Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mad Props Vol. 16

Petit Charly en route to a second straight stage victory in Le Tour.

Little Charly Mottet was my favorite rider back in the early 1990's. I had an affinity or all things French back then. Gitane, Peugeot, Mavic, Time, Miroir du Ciclisme, etc., stimulated a yearning in my impressionable young mind for that romantic mise en scène I'd seen in old photographs. The ones in which gallant riders were ensconsced in a Gaoloises induced fog of european sophistication as they sipped espressos in wool jerseys and black leather shoes. Mottet was clad in lycra, but that did nothing to supress my idealized version of the euro-pro lifestyle.

Charly was a little guy. A grimpeur and a fighter. He had the attributes that any grand tour hopeful needed to challenge for the throne. He was a capable time trialist, a frisky climber, and held his own on the long flat stages with high speeds and brisk winds.

Mottet and his crooked teeth inspired me for many miles as I emulated him astride my Mavic SSC (Modolo calipers and painful levers, not the Dia-Compes with mushy hoods) equipped Gitane RS in an ill fitting RMO jersey and Time equipe shoes. I also sought, and failed, to acquire the Liberia bike that he rode in 1991.

Petit Charly retired from cycling with 65 career victories including the Dauphine Libere (3), Grand Prix des Nations (3), Tour of Romandie, Championships of Zurich, Tour of Lombardy, and 3 stages in le Tour (with back to back wins in the 1991 edition.) He also finished 4th overall in le Tour in 1987 and 1991.

Allez, Petit Charly! Mad props.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Been There

Yeah, I rode GL280's.

Upon reading the fine Sonofzonebaby writings, I came across a reference to the great Look KG series. The two words "Look KG" jarred the rusty gears of my feeble memory into motion. Slowly it came to me. I remembered that I actually had one those fine machines. Raced one, even. It was kind of a black and blue and...no... It was carbon! Carbon weave with red, blue, and white squares and rectangles with a little scribble that said "Ceramic" and some blocky letters denoting it's racing pedigree. And lugs!

Above you can see my glorious Bernard Hinault Team Replica KG96. As you can see by the grainy visage and lack of detail, it was fast. That, or I snapped a lousy shot of a perfectly good photo by my old mate Phil. Either way, it was fast enough to cause me to reach out to my bulbous 7400 levers to slow that ship down.

Here's one caught standing still. Like a noble giraffe gracefully dressed in Tullio C. and S. Marco, forever frozen in time on the African Serengeti. Could this splendored beast have toiled under the gargantuan thighbones of Lennard Zinn?

My KG was bought used through my other old pal Tomas. It was $300 (a benefit of living not too far from the conspicuous consumption capital of the Midwest: Highland Park, IL.) that I barely had back in 1994. I was flat broke, but no matter. I was getting a lightweight, cutting edge bike with low miles and a moniker that was Tour proven by the likes of Bernard "The Badger" Hinault and Greg "Make a Run For the Border" LeMond. I couldn't wait to build that sleek, French steed up with some shiny bits and box section hoops.

For some reason I betrayed years of Campagnolo dedication to Dura Ace. I think the team all had the Japanese stuff, so being the heady young neo-pro in waiting I was, I figured wheel interchangeability was the PRO choice. Bernard would have done the same thing, I thought.

A year later I moved from my state of the art carbon superbike to something newer. A Dedaccai ZeroUno tubed Steelman Stage Race. I kept the Look around for a few more years and like so many bikes since, I passed it along to another two wheeled dreamer. Likely, for some scrilla to pay the bills, put gas in the tank, and a double dime in the pipe.

That KG96 was badassery deluxe though.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cable To Hang Yourself With

If the €250 price isn't enough to make you drop a casaba melon sized turd, perhaps the convoluted sizing protocol of the Vertebrae cable system will help release those b-flaps.

I've experienced the results of a few compressionless setups and, while marginally superior to the old housings I've used, they're frankly not that big of a deal. Nor do they "blow away" the standard quality cable and housing setups (unless it's that Giant OEM shit) as some forum writers might lead you to believe, so long as they're properly cut and routed.

I'd be willing to pony up for the Yokozuna Reaction kit, seeing as how I used to spend a day's pay on the Campagnolo cable and housing ropes back in the day. But, €250? Someone get me a diaper.

Edit- If anyone has real world experience with these let me know in the comments page. I've yet to use them and still remain skeptical, but I'm open to any feedback you may have. Positive or negative.

I also must admit that I flagrantly disregarded the cardinal rule of bike shops: Don't bitch about the price. If there's one thing that made me go Mr. Hyde, it was those goddamn price whiners. And now, to be one of them, it hurts. It hurts real bad.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Tommeke takes the cakes this year. Again. An inopportune crash by Juan "What the hell just happened" Antonio "Better stay away from them Lotto boys" Flecha took out my pick Leif Hoste and threw water on the hot pursuit of the merry band of chasers only meters behind Tornado and Thor. Thor was next to kiss the pave' as Tom rode away with another brick for his mantle.

Some might want to consult DeVlaeminck to learn how to handle the kocicihlave' (that's Czech, friends.) A win will be hard to come by with coordination as janky as that.

But, in the end, that's racing. Racing at it's finest.

And man... Is Boonen the shit or what?