Well that’s sad. When I added a new lesson to the previous post, I lost all my comments. I had an all-time high with 18 comments overnight – all of them in support of my style points. Feel free to comment. A lot.

I am appointing myself the King of Style for the time being. I have a handful of credentials to back this up – the first of which being that my last name is King. Additionally, I have a keen eye for all things stylish; with that comes the discerning ability to notice as what is glaringly unstylish. I’ve ridden bikes for a handful of years, which furthers my street cred. Moreover, I have a degree in economics.

I will also preface this little diatribe by emphatically stating that this is MY blog. See that part up at the top that says “Ted King.” Yup, well I am him (or “I am HE,” to be grammatically correct). As a result, if you support me, then proudly say so and your comments will be published for all the world to see. If, however, your opinion is against what I have to say below, then frankly I don’t really care to hear your feedback. Unfair? Yeah, probably is, this is called a blog and I am dictator of this blog. Don’t like it? Start you own. (They’re free – Google “free blog” and you’ll probably find a billion responses).

Lesson 1.

When you’re riding your bike, your helmet belongs on your head. Buckled to your handlebars? Umm, nope. Actually, there shouldn’t be a “Umm” involved in that previous answer. This is an emphatic NO. I saw a guy descending on his mountain bike two days ago with his helmet safely secured to his handlebars. I couldn’t read his jersey’s team name as he wizzed by, but I think it said, “Team Moron.”

Ancillary to that is that your helmet shouldn’t be put on your head and left unbuckled. Stylishly, you just look like an idiot with the straps flapping in the wind.


Lesson 2.

You’re a track cyclists or a triathlete? That’s outstanding and I encourage you to keep sporting those short socks. For any other circumstance, however, nothing less than medium-to-tall socks will do. Short socks is one of the biggest ways to lose integrity as an aspiring cool cyclist, so take note.

Lesson 3.

As self proclaimed dictator of this blog, I can say whatever I want. More importantly, I can do whatever I want. The most quintessential example of this is today’s choice of attire. There was a bit of a chill whilst out on today’s ride, so various warmers and covers were necessary… most notably, white leg warmers with white shoe covers. White (helmet) on white (glasses) on white (jersey) on white (bibs) on white (leg warmers) on white (shoe covers), baby!

If you can’t handle THIS heat, then get out of the kitchen.

white legs

That’s how I roll.

Here’s a little side note before I amend a 4th lesson of style:

I love, LOVE, the fact that someone has googled “bowlcut” and somehow ended up on iamtedking.com. (As I’ve pointed out a handful of times in the past, I can see the search terms people use to land themselves on my blog. Bowlcut is a new high.) I trust it has to do with yesterday’s Tweet that read, “I don’t mean to judge, but Balloon-Boy’s dad has a bowl cut. I’m not calling him a liar, but it is nearly 2010.”

I digress.

Lesson 4.

Wear whatever you want. Do whatever you want. Being independent and pretending to not care about style is as instrumental to being a style whore as exclusively using white handlebar tape. That being said, not waving to other cyclists is not just plain rude, but you leave the other guy (or gal) hanging and as a result, you leave him looking like a friendless turd for initiating a wave and not receiving requisite reciprocity.

Now THIS guy has style!

Now THIS guy has style.

Look, we’re all in this big bike game together. You ride a bike. I ride a bike. The next guy (ahem, or gal) reading this rides a bike. So there’s no reason to avoid the obligatory wave – or at the very least offer up a head nod. I fear that our egos have gotten the better of us so that we simply C.B.F.’ed to lift a hand for the universal “Hello.” Moreover, aren’t cyclists such weenies about diet and losing weight and counting calories and all that crap, that lifting your hand serves as some sort of extra exertion, and therefore will burn more calories? Dare I say yes. Ride in a really cycling-popular area, be sure to use both hand to wave, and you’ll be 5lb lighter in no time!

Did I ride my bike the other day and not get waved at? Obviously yes.

Okay, here is yet another amendment. But once again I will add an aside beforehand: to the person who Google searched “awesomeness bad ass mother f*@$er Ted King” …well done. You arrived at www.iamtedking.missingsaddle.com and you’re happy to be there.

Lesson 5.

