29. Water bottles shall preferably be freebies from sportive rides or found at the side of the road when watching pro races. Under no circumstances should they be discarded until completely spent, even when not matching bike or clothing colours.
The aspiring Euro cyclist is instructed not to leave his water bottles on the bike while transporting bikes via bike rack- this is an obvious faux pas for the the Scottish cyclist, as they would simply fall off due to the bumpy Scottish Roads.
These ‘official rules’ were a fun thing that I used to get me going when I started the blog. They were intended as a tongue-in-cheek antidote to the Euro Cyclist rules. At that time I was getting into road cycling, and was perplexed by the myriad traditions and quirks of style of the roadie. Ironically, less than 3 years on, I am a proponent of many of the Euro rules such as leg shaving, white saddle and bar tape, espresso coffees and matchy-matchy kit.
26. Road pedals (e.g Shimano SPD-SL) are preferred, however mountain bike SPDs are acceptable should the Scottish Cyclist need them for practical reasons- e.g. in order to wear commuting shoes for the daily ride from Lochgilphead to Glasgow, or should the rider want to switch easily from his/her road bike to mountain bike to get a quick ride home to Fort William along the West Highland Way.
27. While strong black coffee is fine, tea or white instant coffee is a much more Scottish drink. Better yet, the Scottish Cyclist shall drink Irn-Bru with a shot of his single malt whisky of choice.
28. Motivational music during training shall consist of whatever motivates the Scottish Cyclist! Suggested tracks include:
25. The Scottish Cyclist should never feature his/her personalised nameplate on his bike. The bike should be significantly individual to distinguish it from other bikes, even of the same make and model (preferably through customised parts). Ideally the bike should be completely unique. See rule 9.
Background: I haven’t posted any of these for a while. They are my attempt on the kind of lists seen on the Official Rules of the Euro Cyclist, The Rules by Velominati and the kind of style laws laid down by the Two Johns. As I was getting into road cycling a few years ago I quickly became fascinated by the style customs and etiquette beneath the surface, so tried to have a bit of fun with it and build up a caricature of a ‘Scottish Cyclist’.
24. The use of 25- or 27-toothed cogs are acceptable due to the propensity of ridiculously steep mountainous training routes that the Scottish Cyclist rides. British and Scottish road engineering does not tend towards the gentle ‘hairpins’ that the Euro Cyclist enjoys. The roads instead go straight up 10-20% inclines, rather than winding their pretty way up the mountain.
25 and 27 tooth cogs may also be necessary for the Scottish Cyclist that fuels himself on Irn-Bru and sausage rolls.
Alternatively, if you are man enough, a single fixed gear is preferred. Graeme Obree won the Tour de Trossachs mountain time trial, over the Dukes Pass and the Braes of Greenock on a fixed gear- nuff said.
23. Mud guards are necessary that the rider can ride through winter and foul spring/autumn conditions.
Mirrors are not allowed unless one is too old or infirm to to turn one’s head. It is true that the mirror is highly practical and incredibly unstylish but in practical terms, what is it’s use to the Scottish Cyclist? He is usually too far ahead of his rivals to be able to see them and for viewing traffic it would be a waste of time. Scottish drivers treat cyclists with as much respect as… well, you fill in the blank there.
22. Where the Euro Cyclist eschews these items for resons of style, the Scottish Cyclist carries them for their practicality. The seatbag and frame pump are essential pieces of equipment. These are needed when the Scottish Cyclist punctures in the middle of a 200-mile training ride through the Highlands, hours from civilisation.
I have often heard that the most appropriate and stylish place to keep pump and spares are in the back pocket. These pockets tend to be stuffed full of flapjacks and tablet, not to mention the countless arm warmers, gilets and rain jackets that are inevitably called into action when the Scottish conditions change from balmy 15°C sunshine to howling gales and driving rain in a matter of moments.
21. One point where the Scottish Cyclist is in agreement with the Euro Cyclist: in the event a motorist disturbs one’s ride: one shall proceed to ride up beside the car, form a clenched fist and bang the boot of the car while shouting and swearing. In fact, the broad Scottish accent is infinitely better at expressing doing one’s rage than Italian. Wild arm and head movements however, add to the effect, in both languages.
Further to the Official Rules of the Scottish Cyclist #20 (cross training), today’s pic is of Prasad Prasad. He is a whippet both on the bike and with a pair of running shoes on his feet, as his hill running results attest.
Above he is seen riding to second place in the 2008 Stirling Bike Club hill climb, on a short course up to the Wallace Monument. His course record was broken in 2009 by Dougie Young. He rides and runs for Squadra Porcini.
Commonwealth Uphill Race, Keswick 2009 photo: Dave Woodhead
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.
19. If the Scottish Cyclist finds himself in the presence of a cyclist riding a bike costing more than 2000€ he shall regard his “acquaintance” with a mixture of disdain and SEVERE condescension, unless the rider’s ability is commensurate with the cost of his equipment.