The bike shop, enter at your own risk.

Guest Article: Six Monther

Guest Article: Six Monther

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Rule #12 is a beautiful thing. If all but a handful of Rules had to go, Rule #12 would remain. This Rule smolders in all cyclist’s hearts; the need for a better bike has to be there. It just has to. Rule #12 cannot be extinguished while working in the most dangerous or depressing bike-free environments. @dark42echo sent us this from the Falkland Islands. A place as bleak as the the Falklands in the South Atlantic in winter makes one dwell on Rule #12  all the more frequently.

Yours in Cycling, Gianni

Military Deployments are funny things. Things that seem totally alien are normal, ideas that seem brilliant change the instant your feet touch the reality of normal life back home.  As with most tales it is best if I begin at the beginning, not the real beginning, but the beginning of my having enough cash to buy proper bikes. I don’t know if you have spent any great length of time away from your bike(s), if you have you might understand, if not I’m sure you can empathise with my position.

While many of the people I work with have pictures of their loved ones covering their walls I have more pictures of my bikes than of my long suffering bike/conflict widow. She, as a velomagnostic (domestic partner to a velominatus who believes in, but is unsure about, bikes and their place in her/his life) understands Rule #11 better than most.

In the many bike shops I have perused around our fair land and abroad I have often heard domestic partners of aspiring velominati emit encouraging sounding comments that have a second unuttered part to complete them. Such as: “It’s your money, you should spend it how you want….” And the unspoken finish to that sentence is of course “….and you should want to spend it on me/huge weddings/houses/kids/etc!”

“Of course I’ll come and watch you race, in the rain, around a muddy field, for 24hrs…..”  He should have listened to the second part of that one too which was, “But you will owe me huge weddings/houses/kids/etc!” Luckily with the above mentioned “I believe but I’m not sure how much or what” partner egging me on, combined with the bonuses from completing three operational tours of Afghanistan, I have managed to collect a quiver of bikes for nearly every eventuality.

I have the number one road bike, a Project One Madone 6 series in a blue flame paint job, described by my best friend as horribly gay, with an Ultegra Di2 group and Dura-ace brakes and C50 tubs. Number two road bike was recently sold and replaced with a Specialized Crux pro carbon cx bike, SRAM Red, Ritchey and Specialized finishing kit and my old wet wheels (Dura ace hubs on Mavic Open Pro’s). You may not care about the other two (mountain bikes) but I’ll cover them quickly. Trek Super fly 29er hard tail and a Yeti 575.

Each of these bikes is more than a collection of parts, as they have all been built from frame up or heavily modified. The parts lists themselves taking shape over the six months away, scrawled in a bluey to my bike buddies, asking opinion, a battered copy of cycling weekly as my only parts guide. Gradually as the tour draws to a close, I reach my final decision. As I board the plane home I know what I’m going to buy. This knowledge stays with me, armed with six months of magazine research I head into my local bike shop and buy the shiniest prettiest things in the shop that I can afford. After my first tour I wanted, no needed, to buy an orange Five. Right up until I saw my first Yeti. Ten minutes later I owned it. And the forks, and oh look, gold bars, they will match this Chris King headset which is obviously the only one in the shop that will fit. After my second tour I came home armed with the knowledge that I would soon be the proud new owner of a Santa Cruz Downhill bike, knowledge I took with me into the bike shop and knowledge I left behind as I couldn’t fit it into the boot what with the Five series Madone and Specialized Epic FSR stuffed in there first. Lesson learned, the third tour taught me a new one. Don’t plan, just go in with an idea and see what happens. As you may have guessed I came out with a Bowery single speed, a BMX (well two), a new Yeti and no idea what happened.

Two years later, older, no wiser and several bike changes later, we arrive at London 2012. The Olympics. Wiggins Mania is erupting across the country. Frankly the bike stable is getting out of hand bursting the seams of an already packed garage. The number one bike was in tip top shape, so I couldn’t sell her. The single speed was great fun but some one made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Then some little scumbag nicked the BMX (oh no I cried as I ran to tell my insurance company) and I was down to five bikes. A poor choice for me ended up being a great deal for my slightly taller brother, and a steel hard tail left at my parent’s house too long became my dads. A flurry of crashes lead to me falling out with my Anthem, so off that went to the great big bay in the sky. And then there were three. But the bike fund was looking very healthy, no time to spend it though because we were off to Stratford.

