Archive | La Vie Velominatus

"I'd like a time trial helmet, made out of hair, please"

Guest Article: Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!

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We’ve remarked many times on the connection between the pained musician and the Cyclist. Layne Staley and Marco Pantani being a prominent example of a reflection in a pond of mental strife. Perhaps something about finding strength – or at least some kind of peace – through suffering is a personality trait that Cycling shares with being an Artist.…

The three virtues: Mind, Body, Machine.

La Vie Velominatus: Santoku

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In Japanese, “Santoku” means “Three Virtues”. Exactly which three virtues it is referring to is unclear, but I am fascinated by the idea of a single word with such a rich, if ambiguous, meaning. I have several kitchen knives that goes by this name, and within the scope of knives the three virtues are generally accepted to…

Classic witte socks

Lock, Sock, and Two Smoking Barrels

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It used to be that you could choose any color shoes you wanted, so long as they were black and any color socks, so long as they were white. Easy times, those. Then Gianni gave me his White Ladies and all of a sudden my life was complicated. First of all, the shoes were so beautifully white in…

Kelly teaches the masterclass once again.

La Vie Velominatus: Standing Grace

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We are bipedal creatures. Fact. Bipedal locomotion sucks. Also a fact. This makes being a human somewhat challenging in the sense that we don’t have opposable toes or a tail with which to swing from tree limbs. Swinging from your tail seems a little bit like bliss, if you ignore the associated demotion back into the Food Chain.…

Meet your Maker

Meet Your Maker

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The wheel has always fascinated me, and why wouldn’t it? It’s one of the oldest known inventions, with the earliest archeological example believed to be about 5500 years old. They get us from point A to point B every day, one way or another. Without the wheel, we’d be reduced to walking. It’s not natural.…

THe shadow foretells the ending.

Shadow Boxing

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In the 1989 Tour de France, Laurent Fignon was on the rivet. Close to collapse. But his Directeur Sportif noticed that Greg LeMond’s shoulders were rocking; he knew from the time he spent coaching Greg that this was the telltale sign of his imminent collapse. He ordered Fignon to attack, and he took the Yellow Jersey. He could…

The Lion King was once a Pedalwan cub, just as the rest of us. Guide the uninitiated.

The Book and the Cover

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I rode with a rider I know from work a few weeks ago. The first time we sat in a meeting together, we immediately pegged one another as a Cyclist the way Cyclists always peg one another; nothing specific or obvious but everything nonspecific and nonobvious. It’s what we do, you can’t learn it and it can’t be…

Sometimes, the eyes can only take so much.

Voyeurs

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We are a sick lot. We have no morals whatsoever. I understand why others are wary of us, why café patrons reel in disgust, why real men driving utes want us dead. We attempt to assimilate while at the same time exhibiting no shame of our middle-aged bodies swathed in a thin shield of no real protection (for us or…

Rollin' Dirty

Defining Moments: Dust Caps

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I genuinely miss the eighties. Funny Bikes, which I say without thinking this though. Then again, time trial bikes today are basically road bikes with a position for  tuned for “more speed”. In other words, switching to your TT bike today is like switching from your road bike to a slightly less comfortable road bike, with your…

If you have to choose, choose quality over quantity

Short But Sweet

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My lungs feel my favorite way my lungs can feel. Every breath I take tells me the whereabouts of each alveolus. They feel raw, like they were scraped clean and opened up anew after a period of dormancy. Every breath tells me their exact shape and depth, where my lungs end and where my diaphragm begins. I feel high,…

Chuck Flop had some of the best guns in the business.

La Vie Velominatus: Gun Envy

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Three things define a Cyclist: their ability to crush fools, their ability to Look Fantastic, and the Magnificence of their Guns. If you are lacking in one, it is mandatory that the other two are increased in compensation. In the immortal words of Paul Fournel, “To Look Good is already to go fast.” Thank Merckx for that, because…

Frank and Rigid experience the Holy Land via the muddied secteur at Abattoirs. Photo: @Harminator

La Vie Velominatus: The Holy Land

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No pavé is smooth, and to ride them well the rider must enter them à bloc and keep pushing until one of two things happen: the secteur ends or the lights go out. The thing about cobbles is that each stone beats back the wheels like a boxer punching a speed bag, robbing the unit of speed with every stone…

The weight of fatigue is taking its pound of flesh

Something from Nothing

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If the only kind of wind they have in Belgium is a headwind, then the only kind of flats they have in Northern France are false. In Vlaanderen, they specialize in a delectable combination of the two. (Everything that isn’t a windy false flat, it appears, is a windy cobbled climb.) The most obvious way to get…

There she goes, my beautiful world

The Real Diel

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Europe is full of history, ancient buildings filled with original masterpieces of art that you can spend days discovering. Looking at these artworks lasts but a moment, the only way to retain their majesty by memory or memory card. Other works of art take different forms, and some of these can be taken with you.…

It is time to confess your sins.

On Rule #3: The Apocalypse

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With The Rules being officially published in three languages (English English, American English, and soon Dutch) and now also being offered in a large full-color format by Rouleur, it is time for the Keepers to accept the reality that Rule #3 is perhaps the most important Rule of all and one which must be enforced vigilantly, even…

The look, of love... Photo via Oli's Tumblr

Anatomy of a Photo: Bike Love

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I got new wheels last week and got them mounted with tires by the weekend. Then @Haldy had to help me with a clearance problem on Sunday (27mm FMB Paris-Roubaix’s get to be more like 29mm tires after Francois finishes his lunchtime bottle of wine). When I wasn’t looking, @Haldy put orange cable ends on all the…

How cold is it outside?

On Rule #9: The Badass Within

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The rain is coming down in sheets, blowing sideways out from the coast. I hear its intensity more than I feel it; the drops reverberate through my helmet as they lash down. The temperature is just cold enough to add a sting to the rain, like a thousand needles upon the 15cm of exposed flesh between the…

The V-Lion of Flanders

Brush Strokes On The Soul

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I dream of painting and then I paint my dream. -Vincent Van Gogh Poor old Vinnie may have been Dutch, mad as a cut snake, riddled with gonorrhea, a romantic in the most insane sense, and a raging alcoholic, but despite these encumbrances he knew a bit about the use of colour. He also spent…

Daylight savings means less time riding in this

Reverence: Daylight Saving Time

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Not too many people espouse the virtues of Daylight Saving Time, much less chose to write about it every bloody year. But Daylight Saving Time is my favorite day of the year, no question. Better than Christmas, Sinterklaas, or my birthday. Combined. The reason is simple: Daylight Saving is the day of the year when it becomes feasible to…

There is pain to be found upon this road. Photo via <a href="http://szymonbike.tumblr.com/">Symonbike</a>

On Rule #10: The Mandlebrot Set of Pain

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My training hasn’t gone as I’d like it to be going. My days keep getting loaded up with things that pay the bills more than they add to the account at the V-Bank. It’s part of not being a Pro, I suppose, as if to spite my obvious talent which is a sort of talent sleeper cell…

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