Hasidic Handlebars? "Handlebars with loose, loopy bits of handlebar tape," says velominati.com, a blog for hardcore road bike riders. Think of the Profanisaurus dictionary of swear words from Viz, but for bikes.
As well as a funny lexicon of road bike speak, the Velominati blog has a list of 89 rules, first codified in 2009. It’s a set of rules that went viral back in the day and crops up on Twitter and in forums on a regular basis.
"We are the Keepers of the Cog," say the four international writers of the blog, published from America.
"We maintain the sacred text wherein lie the simple truths of cycling etiquette known as The Rules. It is in our trust to maintain and endorse this list."
Rule number 77 is green and tidy: "Respect the earth; don’t litter. Cycling is not an excuse to litter. Do not throw your empty gel packets, energy bar wrappers or punctured tubes on the road or in the bush. Stuff ’em in your jersey pockets, and repair that tube when you get home." (No, buy a new one from your local bike shop, surely?).
Rule number seven is prescriptive about sun exposure: "Tan lines should be cultivated and kept razor sharp. Under no circumstances should one be rolling up their sleeves or shorts in an effort to somehow diminish one’s tan lines. Sleeveless jerseys are under no circumstances to be employed."
The n+1 rule is now a standard ploy well away from the blog and it’s music to the ears of bike shop owners. "The correct number of bikes to own is n+1. While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned."
However, this rule has a counterpoint: "This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner."
Rule number seventeen won’t make happy reading to those shops who sell replica jerseys: "Team kit is for members of the team. Wearing Pro team kit is also questionable if you’re not paid to wear it. If you must fly the colours of Pro teams, all garments should match perfectly."
"Cycling caps are for cycling," prescribes rule number 22, a dictat to make every hipster shudder.
"Cycling caps can be worn under helmets, but never when not riding, no matter how hip you think you look. This will render one a douche, and should result in public berating or beating. The only time it is acceptable to wear a cycling cap is while directly engaged in cycling activities and while clad in cycling kit."
It takes until rule 58 before ‘Support your local bike shop’ is wheeled out. Should have come much earlier, but hey, it’s not my list.
Rule 58 states: "Never buy bikes, parts or accessories online. Going into your local shop, asking myriad inane questions, tying up the staff’s time, then going online to buy is akin to sleeping with your best friend’s wife, then having a beer with him after. Online is evil and will be the death of the bike shop. If you do purchase parts online, be prepared to mount and maintain them yourself. If you enter a shop with parts you have bought online and expect them to fit them, be prepared to be told to see your online seller for fitting and warranty help."
Of all the 89 rules this is probably the one most flouted. ‘Never buy bikes, parts or accessories online’? That’s ironic, right? Bike shops could add some sarky rules to the list – such as not asking for club discounts and the like – but expecting roadies to always pay full retail in-store is fantasy land. And the internet has only accelerated the trend, it didn’t start it. Roadies were into their mail order bargains sourced from dismally-designed print ads in the comic long before Tim Berners-Lee linked up a few computers. (TBL created the internet).
So, while rule number 58 may be, sadly, long past its prime, maybe you could set it in a fancy font, blow it up, print it out, and place it somewhere in your shop, either for a giggle when days are dark, or as a ‘hold me back before I thump him’ poster for when yet another numptie comes in expecting you to extricate them, for free, from their ‘just needs a little tweak’ internet purchase.