Saturday, January 30, 2010

What you can and can't wear while riding.

A lot of people seem to be confused about what they can and can't wear while riding outside.  Here's what you need to know:

Really the best option is to get on a decent local team and only wear your team kit while riding in public.  Understandably this can't always work out, because not everyone has the time to join a good team and buy enough jerseys to wear every time you leave the house.  If you can't, you're still okay, just follow these guidelines...

The only acceptable shorts are bibs.  This is because bibs are infinitely more comfortable than shorts, and because bibs eliminate the ubiquitous back gap that must never happen.  The only acceptable color for bibs is black.  I know that plenty of professional teams have non black shorts but you aren't on one of them and we don't want to have to see your junk when you're fumbling with your seat bag at the 7-11 before the ride.  I wish I could forget the image of Boonen's weiner in that green jersey, but he's Tom Boonen and if he wants to show off his weiner, that's his decision to make.  Win a green jersey and I'll stop telling you what to do.    If your amateur team has non black shorts, you need to find a new team.  I'm looking at you Spine&Sport.   Note that's it's ok if your side panels aren't black as long as the front and back panels are.  See CU and DU's team kits:
Not Acceptable:

I know this is a hard one because there are so many awesome jerseys out there that you really think need to be seen by the general public, but the ONLY acceptable jerseys are solid colors without writing on them.  This means that you can't wear a jersey with your favorite beer or band from the early 80's on it.  In addition, nobody gives a fuck that you finished the triple bypass in 1997.  Unless you're doing it right now, don't wear the jersey.  Hi-vis yellow is not allowed.  Bright colors in general should be avoided, really you should stick to black, white, and dark blue.

Really the best stuff out there is assos if you can afford it.  It's easily the best designed stuff in terms of fit and materials.  The only reasons I don't wear it everyday are it's lavish cost, and that I'm on a team that I'd like to represent.  I fantasize on a regular basis about my team clothing fitting as well as Assos, so if you own a ridiculously expensive bicycle, and aren't on a team, you owe it to yourself to try it out. 

Worth mentioning is that jerseys must have sleeves.  You aren't a triathlete, you shouldn't have shoulders or biceps, and we shouldn't have to look at them.  Do not show up on a group ride in a sleeveless jersey.  Ever.

Follow these basics and you'll be fine.  Some people out there just don't get it though, so a few more items need to be spelled out:

Even worse is the guy that gets the bike to match the clothing of the team he isn't on.  Nobody believes that you're friends with Dave Zabriskie so don't try to pretend he just happened to give you all of his shit one day.  This goes doubly for anything involving USPS, Discovery Channel, Astana 2009, or Radio Shack.  See where I'm going with this?  Don't be that guy.
Exceptions include:  Teams you used to be on, and one of the following: Bottles, Socks, or Gloves associated with some professional team other than those mentioned above.

I feel like that's about good.  Stick to basic color coordination, and if all else fails, white is a good choice for your frame,  helmet, and/or clothing.  Cyclists really like white, so you should take advantage of that.

Next up: LANCE!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Regarding Helmets and Sunglasses.

Always wear a helmet.  You aren't climbing some col in France in 1952.  You're in a road with cars that want to kill you.  The guy who thinks he's cool in just a cycling cap is a moron, and everybody except him thinks so.  In this country anyway. I don't quite get the rules as they apply in Europe.  Although being Euro can be cool, going helmetless isn't.  It's partially about safety, and partially about not being the tool in the world stripes cap.

Always wear sunglasses. Always wear the sunglasses over the helmetstraps.  I've heard that this has something to do with safety but I don't buy it.  Just do it.  See Spartacus for inspiration:

Colors of sunglasses should more or less match your kit, helmet and/or bike.  We don't have to be obsessive like the pros because we can't afford a different pair for every kit, but wearing bright pink sunglasses is not a good idea, nor is wearing any bright colors that aren't represented elsewhere.

I'm not quite sure if this is universal or not, but clear yellow lenses = not cool in my book.  Sure they have a purpose (riding at night), but riding at night isn't about looking cool, it's about getting home without getting run over, so ugly sunglasses at night are ok, but they're still ugly.

