Sacred Flemish grime covered our bikes.

La Vie Velominatus: Saleté Sacrée

La Vie Velominatus: Saleté Sacrée

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A Velominatus maintains their machine with meticulous care, doting over it daily. A bicycle is a tool, but it is also a work of art, and serves us loyally in pursuit of our craft. We love them as though they were alive; as we grow together, the cracks and lines formed upon both our skins signifies the journey that has passed beneath our wheels.

A clean bicycle with a boastful luster inspires pride; I find myself constantly fighting the urge to carry mine upstairs to sit by the dinner table each time it has been cleaned, the bar tape freshly wrapped, or any old component swapped for a new one. I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a thing or two to say about it; I know the VMH does.

And yet, there are times when it pains me to clean my machine. After our first day on the Cobbles of Roubaix on Keepers Tour 2012, I left my bike dirty for two days because I couldn’t bring myself to rid her frame of the sacred dust that had accumulated after a day’s hard riding over some of the most hallowed roads in the world. A week later, I suffered the same condition the day after riding the route of De Ronde through hail, rain, and wind which left our machines covered in mud, manure, and Merckx knows what else. I think some part of me hoped the Flemish spirit held within all that grit would somehow be absorbed by my bike, that it would somehow help complete her soul.

But this kind of sacred dirt, the kind we don’t want to wash from our steeds, isn’t found only on the holy roads of Northern Europe. I found myself with the same reluctance to clean my Graveur after riding Heck of the North this year; a race held outside a small Northern Minnesota town nearly half a world from Flanders. I also serendipitously found photos Pavé William took of his Rosin after riding the Strade Bianche, documenting the covering of white dust upon its tubes. This condition afflicts us all, it would seem.

Any dirt becomes holy when we’ve suffered through it, when it took something from us in order to find its way onto our bikes and clothing. Sacred Dirt it is created spontaneously after prolonged exposure to The V.

Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// La Vie Velominatus // The Bikes

  1. @jeremy kershaw

    As keeper of the Heck of the North, I am beyond honored to share gravel in the same sentence with the truly great events of this sport. Thank you for witnessing what we have in this corner of the world.

    What you have done with the Heck is such a fun contribution to cycling. Plus, it gives sods like us shit to write and talk about. So thanks again. But let’s not talk about this corner of the world, we don’t need any more people.

  2. @Marko

    @Buck Rogers Forgive me if this comes off as comparing my experiences to yours in service as mine do not compare. That said, I can relate to the boot story. I bought a new pair of Red Wing classic mocs this spring before this summer’s expedition. They were my wet boots, every day, for 70 days, and 1200 miles. They will never be the same again and I can’t bring myself to try to bring them back. They’re shriveled and worn and tell many stories. Now they sit.

    Not at all! It’s the imbued feeling that one has from experiences like this that Frank captured so well that I had to share it. I know I can sound like an ass some of the times around here (most of the times?) but I am not trying to enter any dick measuring contest of who is cooler or who has done more, better, longer, etc. It’s all about the experiences and I totally get yours. Some things just become sacred secondary to their associations. Your shoes, my shoes, it’s all in the same vein.

  3. @Marcus Don’t bother calling ’em! I’ll take a smiling woman with crow’s feet over a botox’d, uptight one anyday! MUCH more fun!

  4. @Marko

    @Buck Rogers Forgive me if this comes off as comparing my experiences to yours in service as mine do not compare. That said, I can relate to the boot story. I bought a new pair of Red Wing classic mocs this spring before this summer’s expedition. They were my wet boots, every day, for 70 days, and 1200 miles. They will never be the same again and I can’t bring myself to try to bring them back. They’re shriveled and worn and tell many stories. Now they sit.

    What are you doing, buddy? Don’t you know boots like that are only to be worn to the bar with pricey denim, rolled up just right? Who uses boots or outdoor gear for…the outdoors? You gotta reappropriate that stuff, workwear is now high fashion.

    Right on, Buck! It’s bizarre what has become “attractive” in the modern woman. All those weird reality shows on t.v. (which I don’t have), but they’re hard to ignore with the internet, grocery line magazines, the liquor store…they have “signature” boozes now!

    Signs of life, those are what make people unique and women attractive.

