Tag Archives: Fred or Pro

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).

The Basics

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.

Beyond PRO. Most PRO references include Cipo.

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.

Next Steps

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.

The Nuances

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

*BMX-no idea

*Triathlon-compression socks

15. When you are about to cross the finish line, especially if you’re first, zip up your jersey.

Extra Credit

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.



Kat‘s on a role lately with her Cycling Education Series. Tanlines are to be worn with pride. She should know too-she sported them beautifully in her wedding last month. So PRO!

I want to introduce all our Naked fans to the cyclists’ badge of honor.  Carbon bikes and matching professional-looking kits are all important to your cool factor as a cyclist, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  No, I want to introduce you the most important mark of a true cyclist, the tan lines.  It’s a known fact that how distinct your tan lines are is a direct indicator of your fitness level.  We start off the season in March with layers of clothes covering our skin and as the season progresses and the layers come off, our training hours increase and our skin becomes noticeably darker.  And your tan lines begin to form and take shape.  It doesn’t matter how much sun screen you apply and what SPF you use, come August, if you’ve trained properly and are fit, you will have very distinct tan lines on your arms, thighs and ankles that contrast with the other normal-toned portions of your body.

I first start racing my bike in 2005 while in law school and officially became a cyclist one summer day in 2005 while in line at an Einstein Bros. bagel shop.   I realize that is a strange place to declare that I became a cyclist.  I was wearing a tank-top, shorts and sandals.  The man in line behind me said “you must be a cyclist.”  Confused by how he knew that, I gave him a funny look and replied “yes”.  He replied with “I could tell from your tan lines” and thus I was initiated into the Real Cyclists’ Club.

You can tell what kind of a cyclist someone is by their tan lines.  Road cyclists who wear form-fitting lycra have very dramatic tan lines on their arms, thighs, and ankles.  If you are a road cyclist who races for a team and wears your team kit on every ride (as we Naked ladies do), your tan lines will be very distinct.  Professional cyclists have remarkable tan lines from riding 20-30 hours per week in the sun.  It’s not uncommon to see these cyclists meticulously lining up their shorts prior to every ride so as to maximize tan line potential.  Recreational road cyclists tend to have a myriad of different brands of cycling clothing in their closet and their jerseys and shorts of varying lengths lead to a less dramatic effect of the tan lines.  Triathletes are a special breed of cyclists and so are their tan lines.  Their cycling shorts tend to be shorter, their tops are often sleeveless, and sometimes they even do crazy things line wear arm-warmers with a tank top.  Go figure!  That mix will leave some crazy tan lines.  Mountain bikes are a whole different story with their baggy shorts.

And then there are people like one young man who shall remain nameless who ended up with the weirdest tan lines I have ever seen.  It was a crisp spring day and the sun was shining brightly as it does in Colorado.  This young man decided to ride the trainer outdoors so as to take full advantage of the sunshine.  He got a little warm while riding so took off his jersey and spun on the trainer in his bib shorts, while wearing his heart rate monitor for over an hour.  Keep in mind that this young man is pasty white on every place that is typically covered by lycra.  Over an hour later, the young man had finished his workout and was left with a burn on his back and shoulders that outlined both his heartrate monitor strap and his bib shorts.  You can only imagine how funny it looked.  (This is a good lesson to all you young readers to wear sunscreen.  It took a full two years for the tan lines from that sunburn to fade.)

Cyclists on vacation at the beach are a pretty funny sight to see.  Imagine an incredibly skinny man or woman, walking along in a bathing suit, their upper body quite scrawny and out of proportion with their chiseled calves and huge thighs, with an incredible contrast in skin color between their chest, upper thighs, top-most part of their biceps, and their lower arms and lower legs.

I typically wear my tan lines with pride.  I don’t hesitate to wear sleeveless tops at the office, despite the comments from my co-workers regarding my arm tan lines.  And I have no problem wearing sandals during the summer even though my tan stops roughly at my ankle bone where my sock height ends.  The only time my tan lines have become an issue was at my wedding this summer.  Arms that are tan ¾ of the way up and pale white for the upper ¼ do not a pretty bride make.  Two weeks of applying self-tanner prior to the wedding did a pretty good job of helping mask my tan lines.  Thank goodness.

So the next time you are out and about on your Sunday ride or at Starbucks getting your morning caffeine before heading to work, check out the tan lines of the people around you and see if you can tell what kind of cyclist they are and how much they have been training.

Warning:  The author of this blog post does not endorse engaging in outdoor activities sans sunscreen in order to increase your tan lines.  All tan lines should be duly earned through hours upon hours of hard training rides and proper alignment of your shorts before every ride.  All outdoor activities are undertaken at your own risk and should be done only with sufficient sunscreen protection.  The author highly recommends Kinesys for all your sun-blocking skin care needs.

Fred or Pro Test and Jens Voigt Army

Somehow, I was lucky enough to run across this website and have not been able to stop laughing. I was googling Euro Mullets and Cyclists(because I think they are sexy and PRO) and this gem showed up. Had to share. Thanks fredorpro.com.

Another amazing time suck–the incredible brainchild of Team JVA,  Jens Voigt Army. They get it done and in a pro-like manner. I can completely appreciate the time, thought and comedy put into this site. You can spend HOURS on the Lance Armstrong Legal Defense Soundbot 6000 and since I’ve last visited, they now have added a Jens Voigt Soundboard. Already losing interest in this post as a result. “Shut up body. You do what I tell you!” Thanks, I’m going to go play now and increase their page view analytics. ~Rachel