Look Pro, Part VIII: The Phantom Menace
Casually Deliberate is at the core of Looking Pro; it’s something that comes from a lifetime spent on a bike, becoming one with the machine. There are two components to this phenomenon, two organisms forming a symbiotic bond and working together in perfect harmony towards an end.
The Machine. Immaculate. Every piece of kit in its place, adjusted to the millimeter; il posizione must be set up precisely to maximize the V-Locus. The Principle of Silence reigns supreme; no creaks, no squeaks – no Rattle, just the Hum from the tires and spokes as they cut through the air. Every last detail is looked after; the frame is spotless and the bars perfectly wrapped.
The rider. A paradox. Victim at the hands of the Man with the Hammer, yet conqueror of their own physical limitations. Perched on the saddle, the rider is comfortable as the legs spin with deceptive ease. Every movement is perfect and carefully controlled, yet nothing is given undue consideration. The hands reach out and rest easy on the bars. The back is simultaneously arched and flat as the body finds the ideal balance between transferring maximum power to the pedals while keeping the shoulders low and narrow to punch the smallest possible hole through the air.
Nothing conveys this notion as much as riding in the Phantom Aerobars. The forearms resting on the tops, hands draped loosely in the air, clutching at nothing but wind: physics are seemingly defied as somehow the rider manages to not only steer, but also coax the leverage from the arms required to propel the machine forward. In a word: Grace.
It is paramount that any rider who endeavors to Look Pro learn to ride in this difficult position. But beware: one must take care to avoid crashing while practicing; not only is crashing while trying to Look Pro un-casual, it is monumentally un-Pro. That’s a tip.
- Because your arms are resting on the bars with your hands dangling unsupported, you will need a Magnificent Stroke with a smooth upward motion in order to provide the counter-balance that your arms normally provide.
- You will also need a strong core to support your body and avoid supporting your shoulders by leaning on your forearms too much. Not only will this become uncomfortable, but the added weight on the bars will make the bicycle unstable.
- Find the V-Locus. Your bike must be set up properly, allowing you to ride in a neutral position in order to minimize undue torquing or twisting.
- While unsightly and generally frowned upon, older model Shimano shifters with outboard shift cables make for a kind of crutch as you learn to ride in this position; avoid clutching the cables too firmly, but it is permissible to hold them loosely to provide some modicum of steering and leverage.
- Watch where you’re going; you don’t want to be hitting potholes or road furniture while conducting what amounts to a high-speed balancing act.
One last consideration, the gut you’ve been nursing since discovering that beer is the ideal post-ride recovery drink may actually help keep your forearms unweighted. I recommend you keep testing that theory until it becomes true.