  5. Is it still sacred if it’s more on your face than on your whip?

    @gaswepass (l) @scaler911 (r). hangers on in the background. Photo by J.L. (used without his permission, but he probably won’t care or will make me suffer on his wheel at a later date)

  6. Hit the nail on the head as always Frank! I have just completed a 160km charity ride at the tail end of last week. Encountered roads full of twigs, wet leaves, grit, stones and cow shit pretty much the entire route. Took me until yesterday to bring myself to clean it off, such was the sense of pride in getting it to that state. Once done though I must say that I felt a deep love for my trusty number one once more…

  7. @scaler911 Awesome photo! And no lack of crow’s-feet-creating faces there!

  8. @Marcus

    @Buck Rogers

    your story has given me a lot of relief. I used to think that really hot chicks often looked disinterested when they were around me because they weren’t interested in me.

    Now i find out that they were just trying to delay their crow’s feet.
    I got some phone calls to make.

    Off to tell my missus that I have discovered her secret – its not me at all!

    @Frank another great piece of writing revealing yet another fundamental truth about how our brains work. I have similar experiences with smeared and stained kit that seem to miss the wash that subconsciously I must consider battle scars.

  9. @Gianni

    For someone like you to leave your bike dirty, it has to be some very important dirt.

    The Roubaix dust ranks right up there.

    Its hard to photograph dust in a meaningful way, but the same thing happened again this year.

    [dmalbum: path=”/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/frank/2013.10.22.11.20.51/1//”/]

    The winter riding on the north shore of Maui guarantees some rain, grit and some sun. It’s almost not worth giving the bike a complete gleaming wash knowing it’s going to get covered in grime the next time out. So I admit to sometimes returning from Sunday ride quite spent, hose off the majority of shiet, dry off chain and wait until later for a foamy wash. Forgive me Eddy, I’m a bad man.

    I admit to doing the same when commuting by bike in winter; a full cleaning just seems to pointless. But none of that dirt or grit is sacred, it’s just nasty crap that should be pulled off the machine as soon as you can get to it.

  10. @Buck Rogers, @Chris

    @Buck Rogers Powerful contrasting stories about the value we place on things. Chapeau.

    Seconded. Amazing. While nowhere near the same level of importance, I do hold this same philosophy with most of my gear that I use; stains and tears and scrapes and scratches all serve as reminders for the journey, especially if the journey was meaningful or took something dear from us. Its a shame to wipe those memories away for the sake of keeping something pristine.

  11. @Marko, @Nate

    @Marko It was nothing like the Heck but I had to overhaul my BB after Eggtimer’s Gran Fondo, due to the unpaved portion of the ride. It was a most rewarding bit of wrenching.

    I’m still waiting on my headset bearing after Heck (the shop didn’t order the right one). I even lost my chain to the cause. I had to pull the brakes apart and clean out the grit and grease the bushings. Amazingly destructive.

    @Ron

    Aside from the bicycles, what about our own bodies. After some particularly wet or muddy rides I find myself reluctant to wash my legs, enjoying how the Guns look from lower thigh to lower leg, the grit contrasted against my clean feet and upper thighs.

    If the ride was cold, I’ll clean up immediately just to keep from getting sick, but I will proudly stare at my Flemish Tanlines as the water washes them away.

    @Pedale.Forchetta

    That’s the way it is.

    High praise. Thanks.

  12. @Marcus

    @Buck Rogers

    your story has given me a lot of relief. I used to think that really hot chicks often looked disinterested when they were around me because they weren’t interested in me.

    Now i find out that they were just trying to delay their crow’s feet.
    I got some phone calls to make.

    Not so fast. It is also difficult to smile while holding back the gag reflex.

  13. @frank I think it is the same feeling of attachment that makes me completely incapable of throwing away worn out or crash damaged bike parts. My garage has a growing collection of chain ring, disc rotors and handlebars adorning various nooks and crannies. Those things were there for me on the journey and have earnt the right not to be consigned to the bin.

  14. @jeremy kershaw

    As keeper of the Heck of the North, I am beyond honored to share gravel in the same sentence with the truly great events of this sport. Thank you for witnessing what we have in this corner of the world.

    It deserves its place there, not to mention that it speaks to the true spirit of Cycling.

    @Marko

    @jeremy kershaw

    As keeper of the Heck of the North, I am beyond honored to share gravel in the same sentence with the truly great events of this sport. Thank you for witnessing what we have in this corner of the world.

