Saturday, May 06, 2006

Giro d'Italia Starts Tomorrow!

Don't forget the Giro starts tomorrow. This year's Tour of Italy features a great deal of climbing and (oddly enough) 4 days in Belgium...? Wacky Italians!

Gazzetta dello Sport has the official site:

Try cycling news here:

Try for Bob Roll's take on this year's course here:
and here:

OLN also has a live video stream of the racing, but it will cost you $20.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Weight Weenies

Back when I was working in bike shops for a living, there existed a creature that exhibited an obsessive compulsive desire to know the weight (in grams) of every bicycle part ever made. This creature was "The Weight Weenie". The weight weenie would ask questions such as:

Hey mister, which is lighter Dura Ace or Record?
Which should I buy the hakuna or the matata, which is lighter?

Even at my lightest, I tend to fall in the Clydsdale category of cyclists. There is almost never a time I can't stand to lose 10 (maybe more) pounds. These questions always amused me. I must admit a certain fetish with the lightweight tid bits like everyone, but there are some people who really get into this stuff and will spend hundreds of dollars to shave a few grams off their rides. Man, there aren't a whole lot of legal things that cost that much! Taking off the old love handles will drop some pounds off your ride and doesn't cost a thing - in fact think of all the beer money you will save.

Anyway, think i'm joking about the weight weenies? Cruise on over to: and see for yourself.

Now, how long will it take me to save for that Scott?

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Mud, Mud, Mud

That was the order of the day this weekend for my first reconnaissance ride on the C&O canal towpath. The towpath is a 184 mile off road trail between Cumberland Maryland and Georgetown in Washington D.C. The path is actually next to the canal which was originally used to float barges between those two centers of commerce with the help of mules and a series of locks. Most of the actual canal has been taken back by the forest now. The path is a combination of packed gravel and dirt, but much of it has been damaged by a variety of storms over the years resulting in widely varying degrees of bone jarring riding, which I discovered this weekend.

A locker room conversation with another 30 something, office working, family-man got us thinking of a one day canal attack...the whole 184 mile Monty in one day. I think I casually mentioned that I always regretted not participating in a one day ride that a bunch of guys did when I was working at a local bike shop just out of college. I always regretted not trying to do it so the idea for a sequel was born. I am a planner so the idea of some recon rides sounded good.

I hit the towpath around 7:00 on Sunday after a Saturday full of thunderstorms which drenched the path and turned a 10 mile section into a mud bog. The first 20 miles were spent hammering along in the big ring hitting on every cylinder. The mud bog section was a nightmare. Mud, then gravel, then hardpack, then mud, then gravel, then hardpack. On and on…ever try and maintain some speed through mud and 3 inches of gravel? I reached the turn around and took a break before heading back the 25 miles to my car. I hadn’t realized what a beating my knees and wrists had taken from the big gear, stop and start riding through the mud. The last 15 miles back through the mud bog were excruciating. All in all, I was pleased with the effort and felt good about the ride.

Here are some stats:
  • 50 miles of beautiful forested riding completed
  • 2 barn owls, 2 egrets, 2 huge woodpeckers, 3 deer, 8 ducks, 100 squirrels sent running for cover
  • 2383 calories burned
  • 1 pair of cycling gloves ready for the trash heap
  • 1 pound of mud caked on my bike
  • 1 night spent with Ben Gay and a heating pad

Here are some interesting C&O links:

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Moldy Turd or Golden Nugget? - Issue 2

eBay proves that there is great truth in the phrase "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Here is a random sampling of odd cycling related items for sale on eBay this week.

Can't bring your bike to Las Vegas?

Bring Las Vegas to your bike with this spinning message board for your wheels.


Look Ma' - no downtube!

Suspension bridge technology for your ride -sweeeet.

Anyone know what these are anymore...?

You guessed if folks - old school toe straps.

A very golden nugget indeed!

The perfect gift for all the smoking cyclists on your holiday list!

A desktop, mountain bike lighter.

