Sunday, January 23, 2011

The "Rules" for Mountain BIkers

A couple days ago, one of the Ramblers stumbled across this gem from the Velominati blog/website. There are some good rules on there and it is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but they are "roadie" rules, which have little to no bearing on mountain bikers. I decided to go tit-for-tat with their rules and my rules match up with their rules so go read their rules before reading mine. So, without further ado, here are the "mountain bike" rules.

RULE 1: Rules are meant to be broken. Fuck “the Rules”.

RULE 2: It is highly encouraged to help a person that is so uptight that you can’t pull a needle out of their ass with a tractor to break the rules. They need to lighten the hell up.

RULE 3: There are TONS of reasons to break the Rules. If someone tells you that you shouldn’t or can’t d
o something, it is a perfect reason to go ahead and do it.

RULE 4: It is rarely about the bike. It is only about the bike when you don’t have one to ride. It is also about the bike when you’re sitting around the campfire trying to one up your friends in a bullshit contest.

RULE 5: Harden the Fuck Up. Yeah. This rule works on the road and off road.

RULE 6: If you’re on a mountain bike, you’ll never have to worry about “freeing your mind”. If you’re on a brown ribbon in the woods and you’re still uptight, sell your mountain bike and become a roadie.

RULE 7: You should never care where your tan lines are. Roll up your sleeves, roll ‘em down, do what ever makes you happy. Sleeveless jerseys are HIGHLY recommended. A deer or coyote could give a shit if your tan lines are razor sharp.

RULE 8: Saddles, Bars, and Tires. On a mountain bike, tires are always black, but they should have a nice layer of dust/mud/dirt on them. Grips can be whatever color you like, but are usually black too. A saddle might be a color, but it should be tattered and torn, showing you actually ride your bike, it isn’t a $6000 decoration.

RULE 9: If you’re out riding in bad weather, you’re probably fucking up the trails, so stay on gravel roads or ride your road bike.

RULE 10: True, it never gets easier, you just go faster. But, stop once and a while and check out the views, try another section of that singletrack, or drink a trail beer. If you’re riding with gorillas, you’d better be on a cross Africa trek.

RULE 11: Here’s a novel idea; go for a ride with your family. Get your kids addicted to riding, then you’ll always have a riding partner.

RULE 12: The correct number of bikes should be D+1 , where D is the bikes you desire. If you only want one, get one, if you want 7, then that is what you should get, although s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner is sage advice.

RULE 13: Where is “roadie” rule 13? Just like a pussy roadie to be afraid of a number and leave it out.

RULE 14: What the hell are “Team-Issue” shorts? Shorts should be black and nothing else. Team kits are NEVER allowed on a mountain bike unless you actually race for that team and then it is highly questionable.

RULE 15: Again, black shorts are the only acceptable lycra shorts (baggies are another story). No kits unless you want a nut punch.

RULE 16: Wow. Roadies have a LOT of rules about jerseys, shorts and whatever to wear. Fuck'n A, if you wanna wear jean shorts and a dress shirt, roll with it. How awesome is it to wear cut-offs and stomp a guy wearing a full kit?

RULE 17: True, no team kits allowed unless you’ve actually raced for that team at one point. Or unless you got the jersey for free. Wear whatever socks with it. The woods don’t care.

RULE 18: If road jerseys and lycra bibs are what you have or make you happy, wear ‘em riding off road. Bibs help keep your beer gut in check.

RULE 19: Mountain jerseys or baggies are fine on the road if that’s what you got. Again, nothing more satisfying than wearing baggies and STOMPING a fully-kitted roadie into the ground.

RULE 20: The remedies: if your quads start to burn, you’d better find some sweet downhill. If your calves or hamstrings start to burn, stop and stretch ‘em out. If you feel wimpy and weak, keep riding, it will pass eventually.

RULE 21: More rules about clothing. Sheesh. If you need it, wear it, if you don’t, then don’t. Pretty simple.

RULE 22: Cycling caps aren’t usually recommended, but if you want to wear one, then do it. But usually, they make you look like you’re trying to emulate Miguel Indurain or even worse, Kevin Bacon in Quicksilver. Here’s the scoop. If you’re wearing a full kit and roll into a “pub” (mountain bikers call these bars, but hey, if it makes roadies happy) you are gonna get your ass whipped, but if you’re wearing mountain bike garb (baggies) and you’re covered with dirt and sweat, no one will get near you, much less harass you, so drink with impunity. If you go change and you come back looking like a hipster or an “off-duty” roadie, then you WILL lose your man-card.

RULE 23: If it isn’t below 32 outside, then wearing shoe covers is forbidden. Actually, wearing them in general makes you look like a pussy, but we don’t really give a shit, right? And, by the way, George Hincapie can stomp most roadies, so try and call him a pussy to his face.

