By Nick Hussey, 26 May 2014 | Comments (15)
There’s a phenomenon called The Velominati Rules that every English speaking road cyclist has, or if you’re new to cycling, will come across. A set of rules that govern every aspect of your life as a road cyclist, from the clothes you wear, the saddle you sit on, right down to where your valves sit. And they’re creeping into all cycling.The Rules are becoming rather famous. But they’re rather stupid. The detail is so infintesimal, the instructions so buttock clenchingly anal, that they must surely have been started as a heavily ironic in-joke?
The truth is funny, and The Rules are true. Road cycling really can be this ridiculous in its subtle nods, rites of passage and insanely specific codas. An experienced racer smiles wryly at these rules. They’ve been there, worried about that stuff, then moved on. An experienced rider also knows that The Rules go too far. They’re a mid-ride tease. And here’s my problem with them. Its all got so damned serious. Their meaning has changed. Now they are THE ACTUAL RULES! There is no such thing.
New riders are desperate to fast-track their knowledge of a culturally complex society. They/we want to fit in. Its natural. But if you’re new to it all, you’re Irony Radar isn’t switched on. You take the Velominati Rules at face value. And that’s toxic. Without tongue placed firmly in cheek The Rules are a fast route to exclusion, snobbery, sneering and generally not having the fun you hoped for from your ride. Fun has many definitions. YOUR definitions. The Rules of The Velominati have gone from being an in-joke to a tool to exclude. “I’m in the gang, you’re not, nah nah nahhh nahhh nah”. And that’s total BS.No experienced rider consults The Rules. There is no exam. They don’t know numbers 1-95 back to front...NINETY FIVE!! They’re comfortable in their own skin. Hell, they might even have a black saddle with white bar tape. Because it's YOUR ride. And you’re past that stuff. Rules are meant to be broken. Two fingers to the rule quoters. You’re your own person. Diversify. Ride what you want, how you want, when you want, wearing what you want, with whom you want. Ride the MTB one day, then potter on the road bike the next (no need to HTFU when you’re watching Spring bloom from the finest window seat there is), then smash out a pain-horror PB the next day. Whatever.
Your life, your rules.
But to help out, because Rules are helpful, here are our rules. The Rules of The Vulpinati.
Rule #1: Enjoy your ride.
Rule #2: Don’t mess it up for anyone else.
Phew. Need that condensing a bit? Be careful, you gotta remember this...
2. DO RIGHT.
Enjoy. Do right. Enjoy. Do right. Repeat.
You’re a big grown up now, interpret The Rules of The Vulpinati as you wish.
Rule #1 interpretations:
Enjoy crushing your very soul with pain for 8 hours, with wattages, Strava, the lot.
Or ride to the shops on a beautiful old converted fixie.
Ride into the hills and stop on a bench overlooking a gorgeous view, maybe ride hard later, maybe coast downhill and sing Michael Jackson hits out of tune.
Wear plus fours, a tweed cap and jump around a BMX park.
Whatever. Your rules.
Rule #2 interpretations:
Shout out the potholes, so the rider behind doesn’t fall into it.
Don’t drop gel wrappers, everyone will hate you. And us (cyclists) as a whole.
Don’t quote the Rules of the Sodding Velominati all ride, unless dripping with irony (or just don’t).
Just do right.
Etc. We’re big boys/girls now. We can work it out for ourselves.
The Rules of The Velominati are a joke. Get serious about enjoying cycling by your rules.
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