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
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
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)