The New Rules of Cycling: AKA Philuminati

By Phil Gaimon

Often when I post a photo from a bike ride, someone will correct me for something weird, quoting a “Rule #.” I’ve had people make fun of a riders’ hairy legs in a picture I posted, and I think back to when I started, how intimidating it was to figure out all the details. Years later, I literally was a pro, but I still had people explaining to me how to look “pro.”

The truth is that everyone crashes the first time they try clipless pedals and we’ve all gotten a big grease stain on our calf and walked around with it all day like a piece of spinach in our teeth. I don’t think these “rules” were meant to exclude. I think they were fun, tongue-in-cheek, maybe a reference, but they have been misapplied. I decided that it’s time for an update or an alternative. It can evolve if you have suggestions, but I offer this to start:

The New Rules of Cycling: AKA Philuminati

Rule #1: Everyone riding a bike and being safe and having fun is doing it right.

Rule #2: Wear whatever the hell you want.

Rule #3: Nothing on your bike has to match. Cycling is already expensive, complicated, elitist, and often sexist and racist. Don’t make it harder because someone’s tires aren’t the same brand.

Rule #4: A Gran Fondo is as competitive as you want it to be, but the group ride is a workout, not a race. You should have no feelings about winning, not winning, who crossed the imaginary line first for no prize or how they did it.

Rule #5: In traffic, we take the space we need, obey the laws that make sense for us, and try to be courteous.

Rule #6: We all wave to each other. This includes triathletes, commuters, e-bikes, homeless people, and scooters. We’re in this together. Pedestrians have right of way. The enemy is car culture.

Rule #7: If you’re not into helmets that’s your decision, but do respect the policies of who you’re riding with. We don’t helmet shame (adult) strangers we see without them, but don’t show up on the group ride like that if that’s not how everyone else does it.

Rule #8: Strava is a social media platform, not a race. Follow Strava’s policies, express yourself with your cool bike rides and your pictures and fitness. If you lose a KOM, you remember that a KOM means nothing. You give Kudos and get inspired to improve and try to take it back.

Rule #9: For fucks sake don’t litter. I can’t believe I have to say that.

Rule #10 (This is broad to cover anything I’m missing): Don’t be a dick.


Phil Gaimon was a professional cyclist from 2009-2016. He’s the author of “Draft Animals” (2017), “Pro Cycling on $10 a Day” (2014) and “Ask a Pro” (2016), an ordained minister, amateur comedian, podcaster, Fondo host, and creative marketer. Phil is retired from racing, but still riding his bike for fun, chasing hillclimb records around North America for his YouTube show, “Worst Retirement Ever.”

2 thoughts on “The New Rules of Cycling: AKA Philuminati

  1. Wear whatever you want AND ride whatever speed you want.
    Rule #10 just about covers it…on a bike or just being a human in general!

    I loved this article. Thanks.
    Stacy, Outdoor Divas Cycling

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