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Darkness

Darkness

by / / 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 your matching kit to shear black, pretty socks and all. It calls you to simply pedal. And, on the best of days, it gives me the jump on a fellow commuter just asking to be dropped like a pedal wrench in a two-year-old’s hands.

Today will only be one second less dark. Come feel the power of the darkside.

// Defining Moments // La Vie Velominatus

  1. @G’rilla

    This article is a metaphor for life and for The Rules.

    Yesterday, Seattle was dark for 15 hours 34 minutes and 37 seconds.

    The author mentions a specific amount of time, but “yesterday” refers to the author’s entire life up to this point. It could be 15 years, it could be 55 years.

    I rode to work in the black, and in the black I rode home.

    Wherever you go, there you are. The author is surrounded by blackness not because of the environment, but because of himself.
    “Black” symbolizes The Rules that the author has broken. He feels guilt. It is inescapable.

    The darkness is good to me.

    Sometimes, breaking The Rules benefits us. Insulated MTB boots warm our smallest toes. Winter tights keep our bits and pieces from permanently shrinking in the frozen wind. Fitting a softride post to our mountain bike tells other mountain bikers that they should avoid us, thus keeping us true to road cycling.

    It shields my filthy chain from those who would judge it.

    We are afraid to meet other Velominati because we fear that they will judge us.

    It casts anonymity over the creaking of my bottom bracket.

    The author is more concerned with the uses of nipple lube than other kinds of lube.

    It erases your matching kit to shear black, pretty socks and all.

    We leave the house with appropriate white socks, but the darkness turns them to black. Even when we try to Obey the Rules, we later find that we have not.

    It calls you to simply pedal.

    The author finds redemption. Colors, measurements, and bubble levels are outward signs that any hipster could adhere to. The true Rules are inside you.
    One may grasp the noodles of death yet still exhibit The V. Even those who wear both the polka dot jersey and polka dot bib shorts are allowed to stand on the podium.
    Why? Because they pedal.

    And, on the best of days, it gives me the jump on a fellow commuter.

    The “fellow commuter” is also the author. He has transcended not only The Rules, but also himself.

    Come feel the power of the darkside.

    The author has been transformed and no longer uses the darkness to hide or deny. He has found strength inside himself. He can obey the rules or make his own.

    Chapeau, G’rilla!

    Life is like an analogy. La vie Velominatus is also like life in that it is an analogy.

  2. @frank

    We’ve had amazing weather here. Cold, but dry. Amazing Fall, and while I’ve had to ride Bike #3 the most, I have gotten out on the TSX and R3 regularly.

    Full Screen

    Merckxdamn, the TSX is a gorgeous piece. Looks almost as fab with @Frank on it as @Marco does. :-)

  3. @frank
    your brave for pulling out your phone while riding

    @mcsqueak
    Im lusting after the 3T Ergosum with matching stem and seat post

  4. Just a piece of information…today here in São Paulo, Brazil we had around 36°C (around 97F) and now we have a nice storm with small ice rocks…kind of typical weather for this partof the year (summer).
    This means road bike only at maximum 9am, and no mountain biking unless you love mud and carrying your bike on the back…

  5. @Roberto Marques
    Didnt realize we had a Brazilian around here. I have family in Campo Grande. The Last time I visited I went illegally, crossing the border from Paraguay in a Taxi.

  6. It’s allowed to say that there is not exactly a border between Brazil and other countries in S. America…but you also know that in Campo Grande 36°C is “winter time”!

  7. @Roberto Marques

    I don’t think we have a Brazilian of them, only one.

  8. Oops that should have been @RedRanger.

  9. Speaking of darkness, there are rumblings and musings that Vitamin D needs to be added in a big way to foodstuffs in Scotland as residents of North Britain get so little sunshine that the collective health of the country is suffering. A strong link has been suggested between lack of vitamin D and multiple sclerosis which has astronomically high rates in Scotland. Maybe a fluoride in the water scenario might suffice . . .

    I’m about to head back to Scotland for a couple of weeks. I kid you not, but it will be a surprise if we ever get a sunny day!

    Got my last ride of the year in today. 52kms on a cloudy, cold day (temps must have been in the mid 20s). Not the prettiest ride but gave a great sense of satisfaction.

    Happy hols everyone, see you in the new year.

  10. @Roberto Marques
    your right. after we took the bus from Asuncion to the other side of Concepcion we just walked across the border. being a gringo and not having a visa I couldnt get on a bus to Campo Grande, hence hiring a taxi to drive us the entire way and not get stopped at 3 check points.

    @mcsqueak
    Im what most people call a latin mutt, unfortunatly I only speak Spanish as a second language

  11. @frank

    @Nate

    Got out for 60 km yesterday, crystal clear sunny with crazy 40kph katabatic winds for the first hour and a half of the ride. It was 16 C at home, and at 400m elevation it was maybe 10, with the wind even stronger over exposed parts of the ridgetops.
    First ride in The V-Kit to boot. Love the way the sleevecuffs hold up my armwarmers. No other jersey does that. Good stuff.
    Merckxy Christmas everyone

    Awesome, glad you like the kit! Did a 60k ride with G’rilla the other day, in nearly windstill conditions and sun. Was a bit chilly, though. My Pedalwan has come far, but he did show up in 40 degrees with insulated booties and tights. He has more to learn, yet. No issues, though, on his putting the hurt on me as usual.

    I headed out with armwarmers, a merino base layer and a light embro on the legs. I felt that the V bibs should be anointed for their first ride. I was a bit warm in the valleys but thought I had nailed the kit. Up top I was deeply feeling the lack of kneewarmers and worried about damage to the guns, it was so much colder. Live and learn. Today there is not a breath of wind.

