They call it a “tactical” beard on this side of the pond. Although, I’m unaware of any “tactics” a so-called “tactical” beard was ever a part of.

  11. @ChrissyOne

    That’s a first class rant right there.

    I see way too many bushy beards in SF right now. They all have the same haircut and pants too.

    Thankfully my DNA makes me immune to the temptation of absurd facial hair.

  12. @oldensteel

    @JohnB, They call it a “tactical” beard on this side of the pond. Although, I’m unaware of any “tactics” a so-called “tactical” beard was ever a part of.

    Survival tactics – helps by retaining a Strategic Soup Reserve near the Mouth Unit at all times.

  13. I’m getting a real mixed message from the Keepers on this. On the one hand, @brett reminds us that Rule #50 is explicit in it’s condemnation of facial hair and on the other, there’s a Keeper wandering around looking like this:

    WTF, I’m confused and disturbed.

    I know it’s a bit chilly in Markoland but surely a Keeper should at least adhere to the Masturbation Principle?

  14. @unversio

    I did grow a Grizzly Adams Junior beard these past few weeks in winter.

    Grizzly Adams was THE MAN. Though I think his flap jacks were “kind” which explains why that prospector fucker was always jonesing for them.

  15. Merckx knows I’m a huge Tommeke fan, but what’s up with his ears in that pic above? They look rather weird – almost Spock like . . .

    Worst beard in modern sport: Andrew Luck of the Colts. Someone needs to have a wee word with him.

  16. @ChrissyOne

    Beards were cute for about 5 seconds, but they became a Thing, and so much of a Thing they’ve spawned the uncouth term “Lumbersexual” to describe that faux-rugged bar dwelling ironic Pabst drinker that you think might be in a band and hasn’t bought a new shirt since his first Alice In Chains show.
    At first I thought a better term about have been “Timbersexual”, but then I ruminated a bit and decided that “Lumber” was perfect – it came from nature, to be sure, but it’s been cleaned, dried, refined, and made uniform to match every other piece of lumber in the yard. Just like the latest wave of apathy-beard models. There’s nothing rugged about you and your soy latte, even if you drive a Subaru.
    That’s not to say that facial hair is verboten. I have a few friends who sport outrageous and innovative mustaches, for example. But I know in most cases their wives (bless them) will not touch them while in this state.
    So if you’re going to do it, put some creativity into it. Just like the bike and the kit. Don’t just get lazy and try to call it art. Grizzly mountain men look as they do because they lack running water and a Dollar Shave Club membership, not because they think they’re impressing the elk.

    Thats quality right there !

    Cant add much more other than well said.

    Why shave legs then put it all back on somewhere else.  Pointless exercise !

  17. Maybe if this is your commute there would be some small claim to special dispensation……

  18. I should think that at this specific moment in history we would not be speaking favorably of banning or banishing, not even of trendy whateverthefuck-sexual beards in the peloton.

    Personally, I’m done with facial hair (unless I’m too fucking lazy to shave for a week), but if Dan C. wants to rock a beard in the pro peloton or if @Marko wants to keep his fucking face from falling off in temps that are, quite literally, colder than the fucking surface of Mars, I’ll not say a bad word.

  19. ChrissyOne – strong work! Thank you for that. I thought I was the only one fed up with the Lumbersexual. I had never seen one until seemingly a few weeks ago, now I go out with friends and we’re the only guys not working some head-to-toe style schtick. It’s fucking bizarre when you see someone and you’re pretty sure they a) weren’t dressing like that a month ago b) purchased everything they’re wearing, including eyeglasses, within the last week.

    What I find truly disturbing is how fast these “types” pop up thanks to the big, odd orgy soup of smartphones, t.v. shows, advertising, and fashion. What is sad is that I like fashion as a form of expression, but now there are just a few types for guys/gals and people actively work to fit into a category, instead of just being themselves and wearing what they like.

    Maybe I’m just getting old and fed up with all the bullshit. It has been a whole day since I’ve gotten a long ride in.

  20. The Safety Bicycle launched cycling as we know it today in the 1880s –  no more wobbling around on a 2 metre high wheel before smashing our skulls on the pavement when we fell off.  It is no coincidence that the Safety Razor was developed at the same time; the Cycling Gods oversaw their twin developments so we today can enjoy the benefits and joys that both have bought to the world.

