(iamTed)KING of Style Strikes Again!

The number of comments in my last KoS blog dwarfed anything I’ve ever written before. Every single comment except one was positive, so I recognize that this topic of style is one that elicits some serious debate. Despite this sole comment of dispute, I have to assume that there are a few more readers out there who don’t agree with my style thoughts as well. And despite the fact that I am correct with all things style related, I think it is (nearly) needless to say that KoS deserves a follow up. So without further ado, let’s jump headlong into it.

Riding No Handed

How old are you? If you answered more than ten, then I am truly sorry to inform you that no one actually cares that you can ride your bike no-handed. So stop riding around for lengthy stretches of time positioned straight-up and your arms dangling limp at your side, ’cause you look dumb. I’m being completely serious when I’m telling you that you’re showing off a talent that elementary school kids brag about.

I will admit that there are a handful of instances where having both hands are off the bars is permissible. Examples include, putting on or removing jackets or vests, cleaning glasses, race winning fist pumps, reading or submitting something on Twitter, opening energy bars and other such deliciousness, and offering enthusiastic two handed waves to other cyclists. Beyond that, however, everyone sees this as adolescent behavior and knows you’re showing off. So stop.

Wearing Pro Kits

This is an excellent topic of debate, as people often ask about what’s the ruling on wearing professional cycling kits if you are not a professional cyclist yourself. Tough question indeed, but I have a strong stance here. To begin, I think we can agree that cycling is a unique sport. You like baseball? I’m pretty sure you’ve never touched the grass on a professional field itself. You’re a football fan? Sure Tom Brady is dreamy and all, but there’s no way you’re getting within inches of him. NASCAR fan? …ummmm, well I’m sorry to hear that, but despite your cool number 24 in your rear window, there’s no way your Chevy is as fast as theirs.

Among a smattering of other worthy reasons, cycling rocks because you can experience exactly what we pros experience. You can ride the bikes we ride, wear the helmets we wear, pedal the roads on which we race… and you obviously have the opportunity to rock the clothes we wear. So why the crap not?

Moreover, if you’re going to piece together a bicycle outfit, instead of the ragtag/patchwork look, why not look good when doing so? We look good, so you sure as heck might as well hop on the bandwagon and look nearly as good as we do.

Heed this Advice or You’re Not Even Worthy of a Bike in the First Place

Alright everyone, what follows here are a few crucially important style tips. Don’t skimp here because this ranks as high as anything in the KoS’s black book of style (which, incidentally, is white). Interestingly, both of these rules are related to typing and therefore entirely unrelated to cycling. But like I just said, they’re integrally important in fitting into the grand scheme of things, and cycling is a worthy son of the “grand scheme of things.”

😎 😉 Faces 🙂 😛
Seriously? No, no no no, I mean seriously? Good Lord, I wish I didn’t have to bring this up, but it’s mere reality that I do. This blog doesn’t cater to many sixth grade girls, so I have to assume that you’re not one. Therefore stop using faces. Forever. Failure to heed this rule will result in a smattering of insults and perhaps a headbutt.

Along the same lines, adolescent abbreviations will get you no where in life so take copious notes here. Stop. LOL, OMG, LMAO, and all others* are worthy of a punch to the face.

* There is one tiny exception to the rule, which I will call the “WTF Rule.” You see, WTF is allowed in the circumstance of “WTF ____” which was a little something I created not too long ago. This phrase is somewhat like the iconic New England phrase “wicked ___.” Wicked good, wicked bad, wicked pissah guy. Similarly, WTF works the same way, but only operates correctly if you’re in accordance with ALL other style rules. “WTF-good” is my favorite, but I did earn one unhappy comment as a result of using that a few months ago on Twitter. Can’t please them all, eh? WTF…

The Golden Rule

Friends, do you see a common thread that runs throughout all of these KoS’s rules? Wearing white all of the time would be a good first guess, but that’s not it.

