Col de Roll – The Best Bike Race On Earth

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Out of the dozens of different bike racing formats in existence, one stands out as being my favorite. It’s not sanctioned by the UCI but it takes immense amounts of skill, positioning, and best of all, weight. It doesn’t have an official name, but we like to call it “Col de Roll”.

What is Col de Roll?  It is not new, but it’s not something that’s often covered on cyclingnews (unlike Japanese Extreme Ironing Keirins). There’s no official rulebook, but like any bike race it only takes two or more people. Some bunches already have the Col de Roll in their weekly ride plan. Some groups simply look at each other with a nod of the head, and the race is on.

It starts with you and your mates descending down a hill and all stop pedaling when you all reach the same speed. After that, it’s a free for all. It’s not about you can go the fastest down the descent. It’s about who can roll the furthest without pedaling. Some groups use a predetermined finish line. Whatever the finish is, you’ll be slowed down to about 2km/hr by the time you hit it.

The only rule is that if you pedal, you’re disqualified. Taking a single pedal stroke is akin to performing your own blood transfusion and denying it. It’s strictly forbidden and carries a lifetime ban.


Besides being heavy (which is why I love it), there are many tactics for winning the KOD jersey. My advice is to tuck like you’ve never tucked before, draft behind the biggest guy, then attack when he hesitates and least expects it. I’ve seen some little mountain goats win Col de Roll many times, so it’s not as simple as being the fattest.

Enjoy your weekend, sharpen your Col de Roll skills, and stay safe!

P.S. If you want to take a longer than usual lunch in Melbourne next Thursday (March 31), be sure to check out En Mass, presented by fyxmomatosis. I’ll be challenging anyone who dares to a Col de Roll race down Collins street on the big blue bikeshare rigs!

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