Cycle: A List of Biking Dos and Don'ts
|photo by Jason Franz|
|Don't dress like this clown while cycling. Follow rule #3 and avoid the tuck (see shirt and sock).|
As with any culture, the Bike tribe has many subsets: Roadies, Hipsters, Fatties (Knobbies or Slicks), Social Cruisers, etc., and each subculture has its own set of mores. But, there are some basic codes that transcend through the tribe that everyone should be aware of.
By the way, the second you swing a leg over a top tube and turn the cranks over just once, you are officially indoctrinated into the tribe and begin aspiring to abide by these norms. Sorry.
2. Do not ever let your chain squeak. A chirping bike chain is the single most annoying sound this side of a morning clock alarm. For $8 you can buy some lube and clean your chain (the smartest and most responsible thing to do). For as little as $20 you can go and buy a whole new chain. Either way, just make it stop! But never - EVER - use WD40 to take care of that problem. It will only come back louder.
3. Don't tuck anything. Do not tuck a jersey into your shorts. Do not tuck a pant leg into your sock. Do not tuck sunglasses under the helmet chinstraps. The only things exempt from the tuck rule are warmers. The tops of arm and/or leg warmers should be tucked under sleeves/shorts, but that is all. And never wear arm warmers with a sleeveless jersey - it defies logic and looks stupid.
4. Dress appropriately. This differentiates significantly based on the cycling subculture. Roadies wear kits, and these kits must be body forming and color coordinated - preferably matching the bike's color scheme. Mountain Bikers wear baggies (that's baggy everything - shorts, jersey, whatever) with no concern for matching anything. Hipsters dress like, well, hipsters, meaning everything needs to be at least one size too tight with colors and patterns hearkening back to either the 50's or the 80's. And again, please be sure to pay attention to rule #3.
|International Mountain Bicycling Association|
6. No wheel sucking. Drafting can be the cyclist's best friend, but doing too much will put you in the doghouse. Share the load up front and don't use this time as an opportunity to show off and crank up the pace. Keep it steady with what the rest of the group has been riding. And don't pull an extensive draft off of a rider you don't know. That's just rude.
7. No half-wheeling. This is when a rider pulls about half way up on another rider, and it's potentially the most dangerous place to be. If either rider swerves and clips the other's wheel, both riders are going down. Ride in front of, behind or next to, but no half-wheeling.
8. Share your goods. If a fellow member of the tribe is short a spare tube, needs some air, forgot a tool, or is just plain bonking, share what you got. Again, good karma.
Follow these rules and the world's roads, paths and trails are your oyster. And pass along any other rules that the tribe needs to know. It will only make us a better community.
If you race or plan to race on the road, Pez Cycling News has a nice etiquette guide.
Have a great ride.