Sometimes it just comes down to a staring contest.

Sometimes it just comes down to a staring contest.

Inanimate Objects

by / / 38 posts

I have a love-hate relationship with inanimate objects. I appreciate them for their utility, but I genuinely have no patience for their insubordination. Take, for example, bungee cords. By far the most mischievous object in existence, the only thing you can be sure to hook with them is your pant leg. The second-most misbehaving inanimate object, in case you’re wondering, are those pieces of debris that specialize in sticking to windshield wipers precisely at eye level.

Cycling is the most beautiful sport in the world, and the bicycle itself the most elegant and sophisticated piece of equipment in history. Yet, I have rarely descended into such a fit of rage as by a malfunctioning drive train. On good days, the inconvenience distracts me from what would otherwise be a day of near-perfect grace. On bad days, it drags my morale from the toilet into the septic system.

The descent into madness caused by a mysterious mechanical problem involves several steps. Observe:

  1. Calmly come to a stop at the roadside, being careful to ooze a Casually Deliberate nature. Inspect the machine for cause. Make an adjustment which is likely to exacerbate the problem.
  2. Repeat (1) until problem has become severe or elusive enough to have exhausted your ability to exhibit a calm demeanor.
  3. Accuse the bicycle of being born out of wedlock. If no improvement is observed in the operation of the machine, threaten it with dismemberment, death, or recycling. Dismount and stare at it sternly. Attempt to startle bicycle into submission by slamming the wheels on the tarmac. Remount.
  4. If problem persists, hurl bicycle into bushes. Immediately regret the decision, replace rage with overwhelming panic, and check to make sure they were soft bushes.
  5. Repent, buy your her some flowers, and apologize. Get her home to the workshop for a nice bath and an overhaul.

The obvious challenge here is the circumvention of Rule #65, so we should not make a habit of this. But sometimes the stubbornness of an insubordinate inanimate object is simply too dumbfounding to offer us any viable alternative.

// Accessories and Gear // Rantings from the V-Bunker

  1. If I ever catch anyone throwing their bike anywhere, I’ll throw them into the bushes.

  2. Well, get ready to chuck Frank. I bear witness to him throwing his baby into prickly bushes on CA 155.

  3. @Spankles

    Well, get ready to chuck Frank. I bear witness to him throwing his baby into prickly bushes on CA 150.

  4. It’s the season. Every year when the temps drop (-6C/21F today) shifting gets erratic; skipping gears. The derailleur cable shortens and needs a little tweaking, after which it is smooth again until spring – or one of these crazy warm East Coast winter days. Can’t recall ever throwing my bike – but the memory isn’t what it used to be.

  5. What’s the saying? Like hitting an invisible car? Maybe you should consider something direct drive. Like a unicycle.

  6. @Oli depends how much style they throw it with. David Millar’s casual toss over the barrier has always had me applauding quietly

  7. @ccunix

    There’s a wonderful one of Wiggins hurling his bike away, only for the bike to bounce and skip, and settle to a perfect lean against a wall. Talk about Casually Deliberate. The bike that is, not Wiggo.

  8. guilty of all of the above, except buying the flowers. I did have to buy them for the VMH though as a result of step 4.

    Something i did do (being young and naive at the time) is utterly destroy a nice set of wheels by taking them out of my bike and throwin/smashing them on the tarmac that were not coöperating.

    Being older and much calmer (would’t say wiser) now i seem to be mostly stuck on steps 1&2. Step 2 seems to be quite entertaining for other road users.

  9. @Spankles

    No. Seriously?

    @ccunix

    @Mark Elliott

    I can grudgingly admire the style of those throws (and Bjarne Riis’ one in ’97) but it still totally grinds my gears to see bicycles treated like trash.

  10. Of course, Messers Wiggins, Riis and Millar can chuck their bikes because there’s another brand new, pristine machine waiting for them. We mere mortals are not so fortunate.

    Check out the size of the chain on Coppi’s bike. That thing is a beast! Nice cut out on the BB shell though . . .

  11. @Oli

    @Spankles

    No. Seriously?

    @ccunix

    @Mark Elliott

    I can grudgingly admire the style of those throws (and Bjarne Riis’ one in ’97) but it still totally grinds my gears to see bicycles treated like trash.

    Same goes for guitars ! Chuckin em and smashin em and all… wtf ?

    Golf clubs… now that’s different.

    Cheers !

  12. @Oli

    I can grudgingly admire the style of those throws (and Bjarne Riis’ one in ’97) but it still totally grinds my gears to see bicycles treated like trash.

    I’m with you, Oli.

    Always makes me think of one of my favorite songs when I see these entitled, temper-tantrumed idiots chucking their bikes.

  13. @Randy C

    @Oli

    @Spankles

    No. Seriously?

