Category Archives: Cycling humour

Official rules of the Scottish Cyclist: cross training

20. Generally any physical activity other than cycling is encouraged, especially if it is outdoors. Cycling of course, should be preferred at all times, and if The Scottish Cyclist does indulge in other sports, he must be careful not to overdo it. Sports that are approved by the Scottish Cyclist Rules are fell running, cross-country running, Munro climbing and swimming across lochs.

Official rules- full list

Jens Voigt: “Shut Up Legs”

This is absolutely brilliant. Thank you Jens, I love your gutsy riding style and your dry sarcastic sense of humour, delivered in that German twang.

I used this phrase today on my club ride, and I will be using it again in the future.

The “Shut Up Legs” quote is going viral- Cycling Tips will be doing t-shirts if there is enough demand

Other classic Jens quotes to live life by:
“Shut up body and do what I tell you”
“I get paid to hurt other people! How good is that? I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel- that’s good!”

Official rules of the Scottish Cyclist: components

18. As the most widely available and best value, Shimano components are preferred. Under no circumstances should the Scottish Cyclist use Campagnolo simply to show to his peers how stylish and wealthy he is. Stylish, expensive kit is no substitute for dogged training at ungodly hours of the day in horrible conditions with a heavy bike.

Official rules: full list

Official Rules of the Scottish Cyclist: facial hair

17. Facial hair is certainly not prohibited, in fact it may be extremely useful to insulate the face. This is especially practical for long-distance tours.

Full facial hair: approved

Full facial hair: approved

However in freezing conditions this may become uncomfortable.

nanobikerdotcoms frozen facial insulation, via flickr

nanobikerdotcom's frozen facial insulation, via flickr

Style, of course, is of no consequence to The Scottish Cyclist. See the full list of The Official Rules of The Scottish Cyclist.

Further reading: the Daily Record’s report of how Mark Beaumont’s beard helped his round the world record cycle.

Idea: round the world individual pursuit

I was chatting on twitter today, back and forth with @John_the_monkey and a great, albeit daft, idea evolved:

Mark Beaumont set a cycling world record in 2008, having taken 194 days to circumnavigate the globe. James Bowthorpe beat this record in 2009 taking 175 days to ride around the world.

I envisioned an ongoning head-to-head battle developing: wouldn’t it be cool if Beaumont made another attempt in 2010, beating the record again, and laying down the gauntlet for another challenge. Similar to the great battles for the hour record in the 1990’s between Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman.

Then John_the_Monkey made a great suggestion- one rider starts on one side of the world, an the other on the other: a round the world individual pursuit! To top it off, you could make it a ‘race to the death’. The pursuit would not be timed, but is only won when one rider catches the other.

Mark Beaumont in Texas during his round-the-world ride in 2008

Mark Beaumont in Texas during his round-the-world ride in 2008

ames Bowthorpe at the end of his record-breaking round-the-world trip. Image: Simon MacMichael

ames Bowthorpe at the end of his record-breaking round-the-world trip. Image: Simon MacMichael

“All joking aside”, analyses the details of the two record attempts, also taking into account the ‘not for charity’ record attempt by the outspoken/controversial Julian Emre Sayarer.

Julian claims to have completed the ride in 168 days but the details of transfer days and other off days are yet to be ratified by Guiness World Records. He also takes issue in a big way with Beaumont’s sponsorship from Lloyds TSB, but that’s for another blog post.

Official Rules of the Scottish Cyclist: Helmets

15. The Scottish Cyclist should never ride without a helmet. This is due to the unreliable road quality, often treacherous weather conditions and the proliferation of bampot drivers. During winter, traditional cycling caps, wooly hats or handkerchiefs are worn for insulation (any colour or style).

Helmets may be any colour or style, but white is not preferable, being the preferred colour of the show-off and prone to getting dirty. Helmets can be worn when venturing indoors. The Scottish Cyclist doesn’t care what people think of him/her.

Official rules – full list

stirling bike club winter training ride- the saturday 9am long/fast bunch

This cyclist is actually an Englishman but while riding with his local club in Scotland he shows some of the spirit of The Scottish Cyclist by always riding with a helmet. He wears a cycling cap sponsored by a Scottish pasta manufacturer and wears practical yellow eyewear.

Alternative packing tape aero helmet innovation:
Packing tape aero helmet @funrunrobbie

Official rules: ridiculously stylish eyewear

13. It should go without saying that ridiculously stylish eyewear should not be worn at any time. Eyewear should be cheap clear glasses to avoid rain and road-dirt, except when the sky is cloudless (generally only in July and September). Glasses may be worn under helmet straps and headband or cycle cap, to avoid losing them.

Official rules of the Scottish Cyclist: full list
Official rules of the Euro Cyclist

Not sure this comes under ‘stylish’ or not
Festina retro cycling glasses and glove

Official Rules 10, 11 and 12

10. Any colour of bike is acceptable, but overly prominent logos, world championship stripes or customised rider names are not desirable.

11. While a lighter bike is beneficial, the Scottish Cyclist should not pay too much attention to its weight. This is partly to ensure maximum durability to withstand the harsh Scottish conditions. The Scottish Cyclist should overcome any drawbacks in equipment quality through fitness and skill.

12. Wheels shall be equipped with clincher tyres. The propensity for punctures on the rough Scottish roads rules out tubulars. The risk to puncture a tubular miles from home is too great. However if the Scottish Cyclist can effectively fit tubulars, this is a useful skill. See rule 8: Performing your own maintenance.

Official rules full list.

Scottish greats didn’t care about style

In my Official Rules of the Scottish Cyclist, point 1 eschews practicality over functionality. I cited the example of two of Scotland’s greatest ever cyclists who eschewed style over functionality.

Graeme Obree’s ‘washing machine’ bike was designed around an unusual frame and a pretty wacky, and let’s face it, ugly aero position. However, style was of absolutely no interest to Obree and he won the world pursuit title (1995) and broke the hour record on it (1993).

Robert Millar took this a stage further- his ponytail/mullet haircuts seemed to have been chosen specifically because they were unstylish. This was partly because he relished being an outsider and partly to ‘keep him out of nightclubs‘. Despite these dubious looks, he rode to podium places in all three grand tours, and is Scotland’s greatest cyclist of all time.

The point is, they didn’t care what people thought of how they looked. All they cared about was winning.

Mechanical skill = Scottish Cyclist

9. The reputation of the Scottish Cyclist increases proportionally to the amount of bicycle mechanics he is able to perform. Wheel building/truing and frame building/repairs are highly prized skills.

Hence Graeme Obree is a particularly heroic example of the Scottish Cyclist. Whether or not you are a fan of the time trial, the pursuit or the hour record (his disciplines) his skill in innovating and inventing bike frames and aero positions (other key Scottish traits), all borne out on a shoestring budget, are exceptional.

Official rules – the full list