Athlete Journal: Andrew Read, Entry 14 – The 10 Rules of Cycling

This week a lighthearted look at some of the things I have learned since starting to train for Ironman. It’s what I call The 10 Rules of Cycling. Study up so you don’t mess up!

Click here to read other journal entries and articles by Andrew Read, and look for his new journal every Monday as he trains for Ironman Melbourne.

Journal Entry 14 – The 10 Rules of Cycling

This week a lighthearted look at some of the things I have learned since starting to train for Ironman. As someone who isn’t a member of a cycling club some of these rules I am guessing at.

  1. It’s not about the bike. It’s about the legs. Bothof these guys ride fast and could beat you riding on their kid sister’s BMX with training wheels. Don’t go buy a $15,000 bike and wonder why you’re slow with your $500 legs.
  2. Harden up. However far or fast you rode, some old guy who looks like Methuselah’s grandfather just did more. It doesn’t matter if it was cold, wet, or you got shot riding through a firefight. Endurance sports are for hard asses. If you’re not prepared to suffer don’t come out to meet the man with the hammer (in the words of Tour de France champion Laurent Fignon).
  3. If it rains you put on a rain jacket. Riding in bad weather instantly increases street cred and makes you a bad ass. If you don’t like getting wet see Rule #2.
  4. Don’t draft all day, do your turn at the front. Sitting behind another rider is much, much easier. Don’t just creep up on someone you aren’t even friends with and expect to get a free ride for an hour. Do your turn at the front. If you don’t like being out in the wind then see Rule #2. If you try this behind me you may “accidentally” be spat on or have my nose blown on you.
  5. Cycling hats are acceptable if worn under your helmet while riding. If you’re not riding take it off. It doesn’t make you look “Euro” it makes you look like a forty-year-old accountant who thinks he looks Euro.
  6. Team kit is for those who ride professionally. Unless you’re the sort of guy who would wear a full Yankees uniform to play catch with your son, don’t wear pro team kit for a Sunday ride with your mates. Likewise you can only wear the yellow, green, or national champions jersey if you’ve actually won that race. Have some respect.
  7. If you’re a triathlete and go for a ride with cyclists, which in itself is like a gazelle going for a ride with the lions, don’t ride on your aerobars. Riding in your aerodynamic position in a group is dangerous as you can’t get to your brakes or steer quickly if there’s trouble. Don’t be surprised if you get kicked out of a group or yelled at if you do this.
  8. No visors on helmets. Helmets with visors are acceptable – on mountain bikes. If you need shade see Rule #5.
  9. Legs shall be shaved at all times and tan lines razor sharp. Arm warmers may be worn without leg warmers but never the other way around. Shoe covers only if it is cold or wet. If you don’t care about how you look while riding you are probably a mountain biker or happy to pee on yourself like a triathlete.
  10. It never gets easier, you just go faster (Greg LeMond Tour de France champion). See Rule #2.

In the midst of figuring out the labyrinth of potential social faux pas in the cycling world this week I also swam five hours (13.5km), rode nine (roughly 450km), ran and walked four (20kms), and lifted weights three. It’s all about Rule #2.

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