The Rules are old school, so stop whining and read Rule 5


©Barry Sandland/TIMB – The Rules have become the bible for road racing.

Frank Strack, author and guardian of The Rules by Velominati: “Are you sure you want me to sign this, ‘To some old git’?”

Photographer’s notes: The Rules, penned by Frank Strack of Velominati, in consultation with his hard-core cycling friends, is the unofficial bible for road racers. Cyclists all over the world, most with Facebook accounts proclaiming their affinity, refer to The Rules daily as a guide to their lives on the bike.

The Rules are brilliant. Old school. You have to read them as half gospel, half comic relief. Maybe three-quarters gospel. Maybe nine-tenths. I mean, does it really matter if your tire stems (rule 26) are at 6-o-clock (unless the bike is being photographed), or the tube stems centre to the tire brand. It does matter that you accept Rule Number 5 as the gospel. Absolute gospel.

Strack has a sense of the comedy. He was drinking a cappuccino when facing the audience at the London Bike Show, a flagrant violation of Rule 56 (the coffee, not the Show). But then, as Strack pointed out, he was not riding a bike. I sat with the Saturday morning audience, listening to Strack being gently teased about the rules and their persistent application. How the beautiful BMC bike that stood as his accessory for the demonstration was in flagrant violation rule after rule. And the massive display photos were all wrong. Or showed why the cyclist pictured was all wrong.

As for me, while I can laugh at, while respecting, the rules, I break far too many of them. But then, I have a problem when I ride up on a group and see perfect uniforms, clean bikes, shaved legs and pot bellies. There should be a rule about beer bellies and spandex. There is a time for baggy shorts and large jerseys, if only as camouflage. Or when I see cyclists who spend more money on their bike than merited time riding them. Or people who obsess over super-light components while sporting XXL weight gain. I want to pitch up in cargo shorts, a dirty, ill-fitting t-shirt, sockless while wearing mountain bike shoes with my road bike… and then kick their collective asses. And I want to tell them all to stop whining (self-explanatory from Rule 5).

And any reader who thinks this response is correct might feel I have broken Rule 2.

Meanwhile, I would have broken 34, 53 and 65. Possibly rule 43.

But I would have been strong on rule 72.

But that might have left me in violation of rule 43.

Visit The Rules here…

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