The Rules of Road Cycling

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cycling tire hed wheels logo stem valve
Cycling tire with proper stem and logo placement
cycling tire hed wheels logo stem valve
Cycling tire with proper stem and logo placement

Google “rules of road cycling” and you’ll find several sites discussing the proper way to wear your kit, buckle your helmet, and pull on your socks. Google “rules of triathlon” and you’ll actually get guidelines for racing legally. To those outside the road cycling world, riders may look like idiots in bright colors–in reality, we’re obsessed with fashion. Things like strapping on a camelback or putting your helmet on after your sunglasses are major no-no’s in the pack. And what’s with those too-long black socks? We’re just misunderstood by the outside world–and often by those in the circle too, namely Lance Armstrong.

After reading the rules as transcribed by the Velominati–keepers of the cog–you’ll perhaps better understand the personal anguish I go through when competing in triathlon. The number of riders being taught to wear sunglasses inside helmet straps, and arm warmers with tri suits is staggering and gut-wrenching. I am guilty of breaking the code to go faster, but apparently there is no excuse. Even speed is secondary to fashion. Read the rules and weep, or rejoice at your own steadfastness at keeping the code all cyclists must follow:

(Warning: profanity)

Rules I have personally broken:

  • Aero bars on road bike
  • Arm warmers with tri suit
  • Every race, I keep my tire repair kit in a saddlebag. *Hangs Head*
  • Improperly positioned quick-release levers
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Most Important Rules to Remember:

  • Rule #45
  • // Slam your stem.
  • A maximum stack height of 2cm is allowed below the stem and a single 5mm spacer must always – always – be stacked above. A “slammed down” stack height is preferable; meaning that the stem is positioned directly on the top race of the headset.” (
  • Rule #60
  • // Ditch the washer-nut and valve-stem cap.
  • You are not, under any circumstances, to employ the use of the washer-nut and valve-stem cap that come with your inner-tubes or tubulars. They are only supplied to meet shipping regulations. They are useless when it comes to tubes and tires. (


Yes, it’s really that serious. 😉

About Bek 301 Articles
SLO Cyclist's former chief editor and recovering road snob, Bek made sure everything ran smoothly around here. She was also the one who reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously--unless it involves black socks. Black socks are always serious.

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