Monday, July 21, 2008

From the Mouth of God

Aside from reliving sexual conquests, playing the horses, and flaunting futuristic clairvoyance, one of the great benefits of having a WayBack machine is that you can visit people that you'd only read about in historical context or seen on shoddy transfers of old black and white moving pictures. All of these things are great. Truly. My favorite though, is going back to visit folks that I share a special bond with. Namely, Gino Bartali.

Gino "the Pious", was intriguing to me because he not only shares my appreciation for a good Italian red, but he also says he speaks regularly with God. Crazy? Probably. But if he does, I'm sure he's sitting with him right now, with a wide grin,talking about the drama of Le Tour. Or, maybe all the chaos that has befallen Belgium's favorite son. Perhaps contrasting that situation to the tribulations of ol' Job.

Anyway, seeing as how Gino's so close to the man upstairs, I figured I'd finally seize the moment to wring out some form of official bicycle do and don't list. One that's concise and would serve as a simple rulebook to help guide the wet behind the ears neophyte to the blundering putz with a fistful of credit. I'm happy to report that Gino did not disappoint. He didn't just settle for a few rules,he came back with ten. Go figure.

1. Thou shall not refer to your bike as "she", "he", or any other mortal name.

2. Thou shall not repaint or intentionally mar, befoul, or abominate any bicycle. ("Thus triathletes are resigned to a fate of eternal suffering and gnashing of teeth" - Gino Bartali)

3. Thou shall only lift your bicycle over your head for the purpose of storage or to throw it. Posing for pictures, or cheesing it up with tacky exhibitions of exhilaration are forbidden.

4. Thou shall not buy a wonder bike and brag about it at parties while it sits in a perpetual state of immobility.

5. Thou shall not bother thy mechanic or frame builder with lame, inept, uninformed, obnoxious, absurd, and depraved ideas on how to do his job.

6. Thou shall not seriously compare any rider to Eddy Merckx or Fausto Coppi.

7. Thou shall learn to fix thine own flats, oil thy chain, and learn to accept some dirt under thy fingernails.

8. Thou shall know when to replace thy steed and retire thy parts.

9. Thou shall tow the line of respect and not give in to the primordial wonts of lust and worship of exquisite bicycle frames and parts.

10. Thou shall not invest more time into reading, writing, buying, talking about, tinkering with, and otherwise stroking the bicycle than actually riding it.

To those that don't like the rules, Gino says "Ya basta!"

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