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BIKE TECH: Properly Pinning A Race Number to a Bike Jersey

A race number properly pinned to a jersey, using today's number pinning standards.

For those that pay great attention to detail, there is much more to pinning a bike race number to your jersey than meets the eye. Some people simply pin the number randomly on their side, back, or even front - and then there is the pro way to do it.

Now I'll admit that I recently renewed my USA Cycling race license for the first time since 2004, so things have changed a lot with the rules regarding how you are suppose to pin your numbers to your jersey (yes really).

The first thing I always used to do when I got a race number was crumple it up in my hands into a tiny little ball. This changed the number from a flat piece of paper to a flexible material that would perfectly conform to your jersey. Well I did this a few weeks back at a Cyclo Cross race and nearly got disqualified. I explained to the official that I had done hundreds of USA Cycling Races using this exact technique, but that it had been 6 years since my last sanctioned race. I was then told to go ahead and race, but to not crinkle my number in the future. Lesson learned: Do not crinkle up your number any more...

Also, these days race officials want your race number pinned on to the side/back corner of your jersey (as in the above image), rather than horizontally across one of your side jersey pockets. Pinning your number in this fashion allows the number to be visible when you're in the riding position and either from the side or back (which is where officials are usually viewing you at a finish line or as you pass by in a lap race).

Once you have your number location figured out, put the number on your jersey before you put your jersey on. Don't make your friend or team mate put your number on - no one really wants to do that. Pin the number on such that it won't be too tight when you put your jersey on.

In terms of how to pin the number on, I have a secret trick for you: Use 6 pins. You'll use one pin in each corner (poke the pins through the paper, not using the corner holes), and also one pin in the middle of the front and top edge of the number. Using pins in the front and top edge of the number will keep the paper number close to your body and prevent it from flapping in the wind. You could argue that this is more aerodynamic, saving you precious seconds in a race!

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