White on white, sonnnnnn!
White on white, sonnnnnn!

Look, the best summary to these rules is simply to Do-unto-others. No one wants to be visually assaulted by horrendous style, since this sort of cacophony of panache stands out like an 8-speed cassette in a 10-speed drivetrain. For gosh darn sakes, we see you! It’s a public sport; you train, race, and put out your vibe at coffee shops in a very public manner. Social Darwinism is a remarkably strong factor in day to day life, and when you look like an idiot, we all recognize it and we will ridicule you. Geezum crow, even people who aren’t cyclists recognize it.

Thus, simply doing-unto-others is a common courtesy so that we’re all not ashamed to be classified in the same category: cyclist. We’re all ambassadors to the sport, and everything we can do to promote the sport is a step in the right direction. After all, progressing the great sport of cycling is WTF-good.


  1. Douglas

    Do unto others may be the best style rule I’ve ever heard. Cheers to you Senor King, KOS.

  2. Slowdad

    Woah! Almost a full pic of the white on white kit. I am blinded by awesomeness.

    This post is full of win, although I do disagree on the pro-kit rule. But I disagree with people who wear their teams hockey shirts like some high school girl wearing her boyfriends jersey that’s a million sizes to big.

    These are rules to live by… All hail the KOS

  3. Le Lanterne Rouge

    While I applaud your stance on pro kit wearing, are you willing to consider a clause that strctly prohibits the wearing of a Mailot Jaune unless you are, indeed, currently leading the Tour de France? And please appeal to the makers of these garments to please, for the love of Pete, do not make them in any size begining with an ‘X’? Much obliged!

  4. Your best friend Don

    Wow, thank you for actually printing WTF-it.
    I will never use LMAO again. My apologies to the KoS and all other followers out there. Can I get a ruling on wearing pro kits of teams that no longer exist or that were…reconfigured. Last request Mr.King, could you please gather data on “waving” while you are in S.B. Seems to me more of the WTF-Freds are snobs than others.

  5. BeloniPony

    KoS, how do you keep your whites so white?

    • Le Wedge

      You know, I asked Ted the very same same thing a few weeks ago because my white stuff all becomes gray/tan in a few weeks.
      He mentioned he used bleach… which absolutely destroys all my synthetic clothing but magically spares his awesomely white whites.

      I’m thinking he might have a spare kit or two kickin’ around as well?

      My self esteem is blown. Not only could Ted drop me on any ride, but it appears as if I’ve been dropped in the laundry room as well.

  6. Jon M.

    Those glasses arn’t white! 😀

  7. Douglas

    Senor “Best Friend Don”, it is my understanding that the kits from retired teams are only cool 5 years after the team quits. Style is either current or retro. Hence, in a few short years that US Postal kit hanging in everyone’s closet will become cool again.

  8. Jeremy Hopwood

    Awesome!!! (hope that wa snot too 6th grade school girlish)

    Dear KOS

    What is the official take on Argyle?


    Wanting to be Scottish

  9. Roddy Pattison

    Re LOL, LMAO, EPIC etc. I have two teenage children and in a vain attempt to look cool, these abbreviations seem to have worked there way into my vocabulary. Ted(,) King of Style, please accept my apologies. 😉

  10. Roddy Pattison

    And bad grammar too! Please substitute the word “there” for “their” in last posting. 😉

  11. Sam Weaver

    Right on, brother! But, I must say; I ride with my hands off the bars quite a bit to relieve back strain but I usually fold my hands behind my back (former speed skater). After seeing Jens’ crash, I don’t do that quite as much any more.
    I use to believe in not wearing the pro kit especially after seeing my brother with the Gerolsteiner; bike, bibs, jersey, helmet, gloves, socks. I would wear one piece of all different teams! That drove everyone crazy. Then, I won a Garmin kit on a TdF fantasy game. Now, I’m all in. Besides, doesn’t some of the money go to support the teams. That has to be good for the sport.
    LOL is one of my favorites. I know of a guy that sent that to his friend whose mother just died. When the friend responded, “what?”, he returned, “RLOL”. The poor socially inept fellow thought that he was saying; Lots Of Love and Really Lots Of Love!
    As for kits of former teams, I must say the 5 year rule should not apply to a “Team Faded/Astana” kit from this year’s Giro if you can get your hands on one. I’ve seen a few old Aqua E Sapone/Cippo/Zebra stripes that I like. I think a full on Mapei kit would be a great safety device and keep all motorist far away from you.

