Ninety-five rules on a wall

It has been a while since any new Rules have made the list. The Velom­i­nati’s Frank Strack ex­plains why

Cyclist - - Lead Out -

Dear Frank

As a long-time fol­lower of the Velom­i­nati, I no­tice that your Rules come to an abrupt end at Rule #95. Surely you must have some new Rules you’d like to add to round it up to 100? Adrian, by email

Dear Adrian

Given that I’m nor­mally asked with some in­credulity what would pos­sess the Velom­i­nati to pro­duce as many as 95 Rules, I have to say it is some­what re­fresh­ing to be ac­costed for not hav­ing enough Rules in place. I might also add that I salute your sense of sym­me­try.

We write in our book, The Rules, of an an­cient Velom­i­nati leg­end: ‘He stood high upon Mount Velomis, Half Man, Half Bike. As he gazed down at the world that he had worked so hard to build, He re­alised that his dis­ci­ples had be­come soft. They com­plained of cold, of rain, of dan­ger­ous de­scents. They com­plained of wind, of heat, of long days in the sad­dle. They rode in worn out, mis­matched kit, with Euro­pean Pos­te­rior Man-satchels loosely sway­ing be­neath their sad­dles. Their ma­chines in dis­re­pair, they dis­graced all he stood for.

‘And so it was, high upon Mount Velomis, that he climbed once more upon his bike. And as the wheels be­gan slowly to hum again upon his mighty rollers, He be­gan to pedal, first in des­per­a­tion, then in anger, then in benev­o­lence.

‘When the fire had fi­nally melted into com­pas­sion, and the sweat be­gan to pour from his Mighty Guns onto the an­cient rock be­neath him, the Spir­its cast into the very stone of Mount Velomis, The Rules.’

The Rules were never pro­duced in order, or with a set num­ber in mind. Strictly speak­ing, we didn’t write them. We ab­sorbed them from the ether of The Five and put them to pa­per as they ap­peared to us. We are the cho­sen scribes more than we are the au­thors.

This also ex­plains why The Rules do not ap­pear in any par­tic­u­lar order, of im­por­tance nor of cat­e­gory. Yet, it ap­pears The Five did in­ter­vene to the ex­tent that Rule #5 ( Harden the Fuck Up) was the fifth Rule to ap­pear to us, and its corol­lary Rule #10 ( It never gets eas­ier, you just get faster) was the tenth (VV) Rule.

We can­not sim­ply divine five ex­tra Rules just to round them up to 100. Neat as it would be, who’s to say that The Rules should then stop at 100? By your rea­son­ing, once they grow to 105 they won’t be ‘neat’ again un­til we hit 200. And in this we risk di­lut­ing their pu­rity and mean­ing.

Scribes though we may be, we do have our own sense of sym­me­try, as well as a deep rev­er­ence for the V-based num­ber­ing sys­tem used by the An­cients of Mount Velomis. As such, we have pub­lished our Rules in batches of five. Rules do ap­pear to us from time to time, and we make note of them and set them aside for con­sid­er­a­tion into the canon.

Since I’m feel­ing the joys of a new year, I will hu­mour you with a few ex­am­ples of such Rules (I will bul­let them rather than num­ber them, so as to make clear that these are not of­fi­cial Rules and not to be in­cluded into the canon at all).

No hel­mets in­side. Ev­ery Euro­pean was raised never to wear a hat or cap in­doors, let alone a hel­met. If you’re wor­ried about ‘hel­met hair’ either shave your head or adopt a hair­style com­pat­i­ble with hav­ing in­stan­ta­neous Fan­tas­tic Hair upon re­moval of your hel­met. Re­view post-race pho­tos of Mar­cel Kit­tel and Hein­rich Haus­sler to re­solve any ques­tions in this area. You may also con­sider not giv­ing a shit about hair, à la Jo­han Van­sum­meren post-roubaix.

Speak­ing of Roubaix, fixed gears only on velo­dromes, un­less you are en­ter­ing the fin­ish of Paris-roubaix. In that case, wipe the mud off your jer­sey be­fore you cross the line. You are per­mit­ted to col­lapse onto the in­field grass upon fin­ish­ing. The only ex­cep­tion is if you were born in the 1960s and you are em­u­lat­ing the win­ter train­ing pro­gramme of your favourite side­burn-wear­ing 1970s hero in order to re­fine your pedal stroke.

And speak­ing of re­fin­ing your pedal stroke: rollers, not tur­bos. When you need to ride in­doors for what­ever rea­son, you might as well im­prove your Mag­nif­i­cent Stroke as well as your bike-han­dling skills; skip the turbo trainer and ride rollers like The Prophet did. That’s only three. I’ll keep you in sus­pense for the rest.

Frank Strack is the co-cre­ator and cu­ra­tor of The Rules, and a high priest of the Velom­i­nati (for il­lu­mi­na­tion, see velom­i­nati. com). He is also co-au­thor of The Hard­men: Leg­ends Of The Cy­cling Gods (£12.99, Pro­file Books)

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