     There is no excuse now to being seen on any bike that that can trace its lineage back to the Safety with facial hair (save eyebrows, they keep sweat out of your eyes). Rule  #50 should be amended to state that it is only acceptable when seen riding a penny-farthing with a stovepipe hat perched uselessly on your head providing no protection whatsoever when you greet the road with your teeth.

  21. This is too funny. EVERY man should grow a beard at least once in their lifetime! We’re MEN before cyclists (for those of us who are men). For me, I grow a beard from September through March, and then go clean for spring and summer. Both looks and styles are great! Bon velo!

  22. Hey! Don’t know where to post/ask this, but did I miss the V Moment/Anti V Moment article for 2014? It’s always been a fun piece to get the posts piling up.

    My V Moment? Lucas Euser stopping for Taylor Phinney at the US Pro Championships.

    Anti V Moment? Can’t think of one right now.

    Discuss/nominate.

  23. @ChrissyOne

    Beards were cute for about 5 seconds, but they became a Thing, and so much of a Thing they’ve spawned the uncouth term “Lumbersexual” to describe that faux-rugged bar dwelling ironic Pabst drinker that you think might be in a band and hasn’t bought a new shirt since his first Alice In Chains show.
    At first I thought a better term about have been “Timbersexual”, but then I ruminated a bit and decided that “Lumber” was perfect – it came from nature, to be sure, but it’s been cleaned, dried, refined, and made uniform to match every other piece of lumber in the yard. Just like the latest wave of apathy-beard models. There’s nothing rugged about you and your soy latte, even if you drive a Subaru.
    That’s not to say that facial hair is verboten. I have a few friends who sport outrageous and innovative mustaches, for example. But I know in most cases their wives (bless them) will not touch them while in this state.
    So if you’re going to do it, put some creativity into it. Just like the bike and the kit. Don’t just get lazy and try to call it art. Grizzly mountain men look as they do because they lack running water and a Dollar Shave Club membership, not because they think they’re impressing the elk.

    Excellent post!  However, hipster or not, as someone who has indeed grown a very full beard over the past year and is enjoying having it and maintaining it, I’ll just choose to respectfully disagree.

  24. @american psycho

    Think of the rules more like those of a Gentleman’s (and Gentlewoman’s – before Chrissy castrates me) Club.  You chose to join or not based on the rules of said club and whether you would want to adopt them.  It would appear that you are, shall we say, not of the correct ilk.

    As for the Gentleman part, I’ll leave that out there.

  25. @brypeter

    This is too funny. EVERY man should grow a beard at least once in their lifetime! We’re MEN before cyclists (for those of us who are men). For me, I grow a beard from September through March, and then go clean for spring and summer. Both looks and styles are great! Bon velo!

    Therein lies you problem. I don’t give up cycling between September and March. As it happens, I’m just pulling used Steri-Strips off my face, and I’m dammed glad I didn’t have any facial hair.

  26. @brypeter

    This is too funny. EVERY man should grow a beard at least once in their lifetime! We’re MEN before cyclists (for those of us who are men). For me, I grow a beard from September through March, and then go clean for spring and summer. Both looks and styles are great! Bon velo!

    Not an option for EVERY man I’m afraid. Despite fathering three children I apparently lack the necessary hormonal input to produce facial hair that looks like anything beyond random sprouting.

    I am currently experimenting though – my enforced absence from work has allowed me the liberty to try to shape something, although it’s not going well.

    Another week of wifely ridicule should settle it.

  27. Never had a beard. Going 48 hours without shaving drives me nuts. I’m also of an age when the stubble lacks any pigment if you know what I mean. Growing a beard would just be too much confirmation of the aging process.

  28. My youngest will turn 38 this year and does not remember me without a full-face (but shortly trimmed) beard. I’m not inclined to shave it off now.

  29. Goatees are permitted only if your name starts with “Marco” and ends with “Pantani”, or if your head is intentionally or unintentionally bald.

    No, please no. This whole bald head/goatee cliche needs to stop, post haste.

  30. My name is neither Marco nor Pantani but the goatee stays.  I did stop were a bandana when cycling years ago though.  My upper lip has not seen the light of day since 1976. The one time I shaved my weak chin since then my mother didn’t even notice. 

    Marco’s picture reminds me of a time out ice climbing when a friend reached over to snap off an icicle from another climber and took out half his mustache in the process. 