    @ccunix

    @Mark Elliott

    I can grudgingly admire the style of those throws (and Bjarne Riis’ one in ’97) but it still totally grinds my gears to see bicycles treated like trash.

    Same goes for guitars ! Chuckin em and smashin em and all… wtf ?

    Golf clubs… now that’s different.

    Cheers !

    Ha! Great minds think alike (and post at the same time, too)!!!

  14. I find that sweet talking my machine works much better than anything past step 2. It also helps if I do so in Italian:

    Sei una donna deliziosa, ti prego, aiutami a tornare a casa, dove posso darvi una melodia approfondita su.

  15. Long day in the saddle with a good friend. With maybe 4 or 5km to go his shifter breaks with the bike on the 11 tooth. After a lot of anger and swearing he picks the bike up, and gives it the wheel bump of frustration, only to cause the chain to come off. It was almost as if the bike was fighting back.

    He also lost his pump that day and I believe sustained grease stains on his kit. I call this the “fuck you” principal. The gods have conspired to just fuck with you that day and nothing you do can change it.

  16. I call this the “fuck you” principal. The gods have conspired to just fuck with you that day and nothing you do can change it.”

    Thanks DCR, I don’t feel so alone…

    One fine day on an what was turning out to be a great ride, my pump fell out of my jersey and got run over by a truck as I was approaching an intersection. Within seconds of this I flatted. I switched gears then dropped my chain (after spending what seemed like hours earlier that day adjusting my front derailleur that I just couldn’t get right). Of course, as I came to a stop I couldn’t get my cleat out and tipped over with a line of cars honking at me to clear the roadway. To top off these iniquities my new kit was torn during the first wearing.

    My bike almost made it successfully through the windshield of the obnoxious horn blower that couldn’t ask if I was ok. Almost. I remembered just in time how hard I worked to afford my bicycle before that imagined hurl. Not quite inanimate, but just the same.

    The saving grace of these ten minutes of getting mercilessly sodomized by the Gods was the local bike shop a block away. Took my shoes and socks off and walked my bike to get the flat repaired (pump was toast) and maybe a new set of shorts. Maybe the most important thing the owner of the bike shop offered soothing words. His knowing the taste of this particular shit sandwich had me laughing about the whole thing before the front wheel was off my bike. He said it was damn near impossible to keep from laughing out loud when I came in with flat tire, torn shorts, barefooted and screwfaced. He let me come back to pay him when I had more than the fiver in my kit.

  17. “Take, for example, bungee cords. By far the most mischievous object in existence” Well I’ll nominate Race Dots to that list too. Their tendency to fuck with you is inversely proportional to the time between their placement and your race. I’ve gone back to pins (always an odd number, always a lot, always aligned and never likely to bunch up into a giant magnet fuck ball when you’re pulling on your jersey).

  18. @Shemsuddin

    we should have different badges for Velominati who experience such bad luck.

    Velomalheuratus!

  19. As well as threatening the recalcitrant machine with dismemberment, death, or recycling, you could also threaten to turn it into a fixie and give it to a hipster for general transport.

    A classic steel bike would find that particularly disturbing.

  20. I found my mtn. bike in in the woods, besides a MUP. I’m guessing it was stolen and ditched. I’ll happily return it, if I could find the owner.

    I walk my dogs in the woods during the winter. The other morning I noticed that someone tossed a Ping putter beside the walking trail. And a t.v. satellite dish. Hmm.

  21. @Oli

    @Spankles

    No. Seriously?

    Not true! Not true!

    I was on the verge, though. It was the situation where I was on a good day and it was harshing on my visit with La Volupte!

  22. @frank

    Phew, I was about to despair!

  23. Lol. I had an incident where I unknowingly lost the bolt on my lower jockey wheel just after cresting a climb and starting a steep 3km descent. As I attempted to stand to power up the next climb, I soundly bashed my soft bits on the top tube, veered into traffic, veered toward the curb, and barely avoided coming off. After a shameful 3km uphill walk intently looking at the ground and collecting bits of my rear mech, I found everything except for the offending bolt. After searching about for 30 min or so, a fellow cyclist out walking his dog offered the services of his parts bin only for me to find that he ran Campy exclusively and that Campy jockey wheel bolts are just shorter enough than shimano bolts that one will spend 15 min vainly trying to make it work before calling the broom wagon (velomissus).

  24. @Fred

    Good lord, that sounds fucking horrible! Yowzers.

  25. @Ccos

    “Take, for example, bungee cords. By far the most mischievous object in existence” Well I’ll nominate Race Dots to that list too. Their tendency to fuck with you is inversely proportional to the time between their placement and your race. I’ve gone back to pins (always an odd number, always a lot, always aligned and never likely to bunch up into a giant magnet fuck ball when you’re pulling on your jersey).

