Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Monkey Riding a Dog!!!!!

This reminds me of the first time I went mountain biking:

Roubaix Every Day

I'm a big fan of the Spring Classics, those one-day races across the roughest roads in Belgium and France, the ones that thrash the taint ride out of the sports hardest men. These races are bit like the cycling equivalent of cage matches. And cage matches are awesome.

So, when I'm thrashing my own taint all over Boston, in my ten-year-old brain I'm racing a cobbled classic.

And then the other day I was riding away from home. I'd taken a few days off to rest a knee injury, and as my front wheel found it's first potholes and cracks and bumps, I felt a sharp pain in my wrist. Ow. It fucking hurt. Then I realized that it was more or less the same pain I always feel, just more intense.

My body is beaten. I'm not ten anymore. I'm thirty-seven.

And Boston is a bit like the road to Roubaix. No, there aren't long stretches of murderous cobbles, but there are so many streets that have been ripped up and patched and ripped up and patched and ripped up and patched, that the net effect if pretty close to the same.

I wrote in the spring about how some of Northern Europe's cobbles literally came to the New World, as ballast in the hulls of trade ships, and then, once unloaded on these shores, were used to pave our roads. So, the pavé of Belgium are also the pavé of Boston, even though, in most places, they've been paved over.

Still, riding Boston is like riding Roubaix every day. I feel it in my knees and ankles, in my wrists and neck and shoulders. In some very small way, I am one of the hard men of Flanders.

You know, in my mind.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Friday Video on Saturday - More Horner

Just cause he's earned it:

Chris Horner prepares for the Tour de France

Friday, June 26, 2009

On Behalf of Chris Horner

I just have to comment on Astana's decision to leave Chris Horner off their Tour de France roster.

I just read Horner's blog in the Oregonian here, and I have to say that I really, really respect the calm, mature way he's analyzed and then accepted his situation.

It surprised me in reading the comments on the Oregonian site, that so many blame Alberto Contador for Horner's exclusion, because Contador insisted on taking ONE of his guys, Sergio Paulinho.

This seems ridiculous to me. Before Lance Armstrong decided to come back, Contador was the unquestioned captain of that team. It's only subsequent to LA's comeback that Contador lost so much political juice in the squad, and it's sort of an insult, for the top stage racer in the world, to be relegated to only brining ONE of his preferred domestiques.

If you want to blame someone for Horner's exclusion, I'd look first to his friend Lance (for throwing the team into relative chaos), then to Levi Leipheimer (whose fatigue after racing for too many GCs already this season probably warrants a rest), and then to Andreas Kloeden (who hasn't been in such dazzling form and has doping allegations hanging over his head back in Germany).

To my mind, as much as Leipheimer's form might be in question after a gruelling Giro, Kloeden's exclusion makes the most sense to me given the doping cloud hanging over his head. Two years removed from Astana's removal from the TdF after Alexandre Vinokourov's disgrace, I would have expected team management to be a little more sensitive to sending guys with any dubious doping problems to the sport's signature event.

And let me just say I have no idea what Kloeden did or didn't do. I've always liked him as a rider. I'm just saying, if I'm putting together a Tour roster from the Astana payroll I send Horner before I send Kloeden. Horner is in good form. He's incredibly astute tactically. He will kill himself for his captain, and he's shown he has a lot of gas left in the tank, a crash at the Giro notwithstanding.

And at 37 (my age too), this may be Horner's last chance to ride the Tour, and that makes me sad.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Something I love about bicycles - Part III

Department store bikes.

Yes. I know they suck. They're cheap and badly made. They tend to agglomerate around college neighborhood back porches. They rust. They creak. They go unlubed and unloved.

But, consider this. Not everyone appreciates an expensive bike. They're mainly interested in transportation, and I'd wager that cheap, department store bikes log more miles in this country than carbon fiber crotch rockets. I'd bet that there is FAR more point A to point B getting accomplished by shitty, low-cost bikes with non-functioning front shocks or oddly molded aluminum frames, than by the things that you and I ride.

We are the exception. They are the rule.

And I think they rule.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Video Twofer

Suck it, bitches! Go ride yer bike!

What?!?!? A third video!?!?!? You're welcome.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

So You Think You Can Bike?

My wife is watching So You Think You Can Dance? I don't want to say much more about that. Truthfully, I think it's a pretty good show, if you like shows where people work their asses off and then get ripped to shreds by a panel of obnoxious judges. It's like the slightly fruity equivalent of being jumped into a gang.