    thanks for writing, and riding.

  12. redtdi

    Why did you black out the Garmin in your picture? Don’t you want people to know that you took a picture while holding 500w? Are Garmins NOT stylish? Is your site sponsored by Magellan? Enquirering minds want to know? (How do I finish this post in such a manner that you know I’m kidding without the use of a winky face?)

  13. Nick

    Agreed on the Pro kit…….but PLEASE people, spare us on the polka dot jersies. You don’t look like a pro. In fact you look kind of ridiculous, especially when pushing your bike uphill.

  14. Jeff

    At the risk of disputing a royal decree and facing banishment from the King-dom, I disagree with your highness’s position on pro kits. Anyone over, say, 25 should not wear a team jersey from any sport, even to that team’s games. A humble peasant like me wearing a Redskin jersey looks silly, and not just because I would be openly disclosing an allegiance (I don’t have) to Danny’s boys. Hoodie? Okay. Tasteful jacket with a small team logo? Okay. Replica Belichick ratty sweatshirt? Um, maybe not. If you’re over 25, feel free to ride bikes and use gear the pros use… but leave wearing pro kits to the pros.

    With one exception: If you are fortunate enough to be granted a royal audience with the KoS and he bestows a Cervelo jersey upon you in commemoration of said occasion… hey, wear it. Otherwise you’re WTF-ungrateful.

  15. Rich S.

    Great post, and I agree with pretty much everything you’ve brought up so far in the series. Loved the no-hands rule especially.

    But seriously, if white is the new black, why is your kit on the page still black? Time for an update? And how do you keep that white so white – my white armwarmers are already looking a bit grey.

  16. Phill

    All hail the King!

  17. GMFaz

    Couldn’t agree with you more! Too many homboys/gals who are all stash no panache. I shall take heed

  18. not a pro

    I do ride no handed only for changing clothes etc., I don’t wear pro clothing or yellow/dotted/rainbowed jerseys, I only use abbreviations and faces very rarely, but I can’t help it:
    “Heed this Advice or You’re Not Even Worthy of a Bike in the First Place” and similar statements sound very arrogant to me!

    • iamtedking

      I applaud the fact that you don’t often ride no handed, nor do you don various jerseys awarded in races. You say you can’t help but to use faces and abbreviations, but I can’t think of a single situation where you need to use a face, unless you’re communicating with your 5th grade daughter. That all being said, you finished your second sentence with a colon so your punctuation is wrong. I like to stick to standard rules of American English punctuation.

      “Arrogant” you say? Good grief, of course this is arrogant, although I prefer the words haughty egotistical or simply bigheaded. Look Not a Pro (even though that goes without saying), I’m a professional athlete. This alone allows me an heir of superiority, but even more to the point than that, this is my blog, and I can write whatever I want to write.
      I’m curious, what’s a better title for the aforementioned chapter of this blog? “Heed this Advice, Please… or Don’t.” Oh yeah, that’ll elicit a ton of fun responses. The whole point of this entry is to teach you the things I’ve learned in my many years of cycling all around the planet. Style is subjective and arbitrary, but I’ve seen the good and I’ve seen the bad, and believe me the bad sticks with you a lot longer than the good.

      You also may have picked up on a little sarcasm in the previous three blog posts, all related to the style. This response, though, doesn’t have that. Have a nice day.

