The Buddy Rule


What follows is a lesson in English interpretation. That may sound kind of boring, but if you give me five minutes I think you’ll absorb and appreciate what I have to say. Additionally, I make it a point to never swear in this blog and to antagonize as few people as possible, so I am apologizing beforehand in case I irk a few folks with this particular entry. I don’t think it will bother anyone… except possibly for one nameless individual.

Part I

Perhaps you’re familiar with the Buddy Rule. Chances are, however, that you are familiar with the buddy system and not the aforementioned buddy rule. Please allow me to extrapolate.

The rule is fairly straightforward and goes something like this: If you are not friends with someone, you should never (and I’m being emphatic here, never) refer to them as “buddy.” Your friends, of course, can always be called buddy, but to people you’ve just met? Definitely a negative there. To some of you this may be obvious already. For the rest of you who are curious why, please continue reading as this is extraordinarily important.

So why you ask? It’s simple; when you call someone buddy when they are not in fact your buddy, you are in effect calling them “jack@$s” or “turd-face” or “dick fore” or something very negative to that effect.

I am one-hundred percent serious here, so take this as your first and only warning that your inability to heed this advice will often earn you the stink eye and maybe even a punch to the ear. Not by me, necessarily, but perhaps by the guy or gal you’ve just unintentionally/insultingly called buddy. Unless of course you just called me buddy, in which case you’re getting the stink eye and the ear-punch.

Part II

I bring this up because a similar thing happened to me today. Thankfully I didn’t hear anyone utter buddy in my general direction, but it was nearly as grotesque. The term in question? What’s your deal. Yeah. I didn’t even know the guy! Again, allow me to extrapolate.

In the middle of today’s ride, I opted for a coffee stop. There were two other cyclists already at the coffee shop also on a brief rest. I tend to keep to myself, so after exchanging some quick pleasantries, I sat down on the other side of the room and read the paper with coffee in hand. One of these two gentlemen was speaking loudly enough that I probably could have heard him had I sat outside. It was bothersome, but that’s life.

At first glance this blog entry isn’t a KoS style lesson… but in reality, it is. Look, believe it or not, it seems the general population does not like cyclists. Yeah it sucks, but it’s a fact of life. So please don’t exacerbate the situation by being that guy in the coffee shop. We’re already clad in preposterously colorful spandex, awkwardly walking around on reverse high heels, so there’s no need to be annoyingly loud to boot. (This lesson extends to riding on the road too – do what you need to do to get from point A to B, but don’t ride in the middle of the road or three abreast or exhibit other riding behavior that you know pisses off motorists.) Staying off of everyone’s radar – either in the coffee shop or on the roads – will only help our situation.

I digress.

I finished my tasty beverage, then set out on the road. No more than ten minutes later I was passed by a truck driven by the loud cyclist. He immediately pulled over in front of me and I was summoned to the side of the road by said motor/cylist-ist. I pull up to truck and the first thing out of his mouth, I kid you not, is “Soooo what’s your deal?!

He was very pleasant about it, don’t get me wrong, but lest we forget that I don’t know this guy. And the first thing out of his mouth is that? Our conversation was brief – no more than three or four minutes in total – but before all was said and done, he offered one more “What’s your deal?”

Still confused? Much like buddy, a “What’s your deal” offered to someone who is not your actual buddy comes across as, “Hey dickhead, what the hell is wrong with you?”

The fact that I didn’t immediately ride away from this guy was a test of my patience and willpower, thankfully both of which were strong today. Blah blah blah, we continued our (less than)-pleasantries and I was able to ride away with merely a foul taste in my mouth, which is why I’m taking this opportunity to teach you all a lesson here and now.

Many of you have already asked, what was his deal? Our conversation was truly to figure out what my deal was. What’s my name? Where am I from? Do I actually ride for Cervelo (or am I just the biggest fan ever with head to toe team apparel, the Catlike helmet which is impossible to get in America, sponsor issued bike, handlebars, saddle, wheels… you get my point)? Am I willing to ride with him? I seemingly passed muster by his standards, because he let me go after only a brief interruption from my ride. And the answer to the last question was an apologetic no; I’m here in California for only a short but very intense period of time to focus exclusively on training. I don’t really feel like doing the co-rider analysis of whether he’s strong enough to hack it with me for a spell; in this situation, it’s easier to just say nope.


