Riding faux pas: you’ve been warned

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Your development as a rider isn’t limited to fitness and bike handling skills. A lot has to do with cycling etiquette as well.  No one wants to be that person that people are looking at and judging at the cafe, in the bunch or on the side of the road as they’re fixing a flat tyre.

In the past I have covered  fashion faux pas, so here’s some riding faux pas that are equally as important to stick to. These are the things that all cyclists should know, but sometimes they need a friendly reminder so their bunch ride isn’t trying to leave without them out of sheer embarrassment.

You’ve been warned…

1. Don’t wear underwear under your chamois

While this seems obvious to most, I have seen it numerous times out on the road. This major faux pas is mostly for your own good. The reason you shouldn’t wear anything under your chamois is because the seams of your underwear will rub against your skin, causing discomfort and potentially, very painful saddle sores.  Your chamois is specifically designed to be worn without underwear. It will absorb sweat and many brands have anti-bacterial agents in the chamois  as well.

In short, avoid this for both comfort and to prevent medical issues. If your friend is doing this, have that awkward conversation with them and let them know it isn’t doing them any favours.

2. Don’t place your bike upside down when changing a flat tyre

Not only does this look very uncool, you can also potentially damage your bike. When you place your bike upside down, you are resting your bike on the hoods and saddle, this may scratch your precious bike. There are plenty of places to hang your bike, such as from a tree, or on a fence. Not an option? Gently lay the bike down in the grass –drive train side up, of course!

Pro tip: hang the saddle on the back of your neck… portable stand! Even better, get your friend to hold it for you, they won’t mind. If they complain about holding your bike, they can always change your tyre for you as you hold your bike.

3. Don’t ride a dirty bike

Nothing is worse than listening to someone’s bike squeak all through a bunch ride because they have neglected to lube their chain. Just as you would judge someone’s house if it were messy, the same could be said for someone who doesn’t look after their bike. Not only will a clean bike perform better, regular maintenance diminishes the wear and tear on your components.

The old saying, “A clean bike is a fast bike” applies here, and most cyclists who race competitively will know that you can’t turn up to a bike race with a dirty, neglected bike and expect the components to work well under pressure. Take the short amount of time required to keep your bike well maintained, and your wallet will thank you. Not to mention your performance, when you shift effortless through your gears and your bike doesn’t skip a beat.

4. Don’t carry Bento boxes

There is a reason your jersey has three rear pockets. These pockets are to carry your essential items, such as your coffee money, phone and your nutrition. Bento boxes are not very pro. They make your bike look pretty unsightly. Carrying items in your back pocket is also more aero than having your handlebars and top tube obstructed by storage containers. There is no reason, unless you are doing an Ironman or a 300km ride with no stops, that you need a Bento box.

5. Lose the mirror

Rule #66: No mirrors. As Velominati clearly stated in “The Rules,” mirrors are a big no-n0. Not on your sunglasses, not on your bar-ends, not on your helmet. Simply don’t do it. It’s distracting and makes you look like a rookie.

5. Do master the #BAAW

All the cool kids are posting #BAAW shots on their Instagrams account. #BAAW shots and conversations are becoming hot topics amongst the cycling community, and I have overheard numerous cafe conversations about the best spots to capture your bike in its finest glory. Please note, I ALWAYS get caught out missing one of these, and always LOL when I get caught out!

CyclingTips posted an entire article about setting up the perfect #BAAW, but here is the summary:

  1. Pick yourself a nice wall.
  2. Lean your bike onto it, drive side always out
  3. Cranks must he horizontal, drive side crank facing forward
  4. Tyre valves, must be aligned at the bottom
  5. Big chain ring and smallest cog
  6. Remove your bidons, lights, saddle bag etc

No excuses when getting caught out committing these faux pas…or at least, have a laugh about it when you do:

So many faux pas in this picture:

Could become accustomed to this #countrylyf with a backyard and hose #cyclistlyf @lowercasev

A photo posted by Purdie Long (@purd12) on


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About the author

The tagline to Verita Stewart’s personal blog reads: “Not a professional cyclist, yet” and it’s the “yet” that’s most telling. Verita is a Melbourne-based cyclist riding for Specialized Securitor. New to the sport, she’s quickly made the jump from commuting to recreational riding to racing.

She now juggles full-time work with full-time NRS racing and hopes to make the leap to the big-leagues sometime soon. Verita is full of stories and smiles and snark – and will bring all three to you on Ella. Follow Verita on twitter and instagram and strava.

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