RULE 24: Speeds and distances shall NOT be referred to. You can say things like “I rode Amasa Back” or “I rode the Dakota Five-O course”. People that know will understand what you rode. If they don’t understand, why do you care?

RULE 25: It would be cool if your bikes are worth more than your car, but having your bike up top should only be used to go to a distant trailhead. Road rides can ALWAYS start from your house. The only roadie exception is going to a race, otherwise, road bikes have no place on top of your car. And if a guy is getting into riding and has a Huffy on his Rolls, then ride with him, get him hooked and become his friend. Once he gets the bug, he’ll start upgrading like crazy and you can get his lightly used X.X derailleur at a steal.

RULE 26: Staging pictures of your bike is dumb. If you’re taking a picture of your bike, it should have a stunning vista in the background (or another cool attribute to the picture) and your bike is in the shot just to prove you were actually there.

RULE 27: Sock and short length should be what ever the hell you want it to be. Knee high argyle socks, ankle socks, Village People short shorts or knickers are all acceptable. Riding without socks isn’t usually recommended, as people you’re riding with should not be subjected to your having to pull over because you got a damn blister.

RULE 28: Socks can be whatever color you’d like (and it is spelled C-O-L-O-R, there isn’t a fucking U in it). Black is recommended as you can wipe your greasy fingers off on them when you’ve had a backwoods mechanical breakdown (see Rule 29).

RULE 29: Saddle bags are highly recommended. Get tubes, pumps, multi-tools, etc. and KNOW HOW TO USE THEM! Asking or expecting others you’re riding with to fix your bike is bullshit. Asking them to show you is cool though.

RULE 30: Frame mounted pumps are a no-no, only because they can and WILL eject from your bike in a technical section, becoming a ballistic missile, causing a wreck of epic proportions. Keep your pump in your hydration pack (see Rule 32).

RULE 31: Spare tubes, multi-tools and repair kits should be stored where ever you can get them. JUST KNOW HOW TO USE ‘EM!

RULE 32: Unless your ride is short and you know EXACTLY where you’re going, a hydration pack is recommended. Drinking water out of a stream because you lost one of your bottles on that rocky section and you drank the other one will only cause a case of the severe shits and is NOT recommended.

RULE 33: Embrace your inner hippie. Shaving your legs is OK if that’s your thing. Remember it was J. Edgar Hoover’s thing too…

RULE 34: Mountain bike shoes and pedals are effective on a road bike if you don’t like looking like a duck footed knob walking into a 7-11 to buy an emergency fuel burrito.

RULE 35: Wear a helmet. Period. Mountain or road, it matters not. Or, actually don’t. It’s called Natural Selection.

RULE 36: Eyewear is HIGHLY recommended. Getting a branch in your eye going 25mph isn’t cool. But, a pair of safety glasses from the Home Depot work just as well as your SUPER COOL Brikos.

RULE 37: If the arms of your eyewear fit better under your helmet straps, then go for it. Even roadies don’t understand their own rules.

RULE 38: Judas Priest…roadies can’t even count. That should tell you something.

RULE 39: While you should never leave home without your eyewear, it won’t be the end of the world. When you first started riding, you rode without eyewear and you can again one more time. If your eyewear is fogging up or causing you issues, you can easily store them in your hydration pack (see Rule 32). Stowing them on your helmet will only cause them to become airborne and have you ride over them at some point.

RULE 40: Tires should be mounted with the label over the valve stem, to aid in finding said valve stem easier. Don’t do it for photo opps. That’s lame.

RULE 41: QR angles should be pointed up/back on your bike. Keeps the scrub on the side of the trail from dislodging your skewer and losing a wheel. Ask Dr. Bogard about this one.

RULE 42: A bike ride can be preceeded by a swim and/or run if it is done outdoors. I dare you to tell anyone that has finished an Iron Man (or guys like Dave Scott) that they’re a pussy. Be prepared for an ass whipping.

RULE 43: Really? Roadies can’t even count to 43 without a calculator.

RULE 44: A rider’s handlebars “should” be lower than their saddle. Unless it is uncomfortable or they’re riding a DH bike. Then all bets are off.

RULE 45: Stack height? On a mountain bike that is how far you fell from your obstacle to the ground. “Damn dude, you had a stack height of at least 7 feet on that one!”

RULE 46: If your handlebars on a mountain bike are not parallel to the ground, you have bent bars and they should be replaced. End of story. Also, bar ends shouldn’t be used with riser bars. Unless you like ‘em, then go ahead.

RULE 47: Holy SHIT. Roadies couldn’t even count from 40 to 50 without missing 2 numbers.