If you are the person in question, or if you are someone who could see yourself being in this guy’s shoes, please don’t be annoyed that I’m picking you apart (I’m doing this anonymously, after all, so you are very welcome), but instead use this as a simple learning experience.

…Or maybe I should just be glad he didn’t say, “Hey buddy, so what’s your deal?”


  1. Cole

    You left me hanging here. What caught his attention? Was riding in full Cervelo kit and matching bike too much for him to handle?

  2. Annon

    What was your response to his less than appropiate question. That is, what did you tell him was, in fact, “your deal”?

  3. Greg

    Here’s another one to add to the list: “Boss.” A neighbor has been calling me this since the day I met him. It probably has a lot to do with why I barely talk to the guy. Maybe he wanted it that way, I don’t know, but it’s an effective way of saying “Hey buddy, keep your distance!”

  4. Jacqui

    Will you take my hand in marriage? You’re funny and cute to boot. Just kidding. Does the same rule apply when “girls” call you buddy or ask “What’s your deal?” Just curious, because you don’t speak of “girls” much.

  5. Tanya

    While considerably edified, I yearn for more information. What was the loud cyclist’s deal? Why’d he stop you?

  6. il Bruce

    So, what was his deal?

    • iamtedking

      Hey il Bruce (and others),

      I’ve issued a follow up in the second to last paragraph about WHAT WAS HIS DEAL.

      Thanks for reading Buddy (…just kidding),

  7. Iamnottedking

    I am not ur friend, buddy!
    I’m not ur buddy, guy…

  8. will


    This is hilarious. I, just like you, started riding in my late teens and am currently in the collegiate race scene (seccc). After playing numerous club and high school sports, I have summarized one thing about cycling. Cycling does attract some awkward people(Remember awkward doesn’t alway mean bad, but a lot of times it does). A family friend of ours, a female cyclist, was hit on by a certain someone in a local club, a male mechanic/cyclist. His pick-up line was “Hey, Whats your Deal?”.

  9. Carl

    I wonder if we might add “Sport” and “Champ” to the list of offensive monikers? While considerably less used, they are still grating in their air of forced familiarity…

  10. Maggie

    what’s a “dick fore”?

  11. I AM not TED'S BUDDY

    This is the very reason I (and millions of other Ted King fans)
    need to wear a IAMnotTEDKING kit, not just a jersey, a kit. I’m getting so tired of people asking me if I’m Ted King when I wear my Cervelo kit. Can I call you the B word if I use my New England accent, or will that just get me a punch on the nose?

  12. Jim

    You handled the situation well, but I’ve got to ask, “What situation?”
    If Mick Jagger walked into Peet’s while you were there, you saw him later walking the same direction on the sidewalk, you wouldn’t go Hey Mick. Your Deal Guy was moronic, no doubt, but you were a rock star to him.
    You, sir, are a professional.

  13. Jeff

    One exception to the buddy rule. My grandfather used buddy, friend, and chief when he didn’t know someone’s name. It was his attempt to as familiar as possible without, of course, using the other person’s name. He didn’t deliver buddy with a sneer or a sarcastic tone… from him it sounded like “you’re a friend” instead of “you’re obviously a male genital organ.” So if an old guy uses buddy or chief or sport… give them a pass. It might be how they were raised.

    All that aside, I can’t imagine having the stones to stop someone and inquire as to their deal. Much less ask if I can ride with them. Ugh.

  14. Creed

    Hey brosiff, what’s the deallio?

  15. John Z.

    How do you feel about “Boss,” as a term of endearment for a stranger, KOS?

    Oh, and let’s say hypothetically we’re both riding the same road and our paths are parallel – do you, as a pro, agree to ride with somebody a ways if they’re coming off as not a D-bag to you? If I don’t ride as if I’m trying to prove I could keep up or ask what your deal is, am I ok? Or are you straight-up, NQA lone wolf?

    I have a theory that all cyclists are lone-wolves to an extent – we all do it – drop somebody on the county road near home, barely grimace at another roadie pulsating down the road in the opposite direction, much less lift a finger off the drops to wave. Why don’t we ride together?

    • iamtedking

      Hi John,

      “Boss” is a total failure. In fact, let’s go ahead recap other ones that just plain suck:

      Dog (or Dawg or Dogg)
      Oh, and Dickhead. That won’t get you very far.

      Let’s not forget, however, that these are terms not to be used when speaking to people you don’t know. Friends and your actually buddies can of course be referred to as such.