  19. Pingback: iamtedking: Very certain reading material in an uncertain world: http://www.iamtedking.missingsaddle.com/2009/12/king-of-style-strikes-again/ - CycloTweet

  20. justin angle

    Pro kits: agreed – smoke’em if you got’em.
    Abbreviations: Would you grant a temporary injunction for AMF?
    Black Book: Love that it’s white!

  21. Bo

    I have to agree with Jon M.

    Schumacher has you beat on so many levels of your own rules in this picture.


  22. John

    From your post about pizza: “and still my BFF4E. ”


  23. Neill

    Dare I ask for a style rating?


  24. Matt

    Spot on KoS!

    I can’t stand the no hands thing, especially when others are riding towards me on the bike path.

    They have a saying in Belgium: Zonder handen, zonder tanden (no hands, no teeth). A rule to live by.

  25. Jacqui

    Yeah, yeah you rock, seriously. As for the LOL and smiley face I must say that they are sometimes necessary, since technocommunication (did I make that up?) lacks inflection, tone, body language etc… Ever had an e-mail argument that never should have happened? Unfortunately I have, but I piss people off a lot anyway these days. So keep up the suave writing. P.S. I’m not a big fan of the white on white kit, I must say. My favorite would be U.S.P.S. 2002 version, yes sireee.

  26. Moonwaffle

    I am sorry but I really don’t agree with ‘wearing pro kits.’ I think that the whole point of the sport is to not only support teams but the community as well. Too often I see new cyclist wearing a full team kit rolling down the road at 20 km/h. Join a local club…wear their gear…get out and race…

    T-Shirts, hats and jackets from pro teams are cool, rocking a team kit when a hill causes you to walk your bike just ain’t right. Earn your gear…don’t just buy it.

  27. Podium Cafe

    “You can ride the bikes we ride.”

    This is literally true. Starting in late October, you can buy one on eBay. That said, no one in their right mind should do this. We know how you guys treat your bikes. Them’s some damn hard miles…

  28. Tommy

    I hate to nitpick, but I think your bar tape might be broken.

  29. Greg in Denver

    While walking from the train to my office in Downtown Denver yesterday, I spotted a hipster fixie rider zipping down 14th Street. As dude came upon me, he sat up went hands free, stuffing his mitts into his jacket pockets. The temp was hovering in the low teens and I am sure dude knuckles were frost bitten. Was wondering if this is a violation of your “rules of style” or is there room for weather related exception? Also, what is the proper color for a balaclava?

    • iamtedking

      OOoooh, great questions Greg. Absolutely I believe this super hip hipster was caught in the act of doing the right thing. Warming your extremities will always take precedent over looking good. So merely riding no handed for the sake of some salvation in pocket warmth is a must.

      True story: I went to school in Vermont and I seldom rode on the indoor trainer (because trainers are horrible). On one particularly frigid day – probably about 10 degrees F – my toes were sooooo cold after about 2 hours of riding, I literally sat down in a snowbank on the side of the road, removed my shoes, and blew on my toes to warm them up. I feared frostbite, so I think I made the right choice to save my toes from being blackened and removed. Sometimes you just gotta make style sacrifices.

  30. landen

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=576482 It appears that in addition to a lot of hostility towards road cyclists…this mountain biker has broken one of your cardinal rules!

  31. will

    I almost killed myself riding no hands and taking jacket off. Arms got stuck and a turn was ahead ….. not stylish

  32. bjd

    WTF-bad ass!

  33. Andy


    I have an important question. Shoe covers over leg warmers, or leg warmers over shoe covers? You know what I mean. I’ve been doing covers over warmers.

  34. iamtedking

    Andy, great question. Generally leg warmers over the shoe covers is the way to go. However, certain warmer/cover combinations don’t conform to this. So it’s a case by case basis, but if you can pull off warmers over covers, you’re on the right track.

    Glad your head is in the right place – style, my friend. It’s all about style.


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