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Home » Cycling » Thank God for the UCI… Rarely, but when it comes to socks…

Thank God for the UCI… Rarely, but when it comes to socks…

I am, and am not a big fan of the UCI, the governing body of professional bicycle road racing.

Some of their rules, a 14.9 pound minimum bike weight for instance, and their laughable defense of a rule that regularly has team mechanics adding lead tape and shot to the racer’s bikes so they make weight, is just silly.  I wrote about that defense before, a while ago.  It amounts to safety, that they feel bikes below 14.9 pounds aren’t safe… yet, and humorously, bikes below that limit are not only safe enough to race on, they’re safe enough to carry a pound of lead on them while being raced on just to make weight!   Truly, it boggles the mind.

On the other hand, every once in a while they do get it right…  Like when it comes to sock length. 

I am not now, nor ever will be, a fan of compression socks worn with shorts. I know, runners of the world will condemn me for saying so but those stupid socks are ugly as hell and I will always laugh at people who race in them, let alone allow themselves to be photographed whilst wearing them… To me it’s like the 300 pound woman in Walmart (or far worse, a guy) wearing a full workout outfit with yoga pants and gulp, a thong, I don’t even know what you call it, overthingie. Dammit people, some $#!+ you just can’t unsee. I digress…

Compression socks, at least those ugly things that run up to the knee, are thankfully illegal in cycling. In fact, a sock cannot go beyond the midway point to the knee. Even with cycling fashion going north of a 5″ sock (I’m partial to 3″, 4″ and 5″) at least I can hope they will defend against compression socks entering the sport as vociferously as they do the 14.9 pound minimum weight of a bicycle.

To all of my compression sock wearing friends, dude, sorry. Can’t get past those gnarly looking things. It is what it is.

All images from The Sock Guy.


3" I, and three of my friends own this pair


5" and my max length


7" a bit too much sock for my tastes


  1. tamsynsmith says:

    Apologies – I’ve got some calf guards and have worn them on my bike before. I shall flog myself 😉 (In my defence, it was on a cycling holiday in the Pyrenees after I’d had a serious accident and my legs were a mess. I didn’t want to sit out the rest of the cycling, but was in serious pain).

    You didn’t mention the other offence that many triathletes commit – going sockless. Not guilty, m’lud!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Oh, wait, hold on there miss… First, the sockless thing is actually picking up steam lately, especially amongst the triathlon crowd. That said, next time you’re in a group, find someone who is sockless and ride their wheel for a few miles. Once you see how weird it looks you’ll be cured (that’s how it happened to me anyway). As far as getting over injuries or covering road rash, all rules are out the window and don’t count. Period. Being able to ride shortly after an injury is badass enough to trump the rules. Finally, this piece was an opinion piece. Just because I shared my opinion doesn’t mean I think I’m important enough for people to follow it. 😉

  2. Sheree says:

    I have short legs and so wear short socks, anything else looks ridiculous.

  3. MJ Ray says:

    Sorry but if I’m riding below 40F, I’m probably going to wear thermal socks long enough to leave no gap to my thermal shorts!

    I’m disappointed but not surprised UCI petty rules are even into this. I’m surprised British Cycling federation isn’t trying to enforce this one on charity fundraisers like they do various other inappropriate UCI racing rules.

    • bgddyjim says:

      You’re such a Negative Nancy, man… Obviously cold weather doesn’t apply the same way. I was referring to those ridiculous lookin’ compression socks that completely cover the calf, obviously in shorts. Actually, wait… even my cold weather wool socks are still only 5″ to 7″ long.

      I swear to God, if there’s a negative way to look at one of my posts, you’re going to find it. (I wrote this with a smile on my face, so don’t take it the wrong way… I think it’s rather funny).

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