Check back regularly for new issues of Moldy Turd or Golden Nugget?

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

2006 Paris Roubaix Shows George Hincapie How It Got It's Nickname

No matter what they call it, "The Hell of the North" or "The Queen of the Classics", the Paris-Roubaix race never ceases to offer bizarre enertainment value year after year. This year was no different. Poor George Hincapie - this was his year. He looked incredibly strong for the first part of the race and team Discovery rode a strategically perfect race. 17 riders in the break after the forest in Arenberg with three riders from Discovery and a very isolated World Champion Tom Boonen without another team mate in site. Then in one of the cobbled sections it looked as if Hincapie stood up on the bike. Next thing you know George is in the middle of one huge "oh shit!" moment. He veared off the rode with the bike out of control and then flipped end-over- end.

That left Leif Hoste and Vladimir Gusev for Discovery along with Boonen and Pete Van Petegem and the rest of the group. Well it turned out that one of the rest of the group (Fabian Cancellara of CSC) took an early break and managed to stay away from the group. Cancellara remained strong and turned into the velodrome alone for a very nice solo victory lap for the win. Next to enter the velodrome were Van Petegem and the two Discovery boys. Van Petegem ran up the banking trying to split the Discovery riders, but in the end he wasn't strong enough for Hoste who came around him. So then it was Hoste, Van Petegem and Gusev over the line. Next came Boonen sprinting hard for 5th to live up to his World Champion status.

Then in another bizarre twist, Jean Marie Leblanc disqualifies 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers Hoste, Van Petegem and Gusev for blowing through a closed rail road crossing. So it ends up with Cancellara for the win and Boonen 2nd.

In the follow-up interview Johan Bruyneel indicated Hincapie had a small crash near the start of the race prior to his catastrophic failure later on. The comentators were saying his handlebars snapped, but it looked to me like the whole steerer tube snapped. Really bad luck for George Hincapie - this was his year.

If you don't know about Paris-Roubaix, it is probably the single most punishing one day race on the pro calendar. With 27 cobbled sections totalling almost 53 km of cobbled riding, and a total race distance of 259 km it is a brutal race. Whether in throat choking dry conditions or slippery and treacherous mud, the Hell of the North always lives up to it's name.

I'll be rooting for you next year George!

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Madonna del Ghisallo - Patron Saint of Cyclists

In our car centered culture it can be hard to remember that we don't always carry around a protective carapace of 2 tons of steel. Everyone who rides a bike has stories of beer bottles pitched from pickups by yee-haw rednecks, or the just-learning-to-drive teenager squeezing them off the road.

I have never been the most devout person in the world but I do have my beliefs and feel that you can never have too much help or too many people looking out for you. For cyclists there is even a patron saint. Madonna del Ghisallo is the patron saint of cyclists (so decided by Pope Pius XII in 1949). The church and cycling museum of the Madonna del Ghisallo is located in Italy overlooking Lake Como. The museum contains bikes and jerseys donated by many pros thankful to the Madonna for looking out for them.

Besides my watch and wedding ring, my Madonna medallion is the only piece of jewelry I wear. So far, so good, I have not had a cycling incident since I started wearing it - even that time I took my hands off the bars in a downhill curving descent to get a GU gel... That particular piece of stupidity should have resulted in some oozing road rash.

Thank you Madonna del Ghisallo! I believe.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Brief Pity Party

Diagnosis: Asthma
RX: Advair, Singulair, Albuterol
Ah ha: Strength outpacing aerobic capacity makes more sense now. Hopefully the drugs will get the dude sitting on my chest the hell off now.

Bummin' :-(

Quotes of Note - Issue 3

"It doesn't get any easier, you just get faster."

