I’m a pretentious asshole…

…because I meticulously follow the rules of road cycling etiquette. At least, that’s what some pretentious assholes like to say about those of us who relish in the customs and traditions of serious road cycling. Fine, if my private chuckles when I see someone wearing a yellow jersey or world champion kit, or my annoyance with “leapfroggers” make me a pretentious asshole, then so be it.

Some of my favorites are:

Rule #7// Tan lines should be cultivated and kept razor sharp.

Rule #9// If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

Rule #16// Respect the jersey.

Rule #17// Team kit is for members of the team.

Rule #40// Tires are to be mounted with the label centered over the valve stem.

Rule #49// Keep the rubber side down.

Rule #53// Keep your kit clean and new.

Rule #59// Hold your line.

Rule #60// Ditch the washer-nut and valve-stem cap.

There is one rule (and only one) with which I do not agree:

Rule #62// You shall not ride with earphones.

Sorry, but Slayer gives me that extra punch when I’m in the attacking mood!

While I’m at it, a few words about white. White handlebar tape, saddle, and shoes definitely look pro, but only if the tape is kept clean and bright. A well-worn saddle or shoes, on the other hand, when frame and all other components are in pristine condition, is the ultimate style statement. There’s only one way to get saddles and shoes in this condition, and that’s by logging the hard miles—they become badges of honor! Curiously, worn saddles and shoes in any other color—especially black—do not have the same style impact. In such cases, Rule #53 applies.

About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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