Saturday, 17 March 2012

KNIGHTS OF THE WHEEL.......

One of the things that I like about cycling is the system of values and etiquette that exists. 
To someone who doesn't follow cycling as a sport or is not involved in any form of cycling, they are normally completely unaware of it. 


I can remember trying to explain to my wife as we watched the Tour de France on television some years ago, why four riders all from different teams were working together in a break.... 
"if they are in different teams then they shouldn't be helping each other" she said. 
I attempted to explain to her the circumstances in which opponents can become 'temporary' teammates. 
A tactical paradox that she had great difficulty in taking on board. 


I explained to her how these temporary alliances could be formed....how in a break other riders from other teams could become your ally if they were prepared to work within the group and also how the alliance could be broken again further into the race.... 
"Teams should be teams and not help each other" is all she would say...
but then that is understandable as her main sporting interest is Rugby and she sees cycling as a pointless or at best inferior sport.  


Then there is the self sacrifice of some riders in the team....an act of loyalty to another team member in order to help him get across the line first. 
The whole point is that throughout the various disciplines of cycling there is an attitude of a code of honour to be followed or in other words chivalry....
One could say it is a bit like the Knights of the Round Table following a chivalric code. 


You can see it at a Club level...sacrifice or servitude depending on what the occasion demands but always putting a teammate first...always remembering a code of fraternal loyalty. 
There is an unwritten law within cycling that you shouldn't do anything that would help to compromise the racing advantage of another team member a clubmate or friend....


This can also be seen outside of the pure sporting and competitive side of cycling......
The weekly club ride can be seen to operate within a strict code of behaviour and etiquette....things that should and shouldn't be done.... signals that need to be learned and understood in order to communicate to others in the group, the right and wrong way to pass another cyclist...alerting other riders to things such as approaching vehicles and potholes in the road that could be a danger to a following rider...doing your bit on the front of the group etc....
I could go on and on with examples of this perfectly devised cyclists code of  etiquette and chivalry that is almost hidden from 'outsiders'. 


However the code often shows itself in it's most basic form by the simple act of acknowledgement from one rider to another....
that small wave....
the slight movement of the hand....
the nod of the head......
even sometimes the word 'Hi' as you cycle past each other on opposite sides of the road. 


Each of these small actions is an acknowledgement of the other rider as being a fellow 'Knight of the Wheel'. 
If you get no response to your act of chivalry from the other rider I really wouldn't fret over it....
I wouldn't give it a second thought....why? 
Because the other rider has just shown you that he is an imposter.....
he is not really a true Knight....
he has shown that he does not understand the true meaning of the Chivalric Cycling Code and that  what he is after all, is a 'Muppet on a bike'.  

4 comments:

Steve A said...

Thanks for this...

Marsha said...

Nicely put...

jeff said...

Nice. Very Camelot-ian.

Trevor said...

*Steve A* *Marsha* *jeff*
Thanks guys.....