With some exceptions* skidding is stylish. Pull this off casually and with minimal wear to the tire by “unweighting” the wheel you are skidding and you’ll be the envy of your bike-dork-club. Front wheel skids are the epitome of style, but are extraordinarily dangerous. I emphatically DO NOT recommend trying front wheel skids until you can classify yourself as a S-M-F… or Skid Master Flash.

* Exceptions to this rule include:

-if you have not followed rules 1-4. If you fail any of these style rules, then pulling a skid will result in you looking like a Fred.
-you can RARELY get away with skidding in races. For safety sake, I recommend avoiding race-situation skids.
-skidding that results in someone getting hurt is not cool at all. They say chicks dig scars. They don’t dig blood oozing from your body though.


  1. kstadden

    I feel SO much better. If King Ted his own self sometimes doesn’t receive the reciprocal wave, why should MY small humble self be the least bit sad when my waves are ignored?

  2. Marv


  3. Rich Wolf

    I have noticed this phenomenon myself riding around Bend. I wave at practically everyone and who do you think gives the highest percentage of wave backs???? CAT 1 and Pros. I don’t know but maybe the others are just afraid to take their hands off the handlebars. Maybe I’ll cut them some slack for that.

  4. Jennifer

    Love the style lessons. I’m up with most of them. Helmet fastend on my head- check, wave to other riders-check. But, I rock the low sock (thinking about adding a pom pom to them to boot!) plus I’m sporting old school black shorts & leg warmers today. 2 out of 4 aint so bad, right?

  5. Alex

    You didn’t wave to me while you were going down Sunshine. 😉

  6. Jason

    I used to get a kick out of riding around Boulder and nobody ever waved, except the pro’s, used to crack me up.

  7. Roddy Pattison

    I agree about the waving thing. I even wave at non-roadies! Sadly, like you, I often get completely blanked in return. We cyclists will never take over the world if we’re so divided!

  8. Bravo Delta

    I am the overweight Cat6 wannabe bike racer who doesn’t wave.. Ok not really.. I am with you on this one TK, the fastest fittest guys in San Diego county are cool and friendly.. Because they don’t need to be jerky to assert themselves.. They merely dial up the wattage and leave the unfriendly to work alone..

  9. halfpenny

    When I rode motorcycles, there were two groups – hogs and everyone else. Within the groups, everyone waved at everyone else.

    With cycling it’s so much more complicated. There are freds, posers, hipsters, cat 1’s, pros, fat guys, tweeds, hotties, helmetless crazies, strapless morons, and the list goes on. How is one to know who to wave at with all these different groups?

    Sadly, since I sure as hell don’t want to be left hanging, I just keep my hands on my bars, head down pretending like I’m riding my own personal ITT. [Sigh.]

    • John O

      If you’re not sure…instead of not waving at anyone, then perhaps wave at everyone! 😉 If they don’t wave back, their loss. If they do, then you’ve been a successful ambassador of good will for cycling.

      I wave at everything from other riders/runners/walkers to farm implement operators and anyone that so much as looks in my direction, even along with an occasional “Howdy!” as well. In my experiences, I’ve found that no one has threatend me with physical harm for greeting them, meaning you have nothing to worry about from waving. 🙂

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  11. kg

    why the med to hi sox? Can you see the great Merckx(personally the king of style) or the king of classic Sean Kelly or Moreno Argentin rocking calf hi sox?nope. Bad choice in attire.tacky.keep em low

    i’ll agree on the wave. Its simple and easy, just do it.it won’t hurt or make you less cool

    • iamtedking

      Like I’ve said before, black is the new white. Similarly, styles of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s (and early 00s) are way out of… well, style now. So short socks are no longer hip. Sorry.

  12. scott

    My comment was not in support. It was against your style.

  13. Linda Jellison

    I always wave, and if I don’t get a wave back, I yell “HI!” and silently call them jerkwads. While volunteering at a huge bike event in Portland, I yelled “where’s your helmet?” to probably hundreds of morons either not wearing them or riding with helmets strapped to their handlebars.
    Your style lessons absolutely ROCK. Love the all-white look though it would never fly in a ‘cross race.

  14. Nicole

    Ooh, you got me on Lesson 2 – I wear short or ankle socks. Are there any sort of special allowances for women? Or heat?

    As for #4 – AGREED. If I can wave when I’m redlined climbing, then the other dude can certainly proffer a wave (or even a meager head nod) while descending. There’s a team in my area whose elite riders are super friendly and whose masters riders never wave. What the hell? I just don’t get it.