    OMG yes.

    Although I don’t think it’s strictly true to put them under the heading of inanimate objects.

    They are tiny metal minions of Satan animated into spiteful, malicious movement by hatred of mankind.

  26. @Buck Rogers

    @Oli

    I can grudgingly admire the style of those throws (and Bjarne Riis’ one in ’97) but it still totally grinds my gears to see bicycles treated like trash.

    I’m with you, Oli.

    Always makes me think of one of my favorite songs when I see these entitled, temper-tantrumed idiots chucking their bikes.

    I love that song. John Hiatt is awesome. I still feel fortunate to have seen Pete Townsend smashing a (YIKES!) Gibson Les Paul Custom. Nonetheless, I bet even Petey regrets a few of those crazy moments. We all make poor decisions in the heat of frustration or while high on adrenaline at one time or another.

  27. @Art G

    @Buck Rogers

    @Oli

    I can grudgingly admire the style of those throws (and Bjarne Riis’ one in ’97) but it still totally grinds my gears to see bicycles treated like trash.

    I’m with you, Oli.

    Always makes me think of one of my favorite songs when I see these entitled, temper-tantrumed idiots chucking their bikes.

    I love that song. John Hiatt is awesome. I still feel fortunate to have seen Pete Townsend smashing a (YIKES!) Gibson Les Paul Custom. Nonetheless, I bet even Petey regrets a few of those crazy moments. We all make poor decisions in the heat of frustration or while high on adrenaline at one time or another.

    I saw The Who in 1989 but for the life of me I cannot remember if he smashed his guitar … I do not think that he did so (but then again, maybe he did–I’ll have to check with my friends that were with me!)

    But yes, he sure destroyed some beautiful pieces of Art in the name of Art.

  28. @Art G

    I was at the first live performance of Quadrophenia. Mr T was not a happy bunny with the backing track or something – or maybe just the overall volume. Anyway about half way through he rather lost it and broken gear was a plenty. He also booted Entwistle’s trumpet into the orchestra pit that was open to keep the audience away from the stage (they were not happy with that either).

  29. @wiscot

    Of course, Messers Wiggins, Riis and Millar can chuck their bikes because there’s another brand new, pristine machine waiting for them. We mere mortals are not so fortunate.

    Check out the size of the chain on Coppi’s bike. That thing is a beast! Nice cut out on the BB shell though . . .

    What is that chainring too – something like 56 or 58T.

  30. @ChrisO

    @Ccos

    “Take, for example, bungee cords. By far the most mischievous object in existence” Well I’ll nominate Race Dots to that list too. Their tendency to fuck with you is inversely proportional to the time between their placement and your race. I’ve gone back to pins (always an odd number, always a lot, always aligned and never likely to bunch up into a giant magnet fuck ball when you’re pulling on your jersey).

    OMG yes.

    Although I don’t think it’s strictly true to put them under the heading of inanimate objects.

    They are tiny metal minions of Satan animated into spiteful, malicious movement by hatred of mankind.

    Anyone who sails seriously bans these things from their boat immediately, without waiting to hear of any excuses/reasons as to why they should be allowed.

    There should be a special place in Lucifer’s kingdom reserved for their inventor.

  31. @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    Of course, Messers Wiggins, Riis and Millar can chuck their bikes because there’s another brand new, pristine machine waiting for them. We mere mortals are not so fortunate.

    Check out the size of the chain on Coppi’s bike. That thing is a beast! Nice cut out on the BB shell though . . .

    What is that chainring too – something like 56 or 58T.

    I think it’s his track bike – no inner ring or front mech. It’s a beast for sure!

  32. Bungee cords, that is

  33. @Ron

    @Fred

    Good lord, that sounds fucking horrible! Yowzers.

    Indeed; that is what I get for not pedaling on the downhill though!

  34. My gripe with my bike at the moment is that I clean it, then 5 minutes into the next ride it’s stinking again.

    I’m riding with my race wheels on this afternoon, with my new 12-25 cassette (including the holy grail 16t). Oh yes, a horrific storm is forecast. I’ll be riding.

  35. @Buck Rogers

    Had never heard that song — big thanks for putting it on my radar. Any kid who has saved for years to afford the guitar or bike of their dreams looks on in bewildered horror at brat rock stars who take their inadequacies out on beautiful instruments.

    I would add iPhones and small children to the list of objects that may be thrown in anger and with impunity.

  36. @Mark Elliott

    @ccunix

    There’s a wonderful one of Wiggins hurling his bike away, only for the bike to bounce and skip, and settle to a perfect lean against a wall. Talk about Casually Deliberate. The bike that is, not Wiggo.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhdVr2Cn1OY

  37. @Oli

    it’s just a bike…

  38. @Oli

    what about post-broken chainstay?

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