Archive | La Vie Velominatus

Disorganized Chaos

An Open Letter to Drivers

by / / 74 posts

I imagine that unless you’re a Cyclist, it is quite difficult to understand what it’s like to ride a bicycle on the open road amongst traffic. It is a vulnerable feeling to be riding along a road with limited or no escape routes, surrounded by vehicles who outweigh you by several orders of magnitude. Particularly when you take into consideration…

Sometimes you're the joker, sometimes you're the joked.

Ebb and Flow

by / / 35 posts

As Tyler Farrar rode by in the other direction, we gave each other a subtle wave; not the wave between friends, but between brothers of the road. On another day, I might have turned around and chased him down, like the first time I’d seen him riding locally. Not so much to bother him or to ride with…

You light up my legs, you give me hope. Photo JEFF PACHOUD/ GETTY

Lights On Legs

by / / 24 posts

Cycling is made up of hundreds of minute details, forming a larger entity which is generally simplified and viewed as the intrinsically simple act of riding––or racing––a bicycle. