10 Tips to Avoid Looking Like a Cycling Rookie

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For 2013, just enjoy the ride or look good doing it?

10 Tips to Avoid Looking Like a Cycling RookieBy Kurt Gensheimer

With the recent explosion in cycling popularity, the United States is experiencing record growth in the sport of cycling. This is a particularly encouraging development in a country which has largely associated cyclists with automotive target practice using projectiles like Gatorade bottles and 7-11 Big Gulps.

Each day a new cyclist dons his or her two wheeled steed for the first time is a day where more people learn to tolerate the sport. However, if you go out on the road and look like the quintessential cycling geek who clearly doesn’t know what they’re doing, you will only hurt the cyclist’s cause for social acceptance.

We all have to start somewhere, and I was definitely not immune to being a neophyte. I had all the rookie characteristics: the obscenely large helmet, haggard looking shorts, baggy jersey, hairy legs, greasy chain marks on my calves, bobbing posture on the bike – oh yes, I was indeed a tool.
However, not all rookies have to be subject to ridicule. There is a way to look experienced without having thousands of miles under your legs; you just have to pay attention to the details. This article is targeted towards folks who are new to the sport of cycling and wish to avoid the potential embarrassment I was put through as a rookie.

Tip 1: No Pro Kits
The cardinal violation in trying to be a cool cyclist is when you buy a full professional team kit (jersey, shorts, socks, etc.) of a team you do not ride for. Nothing screams ROOKIE  louder than a full Discovery Channel uniform on a non-payroll cyclist. Steer clear of these overpriced kits.  The only time these types of jerseys are acceptable is when they are vintage. General rule of thumb is 10 years after a team’s disbanding. For instance, if you hit the road in a vintage Motorola or Coors Light jersey, you get big style points. Just make sure you know a few of the cyclists who rode for those teams so that when approached by other cyclists, you can sound knowledgeable.

Tip 2: Buy the coolest helmet you can afford
When it comes to helmets, don’t skimp. You are going to be wearing this piece of equipment all the time (hopefully), and you want to be motivated to put it on. If you have some cheapo brain bucket or a nicer one that is two sizes too small, you’ll never want to wear it. Back in the day when I was young and stupid, I thought riding around with no helmet and gel that made my hair glisten was cool – well, it wasn’t. My Giro Pneumo helmet looks far cooler than my bare cranium, especially when it’s hemorrhaging blood after a head-over-shammy 30 mile per hour crash.

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About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.


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  • Gerry Rhoades says:

    Sorry but except for #10, this is really lame.

  • Chris says:

    I’m pretty sure this is all in jest…

  • Karl says:

    I have a beef with #1. Sure, full Disco kits scream Fred, but a wisely chosen Pro kit can be very cool for a cyclist with no racing intentions. For example, I’m terrible at basketball, but love the sport. So when I go down to shoot some hoops, do I wear a jersey from my local DII college? No, I wear my Jordan 23 jersey. In the same way, a full Cofidis (not Astana or Garmin) kit can come off nicely on your Saturday morning coffee ride.

    There are two guidelines for pulling this off: #1 You must choose a kit that reveals something about your cycling taste and isn’t a cliche. #2 You must have no intention of racing or even winning a town-limit sprint. This kit says ‘I love cycling and pro racing, but I realize I’m not one of them’.

    Also, rule #11 needs to be added: Don’t wear a sleeveless jersey, this isn’t a triathlon. If USAC doesn’t allow it, your probably shouldn’t wear it.

  • Paul says:

    I agree with the other comment, other than #10, I don’t get anything else. Who really cares what the rider wears, what his bike looks like, or how they carry their water. The more important fact is that they are out there riding, getting some exersize and enjoying the ride. As long as they can keep up and do it safely, does anything else matter?

  • francois says:

    >>Karl Wrote: There are two guidelines for pulling this off: #1 You must choose a kit that reveals something about your cycling taste and isn’t a cliche. #2 You must have no intention of racing or even winning a town-limit sprint. This kit says ‘I love cycling and pro racing, but I realize I’m not one of them’.

    Also, rule #11 needs to be added: Don’t wear a sleeveless jersey, this isn’t a triathlon. If USAC doesn’t allow it, your probably shouldn’t wear it.

    Good insight Karl! This article made me laugh but it also gave me insight on road culture undercurrent.

    I have a couple full pro team kits and it got me wondering… can I pull them off? Your advice rings true. The answer is no btw. I think my full Colnago skinsuit has got to go. I don’t even own a Colnago any more anyway.

    For the sleeveless jersey, I showed up on a club interval training ride on a 95 degree day. I thought I’d be smart and wear a sleeveless jersey. A couple acquaintances let me have it, half-joking of course. I said ‘whuuut? Did I miss a memo?’ Now I know. I’ll still wear it though… when it’s 105 degrees.

    fc

  • Kurt Gensheimer says:

    Author here. I’m totally welcome to any and all criticism about the article, ego-stroking praise or outright keyboard lashings (actually, I prefer the lashings. Far more entertaining!)

    But take this for what it’s worth: Everything I’ve included here – from the perspective of a 15+ year racer who briefly attained Cat 1 status with futile visions of being a roadie pro in the late 1990s – is advice you should consider if you’re trying to be a seriously experienced cyclist who knows what he/she is doing.

    But if you simply don’t care about what others think of you, or are completely secure in wearing your Hulkamania cycling jersey with matching green helmet, then you can completely disregard every tip on this list.

    This article is for people who don’t want to stand out in cycling circles as ‘that guy’ or ‘that gal’.

    And to Karl, dude, rule #11? C’mon! Nothing is cooler or more punk rock than an old, sleeveless Brooklyn jersey. I still rock my old sleeveless Enfants Z jersey on occasion while riding my ’89 Bridgestone RB1 with full Dura-Ace 10.

    Roadies are usually too uptight, so breaking out the sleeveless helps put matters into check.

    - Genshammer

    • karuna says:

      Your article was amusing and informative on many levels. I cannot believe how little sense of humor posters here have. Keep writing. It was enjoyable.

    • allgoo19 says:

      Genshammer:

      Two comedians tell the same joke on different stages. One gets a big laugh, another gets bombed. Comedians don’t blames the audience.
      It’s not what you say but how you say it matters the most.
      I’m one of those who didn’t find this article funny.
      It takes some talent, real sense of humor to make people laugh. If you have the right talent, he or she can make anybody laugh with not so funny materials.
      Of course, this is a joke and I have no sense of humor.

  • Hooptie says:

    #11: Don’t ride w/ a bento box
    #12: Booties should always be black…white is OK on race day.
    #13: Dont mix and match team kits.
    #14: Dont wear your leg warmers over your shorts, many pros seem to think this is cool…they are clearly wrong.

  • just because says:

    Don’t base your ideas of what’s cool on article written about ‘what’s cool’ ;-)

  • Erik says:

    @Hooptie…

    What’s wrong with a bento box? It provides easy access to food on the long rides or Gu. I love mine.

  • pb says:

    “Don’t wave at other cyclists”

    Its not like we are in some secret club.

  • LostViking says:

    I am a rookie, so I don’t mind sounding like one:

    What’s up with removing the reflectors in your wheels? Seems like a Kamikaze action just to look cooler.

    Men with shaved legs might be “cooler” for cyclists, but not so cool for people with a life beyond cycling. I get the road-rash argument, but once you look past that, the “coolness factor” seems a bit insular to me.

    • JonathanC says:

      trust me you dont want that rash to get infected. that is some of the legit advice here, if you ride alot, just do it.

    • Seth says:

      In a crash reflectors shatter and end up mostly in one place…. stabbed into your body. Removing them if you do not intend to ride at night is a good idea..

  • aktastic says:

    If you think these rules are lame then you’re the TOOL he is talking about. We all know biking is about being cool. I mean nothing is cooler than Tyler Durden rubbing his well tanned legs down with baby oil before hitting the local downtown crit for cat. 3 crashing/racing in his jean short bibs and Ben and Jerry’s jersey. In racing you need people to love you, can’t do it on your own. So if you are a tool who rocks a orange $20 bell helmet, mesh back vest with nothing under, hair and elastic sticking up through shorts your and riding a 54cm when you are 6’3″ in the middle of the weekend race pack then you are a TOOL even your own coach won’t talk to. That is until till you beat his old ass from Bartlett Lake to Cave Creek. Then you’re the man.

    The Mayor

  • francois says:

    >> … then you are a TOOL even your own coach won’t talk to.
    :) The Mayor has the gift!!

    fc

  • francois says:

    >> What’s up with removing the reflectors in your wheels? Seems like a Kamikaze action just to look cooler.

    Reflectors are made mandatory for kids and DUI drivers who lost their license. So we are all forced to have those reflector on our bikes even though we have zero intention of riding at night on a racing bike.

    If you ride at night, you need proper lighting. Batteries, LEDs, Lumens. Not silly reflectors.

    The real offenders are the spoke protetectors that you find between the cogset and the spokes of the rear wheel. It is the ugliest exclamation that one does not know how to tune their bike (because it is useless on a properly adjusted bike).

  • Rod says:

    I found the article amusing to read, and reminsce…

    I do like riding hairy and wasting guys in sprints, even after a decade of being gone. Your article is all about ego, more than cool, IMHO. I believe that new cyclist should learn how to handle their bike, learn to draft, learn to corner in gravel, learn how to maintain pace, get the right equipment ie cogset and the rest will fall into place.

    Best of all, don’t be cool… ask questions and the guys who are knowledgeable, will give you a hand up. Don’t be something your not… that is a TOAD

  • Karl says:

    >> “Nothing is cooler or more punk rock than an old, sleeveless Brooklyn jersey. I still rock my old sleeveless Enfants Z jersey on occasion while riding my ‘89 Bridgestone RB1 with full Dura-Ace 10.”

    Kurt, I’ll have to cede to your experience here. I’ve never come across a sleeveless jersey done with style, but I trust you know what you’re doing.

  • John says:

    So why is that everything makes one a cool roadbiker is so hideously uncool in every other facet of life – even every other form of bicycling?

  • FR says:

    @Hooptie:
    white cotton shoe covers are completely acceptable in training. it does not have to be race day to wear them. they cost $20 and are a simple way to keep your feet warm. colors BESIDES white or black are rather silly on any day, race or not. the same principle that applies to saddles and bar wrap applies to gloves and shoe covers: black or white, nothing else.

    @LostViking:
    Dude, if you’re a cyclist then you ride your bike. Riding a bike with chewbacca legs not only makes you a rolling bugtrap and a dirtbag, but it looks completely ridiculous. If it’s not “cool beyond cycling,” and that concerns you, you aren’t a cyclist.

    @Paul:
    Just because someone is “out there getting some exercise” doesn’t give them carte blanche to look like a complete idiot. You wouldn’t say “hey, it’s ok to show up to a dinner party in dirty sweatpants… as long as they’re being cordial and polite, who cares?” At least I don’t think you would say that. Anyway the article is just pointing out why tools are so obvious to everyone besides other tools. In reality, it’s supposed to help them not be tools.

    @Erik:
    You had better be kidding about the Bento Box.

  • TL says:

    I can not believe this crap is even published on the site. Just some numb skulls opinion of what every one should look like. You forgot to tell us what kind of bike to ride too. Dumbass.

  • Matt says:

    I’m sorry and I know about a thousand other people said the same thing. Who cares? Go out and ride you bike and don’t care what people think. Cycling now is all about a look and what setup you have. Just go ride you bike. This article is rediculous and embarrassing. Shame on you, you self concious jackass.

  • Francois says:

    >> So why is that everything makes one a cool roadbiker is so hideously uncool in every other facet of life – even every other form of bicycling?

    It starts and ends with one word. Lycra.

    At least we’re not sportin triathlete mankini’s.

    fc

  • Bolter03 says:

    I wear team kits and am not a pro but I’m not a novice either. Got two Bianchis. Look for closeouts on teams that rode Bianchis so they usually cheaper than other gear, but the bottom line is I don’t wear them for other cyclists…I wear them for auto drivers.

    Bright colors, logo’s all over, and they don’t know I’m not a pro. They don’t know that I’m only averaging 19mph vs 21mph. I don’t really care what other cyclists wear but it appears the Lexus drivers do and consequently it seems I get a little more respect out there.

    I’ve got some plain color stuff and even a pair of cycling ‘shorts’. I wear those and I got drivers honking and pointing to the sidewalk, not giving me my turn at the stops signs, etc. so I’ve given up on wearing them during my 32m commute and my training rides. They are relegated to trips around town or the bike trails and riding with novices.

    I’ll take that over any other riders opinion about whether I am cool or not.

  • jeff says:

    One thing the prick author missed, and I’ll bet this pisses him off when it happens to him. There is nothing better than catching bozos like him, watching them struggle to keep up, then dropping them when the time is right leaving them gasping for air. Leaves ‘em wondering how did that guy that’s so \uncool\ just kick my butt. The ultimate cool is to outperform everyone else while not looking the part. I say, go ride, get fast and show up those elitist snobs on the road. If they won’t talk to you then, it’s because they can’t.

  • Samantha says:

    Hmmm, While I agree with 10 isn’t cycling all about the freedom it brings you? The thrill of riding down a back country road with nothing but you, your bike and the noise of a ticking chain over the cassette?

    I have a name for those who insist on wearing the Euro wear and are more concerned about thier appearance then thier performance. I call them peacocks. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Sure you might look cool but if looking cool is better then getting owned by a weekend warrior on his huffy with a 1980 helmet and shorts with holes then feel free to spend gobs of money on that stuff.

    Samantha

  • Lance says:

    So, a failed wannabe pro is publishing the Top Ten ways to avoid looking like a Tool? Does anyone else see the irony here? Kurt, suggestion number one, stop trying to recreate your “glory days”, and just ride!

  • Fred Smith says:

    I wish I could fit into that La Vie Claire jersey without looking like the Michelin man. Were all freds as far as i’m concerned.

  • gregg@mtbr.com says:

    Haha…great article Kurt!

    How ’bout this one:

    -When it’s your turn to pull the paceline, don’t rocket up to 5 mph faster than the paceline was already going! I’ve seen newbies commit this faux pas a few times.

  • Kurt G. says:

    Observation taken, Lance, but I don’t really see the irony. Now on the other hand, if, perchance, your last name is Armstrong, irony abounds in your comment about re-living the ‘glory days’. Good luck in ’09, buddy!

  • John says:

    Why call the article says “10 tips to avoid looking like a cycling rookie”, and then only describe road racing/training, the “roadie” culture? Is that the only legitimate way to bicycle? I don’t doubt what you write is true for some people, but “cycling” is a pretty wide and diverse sport. Even “road” cycling is pretty all inclusive – look at all the different forums on the RBR! Do roadies really point and laugh at a commuter with reflectors or a randoneer with a large saddlebag or a hipster on a fixed gear with hairy legs or a car-free lifestyle cyclist peddling an Xtra-cycle in non-lycra street clothes? And that’s not even including the various groups of “off-road” cyclists. Actually, I think nearly every group of cyclists have their own unwritten rules of what is “cool” and what newbie’s look like or do.

    I’d love to see Grant Peterson’s reaction to this article – now THAT would be entertaining.

  • the anti anti cycling non says:

    I have to agree so much with #1… No FULL cycling kits unless you are sponsored or are supporting a cause etc. Sure a current team jersey of your favourite team but please, black shorts.

  • LostViking says:

    Found a lot of this informative, but as far as reflectors and shaved legs…I think I’ll go my own way on those. I ride for fun and exercise, if that means I’m not a “cyclist”, well then so be it.

  • paul says:

    Wow, lots of thoughts on this one.

    FR, I don’t agree with your analogy comparing proper dinner etiquette to what to wear cycling, but that’s just me.

    It’s been 15 years or so since I gave up riding on the road and went to the dirt, where by the way, nobody cares what you’re wearing or if your legs are shaved. I just recently picked up a road bike a couple of weeks ago to start riding again to get more saddle time in and to spend more time with my wife since she never got into mtn. biking. When I saw the title, I was actually looking forward to reading it thinking that it would give me some good tips on being a better rider and knowing how to interact in a group riding scenario. After reading it, I actually questioned my decision on getting back on the road. I’m hoping that this is only the thoughts of 10% of the cycling community and is not representative of the entire community. From reading the comments, I think this is the case. Hopefully, when not just riding alone or with my wife, I’ll find a group that shares my feelings, if not, I’ll go it alone. I’ll keep up with the pace, hold my line, call out obstacles, make sure my bike is maintained, but I won’t to as far as shaving my legs just because someone thinks I look like a tool if I don’t. I’m out. Hope to see you all on the road sometime!

  • santiago benites says:

    I don’t shave my legs anymore, because I don’t compete anymore. It just doesn’t make any sense to do so. Besides, I love the fact that it drives some of the uptight purists nuts when I ride with them. Btw, does anyone know where I can find reflectors that will fit on the spokes of my Cosmic Carbone SLR’s?

  • BruJenn says:

    “And to Karl, dude, rule #11? C’mon! Nothing is cooler or more punk rock than an old, sleeveless Brooklyn jersey. I still rock my old sleeveless Enfants Z jersey on occasion while riding my ‘89 Bridgestone RB1 with full Dura-Ace 10.

    Roadies are usually too uptight, so breaking out the sleeveless helps put matters into check.

    - Genshammer”

    Pot, meet kettle.

  • G Weiss says:

    Wow. As a newbie all this uptight, fashion-oriented BS makes me not even want to ride. It’s about the exercise, no? And I feel bad for the guy with the beard. Geeks unite!

  • DrSmile says:

    Very entertaining article. Maybe you guys should lighten up and not take everything so seriously. If you’re an Afghan sweater hair legged bearded hippie that lubes his chain with motor oil… you won’t care what this article says because you don’t bother reading silly cycling articles on the internet. As for me… pardon me while I sheepishly go shave my legs!

  • Hooptie says:

    Sounds like we need to set up a time for Jeff and Kurt to square-off.

    Foothill Expressway, high noon. Race the unofficial worlds course…from El Monte to Arastradero.

    Sorry, no recumbents.

    Winner gets a Livestrong jersey, a yellow Trek headband that reads “I never tested positive”, and an oven mitt.

  • Jeff says:

    Wow, does the author have some old junior high issues to work through or what? This guy wreaks of douchebaggery. I thought the only losers where the ones who didn’t get off of the couch. Apparently, I was wrong.

  • KCal says:

    Has anyone ever heard the Dane Cook joke about how everyone has a friend that nobody likes. Whenever that person is not around, the group loves to cut that person down. We all know someone like that, right? If you don’t know someone like that, you are that person! Same goes here. If you were going out to play golf you wouldn’t wear your baseball hat backwards and an Eagles Jersey with cargo shorts in camo design would you? If you would then I again say you must be that person! True it’s about the exercise no doubt but you’re still a tool. Great article Kurt.

  • Commuter says:

    Riding on city streets is cool, especially as a lifestyle for eco-friendly transportation. In that case, staying alive is also cool. Hence I take issue with the rear-view mirror comment. Yes, they look hopelessly, ridiculously geeky. But getting disfigured or killed by the lady in an SUV on a cell phone with screaming in the car is worse. I want to know she’s approaching. And when I see someone about to open a parked car door on me, I want to react instantly by getting over without having to look over my shoulder. The guys who write the Road Bike Rider newsletter are diehard advocates of these because who would drive a car without a rear-view mirror? Same principle applies. My nightmare is an injury that would prevent me from riding at all, cool or tool.

  • HAL9000 says:

    Nothing wrong w/a mirror on the helmet or glasses. Yes I do want to know when I about to be hit by a car. I am also better able to plan my “take the lane” moves & signal cars that I see them & when it is safe to pass. THEY (car drivers) appreciate these small gestures & that makes my ride safer.

  • Oldteen says:

    Except for #10- this is silly- or even dangerous.

    Mirrors are used by legions of very experienced cyclists who logged their 1st 100k mi before you were born (and have lived to keep riding!!). I wish more riders wore mirrors rather than making bonehead moves because they missed seeing a car or another rider.
    And experienced night-time commuters know reflectors are used IN ADDITION to decent lights, and are required by law in many places.

    BTW- Remind me to skip Kurt’s group rides.

  • Mark555 says:

    I’m not sure if the sport of road cycling is cool enough to warrant an article about how to not look uncool.

    Surfing is really cool. Sailing. Skiing and snowboarding through off-piste through the trees with powder flowing like liquid over your thighs. Scuba and free-diving, at night with lights-off, grooving on your partner’s phosphorescent-plankton blue-light clouds. Mountain-biking, which is why the ratio of teenagers and young twentysomethings doing that to those doing road-biking is like 1000 to 1, whereas the vast majority of road-riders are middle-aged.

    Rolling on pavement? Before you roadies get too full of yourselves, get real: you’re all dependents of the federal Department of Transportation, and the local Public Works Department. They make your activity possible.

    When you can paddle through 15 foot surf and survive wipeouts in the impact zone with tons of water dropping towards your head, when you get tubed and hear not crashing water but a deep thrumming caused by the tube’s resonating as a natural horn, which you are inside, when you ride with sea lions and dolphins, and one time even a baby gray whale comes up to within 10 feet of you to check you out, and you could paddle over and pet him if you wanted to, then you’ll know what cool really means. It’s an experience of connecting with nature, and her forces and creatures that riding on civilization’s asphalt cannot remotely approach.

    I don’t live near the ocean or mountains now, so I ride for exercise. Last week I was on a bike path and a red-tailed hawk was ahead, perched on a low fence-post, 6 feet from the path. Of course he would take off as I approached. But he didn’t. He just swiveled his head as I passed, and we looked at each other eyeball to eyeball. Unbelievable! In the countryside, farm dogs guard the homestead. They always come out barking. I slow down, sometimes stop, and talk to them. Once in a while they’ll stop barking and lope along with me, escorting me to the end of their territory. That’s cool.

    I want to talk about safety measures. I don’t ride fast, but I put in about 4000 miles this year at age 55, my first year of major mileage since I was in my 30s. I ride an MTB mostly. One time just before sunset, I saw a bike headlight approaching about 200 yards ahead. The cyclist was otherwise invisible, being shielded by trees. Hmm…

    Cyclists are always bitching about drivers not giving them room or right of way. I decided to try using lights in the day, set on strobe. High-powered ones, bar, helmet and tail. Big difference seen, by cars moving over way sooner to pass, and giving me right of way at intersections. I would have done this earlier, except for the dumb cycling culture which didn’t clue me into this until one smart guy gave me a revelation.

    Since I got lights, I started night riding. Nice, because there’s less traffic and winds die down. I reinstalled the spokes reflectors and rear reflector, got ankle and left-wrist reflector bands ( the last for left-turn-signalling). Even put on a MonkeyElectric spokes light-show generator, because if people think, “What the heck is that up ahead?” you’ve got their attention, which is key to avoiding car-bike incidents. In essence I use lights and reflectors to proactively communicate with drivers, and negative incidents have plummeted 90%. There’s a reason why all new motorcycles have full-time lights and highway maintenance crews use daytime flashers. It’s called getting drivers’ attention. Cyclists who don’t think in terms of communicating with drivers, but just think, “I’ve got a right to use the road, so if somebody hits me, I’ll sue them,” aren’t very bright.

    I got a helmet mirror years ago. It’s really good for sizing up the situation behind you while keeping vision of what’s in front of you. If you eschew the information a mirror provides, because you don’t think it looks cool, get a lens-mount one. If you don’t think you need the information because except for making left turns, you don’t care what’s going on behind you, that’s stupid. And stupidity isn’t really all that cool.

  • filly fill says:

    lol, great pictures, and all so true. I was guilty of at least a few of these when I started the transition from guy-who-likes-to-ride-his-”who-cares”-80s-steel-road bike-sometimes-in-normal-street-clothes to legitimate-modern-roadbike-owning-enthusiast/beginning-racer.

    I can’t believe how many uptight responses this got — i don’t know whether to be frustrated or more amused

  • Doc Sprocket says:

    Great article and so true.. hahaha. We have a great stretch of bay road in my city and on a week end it’s dominated by psuedo-pros and fat guys, in full team kits on expensive bikes. I love bikes, always have.. but the culture, and many of the people, leave me cold. Cycling culture is such a wank.

    I shave my legs because it’s traditional to do so, no other excuse.
    I wear vintage team gear, because they’re the guys I grew up admiring.
    I ride an old steel, Columbus frame because that’s the bike I wanted as a kid.

    You guys can keep your 08 pro kits and carbon fibre. You guys take yourselves far too seriously for a bunch of week end warriors.

  • JD says:

    Coppi clocked one of the quickest Tour de France times on a mailman’s bicycle…with reflectors.

  • Kurt Gensheimer says:

    hahaha! Loving the all the responses. It’s proof positive that for as many ‘douchebag’ (Jeff’s words, not mine) roadies there are, there are equally as many people who get it! Being a die hard mountain biker, that’s where my riding passion still lies, because mountain bikers are far less judgmental and light years cooler than roadies.

    Just because I wrote this article doesn’t mean I judge people when I see them riding. I’m simply making observations. Regardless of how ridiculous someone looks, the most important thing is that they’re out riding, staying healthy and having fun. The goal of this article is to communicate to those people who are *serious about being a bike racer*, that there are certain things you need to avoid to be taken seriously. I’ve learned my lesson about judging people – it came when a dude wearing blue jean lycra shorts, an Incredible Hulk jersey and an old Trek with three front chainrings embarrassed me in a race. Sure, I scoffed at him at the start line, but by the finish, I shook the dude’s hand. Never again did I judge someone based on appearance.

    HOWEVER, there are still lots of racers out there who are super judgmental, and if you’re *aspiring to be a bike racer*, you’d be well served to follow these tips. If you’re a recreational cyclist and have no racing aspirations, this article is not aimed towards you, but really, the rearview mirror thing is a joke. (Like you’re really gonna dodge a 5,000 pound steel monstrosity coming from behind you at 40 mph simply by looking into a 1″x1″ piece of glass attached to your helmet? Gimme a break.)

    And for you aspiring roadies to take issue with my *suggestions*, like someone else mentioned, you’re probably the guy or gal who everyone talks about while you’re not around!

    Genshammer

  • Kurt Gensheimer says:

    By the way, Jeff (assuming that’s your real name)….Anytime. Anyday. Anywhere, buddy. Bring it. Sounds like I’ve really struck a nerve with you, and I’m more than willing to help you get out those pent up frustrations.

    Look up the word ‘domination’ in the dictionary. And when you’re done looking that up, then look up ‘demoralize’. Get familiar with those words, because you’ll be on the receiving end!

    The douchebag, prick author

  • The Sundance Kid says:

    PezCyclingNews did this same article months ago and their snapshot of roadie culture was better.

    Day late and a dollar short.

  • Mark555 says:

    I can’t get too worked up about attire. When my dad gave me a campy record gruppo italian bike in 1962, there was no road attire available for 10 year olds. (I couldn’t actually straddle the bike, I had to do moving foot-in-the clip mounts and dismounts for about a year, but fortunately I was growing fast.) Actually, there were only a few people even importing racing bikes, and nobody in America made them for another decade. I just rode a lot until I outgrew it totally by age 15 in tee shirts and shorts in summer, and jeans and a sweater or light casual jacket in winter.

    I did my first century, alone and unsagged, during Easter Week in 1970. It was a ride of necessity. I lived in Salinas, my girlfriend in San Jose. As I had totaled my mom’s car making a sneak visit the previous fall, I had no driving priveleges. Returning west of Gilroy, I was going uphill 85, and the road suddenly curved. Which would have been okay, but it also simultaneously leveled. The car became unweighted and had no traction. I did a pretty good job keeping it on the road, given that it was fishtailing and with no seatbelt I was sliding back and forth from the door to the middle-passenger part of the bench seat, but after about a hundred feet, it 180′d and flipped, leaving wheels up in the center of the road. Fortunately only the driver’s side collapsed and by then I was on the passenger side. So I unrolled it and walked to a house. Called my mom. The owner insisted I go to the hospital for a checkup, and got a neighbor to accompany us. By the time we got to the accident scene, there were about 10 cars parked, with people searching through poison-oak-covered ground looking for the body. An ambulance and CHP officer were parking, so the homeowner, then me, explained the situation. The ambulance guys and officer insisted on taking custody. The doctor found glass in my hair. The officer told me that several people died on that stretch of road, and I was lucky to be alive.

    Anyway, I wanted to see my girlfriend, so I borrowed a friend’s brother’s Schwinn Continental (I had sold my bike two years earlier), and taking off at 530 AM, rode up 101, then cut over to Almaden north of Morgan Hill. Called my girlfriend from a shopping center. She couldn’t see me. We talked for an hour. I decided that riding back the same way wouldn’t be as fun as crossing the Santa Cruz Mountains on 17, so I did that–the downhill part was a blast–then rode 1 to Watsonville and Castroville, then to Salinas.

    I didn’t see any roadies that day. I didn’t see anybody doing either of those routes on a bike for many years.

    So-called aerodynamic attire is pathetic, given that recumbency is the real way to achieve speed, but UCI outlaws it. Why? ‘bents are TOO FAST! What kind of dipsh*t-attitude is that? What if the pioneers of mountain-biking set permanent competition standards that outlawed suspensions and more than 5 speeds? It would be like if track and field required vaulters to use bamboo-cane poles, so the world record is still 16 feet, and if and tracks had to be made of cinder gravel on dirt, so the 100 WR was 10.1. Or skis for races had to be made of fine traditional European ash, boots 6 inches high made of leather and tied with laces, and bindings guaranteed to break at least one leg a year. What if the ASP required surfers to use kola or redwood boards, 10 foot, 80 pound minimum? Or whitewater kayaking competition required the use of 16 foot long Eskimo ocean kayaks?

    Why is MTB way more innovative than road cycling? A. It was invented in America, the innovation capital of the world, B. its inventors did things that nobody else was doing, C. MTBers, not suits, create new kinds of competitions when people who have tried new things with their friends that nobody else has done before, decide, “Let’s have a contest.” America could develop its own road-racing standards, but instead they suck up to the Eurotrash. That’s why they’re weenies. If they said, “Screw you, we can do what we want,” and developed bent racing, it would be way more exciting to ride and see guys doing 40 mph sprints on the flats and 80 downhill, leaving the Euros holding the claim that they are the fastest guys in the world on slow bikes.

    Here’s a nice photo of one of MTB’s pioneers, showing “proper” attire.

    http://sanfrancisco.about.com/od/klunkerzbillysavage/ss/klunkerzphotos_5.htm

    For paying homage to the giants of mountain biking

    • karuna says:

      interesting perspective. i’m interested in ‘bents too. always have been. and did not know they are faster. but with a longstanding hamstring injury that heals/reappears/heals/reappears, i’m looking even more seriously at a recumbent. nice insight.

  • Otoman says:

    Kurt, good article. Funny, semi-tongue-in-cheek. I remember my grandparents would watch “All In The Family”. While most of America found Archie Bunker’s racist and bigoted comments to be ridiculous comic relief, my grandparents thought he was not at all funny, and wondered why the laugh track cued up every time he spoke. The people that don’t find this article even a little funny clearly find the content a little too close to home.

  • MGZ says:

    Why roadies are such uptight assholes??? The faster you are the more uptight asshole you are. Every time I leave my house my wife tells me that I look so stupid… It’s the un-coolest look of all sports, and I follow the roadies “dress codes”. There’s nothing cool about being a roadie. You just go fast… big f…g deal. Congratulations!!! I still love the sport and that’s why I ride. I agree with Mark 555. Mountain bikers are way cooler. Looks, personalities and even better bike handlers. And the best ones always try to help the newbies. NO COMPETITION. ON the trails the faster ones always wait for the slower ones. If you see another mt bikers… you always say hi. Now that’s etiquette!!!
    I like this article for what it is… just fun.

    My apologies to the nice roadies, there’s a lot out there too. Some even in this page.

    When I pass you on the road I say hello, so I would expect you to do the same when you pass me. Is that simple!!!

    Now lets just have fun.

  • Strealy says:

    Every sport has their kooks. No one reading this can honestly say they want to be one. My background is surfing and I can tell who does or doesn’t before they even hit the water. Appears to be the same with Cycling. I plan to buy a bike this year and begin riding, so I’ve been doing a bit of research online. This article has been the most helpfu thing I have read so far. I kind of figured that hitting the road dressed like Lance Armstrong would be a dead giveaway, but I would have probably violated every other rule had it not been for this article. It’s not about ego. Some of us just want to keep a low profile and stay out of everyone elses way until we get serious.

  • another commuter says:

    This is stupid. There is just one sure sign that reveals rookies, or better yet, wannabies:

    - Racing fellow cyclist other than in an actual race.

    To quote Tim Krabbé in “The Rider”, about a rider with no chance of winning the race but who early left the peloton just to show off: “Anyone in the peloton could have done it”.
    Fact is that cycling is something everyone have an experience of so it abounds with wannabies. This kind of a wannabe will allways want to be *better*. Either by trying to outperform other cyclists, displaying his fancy gear, displaying his great knowledge with grim seriousity or – as a last resort – sulky comments about other cyclists safety measures.

    However let me add two more signs:

    - A clearly poorly fitted bike resulting in a clearly unnatural posture
    - Wearing lycra when not racing. Cm’on, compared to regular fit pants and jackets, the gains in aerodynamics are for shaving off seconds in a race and clearly not for making training more efficient…

  • Correction:
    - Racing fellow *cyclists* other than in an actual race

  • Bob says:

    When I first read this article, I laughed because I thought that it was all a joke. Then I saw that the auther was on here defending this article and claiming that people really should follow these points of advice.

    That’s sad. Very sad.

    There’s only one way to be taken seriously. Ride hard… be courteous to other riders… ride hard… train smart… ride hard.

    If you’re so insecure that you really do have to follow these silly pointers, then you prolly have some issues that cycling clothes won’t fix.

  • u-wood says:

    This article is so ture. If you follow these tips to the best of your abilities, then you’ll be “in the click” for sure. If you don’t follow these tips then you shouldn’t be riding a bike in the first place. Anyone with hairy legs or reflectors on their bike is a power tool. If you don’t ride carbon then you’re lame. Who needs a helmet? my slicked back hair looks way better than any helmet. I only wear a helmet in races because I have to. Basically, if your bike cost less than mine, you’re not worthy. A note to all of you mountain bikers out there, you’re not real cyclist, you’re just a bunch of hooligans that couldn’t ride a bike to save your life. The road is where it’s at. They should just ban all use of trails to bikes period.

  • Jime says:

    I have a blue bike with blue tires, seat and handlebar tape. It is very fast and I usually get compliments on the bike because of the beautiful paint job. It is aluminum and carbon. I wear a blue and white helmet to match and sometimes a blue jersey, black shorts with this bike. I also have a carbon fiber bike as well. I think the carbon fiber is faster but the aluminum bike has a lively road feel to it. I enjoyed the comments here and have actually trimmed my leg hair because I could feel it in the wind. I could not bring myself to shave the legs though. The legs are not that nice, and I am afraid women would not understand. I love cycling as I am sure you all do. It is sad when such discussions become debate because of the foul weather of winter making everyone stir crazy to get out and ride. I am preparing for spring when I can get out and ride on the road again. For now, I cyclocross. BTW you take that plastic ring off so the cassette does not fill with mud.

  • kelly says:

    I guess smoking a joint is out of the question. Must admit this is some good satire on purist roadies, if it is satire. If not, it’s part of why I quit USCF. I got tired of driving 200-600 miles round trip just for the spend the day with riders whose attitude was symtematic of having a roll of quarters up their butt and only a seatpost to sit on.

  • Et says:

    This is my own take from those 10 tips. First I’am a 32 yrs old French Cat 1 racer (so bare in mind English is my second language)
    1- Buy something you like and try clearance items. Cycling clothes are over price but will increase your enjoyment.
    2- Buy a helmet that you will wear and will always wear
    3- Clothing that fit that obvious I think (it’s more comfortable)
    4- Shave your legs UHHHH don’t do it if you just start cycling you will look even more like a wanna bee. Wait to be a good rider. And guys you will be surprise how ladies like that and it always open a conversation (It’s actually a pretty good social thing outside the cycling world)
    5- Maintain your bike wash it and learn how to adjust it you will enjoy riding even more. Mark will happen less and less true time
    6- A good thing to learn in cycling less is more
    7- Plastic deflectors are useless and will affect your wheels true time. Buy a 5 $ LEED light that you carries in you jersey back pocket ant use it when it dark.
    8- Obvious and very good a park is a good place to start for people not comfortable with clips. SPD are for mountain bike or for touring not for the road.
    9- Camel back is uncomfortable and you will sweet more difficult to wash and more mold prone, get use drinking when you ride and always drink when you are at the back of the pack very very important to avoid people falling and or rolling over yours bottles. Another thing buys bottle older that old your bottles people don’t want to feel over your bottles lining on the road.
    10- All good very important to learn how to ride in group
    11- Equipments is not going to make you better if you start buy a medium quality bike (shimano 105) and work you way up as you involve this is like a girlfriend you are not going to marry the first one you go out with. And if you did it’s much cheaper to change bike then to divorce to check if theirs id better elsewhere.
    12- Don’t buy high profile carbon rim if you don’t race people like me will just push harder to leave you behind same can be said for very exotics frames.
    13- Be a good person friendly and open to positive critics (positions on the bike, pedals cadences, position in the pack etc…) from people that you obviously know that are better then you.
    14- Learn to take advantage from the drift watch good rider we are lazy people 
    15- Better say you are a newcomer then try to be like you rode 20 000 km last year people will accept you way better and will have a better opinion off you.

    Enjoy every ride like it ways your last !

  • francois says:

    >>This is my own take from those 10 tips. First I’am a 32 yrs old French Cat 1 racer (so bare in mind English is my second language)

    Excellent insight ET!! Wonderful tips.

  • Joe says:

    Holy cow, you guys are elitist! Speaking as an industry guy and avid cyclist, this is crap. Who cares what people look like? Just ride, and if you are feeling bad about “rookie ring”, come hang out with me. I think it looks cool. Don’t make fun of other people who ride. They’re your friends.

  • Jeff says:

    I’m the Jeff who said this article wreaked of douchebaggery (different Jeff called you a prick) and I still think this article is crap. What you’ve done is irresponsible. If some newby thinks about buying a bike to just get in shape and, god forbid, reads this article he/she is going to have second thoughts about it because people like you are going to judge him. You make it sound like all cyclists are a bunch of seventh grade girls gossiping about how much cooler you are then them. The point of cycling is to go outdoors, enjoy yourself and get in a good workout. It’s because of people like you that I mostly ride with tri guys. That being said, you are still a douche.

  • u-wood says:

    Jeff, what’s with all of the name calling, you sound like a seventh grade girl…douchebag!

  • CK says:

    There’s nothing more cool looking than matching team jersey and the bike. It’s a joy to look at and usually aerodynamic. I wear them because I can’t find any thing better. Only thing I would ask for more would be it should be reflective at night.

  • HairyMan says:

    I still think the coolest thing I’ve ever seen was riding in the front group of century ride and seeing this dude with major “bed-head” roll past us (we were holding 27mph) on this old beater steel frame 10 speed with toe clips and wearing Levis, give us a slow hand wave and ride out of sight. Granted he probably pulled off and hid in the trees while we road by, but he looked like he just woke up and thought, “Hey, I think I’ll go for a bike ride today,” borrowed his buddy’s bike and proceeded to smoke a group of Cat 2 riders like he was on a recumbent or something. Awesomely cool.

  • IM Tri Racer says:

    I must say that the original post of the “10 Tips” was quite in good fun (except that jab at triathletes). After reading most of these responses, I have but a few comments to add: PEOPLE RELAX! Don’t be so serious and easily offended, toughen up Sally!! Yes, there is a great deal of real-world truth to the “Tips” list, but even the Pro’s were once guilty of some newbie errors. And, as for “Industry” riders??? Pick a side: either you ride a bike, or you sell a bike. Which is it? Trust me, I was at InterBike in September. “Industry” people don’t have anything on real riders or racers.

    The truth of the matter is this (how I see it): Those who have more commitment to the sport than wearing a trendy team jersey during a weekend fundraiser ride, can easily spot the newbies in a crowd. However, being a newbie is not a bad thing at all (we all started there at one time). Those who can spot the newbie, will usually offer some advice or tips, in hopes of furthering the sport and its base. I too am guilty of laughing at some violators of the “Tips” list, but I give the violator credit for coming out to ride in the first place. No one bought and drove a Ferrari at age 16 for a first vehicle. Instead, you learned on a beater car, until you proved yourself able, knowledegable, and capable. I do recall turning 16, and buying some leather driving gloves to go with my 79 Trans-Am. Point being, I don’t have the car or the gloves now, live and learn. Rather, I drive a reasonable Volvo, but spare no expense on my race bikes now that I’m older, wiser, and financially able.

    RULE OF THUMB FOR NEWBIES:
    Don’t pretend to be dedicated. True dedication is honorable, apparent, and NOT printed on a jersey. FYI: How to spot true dedication:
    1. shaved legs
    2. horrible tan lines
    3. sunburned nose and neck
    4. low sperm count or production (due to saddle time)
    5. ability to tell “war stories” and show a few “road scars”

    Beyond the “Tips” list, and it’s amended additions…
    Real triathletes can, do, and believe:
    1. ride in a pace-line
    2. can navigate turns in the road with falling over
    3. DO NOT use a Bento Box (even for IM’s)
    4. carry maximum of 2 bottles (even for IM’s)
    5. sometimes wear sleeved jerseys (still, very rarely though)
    6. will always want to ride with the leader of the pace-line (no DRAFTING in triathlons) (IF YOU’RE NOT IN FRONT, THEN YOU’RE CHEATING!!!!)

  • Jesco says:

    Great article, I think a lot of people are missing the point and getting a little whiny though. In any type of committed group (serious roadies or any sport/hobby/industry) there are certain social protocols. Understanding and compliance shows that you have been committed to the group long enough to figure these things out and deserve respect within the group. Despite all these people saying how great it is when a hairy legged weekend warrior blows a pack of experienced racers away that never actually happens in real life.

  • ben says:

    lungs and legs, not lady bics and lycra

  • Will says:

    Ouch, what a load of bull. And die hard roadies wonder why people think they’re snobby assholes.

    Hey I road ride with a Camelbak because I’m a heavy sweater and the big water bag actually holds enough to replenish me. The fact that you can use bottles on the road really is deceptive as you are surrounded by far more dangerous things. I’d rather have my hands on the bars.

    I don’t care what a die hard roadie thinks of me.

  • old_schooled says:

    Ha Ha. This article and all the commentary is great. Its like a cross section of a real peleton. It shows that people can and can’t take a joke. I’ve ridden with a bunch of nice folks and with a few jerks. The worst is a newbie jerk.

    Steel roadie rider and tri-bike Bento Box (small) user.

  • old_schooled says:

    sorry *peloton*

    whatever – you know what i mean.

  • francois says:

    >>Ha Ha. This article and all the commentary is great. Its like a cross section of a real peleton. It shows that people can and can’t take a joke. I’ve ridden with a bunch of nice folks and with a few jerks. The worst is a newbie jerk –old-schooled–

    Awesome comment man!! We need another list:
    10 tips to avoid being a newbie jerk – aka poseur.

  • Kurt Gensheimer says:

    I think Strealy – who commented about being a cycling newb but a veteran surfer with the ability to spot a kook from a mile away – hit the nail on the head with the intent of this article. I can especially relate because of the role reversal – I’m in the newb stages of surfing. If there was an article on the interweb about ‘how to not look like a kook when surfing’ I’d heed each and every tip.

    There are people out there who want to ride with more experienced riders and not draw attention to themselves. I want to surf with the best surfers and not draw attention to myself that I’m a greenhorn. That is exactly the goal of this article, to help people keep a low profile while earning their stripes with the big boys.

    Strealy, if you live in San Diego, hit me up, we can help each other out.

    Kurt G.

  • eh says:

    Great article!

    Here’s another:

    11. Lose the overgrown beard and ponytail (you can keep the pony if you’re female).

  • CR1 Rider says:

    Hey Gensheimer, I like Strealy have been surfing for 26 years, but I got into cycling about 3 years ago. I bought a trek 7000 in ’86 and still have it, but didn’t ride more then once in a while over the years until my cousin came in from Spokane with his Cervelo R2.5 (remember this was in 2005), which he had completely taken apart for traveling. At his car he handed me the frameset so I could check it out, I could not believe how light it was. At that moment I realized I needed to be on a bike, I had recently stopped playing basketball because I was to aggressive and always getting hurt.

    The next day my trek 7000 was loaded in the car and I was riding at lunch around Burbank, CA. A few weeks later someone came in to work with a Specialized Allez, that night I spoke to my wife about my plans to get a road bike and three weeks later I was on a Specialized roubaix. I continued lunch time rides ever since,

    Jumping ahead about 2 years I was struck by a car and totaled my Specialized, but the good news is I purchased a Scott CR1 last year and am loving it.

    I dont surf that much anymore, partly because having a 3 year old makes it difficult to get any more then a morning sesh in, but I can do a 1 or 2 hour ride often. The expression stoke is something I learned surfing, and the reality is being stoked is the feeling you get on a great day of surfing, when conditions are great and your surfing well and nothing else matters, your elated (especially after a great wave when your yelping paddling back out). The same feeling of stoke is obtainable cycling, I never knew it existed in the sport but often on a ride I get a feeling of nothing else mattering, a pure joy when everything seems to be working perfectly, Stoked. Glad I found the sport, and what I learned in the 3 years I have been doing it is pretty much broken down in Gensheimers article, and anyone taking offense needs to lighten up, get out and enjoy the ride. Stay Loose….

  • PV says:

    Anyone else chipped their aerodynamic nail polish on the Campagnolo UltraShift Ergopowers Super Record 11 Speeds?

  • Sal A. says:

    Unbelievable cyclo-snobbery. I suppose the peer pressure of \fitting in\ is quite strong for people under 50. Thankfully, I’m 53 and I can ride very serenely in sweats and street shoes pushing the same pedals that came with my Stingray back in the day. So give it time, leg shavers and lycra donners, you’ll eventually be free from the \need\ to fit in and will once again ride a bike for the same reasons you rode that cool Stingray back in the day.

  • Sal A. says:

    Unbelievable cyclo-snobbery. I suppose the peer pressure of “fitting in” is quite strong for people under 50. Thankfully, I’m 53 and I can ride very serenely in sweats and street shoes pushing the very same double-sided pedals that came with my Stingray back in the day. So give it time, leg shavers and lycra donners, you’ll eventually be free from the “need” to fit in and will once again ride a bike for the same reasons you rode that cool Stingray back in the day.

  • Jeremy says:

    Kurt,

    I wasn’t going to comment until you mentioned the surfing. There’s nothing you can do about it, and I think that’s true in either sport. If you’re new, they’ll notice. I’ve been surfing my entire life, and I was a pro – not a wannabe – for three years. The best guys (to a man) don’t sweat newbies. The guys who’ll never make it are the ones worrying about kooks. Worrying about what other people think is a precondition for mediocrity. So don’t do it.

    BTW – I’m too big now (what, with the day job and all) to feel comfortable in super-tight jerseys, so I don’t wear them. I have no doubts most people here would drop me within a couple miles downhill, uphill, or flat, and they’d probably think I’m a kook while they’re doing it. I really don’t care, and besides, I’m getting faster every day. I’m not too big to surf though, and I’m still pretty good at it. I really don’t care about that either. I just like doing what I do.

    @CR1 – Stay stoked, and I know exactly what you mean. I just gotta be moving; on the road or in the water – stoked either way. Just wish I’d gotten a bike sooner…

  • okto says:

    Man, I hope this is all in jest, because it makes the author sound like just the kind of cyclofag I laugh at biking around town. Nothing screams ‘I bought all this shit to look flash’ like being clad head to toe in brightly colored Lycra as you bike the two miles to the coffee shop. And then hang out for two hours, bike home, and consider that a day of cycling.

    I practically live on my bike.
    I often wear a shammy under my pants, but on top I wear street clothes, so when I get to the coffeeshop I don’t look like I’m from space.
    I have a Camelbak, because it’s convenient as fuck and my bike penis isn’t going to fall off if I don’t have a Sigg in my bottlecage.
    I have more shiny shit on my bike than a jewelry store, because I’m allergic to death.

    If you don’t race regularly, dressing like you’re in the Tour makes you look like a tool with too much money and very little sense. Best way not to look like a nubcake is not to be one, and the best way to stop being a nubcake is not to worry about whether you look like one, and focus on getting better. Simple as that.

  • ben says:

    if hardcore roadies think i’m lame, i’m happy. i’m a mountain biker that likes to put about a hundred miles a week on my road bike. i love riding the road because it’s so serene compared to trail riding. i live 9500 feet above sea level and my road rides usually involve 2000-foot+ vertical climbs, so i dont consider myself a weekend rider. i never do group rides because roadies are elitist, alpha-male, egotistical jocks(for the most part).

    i’ve worked with several rodies, and while i do consider them my friends, they can be unbearably snobby and arrogant. that being said, i find it unlikely that the article was written in jest. i will continue to crush mountain passes in cut-off shorts and tee-shirts, all while snickering at the rolling midlife crises who belive they have purchased the joy of cycling for several thousand dollars.

  • Scott says:

    This proves to me that rodies are the most elitist snothole group of any sport I participate in. I have ridden a road bike of some form or another for 30 plus years, it was not always the coolest or newest one and the looks I have gotten over the years are amazing. I also ride mountain bikes, motocross, jet ski (stand up), snow ski, surf and other crap. You have your skier vs snowboarder, motocresser vs desert racer, jet skier vs boater and in no other sport are the elitist snotholes worse than with rodies. I make it a point to wear my mountainbike helmet, not very hairy legs and functional Performance cycle gear on the road as I pass 90% of other riders. I also make a point of lifting a couple of fingers (not the middle one) as I go by to see the snothole reactions. I do this for fun and excersize, If I entered a 50+ intermediate race I’m thinking I would be in the top third or better. I have hooked up with packs and had them look at me funny and even say things but as I either leed them or leave them in my dust they seem to shut up. I have had guys half my age drop off withcramps or whatever and give me all kinds of excuses why they could not keep up but they sure looked good. If a faster cyclist passes me I will catch up and draft for a bit and then take over the leed when I can. I may not last as long in the front as the faster guys but I try to do my part. Every sport has their uniform of coolness and you will always have a squid, goon rider, “tool” in there, so what.

  • Mark555 says:

    On the sidebar of this blog is a list of most-commented recent pieces.

    The tribute to the lateSheldon Brown is worth noting. Brown was the maestro of mechanics, who could fix or customize anything. He wasn’t just a wrench, he was a designer-craftsman who built his own bikes from his imagination, after learning to braze frames when he was a teenager. He rode every kind of bike imaginable, on all terrain from highways to snow and ice-covered trails (on studded tires no less).

    His how-to website is known worldwide. There wasn’t a club in the country that wasn’t jazzed to have the honor of taking a ride with him if he was in the area, or gathering for a talk to pick his brain on equipment.

    Here’s a picture of him. Notice the jersey, it’s his own bike shop’s, which had a racing team.

    http://www.roadbikereview.com/reviews/blog/sheldon-brown-a-great-legend-in-the-cycling-world-1944-2008/#comments

    Notice that black thingy on the left side of Sheldon’s helmet.

    So, it’s okay to wear a mirror. If somebody hassles you about wearing one, tell them you’re doing it as a memorial to Sheldon Brown.

  • Mark555 says:

    Kurt,

    I don’t know how far you’ve progressed in surfing, but for anyone in San Diego just starting out, here are some tips that may help.

    Try to find one, two or three other people who also want to learn to surf. It’s more fun to go out with friends.

    I would contact La Jolla Surf Shop about lessons. Also the Menehune school at La Jolla Shores apparently has adult instruction. Surfing is like skiing. Getting instruction from people who are more than experienced surfers, who love to TEACH, will greatly accelerate your learning curve.

    The Shores is the best place to learn how to surf in SD. There is a progession of wave size, smaller at the Beach and Tennis Club and Kellogg Park, larger at Scripps Pier.
    Kellogg has a year-round lifeguard station, and everybody in the water is in the first or second stage of learning to surf. It’s okay to shoulder-hop and cut people off there, everybody does it.

    A soft-top longboard is the best starter board. It has great floatation and stability, perfect for catching 1-2 foot mushy waves that short boards stall out on. The more waves you can ride, the faster you learn.

    Winter is a great time to start. The school-age crowd is gone. Offshore wind or no wind creates nice wave shape. You’ll need a full wetsuit, maybe a 4/3 mm, although this year a 3/2 may be sufficient. Eventually, you’ll want to have two thicknesses of full wetsuit (55-60, 60-66 degree water), a shorty springsuit (65-68), and a vest (67+). You may want gloves and booties for La Nina winters. The main thing is, staying warm keeps you looser and enables you to stay out longer.

    You won’t be able to go out on big wave days your first winter, but you should be able to progress to shoulder-high within a month or two, and also get a shorter glass board (you may eventually have three of different lengths and styles for various conditions).

    Your learning curve will be optimized if you spend at least 4 days a week and 8 hours on the water. If you can’t make this commitment, you won’t get very far.

    Then, when next summer comes and the lineup gets crowded, you’ll be able to recognize the best takeoff points, and paddle efficiently among the throngs to get to them first. You’ll know how to use the rip to get to the breaker line, instead of looking silly and wearing yourself out trying to paddle through the break.

    For summer surfing, it’s usually best to hit the water around 6 AM. The waves have better shape before the daily onshore winds kick up and the waves start to blow out, usually about the time the sun pops out (10 to noon). By arriving early, you can establish a position that later arrivers have to respect.

    Go to the same place every day, and you’ll get to know and be known as a regular. For example, at this point, you’ll probably be surfing in front of Scripps near the pier. Here the surfers are intermediate ability. You’ll start to be exposed to the etiquette of giving the wave to the surfer who catches it first, nearest the peak, and when somebody tries to shoulder hop, you’ll shout with confidence, “My wave Needledick! Get off!”

    By mid-summer, you should be ready to try Black’s and some reef and point breaks. These generate peaks, sometimes head-high and bigger in summer, and much longer rides. SD waves are generally slow-breaking and soft, except when big, but Black’s waves are snappy, even when small, a bit like Hawaiian, because the Scripps Canyon enables them to come in fast in deep water.

    Once you’ve gotten a taste for these waves, you can say goodbye to the Shores.

    It’s usually best to find a few spots to surf most of the time, so you can get to know the regulars, e.g. La Jolla or North County “crews”, and they’ll share waves with you. Here it’s really important to go out next winter, to establish your seriousness and engender respect, not to mention getting some of the best rides of the year. You’ll definitely be stoked.

  • Hai Pham says:

    There are many ‘schools’ you can follow when you get into cycling. This list is a roadie’s list for the approval of other roadies who buy into creedo and tradition.

    But it’s not necessarily a creedo for all. This seems to be guidelines for those who want to look/appear like they are serious about cycling.

    I can tell you that I get passed up by fast beared old men in their faded lycra jerseys and old spandex covered Giro helmets (ala TdF 1991 Lemond dayglo yellow) with hairy legs. They blow pass everyone on the street and are super fast. They seem just as serious to me even tho they don’t follow any of these rules. Matter of fact, I don’t any bystanders or other cyclist would consider them rookies.

    Frankly, my point is that not everyone drinks the roadie juice and they should not be judge as rookies or not serious because they do their own thing.

  • Satanic Mechanic says:

    Sigh – pretty standard fair but in truth one of the reasons I avoid clubs and organised events, that and the fact I have panelled a couple of said cycling zealots for being – well – cycling zealots I suppose, very ignorant and worrying people. Basically – I’ll do it my way , its what I enjoy and who are you to comment, I won’t comment on you please grant me the same courtesy

  • lauren says:

    dood, itsajoke.

  • filtersweep says:

    Poster would never last in Europe— where all sorts wear pro kits, helmets are optional, and cyclists are generally practical (like lights and fenders on a nice Italian steed). It rains all the time, resulting in messy drive trains, even under the best of circumstances. I could go on and on, but why bother.

  • roadiejorge says:

    I enjoyed this article because it points out a lot of the superficial silliness you find amongst some roadies, but the author is right in pointing out that these “rules” exist in group riding so it’s good to be aware of them if someone is looking to fit in. I hope most roadies out there are confident in themselves to do and ride as they feel comfortable rather than just mimicking behavior in order to not stand out. In the end what speaks for you on the road is your ability to ride, not whether your legs are shaved or if you’re on a Cervelo wearing the latest CSC kit.

    Group riding etiquette is important to know because it can mean the difference between a safe and enjoyable ride and one that will find you getting yelled at or even worse, causing an accident. There’s one thing that I always keep in mind when I ride which is that it’s better to ride like a pro than just look like one so the focus should be improving performance, not worrying about attire as if it’s a Milan fashion show. Those who are interested in road cycling shouldn’t be put off by any of this nonsense, so get on whatever road bike you can and have fun because you’ll be healthier for it.

  • Kurt Gensheimer says:

    Thanks for the tips Mark555! I do have a few 30-year vets I’ve been surfing with, and we’ve hit Black’s more than a handful of times, which is by far my favorite spot. Too bad the walk is so long and steep…but I guess that’s good to keep kooks like me out!

    Kurt G.

  • Gary says:

    So does this mean I can’t wear my Toyota United 2006 jersey? Is it considered vintage yet since the team disbanded? Or must I still wait the obligatory 8 more years? I actually got the lined long sleeved jersey when I moved back to NorCal from TX because it’s much colder in SF than in Dallas! That and because I got it for so cheap from the TU booth at the prologue at the TOC in 2007.

  • Anonymous says:

    Jeff, you have it 100% right! “The ultimate cool is to outperform everyone else while not looking the part. I say, go ride, get fast and show up those elitist snobs on the road” I ride a $400.00 Motobecane with sora components, this seemed to be no match for my three disapproving friends on the KC Tour de Cure. One rode a Cannondale and two were on Oreba’s, all had their craft and assos gear on but well, got smoked by a hairy legged 250# Clydesdale on a $400 bike. Its all about the motor, and has nothing to do with hair, jerseys or overpriced bikes.

  • T says:

    The sleeveless jersey is not all that bad, it is the hair on the shoulders that takes this to the \wrong\.

  • francois says:

    >>“The ultimate cool is to outperform everyone else while not looking the part. I say, go ride, get fast and show up those elitist snobs on the road” I ride a $400.00 Motobecane with sora components….

    You have to be careful with this as well. There is nothing cool about a raggedy rider looking to race everyone on the road. There seem to be a lot out there with something to prove all the time and try to race strangers at every opportunity.

    You want to race, enter a race or join a fast group ride. Otherwise, be friendly and try to chat and meet other people on the road.

    fc

  • Lizzylou says:

    Sorry, but I’m sure that my helmet mirror has saved my life more often than my helmet ever has. If you’re that adamant about helmets for protection, then you shouldn’t be so set against mirrors which are also a good safety device.

  • Anonymous says:

    At first I thought this article was intended for April Fools Day. By the end of the article I realized that it is nothing more than a written version of talk radio meant to stimulate controversy and debate during the off-season.

    When I was in my late 20s and 30s riding in competitive events, I wanted to fit in and be accepted, so I succumbed to such antics as the author. As I became older I got more interested in touring by bike. A LOT of those guys don’t shave their legs (I hated the time required to shave for competition anyway). Touring riders are every bit as serious about their activity, but a lot more into covering long distances, enjoying the ride and the landscape. A racer attitude is so involved in keeping up or getting ahead that the scenary is irrelavent.

    As for the sleeveless remark – within the past 2 years I’ve seen photos of Hincapie wearing a sleeveless during team training. Here in the southeast the summers are hot and super humid – a sleeveless jersey is far cooler than a regular jersey. I just put on more sunscreen when I wear one.

    The reader who commented about a race kit getting more respect from drivers I cannot disagree with, as I’ve noticed that myself. Personally I have few jerseys that give free advertising, but I do like looking sharp with a harmonizing kit – but that’s just my esthetic sense – not to impress anyone. Drivers don’t know the difference – if you look like you have it together the impression is that you are pro and not a goober.

    I wear a full kit when I ride my carbon fiber race bike, but I wear whatever when I ride my utility bike (which happens to be an old Bianchi steel bike). Both rides are fun, in different ways.

    As for mirrors, I hate the way 99% of them look. But I found one that blends in so well as to be almost invisible on the bike – yet gives a good view to the rear. Aspire Velotech sells it as the “Italian Road Mirror”. Only 2 guys on the weekly group ride have even noticed it and they were envious, not condescending. It looks sleek like something from Ferrari or Ducati, like a built-in part of the bike, not an ugly add-on.

    The vast majority of cyclist enjoy the many facets of life and are not obsessive-compulsive about just one thing. Cycling is a part of their life – not the sole focus. Every sport and hobby has its obsessive types – but those are also the ones pushing the envelope for new levels of performance and technology, which everyone eventually benefits from.

    The down side to looking “racer cool” is that attitude really does turn off a lot of newer cyclists. It’s an ego-based thinking – follow the lemmings approach that infiltrates most all endeavors of our society.

    I see a lot of “Freds” who are commuters, but they have my complete respect because they are out there doing it every day, dealing with the weather, the traffic, the bad roads, not to mention all the details that go with commuting.

    In the end, whether riding for fun or fitness, feeling satisfied and happy afterwards is what it’s all about!

  • Andrew - Boulder says:

    I agree that the reflectors make you look like a putz. I use tons of LED’s all over my commuter bike, placed on the pedals, frame, bar ends, seat mast, bars have a nice light. The back pack has a strobe from a yahting store visable for miles. Ask your LBS to look at the QBP for neat items to keep you safe. Reflectors are only good if they see you. Activly protecting yourself from drivers and other riders in bike dense communities like Boulder is crucial. Most riders will complain they cant see you. I was hit by another rider at night and the guy broke my helmet with his ocular.
    Ride safe
    AG

  • Adam says:

    Hey I got this jersey as a gift do you think it’s to big? It’s a size med it fits me well around the chest but it seems alittle baggy around my stomach… what do you think?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/25284609@N02/3147532097/

  • Yee says:

    it’s way much more cooler if i dun follow the ten or so rules above and i can spin faster/longer than the rider following these rules.

    yes i got hairy legs, see you at the finishing line..

  • Ellis says:

    I’m a pretty die hard sailor. I’m good. Really good. Raced in the Hobie nationals several years back and also 420′s and Lasers when I was in high school. Back then, my racing buddy and I were the odd one out because we weren’t wearing the $500 racing suits and didn’t have all the fancy gear. 9 months out of the year we would race in shorts and t-shirt. Sometimes wear shoes. The other three months we would wear cheap wet suits we picked up from a surf shop. Always drove the yacht club/trust fund kids nuts when we smoked them. Now that I’m older and still racing it’s pretty much the same, except the girls realize those guys are all pricks. All evens out in the end. Heading to Australia in the spring to race in the world championships. Sailing down and bringing my classic steel road bike with me. Not planning on wearing anything but a pair of shorts and a t-shirt the entire time and I’ll enjoy every minute of it because that’s what it’s all about.

  • zach says:

    rule #11 : learn to appreciate satire for what it is and don’t get your panties/bibshorts in a bundle over bicycling articles. the best part of being a bike snob is getting to make fun of yourself.

  • UK Pete says:

    I might have to start shaving my legs then …

    … and what about rule #12 – Don’t flick the V’s or shout obsenities at dis-courteous drivers who honk that you are in their way and cannot be arsed to waste three seconds of their PRECIOUS TIME and then overtake you on a blind bend and force you off the road into a hawthorn hedge. Oh joy !

  • A guy with a bike says:

    Hahaaa.. great article. You guys are either wanna be pros or caveman legged, dweebs. The guys like me that wear the odd jersey with our street shorts are having a good laugh at both you.

  • Darwin says:

    Frankly, it comforts me that there are male bikers who avoid conversing with me because I don’t shave my legs. It’s a great way of avoiding the awkward moment when I have to explain that while I opposed Prop 6, I only date women. During my life, I’ve had hundreds of spills resulting in various degrees of road rash from riding bikes, motorcycles, and skateboards, yet never experience the so called ‘velcro effect’ from having hair on my legs. For that matter, I’m sure that having one’s testicles removed would reduce total weight; increase saddle comfort and safety; and avoid unsightly bulges in those skin tight Lycra outfits. Alas, what would be the point of all of this coolness, upmanship, and lemming-like conformity without testosterone?

  • mor2bz says:

    1. Make sure you got the most expensive bike of any of your mates.
    Euro brands net more points for your developing ego than domestic, so
    forget about Cannondale, Trek, and Specialized (these brands mostly
    originate in China or Taiwan anyway). A Cervelo, BMC, Lapierre,
    Time, or Look will get you more Tang than the astronauts! Forget about
    steel frames; what you want is something sweet of plastic, recycled beer
    cans, or unobtanium. The plastic bikes make a cool swooshy swoop
    sound as they glide along. Their dead, wooden feel reminds you with
    every pedalstroke that YOU are the lifeblood of the deal, not the machine.
    If you are the next Craig Daniels, go for the aluminum. Only the toughest
    can take the pounding to the prostate that these exquisite machines deliver.
    If you are an extrucker only an unobtainum steed can bring you that
    exciting feel of the rear part of the machine jackknifing around the front
    as you press the pace through a tight sweeper.

    2. Forget about wool jerseys, even though one could save your life when
    conditions change rapidly. You need something synthetic. Try the new
    fabric-of-the-month model, then wash it five times in the smelliest scented
    detergent your local Safeway has. This will ensure that no one will be able
    to be anywhere near you when you decide to put’er in the big ring and
    punch it. The woolen stuff offers protection from cold, light
    rain, and the nastiest sun, but never become smelly enough to ward off people
    wanting to challenge you even if you forget to wash them after five rides.

    3. Never nod, smile, wave, or greet other cyclists on the road as you pass.
    You are not out there trying to find some new “friend”, you are out there
    to to train, get fit, and show everyone how great you look.

    4. That plastic pieplate thingy that came with your bike is not a spoke protector, designed to keep the chain from bouncing into your expensive spokes, thusruining your ride. It is designed only to protect the first cog from the spokes, and so you don’t need it. Take it off of your girlfriend’s bike too, just to see the look on her face when she throws her chain into her spokes! Priceless.
    Just remind her about all the weight she saved.

    5. Only use lube that cost $8 or more for a little bottle. Oil that has 25% detergent allows you bike to shift properly.

    6. You are a fool if you wear a brightly colored rainjacket. Drivers can see perfectly well when it is coming down cats and dogs, and an orange, yellow, or white slicker has been proven by science to be no more visable than a transparent
    jacket. Even if they were, do you think they look nearly as smart? I don’t.

    7. If you ride alone, everyone will soon think that you are antisocial and do not
    care to look at their new bikes or clothing. If you really want to mark yourself
    as a loser, ignore my sage advise. We club riders do not have ANY personal
    or mental issues.

    8. Those reflector things have never saved anyone’s life and those mirror things
    haven’t either. Safely is not a paramount concern anyway; just make sure you
    don’t look like a dork out there.

    9. Those ratings by safety institutes inside your $30 helmet mean next to nothing.
    You are not completely safe unless you have laid down at least $100.

    10. Make certain that your razor has at least five blades. That is what the pros use and to use a razor with but four blades is to waste time that could be used for
    training. Mine has got SIX. And my bike has ELEVEN gears on the back.
    How many you got, chump?

  • treeraiser says:

    Wow, what a response, very entertaining to read along with the article. Must admit, am not a hardcore biker/racer, but did get out just to ride a lot this past year and for the first time finding myself in pelotons also this year, so #10 helps. Really found it a little intimidating not being sure what to do and everyone jogging about so, so just kept it rolling with them and try to stay in the middle or so. Have to laugh about the statement about not being the chump and cranking out of the group way faster and pull ahead. Must admit was the cheeser that did that in a race and shot the load about a quarter mile or less from the finish when around 5 others came back to pass me…oh well, a tool almost did it. Kind of funny, found myself in a group during the post race party and over a beer heard them talking about someone on a mtn bike in the pack, well that was me and I did admit it. They all loved it and a couple thanked me as it was like drafting a “Mack truck” me being so upright and them sitting behind me. Will go back to my off-road trails where my tires done growl so much. Do a ton of running so, to add to my Toolitude of roading in a mtn bike, I wear my running shirts with biking shorts, and will admit even sometimes that running shirt is a sleeveless Mizuno or Brooks shirt. Live in Wisconsin too so don’t shave the legs, hell the women don’t why should I? Jeezuz just kidding, nobody yell at me for that last statement. Actually, my wife is kind of hot and she shaves her legs. She used her mtn bike and wears her running stuff too, so we are good fitting tools.

    Just ride, then run.

    Have a great 09 all.

  • JustRideBaby says:

    To the author defense, this article is about ‘fitting in’ if YOU feel the need to ‘fit in’. I personally don’t agree with it particularly #1. So, you are saying that all these pro teams made their kits available for purchase for who? I mean..if you are a fan of a sport team, say, Manchester United, are you then not allowed to wear their team kit to go play football/soccer then? I bought season prior team kit to wear b/c it’s cheaper than most the technology-clad plain kits from say…Assos as an example? So, I don’t care how people will perceive me. But, that’s just me.

    I am a roadie and I applaud anyone who goes outdoor and ‘exercise’ period. What you wear, as long as it’s not a health risk disaster waiting to happen, then I don’t care. One of my friends uses duct tape to tape over ventilation holes on his cycling shoes in Winter so he could ride a little deeper into the season without wearing a pair of booties. I couldn’t careless if the duct tape color was pink. I thought his idea was cool as heck.

    You might look ridiculous to some people with varying degrees of shallowness at first. But if you are determined and tried your best to better yourself, it will show and you will make a friend or two each ride. If not, heck, keep on riding!!

  • Mike (AUS) says:

    I don’t care what other people think because I don’t want to be a PRO try hard!
    I’m in it for the exercise. I’ll wear normal shorts and a shirt, so what about a little extra wind resistance. I’m more interested in my heartrate!

  • Forrest says:

    Umm, you guys realize that this article was for amusement, right? It’s pretty startling the number of people who felt the need to jump on here and vindicate their own riding practices, sensitive much?
    HEADS UP: No one is going to kick down your door and steal your reflectors and helmet mirrors, nor will they thrown away your sweatpants and force you into a pair of Lycra shorts.
    Finally, for the mountain bikers out there, just because you wear baggier shorts and your helmets come with little visor-thingys, there’s no need to piss on the roadies of the world. The two sports are just about as connected as tennis and basketball – they both use a ball, but does Michael Jordan feel the need to whine about Pete Sampras? No. No he doesn’t…

  • Andy says:

    According to Wikipedia, a TOOL is ‘an insult, describing someone who is being used by an establishment willingly (as a sycophant), or unwillingly (as one who blindly conforms). Alternatively, the insult “tool” can imply that a person is unable (or unwilling) to form an independent opinion on a given topic.’

    Which, if I’m not mistaking, sounds like anybody who’d read these ten tips and actually follow them. Sorry, but the first comment nailed it – this is really lame.

  • Adam says:

    When I was 13 and first started cycling, I rode a big ass mountain bike with a fluro green jersey and tried to ride like a pro.
    I was an A-Grade tool but still a kid that had no idea.

    So this gave me a laugh and brought back some memories.

    With all this said, if you’re just starting and have a flash bike, super gear with top of the line bike computers and heart rate monitors, you’ll end up looking like a show pony lol

  • ALAN ASHE says:

    RULE 1-HOG WASH. If I want to wear a team kit I will. Matter of fact I just got a Rock Racing kit and it is bad###. I won’t wear leaders jerseys or world champ stuff but wearing a team kit is no different that wearing your Brett Favre jersey to a football game. Yeah you dont wear the whole uniform that would be stupid. But team kits, if you want to wear it do it-be ready to ride of up front though.

  • Denver road and mt. cyclist says:

    articles like this are why I dislike almost everyone who considers themself a true “roadie”. I ride my road bike 2k – 3k per season including many tough mountain centuries in addition to my 2k per season mt. biking and my 900 miles commuting. So, what I’m saying is, I’m a true bicyclist. I even do ALL my own bike maintenance. I know roadies who can’t even true a wheel. What I can’t understand is where these roadies get their attitudes? Ride your bike however you like with whatever clothing or accessories you want. Just ride and open up your mind. Attitudes are for closed minded individuals.

  • Scott says:

    Ride quietly and ride a big gear (in pink preferrably).

  • Anonymous says:

    At times this article starts out funny and seems to be meant as a joke, then some points seem like it’s actually trying to make a point. Perhaps the flaw is in the the writing style? No over the top enough to make it obvious that it is meant to be funny?

  • UndeadZed says:

    This was a great laugh. #4 is because chicks dig shaved legs. Years ago I was stopped at a light and a cutie rolled up next to me and asked if she could feel my leg, of course I said fine – I keep hoping it will happen again – 20 years later!!!

  • remark says:

    i don’t wear a helmet, i know its not smart but i saw an article on people that got hit and i’d rather be dead than be paralyzed.the helmet will help my pumpkin, but not my spine.the clipless tip is good also, the rest lame.

  • remark says:

    also, the point is to get people out riding, not to scare them away from spandex.put on your favorite t-shirt and a pair of shorts and go for it.yah, throw the helmet in there too, but don’t worry about all the fancy clothes. just ride…..

  • many years says:

    How about just riding fast and stop worrying about such nonsense, jackass?

  • Fixie says:

    D-BAG is the only word that describes the author. I ride a fixed gear with street clothes with my bushy legs hanging out. The only 2 reasons I wear my nice helmet is to live after a fall and to spear tackle spandex whores that point at me while I’m riding. Get out and ride and who gives a damn what you wear. This country is FAT! So the more people the better on a bike. I cant count how many times I have out-paced douche bags like this guy on my fixie wearing street clothes while being blinded by their coco buttered legs. Yea chicks really dig dudes with shaved legs that have no better excuse than if you fall it helps. WOW! I never respond to this crap but this was worth waisting 2 minutes. No one looks more foolish than a group of spandex creeps that resemble an oiled up penis rolling down the road.

  • Kurt G. says:

    Fixie = EMO.

    Go jump on another bandwagon, bro, the Fixie scene has already left the station.

  • Marky says:

    What a load of rubbish !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jeng says:

    122 Responses! Damn, roadies sure like to blabber a lot.

    P.S. I got the link from mtbr.com

  • Skip says:

    Dudes, Dudes come on!! I thought the article was entertaining!! I thought some of the information was useful being a “rookie” myself.

  • Ron says:

    Wow it is an entertaining article from someone who has an opinion, if it doesn’t apply to you click the button and keep it moving. Riding is great, knowing how to ride is better and team kit or not it’s preference. Some say it’s better to look god than be good, some say be good and screw how i look. If Bill Gates wore a better cut suit and got his hair done and sported some contacts does that change why he does things the way he does? It’s Kurt’s opinion and observation. If Lance or Eddy or some well know cyclist wrote the piece would you comment the same? Come on people get good equiptment, good foundation of riding and be yourself……isn’t that what used to matter?

  • phineas says:

    While I agree with your points on general road manners and i agree with staying away from garish accessories… full fingered gloves , goggles, disc wheels, I could go on.. . I couldn’t disagree with you more on professional kit. I for one, feel that a well dressed rider will be welcome in any group as long as he can handle his machine and keep up the pace.

    My pet peeve is riding with the cats that show up in the yellow and orange bert and ernie jersey, the green cannondale socks and the navy blue shorts all courtesy of nashbar. Anyone who takes the time to, shave, carefully match his kit, and yes in the extreme case coordinate the bicycle shoe covers etc., should at least get a few style points. And by the way I love a brilliant set of shoe covers, and I don’t limit myself to black or white ( how dull).

    Lets face it, if you can’t ride like a pro, and most of us can’t sacrifice that kind of time; you might as well look great while your suffering up a climb. That is it’s own reward. Express yourself.

  • JEFF says:

    If you are so caught up in trying not to be a dork that you feel the need to make a list of the thing’s that will help other people not get laughed at like you once did youre still a closet dork hiding behind shaved leg’s. Get a life bro!!!

  • Two Wheels Good says:

    The article was fine as (self) satire, but ceased to be so when the author came on and started offering to race a commentator who disagreed with him. You do a disservice to the sport. The douchebag label must stick now.

  • BP Martin says:

    Nothing screams douchebag more than someone who publishes a list about what others should/should not wear or do…pathetic.

  • Jason says:

    11. Paying attention to what other people tell you to wear or how to ride, rather than just going out to ride in whatever you like, just because you love to bike.

  • John says:

    >>Sure, full Disco kits scream Fred, but a wisely chosen Pro kit can be very cool for a cyclist with no racing intentions. For example, I’m terrible at basketball, but love the sport. So when I go down to shoot some hoops, do I wear a jersey from my local DII college? No, I wear my Jordan 23 jersey. >>

    Exactly! It’s fun to rock the garb of ANY team (from any sport) you love! I see guys playing baseball or softball with Cubs, Yankees, and Dodgers caps and jerseys all of the time, but nobody seems to think anything of it! Same with the basketball example above. My opinion about team kits is this: any team gear that I wear will show my knowledge, appreciation, and admiration of Coppi, Bartali, Merckx, Hinault, Fignon, Bugno, Boonen, Cavendish, or Contador, is cool, but I don’t pretend to BE them! I’m just a fan of the sport of cycling! The efforts, the heroics, the traditions, the history, the pave, the idiosyracies, the embrocations, the shaving, the drilling of components, etc., etc., – I LOVE ALL OF IT even though I will NEVER ride as well as a PRO – only as well as I push myself, enjoying every mile of it! Bottom line: do whatever you want. You only get one life, and there’s no “one way” to do it! ALLEZ, rouleurs!!! (and poseurs!)

  • johnm says:

    Karl Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:16 am

    In the same way, a full Cofidis (not Astana or Garmin) kit can come off nicely on your Saturday morning coffee ride.

    So what’s wrong with Astana??? I have a Trek 2.1 compact…w/Astana color scheme(I changed the white bar tape to the light blue!)…and recently bought a Giro Ionis w/Astana Team colors. No I probably won’t get the whole kit…well maybe a jersey. I’m just getting back into road biking after a 24 yr. hiatus from it..back when I had a maroon colored Peugeot 10-speed…haha. Yeah I did “tip’ over the other morning on the way too work while circling around in the lane waiting for the light to change…embarrassing as hell! Well at least it was still dark out and only 2 cars saw me!

  • Rob says:

    Gel in hair … coolest helmet.
    Man …I really need to dump my Gelati GIS cycling hat :)

  • ta says:

    I totally agree with all this. All you idiots out there who look like tools ridding a bike gives the rest of us something to laugh at. And yes, we will se you at the finish line, when we are looking back to see how far back you are!
    The last thing I would want is to look like all the weekend warriors, or club riders with antlers on their helmets, or charity ride morons that ride all over the road one day a week- oh yeh, they have race numbers so I guess it is ok.
    Bottom line, If I think I’m fast I will be and try to ride-train-race better. If I need to look a certain way, I will if it puts me in the right mindset to ride better. SHAVE YOUR LEGS and wear your Lycra you homophobic nitwits because that is what I really think it must come down to. People who look good, and the homophobes who are threatened. Whats worse then all of this is the weekend warrior Harley bikers, all looking like mega tools just because they are on a bike.

    Come to think of it all of you are tools! How about them apples?

  • GarbanzoBeanSnafu says:

    Wow, the only thing worse than a Fred is a darn retrogrouch. You know, the guy who goes on about how his 1980′s era steed is somehow superior to any relatively new bike. I guess he expects everyone to find a rusted out bike along the road, fix it up with borrowed sandpaper and spraypaint and ride it to victory in the weekly training races like he thinks he could. “10-speeds! My seven speed goes up the mountain just fine…” Don’t even get me started on the guy that told me spandex was hotter than denim trousers and long sleeve shirts…

  • Anonymous says:

    Where are aerobars on this list? Unless you’re a triathlete or training for a time trial you look and usually ride like an idiot. I can’t tell you how many aerobar riding weenies I’ve buried. From time to time I let one of these dudes pass me on the downhill on purpose so I have a target to drop on the climb out. There’s nothing better than zipping by turning low gear, high cadence and seeing the expression on their face when they can’r react. Like Lance to Ullrich in the 2001 TDF …you’re by B… dude

  • mikepo says:

    Where are aerobars on this list? Unless you’re a triathlete or training for a time trial you look and usually ride like an idiot. I can’t tell you how many aerobar riding weenies I’ve buried. From time to time I let one of these dudes pass me on the downhill on purpose so I have a target to drop on the climb out. There’s nothing better than zipping by turning low gear, high cadence and seeing the expression on their face when they can’r react. Like Lance to Ullrich in the 2001 TDF …you’re by B… dude

  • Danguy says:

    anyone with any brains knows not to ride a true road bike with reflectors. However, do some research and you will see that reflectors are 100x brighter than the best lights as far as visibility goes. If you don’t want hit use reflectors to be seen and have a light so you can see. Seriously.

  • StillKeen says:

    The article serves it’s purpose. 1) entertain, 2) help you not be ‘that guy/gal’.

    Helmets, yup, buy a nice one you feel comfortable in and want to wear. Skimping on helmet or bike clothes and not feeling comfortable will just hamper you enjoying your ride.

    Full team kits … they are a bit much when it’s socks, gloves, cap, jersey, gillet, shorts, helmet, bike, bottles … unless it’s been worn as more of a costume, for a race or special ride … a full merckx wool molteni kit on an older steel bike, that impresses me. Someone who looks like they went into the LBS and said ‘I want everything Lance has’, that screams too much money and no imagination to me.

  • nu bee says:

    I like my rearview mirror. It keeps me safe. When I see a big rig, I get the hell out of the way.

  • Vince says:

    Good funny article w/ illustrative pics. I suppose some people took offense because they thought it was going to be about how to be a better rider, or better person. Geez, this wasn’t intended to be the ‘sermon on the mount’. Ironically, in a sport so full of dweebs, this is an article about ‘image’.

    Anyways, as the author says, none of this applies to the recreational cyclist. Personally, I think professional riders look more than a bit ridiculous. Think Mario Cippollini. Seriously, why would any self respecting weekend warrior, with a real job, want to look anything like that?

    When the porfessional riders stand on the podium after a stage win, they often look like a member of the special olympics all decked out in their effeminate euro-trash lycra and shaved legs.

    Not for me: I’m a weekend warrior, recreational cyclist who rides the latest carbon fiber bike in 100% cotton clothing. And the onlu other riders I even acknowlege on the road are the one that clearly don’t take this all so seriously. You know the ones with a camelback or a mirror!

    Anyways, good article..and that pic with ‘ridonkulous’ in the caption was too funny.

  • Vince says:

    ‘acknowledge’.., typo correction

  • trekbiking says:

    Lots of different views about the matter. As a newbie, i guessed the safety part/pack riding is the most helpful. I do greet riders just because i’m nice, sometimes the other riders initiate the gestures and so far i’ve only been snubbed a couple of times. As far as #1, I like wearing FULL kits that matches my bike, because they are cool for me. One of the biggest indication that i’m a newbie would be my pedal,,, i don’t like clipped pedal so i used strapless toe clip with my bike shoes which is an Bont RL MTB that i used both for my Hardtail and road bike (maybe someday i’ll give it a try). I think the bottom line is that as long as you don’t endanger, offend or hurt other riders, the only thing that matter is your opinion. I hope to continue to love this sport,,, enjoy

  • lock#2 says:

    Ride early in the morning and fast, it’s the best. I passed a guy recently who was doing just that. He was going to get breakfast but was going the long way around , smiling and enjoying himself. he was 80. He gets it.

  • murphious says:

    I was entertained by this article. No one needs to take offense at anything said here, people are entitled to their opinions. With all that junk out of the way, I’ll say the first thing I did to my Specialized was remove the reflectors off the wheels and front-facing white lens. I do wear Spandex, and at 150lbs I look good in it. A safety-rated helmet is a must, and just recently I upgraded to a stylish Garneau; fits my melon perfectly! No leg shaving, yet, but after 15 years of some serious(not pro)riding, I don’t care what some racers may think. I am fit, proud to ride a bike, and hope to stay in great shape way past my 50th birthday next year. There is no way anyone would mistake me for a \rookie\, and hopefully not mistake me for some wealthy \poser\. Thank goodness I didn’t/don’t make more than a couple of those rookie errors… ;)

  • ags says:

    I thought the article was great, very funny. I am an avid cyclist but when I started I did many of the things this article says not to do. I think many of you are taking this article too seriously.

    As you become a more serious cyclist you do become more aware of your appearance and start to dress the part. I respect a cyclist regardless of how geeky he/she is dressed but if you dress like a cycling geek people will think your a beginner and I know plenty of cycling snobs. One of my fellow female cyclist mentioned to me rescently how other serious male cyclist ignored her on group rides until she got her Trek Madone 6.5. The bike didn’t make her a better cyclist (maybe a little faster) but it impressed others.

  • RW says:

    yeah it’s nice to look cool, but two things I don’t like about the article:
    1> rear view mirrors – why not use one? That being said, I don’t use one but know plenty of cool cyclists that do – and they are never made fun of…
    2> hydration systems – many good club cyclists I ride with like them, and I’ve never once seen anyone made fun of. They’re not my thing only because I don’t like having anything on my back.

    in either of the above, hydration systems or a rear view mirror, properly used they can add to safety and should therefore not be discouraged.

    Also, I believe people need to let their cycling do the talking, and this wasn’t emphasized. I’ve remember one guy that didn’t look too cool in Converse All Stars on rat traps and a ’82 Nishiki drop “cool” looking guys on climbs. I’ve also seen really great “cool” looking cyclists that did not have good bike handling skills. There’s nothing more uncool than someone who looks cool and endangers the life of other cyclists in their riding style (e.g. unnecessarily passing on the right)

  • Anonymous says:

    This post is an example how bloggers should take a class in journalism and creative writing to hone their skills before writing for an audience. It was hard to tell weather this was meant to be a humorous blog entry that was funny, or a serious one that was so badly written that it accidentally came across as funny. I like this website, but these “Pro Reviews” and “How To” sections do need a bit of polish. The company should pay for these blog contributors to take a basic journalism class or intro to creative writing class at the local junior college or extension program. This is a very high traffic site, so it can be likened to say a successful newspaper, so invest some time and bump up the quality of the writing. Or get more qualified writers and dump the current crew.

  • Doug says:

    Anyone who takes this to seriously is a tool. These are good tips not to look like a TOOL. Come on people don’t be so damn serious. Have some fun!!

  • EZ rider says:

    This BLOG has some people that have some beyond funny comments. I came looking for some information about newbie road riding and came out with some serious “gut cramps” from laughing. Some of the observations are spot on.

    I am having fun just reading the comments.

    Keep fit…. ride on!

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow… Where do I start? First, saftey… Use mirrors. Who cares how they look. If you toolaround at 30mph you might not one for obvious reasons. If you’re just an average road rider, It’s personal taste. And ya, I do want to know if someone’s intent on running me over. On the issue of attire, gimme a break. How many of you really want to see a 300 pounder in tights?

    I do agree with the team stuff. How many of us plaster our cars with decals to match a stock car? Leave the team outfits to the team members…

    The rest except for the good manners stuff is trivial at best.

    I’m thinking about shaving off my eyebrows (kidding…) now that I know hair is so offensive!

  • Roy says:

    Leave the reflectors and plastic thingy on! There is nothing more fun than looking like a newby and then crushing a poser. If my bike was unavailable I used to ride my wife’s bike which had a kick stand. I always got a kick out of passing people on the way up the local mountain and seeing the look on their face when they go to the top and saw the bike on the kick stand.

  • Why can’t we all…just…get along?

    Any way, as you can see with all of these passionate comments, cycling is a dynamic and often misunderstood sport. I think the essence of the article is humor based on fact. That’s why it’s so funny….because you’ve either seen “that guy” or BEEN “that guy” at some point in your cycling life.

    He didn’t say shave your whole body and build a macabre sewing studio in your basement while yelling “it puts the lotion in the bucket” with some psychotic techno music blaring in the background. He’s just going over some elemental “customs and courtesies” (as we call it in the military) of the biking culture.

    I think it was BRILLIANT!

    Well, back to my tri-bar, beach cruiser with kickstand and handle bar bell. But first, let me grab my ’09 Astana kit, camel-back, BMX helmet and full set of reflectors…got another ride this tonight!

  • steve says:

    This was sarcasm, really (I hope). Sadly, many of you roadie dorks may take it seriously. Lighten up, you aren’t that cool actually.

  • Anonymous says:

    Tip #11 once you write article about stuff you have no idea what you are talking about you are going pro. *Thumbs up* Way to be pro author!

  • Kmase says:

    As a 35 yr+ roadie i still have some wool shorts and old pro team jerseys that I don occasionally but I agree it’s mostly about being brightly colored so the cars will have a tough time not seeing me. With regard to the mirror comment, I can only say that my unobtrusive sunglass mtd. mirror has saved me from being run off the road when out solo, or with 1 or two others, on more that one occasion. In these days of text messaging teens in only takes 3 feet of drift and you are toast.Waving or nodding to other cyclists is just being friendly and probably a throwback to the days when the club was much smaller. Cycling is a beautiful sport of the synergy between man(or woman) and machine regardless of attire. Keep spinning!

  • water meter says:

    This article is rediculous and embarrassing.

  • MoJo JoJo says:

    Tip #9:
    Andy Schleck did the 2nd individual time trial in this year’s TdF with an hydration pack. Does that make him a cycling rookie?

    Cyclists shave their legs to make the masseur’s job an easier one. Sports massage involves hard rubs and leg hair, even short one, does get pulled out on occasion if you don’t shave your legs. Anyone sentencing a cycling amateur that he must shave his legs because of any other reason is just ignorant about the sport.

    Also, outlandish grimaces and other facial expressions are NOT a must in pack riding, except in sprint finishes. They’re just stupid. You don’t want to give out to the competition that you’re suffering anymore than they are.

    Fortunately, road cycling is an old but still small enough sport in my country and a majority of the riders ignore the rules and just enjoy themselves. It’s not like they’re taking up a religion.

  • Per says:

    Shaving your legs makes sense even without a masseuse waiting at home after the ride: sweating is one of the ways the body cools down/dissipates heat. This is happening when sweat evaporates from your skin. This works better with shaven legs than when droplets of the sweat cling to strands of hair. Not shaving because of what people might think when you are off the bike is as stupid as doing it to look cool to other cyclists when on the bike. If you are really hairy, beleve me, you will notice the difference on a hot ride!

  • koyaanisqatsi says:

    What cycling dweeb wrote this article? I bet he or she is a ball to bike with. If you care about how look while cycling, you should probably just drive your car.

    My legs may look great if shaved, but I’ll be damned if I’ll shave them (I’m a male BTW); the reason pros shave their legs is that hairy legs are uncomfortable when massaged. I suppose that, if I had a masseuse, I’d have my legs.

  • Roadie Punk says:

    I think this article needs a huge caveat about bicycle messengers.

    I am an “intermediate” road cyclists and adhere to most of the above rules simply because form usually follows function. I live in an urban area and quite often come across bicycle messengers. They pretty much violate every rule above and look bad a$$ doing it. I most always get smoked by them on their single speeds and have even witnessed a world class triathlete on a training ride get burned by one on an uphill.

    They are stuck up in their own way and have their own culture but I do bow down to the messengers because no one can compete with one in their element and they have more guts than any pro I’ve ever seen. So I guess my point is that if you really don’t want to look like a fool you need to have legs of steel. No one will make fun of you when you smoke them on the uphill. I think you look more like a fool if you adhere to all the rules in the article and I blow by you.

  • Ron B says:

    I am amazed that the black socks issue isn’t mentioned. Black socks are totally uncool for anybody. Be it a rookie or a pro.

  • Robyn says:

    These tips ARE NOT LAME. They’re very useful for a novice (and hilarious).
    My family rides a lot so we’re hip to the ‘rules’ (but I’ll never get my
    hairy Italian husband to shave his legs, even though he rides centuries often).

    We have a few friends who have just bought bikes and are otherwise athletes.
    But they are breaking all the rules and embarrassing us. So this list helps
    a lot – we make them all read it before we let them ride with us.

    Black socks are fine if you have black shoes and black bike shorts. Sock Guy rocks.

  • Jason says:

    Ha, ha, ha… this is hilarious! Most of the postings are comically extreme! It was WAY more fun than reading the Sunday comics! It made me want to get rid of my run of the mill cycling clothes and go out and get me some totally outlandish togs, with antlers, etc! It made me realized just how much of a tool of the cycling industry and culture I have become by letting myself be sucked in by such nitpicky details. Especially since I ride for the way it makes me feel “free.” I’m usually a pretty easy going guy that tends to get along with most people, but it seems like it would be great fun to go against cycling cultures rigid and binding mores on this! It would also provide the added benefit of entertainment while I ride, because if you really think about it, the aghast looks on the faces of uppity people, as they shudder in horror, make them look very silly.

    Seriously though, like one of the dudes above said, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

    P.S. I won’t condemn you for shaving your legs if you want to, but I will NEVER shave my legs… again. To hell with that… and to hell with anyone who has a problem with that. It’s MY body. As a MANLY man, I reclaim my right to be as hairy as King Kong. So, keep you feminine looking gams!

  • Kurt Gensheimer says:

    Let me just add that I wrote this article giving people tips IF they care about how they look. And for dudes like Jason who want to rock togs and antlers, more power to you bro! I would personally LOVE to see that! Especially if you could show up to a group ride and drop bombs.

    Roadies take themselves waaay to seriously. It’s part of the reason why I wrote this article. It helps those who are new to the sport and care about fitting into racing circles a guide on how to not get laughed out of the peloton. But in the end, as some people have pointed out, regardless of how you dress, just get out there, have fun and stay fit.

    Kurt G.

  • jusdvd says:

    bike snops don’t be one different strokes for different folks

  • Anonymous says:

    Attention- it’s called ‘cycling’ NOT ‘biking’

  • jkscherff says:

    I hope this was written a little tongue and cheek. If not??
    I would say you are being a bit of a snob. I bike in 112F for 2 hours (road bike) at a time, a camelbak just makes sense. Hey at least I am out there trying!
    Cheers.

  • Norpinist says:

    Hi: My $.02. I’m sure the author of this is a great guy. It sounds like he has lots of interests to me, and that’s a honorable thing. One thing I noticed is that he lives in San Diego. San Diego is an incredibly image conscience town. I have some experience there, as my parents have lived many years in the area. Image is important and so is being accepted by the greater group, in this case the peleton…

    Also, as important as image is, not being hit by an automobile is of equal or greater import. Your image goes the second your facial structure leaves you. Seeing and being seen all plays into this, so I’ll be Fred, Tool, Huck, D.B., or whatever it takes to help insure some modicum of safety. Not necessarily on every single ride, but on the ones that I consider riskier.

    So forget about what San Diego buddy thinks, don that light, reflector, team-kit, so you can see-and-be-seen. In San Diego (and even here in cow-town Denver), isn’t that what it’s all about?

  • Bill says:

    Don’t be concerned with the fluff and the guys with the fancy bikes most expensive clothing etc..just ride and enjoy and train and when you see that person just ride on by and watch him trying to figure out how you are so fast when he has all the equipment… its all about the engine not the equipment to a point.. have fun and enjoy all the benefits of biking…most people are good guys in biking but a few need lessons and be an individual…

  • Martin says:

    Well, if you really know what cycling is about, first of all you wouldn’t ride Shimano equipment, ’cause that really makes you look like a dork (even with shaved legs)…

  • rc says:

    The author tips define the kind of douchbags I hate riding with…

  • Patrick says:

    I don’t agree with most of the tips at all :( I just started riding and do follow most the “road” etiquette rules so accidents don’t happen. But really….I think you can don whatever you need to feel safe, wear whatever makes you feel good and just ride :)

  • matt says:

    Ahh… a trip down memory lane. Nothing like being able to visit that judgemental kid from 6th grade who never grew up and gets excited about heart monitors and men with shaved legs.

  • rider says:

    60-year old male here riding a 25-year old Torelli vintage steel bike…. picked up cycling again after 20 year hiatus in the corporate world and grew up riding a bike in Europe. Your article is amusing but so pompous in many regards giving roadies a bad rep. Just ride and have fun. Ride safe, use a helmet and use a mirror, wear what is comfortable and something you like and can be easily seen – the more noticable the safer you’ll be. Motorists here just don’t see cyclists many times – it’s a proven fact; they look but don’t see! How cool can you look after being hit by a car? Some fun facts here but also some pompous “do’s and don’ts”.

  • Dan says:

    Why doesn’t someone make lightweight, aero wheel reflectors? They do provide visibility from the side that rear and front facing lights don’t. Just bought a Madone with these god-awful ones that look like they came off a kid’s Huffy.

  • scott says:

    amazing! the tool to cyclist ratio is like 10:1

  • Peter says:

    In comment 47 the author defends his \view\ on mirrors. But no one who rides on city streets or highway shoulders should listen to him. In some bad situations you need to know ASAP whether it is safe to veer toward the center of the road, and a mirror can make all of the difference. For instance when you are sailing along the side of a highway and a goose, groundhog, or deer suddenly steps out of the bushes and onto the shoulder in front of you, your options can be (1) hit the animal, (2) veer right into trees (or off a cliff), or (3) veer left onto the road. 3 will either be by far your best or by far your worst option, but you’ll only have time to judge which if you have a mirror. There won’t be time to turn around and look.

  • BearSquirrel says:

    Besides the paceline behavior stuff, most of this is stupid cultural BS. No one needs to shave their legs.

    1) Wear whatever you like so long as it doesn’t snag the saddle. I recommend bib shorts and jerseys of whatever fit you like.

    2) Hydrate copiously to maintain good performance/recovery and make sure you don’t get a nasty headache later. If this requires wearing a Camelbak … so be it. Wear a plane jersey so it won’t interfere with any pretty graphics.

    3) Consider wearing cycling shoes, though it is not necessary. SPDs are fine, especially if MTB is your other hobby and you have no desire to duplicate your shoe wardrobe.

    4) Wear a helmet. The fellow in the pink helmet screamed at me “I don’t care what you think”. And while I wouldn’t wear that helmet, I respect it. The most dangerous cyclist in the world would sport a Hello Kitty team kit and be sponsored by Dr. Phil.

    5) Riding by yourself is fun. You don’t need a paceline.

    6) There is nothing wrong with wearing a full team kit. You spent money that keeps the LBS in business and fully capable of doling out the more affordable and less lucrative entry level bikes that make up the core of the cycling world.

    Don’t be a fashion queen. Do your own thing. Learn from our messiah, Sheldon Brown. Wear an Eagle on your helmet, and do it proudly.

  • Dick says:

    “cool” is when you break all the rules.

  • Fred Tool here, says:

    51 yr old clydesdale, been road riding three years; forgot to unclip at stoplight once; been laughed at by a peloton in Pasadena for riding in cargo shorts (1st year); wore boxers under my Pearl Izumi’s for a year wondering why people think spandex is so comfortable; still wonder if jersey manufacturers have a clue that non “stick people” ride; been owned by fixies, and a kid on a bmx; regularly wear a camelbak; gotten off my bike and walked up a couple of hills; completed several centuries, including, Tour de Foothills, Ride around the Bear, Furnace Creek century, three MS 150s, ridden Glendora ridge road in July and Baldy road all the way to the ski lifts; ridden up Mt. Wilson a few times; bike commute from Pasadena to Downtown LA three days a week; gave my car to my daughter cause I don’t use it; lost 15 lbs; think Sheldon Brown was the coolest tool ever; just finished building a new Parlee (after my first bike was stolen); hmm. . . I nod, wave or say hi to people; endure loads of ridicule from my Mtn bike buddies for being a roadie; thinking about getting a little bell to announce myself on the many riding paths around here; passed a peloton that looked very much like the one mentioned above (3rd year); Lastly, I ride because there is nothing else like it to relieve daily pressures of life. Its hard to worry about the day when your concentrating on where your next breath is coming from!!

  • WB says:

    I’ve been out of riding for 22 years, switched to motorcycles. I am looking for the lightest bike I can afford, it will be carbon. My old shorts have a chamios in them , shoes had wood soles, I have to get all new gear as I don’t have anything left – I don’t know about a ‘team kit’ is that something you repair things with? I love to ride two wheels and will buy the lightest items I can find and afford! I think all the comments are a riot, enjoyable reading! If you want to wear a thousand dollar lacra ‘kit’ go for it, I’d rather put the money in my bike, I’ll have to setttle for a t-shirt for now, so wave as you go by, some day I’ll catch up!!

  • Dbaganonymous says:

    the article is highly amusing and highlights the super cultish and cliquish world of ‘group roadies’ vs the rest of the cyclists out there who probably don’t spend much time in a paceline or training for some cat 5 crit.

    From the comments the article makes the roadies all nod in agreement since they value a high degree of uniformity within their unique sub-culture or else they will be ridiculed.

    It also enflames many causal riders who are not a part of this culture yet would like to meet people to ride with (or not) and make a few friends along the way.

    To them, I must agree with another poster and say you should read this article as ’10 Tips to avoid riding with people you will not enjoy riding with or being friends with’ and change the idea of the tip as something to do for something to look out for in other riders that adhere to these ‘rules’ and who you should avoid at any costs.

  • joe says:

    i wish i could be there when some guy in cut off jeans a t shirt and sneakers rides by you on a schwinn varsity and leaves you in flames. the surfer guy should relate to how merciless “surf culture” is on the people in it deem “kooks” and not cool. The ocean was not made for you dbg’s and cycling does not need a similar attitude. i raced many, many years, rode nationals, and have ridden and raced alot since those days as an old fart. what has changed now is how many jerks are at USCF races. Any twank with 60 dollars for a USCF license now thinks he is Contador. Makes me miss for by gone times.

  • justine says:

    so, is it true about the waving to other cyclists? How about the nod, is that OK?

  • derek says:

    This article is horrendously stupid.

    People that don’t even ‘nod’ once in a while are simply insecure. They don’t know how to acknowledge another cyclist and therefore don’t do anything. Some think it’s being stuck up…but what it does mean is that they don’t have the cajones yet to let go of the handlebar to wave or they are in so much pain from hunching over the bike for 20 minutes that they can’t move their head to nod. Personally, I nod to most…and I wave once in a while too. If they don’t wave back when I took the time out to do it…they they have proved my point.

    I’m not a pro, but I ride over 200 miles a week, pass most everybody on the timed and Century rides, and climb everything in sight – but I don’t shave, I have long hair, and I am super friendly to other cyclists. I ride a white Time Vibraser around Pasadena area and have a white helmet with long blond hair sticking out. I wear Capo and Assos outfits, cuz they don’t look like wannabe pros. Plus I’m always the first one to stop and help people with flat tires, etc. (especially if they are cute girls, of course).

    If you see me coming…nod or wave Hi. It’s not cuz you are in the secret bike club as someone mentioned above…it just means we share a similar passion. And it’s OK to admit it.

  • WaynefromOrlando says:

    Seriously, this is like the old comedy routine that said it was unmanly to eat quiche. My opinion: a real man eats whatever he darn well pleases!

    As a biker, I do what I like, and that includes wearing what I want to wear and deciding to not shave my legs for a RECREATIONAL activity that just so happens to include local races.

    I also use the Camelback hydration system, if it was good enough for me to walk around in cammies in the desert, it’s good enough for the streets here in the USA. Think about it, that hydration bag is a spine protection device should you dump it and land on you back.

    Also, when your in that TT tuck, breaking tuck to grab your water bottle is a bad thing. Using a Camelback type hydration system means you can hydrate without breaking tuck. Maybe the “professional” riders will figure that out one day.

  • Seoulhawk says:

    I understand what the guy is trying to say, and if you are going to to race or wanting to look good in a bike club I can see where it might be decent advice. BUT I see a old guy all the time riding down one of the bike paths here in Seoul that has one arm an old bike and ill fitting clothes, and I am very happy to smile at him and give him a nod. When I am in the countryside and I come across another cyclist I am happy to give him a wave since we are both are willing to ride in the middle nowhere.

    So far I pass far more than those who pass me, not that I am a super hero, but I am still to fast for golf.

  • t bone says:

    Do not wear a stupid looking helmet…see top photo for example.

  • Robin says:

    Thus my love for the mountain biking culture. Shut up and ride.

  • Al Dente says:

    A real cyclist doesn’t need the validation of other cyclists.

    In my neck you have no business shaving unless you race; recreational riders who shave are just as much of a faux pas as racers who don’t.

    Personally I love being a Fred. Nothing more fun than catching a poseur on a pro bike on my old beater bike, sandals, and cutoffs.

    There are things that score you real style points though. Knowing the fancy way of folding a sewup and securing it under your saddle with an old toestrap always impresses. Not saying “on your left” and “on your right” ten thousand times a ride shows you are used to riding on the sharp end of the group instead of straggling with the wobbly spindly legged newbies. Wearing an old Campy hat before or after the ride or under your helmet is classy as well (can’t get them any more).

  • Kjarsten says:

    im guilty of wearing the camelback but with good reason, im a commuter and a camelback works great for holding my heavy duty lock and tire pump. if i were to race i would not wear it of course.

  • Dom says:

    Full team kit with yellow jersey or jeans and a t-shirt… wear where you want. It’s about the ride. It’s not a fashion show.

  • David says:

    There is nothing better than overtaking a full teamkit type up a hill. I ride a 9 speed DA on a steel bike in spd sandls a tidy beard and dreads halfway down my back.
    Lycra is the best but that is where it stops.

  • BhJamis says:

    I believe that all the tips are important to follow especially
    for rookie bikers except for the tip of not using side mirrors.
    Even Levi Leiphemer uses mirrors.

  • Freddly says:

    If I could go out there and consistently show people up, I would take a full summer to dress like the biggest Fred on the planet and drop everyone just to get it out of my system. But I can’t. I ‘m just a middle aged guy who isn’t about to stop riding because I don’t belong to the “cool” club, which seems to consist mostly of Type A assholes and failed racers who take out their bitterness on the poor Freds the industry needs to stay afloat. I make concessions and I have a modicum of style, and I’ve learned from surfing you might want to fit in a little and play the game just so you don’t get rocks thrown at your head. Seriously though, shave your f==king legs. There is nothing more vomit inducing than the Sasquatch effect.

  • SUPER STEPH says:

    If you are a winner, then what the hell does it matter what you look like. I think you are all lame if you think these rules will make you a “better rider”…I found such amusement out of this. If I am in a sleevless jersey, have reflectors on my bike and am drinking water from my camelpack in my full team gear…..when I am the one passing you on the way to the finish line, I think it would be you that looks like the fool, not me!

  • Steve-O says:

    why must you all be such toolbags? this article is very true, but for fun nonetheless. i was told the same advice when i started cycling. and while it might be shallow, its true, for the most part. i have bright red bar tape and i love it! bottom line is, most cyclists are a bunch of stuck up dickfaces. and i cant stand over half the people i ride with. because when i showed up to mt first group ride, wearing black izumi shorts, and an under armour pullover (loose might i add) i was looked down upon. and whats funny is that i was one of the strongest riders there. shut up and just ride them damn bike. and laugh at a funny article like this one!

  • Dopers Suck says:

    a major +1 on Steve-O’s comment!!!!!

  • Brad says:

    While I secretly agree with a lot of what you write, I say to people,”Do whatcha like and damn anybody who doesn’t like it”…..I see cycling jerseys as completely useless unless you’re doing extended distances, so I ride in Under Armour shirts. My first ride with my new group people were giving me crap the second I stepped out of my car……..they weren’t laughing when they couldn’t keep up!!!!!! Damn’em all, make yourself happy, get some exercize, and have fun…..none of us are on payroll, just enjoy yourself!

  • dahut says:

    I like it. you never know when you might meet some “real” cyclist and this information will come in handy.

    In practice, it does me little good. I ride to work for exercise and relaxation. I could give a rats @ss if I look like a nimrod to some lycra-skinned pedal head.
    Im gonna wave, anyway.

  • F is for Flartey says:

    As leader of the pack ( occasional exceptions still being processed )on group rides I feed off the inequities of those around me. I become the mental cue that begs others to keep up but as THE STRONGER ONE favor my position at most turns ( top of hills … )i.e. I traded in my Dura Ace 10 for Sram Red but my humongous thighs can filter off any noise as weaker lesser experienced wannabees ( some are pretty good ) claim . You won’t recognize me through any photos but I can assure those out there that in the field of sales in the bike bizz my dominance is fuel for thought and I will accept any challengers in this realm …. Oh and I have a carbon frame .

  • EM says:

    @ steve-o
    this comment “why must you all be such toolbags?” really reflects who the tool is. tool = fair enough. toolbags has no weight as an insult and makes you look like an idiot.

    as to the topic, there are so many people riding in team gear these days that i think this article (written two years ago) has become a little irrelevant. Any of the big packs that ride beach rd in melbourne and the number in team kit will greatly outweigh the ‘cool’ guys.

  • Wow what a site full of tools says:

    Ya know I have to say … the more I read on biike culture the more I am glad that I refuse to be a part of it.

    I tell ya what … I will wear what I want put on my bike what I want and shave what I want.

    You people shave you legs because you have gay fantasies about being a woman. It has nothing to do with road rash and you know it.

    You want to call me a fred … maybe you think I don’t belong …. great you do as you please…. I am still passing you.

  • mike says:

    I often cycle with my Camelback on long road rides…even when I’m going for time on my TT route of 29.65 miles.

    I like NOT having to take my hands off my handlebars as cars whiz by my head at 60mph!!

    I sweat like a massive chia pet that has sprung a million leaks. I need all the water I can carry. And often I ride with three bit water bottles with a isotonic solution and the Camelback with plain water.

    The difference in time and how I feel at the end of the TT is an inverted correlation to how much water I consume.

    The KEY is reaching the zenith of the Starling curve. Not enough cyclist understand or even read about exercise physiology. The chassis(bike frame and gruppo, tires) will only take you so far..the motor(meaning your heart NOT your legs) is the key to victory

    When I’m at the top of the Starling curve, I can feel it and it makes a HUGE difference in my performance. If I win at the end I usually have to urinate, If I loose that means I was \dry\ and just couldn’t get the atrial kick needed to push hard and fast.

    To sweat is to win…and I sweat a lot…and in my team I win a lot

    Great read for physiology is from authors Vander, Shapiro et al. They make it easier. I prefer their older editions that have NO color and simple, easy to understand feedback charts. Beautifully written and the best and I have a lot of physiology books..this one is the cheapest and best by far.

  • Uncommon Sense says:

    Rule Number One…..HAVE FUN. Say hello to fellow bikers, pedestrians and wave at drivers.

    I really like to ride BUT I dislike elitist fools on bikes. I choose to ride largely by myself since I do not like large groups. I would much rather see my surroundings than a bunch of tires, lycra shorts and neon colored jerseys. Besides, I’m out there for a workout and if I am drafting I’m CHEATING myself.

    Rule Number Two….If you don’t know ask!

    Rule Number Three…Always be comfortable when you ride!
    Wear bike shorts NOT jeans! Don’t be afraid to wear tights when it’s freaken cold outside!

    Rule Number Four….Don’t buy overpriced components (i.e. Carbon wheels, carbon bottle cages, carbon cranksets) Speed & Quality are not directly proportional to money spent!

    Rule Number Five….Do stay to the right when riding and don’t make any quick moves and OBEY traffic signals and laws.

    Rule Number Six…always help fellow cyclists when they have flats or mechanical difficulties.

    Rule Number Seven…Don’t ride with earphones and pull over if you must talk on a cellphone!

  • Erik says:

    I use to race about fifteen years ago (cat 2) and of course I shaved my legs. Now, I ride for the fun of it and for exercise three times a week and there’s no reason I need to shave them anymore. In fact, I think it WOULD be ridiculous if I shaved my legs. It would be like an amateur swimmer shaving his entire body even though he only swims by himself a few times a week! Does that make me any worse of a cyclist? I don’t think so. I still pass all the racers when I see them :)

    Cycling is about having fun. No one should ever look down on another cyclist… for any reason.

  • louis armstrong says:

    Races are like parties, so it is just expected that people get dressed accordingly in colourful fancy clothes. Once you are not in a race, why on earth have people to create rules and oblige you to dress the way they think it is correct?
    Now, the rationale behind this is: This is good for people getting acquainted with the full dictartorship that is ahead of us. Prepare to be an automat. Remember, big brother is watching you.
    Did you ever thought cycling was intended to give you fun? You thought wrong. You are not supposed to have fun. You are supposed to follow rules. No freedom, no fun, no happiness, just rules.
    Heil Hitler! Heil the New World Order!

  • DuMonkey says:

    LAAAAAME about the sleeveless jersey. I wear sleeveless and my pride remains intact….so does my even arm tan. But rock on, farmer-tanned non-tool pros!

  • Bill Greenwood says:

    I came cross this article several times from the time I started to ride bicycle. As a rookie, I thought this is great and try to follow as much as I can, then I started to ride more and learn more and start to follow the pro tour, I thought the pro kits are really cool and well designed. I would put on a QuickStep kits after Tom Boonen won the Paris-Roubaix and rode my specialized bike. I thought it was really cool. Once I was riding my Giant with a matching color factory kits (not really pro kit), I was asked at a rest stop by a women whether I was sponsored by Giant, I said NO. Her comment was she would not wear that to provide ad with out pay. I did not say anything. I saw her riding a Fuji bike, of cause with very large fuji logo/name on the frame. I almost asked her whether she was sponsored by fuji, if not, should we cover all the logo and names on the bicycle just to make sure we do not do free ad? Sounds funny, but it is the same as wearing pro kits. It is nothing to shame of if you follow your pro team and riders who train hard and fight hard for glory, for themselves also for their countries.

  • Jeff says:

    This is funny!!!! The article was amusing, but the replies were fantastic!!!

    The camelbak thing has struck a nerve with a few people. I wear a cheap helmet and a camelbak. About 2 months ago, I was on a detoured bike path and got hit by a car that wasn’t paying attention to the stop signs nor the caution biker signs. I was knocked from the detoured bikepath to the street, lost consciousness, and could barely stand afterwards. I was told that I landed on my camelbak and rolled back onto my head. That “dorky” camelbak saved me from spinal injuries, and that cheap “uncool” helmet saved me from head injuries.

    They do serve a purpose, even if this article is in fun.

    Side note. The drivers insurance company bought me a hella nice new bike.

  • justin says:

    great article – and so interesting to see people taking this so serious. i’m new to “proper” bicycle riding. i grew up riding my bike around the neighbourhood and i never gave a crap what people thought of me and i still don’t. i’m looking forward to doing the complete opposite of everything (except #10, i don’t think i’ll be riding in any pelotons any time soon). should be fun to see who’s a cycle nazi and is actually interested in judging me for what a wear and how i ride a bike. unbelievable.

  • davis says:

    For safety, I want to be seen when I ride on city streets – I wear loud color jerseys, ’nuff said. Although, my Mapei jersey has seen better days.

    The only kind of mirror I would even consider buying is one that sits on the end of bar (it replaces one bar end plug). I can’t get the hang of a mirror on my glasses or on my helmet. I would never use an iPod or talk on my cellphone while riding, because I have seen drivers, joggers, and pedestrians get distracted while using mobile devices (cellphones are the worst).

    I would add another rule: no bells on your handlebar. Hey, you’re not a 10-year-old girl with pink streamers on her handlebars. Use your voice. Although, when you’re passing some newbie on the MS-150, they usually turn their head, thus turning in your lane.

    Another rule: no fenders on a high-end road bike. There are lot of exceptions to this rule: if you bike in wet climate, bike messenger, commuter, etc. Get a cheap-o cycling rain jacket. Most cyclists have other bicycles for this – rainy weather. In the UK, they have a name for this – audax (full fender holes on the frame, rear rack mounts, etc.). Audax is like rally car racing for bicycles.

  • Carnage says:

    Who is one to judge me because I dont shave my legs like a girl! I ride my road bike for cross training for motocross. If I fall on the pavement and get road rash in my legs hairs, which I have, I suck it up! Most road cyclist are so into themselves it makes me laugh.

  • one more thing says:

    don’t be a dick! more important that all that other crap this “full of self” styled prophet mentions….

  • Eat me says:

    This is the most stupid garbage ever. Who gives a sh1t what someone wears. Get over your stupid insecurities. I ride a full carbon $5k race bike. I lap you clowns in your team jerseys all day long. I wear my camo shorts and Jockey tee shirts and if anyone ever says anything (and no one ever has…why? Because no one cares besides you, you fuckin nazi) I’ll make sure they limp home, not ride. Eat me. Shut up and ride you little pussy.

  • Tires says:

    If cyclists are looking for acceptance with the rest of the world then writing articles like this only reaffirms why people dislike cyclists. I recently considered buying a road bike and getting into the sport for exercise and recreation. I now see that my first impression of cyclists as arrogant, narcisists was entirely true. If you want people to accept cyclists, then how about trying to accept people for their interest in the sport while ditching the vain arrogance. I guess I’ll buy a mountain bike that I can ride with hairy legs and wear whatever I want without snobbish ridicule.

  • One woman's point of view says:

    This is obviously a man’s point of view. One who is pandering to other men. I’ve been riding for years and could care less what people wear. Oh, and there are very few men that can get away with wearing tight clothing and shaved legs. The rest would do better aerodynamically to lose a few pounds than to squeeze themselves like sausages into tight clothing. Dude, just enjoy the ride and worry less about what other weenies think. LOL!

  • Brendan says:

    I am a newbie cyclist, but reading all this one thing comes to mind:
    Are cyclists really such pretentious douchebags as they’re portrayed in this article?

    I want to go ride with my buddies because I enjoy it. I’ll wear what’s comfortable and safe. If you think there’s something wrong with that then there’s probably something wrong with how you think.

    Unless you’re a pro, cycling is probably something you do for fun. Don’t try to take the fun out of it with this kind of crap.
    (that said tip #10 is actually a good thing to know)

  • woooow says:

    Biking isn’t a fashion contest, it’s a sport. Why is it cool to wear what everyone else is wearing, don’t you think it is cooler to just go out and ride without worrying what other bikers think of you. Who cares. And just because camelbacks dont look cool, I would rather look like an idiot then be underhydrated. People have to wake up and realize that buying the most expensive biker stuff just to look cool is a waste of their time. Just go out and ride. Who cares if you get some laughs from some self conscious idiots

  • Erik says:

    Great article, fantastic comments

    Look, people…I don’t care that you can pass a fat spandexed rich dude on a $5k Cervelo while wearing your flip flops, cargo pants and riding your toddler’s trike. The title of the article is clear…how not to ‘look’ like a noob. If you don’t care what you look like, well, then, do us all a favor and move on.

    Any sport or hobby has unwritten rules…volleyball…chess…bird watching…and the author makes a humorous attempt to put those rules for road cycling (ridiculous and otherwise) online for all to read. And the fact is he’s right on almost all of it.

    So to all the commenters who whined about what a douch bag the author is for being so judgmental, well, wtf are you people guilty of?

    See you on the road.

  • Polmateer says:

    This guy is a bit of a jack ass…. or just a cycling snob. It doesnt matter what you wear, how many bottles you have, as long as you are safe and not hurting others.

    Enjoy Cycling for you, not so people think your a pro.

  • bill says:

    i am a knob rider who is in the sport just because i had a heart attack. I use to ride bmx and at age 54 i way to old to get crazy. my question is beacuse i have made up my mind too ride from sacremento to La.(Disneyland). My question that i have, Do riders shave there private areas to keep the hair from giveing them crotch rot, rubbing or is there something else they use other the bees wax. Please take the time to answer my question i need all of the help i can get. As far as looking like a knob who cares i just want to raise money for the heart- assnation (typo), My wife just had a stroke fri which makes the ride even more important to me then ever. As far for all those riders who pass me up like i am standing still, enjoy riding but remember you were once a knob too we all had to start somewhere. So go ahead and be polite and have fun enjoying life. You never know what tomorrow brings your way God bless all of you and your family’s

    Thanks for everything

    THE KNOB

  • Video says:

    Well,having just bought my first “real” bike, with helmet (thats as far as Ive got on the fashion and safety stakes)…thought I’d look up tips for new cyclists, and came across this. Its obvious this was written for “serious” semi pro cyclists,and it was rather humorous though, although initially I thought I should take the bike back!
    But, hey ho, like THE KNOB (which I dont think you are by the way) I want to get into cycling for fitness and social reasons. I just need to know how to be as safe as possible..ok without looking ridiculous…I didnt find much in here to help me learn how to be safe cycling out everyday as a beginner, but its’ amusing and entertaining seeing peoples reactions. (By the way, what shoes should I wear?)

  • Philychzstk says:

    The funny part about the article and comments are if anybody here is taking offense to anything in the article then I have to be the bearer of bad news and yes…. you are a knob. All of the things the author wrote about is because of years of riding/racing has taught him what is needed, appropriate and useful on the road. Newbies havent had such experiences and really learned what is exactly needed. Everybody is free to ride with whatever oversize jersey, camelback, reflectors etc, you are free to, and there is nothing wrong with it but its like running monster truck tires on a Ferrari…. it stands out.
    As a professional MTB racer and Cat 1 road racer with over 20 yrs in the saddle I have to say the author is pretty spot on.

  • james says:

    Wow, I really do hope that no noobs read this.
    The only one on here that is actually helpful is #10, the rest just make noobs think cyclists are a bunch of snobs.

    And by the way, I don’t know where you live that you don’t need a hydration bladder, but id like to see you ride 50 miles in the Georgia heat without one.

    thanks for the waste of time.

  • Paul S. says:

    I do clean my chain. I have been riding for 10 years and still get that gease on my leg. I can’t help it.

  • george says:

    i am blown away by this. for real? #10 makes sense, but the rest? wow i cant believe i read this

  • Jesse says:

    I dub you the road biking snob of my week
    This whole list is bullshit except for biking etiquette and practicing clipless
    (safety of course)
    People need to get over these stupid ideas involving how roading biking/gear \should be\

  • Andy says:

    I just started road cycling as my dad was a very successful time trialist in the 80′s. I ride around 450 miles a month at the moment. I do this in my Astana or Team Sky gear. Do I care what snobs like you think who write drivel tips like this? No. Would my dad be pleased I was following him into riding? Yes. Would he agree with anything you say? No. The fact he was probably a lot more successful than you could ever hope to be says a lot to me. You are the one with the issues over these rules, laughing at cyclists and belittling people so that they dont take up the sport. Maybe you want to take me on someday in a head to head ride up some of the seriously steep climbs around here and see who comes out on top? I tell you something….NOTHING would give me greater pleasure than beating a moron like you in my Noob pro team gear. I would totally destroy you and make you eat every one of your rules.

  • Matt says:

    Every couple of years I run across an article like this written by someone who, in their benevolent cycling wisdom, has decided to teach us all the rules about how we should look/act/smell in order to conform to their ideas of the cycling norm. Despite the author’s insistence that conformity to these rules with not only ensure acceptance in the cycling community, but also improve the image of cyclists as a whole, this mentality is exactly what is wrong with cycling. I have been riding for 19 years, the first half as a mountain biker. I still sometimes pull out my camelbak for a really long road ride, I have never shaved my legs, and I’m pretty damn fast. My local cycling community accepts me wholeheartedly. If I ever run across this author, I will slow down to let him catch up and then kick his trash in.
    Please, ride bikes and embrace everyone else who does too. Let’s try to make it easy to get out on the road, rather than mocking those who either don’t know, don’t care, or can’t afford to abide by the author’s elitist rules.

  • Spydo says:

    OMG you’re gonna HATE me..

    Lessee-

    cut-off midriff floursecent 1/2-jersey,
    shorty-short spandex,
    whale-tale over the spandex,
    MTB helmet,
    a 90′s Fuji,
    IPOD and arm-band.

    massive, unshaven legs (I really dont have much hair on them and Im not about to promote MORE!

    and I’m a dude..

    My guess is I’m not gonna be popular – but that’s me…

  • Reber says:

    Too look like a real cyclist all you have to do is choose super gay stuff. I mean, come on, wearing super tight clothes and shaving your legs. I know that the clothes reduce wind resistance and all that crap. However, I used to ride on long distance trips when I was a little kid. I’m sure tight clothes and shaving your legs really does help over long distances but just because it helps dosent’ mean it’s not completely gay. It dosen’t matter what your stupid rules are on whats cool and what’s not. Trust me, it all sucks.

  • rob says:

    The problem I have is that to me,it seems like many riders(especially in groups or clubs)seem arrogant and stuck up.If you do not have the latest equipment and all the stupid advertising on your jersey,then you are not acknowledgeable on the road.Who cares how old your bike is, if you know all the ‘proper’ rules,or want to advertise for free.Just get out and ride.

  • Jeff says:

    You are the problem with cyclists’ reputation. Every time I see a guy on a road bike in tight spandex and shaved legs, I think, “must be an arrogant loser, thinks he is the best in the world,” and am tempted to run them off the road but I don’t do it because a. I could go to jail and b. they might be a good guy, who knows. But judging by your 10 rules of the road, you are a definite proponent of that stereotype, and my preconceived notions are confirmed.. my philosophy is just do whatever, ride whatever, wear whatever, but keep safe.

  • WCOTU says:

    My Wife won’t have sex with me if I shave my legs. Suck on that leg shavers.

  • Reber says:

    Came across this site again and figured I’d clarify my above comment. It was kind of rude. I have also learned that the shaved leg thing is because it cuts down on infections. It kind of makes sense then. Also, I used to make fun of the jerseys but then I remembered that when I played football I wore a nike sweat band on my forearm for no reason other than the fact that it looked cool. I still think that you should wear whatever you want and ride whatever you want. Also, the aerodynamic properties of the clothing don’t help unless your averaging at least 20 miles an hour. However, in other sports, I’ve done the same thing. My bad. Keep on riding ya’ll.

  • Perry says:

    I am a big fan of $40 (jersey and bib) deal extreme pro kits.

    And I am fast enough to wear whatever I want. LOL

  • Bottom Line says:

    Interesting post and string of replies. It seems the author speaks from experience, as do the posters. He was likely dinged by the “group” at some point, or witnessed someone else being dinged, and is simply reporting these matters in his post. Associating constantly with hard-core cyclists (or any type of hard-core athletes group) will sensitize you to their perspective and related lingo. Most dinging occurs in the larger, less distinguished group because they feed off the temporal buzz of a group reward they get from dinging an outsider. It is, in fact, all about EGO. I find as a general rule (subject to exception), that the top performers in a field spend very little time dinging rookies, because dinging people is a energy waste and ego-based venture that only serves to produce (-) negative energy. Negative energy is a REAL electrical field output from the body. Pause to think: Negative energy is the opposite of (+) positive energy. Positive energy is requisite to peak performance and peak performance is requisite to winning (with all competitors being substantially equal in the basic motor functions.) Top performers understand the impact of negative energy and (usually) steer clear of petty engagement, excepting psyop tactics on an immediate opponent. Cycling, as opposed to many sports, is a sport that can suck one into serious cash-toss because of the thousands of combinations and luring upgrades and equipment based on obtaining the desired status-quo of ‘perfection’. Many cyclists are truly more interested in saving up for that “perfect” seat, carbon stem to shed 2 grains of weight or fancy tires, more than are interested in actually hitting the road and doing it. Cycling upgrade can be an addition, even, or perhaps most especially, for newcomers, since they’re more vulnerable to the industry and peer pressure to get that just right fit. It’s like restoring a car that you never seriously ride in.

    I see some validity in not wearing recent team uniforms if you’re not a part of that team, but let’s face it, if I was on a winning team and two weeks later saw some body sporting my team, I’d just smile. Besides, You can’t steal glory by posing. It’s more of a compliment.

    Pro bibs/shorts with bright colors do serve as a visual alert to traffic and as such, they could be a valuable tool for enhancing traffic visibility. The Pros don’t care – they’re too busy riding. If a new rider can pick up a great deal on a colorful set of high quality bibs on eBay, I say go for it. The winning teams will wink and smile if you happen to pick one of theirs.

    The bottom line to me is that the goal of every cyclist is not to prove something, but to improve yourself, one step at a time. Start where you’re at, with what you have. Give your ego a backseat, put your best foot forward, learn what you can from positive teachers, teach yourself the rest and with a positive spirit, ride. The natural laws will reward you. Bottom line – it’s only exercise and the bike always finds you out.

  • Todd says:

    Wow!Newbie here!
    I just started riding a month ago. I am 52! I don’t know what Cat is, don’t care!

    My reason for riding is to stay in shape for motocross and desert racing. I didn’t know there was a cool factor to be worried about. I bought a Roubaix Pro because I like the the look and feel of the bike, and I got a great deal on it. I am not shaving my legs and I am wearing the cool jersey’s. I feel a bit safer with the bright colors. Yes, I will get passed by just about everyone on the road at least for awhile. That’s ok though! I know I can spank most anyone on a dirt bike, anywhere, anytime!!!

    My thought is this. If you can afford the good stuff, buy it. If it makes you fell better, buy it. I can and will….thanks

  • carlos maiz says:

    Funny but true. Guilty of one or two but I started riding a year ago. Can relate to the article and seen all of these 10 ofences. Now that I read it it is even funnier. Stay fit and continue riding my friends.

  • John says:

    Had to laugh at these. In the winter time I cycle in walking trousers with the legs attached. In the summer I wear the same trousers with the bottoms of the legs unzipped and my hairy shins on show. I sometimes wear a T-shirt and sometimes wear the cheap sleeveless jersey I bought for £7.99 from a local discount store. I’ve left the reflectors on my wheels, leave a rack permanently mounted on the back and sometimes sling a pannier on it to carry a waterproof.

    If people think I look desperately uncool, so be it. I love to cycle and when I overtake roadies up hills in my Fredly outfit with panniers on the back (and for good measure on a cross bike rather than a road bike) it doesn’t really matter that they look the part and I don’t.

  • John says:

    I forgot to mention, if I’m riding on busy roads I wear a tasteful layer over my jersey/T-shirt. It’s a two-tone vest, hi-vis orange with hi-vis yellow and reflective stripes on it. People tell me they can see me half a mile away after dark.

  • Matt says:

    I kind of want to do ALL of these things. Seems like an easy way to avoid arrogant people.

  • Webster says:

    Thanks for the article. I surf – I have a hard time in the water when someone is a newb. However, only bc they are dangerous, and, one more obstacle to getting things done.

    I could care less how they look though – etiquette is key. I cycle to work, my bike is a pos and my clothes are scrubs. I could care less about times. I could give a rats rear about people being faster, more stylish, and, full of themselves.

    Interesting read.

  • Webster says:

    Also, besides, Lance and Kelly (Slater), nobody has the right to say anything about anyone else.

    Unless you are proven best – somebody will eventually allow you to feel inadequate – providing this is how, at least in part, one define’s oneself.

  • Paul Hillman says:

    I remember years ago the starting ref at a local time trial, gave me grief about having torn flickers on my road turned TT bike and how silly they looked. I replied, not as silly as sitting along the side of the road with a flat after paying $15.

  • Patchara Charoensiri says:

    I knew what you meant rookie looked is, but really? I bike with my friends who wears jean, some wear short with school backpack and vans, track bikes, one gear, no brakes go with the same speed and distance as pro cyclist do though lol. Isn’t it shame, pro

  • LKM says:

    Pretty lame post. However, I say that I think bike reflectors are completely useless and only offer a false sense of security– take them off and replace them with some decent lights if you’re going to ride at night. Cars will actually see you. As for helmets, who cares what you wear? Just make sure you’re wearing something that is going to protect your noggin and that is comfortable. As long as you’re out there having fun and staying safe, who cares what you look like?

  • Barrett says:

    Its a bit of a humorus article and I took it at that. Don’t be fooled though the information about safety and proper group riding skills is important. If and when you find yourself pulling the group up front do point out potholes and such. This keeps the riders behind you safe.

  • lee says:

    don’t buy a pro jersey kit? are you kidding me?

  • JeroenK says:

    Kurt, you ARE a cycling rookie if you do not know THE rules and make up your own.

    http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

  • Michael says:

    Reading this forum 3 times now and it has discouraged me from riding the next day. I’m 59, still in excellent shape, [not a "Skinny-Chest"] 200 pounds and damm little fat on me. I can keep up with Pro-Roadies [well, at least for a few miles] and full-blood Italian. My family has a long friendship relation with the Bianchi’s so I wear a few years old team jersey and bib. Yes, I get a few stares so what do I do now. My conscience says your being laughed at. Advice please.

  • LostViking says:

    Have to hand it to Kurt – this article is the gift that keeps giving!

    I’ve evolved a lot as a “roadie” since I first read this – and maintain that Kurt’s rules do hold true for a group of roadies – but it is false to say that all roadies agree with all of this stuff.

    I just finished reviewing some of the latest replies and what struck me, since I’m already aware of the snooty atitudes of some roadies, was the surprizingly snooty and judgemental atitudes of some MTBers! They present themselves as free spirits who ride for the pure joy of it all, yet many of them seem to feel it’s perfectly okay to trash middle-aged “roadies” like myself who are out on the road to improve our fitness.

    Instead of applauding people for getting out there and riding, we make fun of fat people in lycra with beards and hairy legs. While I expect this from certain “roadies” – I find it both surprizing and enlightening to hear MTBers air the same elitist gibberish.

  • Enzo says:

    @Michael
    Take up Golf.

  • Oldermileeater says:

    The article: A bit arrogantly presumptuous. The comments (most of them): Ouch ouch and ouch. I bet this person may re-consider writing another.

    Me? I am NO newbie, but I sure look like one on the road. I do not have all the flashy attire, nor do I really care. Much of the time, I am in sport pants (often long pants, not shorts), and shirts that alomst resemble basic jerseys. Never mind about the foot wear and socks. They are not strictly bicycling footwear. Before judging me to be a newbie, ride along with me on one of my 70+ mile rides, and see if I really am the newbie I appear to be.

    Actually I have NEVER been ribbed about how I look. Not even for the very very very out of date steel frame bike I am riding. I know there are some snobs out there, but I have had the good fortune to not have encountered them. Matter of fact, some on $5000.00+ road bikes have actually complimented me on my riding when they have ridden along with me a few miles. I have seen over the many years that MOST cyclists are pretty cool.

    BTW: I am a roadie, but I do not shave my legs. I don’t need to. I am not a hairy beast anyway :) .

  • Paul R says:

    Chill out guys it was meant to be humour whilst developing the point that new over enthusiatic cyclists can go over the top. In reality you can do what you want. I also sail and sailing is the same the newby who buys all the kit with none of the cudons to go with it. Its fun to watch.

  • Sam J says:

    This article has all the right letters. They simply need to be rearranged, preferably by someone with a bit more empathy and confidence. Keep writing, Kurt, but get an editor, preferably someone who rides a cargo bike in flip-flops and jeans, and listen to her.

  • Todd L says:

    How about actually riding? That might help you not look like a rookie. I will pull 9 out of 10 riders I come across wearing basketball shorts, a cheap helmet, a 20 year old bike, and hairy legs. Why do all the things to make yourself look experienced, only to ride like a rookie. How bout get out there with whatever you have and enjoy the exercise! Learn the laws and etiquette of the road and dont worry about pro-tour wannabes that think looking like a pro actually will make people respect you.

  • dave says:

    Cyclists are all dorks. Its a geek thing to do, non-cyclists think all cycling stuff looks bad. Because it does. The spandex on 55 yr olds looks bad- especially when they are stopped. This article is ridiculous- shaving your legs? Fake club clothes? poser. Fancy carbon everything? Hit the gym, pack on some muscle, 300 grams of CF savings, won’t help like 3 lbs of muscle- plus you loose the gross skinny geek cyclist look with shaved legs.

    When I go out I go for fun and a bit of exercise, in regular shorts a t-shirt and a mp3 player. I always find these subcultures funny because in their “non conformity” there is always strict rules.

    mullet out.

  • Chris says:

    Wow, this is another prime example of Americans being too simple to comprehend any for of slightly complex humour. This article was clearly a prod at the ‘elitist’ and ‘pretentious’ stereotypes of the cycling community. It isn’t to be taken literally. This explains why all American comedy media is based around either very basic slapstick antics or blatant vulgarity. Every American I have met has been very simple minded and their knowledge and social skills have been extremely compartmentalised (i.e. they don’t have an appreciation of anything outside of either their own immediate field of vision or what is fed to them through their everyday media sources).

  • myles mc corry says:

    This past week you will have noticed a strange creature lumbering along the side of the road at the speed of a push mower. The bit of the road where you normally are. A life form, more gifted in girth, and facial rouge than the conventional occupant of the rolling kerb. Glorious natural hair is in abundance, on both legs.

    These individuals are clothed in anything from running shorts, to the complete 1991 Carrera Squad outfit. Some are bare chested, some painted in football tops, and some are squeezed into a cycling jersey that fitted their last bike spin, some 10 kgs and 12 years ago.

    The bikes, cables firing vertically out of brake levers, 10PSI in tyres and any bottle but the right one. A 6-speed chain, welded into the 13 sprocket for a painful, difficult to stay vertical, 25 revs a minute. Frames: too big, too small, too long and always with the saddle so high, the hips either seesaw like a hookers underwear, or so low the knees are earrings.

    The tell tale line of sweat filled underwear is visible thru the Lycra and later will announce to the wearer its presence, in other ways. Helmet is on backwards or on the handlebars. Gloves are gardening or ski. A mess but to the untrained eye they look like you and I. A cyclist.
    These people are have been inspired by the Tour de France on the television in the same way Wimbledon busts out rackets and the dogs ball. Inspired by the superhuman efforts of our heroes and the sheer beauty of an efficient, professional cyclist, and thought to themselves “ I’m going for a spin”
    They have made the effort to relive a youthful past, or borrow a bike and give it a go.
    We might feel distant from these creatures; but they are our sports future. They could be the father of a champion or the sale of a new machine that keeps the local bike shop open. They are Growth, of the finest, toughest sport in the world and are welcome to space on the side of the road in all their fluorescent, wheezing beauty.
    Our condescending view is that these ‘freds’, beginners, plebs look like a stale scone to our chocolate muffin. Sadly, put most of us beside a professional cyclist and we look like a slice of white bread beside a wedding cake. They / us are all bikers, different sizes, efficiencies, but brothers and sisters in the saddle.

    And for that very reason, it is why the sport must be on its best behaviour in the month of July. “I’m going for a spin” might not happen if another drugs scandal kills the image of a hero and makes him look life a thief. We too have our part to play: wave hello, raise a finger of acknowledgement or a nod of recognition when passing. Welcome that keen, green wonder to our biking tribe. The hairy creature at the side of the road, wobbling, dressed in trainers and a red face, is only a year and a friendly cycling club away from becoming you and I. Most cycling magazines double their sales in July. If our sport can improve, and encourage this interest – we all will win.
    I’m off for a spin with my helmet facing the correct way, but in my 1987 La vie Claire woollen jersey, just to show commaradeship.

    info@galibier.cc

  • David L says:

    I guess I fall in the category of biking for fun and exercise. My sport is MTB because I love nature and don’t really enjoy dodging traffic. I also relate to the MTB crowd more than to the roadies. You all my think you look cool, but pretty much only the roadie clique thinks they look cool. The rest of the world thinks the shaved legs, time traveller helmet, and ridiculous team kits look absolutely goofy. But hey, we MTBers look goofy to a lot of others too. But who cares? Just enjoy what you do!

  • Greg K says:

    I have been riding regularly for over 25 years and also rode pro in Europe, so feel qualified to comment.

    It is great that people are enjoying riding in any form wearing anything they please. The roads and trails are there for everyone to enjoy at their own pace.

    What most of the posters here do not seem to realize is that most of the customs of road cycling have evolved for a reason. Riding in a fast group can be dangerous.

    Experienced riders look out for the tell-tale signs of a beginner for safety.

    Beginners may surge too much, brake too much, take strange lines around corners, ride no handed in the middle of the bunch, don’t call out potholes or panic. The problem is that the beginner’s mistakes could affect me – i.e. take me down with a crash, and that’s what I would like to avoid.

    I have to also disagree with the advocates of mirrors. On a 3 hour ride you might get passed by a few hundred vehicles. If you are nervously checking each time you hear a car coming from behind then your nerves are going to be shot. If a car is going to rear end you, which is unlikely, then what on earth are you going to do about it in the available time? Best is to keep all your senses alert – no ipod – and ride according to road laws.

    Finally, words to those who think they are beating another cyclist by overtaking them. Why not do a race and see how well you go?

    Good luck to all cyclists and ride safe.

  • Pierre Maxime says:

    I am new to cycling and reading this confirms how some cyclist are lame. Wow. Other than #10 this article is the most ridiculous thing i’ve ever read. Shave your legs…come on, I ride because I like the feeling of completing hard sections and the feeling of being exausted, not to look like a pro or a rookie. In the first weeks, I went out whit cargo pants and coton t-shirt… guess what, I achieved my 60 miles like the others. To anyone who liked that article, you make this sport LAME.

  • Richie Porte says:

    This author is probably one of the dozens of other ‘elitist’ cyclists who read the euro pro rules and abide by it. I can’t believe how lame some of you people are! Wear and do whatever you want because life is too damn short to think about what others think of you. Its better to do something you want to rather than do something that other’s want to and live a life of regret.

    I don’t know if the author is genuinely joking around or being serious?

  • Matt M. says:

    Great article! Really funny and well written. I think there is a good balance to find here. You should never mock someone for pulling a nube move. The main thing is to actually get on a bike and ride. Anytime I see someone getting on a bike to improve their personal fitness, they get kudos from me.

    HOWEVER, these rules are all true, and you should consider following them if you plan to ride often. You don’t want to look like a tool who does’t know what they are doing, and if you don’t follow these rules, you will look like an idiot.

    Most of the people raking the author over the coals are the people with Sasquatch legs and a massive reflector on their helmet. I hate to break it to you man, but you look gross.

    Also, I’ve never been passed by a guy wearing a camel back and sasquatch legs on a road bike. Those are always the guys sucking wind and riding in my draft. If you see a guy with shaved legs, that usually means that he is a pretty decent rider, because shaving your legs when you don’t ride that often is just dumb.

  • 2ndeffort says:

    I get the sentiments about ‘just ride’ etc but, as a newbie myself, turning up to that 1st group ride and trying to fit into a new club/social group can be quite intimidating. I know the most important thing is to enjoy yourself but nobody wants to be the new guy and stick out for some kind of newbie mistake. Sure the experienced guys can thumb their nose at the establishment and make up their own rules. As sombody that bought their 1st road bike over XMas and just turned up to their 1st group ride a month ago, I can tell you I was worried I was doing something cringeworthy without knowing it.

  • Someguy says:

    @Hoptie: I like the Foothill Expressway, high noon. … El Monte to Arastradero idea. The classic stretch for all this styling…

    I love the comments as much as the article. The topic is really just one of community norms. You want to join a community you gotta know what they norms are and how strictly they are enforced. I had an Anthro class about this sort of thing way back in college…

    Anyway, I’m that beard wearing, sasquached legged, bib sporting, MTB cleat wearing, baggy Jersey flag flying, single steel framed aero bar cross-to-road-to-tri switching, MTB lid touting, non-Oakley shading Joe. My hour route loops the start point for a lunch-time-warrior ride of about 50 carbon riding, full kit wearing, clean cut, geek types. There is nothing like pulling up with all these Silicon Valley guys on their 5K+ worth of gear (matching this article to a tee) and seeing the looks on their faces. My last mile going in to where they are meeting is always good. Often, I end up near a group just pulling in. One or two always looks back to see if I’m keeping up, and I just smile back from about 20 feet behind (I’m not rude, I don’t want them to smell me, or make them angry that I am stealing a draft). I make my loop, and go back, and they all head off somewhere for something epic I am sure.

    The point really, is that to each their own. I like pushing my steel frame into headwinds by myself out on the flats near the Bay. It’s quiet (except for the rushing wind) solitude out there. It’s the same with my hodgepodge of gear out in my kayak; on the trail, running; in a river, fly fishing; or on a rock, climbing. There are loners and geeks and people in between in every sport.

    The irony and humor in this discussion is how a fairly individualist and gritty sport like cycling has become so hyper-social as to have highly protected norms of dress and style that go all the way down to the hair on our skin. I’m not sure I know of another sport that can get its participants to overturn just about every social norm from outside the sport. Come on, its funny, right? Men shaving their legs, matching their clothes down to the socks, wearing skin tight clothes, and then ridiculing others for not meeting those norms????? If there was a study on anti-football culture, this would be it I think. Cheers to cycling and the cyclists who keep it interesting!

  • fktk says:

    I think the article is just a joke, so don’t get upset with it hahaha!. My opinion is the “who cares” but I understand most of people don’t want to look like a rookie. its just like anywhere we are, there are those more “fashionable” and those who does not care about wearing cool, fashion clothes. In an office there are those guys with nice tailored suits and those with white socks but at the end…who cares? (ps: I think the chances of a girl getting a crush on you is higher if you don’t wear white socks with black shoes hahahahahahahaha)

  • Rock Justice says:

    Sigourney Weaver called and she wants her sons helmet back.

  • TK says:

    BIKER FOX!

  • rosalinda.harbison@gmail.com says:

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  • Yortuk Festrunk says:

    Just What you are talking about… Guilty as charged!! I should be so lucky!!
    These spandex are just the thing to pick-up fine American Foxes!!
    But what do you know, I am a wild and crazy guy!

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