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Velominatus: Ben

Order: Level 3 Velominatus

@Ben's activity:

It is so deeply entangled at this point, I can no longer tell the threads from one another. The strands once ran cleanly from one bicycle to the next, linking a discrete sequence of events, considerations, wants, and desires. But then, 15 years ago, a strong force entered my life and I was forced to find alternate means of justifying the acquisitio...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @frank That’s it? Nothing about the trunk bag? All that collective pump-beating over @Gianni’s EPMS and nothing about LUGGAGE in a race? You’re not helping in the ongoing battle of the ugly, heavy, un-aero trunk bag. »

  2. @frank: »

I find it interesting to observe the chasm between parties engaged in a conversation, particularly in response to questions being asked. I’m thinking, at present, of the question, “How many bikes do you have?” My feelings in response are nothing short of complex and maybe a bit confused; reservation that I feel I should have a mo...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @frank See, when I think “gravel bike”, I think DK200 or Gravel Worlds, where the road is freakin’ crazy, and I want to have as much bunny-hopping, line changing, fishtailing ability as possible.  I’m with that interview with Dan Hughes: the best gravel r… »

Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases.Saddle bags: how do we define them? Is it a saddle bag if it attaches to the seat post and the saddle, if it has a zipper, if it is leather, has two natty straps with buckles, if it swings below the saddle like bumper bollocks? Continue reading...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @JACD214 Good catch.  Inattention to detail is what happens when I’m only caring to procrastinate. »

We are the Keepers of the Cog. In so being, we also maintain the sacred text wherein lie the simple truths of cycling etiquette known as The Rules. It is in our trust to maintain and endorse this list.The Rules lie at the beginning of The Path to La Vie Velominatus, not at the end; learning to balance them against one another and to welcome them...

@Ben's posts:

  1. On Rule #77: Yes.  This makes me crazy when I’m out riding and there’s an inner tube and two or three CO2 canisters on the side of the road, or after any local event, when I spend weeks picking gel and shot blok wrappers off the trail.  If you can’t stick … »

I find it interesting to observe the chasm between parties engaged in a conversation, particularly in response to questions being asked. I’m thinking, at present, of the question, “How many bikes do you have?” My feelings in response are nothing short of complex and maybe a bit confused; reservation that I feel I should have a mo...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @frank Nice! The owner of my LBS sets up his gravel rig (including GW tandem rig) the same way, and I roll my eyes at him every time I see the ridiculously long stems he digs out.  Don’t take it personally. My roadie is set up similarly, but the CX/gravel… »

Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases.Saddle bags: how do we define them? Is it a saddle bag if it attaches to the seat post and the saddle, if it has a zipper, if it is leather, has two natty straps with buckles, if it swings below the saddle like bumper bollocks? Continue reading...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @Lolito I didn’t realize it was even possible to have an even uglier EPMS! My poor eyes… »

I find it interesting to observe the chasm between parties engaged in a conversation, particularly in response to questions being asked. I’m thinking, at present, of the question, “How many bikes do you have?” My feelings in response are nothing short of complex and maybe a bit confused; reservation that I feel I should have a mo...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @VeloVita Aw, BikeSnob is a hater because something cool is coming out of the Midwest. I agree that having a gravel bike AND a cross bike is a little silly, and it was pretty hilarious to read two separate article saying opposite things about what an i… »

Our products represent the spirit of Velominati; every product we offer is made with the utmost attention to detail – no compromises were made in their selection or design. Whenever possible, our products are made my small, locally-owned businesses who share our passion for quality and we make every effort to ensure they are made in an enviro...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @seemunkee I see a few banthas down there, but no sand people, unless… AHHHH! »

We are the Keepers of the Cog. In so being, we also maintain the sacred text wherein lie the simple truths of cycling etiquette known as The Rules. It is in our trust to maintain and endorse this list.The Rules lie at the beginning of The Path to La Vie Velominatus, not at the end; learning to balance them against one another and to welcome them...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @Deakus One of my favorite things about Rule #40 is that it gives you (the mechanic) an instant signal of the competence of the last person to mess with a bike. If they line up, you can at least hope that pedals aren’t cross-threaded, headsets and botto… »

  2. @Deakus Label on the NDS side, where your QR lever is, so you can find the valve at the same time, and not worry about having the drivetrain in the way.  Also, the rim label is usually opposite the valve stem to cover up the weld joint.  The label align… »

Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases.Saddle bags: how do we define them? Is it a saddle bag if it attaches to the seat post and the saddle, if it has a zipper, if it is leather, has two natty straps with buckles, if it swings below the saddle like bumper bollocks? Continue reading...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @San Tonio »