    What you have done with the Heck is such a fun contribution to cycling. Plus, it gives sods like us shit to write and talk about. So thanks again. But let’s not talk about this corner of the world, we don’t need any more people.

    Don’t worry, the shit winters will keep the riffraff out. Same goes for Seattle, to a lesser extent.

  15. @Buck Rogers

    @Marko

    @Buck Rogers Forgive me if this comes off as comparing my experiences to yours in service as mine do not compare. That said, I can relate to the boot story. I bought a new pair of Red Wing classic mocs this spring before this summer’s expedition. They were my wet boots, every day, for 70 days, and 1200 miles. They will never be the same again and I can’t bring myself to try to bring them back. They’re shriveled and worn and tell many stories. Now they sit.

    Not at all! It’s the imbued feeling that one has from experiences like this that Frank captured so well that I had to share it. I know I can sound like an ass some of the times around here (most of the times?) but I am not trying to enter any dick measuring contest of who is cooler or who has done more, better, longer, etc. It’s all about the experiences and I totally get yours. Some things just become sacred secondary to their associations. Your shoes, my shoes, it’s all in the same vein.

    Marko, you weren’t getting shot at, but you paddled a canoe from your house to the Hudson Bay, navigating your way along in the wilderness with little if any support. You could easily have been hurt or killed. I think your experience fits very high on the Scale of Awesome.

  16. Two words: ritualistic washing.

    These is much more to this than meets the eye. I too obcess over keeping a pristine machine. I scoff with some indigntaion over the popular notion that you shouldn’t use high pressure water to clean a bike, because “the pressure will force water and grit into places where lube goes.” Well, just get the dirt of out those places, and put new lube in where it belongs. Yes, this can take a while. Clean, yes. Destroy functionality, no.

    However, dirt in mechanisms degrades their performance, and shortens their lifespan. But news flash – all the moving parts will need to be replaced eventually anyway. Ride your Fucking Bike, and accept that parts can be replaced. The memory of those rides is *forever.* The dirt, as you say, is a badge of sucess.

    There is no such thing as an uncleanable bike.

  17. @scaler911

    Is it still sacred if it’s more on your face than on your whip?

    @gaswepass (l) @scaler911 (r). hangers on in the background. Photo by J.L. (used without his permission, but he probably won’t care or will make me suffer on his wheel at a later date)

    You’ve done well with your Pedalwan there; @gaswepass doens’t look nearly the tit he did on the Cogal a few years back. Strong work.

  18. @eightzero

    Two words: ritualistic washing.

    These is much more to this than meets the eye. I too obcess over keeping a pristine machine. I scoff with some indigntaion over the popular notion that you shouldn’t use high pressure water to clean a bike, because “the pressure will force water and grit into places where lube goes.” Well, just get the dirt of out those places, and put new lube in where it belongs. Yes, this can take a while. Clean, yes. Destroy functionality, no.

    However, dirt in mechanisms degrades their performance, and shortens their lifespan. But news flash – all the moving parts will need to be replaced eventually anyway. Ride your Fucking Bike, and accept that parts can be replaced. The memory of those rides is *forever.* The dirt, as you say, is a badge of sucess.

    There is no such thing as an uncleanable bike.

    Awesome post.

    One point, the problem with the pressure washer is that for the most part, the bearings are sealed and the water molecules are smaller than the dirt, so the pressure washer doesn’t remove any dirt from the bearings (because it wasn’t in there) but the water pushes in past the seals and rusts the balls inside.

    But you’re in good company; the pros use them all the time – although they swap bearings more regularly than we do.

  19. @frank

    @eightzero

    Two words: ritualistic washing.

    These is much more to this than meets the eye. I too obcess over keeping a pristine machine. I scoff with some indigntaion over the popular notion that you shouldn’t use high pressure water to clean a bike, because “the pressure will force water and grit into places where lube goes.” Well, just get the dirt of out those places, and put new lube in where it belongs. Yes, this can take a while. Clean, yes. Destroy functionality, no.

    However, dirt in mechanisms degrades their performance, and shortens their lifespan. But news flash – all the moving parts will need to be replaced eventually anyway. Ride your Fucking Bike, and accept that parts can be replaced. The memory of those rides is *forever.* The dirt, as you say, is a badge of sucess.

    There is no such thing as an uncleanable bike.

