Break The Rules
“Without The Rules, we’d be heathens, riding around in sleeveless jerseys and no socks, or – horror of horrors – not shaving our legs.”
Or so thought Pete Muir editor of Cyclist Magazine In his article ‘Why it’s time to scrap The Rules’.
Yes the wind of change is in the air and Parietti is driving them!
The Rules, if you’re not familiar with them, were created by Velominati, the so-called ‘Keepers of the cog’, a loose collection of mainly North American cyclists who embody an attitude to cycling that could be best described as the absolute antithesis to Parietti’s SET YOURSELF FREE ethos. More 'Do what we say or we’ll inflict serious mental, emotional even physical harm' (see Rule #56 below).
Pete goes on to say -
"While we should always encourage riders to look good on the bike and promote the best attributes of the sport, there’s no reason to denigrate or sneer at those who don’t want to buy into a set of rules about how to dress or how to ride."
Now I am a newcomer to the world of cycling. Or rather I’ve been cycling for years but only ever to get to where I wanted to go. It’s only recently that I’ve seen -and let’s be honest, been able to afford- it as a recreation, a pleasure and even -dare I say it?- a sport.
You’ll notice I struggle with the ‘S’ word there - That’s because reading the rules reminded me precisely why I’ve never wanted to view my cycling as a sport. It put me right back to the Xth grade (I don’t know about 'years' or 'grades', in my school it was called Transitus, Remove and Upper Remove - Seriously! My school made Hogwarts look rough), being forced to play rugby in cold, hard mud, Tom Brent all up in my face calling me a spastic. Ah the good ol' days.
Yes, I left with a lifelong aversion to anything ‘sports’. Until, that is, I found cycling. Until I found Parietti. A community of people who celebrate the absolute freedom and joy of cycling, while continuing to elevate it from a function (getting from A to B) to a flawless form (Flying Free). That’s not to say that there aren’t ‘serious cyclists’ in the Parietti community (hey, some of my best friends are sports people), there are. It’s just they are able to find the joy in the sport. They still manage to go the distance; but they're able to look up and see the sky while they do it.
So it’s lucky that my introduction to this marvellous, magnificent world of speed, freedom and flight (not to mention those shiny bikes and
The so-called ‘Hardman’ is a recurrent theme throughout the 95 rules and If that’s the typical Velominati’s rider (and it’s safe to say it is - They’ve even published a book about it, ‘Hardmen - Relish a good fight and never give up’. Oh boys… Does someone need a cuddle?), then Parietti’s is the FreeRider - People of all abilities, riding together, free in the world. Free from any rules, restrictions, conventions or conditions. It’s you and the bike and nature, getting high together, having jokes together. Not at each other's expense.
For the love of the ride. To protect where we ride is the extent of our rule set. Cycling for Joy in responsibly made relaxed fit clothing, that actively does good in the world, is our belief and has been from the outset. We’ve never doubted it but it’s great to know we’re not alone. If the editor of The Cyclist, a self proclaimed believer in, and enforcer of the rules, is loosening up then there’s hope for us all.
Take it away Pete -
"Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age but I feel change is to be welcomed if it helps to remove barriers, dilute the domination of the MAMIL and bring more people into cycling"
"I’m not a pro, I don’t need to look like a pro... Instead, by shedding my allegiance to The Rules I feel like I can relax and enjoy my riding more than ever. And I would encourage others to do the same."
Now follows a few choice excerpts from The Rules, just to give you a little glimpse of how the other half live. And how we might respond.
Rule # 85 // Descend like a Pro
All descents shall be undertaken at speeds commonly regarded as “ludicrous” or “insane” by those less talented...
Rule # 93 // Descents are not for recovery. Recovery Ales are for Recovery
Descents are meant to be as hard and demanding as – and much more dangerous than – the climbs... Descents should hurt, not be a time for recovery. Recovery is designated only for the pub and for shit-talking.
'Shit talking' aside surely there’s no greater pleasure on this earth than freewheeling effortlessly down a beautiful sweeping slope, leaning in with the wind rushing past, a perfect moment held in time, both silent and serene as well as an exhilarating rush of freedom. A time to look up and look out over the wonderful wide world as it wheels past all around you. Or is that just me?
Rule # 56 // Espresso or macchiato only
When wearing cycling kit and enjoying a pre or post ride coffee, it is only appropriate to drink espresso or macchiato. If the word soy/skim latte is heard to be used by a member wearing cycling apparel, then that person must be ceremonially beaten with Co2 canisters or mini pumps by others within the community.
I mean… Why would you say such a horrible thing? Were you bullied at school (was it Tom Brent?) Have whatever you like. We’re buying.
Rule # 57 // No stickers
Nobody gives a shit what causes you support, what war you’re against, what gear you buy, or what year you rode RAGBRAI. See Rule #5 and ride your bike…
Erm we do. Parietti, 'Break The Rules' stickers coming soon!
Rule # 70 // The purpose of competing is to win
End of. Any reference to not achieving this should be referred immediately to Rule #5.
And yes, because you demanded it, the all important Rule #5 is...
Rule # 5 // Harden the fuck up
We say stay loose and live for the ride, not the finish time.
But in the interests of balanced journalism (is that what this is?) to show that its never as simple as black and white (and that we're not haters on the haters), here's a couple of The Rules we could actually agree with.
Rule # 74 // V Meters or small computers only
Forego the data and ride on feel; little compares to the pleasure of riding as hard as your mind will allow. Learn to read your body, meditate on Rule #5, and learn to push yourself to your limit. Power meters, heart rate monitors and GPS are bulky, ugly and superfluous. Any cycle computer, if deemed necessary, should be simple, small, mounted on the stem and wireless.
The Parietti version would say ditch the data entirely and read more like, "Use the force Luke" (Yeah you can tell what I was doing instead of the sports)
And finally here's one that we can agree with unequivocally.
Rule # 77 // 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.
Come on then. Let's go for some of those 'ales'.
Parietti - Set Yourself Free.
James William Harrup is Story Owner at Parietti, he lives in Berlin. He grew up in London where he'd not ridden a bike since his black and gold Raleigh Super Burner BMX. We're happy to be his way in to the joyful exhilaration and freedom that sport can bring. Happy cycling.