The Cat6 T-shirt is available from The Bike Station, Brighton, Star Cycles Elizabeth and online here (sizes limited for the moment online).
There was much snickering and apparently some out loud coffee spit on the computer screen laughing a few months ago when I posted my story about my Cat6 race while commuting home on the Linear Park. You can read it here to get up to speed.
Since then it’s been great to read Cat6 racing, or commuter racing, being dropped in posts and on rides so I thought I’d do some research into the history and psychology of the Cat6 event. Cat6 was not my term. It came from the US to me from the Eco Velo blog. Category 6 being the next available ranking number used by US amateur cycling clubs.
Cat6 works because we all inherently do it. We all want to catch that cyclist up the road ahead of us even if they are 80 years old riding a 1972 single-speed stepthrough. We must chase them down. We want to win and the joy of Cat6 is only we know where the finish line is.
My research has, not surprisingly really, discovered this is not just something common to the US and Australian cyclists. No! The British are into it as well and this led me to ‘The Game’ or in short SCR --- Silly Commuting Racing.
The story goes that in the middle of 2008 ChrisL S posted on the BikeRadar forums a story that was summarised with the line
...it's not a race I'm just riding to work...
From that post (with 500 pages of replies) a racing movement was formed -- SCR or Cat6 racing. Not only has it a loyal following, a website of its own (with poems & haiku), and a Facebook page, a hashtag on Twitter but it also has rules, rules we have in Adelaide been breaking.
The unspoken game had been spoken about and, what’s more, named. Before long the unwritten rules had been written, argued over, scribbled out, thrown away and re-written. The brethren were split, “Heresy!” was cried, but the existence of ‘The Game’ could no longer be denied. Thus, from a single forum post “Silly Commuter Racing” was born.
From History of SCR.
So the warm-up has been had Adelaide Cat6ers. Get off the rollers, you’ve been racing too long now with no handicapping. It’s time to take it international by adhering to the SCR Cat6 Racing Handicap Rules.
But before you can work out your handicap you need to establish your FCN -- Food Chain Number.
Your Food Chain Number (FCN) determines where you are in the great SCR hierarchy. A higher FCN places you lower in the Food Chain, but gives you a lot of targets to aim for. A lower FCN and you’re swimming with the big fish, so watch your back!
Your starting point is determined by the type of bike you ride and the type of cyclist you are, but your attire, luggage and other factors can raise or lower your final FCN. Once you have calculated your FCN, it won’t change unless you change your bike, attire or accessories.
Sounds tricky? It’s been taken care of for you with this simple FCN calculator.
Now you know your FCN go forth and race -- here are The Rules:
If you drop/pass anyone who looks faster than you (i.e. has a lower FCN) +1 point. If you get dropped by anyone that looks slower than you (i.e. has a higher FCN) -1 point. It couldn’t be simpler!
Some Basic Rules:
No Dangerous Manoeuvres – Don’t be a danger to any other road users or yourself. Falling off causes pain to you and others around you, don’t do it! (oh and you lose yer points)
Don’t ride like a fool, we’re all just trying to get somewhere!
No passing at Lights/Junction/Crossings, if you do, it doesn’t count
All passing on open road ONLY. Filtering in traffic is null and void (you know whether you’ve dropped someone fairly, and haven’t turned off straight afterwards)
Pavement passes, either you or the target, are void
Show no pain, unless your face is just like that
Starting FCNs 2-5 (ONLY) can gain points for overtaking the someone of equal FCN as well as Higher Chainers (i.e. lower FCN), due to the reduced numbers of potential prey
Recumbents, Tandems and Segways are worth +2 points as a rare bonus
Sinclair C5 +20 points as a hens teeth bonus
I am on a bright red folding Dahon, with reflecto anklets, office clothes, and 16" wheels - everyone is higher than me on the food chain! Watch out urban hipsters on your fixies!
@Angus - if you wear your Cilo Aufina jersey, you go up a FCN!
Ha ha.. my FCN is 11. I took off my
Herman’s Safety Wing (orange plastic lolly-pop): +2
...which would have earned me excellent points!
(yes, my bike really had one... and I know someone with one!)
My FCN is 14!
I am thinking of putting a rack and panniers on +1
I can then borrow Angus' orange lolly-pop +2
I can also attach a ride-along for my monkey +2
She can put a basket on it +1
and if I ever catch anyone with all that it will be a bloody miracle!
Love it! Somehow I ended up as a 5. Who'd have known...
I got 5 too, but I also put down roadie with hairy legs, because even though I don't have hairy legs, I'm not a serious "man" racer (get it?) I look forward to chasing down the hairless men!
I think a revision of the calculator is in order.
My tandem/cargo gets a 13 (It's a MTB with Nobbies and panniers and a tandem).
My electric gets a 16.
My ride home from FMC to Hallett Cove takes 30-35 minutes on the cargo/tandem. The electric bike can do it in 17 minutes. I've never been passed on the electric going up the veloway, not even close. It flies past the roadies (who catch up down hill).
I do like the idea though, there are a couple of roadies that I sometimes manage to overtake on the way to work...it's got to hurt being overtaken by a tandem/cargo bike!
Being Australian shouldn't we call this 'F grade racing'?
Hurt it would be!
I've been riding home from work up the old freeway, feeling great about my performance and was passed by a guy on an old steel MTB with two panniers and backpack dressed in footy shorts... He wasnt even out of breath!
My score's 13 (13 + 1/2?) - bit tricky to score one toe clip, one flat pedal.
I think you should get a bonus point for mismatched pedals.
It doesn't mention mismatched legs!