What a summer! More than just the sport, the Olympics changed London. People were sort of friendly. Well sort of. Some one actually started a conversation on the tube. More than once. Ten days after Wiggo stepped up to the top step of Le Tour’s podium in Paris I was standing on the Mal, watching as the British lads rolled away to start their, ultimately unsuccessful, attempt at the road race gold. I know they didn’t hold anything back as I saw the state of them when they finished. Then came the TT on Saturday. What a day. After the horrible rain for the women’s race, and the disappointment of no gold medals, Wiggo crosses the line having quite literally knocked the competition on their arses.

“Right I want a Pinerello”, I hear myself say, back home in the bike shop a few weeks later. Bike fund and summer savings burning a hole in my pocket, I know it’s what I want.

“Just like Wiggo’s!” The bike shops manager looks at me with the expression he reserves especially for when he’s thinking about what he has in stock that he can sell me instead of whatever it is I’ve just asked for. He mutters something under his breath as he taps away on the computer then looks at me shakes his head and looks back to the screen. He goes into the back with the phone and I heard snippets of conversation with persons unknown. He comes back to the counter. He is smiling. I don’t like it when he is smiling, it usually means I’m about to buy something that isn’t what I came for. Actually it always means that.

“You know you wanted that flamey Madone frame upstairs, well I can do you a girt lush stonking deal on that and a group-san if you want!”

Before I know it the mechanic and I are in the workshop fitting the bearings into the press fit bottom bracket. Well he’s doing the fitting I’m just dancing round him, asking “do you have to use such a big hammer?”

The cx bike was a result of watching the cx worlds, after a ride with my brother and his chums where one of them had used my number two bike. He decided it was better than his current number one bike and quiet negotiations lead to a mutually agreeable figure and me running to the shop to buy an entry level cx bike. Obviously that didn’t happen as I came back with a top of the range ex-demo carbon cx at very nearly half price.

That brings us up to the here and now. I think I may have almost got the perfect four bike stable, there is room for one more bike. I think I know what I want, but I’ve got five months and one trip to the bike shop before I find out for sure.

 

// Guest Article

  1. Good call on the Yeti 575. I bought a Yeti ASR5C last year and it’s perfect for the mountain trails and races I like to do.

    After every bike purchase, I’m convinced it’s my last for a while. But now with a nice road bike, full squish MTB, and custom CX bike, I’m really not sure what else I would buy without seriously duplicating the machines I already have.

    But to stop now would require a serious change from my recent history.

  2. @G’rilla

    Good call on the Yeti 575. I bought a Yeti ASR5C last year and it’s perfect for the mountain trails and races I like to lose.

    Fixed your post.

    Building my Veloforma tomorrow. PSYCHED.

    Rule #12 continues relentlessly on its path, we are carried along like a leaf on a river.

  3. @frank

    Building my Veloforma tomorrow. PSYCHED.

    Happy building. I had so much fun with my recent build, I am tempted to take the Chorus 11 off my Carbon Craplet, just to have an excuse to upgrade my now-#2 to 11 speed.

  4. @frank

    @G’rilla

    Good call on the Yeti 575. I bought a Yeti ASR5C last year and it’s perfect for the mountain trails and races I like to lose.

    Fixed your post.

    Building my Veloforma tomorrow. PSYCHED.

    Rule #12 continues relentlessly on its path, we are carried along like a leaf on a river.

    Meant to ask earlier, is the orange on the new road frame a different shade than on the gravel bike, or are the pictures you have posted just taken in different light? Either way, she’s sexy. You should probably do the build by candlelight with a little Barry White on the turntable… Aaawwww, yeah

  5. Great read and totally get your mindset with the whole ” I know what I want until I walk into the LBS” ‘thing. Only 4 bikes? Surely you don’t have for every possibility?

  6. You left out the bit about the paint job earning you the nickname Liberace!

  7. @dark42echo

    Thank you for your patronage! I am a small boutique owner (as most of the V know) and I appreciate the true spirit of N+1. I am surrounded by some of the most interesting bike porn to have around, and it never gets tired.

