“The Rules” (Or Why I Am Not Cool: Part 6 In A Continuing Series)

If you haven’t already done so, swing by The Velominati’s website.  It’s a great reference for uber-cyclists and those aspiring to be one.   There is also handy information for the not-so-serious cyclist and some entertaining reads on cycling news/culture.

The Velominati fashion themselves as keepers of cycling’s numerous traditions and etiquette.  In their own words,

“A Velominatus is a disciple of the highest order.  We spend our days poring over the very essence of what makes ours such a special sport and how that essence  fits into cycling’s colorful fabric.  This is the Velominati’s raison d’être.  This is where the Velominati can be ourselves.  This is our agony – our badge of honor – our sin.”

Heavy stuff.  While I do not have aspirations to cycling perfection such as the Velominati, there is still much to learn from themProbably the greatest contribution the Velominati have made to cycling culture is “The Rules,” 88 iron-clad dictums which can never be violated by anyone claiming to be a serious cyclist.  These are very helpful to me as they quickly point out the ways in which I am not cool.

At this moment, I am currently in violation of 15 of The Rules.  The number could be higher, except I am compliant in several rules (such as the proper way to display the number 13) simply because I haven’t had cause to violate them.  I have various reasons for failing to fall into line with The Rules, and I have conveniently grouped my violations into categories for your review and consideration.  Contemplation of The Rules helps me to figure out how and why I cycle.  Even though I don’t agree with them all, they remain a standard from which we can discuss our personal cycling preferences.  Enjoy.

Now That’s Just Silly

8.  Saddles, bars, and tires shall be carefully matched.  Why?  This isn’t a fashion show were running here (at least it shouldn’t be).  Do what you like and start pedaling!  I was only briefly in violation of this rule, when I put white tape on my Trek 2.1.  With the purchase of the Madone 3.1 and it’s stock black tape, I am once again in compliance.

24.  Speeds and distances shall be referred to and measured in kilometers.  I am an American.  This means many things, not the least of which is the fact that I measure distances in miles.  Sorry for that.  This rule is clearly an attempt to be more “French-like,” which is very important in cycling circles.  I would respect the Velominati more if they simply commanded everyone to speak French.  THAT’s  how you show you’re serious about copying the French!

30.  No frame-mounted pumps.  Sorry, but the hybrid gets one.

31.  Spare tubes, multi-tools and repair kits should be stored in jersey pockets.  These go quite nicely in the saddle bag under my seat, which is where they will stay, thank you.

33.  Shave your guns.  “Guns” is a euphemism for legs.  Violation of this rule apparently makes me susceptible to being called a “hippy douche on his way to Critical Mass.”  So be it.

47.  Drink Tripels, don’t ride triples.  I am not that big a beer connoisseur and I happen to believe there is room in our society for triple cranks.  Use of one should not be grounds for ostracism.

57.  No stickers.  I like stickers.  I have one on my hybrid, tastefully placed on the seat post.  I like it.

74.  V Meters or small computers only.  You will need to pry my Garmin from my cold, dead hand.

I Simply Am Not That Dedicated

4.  It’s All About The Bike.  Sometimes it is about my family.  Other times it is about my job.  Still other times it is about watching sitcoms.  There’s a lot going on besides my bike, is what I’m trying to say.

7.  Tan lines are to be cultivated and kept razor sharp.  While I do not go out of my way to smooth my tan lines and they are a source of amusement to my wife as the summer goes on, I must confess and report I do not “cultivate” them.  I have even been known to remove my shirt for a dip in a pool or the occasional day at the beach.  My apologies.

26.  Make your bike photogenic.  Valve stems at six o’clock and cranks at 30 degrees.  Yikes.  I’ll keep the bike clean and try to pose it nicely.  That’s as dedicated as I can get on this point despite the fact I like to take pictures.

You Are Wrong.  Period. 

1. Obey The Rules.  Some of these rules are silly.  Others are wrong.  Thus, this rule is wrong.

11.  Family Doesn’t Come First.  The Bike Does.  Of all the stupid statements about cycling ever uttered by one human being to another, this is the most stupid.

25.  The bike on top of your car should be worth more than the car.  Talk about a recipe for disaster!  Even if you’re riding a top-end carbon frame machine, I would hope your automobile was worth more.  Otherwise you probably won’t be getting to where you hope to ride very often.

32.  Humps are for camels: no hydration packs.  This one could cost someone their life one day.  When I head out into 110 degree temperatures on an unfamiliar route, I don’t want to count on being lucky enough to find a store to buy more liquids.  I bring mine with me – the liquids that is; I couldn’t carry a store on my bike.