    Awesome post.

    One point, the problem with the pressure washer is that for the most part, the bearings are sealed and the water molecules are smaller than the dirt, so the pressure washer doesn’t remove any dirt from the bearings (because it wasn’t in there) but the water pushes in past the seals and rusts the balls inside.

    But you’re in good company; the pros use them all the time – although they swap bearings more regularly than we do.

    Concur: because the pros get all their bearings (and everything else) free. And when you don’t have to spend your own quid on replacements, you spend more time Working For The Man, less time riding. Unless you’re loaded, and then you can ride all you want, and you don’t care that you’re destroying functionality. But hey, all the pros had to start somewhere, right? I mean, nobody who is rich just becomes a pro? She put in all her dues as a working girl first, right?

  20. One of the best things about my new house: a back yard where I can hose my bike off with the “mist” setting and then dry it off. Cleaning my bike takes waaaaay less time than it used to when I lived in a apartment.

  21. @frank

    @eightzero

    Two words: ritualistic washing.

    These is much more to this than meets the eye. I too obcess over keeping a pristine machine. I scoff with some indigntaion over the popular notion that you shouldn’t use high pressure water to clean a bike, because “the pressure will force water and grit into places where lube goes.” Well, just get the dirt of out those places, and put new lube in where it belongs. Yes, this can take a while. Clean, yes. Destroy functionality, no.

    However, dirt in mechanisms degrades their performance, and shortens their lifespan. But news flash – all the moving parts will need to be replaced eventually anyway. Ride your Fucking Bike, and accept that parts can be replaced. The memory of those rides is *forever.* The dirt, as you say, is a badge of sucess.

    There is no such thing as an uncleanable bike.

    Awesome post.

    One point, the problem with the pressure washer is that for the most part, the bearings are sealed and the water molecules are smaller than the dirt, so the pressure washer doesn’t remove any dirt from the bearings (because it wasn’t in there) but the water pushes in past the seals and rusts the balls inside.

    But you’re in good company; the pros use them all the time – although they swap bearings more regularly than we do.

    My LBS always say that the love people who use pressure washers. Work creation for them!

  22. @frank When can we (I) get that photo of the sacred-soiled golden ticket as a VVallpaper? I don’t ever want to stop looking at it but I either have to a.) get back to work b.) go ride a bike or c.) pay attention to the wife.

    @Buck Rogers You, and your giant swinging dick, are on my list of people to whom I feel obligated to buy a drink.

    And you paddled to fucking Hudson Bay from Minnesota?? @Marko I need to add you to that list too.

  23. Great featured photo of the Ambrosios – it got picked up by the Show Me The Bike blog by the way.

  24. Sacred dust in 2014 TdF?

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/five-mountain-finishes-for-2014-tour-de-france

    Stages in northern France are expected to remember the 100th anniversary of the start of the first world war, while also remembering Tour de France riders Octave Lapize, Francois Faber and Lucien Petit Breton who all died in the conflict.

    Up to six sectors of pave could be included in the stage according to Tuttosport, possibly including the terrible long section of the Forest of Arenberg.

  25. Back in the 90’s (1998?) when MTB racing, one event was rainy and course was muddy as. The pot holes were so deep you did lose your front wheel in it. The race was more of a challenge/obstcle course. Heaps of fun. After the race looking at our bikes and we loved the build up of bog all over, but it wasn’t going in the car like that. No hoses, no high pressure cleaners, only a fast running river running fast. We rode down into the water, full kit and submerged the steeds in the water. Came out clean as, dissappointed the mud had to come off. I still haven’t taken the MTB apart. Kept the chain lubed though.

    Forgive me for my Rule #65 sin, but it was fun and we still talk about that race to this day! The mud sticks in our minds!

  26. @frank

    I admit to doing the same when commuting by bike in winter; a full cleaning just seems to pointless. But none of that dirt or grit is sacred, it’s just nasty crap that should be pulled off the machine as soon as you can get to it.

    My usual winter cleaning amounts to just clearing the ice/slush off of any moving surfaces (drivetrain and wheels mostly). I do also do complete frame-off overhauls periodically with degreaser baths and such.

    @frank

    @eightzero

    Two words: ritualistic washing.

