Saturday, March 24, 2007

Flamboyant Status

This photo came up in a conversation the other day. So, in honor of La Primavera this weekend, I post one of the most telling photographs of Italian professional cycling. These guys bleed machismo.

The riders are Alessio DiBasco ( l ) and the great Mario Cipollini. Photo: Graham Watson


1. F. Pozzato
2. S. Schumacher
3. J.A. Flecha


Thursday, March 15, 2007

The spring classics are almost here. Anyone that's ever ridden a bike their fair share should be aware of these races of power, filth, and heart. They are the legendary races that moulded the careers of icons like Sean Kelly, Gilbert Duclo LaSalle, Franco Ballerini, Johan Museeuw, Eric Vanderaerden, and world champion cyclocrosser, Adrie Van Der Poel.

Simply mentioning these races conjures up ominous images of dark beasts powering through cobbles, mud, and shit. Each rider trying to hold the wheel of the next, grim faced with eyes focused ahead. Merckx, De Vlaeminck, Godefroot, Moser, Maertens, Kuiper, Raas. The riders today still race over the same cobbles as the names of a bygone era.

A rider that wins one of the greater races, like Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, or Milan-SanRemo is a man that can forever rest on his laurels. They are often referred to as "inhuman" while in pursuit of victory. They drive huge gears that would turn any chump that says they average 25 mph into a snivelling bush of dangling clinkers.

Some of the newer guys on the scene are Tom Boonen, Magnus Backstedt, Juan Antonio Flecha, Filippo Pozatto, Nico Mattan, and Fabian Cancellara. Dudes you undoubtedly would never mention your training rides and max wattage to.

If you don't know about the spring classics. You'd do well to know more about them. Lance would be disappointed if you didn't

"A Paris-Roubaix without rain is not a true Paris-Roubaix. Throw in a little snow as well, it's not serious." - Seán Kelly

"When you attack in Paris-Roubaix, you don't have to think. It doesn't take five minutes to work it all out. You just do what feels right at the moment." - Johan Museeuw

"Paris-Roubaix est une connerie" translating "Paris-Roubaix is bullshit"-

Bernard Hinault

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Finally pulled the trigger and got a bike for the wife. I built a Surly 1x1 with mostly donated (big shout out to Feeves) parts. Dia-Comp 986 brakes, MKS cross pedals, Surly rear hub married to a Mavic M261 CD rim. The crank, stem, and bars are pure monetary practicality.

The idea for the bike was a commuter. Nothing more. Let the cries of disparity between the Pegoretti and Surly rest. I am admittedly a greedy, self-absorbed bastard. But I'll be damned if I'm not a little envious of the fat tire capable commuter that sits behind me at this very moment.

I haven't a bike that isn't 700c. And what I do have only allow up to 23's which are dicey as hell in the wintry conditions of Chicagoland. Strange to say, but I almost miss my old commuter. All 35 odd pounds of it.

I was thinking a cross bike this fall, but I will have to reassess my options. A 2x9 is of keen interest also. I always liked the idea when Ritchey had the scheme going.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

My ass is killing me.

Pro racing is hard stuff. I did my share of amateur racing here in the Midwest for seven years. I wasn't too bad, but never really stood out either. I rode with alot of guys that wanted to become Pros. I never seriously entertained the idea. Being a pro is alot harder than being a bike mechanic or a CEO.
I crashed a few times in those racing days. I even tore up my right ass cheek and rung my bell like the poor sap above (photo credit to the great Graham Watson, check out his link to the right).
Getting up after a crash was never really a problem. Crawling into the shower to wash off the day's blood and grime was the hard part. Lots of beer and a few Advil did little to dull the sting of the hot water and scrub brush cleaning the raw flesh of tar and grit. "AAAAhhhhh, Fuuuuuu@#%$#$%##@@#$!!!!".
I miss racing regardless of the blood letting. Au contraire, mon freire. I miss the suffering.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Above you'll find photos from the North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show. Below you'll find the link to more cool photos at

NAHBS is the show of true framebuilders that create the stuff that layers of carbon and a tub of glue have a hard time imitating. No assembly line bike can ever become what these bicycles have always been.