‘The Rules’ have become a cult amongst the road cycling community and even defined the way many approach the sport. But, nearly 10 years on from their inception and with major advances in cycling trends since, perhaps it’s time for some new ‘rules’ to bring the Velominati list bang up to date.
‘Obey The Rules’. It’s the very first point in the celebrated Velominati guide to cycling etiquette, yet despite its tongue-in-cheek intentions the irony is that – admit it – many of us do obey them. To a degree at least.
Whether you choose to conform to any is of course up to you, but one thing is certain: cycling has come a long way since the original Velominati list was published nearly a decade ago. Back then it was a simpler time for cyclists. Strava was in its infancy, there was no Instagram, no gravel bikes, and no disc brakes. Power meters were the reserve of the pros and aerodynamics was a nice to have. As for Esports or Ebikes, well, you get the idea.
With that in mind perhaps it’s time for an update to the cultural regulations that have defined a generation of roadies. ‘The Rules 2.0’ if you will. In the same tongue in cheek spirit of the original work, here are 20 new cycling rules for every cyclist in 2019:
1) If it’s not on Strava then it didn’t happen. There’s no point claiming that you ‘definitely PB’d’ up the local climb after your Garmin stopped recording. Unless it’s on a virtual leaderboard topped regularly by people on motorbikes, your ride doesn’t exist.
2) Aero is everything. Because it just looks cooler. If it makes you very slightly faster too, then great.
3) Don’t get drawn into the disc vs rim brakes argument – ever. It’s been done to death and there’s really nothing more to say. Discs are better, the new standard and here to stay. Get over it.
4) Gravel bikes are a fad – it’s all about the road bike. Don’t let the industry trick you into thinking we’ve suddenly discovered the gravel paths of the world. CX bikes have been doing the same job since time began. Gravel offers none of the speed of road nor the technical challenge of MTB. If you want proper off road trails, go mountain biking.
5) Rides on the indoor trainer don’t count towards mileage. Despite the fact that indoor miles are nearly always harder than miles done outside, they must never contribute to your annual mileage total, as you didn’t go anywhere. The fact that you’re also not technically going anywhere by doing laps of your local 5 mile loop should be conveniently ignored.
6) Esports is not a sport – bicycles must only be raced outside. Road racing is an outdoor pursuit where weather conditions, drafting, rider communication, potholes and elbow-to-elbow contact come into play. If you want to play video games, get an Xbox.
7) Sportives are races. Dismiss anyone who says they aren’t. Remember that the organisers have to say that to cover their asses. For everyone else with a number on their back, this is a race and you’re competing to win at all costs… against yourself.
8) Support your local bike shop, even if you must buy the stuff online. Always get your bike serviced at your LBS and buy some other things when you are in there. Any forward thinking LBS knows they must offer good workshop services and be prepared to fit parts bought on the internet. If they don’t and refuse to change with the times, ignore this rule.
9) Wheel rims must be at least 50mm deep. Unless when on a dedicated climbing bike in a hillclimb event. Deep rims are just more pro. See Rule 2.
10) Helmets must not be placed on tables at the cafe under any circumstances. We don’t want your stinking, sweaty lid encroaching on us as we tuck into our carrot cake slice, thanks.
11) Those who run tubeless are forbidden to ask for roadside support. You constantly told us you never get punctures remember? No, we can’t get your stuck valve out either. The only support permitted is the provision of a local taxi number.
12) The rule of FTP is, no one talks about FTP. Never, under any circumstances, give away the single, unarguable metric that defines your strength as a cyclist. If you must, then inflate the number by 10%.
13) E-bikes are forbidden from the club ride. Electronic bicycles have their place – on the commute, for the weak or the elderly. But not for a perfectly fit rider on the club ride. These riders need to ‘harden the f*ck up’ (see original Velominati Rule 5).
14) The power meter is king. The only true measurement of performance is power. Heart rate, average speed, Strava segments mean nothing vs cold, hard wattage. Post-ride bragging must only be conveyed in Normalised Power and Training Stress Score.
15) Instagram posts of your bike are not permitted. Unless it’s a brand new S-Works or a vintage Cervelo it’s not of interest to anyone, seriously. The only exception is on NBD (New Bike Day) when one photograph will be accepted.
16) Only ever use a dedicated bike computer. A smartphone may do a lot of the same things as your Garmin or Wahoo, but just looks wrong mounted on the bike. And that’s what matters.
17) Cycling holidays must always be referred to as training camps. Regardless of the amount of alcohol drunk or lack of any riding actually done – training camp.
18) Bikepacking is cool, but don’t do it for that reason alone. It isn’t new – people have been doing this since the invention of the bicycle. By all means load up and go on an adventure, but even saying you’re going ‘bikepacking’ suggests you’ve been truly suckered by the cycling media.
19) Electronic gears are just better – period. Ignore anyone who says otherwise based on the fact you have to charge them occasionally. These same people remember to charge their phone every day.
20) Craft beer is the only acceptable drink after a long ride with friends. Overpriced craft beer is now the Official Drink of Amateur Cycling. Mainstream lagers are no longer permitted for post ride refreshment. Only musty, brown liquids, produced in an East London microbrewery, served by a bearded hipster and pretentiously called ‘Turbodog Brown Ale IPA’ or similar, will be accepted.
Of course, there are many any other rules that could be applied in this exciting new era. What cycling rules do you think should be included in a Velominati refresh? Let us know in the comments below.
Read the original Velominati ‘The Rules’ here: www.velominati.com
Love reading lists about cycling? Of course you do. Check out our guide to the six types of cyclist you find on any group ride here: https://theobsessivecyclist.com/2019/11/22/the-6-types-of-rider-youll-find-on-any-club-ride/