      On occasion, and I leave it up to you my loyal readers, it is possible to pull of “Man” or “Dude” and sometimes even encouraged if, 25 seconds after being introduced to someone you have already forgotten their name. That said, these instances are rare and it is a very thin rope on which you’re walking, so be sure you know what you’re up against.

  16. b4unume

    Garth: Uhm, Wayne? What do you do if every time you see this one incredible woman, you think you’re gonna hurl?
    Wayne: I say hurl. If you blow chunks and she comes back, she’s yours. But if you spew and she bolts, then it was never meant to be.

  17. will

    the one term that gives me a headache every time that i hear it, is “Governor”.
    I’ve heard about five people, cyclists and non, use it and I can’t stand it.

  18. Cap'n Gassypants

    I say “hey buddy” to every single dog I ever meet and I mean it sincerely with every fiber of my being.

  19. alison

    seriously, Ted, you are a nice guy. While I can’t go so far as to propose marriage (awkward, really) I do have a question for the KoS. Before I shell out $22 for an iamtedking t-shirt, I’ve got to know are the women’s shirts REALLY women’s shirts or are they just smaller guys shirts? This is important, because if they aren’t, you’re going to get a pretty big lecture from the QofS. [preview: you do not want girls with your name on their chests wearing big boxy unflattering tshirts…yeah, mull that one over]

    • iamtedking

      Yes, American Apparel WOMEN’S specific sized shirts.

      Give me some credit here. We’re not lame enough to actually just have it be like a men’s L and call it a women’s M. Or a men’s M and call it a women’s S, etc.

  20. James W.

    Don’t forget about sport.

  21. josh

    “what’s your deal?” and “Buddy”? i thought roadies aren’t allowed to communicate on the road unless its a slight nod of the head or the raising of a couple fingers off the bars in acknowledgement? to me, this whole exchange conjured up this scene:

    Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday, and you’re not feelin’ real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays”?
    Lawrence: No. No, man. Shit, no, man. I believe you’d get your ass kicked sayin’ something like that, man.

  22. Kathy Raybin

    I love the picture of you cyclists trying to be anonymous and under-noticed in your colorful spandex rigs and reverse-high-heels in a coffee shop! Really. 🙂 Nobody should have the NERVE to say anything to you guys at all, much less call you Buddy. We should try to pretend you’re not even there actually. xo

  23. Pingback: Buddy lest | Ajaygoud

  24. mark

    I have a little brother of mine and he calls me buddy, bud…i believe he does this because he feels he is better than me…i personally dont like the term from anyone…here in australia we use the term “mate: instead…so for someone to use the term “buddy”…def brings up red flags for me…its not common and when i hear it, i just know the other person wants me to know that they are superior to me…reading too much into it?? probably…am i close to my brother who says this?? not really…has he ever shared his weaknesses and vuneralbities with me….never…does he know all my personal issues….unfortuantely yes…so i know where its coming from….
    anyways…..ADVICE…COMMENTS….OPINIONS!!!!!! btw great post….
    I try to be careful with whom I use “mate: with…for the exact reasons listed in the post…and great writing style too

  25. Lord of the Bikes

    Why do cyclists feel the need to drive in between my car and the sidewalk, making it impossible for me to swerve or dodge any kind of obstacle that may appear? Are cyclists insane by nature? Self-hating? Death wish?

    For my money there is nothing sadder, pathetic or more despicable than a grown man wearing flourecscet spandex riding a bike giving hand signals to turn.

    Get a car or stay on bike paths. You’re putting decent people’s lives at risk so you can pretentiously think you are helping reduce emissions/make a lifestyle statement/be cool.

    If you’re male, 30+, and NOT a pro cyclist, then lose the ridiculous clothes, pretentiousness, and stay out of the way of my CAR, the thing for which local roads and highways were internationally designed. Stay in your designated area where your cycling will not cause the death of a child because a motorist is too busy dodging YOU to see the kid crossing the street. I live in Boston and I cannot tell you how many times in as many years some neon-clad, kale-munching moron has almost slammed into my car or put me in dangerous driving conditions.

    I would vote for legislation that either banned or limited bike use in areas with a certain population density. Cyclists rights should never be a legislative priority. Our children’s rights to live trumps your perceived right to peddle around town like a 10 year old dressed like a banana.

  26. Mrs, T

    I was approached by a neighbor and he was quite agitated by the work going on behind his house . I saw and he called me buddy and call my boss buddy.


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