    PS–This is my retirement gig after 20 in the Canadian Army. Stay low and keep moving. Your new bike is just 6 months away!

  8. Boy, does this ring true for me.   Loving the bike I acquired in May of this year like crazy, yet already have another obsession being built.  Wife is definitely gong to notice the next one arriving, gotta sort that out……

  9. What about the steel frame you find by the side of the road? Perfect to build up into a “just a bike” bike, except for the 59cm TT (when you ride a 53).

  10. is this where we come to plead with santa?  if that’s the case, i dont want a pegoretti next.  give me a titanium traditional tt seven.  plenty of room in the stays and forks for 33s.  i will use it for randonneuring and general horseplay.  i promise not to ask for another frame until i get at least 200k’s on the seven.  thank you and i hope mrs claus is well and the reindeer well fed.

  11. Great article..I audibly sniggered at the interplay between you and the LBS.

    Cultural reference for those not in UK or of military disposition.  A “bluey” is a reference to single sheet foldable and gum sealable letters that are available to British Forces who are overseas.  They are free for families as well and if your loved ones want to write to you, they need only put a BFPO number (British Forces Post Office) seal and post once written, no stamp required, and it will be delivered free of charge.  (A godsend when I spent my year in Belize)…

  12. Important bit first – thank you for your service.

    The bikes, the choices, the research and decisions you make while you’re on tour are a great “hook” to help pull you through. Just as every bluey is the most important letter you’ll ever receive, every minute spent thinking, planning and choosing is one more minute nearer to the magic flight home.

    With me it was motorbikes that got me through – knowing that by the time I stepped off the plane at Bzn the house was already full of boxes, deliveries from eBay, parts ordered from the dealer, all waiting for me to lock myself in the man-cave and have some quality time with the bike.

    My first road bike is arriving this week (Cannondale Caad 8 Tiagra, white/green/blue) so I’m very much new to this (Velominewbie?) but already I’ve got into the research-select-compare-decide-buy something else on impulse cycle…

    Great writing style BTW – you must be RAF?

  13. @Dex

    My first road bike is arriving this week (Cannondale Caad 8 Tiagra, white/green/blue) so I’m very much new to this (Velominewbie?)

    I believe that makes you a Pedalwan, until we know how strong the V is with you –  Merckx forbid you turn to the dark side (triathlon) or just all-out psychotic evil (recumbent).

  14. @All – Thanks for all the comments. Except Phil.

    @Dex – Not RAF but Army.

    @il ciclista medio – my four bikes cover the type of riding i generally do, but i think there is always room for another one. maybe two. probably three.

    @johnB – Thanks, i intend to. But now she wants another bike herself.

    VLVV

  15. @ChrisO

    @Dex

    My first road bike is arriving this week (Cannondale Caad 8 Tiagra, white/green/blue) so I’m very much new to this (Velominewbie?)

    I believe that makes you a Pedalwan, until we know how strong The V is with you – Merckx forbid you turn to the dark side (triathlon) or just all-out psychotic evil (recumbent).

    Saw a hand pedalled recumbent yesterday…I can only assume (and he was not an amputee) that he was disabled, in which case I have pay respect because he was headind for a 10% gradient!

  16. I’m going to pick up my first road stead on Tuesday, I’m a convert from a mountain biking background, there’s a matt black Bianchi Sempre special edition with veloce grouppo and fsa crankset, with my name on it int shop, it’s on interest free credit so got a few bits to go with it, it had to be black so she who must be obeyed doesn’t notice it’s new!! It’s worked so far, went from a black hard tail specialized rockhopper to a black, full suss, full carbon, lapierre zesty514 with no comment! Whooo whooo!! Am countin down the hours till a can go try an make my lungs pop out ma chest an legs feel like lead by going over the local lakedistrict passes! Got matching black kit too, compliant with the rules!

  17. @dark42echo

    Love this post. As someone who has also spent too much time in the middle of nowhere armed with cycling magazines, this speaks to me. Unfortunately I was not being paid enough to walk into any LBS and unload cash and I’m a cheap fuck. Still, I like your dedication to bike dreams and reality.

  18. @Podger76 “It’s worked so far, went from a black hard tail specialized rockhopper to a black, full suss, full carbon, lapierre zesty514 with no comment!”

