PRO or NO: Becoming Roadie
Rachel divulges all the ‘roadie’ style secrets.
We know it’s ‘cross season, but no fashion rules exist in cross (but Fred or Pro rules do). The crazier the better. Instead, we chose to focus this first clinic on the dos and don’ts in the style department specifically for the road. Anyone who has seen a cyclist, especially one who would label themselves as a “racer,” knows that they all look goofy. But do they? They have worked really hard for years to perfect the roadie style, and I’m giving you all the tips in a manner of minutes. You can thank me later.
From personal experience, I’ve violated every single one of these rules. I’ve also been lucky enough to have worked in bike shops, have teammates pass down the knowledge on group rides, occasionally read things like “The Rules” and investigate some other teams who also have too much time on their hands to devote to becoming a roadie.
I’m going to reiterate one more time, THIS IS TONGUE AND CHEEK and to be taken with a grain of salt. Large grains of salt. Coarse sea salt. Honestly, I don’t care what you wear our how you look as long as you’re riding a bike (unless you’re passing me, then it’s serious).
0. Cat 5 tats don’t even deserve a number. Avoid at all costs. If you’re sporting one, watch how others around you know how to steer clear because you could potentially be a threat on a bike (and not because tattoos are all tough-looking). Also, I forgot to put this in after I finished the post, and instead of renumbering everything, it gets a 0.
1. No underwear under the chamois. I wish someone would have told me this the first season I was riding. Unfortunately, I’m sure the 15-year-old boy behind the counter at the bike shop hadn’t quite developed the words in his vocabulary. The chamois is meant for bare skin. That’s why it’s so important to have good ones (Curve Inc).
2. You must try to match at all times. Your stem and seat post must match (same color and brand). Jersey must match the shorts. Sunglasses must correspond to the helmet. Handlebar tape must match saddle. If you can match your kit to the bike, that’s even more PRO.
3. Remove the spoke protector from your bike. If your chain is hopping from the cassette into the spokes, you have bigger problems. Nothing screams beginner like a spoke protector and reflectors (unless it’s on your commuter, then the more reflectors the better).
4. Saddle bags are not for packing a picnic lunch. A good rule of thumb-the stomach test. Put your fists together like you used to do as a kid and it supposedly made the size of your stomach (I played this game as a kid, yes I was a nerd, or a great roadie in training). Your saddle bag should not hold more than your fists together. Krieg bags are the perfect size and can fit all necessities and then some–and they have character.
5. Never, never, NEVER wear a sleeveless jersey and armwarmers. EVER! Until they develop shoulder warmers or air vents to keep your shoulders cool in your jersey, don’t ever make this mistake unless you are a triathlete and want people to know that. Remember, this is becoming roadie, and it’s a very distinct style all its own.
6. Never show up for a group ride with aero bars. It’s not safe and it still happens. All. The.Time. It’s technically not allowed at bike races unless it is a time trial. And it’s simply bad form. If you have clip-ons and it’s not a time trial, this can happen… (this is also another reason to NEVER half-wheel unless you’re echeloning).
7. Bikes with aero bars are TT bikes. Not Tri bikes. End of story.
8. If you aren’t riding your bike, get out of your chamois. Any time that you aren’t riding your bike and in your kit, that does not count as “chamois time.” It’s unsanitary and can lead to saddle sores and other things that aren’t appropriate to put in this blog. If you’re riding long enough, you cannot wait to get out of your chamois.
9. Glasses on the outside of your helmet straps at all times. Two thought processes to this that I’m aware of: comfort and aerodynamics. Or how to distinguish between a non-roadie and roadie.
10. Tights, leg warmers or knee warmers go on the inside of your team shorts. You must fly the team colors at all times.
11. Chin straps are to be tied back or cut and burned. There is absolutely no need to have 4 inches of strap hanging from your chin. Pin that back or cut it off.
12. Visors on helmets are a no-no unless you’re a mountain biker. On the road, it’s not necessary. Wear a sweet cycling cap instead.
13. Know and study the following names: Cipo, Merckx, Coppi, and Anquetil. Don’t ask questions. Just do it. You should alsolook up Jeannie Longo, Alison Dunlap, Maureen Manley, Katie Compton, Kristin Armstrong, Evelyn Stevens, Georgia Gould, Marianne Vos, Connie Carpenter and the list goes on.
14. Sock height is tricky and can often be misunderstood. Here’s the general rule of thumb:
* Cyclocross-knee highs
* Track-no socks or very short socks
* Road-3 to 4 inches high
* Mountain-any of the above
15. When you are about to cross the finish line, especially if you’re first, zip up your jersey.
16. No bento boxes. This is non-negotiable unless you are in a triathlon greater than an Olympic distance.
17. Don’t be late for the group ride. It’s rude. Along these same lines, don’t pee 10 minutes into the group ride. Hold it or apologize profusely. You can also coax a teammate to stop with you and you can split the work to chase back to the pack.
18. Know these jerseys:
*Green Jersey=Sprinter’s Jersey
*Polka Dots=King of the Mountains Jersey
*White Jersey=Young Leader’s Jersey
*Yellow Jersey= (Maillot Jaune) Tour de France Leader
*Pink Jersey=(Maglia Rosa) Giro Leader and Giro Donne Leader
*Red Jersey (since 2010)= Vuelta Leader
19. If the finish line is in sight and you’re not participating in a bunch sprint, you need to ride as hard as you can until you cross the line. No sitting up, no thinking you have it, or thinking they won’t be able to catch you. Also, don’t give a premature salute.
20. Own at least one skinsuit (but NEVER wear it in a road race unless you have a team car, domestique teammate, and a pro contract). Skinsuits really do shave off time, and what adult doesn’t like wearing a onesie? Fun, fast, and most definitely pro. Get them tight enough and they also can act like a pair of spanxs. Very slimming.
21. If in doubt. Choose white.
Instead of taking several embarrassing, painstaking years to learn all this stuff, just look at #WhatBikeRacersShouldCallMe and learn everything you need to know in an hour. Though it may not make any sense until you experience the manual transformation of becoming a roadie over time.