There has been some gravel fever going around; there is a lot of talk of new bikes and new routes. I don’t live in gravel country and have not caught the disease, yet. @Antoniv submitted this tale of gravel. It’s a bit long but the race was long too. For those of us who haven’t caught the bug, this might help, or hurt. Either way,...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @Gravy Re salt crystals: seriously.  I don’t think I’ve ever wanted salt so badly before.  By the end of the day, I was seriously considering eating dirt just to get the salt I needed.  Half of a big ol’ pizza at Yia-Yia’s finally brought me back, thoug… »

  2. @HMBSteve 10,000 feet of climbing for those of you following along at home. That’s 10,000 feet through deeeeep pea-sized gravel and sand, and then terrifying, out of control descents on the other side, just to make sure you don’t get any cute ideas abou… »

  3. @Antoniv Congratulations on pushing it to the limit! It was so freaking hot out there.  One guy, well into his post-DNF consolation beers in Malcolm, pointed out to me that the wind was strong enough to be TERRIBLE to go into, but just the right speed t… »

I am a road cyclist, at heart. Even when I’m in a car, I’ll daydream about riding the same road I’m driving. I’ll imagine how the tarmac might feel as my wheels carry me across it, the wind, the smells in the air. I’ll imagine how my lungs are expanding and contracting, cleansing me a little with every exhale. In my mi...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @Weldertron I built my gravel/CX rig from a $500 carbon frameset from Ebay.  It works great, has the exact same geometry as the Crux. My LBS started building bikes and wheels with factory-direct unbranded stuff right around the same time.  Now all the che… »

  2. In the Midwest, highway engineers knocked down the hills to make the paved roads  nice and flat and straight, but the gravel wiggles around the glacial valleys and goes up and down the hills.  The gravel is where it’s at in the Missouri River valleys »

Everyone knows that the quality of one’s character is measured by the size gear they can push, particularly when going uphill. It is also a well-established fact that no self-respecting Flemish Pro would ever ride a Compact, no matter what condition their knees are in or how ferocious the gradient. Which, by extension, means that Compacts are...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @PeakInTwoYears “perfectly well” might mean “is possible”, but the huge difference between my now-deceased steel 52/42 and the shifting on the carbon CX with a compact was so huge so as to make it not even worth it to shift in the front.  I found myself p… »

  2. @frank I actually built the CX pretty much exclusively for gravel racing, so the compact sort of made sense, but the shifting is so bad that it’s in the parts drawer now, and I race gravel with the VMH on the back of a tandem now, anyway. Jealous much? »

  3. @gianni is right. 52/42 is where it’s at. Shifting is crazy smooth, all the time, and combined with lots of spokes and some nice heavy steel, that’ll get your legs in Rule V shape. I had a 50/34 on my CX build for a little while because they are super che… »

A friend recently asked my advice for how to prepare for the longest ride he’d ever done. My approach is somewhat unorthodox when it comes to this sort of thing; I like to train to ride a lot farther than the event itself, and whenever possible, throw in a handful of sessions with my old friend, The Man with the Hammer. I suggested he do the...

@Ben's posts:

  1. I miss TMWTH. Screw endurance ceilings, it’s time to find my no food on the ride ceiling.  66K definitely wasn’t it. I like @oracle’s idea of the shortcut. »

@prowrench is throwing down the greasy gauntlet. There is truth in his words. We already understand the gap between the professional cyclist and us civilians extends somewhere over the horizon. We can ride the bikes, wear nice kit and ride the race routes but that’s about as close as we can get. No one is paying us to ride. We are not Pros. B...

@Ben's posts:

  1. Also, if you’re scared of carbon or BB30 or whatever, then you shouldn’t be riding it. Harrumph. »

  2. Nope. I know how to fix my bikes, I will fix my bikes, and I don’t let anybody else get their hands on them, because there are way too many people in shop aprons who should not be. I’ve had way too many flats because the trained monkey at the LBS used a s… »

Bicycles and automobiles- can’t we all just get along? @Kah writes about this universal (do aliens have this issue also?) problem of us co-existing with humans in cars. We all drive cars too and have cursed the occasional cyclists for some good reason. Cars are our greatest threat. We can crawl away from our own bicycle crashes, thanks very m...

@Ben's posts:

  1. @pistard Agreed. I was leading a group ride of neighborhood kids last year (in June, in daylight), and a motorcycle rider pulled up to my wife, who was riding sweep, and pressed a high-viz vest on her, because “if you’re at the back, you need to be safe”…. »

  2. My VMH makes me take a YJA (I call it the Dork Jacket) on Rule #9 rides or twilight/dark rides. It raises the bar for Looking Fantastic; if I’m a rolling eyesore, I sure as hell better be a FAST rolling eyesore. The last time I got hit the driver told pol… »