    Oh your poor dilusional man. It hasn’t worked, never does. She’s just smart enough to wait for the most *opportune time to bring it up.

    * Read: At the point of greatest leverage.

  19. @Deakus

     (A godsend when I spent my year in Belize)…

    It’s in the details. Always. Why I love this place. Thank you.

  20. @Podger76

    I’m going to pick up my first road stead on Tuesday, I’m a convert from a mountain biking background, there’s a matt black Bianchi Sempre special edition with veloce grouppo and fsa crankset, with my name on it int shop, it’s on interest free credit so got a few bits to go with it, it had to be black so she who must be obeyed doesn’t notice it’s new!! It’s worked so far, went from a black hard tail specialized rockhopper to a black, full suss, full carbon, lapierre zesty514 with no comment! Whooo whooo!! Am countin down the hours till a can go try an make my lungs pop out ma chest an legs feel like lead by going over the local lakedistrict passes! Got matching black kit too, compliant with the rules!

    You got some seriously steep climbs up there, take it easy, you won’t have your mountain bike gear ratios to get you out of trouble…a 12/25 set up on the rear can be a whole world of hurt when on a 30% gradient.

    I think you may be giving your VMH too much credit for caring or noticing new kit.  I find the usual trigger for an interrogation is the arrival of the package in the post, not the apprearance of new stuff in the man cave.

    Last week I installed two brand new gumwall tyres on my bike (black previously).  Not a blink from the VMH.  If however she had seen them arrive….well….that would have been a whole different story!

  21. @Deakus

    @Podger76

    I’m going to pick up my first road stead on Tuesday, I’m a convert from a mountain biking background, there’s a matt black Bianchi Sempre special edition with veloce grouppo and fsa crankset, with my name on it int shop, it’s on interest free credit so got a few bits to go with it, it had to be black so she who must be obeyed doesn’t notice it’s new!! It’s worked so far, went from a black hard tail specialized rockhopper to a black, full suss, full carbon, lapierre zesty514 with no comment! Whooo whooo!! Am countin down the hours till a can go try an make my lungs pop out ma chest an legs feel like lead by going over the local lakedistrict passes! Got matching black kit too, compliant with the rules!

    You got some seriously steep climbs up there, take it easy, you won’t have your mountain bike gear ratios to get you out of trouble…a 12/25 set up on the rear can be a whole world of hurt when on a 30% gradient.

    I think you may be giving your VMH too much credit for caring or noticing new kit. I find the usual trigger for an interrogation is the arrival of the package in the post, not the apprearance of new stuff in the man cave.

    Last week I installed two brand new gumwall tyres on my bike (black previously). Not a blink from the VMH. If however she had seen them arrive….well….that would have been a whole different story!

    I’m lucky because we have no storage at home so keep my bikes at my old folks! She just takes note of my kit!

    I’ve had the bike delivered straight to the shop, y’kno, cos like no one will be in to receive delivery at home! So hopefully this will fly right under the radar?!

    I’m joining the local bike club, Broughton Wheelers, so hopefully will get dragged up them there hill’s, not going for the Fred Whitton challenge yet! Just looking forward to it, gettin out and doing a bit!

  22. Ah the deployment bike.  They’re have been so many good ones on the black books.  The latest a Willier Carbon Cross.  Thank God for the Middle East, bankrolled of dreams.

  23. @Deakus

    I think you may be giving your VMH too much credit for caring or noticing new kit. I find the usual trigger for an interrogation is the arrival of the package in the post, not the apprearance of new stuff in the man cave.

    I only buy though the post when my LBS cannot / will not supply but when I do, it is sent to work for this very reason. Everything else comes through the LBS who constantly blows me away with prices as good and often even better than on line. Those items come home attached to the steed miraculously after a “service”.

  24. Loved this article.   Anyone who owns a bike will empathise with the desire for better parts than come stock with a frame.

    I think about all the upgrades for my bikes and kit that I want to do and get.  But then I realise that it’s probably more realistic I spend more time on the bike, than money.  In true scientific principles, it is better to maintain the status of controls to test the hypothesis: Have I peaked over these last two months, or was it just my bike?

  25. Get Back to Work and Stop Dreaming of Bikes. Oh and get those whiskers trimmed.

    Your Boss (TESWO) Cube DI2 owner and generally good guy

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