Cycling is such a universal sport, attracting people of different ages, locations, and incomes. However, there is a trend in road cycling that is pretty bothersome. With sites like the Velominati and "the rules" we see new riders adhering to some meaningless set of social rules that concern style, look and etiquette.
To help shine light on this nonsense and set some things straight, the newly retired British pro David Millar answered some questions to telegraph.co.uk sharing his own simple style rules for recreational riders.
Rule 1: The most important fit is your bike, not your clothes.
“The biggest faux pas for amateur cyclists is bad position. Bikes that don’t fit are not a good look. That’s the number-one thing I notice when I’m out riding. You should always have a bike that fits you properly and is measured up for your body. It doesn’t matter what you wear, if your riding position is wrong, it is never going to work - even if you wear the coolest clothing. If your position is wrong you look s--- and there is nothing you can do. Always get a proper fitting before you buy a bike.”
Rule 2: Find some style synergy.
“There is a great choice of clothing out there but it is good to make sure you have a sense of cohesion to your look and to maintain a certain synergy. You don’t want to look like you’ve just picked up random bits of crap out of a rubbish dump. I like a certain look to fit together. That doesn’t mean you have to wear all matching colours - far from it. You can mix it up a bit so long as there is some elegance to it and some sense of synergy uniting the whole look.”
Rule 3: Your sunglasses reflect your personality.
“Glasses are one of the few things which really give you a sense of identity as a rider. Your helmet and clothing cover you up, but it is the little touches that matter. Anything which breaks from the uniform and reveals a bit about your personality is good. I now like wearing glasses which are not performance glasses. I am not concerned with pure performance so I don’t need to wear what we always used to call ‘racer’ glasses. Find your own look and make it yours.”
Rule 4: Yes, saddle bags are OK.
“It’s simple: you need a saddle bag, otherwise if you get a puncture you're f---ed. Pros carry saddle bags when they are out training by themselves too. Ryder Hesjedal (of Cannondale-Garmin) has a whole MacGyver pack. He’s got everything. It’s the most incredible thing I have ever seen. But judge what you take based on how far you ride. For a short ride you probably only need one spare tube and a puncture repair kit, so take a small fitted saddle bag that is fastened on tight so it doesn't shake around. It should be full so you don’t have stuff rattling around, so get the right size bag that is fit for purpose. As for your pump, just keep it subtle and make sure it matches your bike. You don’t want some horrible thing bolted to your bike. I don’t take any food with me on rides any more. I just take some money and stop at a cafe. It’s much more fun.”
Rule 5: Don't race unless it's a race.
“The most important piece of etiquette when you are out riding in a group is to try to ride side by side and don’t half-wheel your colleagues. Also don’t start racing unless you are in a race. For most people a group ride is a social experience, not a competition. So if you want to smash yourself, ride on your own. If you are in a group, be social, respect each other and take care of each other. Keep the pack mentality and you will enjoy it more.”