    These is much more to this than meets the eye. I too obcess over keeping a pristine machine. I scoff with some indigntaion over the popular notion that you shouldn’t use high pressure water to clean a bike, because “the pressure will force water and grit into places where lube goes.” Well, just get the dirt of out those places, and put new lube in where it belongs. Yes, this can take a while. Clean, yes. Destroy functionality, no.

    However, dirt in mechanisms degrades their performance, and shortens their lifespan. But news flash – all the moving parts will need to be replaced eventually anyway. Ride your Fucking Bike, and accept that parts can be replaced. The memory of those rides is *forever.* The dirt, as you say, is a badge of sucess.

    There is no such thing as an uncleanable bike.

    Awesome post.

    One point, the problem with the pressure washer is that for the most part, the bearings are sealed and the water molecules are smaller than the dirt, so the pressure washer doesn’t remove any dirt from the bearings (because it wasn’t in there) but the water pushes in past the seals and rusts the balls inside.

    But you’re in good company; the pros use them all the time – although they swap bearings more regularly than we do.

    This is why cup and cone is better than cartridge. I actually enjoyed redoing the BB and wheels on my old bike. If I ever get around to wheelbuilding, it is going to be cup and cone for me.

    @eightzero

    But hey, all the pros had to start somewhere, right? I mean, nobody who is rich just becomes a pro? She put in all her dues as a working girl first, right?

    But she has crow’s feet, which I learned from this discussion makes her real! Seen here in this photo where she is obviously foreclosing someone’s house.

  27. During the Monsoon we had a few weeks back, some ‘cross racing happened and some gear got destroyed.

    (photo by Matt Lasala)

  28. after every ride on my mountain bike I contemplate putting it in the shower for a wash. never happens and the thing is filthy. I do clean the chain and cables though.

  29. Me on the right and my friend Karl on the left. We had just completed the first stage of the Oklahoma MS150 – 85 miles on Saturday (9-21-13) and got dressed to impress and drink some well deserved beer. I finished the ride the next day (my longest weekend to date 150 miles) But I made certain to represent.I just started road cycling this year.

  30. @MDB

    Me on the right and my friend Karl on the left. We had just completed the first stage of the Oklahoma MS150 – 85 miles on Saturday (9-21-13) and got dressed to impress and drink some well deserved beer. I finished the ride the next day (my longest weekend to date 150 miles) But I made certain to represent.I just started road cycling this year.

    Good for you! Keep up the good work and the strong sense of fashion.

  31. @Barracuda

    This is one of the greatest photos pasted up here in a long time. Merckx forbid your house ever burns down, but if it does, this pic is at the top of the rescue list.

  32. @sthilzy

    Sacred dust in 2014 TdF?

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/five-mountain-finishes-for-2014-tour-de-france

    Stages in northern France are expected to remember the 100th anniversary of the start of the first world war, while also remembering Tour de France riders Octave Lapize, Francois Faber and Lucien Petit Breton who all died in the conflict.

    Up to six sectors of pave could be included in the stage according to Tuttosport, possibly including the terrible long section of the Forest of Arenberg.

    YES, YES, YES!!! The Pave’ will feature in ’14’s TDF!!! 15.4 k’s of pave’ and, although they have not supposedly officially announced which sections, they are supposed to include Arenberg, carrafour de l’arbe and mons-en-pevele. If those are truly sections included, this will be EPIC!!! No hiding on those stones, boys!

    Also some great mountains top stage finishes, no TTT, a decently long ITT, and one narrow laned 12% grade at one point in one stage.

    Sounds like it will be one HELL of a race!!!

  33. Gruson au Carrefour, Ennevelin à Pont Thibaut, Mons en Pévèle, Bersee, Orchies à Beuvry-la-Forêt, Sars-et-Rosières à Tilloy lez Marchiennes, Brillon à Warlaing, Wandignies Hamage à Homaing et Helesmes à Wallers mais La Trouée d’Arenberg, non. Je suis très triste.

  34. @Buck Rogers

    @sthilzy

    Sacred dust in 2014 TdF?

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/five-mountain-finishes-for-2014-tour-de-france

    Stages in northern France are expected to remember the 100th anniversary of the start of the first world war, while also remembering Tour de France riders Octave Lapize, Francois Faber and Lucien Petit Breton who all died in the conflict.

    Up to six sectors of pave could be included in the stage according to Tuttosport, possibly including the terrible long section of the Forest of Arenberg.