- Greg LeMond

From the book The Quotable Cyclist by Bill Strickland

Monday, March 20, 2006

Filippo Pozzato Takes Milan-San Remo 2006 - La Primavera

Milan-San Remo is one of the earliest races of the season and is the longest classic race. The 2006 edition weighed in at a whopping 294 kilometers, that's 183 miles for you non-metric folks. This years winning average speed another impressive number 45.27 km/hour...28.13 miles/hour! There are little old ladies in my neighborhood who don't drive their cars 28.13 miles per hour! Milan-San Remo was first run in 1907 and was organized by Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. The organizers were not sure it was even possible to do.

I was watching the last half on OLN and the thing that blew me away was watching the guys in the last 10km hammering up the Poggio. I can't remember his name now, but this big dude from CSC was in the big ring going up the climb and was carrying so much speed in the corners he was nearly biting it all the way up. The big ring people?!? Well, all 162 finishers felt the miles deaden legs, and the searing pain of the climbs, but only Filippo Pozzato of Quick Step-Innergetic knows what the win feels like.

Some interesting facts about the race:
  • Italy has the most victories with 49.
  • The greatest number of wins is 7 by Eddy Merckx
  • Since the first edition in 1907, the only time the race has not been held was due to war in 1916, 1944 and 1945.

For more great facts, history, and stats about the Milan-San Remo race cruise on over to, this person did a really good job with the site.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Garmin Edge 305 Cyclometer - Installation

I managed to carve out some time to install the Garmin Edge 305 with cadence and heart rate on my road bike this morning. I have not had a chance to ride with it yet, but here are my installation and calibration thoughts.

  • Very easy to set up stem mount for main unit.
  • Very easy to set up cadence/speed sensor.
  • Very easy to calibrate and set up software.
  • Heart rate monitor picked up signal with no problems.
  • Cheap ass wheel magnet (used for speed calculation when unit cannot get satellite signal).
  • For a unit that retails for around $400, it is really cheap of Garmin to not include a second cadence/speed sensor.
  • Again, for a unit that retails for around $400, it is really cheap of Garmin to not include an additional stem and handlebar mount.
The unit will track data for 2 bikes - why don't they give you everything you need to make those bikes work the same?

Once I put in some miles, I will post likes and dislikes for the functionality.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Garmin Edge 305 Cyclometer - Very James Bond

If James Bond rode a bicycle, this would be his cyclometer.

I was able to circumvent my inner cheapskate today and scored a pretty good deal on a new Garmin Edge 305 cyclometer with heart rate monitor and cadence! I know, I know, I should smell the flowers and not concentrate on beating records, etc, etc, etc. I simply could not help myself. The Garmin Edge 305 with heart rate and cadence is one bad-ass computer.

Now pay attention 007! Here are some of the features:
  • Barometric altimeter for extremely accurate elevation and vertical profile data.

  • Auto Lap ™—automatically triggers a lap every time you pass a specified location or travel a preset distance.

  • Virtual Partner™—lets you "race" a virtual competitor, making training fun.

  • Courses—lets you "race" against a recorded course to try to match previously set speeds at every point along the way.

  • High-sensitivity GPS receiver—knows your position even in tree cover and canyons, making it extremely reliable for navigation.

  • Training Center: PC-based software (included) overlays ride data on a map and graphs speed, pace, heart rate, cadence and elevation. Create and schedule custom workouts or use workout templates and download to the Edge.

For the full list of features check out the Garmin website.

Once I receive it, install it, and most importantly, figure out how to use the thing, I will publish my review of it. It looks very cool - I just hope it turns out to be worth the $$$$!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I Want My Bike TV!

Here in the mid-Atlantic we are enjoying a brief break from our dreary winter. This weekend it is in the 70's and even though everyone knows winter is not over yet a cyclists thoughts can't help but turn toward spring.

The bike paths and roads are jammed with cyclists all with the same thought - "I'm sick of my fluid trainer, and i'm not going to take it anymore"!

To help you get through the rest of March and get syched up for the spring season, cruise on over to your TV and check out OLN's televised spring/summer racing schedule.

