The Ten Commandments of cycling*

1. Thou shalt have no other god but Merckx. There are heathens who will claim that Lance is the one true cycling god because he won the Tour de France seven times. To which you shall reply, “But Merckx won eleven grand tours, seven Milan-San Remos, five Liege-Bastogne-Lieges, three world titles, three Paris-Roubaixs, two Tours of Flanders and a third of all the races he entered. And his eyes aren’t too close together.”

2. Thou shalt not wear the yellow jersey. Neither shall you don the polka dot jersey, the world champion’s jersey, national champions’ jerseys or any jerseys you haven’t actually won in a race – unless you really want to look like a clueless wannabe with a big sign on your back saying “Drop me”.

3. Thou shalt not suck wheels. But you shall always do your share on the front. Nor shall you half wheel other riders while pedalling uphill, and you certainly shall not turn a training ride into a race. There are no points or jerseys for being the club run world champion.

4. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s bike. Neither shall you desire his new Campagnolo Record groupset or those fancy Zipp wheels he’s got with the deep section rims. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that these things will not make him go faster. Oh all right, they will but – you know – it’s not all about the bike, eh?

5. Thou shalt not ride a fixed wheel bike if thy job title incorporates the words executive, digital, head, account manager or anything to do with marketing. Beware of false messengers decked out in Rapha from head to toe, with Knog courier bags slung over their shoulders, nonchalantly attempting to trackstand at the lights. They are not true cyclists, like you and me.

6. Thou shalt not sprint from the middle of the bunch. You are not Robbie McEwen. Repeat after me: you are not Robbie McEwen. Do you never wonder why professional riders have lead-out trains?

7. Thou shalt not drop thy partner in a two-up. Nor flick them through as you turn into a block headwind, pass parked cars, hit the bottom of a slope at speed or approach a junction. Unless they did it to you last time out, in which case you have special dispensation to cause maximum pain and inconvenience.

8. Thou shalt not use Facebook to bang on about how you are two pounds overweight or how terribly your training is going. We all know you’ve been turboing like a bastard five nights a week for the last two months and you’re in the shape of your life. We see through your little charade.

9. Thou shalt not grind along in a big gear like a yummy mum on a shopping expedition. But you shall ride fluently, with a smooth, swift cadence. If your body is moving you’re not doing it right.

10. Thou shalt simply enjoy riding thy bike. You shall not become obsessed with groupsets or wheels or this bottom bracket and that brake lever. Or go on about the twinge in your knee caused by slightly misaligned cleats. Or complain about the slightest touch of rain or breath of wind. The beauty of cycling is in the riding – the elegance of momentum and the liberty of the road. Don’t ruin it with moans and meaningless technicalities.

Here endeth the lesson.

* With thanks to Richie, Rich, Peter and Jayne for inspiration and ideas.


11 thoughts on “The Ten Commandments of cycling*

  1. In my early days, I was drawn into temptation by cheap cycling jerseys on eBay – the yellow jersey, the green jersey and the the world champion’s jersey – and whilst I would never wear them on a club ride of any kind, when I’m out on my own or on my turbo, I don’t give a tyre-lever about what anyone else thinks… for a brief few moments I AM EDDIE! (There I’ve said it!)

    • Ah, but that’s going uphill. Actually, to be fair, he had a distinctive bobbing style while riding on the flat as well if he was pushing it. But he was Merckx – I’m not sure you can really judge him by the standards of others.

  2. Re. #2 – I think there should be a caveat here, that whilst it’s poor form and utterly unacceptable to *compete* in the kit of a team to which you’re not contracted, or a national or world champion’s outfit, or while wearing the yellow jersey, it’s actually *ok* to spend your hard-earned dollars/pounds/euros on any of the above and wear them while training or posing at the coffee shop or otherwise outside of competition. nearly four-years into my retirement, but riding again, my kit drawers are full of team strips from quick step, milram, lotto, topsport, etc. Let’s face it, if you’ve got to spend your own money on a jersey, should you buy a bland, nondescript Castelli top or a replica of Bettini’s World/Olympic Champion’s gear?

    Just my two cents and certainly not gospel…

    • Hm, still not convinced! I love replica kit and my classic magenta T-mobile top has a special place in my heart, but there’s a difference between standard team kit (cool) and a champion’s kit that’s been earned in competition. My feeling generally is that winning one is a unique achievement and I like to respect it as such. The other, more practical, point is that if you’re wearing, say, a KOM jersey you’d best be damn good at climbing because every bugger’s going to try to take you on. Of course, the best jersey to wear is your own club/team jersey, or something from these guys:

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