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Race Number 13

liamcorriganliamcorrigan Posts: 49
edited March 2014 in Amateur race
Was helping out at a race at the weekend an overheard a guy who had been given no. 13 and duly pinned it on upside down in accordance with The Rules being told by the Comm to put it the right way up. This started me wondering whether or not this was actually common practice and if it is, what kind of view race officials take on it. Anyone got any experience?

Wouldn't class myself as a superstitious person but the guy did later crash out...
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  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,057
    Depends on three things:

    1) if the rider is superstitious
    2) if the commissaire is superstitious
    3) if the commissaire's superstition if greater than his willingness to ensure that rider numbers must clearly displayed.

    I would argue that pinning a number upside down is not 'clearly displayed'...but I see plenty of people doing it...
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    That sort of superstitious nonsense shouldn't be humoured in my opinion.
  • HerzogHerzog Posts: 197
    I've had 13 before, didn't wear it upsidedown, came top ten...must be OK then.
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    I usually pin it on upside down in TT's

    I had 69 once (ooh err) and asked my wife to pin it on for me

    She asked which way up it went ?

    I didn't understand, thought about it, realised it's 69, it's the same both ways up !

    She meant did it matter if the club name on the bottom of the number was the right way up...
  • ju5t1nju5t1n Posts: 2,028
    I’ve had number 13 a few times in our club TTs and I always pinned it upside down. I’m not superstitious. But I don’t want to be hit by a truck either
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    Herzog wrote:
    I've had 13 before, didn't wear it upsidedown, came top ten...must be OK then.
    You would have won if you hadn't put it the right way up.

    Everyone in every race (including myself) puts at least one of the 13's upside down (usually if there are two numbers, I see the left one upside down and the right one the correct way up).
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  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    ju5t1n wrote:
    I’ve had number 13 a few times in our club TTs and I always pinned it upside down. I’m not superstitious. But I don’t want to be hit by a truck either
    I have some news for you....You ARE superstitious.
  • I must admit that with me turning it upside down has nowt to do with superstition and rather simply a result of my desperate desire to fit in...
  • ratsbeyfusratsbeyfus Posts: 2,841
    I've seen pros ride with it on upside down , so it sounds like the commisarre was being a bit of a jobsworth to me.


    I had one of them red bikes but I don't any more. Sad face.

    @ratsbey
  • It's such a widespread practise that I don't see how the commissaire could have a leg to stand on: everyone knows what an upside down 13 looks like and everyone knows that racers traditionally pin 13 on upside down, so it should be just as easy to recognise as if it were the other way up.

    Last time I got 13 I pinned it on upside down and I'm not superstitious at all: it's just the traditional thing to do.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,057
    Mr Bunbury wrote:
    It's such a widespread practise that I don't see how the commissaire could have a leg to stand on

    I'm not here to defend the comms, but he/she doesn't need a 'leg to stand on' - they are simply upholding the rules as they stand.
    Mr Bunbury wrote:
    Last time I got 13 I pinned it on upside down and I'm not superstitious at all: it's just the traditional thing to do.

    Sorry, that's a logical fallacy. The tradition is based entirely on the superstition aspect. If there was no folklore around the issue of #13 being unlucky, nobody would do it. The sooner it stops, the better, IMO - but I doubt if it ever will.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Mr Bunbury wrote:
    ....Last time I got 13 I pinned it on upside down and I'm not superstitious at all: it's just the traditional thing to do.
    You're not superstitious but you play along with a silly tradition based entirely on superstition. This is how all the worst traditions stay alive. This one is pretty harmless aside from the psychological cost but there's a principle at stake gosh darn it!
    Kill stupid traditions! How else are we going to rid the world of idiocy?..... No really, I mean it.
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    Imposter. Exactly what will be better if it stops sooner? And how?
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  • ju5t1n wrote:
    I’ve had number 13 a few times in our club TTs
    Hmm. That's suspicious, for a start.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,057
    buckles wrote:
    Imposter. Exactly what will be better if it stops sooner? And how?

    You do know that villagers no longer dunk witches, don't you? Same reason as that....
  • meesterbondmeesterbond Posts: 1,240
    Imposter wrote:
    buckles wrote:
    Imposter. Exactly what will be better if it stops sooner? And how?

    You do know that villagers no longer dunk witches, don't you? Same reason as that....


    Yeah, but that involved lots of innocent women dying. I'm not aware of any fatalities as a result of a number being pinned on upside down.

    It's a little bit of nonsense that just adds to the rich tapestry that is cycle racing.

    And it helps identify newbies so that older, crotchety club members can berate them for not 'following tradition'.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Imposter wrote:
    buckles wrote:
    Imposter. Exactly what will be better if it stops sooner? And how?

