Posts Tagged ‘David Zabriskie’

The rules of The Rules

November 16, 2012

Against The Rules

1. To follow The Rules, you must resolutely ignore the obvious truth: it is not your duty to follow anyone’s arbitrary rules. If it were, you would never ride a bicycle in the first place. You would be a gym slave, or a couch potato, or a golf nut.

2. But if you want to be treated like a golfer, then you’ll fully embrace the second rule of The Rules: cycling is one big clubhouse and, as such, there must be a dress code, or chaos shall reign. Sock length, correct usage of caps and the positioning of eyewear – these things are the equivalent of designating which ties are acceptable in the bar area. And by obsessing over sartorial details, you’re attempting to obviate the most marvelous aspect of cyclists’ appearance: their inherent, proud, glorious daftness. What other pastime would allow you to routinely adopt the aesthetic of a superhero (Zabriskie), a mod (Wiggins), a human-sized sex toy (Cipo) or a tweedy fop, all without violent repercussions? Ridicule, to paraphrase a wiser man than myself, truly is nothing to be scared of in the realm of the bicycle.

3. Another man who is also much wiser than me recently opined: “Lists move in when love moves out.” And so it is with The Rules. For its adherents, the pure joy of riding has dissolved to such an extent that you need a rule to remind yourself of that long-forgotten pleasure (it’s entry number six, if you’re looking to somehow reclaim that feeling). You have become a librarian of the soul, observing an empty superstition that cultivating the correct tan lines or avoiding frame-mounted pumps will somehow make things better. It won’t. The magic is over. The romance has gone. But hey – there’s always golf, fellas!

4. If you need to go on the internet to learn the guidelines for courteous, safe cycling, then you don’t ride with a club. You are alone. Of all the rules of The Rules, this one is the most tragic.

5. Alpha males do not need to read a list telling them it is vitally important to own bicycles more expensive than their car, or that they’re a “badass” for riding in inclement weather. They do these sorts of things instinctively, because alpha males are creatures of action, biologically programmed to thump their chests. Of all the rules of The Rules, this is the most comedic: you will never be an alpha male, but you must try your absolute hardest to be a facsimile of one. Even though the real silverbacks are genetically predisposed to not give a toss about you.

6. Similarly, you may not be a sexist berk, but the rules of The Rules demand that you snigger at a story about Sean Kelly valuing his wife less than his car or his bike, even though he may not have said the words attributed to him in rule 11. Oh, and there’s beer. Apparently beer is a key component of your identity as a man. True, there is also an admirable rule advising men not to get all antsy if they are overtaken by a woman. But only two mentions of female cyclists among 91 entries? We’re back in the metaphorical clubhouse again!

7. “Hey,” the Ruleistas might say, “lighten up, dude! The Rules are funny!” A sensible response is to direct them to the photograph at the top of this post. Seriously, is anything in The Rules as funny as that guy breaking them? And if you can’t be funnier than the thing you’re mocking then, surely, you have failed.

Totally Ri.Pel-ant

November 17, 2011

Today, readers, for a short ride to Portobello Road to get a much-needed haircut, I have been “rocking” a pair of three-quarter-length trousers, legwarmers and a wooly jersey in a bucolic shade of green. I call this “look” The Urban Fop. Other “looks” I occasionally like to “rock” (i.e. particular sets of clothes I wear with an unwarranted degree of overconfidence) include The Rococo Punk (Rock Racing kit in dry-weather-only white), The Not Eddy Merckx (black and orange Molteni homage with “Kannibaal” across the chest) and One Of Those Bloody London Dynamo Persons You See Absolutely Everywhere (Dynamo gilet, Dynamo jersey, Dynamo socks and optional Dynamo girdle – an option I choose not to exercise).

Given, therefore, that I am prone to making wardrobe decisions even more varied than fashion pioneers David Zabriskie and the great Cipollini, I am not in principle against dressing up as The Homoerotic Mandroid, which appears to be the default mode that attracts purchasers of Assos garments.

Nor am I repulsed by Zegho, the Swiss manufacturer’s new foray into eyewear. How could I? It completes the “gay porn version of Terminator” style that the clothing range appears to have been striving towards. But yes, I am irked. And it is the lexicon of Assos that irks me.

Take “Ri.Pel”. Apparently this is supposed to denote a special type of lens that prevents water resting on its surface, but it looks like what a robot might plop out of its mouth instead of the human word “repel”. Similarly, an ordinary person might conceivably say “zero optical distortion”, but in the lexicon of Lugano’s boffins “zOd.Tec” somehow sounds more to the point. As for the technology that prevents the specs from slipping… well, I’m not a man of violence, but I confess my initial reaction to “clickFace” was: PunchFace.

The innovations themselves, if they work, are actually quite handy; it’s just a shame they’re obscured by such arse-clenchingly earnest pseudo-labspeak. For those aesthetes who reckon the shades look a little “90s clubber”, or a bit “sports-car-with-the-sunroof-down”, you’ve always got the option to not look at them; also, at about £400 a pop, you’re unlikely to see too many pairs on your club ride. But I like words, and once I see one, it tends to find its way into my head and stay there. I am stuck with zOd.Tec. How Ri.Pel-ant.

The Dynamighty No.5: David Zabriskie

February 20, 2011

I sometimes think that the reason why pros and fans alike place such emphasis on the beauty, passion and suffering of professional road racing is partly to avoid confronting the ridiculousness of grown men such as myself wearing outfits that are snugger and gaudier than polite society usually allows. Yet ridicule, as a fashion trailblazer once sang, is nothing to be scared of, and it takes a unique individual to embrace sartorial silliness, which is why Dave Zabriskie’s Captain America skinsuit complemented by a matching disc wheel will always have a special place in my highly personal pantheon of cycling’s greatest achievements. Zabriskie’s eye for the absurd is also evident in his blogging, and I think it’s admirable that he is one of the few professional riders who actively campaigns for road safety. But what I like most about Dee-Zee, or D-Zed as he is known round our way, is his lack of ego, which may be counterproductive: many overlook the fact that he is one of the few English-speaking riders of the Armstrong era to have worn yellow at the Tour. And he’s got a pretty good singing voice as well. Take it away, Dave!

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