  15. Georgie

    HAHAHA!! As much as I love it, I must add that the all white look doesn’t leave much to the imagination… Especially to the team car drivers behind you.

  16. Amy Bush

    What about the situation when you wave back and it turns out they weren’t waving at you in the first place but to the person coming up behind you? How does that fit in?

  17. John Ogle

    I feel like I need to reiterate my previous comment.

    Wearing white this late after Labor Day? Who are you, Miami Vice?

  18. Michelle

    I was gonna wave when I saw you out riding the other day, but I was so blinded by the all-white kit I had to grip my handlebars to keep from riding off the road.

  19. Roddy Pattison

    Yes, Ted. I can highly NOT recommend front wheel skids. I did one two weeks ago (unintentionally) and I have a fractured neck of femur as a result. The ultimate cycling fracture! Try not to get one.

  20. dbarless

    Ted I will agree to all of your style rules. Especially in regards to the sock issue. If temp regulation is an issue wear wool!! I wish the other members of the groups I ride with were as enlightened.

  21. Greg

    I considered googling your name in various derogatory structures (i.e. douche bag Ted King) so that I might score a web mention from the KoS himself. But then I decided not to.

    Great post BTW.

    • iamtedking

      Thanks for not doing that. A derogatory search term with my name would earn you a punch to the face.

      I’ve noticed that there are a few people who have been that clever. And you will all eventually earn punches to the face.

  22. Derek

    I completely agree with the waiving(the others too, but i could care less if the person I’m waiving to has style, just weather they’re an ass or friendly in return. Hell, I waive to runners, dog walkers, & whomever is close enough to warrant the waive. No need in not being friendly.

  23. Jeff

    Exalted AOATS (arbiter of all things style), please share your wisdom re: cycling kit in general. I, for one, will never wear replica gear simply because, well, it’s like wearing a Pats jersey to play touch football. I’d feel like I moved to poser city. But others wear team gear with pride. (Maybe that says more about my cycling self confidence than anything.) So: What does a pro and a style stud think about non-pros who wear team gear?

    As for waving – can’t think of the last time a cyclist didn’t wave to me.

    • iamtedking


      With all due respect, if you’re fat, then don’t wear pro team gear. If you’re fit and at least mildly good at riding your bike, then perhaps you can get away with wearing replica team kits. So I’m somewhat neutral here.

      It can often be funny and ironic to wear a very clashing kit. Think ugly colors and mis-matches arm/leg/knee warmers. But do it sparingly and be sure everyone notices, and be sure it doesn’t look like you’re trying hard – this increases the irony.

      • Jeff

        6′, 160, suck at TTs but can outclimb most of the amateur riders in my area (which admittedly is like saying I’m one of the best polo players in, say, Kalamazoo.) But thanks for the all due respect. Still would feel like putting on airs or pretending I’m something I’m clearly not… to me you guys earned the right to wear pro team gear; should be yours and yours alone. But that’s just me. I don’t think poorly of anyone who does – kinda wish I was less self-conscious about things like that.

  24. ben

    good to hear the wave adressed. of all things by a pro. i am not ted king had, until now, assumed the wave return frequency to have an adverse relation to the oncoming riders average speed over 100 km. i am not ted king now know that is not the case. the germans that do not respect i am ted king’s perspective on this matter will now receive the follow up ‘buenos dias @$$ hole’ with a clear head. . . . . . oh, and they never wave.

  25. Xiane

    Undoubtedly, the all white kit is hot, especially if said rider is nothing but a blur. For mere mortals, I’d suggest holding off on white until mid-season when the bike tan is fully burnished.

    I always offer the friendly passing wave, as well. I find that it helps diffuse the “cannot stand to be passed by a female” speed jockeying that occasionally ensues.

  26. Matthew Dunn

    Very well put Ted on the waving thing… When I help out at the south eastern camp, I always tell the younglings to always wave it is a sign of respect as well as just being flat out nice!!!
    I want to make an amendment to your first rule of style of always wearing a helmet, if you make your child wear I helmet man (or women) up and wear one your damn self as well!!!
    What do we tell our kids once you get to a certain age there is no need for a helmet? I declare NOT!!!!