RULE 48: Unless you want a singing voice like Michael Jackson or like sliding off onto your top tube (again, giving you a MJ singing voice) then your saddle should be level.

RULE 49: The midpoint of your t’aint should fall somewhere around the midpoint of your saddle. If it is too far forward, slide back. If it is too far back, slide forward. If you are slid too far forward for too long, you’ll sound like Michael Jackson (see Rule 48). Fix your seat.

RULE 50: All bets are off on facial hair. Beards, goatees, one of those Amish things, a handlebar mustash, it’s all good. Goatees are kinda the mullets of the new millennium, but if you can rock it, go for it.

RULE 51: Yep. Livestrong wristbands have jumped the shark. Actually, Lance is on the verge of becoming a punch line on Letterman, so getting rid of your wristband now is a good idea. The exception; if you or your spouse or significant other has survived cancer. Then you can do whatever the hell you want. You can tell anyone that gives you grief about your Livestrong wristband to see Rules 1 and 5.

RULE 52: Padding or body armor are recommended if you’re riding in an appropriate area. Having full gear on the bike path looks like you’re showing off but you end up looking like a douche. The exception is the Dave Donat rule and will be allowed if you’ve experienced a traumatic crash due to bike failure.

RULE 53: Yet again, another “skipped” roadie rule. I don’t get why they can’t count.

RULE 54: Aerodynamics play little to no role off-road, so aerobars are going to be something to hurt you as you go over the bars.

RULE 55: If you are riding down a mountain, it is desirable to have ridden up first. Makes the downhill all that more sweet. BUT, if you have one of those motorcycles without an engine (called a DH bike) and you’re at a ski resort, take the chair lift. The DH will work your ass.

RULE 56: Espresso or macchiato? What the hell is that? Hows ‘bout this roadies; drink your coffee just like you say tires should be…black and plain. But whatever, if you’re in full kit at the coffee shop, you’re trying to show off, so it’s cool to order a coffee that will take a long time to make. Gives the bike thieves more time to steal your Lance Armstrong replica Trek that you left unlocked in front of Starbucks.

RULE 57: Stickers on you bike are fine. They can cover up wear marks, dings and scratches you got FROM RIDING YOUR BIKE!

RULE 58: You should buy your bike stuff locally. BUT if your local shop tells you that you can’t buy all 3 Camelbak Bite Valves on the shelf ‘cause that’s all they have left, then you should tell ‘em to suck it and buy online. Online is the death of the bike shop. Maybe the bike shop should do a better job with customer service. The rules of retailing are; low cost, quality, customer service…pick two. Again, I highly recommend that you shop at your LBS, but if you walk in the door and you’re in there for 10 or more minutes and no one says anything to you, then fuck ‘em and buy online.

RULE 59: Hold your line? Sure, if someone wants to follow you through that rock garden, they can…

RULE 60: Valve stem nuts are HIGHLY necessary if you’re running tubeless. God, some of these roadie rules are dumb.

RULE 61: Your saddle can have however much padding you’d like. If it is one of those comfort bike seats, be prepared for ridicule from your riding partners, but then you can turn around and stomp them into the ground while riding your bike with the big seat. And saddle sores? Maybe you shouldn’t have stayed in your dirty chamois and had your fucking foo-foo coffee. Wash yourself after your ride. You wonder why you don’t have a girl. It isn’t because it is all about the bike, it is because YOU STINK!

RULE 62: Earphones are a no-no. If you’re riding by yourself in the woods, you need to listen for mountain lions. If you’re riding with friends, you need to be able to bullshit. If you’re in a race, you need to be able to hear when someone yells “Left”. ‘Nuff said.

RULE 63: You’ll never need arm signals riding off-road. Roadies are forever pointing at shit on the road. “Look, there’s a pothole. Look, there’s a tiny fucking pebble. Look, there is a piece of glass. Look, I’m a douchebag. Look, I’m turning.” Fucking narcissistic, don’t you think? If you or your bike can’t handle running over a rock in the road get some bike handling skills and see Rule 5. And yes, Americans might look like they’re waving. IT’S BECAUSE AMERICANS ARE FRIENDLY, not stuck up assholes like the French.

RULE 64: Corner as fast as you can handle. If you’re swinging WAY wide or crashing, slow down a bit. Not too hard to figure out.

RULE 65: You should ALWAYS leave 1 part of your bike creaky. It serves 2 purposes. 1. Passing the silent mountain biker with a creaky bike will drive them ape shit. 2. If you happen to get stomped one day, you can blame your bike. Remember, you were instructed by the roadies that it’s all about the bike.

