Archive | Musings from the V-Bunker

A ride for the people, the Sean Kelly Cyclosportive


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My first bike was a Sears Moonlight Special. It was literally a piece of shit – figuratively. I mean, it would only “literally” be a piece of shit if shit was made of sand-filled steel tubes salvaged from the plumbing of the local sewage facility. Which it might have been, but I simply don’t have…

This helps make a bike special.

On Rule #12: The Bike #1 Paradox

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The only parents who proclaim to have a favorite child are the ones who have only one; all the other ones pretend they don’t have a favorite because they are each “different and special in their own way”. It’s complete bollocks, that, and we all know every parent does in fact have a favorite, but we…

Hold That Thought- image by ride2monza

Rule #55: Earn Your Turns

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I did go out seeking endorphins and inspiration. These articles don’t just write themselves. A climb and descent might just get enough O2 to the brain to knock something loose. Descending from our climb I did get inspired. An article about Rule #55; a descent is enjoyed so much more if you climbed it first.…

A different breed.

World Champion

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The Worlds are going to be played out on US roads, which is fantastic and the last time it happened we witnessed a great race with a worthy winner. But the Worlds has lost a lot of its prestige since moving from late August to its current position in late September. It’s only a month’s difference, but it…

No Mavic behind you?

In Praise of Sealant

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This was not going to be the Race of Truth. My wife and I were descending different routes to our vehicle. I was on the route with the tooth jarring pavement and tight corners, she was not. BAM! Oh scheiße, I’ve got flat rear! The tire exhaled air and water vapor in one great blast.…


Pinot or Bardet?

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That is my question. Both want to be considered great cyclists, not great French cyclists. It is a cruel and heavy burden to be an excellent French cyclist. When are you going to win the Tour de France? Bernard Hinaults don’t come around very often, maybe never again. Hinault was the French Merckx; winning was…

The dreaded slow leak

The Race of Truth

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We’ve all felt it; going over a bump or through a corner and feeling that unmistakable bit of slop in the handling that sends your heart straight to your feet. Hoping you’re wrong, you bounce the tire as you roll along, confirming you’ve got a puncture. But it’s not really flat – not yet, at…

JC Rolls dirty. Photo: AP Photo/Laurent Ciprian

On Rule #81: Crash Test Dummies

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We don’t like to talk about crashing. Talking about crashing before you crash feels a lot like tempting fate and talking about it after you crashed feels a lot like a fisherman bragging about his catch. But crashing is the worst part of our sport apart from getting hit by a car, which has all the worst…

How big is too big? How soft is too soft?

The Goldilocks Principle: Deflategate

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The Rider is the best book ever written about Cycling. I don’t mean that figuratively, I literally mean that literally. I say this despite having had my hand in writing our own Book about Cycling. What makes this book great is not just the prose, which is immaculate, but the spirit of the Velominatus that permeates the…

Gent-Wevelgem  Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media

The Great Equalizer

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The wind-swept break in last weekend’s Gent-Wevelgem was a perfect example of the bike being the great equalizer. Stijn Vandenbergh, 2 meters tall and Luca Paolini, 1.74 meters tall were both there. And until the last few kilometers, no one would bet against either. I’m always cheering for the tall professionals. I’m no pro but…

The machine that cuts a path through the darkness.

Musings from the Darkness

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Reality is always an unpleasant surprise; no one wants to see ourselves the way others see us, and that’s for good reason, too: depression would be much more widespread problem if each of us realized what a pain in the ass we are. Speaking of unpleasant realities, after recently reviewing videos of myself speaking, I have deduced that I have the face…

Museeuw wants to get muddy with us in April. Photo: Tim de Waele

Dry Rot

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It’s not difficult to understand that climate change, global warming, call it what you will, is real. If you’re still in denial about this fact then you are probably one or more of three things: ignorant, complicit or a complete moron. You can cite all the statistics you want, read the reports, or just stick your…

Marco Velo meets the Kemmelberg

The Fear

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There’re two things certain in Cycling: pain, and more pain. How we attain either, each or both of them can present itself in many forms. When you take out your brand new bike for its maiden voyage, lean it against a wall at the pub apres ride and manage to gouge a chunk of paint of…

The road to Chapman Peak south from Cape Town, South Africa.

Places to Ride: Cape Town, South Africa

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I’ve never been to Africa before, although I’m not sure Cape Town counts as “Africa”. One thing I noticed is that everyone here is very skinny. I also noticed that the meal proportions served at restaurants are very modest. That shows the difference between prevention and treatment when dealing with obesity; whereas in the United…

A 1970s Frejus

Define Cyclist

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We are cyclists, the rest of the world merely rides a bike. What defines us as cyclists? Can a recumbent rider be a cyclist, a unicyclist, a fat recumbent rider with hairy legs and a YJA on? I think yes but am I snob for even asking? Years ago, I was helping a woman at another…

Merckx casts his hand to fate; He went on to win Stage 10 of the '70 Tour from Belfort and Divonne-les-Bains

The Unknown

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The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think.– Virginia Woolf Our actions lie on the horizon of the present, in that swirling cloud where fantasy turns into reality. To plan is to cast a shadow into the future, to attempt to lay shape to the unknown. As the…

The bicycle is still freedom.


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Choice, or the perception of it, is one of the most powerful forces on Earth. The great secret lies in the locus of control, which suggests that if given the perception of a choice we will be more willing to endure hardship or suffering. We’ll suffer even for the promise of a future intangible reward so long as we feel…

Rule #62 Exception. photo: Dan Seaton

Preloading The Brain

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Brett’s fine Nick Cave article got me thinking about music and cycling. We spend lots of time alone on our bikes. The bike is on autopilot, it stays upright from second to second, freeing up our brains to consider anything or nothing. Music might be the only riding companion we have but it has to be…


The Mercy Seat

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It began when they come took me from my home And put me in Dead Row, Of which I am nearly wholly innocent, you know. And I’ll say it again I.. am.. not.. afraid.. to.. die. Cold, still, heavy, damp air encourages one to remain ensconsed, the familiar nagging doubt weedling away in the back, make that the…

Un Caffè

Legal Doping: Musings from the V-Bunker

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I’m not even talking about all the pseudo-asthmatics out there, vaping their way to better breathing. My breathing is just fine. It’s my little citron sized heart that is slowing me down. Is there a street-legal injection or vacuum pump for heart enlargement, or a trip to a doctor in the Congo that would transplant…

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