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Jim Thomson, Author

Jim rides a bike a lot and hates people.

Legends are central to any culture, ours perhaps more than most. The Ventoux is a French legend, rising 1912m above the rolling hills of Provence. The road is thick with the paint of Tours past and the names of giants. The grade is 7%, on average, though 10, 11, and 12% are routine throughout the middle section. The classical route begins in a smal...
This is possibly the most offensive piece of gear I have encountered on a bike. Do you really need a little orange wand to tell you what gear you’re in? There is only one gear to be in: the hardest one at which you can still make the pedals go around in something resembling a circle.These goofy little things were found on the bike I rented la...

Come the Rain

by jim / Oct 19 2012 / 45 posts

The northwest has just experienced a spell of dry weather over two months long. It’s been enough to make a man sick.That’s all over now, thank Merckx. Commuting home today, I was caught off guard. No jacket, no gloves– nothing. A few drops hit, heavy and plump like ripe fruit. Then the drops became steady. By my half-way point, I...

Old Blewett Pass

by jim / Sep 10 2012 / 28 posts

Last week, I rode through a bit of history and came out thinking of the future. I rode over Old Blewett Pass, which used to connect the Washington towns of Leavenworth and Cle Elum.  Old Blewett Pass was decommissioned in the 1950s and a new road (US 97) was built through Swauk Pass — now referred to as Blewett Pass. The old road is still th...

The Team Car

by jim / Jul 1 2012 / 31 posts

With the Tour underway there are many things to envy. One that always gets me is the team cars. This, to me, is the ultimate luxury (coupled with the relentless suffering, but hey, these guys are paid for this). No need to stuff your jersey with eight kilos of food and spares. A new wheel is at the ready – a whole new bike, should it come to that...

Darkness

by jim / Dec 22 2011 / 91 posts

Yesterday, Seattle was dark for 15 hours 34 minutes and 37 seconds. Let us not count how much it was light– it is of no use to us. I rode to work in the black, and in the black I rode home.The darkness is good to me. It shields my filthy chain from those who would judge it. It casts anonymity over the creaking of my bottom bracket. It erases...

A New Decade

by jim / Oct 10 2011 / 57 posts

A new decade is here. Not the one that started Jan 1st, but the one marked by my new bike. By habit, this bike will occupy the #1 spot for 10 years, give or take, until another bike happens. That’s the way of bikes– the best ones simply happen. I don’t go shopping, or even buying. I just suddenly have a new bike. (Except that they...

Friday Night Lights

by jim / Sep 9 2011 / 66 posts

Took my 2-yr-old son to the last of the Marymoor Velodrome summer series races tonight. He rode his tricycle up to watch from the top of high-bank turn and sat there, transfixed. It was a perfect late summer evening– dry and warm, with a lingering sunset. The Cat 1&2 races were fast and precise, and the two-wheeled machines looked perfect...
With the spring racing season upon us, there is a lot of talk about the pros– what it means to be pro, how to look pro, and so on.  There are two things that distinguish the professional cyclist.  The first is talent, which is a mysterious thing and best left for another discussion.  The second thing is that the pros ride every day.  This...
It’s snowing today in Seattle, which a full 78% of the population is not able to deal with, even though it happens every year. I rode in, as always (I commute, therefore I am) and on my way I passed a fellow cyclist in sandals and wool socks.  At least they were spd sandals.  Merckx bless the northwest...