  • March 5 & March 12: Paris-Nice
  • March 19: Tirreno-Adriatico
  • March 19: Milan-San Remo
  • March 26: Criterium International
  • April 2: Tour of Flanders
  • April 9: Paris-Roubaix - GO! George GO!
  • April 23: Liege-Bastogne-Liege
  • April 23: La Fleche Wallonne
  • April 30: Tour de Georgia
  • May 7 & 14, May 21 & 28: Giro d'Italia
  • June 4 & June 11: Dauphine Libere
July..? What happens in July...?

This year OLN also has a cool new feature that allows you to sign up for email reminders of upcoming races televised on OLN.

*If anyone knows of additional televised racing, please leave a comment with the details....or radio shows, or podcasts.

Enjoy everyone! Spring is just around the bend!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Pimp My Bike

Naked Warrior Princess Down TubeDid you ever own a bike that rode great but had a paint job only a mother could love?

Do you regret stripping all the paint off in a misguided effort to look a little more gonzo-courier?

Just want a naked woman on your stem a 'la Mario Cipollini?

For 30 years the folks at CyclArt in Vista California have been doing some of the best paint and restoration work for bicycles in the business. They can handle leather saddle restorations too (for you old school Brooks lovers). From ghost flames, animal prints, fine art nudes, to my personal fav' the bamboo bicycle the folks at CyclArt can make your vision a reality. They also have a pretty good selection of vintage parts in their eBay store which proves you should never throw any bicycle part away now matter how moldy it is ;-)

I wonder if Xzibit is available for a new show...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Old School Bastard Visits "Fitness Center"

So I am traveling for work and decide to take advantage of the hotel exercise facilities. Gleaming chrome, rolled towels, bottled water, and a million bucks worth of exercise and video equipment. I am told by some of my less cheap-ass friends who actually belong to gyms, that this is the norm in gyms now. Every piece of cardio equipment has it's own television so you can tune it to your favorite program. Everything is gleaming and new and the latest in high tech. Call me a grumpy old bastard, but it's hard to get a real pump in a gym that is so clean you could eat off the floor. Be old school people, be hard, focused, and determined in your training - and don't let modern gym distractions lead you down a feeble path.

One more rant and I am done for now, I promise. Why, oh why do people make exercise bikes that are built like an easy chair? Man that thing I rode last night was a piece of crap. I could not adjust it to get in anything other than an Archie Bunker easy chair position, the console got in the way of a stretched out hand position, and the saddle looked like it came off a tractor. My ass was barking after riding that thing. Why do people think wider is more comfortable with regard to bike saddles? - That will be the subject of an upcoming post, I can feel it.

I am enjoying getting away, but my basement dungeon is sorely missed!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Brrr - Pass the Sheep!

Hey there, finally back online after a brief period of letting my priorities get all out of whack...imagine putting work before cycling. I must have been hit on the head. Anyway, on with the blog!

Here in the mid-Atlantic it is getting downright cold for cycling. Last weekend's ride was spent dodging frozen puddles on the road, but I kept my motor warm under a nice thick blanket of pure Merino wool. Yes indeed my friends, there is more to cycling clothing than that garish team logowear crap that you see every other person wearing. Now is a perfect time to ask WWED? What would Eddy do? What did Eddy do? He wore wool baby, pure Merino wool. Soft as the downy fuzz on Jessica Simpson's backside.

Why did Eddy wear wool? It is the best insulator available even when it gets wet from the elements or from your soft, pasty, out of shape ass sweating all over it. Vintage Velos sells replica wool jerseys, trainers, base layers, and casual clothing. I have two of the trainers which are a heavyweight wool without rear pockets designed to be worn over another jersey in really cold weather. They are replicas of team jerseys from two different teams that Eddy Merckx used to race for - Faema, and Molteni. They are very, very well made with heavy duty Riri zippers and are pre-shrunk. The designs are so timeless you can actually wear them as casual tops without feeling like an idiot. Check them out - makes a great Christmas gift for a cyclist.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Quotes of Note - Issue 2

"On the shiny black road that mounted through the pines as he left the hotel he felt the pull in his arms and shoulders and the rounding thrust of his feet against the pedals as he climbed in the hot sun with the smell of the pines and the light breeze that came from the sea. He bent his back forward and pulled lightly against his hands and he felt the cadence that had been ragged at first as he mounted begin to smooth out."