  12. i personally like the darkness. i enjoy silently humming along back roads, a wraith, invisible.

  13. @wiscot

    Speaking of darkness, there are rumblings and musings that Vitamin D needs to be added in a big way to foodstuffs in Scotland as residents of North Britain get so little sunshine that the collective health of the country is suffering. A strong link has been suggested between lack of vitamin D and multiple sclerosis which has astronomically high rates in Scotland. Maybe a fluoride in the water scenario might suffice . . .
    I’m about to head back to Scotland for a couple of weeks. I kid you not, but it will be a surprise if we ever get a sunny day!
    Got my last ride of the year in today. 52kms on a cloudy, cold day (temps must have been in the mid 20s). Not the prettiest ride but gave a great sense of satisfaction.
    Happy hols everyone, see you in the new year.

    Doctors prescribe it here in Seattle all the time. We have some in the cabinet. Vitamin D is also a good weightloss drug as it promotes metabolism. Win-win.

  14. Being on the dark side of the moon – Northern Alberta, we are planning a true rarity, a Christmas afternoon ride. It will be about 5C, so as long a we are done before 4pm and darkness, it will be a nice ride!

    And 5C! I can go bare-legged!

  15. @Mikel Pearce
    Think about your country! Rick mccosker centenary test. Jaw busted by bob Willis in the first innings. Goes out to bat in second innings with no protection other than a bandage. Makes 25 (or so). I would say that facing 150kmh projectiles with no helmet is tough enough. Doing it with a busted jaw to boot? Well I think I would prefer to ride with a busted c/b.

    And what about the Australian “no rub” rule against w

  16. @frank
    That stem is freakishly long.

  17. The Seattle weather has been great – cold and clear. I’ve barely been riding in it however – shame on me – thanks to a crazy workload lately. I’ll be out soon, really soon…

    Frank – cool pics on the post.

  18. Our first day of “winter” in central NC was 67*F and sunny. Coming from upstate NY, not what I’m used to at all. Oh well, I guess it’s silly to complain about it being too nice out for cycling. I love winter riding though. With good lights and nice clothes, I don’t even notice a hiccup in my riding.

    On another note, I’m visiting the future in-laws for the holidays. I joined the local shop ride. My Merckx, I’ve never seen so many Rules violations in one pack than I saw yesterday. It’s as if living in the country makes these folks feel as if they are perpetually riding in the dark. Steel Colnago with a mile of spacers plus a flipped up stem. Arm warmer-jersey gaps all over the place. Dirty kits. Baggy kits. Some dude with two bottles on the bike plus two behind his saddle. Who needs four bottles in the winter?

    As if all the Rules violations weren’t bad enough, the “casual” Christmas Eve ride was a constant series of attacks and sprints. Huh? Half the group got dropped. I’d be pissed if the LBS owner invited everyone out, billed the ride as “casual” and then allowed that to happen. He was at the front most of the ride so could have controlled things.

    The ride was capped with a crash/tip over as we returned to town when the group tried to roll a red light. Goodness. I split off and headed home.

  19. Did anyone here do the Rapha 500? – I had to look to this article for inspiration to twice get out of bed at 6.30 and start a 90kms ride in the dark. I also had to meditate on Rule #5 many times and take solace in my serious compliance with Rule #9 (6 degrees, serious rain and 20+mph headwinds at times) but was pretty chuffed to complete the 500kms in six rides yesterday

  20. @Ali McKee
    Welcome. Oooof, the Rapha 500, I’m glad I didn’t know about it as I’ve never tried consecutive rides of that kind. Good on ya for doing it.

    (6 degrees, serious rain and 20+mph headwinds at times)

    That is uncool. Getting up in the dark, cramming down oatmeal, I do not like that. I do like actually riding when the sun is rising but I’m on Maui so when the sun comes up it’s magic anyway.

  21. @Gianni

    Thanks for the welcome.

    I kind of wish I hadn’t read about the Rapha Festive 500 but once I did, and combined with fine articles such as this one and Frank’s ‘Love The Work’, I knew it had to be done.

    This website and the Rapha one are the best motivation in the winter months.

  22. @Ali McKee

    @Gianni
    Thanks for the welcome.
    I kind of wish I hadn’t read about the Rapha Festive 500 but once I did, and combined with fine articles such as this one and Frank’s ‘Love The Work’, I knew it had to be done.
    This website and the Rapha one are the best motivation in the winter months.

    I’ve been reading about it on a few different blogs and I’ve thought “meh… 500 in 8 days; big deal”. But your last comment reminded me that most on here are in the northern hemisphere and it’s somewhat cold and wet. 500 in 8 days is a piece of pie down here, not so much up in the bizaro hemisphere. Respect.

  23. @Ali McKee
    Well done- I joined in, but think I only got about 350k down. Should have banished the mountain bike for the duration. I spent about 4 or 5 hours on it that week going 11kmh… Should have been on the Cervelo goin 30! Congrats!

  24. I thought i was doing well to get it done riding solo in the wet and windy weather but then I started reading about guys doing it on singlespeeds, off road and on ice and snow in Scandanavia – hardness is relative! The winner, Kristian House no less, clocked 1,200+kms!?
    @Anjin-san

    @Ali McKee
    Well done- I joined in, but think I only got about 350k down. Should have banished the mountain bike for the duration. I spent about 4 or 5 hours on it that week going 11kmh… Should have been on the Cervelo goin 30! Congrats!

    Hard work on a MTB! fair play for getting 350 done

  25. I understand that darkness and rain is good for cycling: it gets the riff-raff off the roads.

    So I was recently told.

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