    YES, YES, YES!!! The Pave’ will feature in ’14″²s TDF!!! 15.4 k’s of pave’ and, although they have not supposedly officially announced which sections, they are supposed to include Arenberg, carrafour de l’arbe and mons-en-pevele. If those are truly sections included, this will be EPIC!!! No hiding on those stones, boys!

    Also some great mountains top stage finishes, no TTT, a decently long ITT, and one narrow laned 12% grade at one point in one stage.

    Sounds like it will be one HELL of a race!!!

    This sounds like an amazing tour. The forest of Arenberg will be truly amazing to watch.

    Is it spring yet?

  35. Stage 5

  36. @scaler911

    During the Monsoon we had a few weeks back, some ‘cross racing happened and some gear got destroyed.

    (photo by Matt Lasala)

    Its certainly customary for a cross race to have a sand pit, but this is the first race I’ve seen with a chocolate pudding pit. What’s next – JELL-O run ups?

  37. @Chris

    Gruson au Carrefour, Ennevelin à Pont Thibaut, Mons en Pévèle, Bersee, Orchies à Beuvry-la-Forêt, Sars-et-Rosières à Tilloy lez Marchiennes, Brillon à Warlaing, Wandignies Hamage à Homaing et Helesmes à Wallers mais La Trouée d’Arenberg, non. Je suis très triste.

    Damn, damn, double damn! What a missed chance. Are you sure? No Arenberg??? At least they have Mons en Pevele and Orchies. You have “Gruson au Carrefour” listed. Is not Gruson the section after Carrefour de l’Arbre? Are they running them together in reverse?

  38. No forest of Arenberg. And I’m glad they’ve skipped it. Yes, borrow some of the sectors from paris-Roubaix. But leave some of the most special to be raced just that once a year.

    Rather excited that the tour is passing little over 1km from the desk I’m sat at at work right now. Though I’ll be taking the day off to try the mission of being at the start in Cambridge and somewhere near the finish in London. Should be a fun day.

  39. @Buck Rogers

    @Chris

    Gruson au Carrefour, Ennevelin à Pont Thibaut, Mons en Pévèle, Bersee, Orchies à Beuvry-la-Forêt, Sars-et-Rosières à Tilloy lez Marchiennes, Brillon à Warlaing, Wandignies Hamage à Homaing et Helesmes à Wallers mais La Trouée d’Arenberg, non. Je suis très triste.

    Damn, damn, double damn! What a missed chance. Are you sure? No Arenberg??? At least they have Mons en Pevele and Orchies. You have “Gruson au Carrefour” listed. Is not Gruson the section after Carrefour de l’Arbre? Are they running them together in reverse?

    Am I sure? I’ve no idea what I wrote there, it’s in French.

    It looks as though they are working their way backwards from Gruson to somewhere close to Arenberg. The Helesmes à Wallers secteur finishes just to the south east of Arenberg whilst Google has the Communauté d’Agglomération La Porte du Hainaut on the road that leads into the the forest before you get to the old coal mine on the left.

  40. @ped

    Stage 5

    Boy, without knowing enough about the specific roads and how they’re looping around to all the secteurs, it looks like they’re riding the route backwards. Carrefour would be much easier in this direction, as would Mons en Pévéle as they both finish with slight uphill sections in the normal direction. But they will be faster and more dangerous.

    It does seem like since they are finishing at Arenberg, they could easily have put a bunch sprint up the trench as the finish. Feels like a missed opportunity.

  41. @frank

    @ped

    Stage 5

    Boy, without knowing enough about the specific roads and how they’re looping around to all the secteurs, it looks like they’re riding the route backwards. Carrefour would be much easier in this direction, as would Mons en Pévéle as they both finish with slight uphill sections in the normal direction. But they will be faster and more dangerous.

    It does seem like since they are finishing at Arenberg, they could easily have put a bunch sprint up the trench as the finish. Feels like a missed opportunity.

    On section thought, Mons en Pévéle is normally 3km long; I think they are exiting at the halfway point, or entering at the halfway point. If they enter at the halfway point and ride to the traditional entrance, it will be pretty tough, although short. The traditional entrance is all downhill and rough. It will be a bugger to ride that direction, so obviously that’s what I’m hoping they will do.