To those that think Team Performance brand (or other super cheap) sunglasses are "just as good" as the more expensive brands, you're wrong.  They may protect your eyes but they won't protect your soul from me thinking you look like a goober.  There's a reason designer jeans cost more than walmart ones.  You can buy your jeans from anyplace you like, just don't get your sunglasses from Performance.  Don't give me that "they're cheap and I'm broke" excuse either, I know your bike cost 4 grand.  Get a decent pair of Oakley/Rudy/whatever looks decent sunglasses for another $60.

(Fabian pic from Saxo Bank Website)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Don't be that guy 1.0

In a large group ride (20+ riders) it is common for the group to take up an entire lane.  This is outside of your individual control so don't worry about it.  If you are riding on a road that has 2 lanes, however, it is your responsibility to NOT USE THE SECOND LANE!  Motorists hate us enough for taking the first lane, but blocking the second one is just asking to get run over as they speed by.  The cyclists don't like it either, it makes us look bad, but more importantly, it shows your ineptitude at being able to move up through a pack.

The same is true for a yellow line.  Don't cross it to move up in a pack.  In a race it will get you relegated or kicked out, in a group ride it will get you yelled at, or killed.  If you can't move up through the lane that has already been taken up by the group, you need to move slowly through the pack, not into oncoming traffic.  Again, this makes us look bad, and it makes you look bad.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rotating Weight is a Myth.

People who think rotating weight is more important than standard weight are wrong.  Yes, technically, it requires more energy to accelerate something that is rotating than it does to accelerate it in a straight line, but if you actually do the math instead of just kinda sorta remembering what you did in high school science class, you would see that it's insignificant.
I can spare you the nerdy details, but I have them if you want them.  Losing rotating weight is no more useful (that is to say, not very at all) than losing standard component weight.   So PLEASE stop talking about it like you understand science.  If you did, than you wouldn't be.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Riding With Strangers

If you feel the need to grab onto the wheel of a cyclist or group of cyclists you don't know, you really should announce your presence, and ask if they are willing to tolerate you.  We don't care if you  want to tell your friends that you can "hang" with a bunch of guys in matching lycra.  We just want to get home without someone we don't know crashing us out all over the bike path.

In addition, should you grab the wheel of a person who thinks he is alone, you open yourself up to the possibility of getting snotted on.  The snotter isn't being rude, they just had no idea you were there, and hey, this time of year there's a lot of extra mucus that needs evacuating...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Regarding Group Ride Attendance & Punctuality

Don't show up late to your own ride ( I've done this but it's still stupid)

Don't show up to somebody else's ride, then try to form your own offshoot.  That is stupid and lame.  You shouldn't have shown up in the first place if you weren't going to participate.

If you aren't ready to leave when the ride is supposed to start, you are making everyone wait and that's rude.  Just because you showed up at 8:59 for a 9am ride, we aren't going to wait while you pump up your tires, put your bibs on, and grab a coffee.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What the fuck was I thinking?

I don't have time to write a blog.  I barely have time to ride my bike.  My wife has graciously agreed to stay married to me despite the fact that I'm always training, and if I'm not training, I'm cranky because it's that time of year to start starving myself for the Gila.   Oh and work!? WTF?  Can't buy bike shit if I got fired because I was blogging during the 4 hours I actually spend at work a day because I spend the rest training.

This was a great idea for that magical week between christmas and new year's.  When santa isn't watching, calories don't count, and I have free time for stuff like blogging.  Back in reality it doesn't work, so I bid adieu to my one follower.  Maybe one day the internet will be blessed with my witty cutting humor, and infinite knowledge about what you are and aren't allowed to do on a bicycle.

Until then, thanks.  and I'll try to post twitter-like rules when possible, instead of pagelong rants, which I'd much prefer.

Here's a rule:  Never EVER allow a gap between 2 pieces of clothing.  This includes but is not limited to:  Letting a gap show between your knee warmers and bike shorts,  a gap between your arm warmers and the sleeve of a jersey (this is excusable DURING a race if the armwarmers were removed and replaced while riding), and worst of all:  Letting a strip of back and/or buttcrack show between your bike shorts and your jersey.