And anyway it got me to thinking of show called So You Think You Can Bike?

People would ride by me, and then I'd give them a critique. I'd say things like:

"When you bought the folding bike, did you imagine it would get you laid more? It's not working, is it? No. I didn't think so. And yeah, the wheels are small. I can see that."

"Can you just fucking lube your chain? Don't you hear that awful sound? Did you think crickets were following you where ever you go? Seriously, do you hate your bike? Why do you hate your bike? Don't argue with me. You DO hate your bike! No one who loves their bike would ride around without lubing their fucking chain! You don't even deserve that bike! Give it to me! Now go away!"

"Snow gear? It's 70. Do you know what you smell like? Seriously?"

"That's a nice bike. I see it has just one gear. It's fixed, isn't it? They're neat, aren't they? That bike looks Italian, too. It's a Colnago carbon frame? Wow. Wizard! Do you commute on that? How long is your commute? A mile? Whoa! A three thousand dollar fixie was a good choice. Please kill yourself."

No. No. No. I'm not that big a dick. I'm no hater. I'm just glad people are riding.

I can't wait....CAN NOT WAIT...to see my first folding fixie, though.

And at the end of my show I'd blow up a dirigible with a twelve gauge. THAT would make some good TV.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Video - Parkour

Parkour, or free running, is for freaks:

Things I Love About Bicycles, Part II

So this morning I was riding down the river, as is my wont, when I all of a sudden I rolled up on a guy with a fishing bike.


He had his tackle box in a basket on the front, and he had fashioned a rod holder out of an old head tube that was affixed to a rack on the back. It was amazing.

He was fishing for stripers and carp in the Charles on the way to work. Amazing.

He also had a portrait of William Tecumseh Sherman tattooed on his calf.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Something I love about bicycles - Part I

I really love those old guys you see riding along on ancient ten-speeds, wearing gardening gloves.

Cause here's the thing. Their hands are cold. They garden. They have gardening gloves (which are also cheap). That follows

Maybe they're on their way to garden.

Maybe they have a bad case of poison ivy and they don't want to have it last forever by passing it back and forth between themselves and their grips.

Or maybe they're just batshit crazy. They spend their days tying flies for fly rods they don't own. They have every newspaper from the last decade in their garage. They're building a fucking ark.

Whatever the case, I think they're awesome.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Despite the utter lack of bicycles

...this is a cycling video.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The decision not to decide

I read a lot of bike blogs. Lately I've been hoovering up the fixed-oriented blogs, but I also read some pro road blogs. I read stuff about cross, bmx, old English cruisers, mechanic blogs, product-related info. I read it all. And, invariably, I bring some of it back here to sift through.

What struck me recently, especially as regards all the fixed gear blogs sprouting, is that I can't imagine confining myself to one type of cycling. This blog can be pretty erratic, but I think that's a good thing. In my mind, cycling is about freedom, the freedom to escape, the freedom to wander, so that's what this blog tries to be.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A dream

I dream of living in a Holland-like place.

I dream of the Mass Ave Bridge being travelled only by bicycles and of the coffee shops being surrounded by piles of bicycles three deep.

I dream of excellent music playing from loudspeakers on every corner, of snow falling but never hitting the ground.

I dream of a chain that never needs lube, tires that never need air, legs that never need rest.

I dream of getting around the office by bicycle, the perfectly smooth linoleum floor squeaking under my rubbery weight.

I dream of living in a neighborhood where my kids can ride safely, where horns don't honk and brakes don't squeal.

I dream of running right the fuck out of oil and not caring at all.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Legs

Sometimes on Monday you have Monday legs. Monday legs are strong. Monday legs see a hill and attack it. Monday legs sprint for the light. Monday legs crank you off the curb. You always want to have Monday legs.

The catch is that if you use your Monday legs too much on Monday, you don't have them on Tuesday. You spend the rest of the week bashing your quads for more energy.

So on Mondays I try to ride hard but hold something back. In a perfect world, I use a little bit of Monday legs every day of the week, and then on Friday I wind it out on my way home. Sometimes I succeed. It's so cool to have Monday legs on Friday. You get that sprinting for the weekend feeling.

And then you go mtn biking on Saturday and drag yourself around the trails like a zombie, because jeebus bezeebus you gotta take a day off sometime. Don't you?