RULE 66: Mirrors are dangerous on a mountain bike as they can break and cut you in a crash. On a road bike, they help you see the semi-truck hauling ass toward you, allowing an evasive maneuver. If an old guy at the bike shop told you to get one, listen to him. He’s probably ridden more miles this year than you have in the last 5.

RULE 67: Waaa-fuckin’-waaa. You’re not taking your turn in the wind. What the hell? Again, you don’t need to do this kinda shit on a mountain bike. Don’t worry about it.

RULE 68: If all you had time for was a 3 mile ride before work, on lunch, etc. it’s all good. You were out on your bike so it is all quality ride time.

RULE 69: See, if you have mountain bike shoes and pedals, then walking wouldn’t be such a problem. Dumbass…

RULE 70: Anyone that says the purpose of competing is to win hasn’t raced in a 24 hour race or in a endurance mountain bike event, otherwise they’d understand it is about surviving. Winning is just icing on the cake.

RULE 71: Having a training plan and sticking to it is a good idea and recommended, BUT skipping a ride with your buddies because it doesn’t fit into your training plan is fucking dumb. You have a finite number of rides in your life. Lighten the fuck up and ride with your bros.

RULE 72: There is a reason power meters haven’t taken off in the mountain bike world. If you tell someone that you cleaned the Widow Maker or Crow Peak, you don’t need a fucking computer to tell you that you’re the man (or woman), everyone will know.

RULE 73: Gear and brake cables should be cut to the optimum length, but mostly so shit doesn’t break when you crash.

RULE 74: Get whatever gadgets you want for your bike. Don’t become too dependent on them, as their batteries WILL die when you need them most. If you haven’t ever been lost on a ride, then you haven’t really been riding have you? How many times have you heard "I think the car is just over this ridge..."

RULE 75: Numbers should come off the bike before you ride it again after a race. It make you look like you’re showing off…

RULE 76: When not worn, helmets can strap nicely to your hydration pack. Remember those? Yet another reason to wear one.

RULE 77: Yep. Respect the Earth. Especially during a race. You’re already sweaty, dirty and sticky anyhow, just put that damn wrapper in your pocket or under the legs of your shorts.

RULE 78: Take a cage off, put it on, who the hell cares?

RULE 79: God, I am sick of these roadies missing rules numbers.

RULE 80: Being calm before a race is a great idea, but odds are you’ll be nervous as hell, so sitting calmly on your top tube isn’t realistic. Do what makes you comfortable.

RULE 81: A bike is a work of art, but if you collapse after a hard ride/race, the bike can go where ever you land. Just don’t lie it down on the derailleur side.

RULE 82: Huh? If it is cold, wear arm warmers, knee warmers, ear warmers, whatever the hell makes it possible for you to ride. Don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks.

Those are the rules. Follow 'em. Or don't. I don't give a shit. And neither should anyone else you ride with.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Rollers. The bane of my existence. OK, well maybe not the bane, but for fucks sakes, I don't like riding them. Well, I do, but I don't. How's that for a messed up opening statement?

Here's the deal-e-o. Rollers are a far better method for training (for me anyhow) than using a stationary, clamp-your-rear-wheel, turn-your-t'ain't-into-fiery-hamburger trainer. You get to move around and have a "real" ride feel. Plus, training indoors this time of year, you can control your effort without worrying about crashing on ice, freezing the tip of your wiener off (I think I've done this too many times, which would explain my embarrassing state) or just being uncomfortable 'cause of the cold. So, in this respect, I like rollers.

BUT, I am sick and tired of riding inside! I am ready to get outdoors and ride my bike without having to bundle up like Randy from A Christmas Story . I'm ready to hear the crunch of the earth under my tires. I am ready to smell the forest. I am ready to have sweat from the heat of the mid-day sun sting my eyes.

I'm not ready for winter to be over just yet (I am digging riding my snowboard this winter) but a couple of nice days would make the world just right.

On Saturday I DID bundle up like Randy and jumped on the Stumpy and pedaled outside. Riding off road in the winter is tricky. On one hand, you don't want it to be too cold so you don't freeze stuff, but then again you don't want it to be above freezing as the trail will be muddy. Saturday was a bit on the cold side, but it should have been doable. Yet, it went on to be an EPIC failure. I rode over to M-Hill and in addition to freezing my fingers off, I found the trail to be slicker than cat shit on a linoleum floor (I suppose at some point someone stepped on some cat shit on a linoleum floor and slipped, but I've never understood that phrase, yet I use it). The trail must have melted from the warm day we had on Friday, then with the cold/snow we had on Saturday AM, it froze solid and with the snow acting as a lubricant on top of the ice. So, I cruised around on my bike for a while then headed home. I think my hands are still cold.

I rode my rollers again yesterday. Still ready to ride outside, but I think I'll wait until it is a bit warmer.