  27. Tiffany

    Is there any gender difference allowance on the long socks thing? It appears to me that most women’s specific socks are of the lower variety so I don’t have a lot of choice, especially as my feet are so small that they’d drown in men’s socks!

    I ALWAYS wave though 😉

    • iamtedking

      Excellent question Tiffany! And yes, shorter than my aforementioned “medium to-tall” socks will be allowed on a case by case basis… for women only. I won’t lay out all the criteria here, but just make sure your socks are clean, white (or appropriately colorful), and you’ll be perfectly ready to roll.

      • Tiffany

        Phew I am relieved! I would be mortified to be out of favour with the King of Style 😉 I’m happy to report that ALL my cycling socks are white. Not only that but I have Castelli overshoe thingies just like yours! Extra brownie points for me?

  28. Dave

    Tall tube socks are back in style in the form of compression socks which cost 50 times more than the 10 pack of tubies with multiple stylin colored stripes to choose from. Thursday night rides in Boulder rock in true style.

  29. marne

    Waving is a given. But unless they all double over, what about some women’s specific style points, KoS?

  30. ednl

    I mostly nod, but got a hand-half-lifted-from-hood wave from Thor when I pulled out of Monaco this spring. Thank you Téd King for educating your team mates.

  31. firwave

    Funny, I just bought these: http://www.sockguy.com/WhattheF.html
    I’m female and they’re pretty high but amusing. I don’t see many people or cyclists in rural Maine so kinda doesn’t matter.

  32. Mike DeGraaf

    Seriously Ted. Do I really have to have tan lines that start mid calf?

  33. ZoeRochelle

    But remember – every cyclist riding without a helmet gives increased hope to those on the organ donor lists.

  34. alison

    After harassing my friend Amy to tighten her helmet, we set off in our argyle poser jerseys since, sadly, we lack women’s cut iamnottedking shirts, and found that everyone in NE Orlando waved to us. It was a TK Day. Come visit and ride!

  35. Matt Runquist

    Skidding in races is awesome. Right up there with pedal banging in crits. Word.

  36. Providence Lee

    Wow… 50 comments! Thats gotta be a record. Just read that you’re now going to be a regular contributor at Velonews! Congrats, cant wait to read more.

  37. John Andrews

    Tall socks?? Sorry son, you have not been in the game long enough. Tall socks are so lame. Lance et al. started this lame look but it will be a footnote in history, like the mullet.
    If you look like Moser you are doing well…….ok, I’m an old git, behind the times but really, the King is wrong here.

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  39. Jacqui

    Hi Ted, You have me in stitches as usual…. although I avoid eye contact whilst not on my bike, I always nod and wave to fellow cyclists and quite often, I get the ‘well I don’t actually see you face”. I also hate when people pass me at full speed. I think it’s important to put on an “I am so suffering right now” look when a pass is obligated by time constraints or just plain boredom. Keep on writing and being yourself!

  40. John O

    I tried skidding once…

    Eons ago, I was riding my friend’s mom’s mountain bike (this already puts my style points in the red, I’m sure) and had gotten behind him on a big root. He was waiting for me to catch up at this big open spot of dirt under some trees. I could see him ahead and figured I’d be “all cool-like” and come flying up and skid/fishtail to a stop right in front of him (for STYLE, just like you said!). As I come riding up, I simultaneously squeeze the right brake lever and turn the bars to the left in an attempt to initiate the skid. Well, as I immediately found out, the brake levers were backwards compared to how they’re supposed to be as the front wheel locked up instead of the rear and given that I had turned it to the left, the bike instantly took a nose dive. To make it worse, I had completely failed to realize that the combination of the aforementioned “dirt spot” being under a deep canopy of trees plus rain the past few days meant it had become a “mud spot” despite the trail having already dried. This realization nullified any hope of recovering the slide in the slippery goo, and invoked visions of me covered head to toe in mud and muck in the very near future.

    Needless to say, I fortunately (I think?) halfway caught myself as I went down, making for a very slow and awkward fall. I knew I was going down, but managed to position myself to land right squarely on my ass. In the mud. All this played out directly in front of him. I hear it was a pretty good show.

    This was the beginning of our ride, so the rest of the day my ass was covered by a wonderful big bunch o’ brown, standing out nicely on my yellow shorts. Pretty sure I was the envy of everyone we passed.

    And yes, I can recall at least 3 people I didn’t know making poop jokes at my expense.

    How’s that for style?


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