  31. If you ride in minus 20 degrees Celsius conditions. You can wear4 your facial hair any way you choose.

  32. @Ron

    Here here! I’m so fucking tired of seeing hobo beards on professional athletes. It’s a disgrace. And yes, nothing worse than something thinking they’re original but just being a fucking bored sheep.

    I’ve been seeing lots of fat guys with carefully groomed beards. Is being fat now hip? I’ve even seen a lot of fat guys jogging, which really confuses the shit out of me.

    Don’t let the PRO peloton become the NBA or MLB. And, I did notice the Boonen enters 2015 with an increasingly bald head.

    On behalf of fat people everywhere I denounce this whole post.

  33. @Oli

    @Ron

    Here here! I’m so fucking tired of seeing hobo beards on professional athletes. It’s a disgrace. And yes, nothing worse than something thinking they’re original but just being a fucking bored sheep.

    I’ve been seeing lots of fat guys with carefully groomed beards. Is being fat now hip? I’ve even seen a lot of fat guys jogging, which really confuses the shit out of me.

    Don’t let the PRO peloton become the NBA or MLB. And, I did notice the Boonen enters 2015 with an increasingly bald head.

    On behalf of fat people everywhere I denounce this whole post.

    Oli, I doubt you’re of the “fat” variety being discussed here. For a lot of “fat” guys, the beard is an unconvincing way to hide double and triple chins.

    Boonen is trimming close to the head because he is seriously thinning. Frankly, it’s about the only way to go as if you’re thinning or balding, trying to compensate with more hair or, Merckx forbid, a combover, is ridiculous. BTW, this is coming from someone whose hairline is slowly and inexorably moving further up my forehead and who has a thinning patch at the crown. And a lot of salt and pepper too.

    Remember, let’s no go down the same road as Mario Beccia . . .

  34. @seemunkee

    Marco’s picture reminds me of a time out ice climbing when a friend reached over to snap off an icicle from another climber and took out half his mustache in the process.

    I used to ride motorbikes 12 months of the year.  On one occasion in freezing fog the same happened to my eyebrows when I tried to put the ice off them.

  35. @american psycho

    until you ride in the pro peleton, you pussies should refrain from making stupid rules.

    Until you can spell peloton correctly, you should refrain from calling people pussies.

    Welcome.

  36. @wiscot

    Boonen is trimming close to the head because he is seriously thinning.

    I wonder…, …, … if he gets a proper haircut for the helmet fit and to maintain his slim constitution. I go for a bi-weekly cut and is now referred by my stylist as the race cut. And there’s usually no helmet hair effect. And less so if you wear a cycling cap under the helmet! [ Voila !! ]

  37. @Teocalli

    She does use a clipper in 5 minutes, but she calls herself a stylist. Been going to her for 16 years now. We have developed the micro-sides together.

  38. @Chris

    I’m getting a real mixed message from the Keepers on this. On the one hand, @brett reminds us that Rule #50 is explicit in it’s condemnation of facial hair and on the other, there’s a Keeper wandering around looking like this:

    WTF, I’m confused and disturbed.

    I know it’s a bit chilly in Markoland but surely a Keeper should at least adhere to the Masturbation Principle?

    I would have thought the lack of beard would 1) prevent chinsicles and nosesicles forming and 2) confirm your adherence to Rule #5 & #9.

  39. @Nate

    not quite, it was his countryman – http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/tour-de-france-rule-5-award-johnny-hoogerland/

    That being said, I believe Larry has had his surname re-written thusly: VV Dam

  40. I’m sick of the beard in general let alone for a cyclist. Spech “Win Tunnel” findingd be damned WTF would you spend countless hours/$$$$$ looking fantasic, buying slippery kit & bikes, training for that little bit extra speed and then hang a great mop in the air?! You are right… I am now considered revolutionary around these parts because I don’t have a beard! Same with Tatoo’s… it’s cooler not to have them now since all the sheeple have gone and inked.

  41. @brypeter

    This is too funny. EVERY man should grow a beard at least once in their lifetime! We’re MEN before cyclists (for those of us who are men). For me, I grow a beard from September through March, and then go clean for spring and summer. Both looks and styles are great! Bon velo!

    Well that depends on when you started cycling doesn’t it? I for one was a mere boy when I became a cyclist and dedicated to the sport. It wasn’t for something like 1 1/2 decades after that I “became a man” and growing a beard was an option.

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