  42. @DerHoggz

    @frank

    I admit to doing the same when commuting by bike in winter; a full cleaning just seems to pointless. But none of that dirt or grit is sacred, it’s just nasty crap that should be pulled off the machine as soon as you can get to it.

    My usual winter cleaning amounts to just clearing the ice/slush off of any moving surfaces (drivetrain and wheels mostly). I do also do complete frame-off overhauls periodically with degreaser baths and such.

    Rides like a dream after that, eh?

    @frank

    @eightzero

    Two words: ritualistic washing.

    These is much more to this than meets the eye. I too obcess over keeping a pristine machine. I scoff with some indigntaion over the popular notion that you shouldn’t use high pressure water to clean a bike, because “the pressure will force water and grit into places where lube goes.” Well, just get the dirt of out those places, and put new lube in where it belongs. Yes, this can take a while. Clean, yes. Destroy functionality, no.

    However, dirt in mechanisms degrades their performance, and shortens their lifespan. But news flash – all the moving parts will need to be replaced eventually anyway. Ride your Fucking Bike, and accept that parts can be replaced. The memory of those rides is *forever.* The dirt, as you say, is a badge of sucess.

    There is no such thing as an uncleanable bike.

    Awesome post.

    One point, the problem with the pressure washer is that for the most part, the bearings are sealed and the water molecules are smaller than the dirt, so the pressure washer doesn’t remove any dirt from the bearings (because it wasn’t in there) but the water pushes in past the seals and rusts the balls inside.

    But you’re in good company; the pros use them all the time – although they swap bearings more regularly than we do.

    This is why cup and cone is better than cartridge. I actually enjoyed redoing the BB and wheels on my old bike. If I ever get around to wheelbuilding, it is going to be cup and cone for me.

    I disagree with that assessment, but Campagnolo agrees with you; their hubs still use loose balls as far as I know.

    @eightzero

    But hey, all the pros had to start somewhere, right? I mean, nobody who is rich just becomes a pro? She put in all her dues as a working girl first, right?

    But she has crow’s feet, which I learned from this discussion makes her real! Seen here in this photo where she is obviously foreclosing someone’s house.

    Or just being released from prison for Wallstreet shenanigans?

  43. @Al__S You’re going to have to ride fairly hard if you want to make it to the finish. I can’t make up my mind whether to do the start, a point in the middle or head for the finish for a Cav win.

    I fancy doing a couple of days in Yorkshire spectating on the bike and riding a stage so the Cambridge London stage will have to be avec les enfants.

  44. @ped So no forest run… The sections included will still make for a very exciting stage.

  45. @scaler911

    During the Monsoon we had a few weeks back, some ‘cross racing happened and some gear got destroyed.

    (photo by Matt Lasala)

    On Monday the owner of Van Dessel bikes said his favorite ‘cross courses were the ones that required file treads.

  46. @G’rilla

    Boo. Though so far this season, all our local races here in NE Ohio have been on the dry side – not necessarily file tread dry, but dry enough that I’ve only had to wash my bike twice.

  47. I think that Lasala photo might help me complete a cyclocross poster I’ve been wanting to put together: BIKE, RUN, SWIM.

  48. @frank

    @ped

    Stage 5

    Boy, without knowing enough about the specific roads and how they’re looping around to all the secteurs, it looks like they’re riding the route backwards. Carrefour would be much easier in this direction, as would Mons en Pévéle as they both finish with slight uphill sections in the normal direction. But they will be faster and more dangerous.

    It does seem like since they are finishing at Arenberg, they could easily have put a bunch sprint up the trench as the finish. Feels like a missed opportunity.

    It does seem like since they are finishing at Arenberg, they could easily have put a bunch sprint up the trench as the finish. Feels like a missed opportunity.

    Man, I must have missed the bit in the interview with Froome when he said the same thing. Or maybe I didn’t . . . Glad to see some cobbles in there. Pity there’s only one tt and at 54kms it’s still too short. 80+ is what’s needed I say. Twice. In the same race. Fucking mountain monkeys always get too much of their own parcours. I’m lookig forward to the stage already. If Spartacus rides with Abandy, will he neutralize things if the skinny one gets into trouble?

  49. @zeitzmar

    You know, that’s a happy looking bike. It’s been ridden hard and is looking forward to a nice wash before bedtime. It’s like a kid who’s been outplaying all day getting grubby but having a blast.

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