Silly Commuting Racing will spice up your commute

Where are you in the food chain?

This is a sponsored article in association with Red Bull.

30 June 2008 was a momentous day in cycling history. That was the day the ‘Silly Commuting Racing’ thread on the BikeRadar forum was started. And nine years later, it’s still going strong.

Why? Because Silly Commuting Racing (SCR) makes every day a race day, every commute a challenge, and every other rider a potential competitor. If you are already taking part in Red Bull’s Million Mile Commute you might be doing a bit of commuter racing already to liven up your journey.

We’re not sure how many denizens of BikeRadar are still strict adherents to the SCR rulebook – the original thread is largely a place for general commuting banter these days – but it’s never too late to add a competitive element to your everyday riding.

During its early days the SCR’s rules were formalised, with a strict scoring system taking into account the type of cyclist you’re overtaking – or ‘scalping’ as forum parlance has it.

The cycling food chain has scooters at the top of the 14 bikes listed; ‘roadies with shaved legs’ are second, with ‘proper rapid singlespeed’ third; electric bikes are at the bottom.

(This scale makes more sense for fairly flat areas – in the hills you’d be doing bloody well to scalp an e-biker.)

The important thing no matter what, is not to look like you’re trying too hard

It may sound like a complicated system, but forum user ‘Fury21’ simplified it very early on: “If you get confused on the road, think of it this way – if you drop anyone who looks faster than you: +1. If you get dropped by anyone that looks slower than you: -1. Couldn’t be simpler!”

There’s a code of honour in SCR. Red light jumping is strictly verboten, and passes only count when it’s fair, which is to say on the open road.

Charging past someone and then ducking into a side street would be cheating, for instance.

The main thing is the racing, and especially collecting scalps of riders higher up the cycling food chain.

The important thing no matter what, is not to look like you’re trying too hard.

SCR can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. The basic food chain is below, and the itsnotarace.org FCN calculator is still live if you want to get really nerdy about it.

Essentially, the higher your FCN (or the lower down the list you are), the more potential ‘targets’ you have.

If you’re somewhere near the top (i.e. you have a low FCN), you’re fair game for everyone else.

The food chain: where do you come in the system?

  1. Scooters
  2. Roadies with shaved legs*
  3. Proper rapid singlespeeds (hard men and women, messengers, tarty shiny fixies)*
  4. Roadies with hairy legs*
  5. Faux singlespeeds (fakengers, dirty/functional bikes, silly spinny little gears)*
  6. Touring bikes (mudguards)*
  7. Fast hybrids*
  8. MTBs on skinnies*
  9. MTBs on knobblies
  10. Bromptons/collapsing bikes
  11. MTB full-sus on knobblies
  12. Shoppers
  13. Shoppers with wicker baskets
  14. Electric bikes

*Pedal adjustment factor:

Flats: +1. Toe Clips: 0. Clipless/SPDs: -1

Silly Commuter Racing: 6 essential rules

  1. No dangerous manoeuvres. Don’t be a danger to others or yourself. Falling off causes pain to you and others around you, and you lose your points!
  2. Don’t ride like a dick/vulva, we’re all just trying to get somewhere!
  3. No passing at lights, junction, crossings, etc. All passing on open roads only.
  4. Filtering in traffic is null and void (you’ll know deep down if you’ve dropped someone fairly, turning off immediately afterwards is cheating)
  5. Pavement passes – either you or the target is void
  6. Show no pain – unless your face is just like that
This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
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