Here's another.  Don't wear bike shorts.  Wear bibs.  Unless you're a girl and your boobs get in the way, there is really no excuse.  Bibs are better than shorts in every possible way.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Types of Cyclists

So to the outside world, anybody who rides a bike ever is a cyclist, and we're all just inconveniences they have to deal with while driving.  Within the world of cycling, there are quite a few distinctions and it's worth discussing them and how they pertain to us, the road cyclists.  Here are a few of the broadest categories of cyclist.


Commuters can be identified by their hi-vis yellow everything, multitudes of lighting mechanisms, flat bar hybrid bikes, and their blatant rudeness and sense of entitlement on the road.  They are most often found during the weekday commuting hours, but can be found on bike paths and "taking the lane" at any time of the week.
As roadies, we avoid commuters at all costs.  They are slow until you try to pass one, not particularly good bike handlers, and they think they own the road, bike path, sidewalk, or any other paved or unpaved thoroughfare they happen to be huffing and puffing down the center of.  If you find yourself needing to pass a commuter, know that they will do everything in their capacity to pass you at some point later on.  They won't smile or wave, but just smugly pedal by as if they were planning on riding 6mph, and then ramping it up to 30, and you just happened to be riding by as they did this.  Once you let them pass you, they will inevitably tire and the process continues.  Your only options are to exert some real modicum of effort to keep them from catching up, or turning off.  You cannot ride slow enough to let them get away, because they will always ride slower.

Mountain Bikers:

Real mountain bikers won't ride more than a few hundred feet on a paved road.  As a result we will seldom see them except at trailheads, road crossings and bike shops.
Mountain bikers think they are cooler than we are, and they're right.  They wear baggy clothes, smoke pot, drink beer, and get to ride over rocks and off cliffs.  This requires skill, and courage, but generally not as much fitness as racing a road bike.  This means that we see them as slackers that don't have to suffer in training to be successful (lame), and they see us as nerdy calorie counters who obsess over power numbers and lactate thresholds.  We are both right.  As a result, we should treat mountain bikers with respect, but expect to receive the same respect in return.  We both recognize the other as an acceptable way to spend one's time, but think that our particular version is better.


Hipsters have been discussed ad nausuem by many other people and are way beyond what I'm capable of understanding.  Most of them view bikes as accessories like the guys in high school with souped cars.  Very few of them know how to actually ride a bike, and actual bike messengers hate them as much as we do.   One notable exception is the hipster who knows that most hipsters are douchebags and goes out of their way to be friendly.  Because of this exception, we should be at least decent to hipsters we pass while riding, but expect nothing from them, except maybe the joy of witnessing a failed trackstand every now and then.
Worth noting is that the guy who shows up on a group ride on a fixed gear.  He isn't a hipster, he's a moron.  While fixed gear bikes have their place (the velodrome), and some people (not me) might attest to their credibility as training tools, they are absolutely not for riding in groups with other people who have made the leap in technology to gears and brakes.


 Triathletes are NOT road cyclists.  They think that they are, and for this reason, they are potentially the most dangerous sect of cycling from both a stylistic and safety standpoint.  The job of even the very best triathlete is to ride at a moderate pace for 4 hours by themselves.  Most people you will encounter are "finishers" who just bought their first bike and don't find it odd that their brake levers are nowhere near their hands most of the time.   Triathletes are responsible for sleeveless jerseys, those water bottle cages that mount behind your seat, and the idea that riding a bike in a thong is ever a good idea.  None of it is a good idea.  Plus running hurts.  Not like cycling hurts, running hurts in a way that is stupid.  Anyone who thinks running is a good idea is suspect in the first place.
 Triathletes are horrible bike handlers because they don't train or race in groups.  Even professional bike racers have a hard time controlling a bike at speed in those aerobars. (Menchov in the rain, Rasmussen like 4 times at Le Tour.)   For this reason they are to be avoided and treated as dangerous.  Let them pass if you're on a bike path, otherwise you'll be going faster than them.  If they think it's okay to grab your wheel,  slow down so they don't think you're acknowledging them as existing on the same plane that you do.  They don't.

Everyone Else:

These are the people on $100 walmart bikes, beach cruisers, and the like.  They think we're super weird and they're right too.  We should appreciate them for riding bikes instead of driving into us, and leave it at that.


People on road bikes with skinny tires.  That's us.  This is who we'll be talking about for as long as I can come up with ideas for the blog, so summarizing here won't be useful.  This is going to be fun though.