- Ernest Hemingway, "The Garden of Eden"

This is probably the most evocative description of cycling ever written.

From the book The Quotable Cyclist by Bill Strickland

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Devil Sightings at The Tour de France!

Put your hand on the screen and cast out the evil devil!
Ah screw it - embrace your inner devil.
Follow the lead of wacky German fan Didi Senft.

Didi is the guy in the devil suit running around the Tour with a pitchfork. Did you also know he is a fabricator of custom record setting bicycles? He has built more than 75 of his wacky machines including the world's largest rideable bike according to the Guinness Book of Records.

Why the devil costume?
"They always called the final kilometre of a criterium [stage] the red devil's lap. I never saw a red devil, so I became one."
- Didi Senft

PezCyling News has a great interview with Didi

Friday, August 26, 2005

Lance Armstrong l'Equipe Doping Allegations

"Pardon monsieur, but zehr seem to be a petite problem wis your pee pee."

This latest allegation from the French media is the biggest crock of crap I have ever seen. Come on! A seven year old sample that may or may not have been stored correctly and may or may not have been tested correctly is dug up and tested and reported as fact by a French sports newspaper? Here in the U.S. we have similar in depth analysis by some of our newspapers. The Star, Globe, and National Enquirer all have similar proof of alien sightings, wolf-boys, and the like.

It is unfortunate, but it seems to be human nature that we root for the underdog and try and tear down the people on top of their game. If you look at any sport there is always someone who has a combination of factors that leads them to dominate their sport for a period of time. It is easy to assume that the reason is because they somehow cheated or didn't play by the same set of rules as everyone else. The real reason is somehow hard to believe because it involves sacrifices most people are unwilling to make.

As a cyclist, I have read as much or more than most on Lance and his training and here is why I believe he is the most dominant Tour de France cyclist ever.

He is gifted genetically - Everyone is born with a certain genetic capacity. Even if two people follow the same training regimen, one will end up somewhat better than another. Lance was born with a great capacity that he has maximized through training.

He is a hyper-disciplined trainer - Look at some of the dietary and training programs that Lance sticks to year-round and not just in some months of the year. It is a strict regimen that most people, even elite athletes would have a hard time sticking to. It requires both physical and mental toughness to be that disciplined.

A new approach to training - Lance has taken a different approach to training and peaking than most cyclists do. He is a fanatical collector and analyzer of training data, dietary data, and new technology.

Excellent strategy and teamwork - Lance is always the first to credit his team and staff and particularly Johan Bruyneel. The combination has been very effective. They do not have the team wondering who the leader is, they have a clear focus and direction for the year, and they do not try and peak everyone for every race throughout the calendar. The Tour is the primary focus of Lance and the whole team.

I think it is hard for some folks to believe that these are the real reasons behind his success because at some level it really means that they (or the racers they like) have not trained as hard, have not sacrificed as much, and have not been as smart as Lance has been.

- Tom Skowronski aka Daddy Bike

Monday, August 22, 2005

Quotes of Note - Issue 1

"To prepare for a race there is nothing better than a good pheasant, some champagne and a woman."

- Jacques Anquetil on training

Winner Tour de France 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964

From the book The Quotable Cyclist by Bill Strickland

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Go, Go Gadget - Electric Shifter

So it looks as if Campagnolo is coming out with an electric shifting option that will shift both front and rear derailleurs. It is still unclear if this will ever hit the market. Given the dismal failure of previous attempts (namely Mavic's ZAP back in the early 90's) this may never see the light of day. Saeco used the electric shifting during the Vuelta a Espana in 2004. That fact combined with how refined and non-prototype looking the bits are at this stage make me think they are going to start offering this as an option soon. It is currently a wired system as Campy indicated they simply could not get a wireless system to work reliably without interference or cross talk with other systems.