    You do know that villagers no longer dunk witches, don't you? Same reason as that....


    Yeah, but that involved lots of innocent women dying. I'm not aware of any fatalities as a result of a number being pinned on upside down.

    It's a little bit of nonsense that just adds to the rich tapestry that is cycle racing.

    And it helps identify newbies so that older, crotchety club members can berate them for not 'following tradition'.
    ...and you think those older, crotchety club members should be humoured?
    It's a principle that does matter.

    I suspect you'll think I'm a nut but if you look at the history and psychology of human behaviour it bears this out. Following silly traditions, even trivial stupid things like this, facilitates a groupthink culture where stupid and horrific things are acceptable. Dunking witches isn't a bad example but there's lots of more recent ones.
  • ratsbeyfusratsbeyfus Posts: 2,841
    Wow Ai... you're like some ultra-evolved super human being with ideas that this planet is not quite ready for. You really should become a race commissar. :D


    I had one of them red bikes but I don't any more. Sad face.

    @ratsbey
  • It begins with pinning your race number upside down and it ends with the brutal slaughter of Mamils at the cake stop.
    Superstition begins with pinning race number 13 upside down and it ends with the brutal slaughter of Mamils at the cake stop.
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    You're right, I'd better stop harmlessly turning my number upside down in case I turn into some mindless cult-following murderer
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  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    buckles wrote:
    You're right, I'd better stop harmlessly turning my number upside down in case I turn into some mindless cult-following murderer
    Thank you. I'd appreciate that.
  • I think it's OK to turn the number upside down - if the rider is superstitious s/he may be more likely to achieve their self fulfilling prophecy and may cause a crash by having the fear.

    For me 13 is just a number, however the human mind can create all kinds of issues especially where belief systems are in place.
  • janesyjanesy Posts: 148
    Well, my take is just try and avoid the number 13. It was my unlucky day yesterday in a 2/3 crit race.
    Worst race of the year by a long shot! - ive done 4 so far.
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  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,057
    The irony is that statistically, there is absolutely nothing to support the notion that '13' is any more 'unlucky' than any other number.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Imposter wrote:
    The irony is that statistically, there is absolutely nothing to support the notion that '13' is any more 'unlucky' than any other number.
    That's only because of turning the numbers upside down. :wink:
    If it wasn't for that there'd be dozens of fatalities every week!

    It's convenient that evil numbers can be outwitted so easily. It's just a shame some of us weren't aware of the dangers. On that point, could you fill in some gaps in my education on this important subject?

    Is it bad luck to just write or type 13 or what if you have a receipt or something in your pocket with the number 13 on it? Does the number understand context and only mess with you if you identify yourself as no.13? Is it gravity related? What's the tolerance on upside down-ness? i.e. Can you get away with mostly upside down but slightly crooked?
    We'll need to put together a detailed guide to help people minimise the risks of this hazard.

    You know actuaries are good at this sort of thing. I wonder is there anything in actuarial tables about insuring houses that are no.13 or cars with a 13 in the reg number? Anyone want to look into that and report back? :)
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,057
    Also - it's a wonder that any teenagers ever make it beyond their 13th birthday. I managed to survive my 13th year by standing on my head all year, and walking around on my hands... ;)
  • Rob85_Rob85_ Posts: 29
    It could be unlucky in the form of a negative placebo effect, possibly some can shrug off this mental effect by turning the number upside down.

    Only saying this because i'm watching "Horizon: Power of the Placebo".
  • Interestingly I raced this weekend in the London Bike Show Crit with the 4ths. Given number 13, the comm pulled me over in the warm up and asked if he could adjust the positioning of my number (I'd attached upside down per tradition)
    15 mins into the race punctured in 4/5, bearing in mind indoor circuit i thought this was bloody unlucky. When I pulled race top off the number was back the right way up.... How's that for luck.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    adamleech wrote:
    Interestingly I raced this weekend in the London Bike Show Crit with the 4ths. Given number 13, the comm pulled me over in the warm up and asked if he could adjust the positioning of my number (I'd attached upside down per tradition)
    15 mins into the race punctured in 4/5, bearing in mind indoor circuit i thought this was bloody unlucky. When I pulled race top off the number was back the right way up.... How's that for luck.
    Yes I see what you mean. Clearly there were supernatural forces at work.

    Your little anecdote is not interesting. It's irrelevant.
    Did all the other cyclists who punctured while wearing a number at the weekend think it was interesting and tell us their stories? No.
    And why not? Is it perhaps because they thought puncturing and having the number 12 were not linked?

    Go uncritically looking for a pattern you think exists and you will find it. This is not news. It is not evidence. It is fairy stories. It is fiction.....


    There is no mystery here
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