The Rules.

The other day this article popped up on FaceSpace, essentially saying that Velominati's Rules were stupid and should be ignored whenever possible.
  
To a degree, I agree with this position- especially when confronted with a person who insists on quoting them as scripture. In fact, I would make a point of pissing that person off with as many offenses as I could, because while I'm a giant douchebag, my douchebagginess pales in comparison to theirs.
  
Some traditions in cycling have origins in practicality or safety. Those I can completely get on board with. Some are grounded purely in the realm of style, which is subjective and changes as trends come and go. A lot of those I can take or leave, because if something works for me in my environment, I tend to stay with it. Some people don't know the difference, and assume that these were Commandments that date back to Moses. If Moses was surfing cycling forums around 2009, I guess he might have been involved, but these weren't divinely inspired.
 
They were more of a tongue-in-cheek introduction to cycling culture to allow newer cyclists to avoid stylistic faux-pas and smooth their integration into the roadie scene. That was fine, but as with all things, some people just took things too far. Roadies are already seen as elitist snobs, so why codify this behavior and rigidly enforce it? That's the best way to make this "exclusive club" an extinct species. Instead, get people riding, be inclusive, offer gentle instruction on the culture and general guidelines, and eventually integration will occur.
FRED (from the BicycleSource.com glossary)
1) n. a person who spends a lot of money on his bike and clothing, but still can't ride. "What a fred -- too much Lycra and titanium and not enough skill." Synonym for poser. Occasionally called a "barney".
 
2) n. a person who has a mishmash of old gear, does't care at all about technology or fashion, didn't race or follow racing, etc. Often identified by chainring marks on white calf socks. Used by "serious" roadies to disparage utility cyclists and touring riders, especially after these totally unfashionable "freds" drop the "serious" roadies on hills because the "serious" guys were really posers. This term is from road touring and, according to popular myth, "Fred" was a well-known grumpy old touring rider, who really was named Fred.
I've ridden with a lot of guys that would be classified as "Freds" on group rides all around the country. Guys that are a rolling mishmash of cycling technology and fashion. Carbon disc wheels and trispokes on titanium endurance frames with overhead storage non-compliant saddle bags and mirrors. Usually really nice guys that are doing their thing and having fun. As long as they ride safely with the group, I'm good. They're out there doing something positive with their time and energy.
 
I've been called a Fred, most recently online. Occasionally to my face. Probably a lot behind my back. Meh. I probably am the case study for the first definition. I also violate all sorts of "rules", like those regarding saddle bags, although my saddle bag is barely large enough to carry a tube and a couple CO2 cartridges. I attach mini pumps to the frames of my training bikes. I wear knee warmers with no arm warmers sometimes. I probably offend the gentle sensibilities of just about every "Rules" disciple out there. Don't care.
 
There are a lot of stylistic cues I follow to conform to the roadie culture. There's a lot that I ignore. If it makes sense to me and works in the environment I'm riding in, I'll do it. I'm not going to bash anyone over the head because they don't.
 
1. Ride safe.
2. Don't be an asshole.
 
Those are pretty much the only rules you need.










Comments

  1. These are from Dana Albert, an East Bay blogger in the SF Bay area. They are long, but I think worthwhile. His take is much like yours:

    http://www.albertnet.us/2014/05/velominatis-rules-brilliance-or-bs.html

    http://www.albertnet.us/2014/05/37-velominati-rules-you-can-ignore.html

    See? Somebody besides your Pacific Islander fan club reads your stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good reads, and from a much more informed viewpoint than my own. I have less of an issue with the Velominati guys and their stupid rules than I do with people that take them as gospel. We're riding around on kids' toys in our brightly-colored underwear, people. As long as we don't hurt ourselves and others, get over it. There's not so many of us that we can afford to be exclusionary.

      How do I know you're not from Micronesia (or a French porn bot)?

      Delete
  2. Je suppose, monsieur, que vous devez prendre sur la foi, oui? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I don't speak Kapingamarangi.

      Delete
    2. Lol - that fortunate as that wasn't in Kapinwhatchacallit anyway!

      Delete

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