Here are some pics of the system. Click to view full size.

More photos, comprehensive descriptions, and the state of development are available at cycling news.

While the design of this electric shifting system looks pretty bulletproof and pretty tidy too, I can't help wondering if the whole idea is a solution in search of a problem. It seems to me one of the great things about a bike is the mechanical simplicity. There are not many things that can go wrong with a bike that make it impossible to get back home (provided you have brought a minimal tool set along). While a failure in this system would not make it impossible to finish your ride, it introduces a point of failure in the shifting system which is generally not very prone to problems.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Tunes For Indoor Spinning - 08.15

Here is what I am listening to on the spinner this week. (8.15 - 8.19)
I know it is summer and I should be outside riding, but it has been hard to get out during daylight hours lately.

Listings are Track:Artist

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Can You Hear Me Now?

Race radio is sucking the suspense and drama from professional cycling. The directeur sits in the car monitoring the radios and TV coverage telling the riders what to do and when to do it. There was a great video that Nike put out a few years back that followed the postal team, in which Christian Vande Velde is talking about the radios and how you can be racing with your brain switched off and don't really know what to do without someone telling you. What if the UCI banned radio communication? Wouldn't that make the racing more exciting as the racers would have to assess the race and decide when to chase and when to attack and when to hold back. In any case, can you imagine listening to that drone all damn day!? Imagine Manolo Saiz screaming "Venga! Venga! Venga!" in your ear 10,000 times. For a little taste of the race radio experience, Cervelo has some great podcasts from the last tour, one of which includes some actual race radio audio. To subscribe to the Cervelo podcast, or to listen to individual audio segments, visit

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Pretty as a Picture

One of the things that the Tour de France has going for it that the other grand tours do not is the spectacular scenery. Those pretty pictures of the colorful peloton riding through fields of sunflowers or lavender, past old chateaux, and up into the majestic mountainside make it a spectators dream. For the last 25+ years the person capturing those pictures has been Graham Watson. Graham Watson's images are as much a part of the Tour as the commentary of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin. Graham's website includes photos from most major races, a great online store where prints can be ordered, and periodic free computer wallpaper. Take a look at Graham's website and you can almost hear Phil Liggett..."Armstrong is coming down the finishing straight like a grand prix motor car!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Moldy Turd or Golden Nugget? - Issue 1

eBay proves that there is great truth in the phrase "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Here is a random sampling of odd cycling related items for sale on eBay this week.

The items in this auction will convert your bike into a floating pontoon boat. The unit has a fin/rudder that attaches to your front wheel which allows you to steer, while a cable comes from the rear tire which propels the prop.

Looks like Snoop's ride. Check the stylin' baby Daytons.

2005 old style Huffy bicycle with 80 cc 2 cycle motor.
Gets 75 MPG, at 25 MPH!
The earliest motorcycles were built the same way - piggybacking on bicycles.

With the ubiquity of those little yellow bands, this just strikes me as funny...

Check back regularly for new issues of Moldy Turd or Golden Nugget?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Take a Bite Out of the Ass of Life

VO2 max, heart rate training zones, wattage output, lactate threshold, recovery time, split times, weekly distance, average speed, average cadence.


All of the measurements above have their place in helping you become as fit and fast as possible; what about helping you have as much fun as possible? Remember why you started cycling in the first place? Why was it so much fun when you first learned how to ride a bike? To maximize your enjoyment threshold, I recommend any of the following:

  1. Go slow and see how much you miss in training.
  2. Own at least one bike you can hop on without donning special shoes or shorts.
  3. Take your mountain bike out in the woods in a snowstorm. It is quiet as a church.
  4. Own something made by Phil Wood, and polish it daily.
  5. Ride a fixed gear - minimalist beauty, ballet, meditation, living in the "now".
  6. Cruise from coffee shop, to bookstore, to beach on a cruiser.
  7. Take your mountain bike to Davis W.V. it will thank you always - visit Blackwater bikes on Rt. 32 while you are there.
  8. Go as far as you can, then eat and drink everything you want.
  9. Burn up the rest of your tires doing skids and powerslides.
  10. Ride behind your lover and enjoy the view.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Smell That Fine English Leather

Click image to enlarge.For over 100 years J.B. Brooks & Co. Ltd. have been handcrafting unique leather bicycle saddles at their factory in England. The saddles produced by Brooks are the haute couture of aftermarket bicycle saddles. Each saddle is cut from the butt of the hide and will eventually mold itself to fit the rider like a glove.

My Swift (click the photo above to view it full size) is the best looking, most comfortable saddle I have ever owned. This racing model features hand hammered copper rivets joining the leather to a titanium frame. Even by todays standards this is a light saddle. Brooks makes saddles for all types of cycling, not just racing. Beauty does not come cheap, and saddles typically start at over $100 and go up to about $350.

While many modern day, spandex team gear clad, "how many grams can I save" riders will turn up their noses at the mention of Brooks, I think their saddles are works of art.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Bike Shop Bottom Feeders

Bike shop employees from coast to coast and around the world are familiar with the bottom feeder. He or she is the person who comes in to the local bike shop (LBS), and asks for advice, tries things on for size, and then makes their purchase online because they can get things cheaper there. Please people, do not become a BF! With all of the consolidation in the bike industry you see fewer and fewer truly small independent bicycle dealers, and more and more megalomaniacal Performance Bicycle type shops staffed by people who could just as easily be working at the GAP.

Small shops have larger overhead, get smaller discounts from distributors, and have less cash on hand than online retailers. What they do have are knowledgeable, passionate, folks who want to help you enjoy cycling as much as they do.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bisogno cambiá qualcossa de drio!

"Something must change in the rear!"

I beg your pardon!
No, I am not talking about your rear. If you have problems in that department you are not riding enough. Ride more or go see Dr. 90210.

These words were muttered by Tullio Campagnolo during a snowy bike race in Italy in 1927, and changed cycling technology forever. At that time racers could only change gears by removing the rear wheel and flipping it around to use the cog on the other side. This cumbersome process was made worse by the fact that the rear wheel was held on by screwing down two large wingnuts to hold the wheel in the frame. If the wingnuts got frozen in place by something like snow you couldn't change gears or fix a flat tire. Tullio got fed up and developed the first quick release lever. Great you say, but the gear change is still a real kludge. Tullio got fed up with that too and developed the first derailleur. These two ideas are arguably some of the most important in modern bicycle design.

For a complete history of Tullio Campagnolo surf on over to, and find the links to Campy history. They also have a great timeline and catalog archive. This site has more info than you can shake a stick at, and is a must read for the Campagnolo aficionado.

For an excellent resource for NOS Campy bits & pieces be sure to check out Need rubber friction shifter hoods, CROCE d'AUNE Delta brakes, or record titanium cassettes? - is the place for you my friend. Be sure to check out the repro Gios with super record - that bike was every cyclists wet dream back in the day.

For the latest shiz direct from the source, visit the shrine


Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Giant Sucking Sound

Do you hear that? Ross Perot was wrong. That giant sucking sound you are hearing is not the sound of jobs going to Mexico, it is the sound of U.S. cycling interest being sucked into some giant, frigid, black hole in deep space, now that Lance (like Madonna or Prince you don't even need to specify a last name anymore) has retired. More power to ya' my brother! After killing myself on a bike for 14 years, I would want to plant my ass on a beach and drink some beers for a while too. I hope that the interest in cycling that Lance Armstrong helped generate among the U.S. public stays high, but I have my doubts. His against all odds story and his absolute supremacy in le Tour commanded respect, but there are other interesting cyclists to follow folks. OLN has already started planning on scaling back coverage now that it is just a bunch of fer'ners in tight biker pants. Now that they don't have "the story", it's back to huntin' & killin' shows full time...yee haw!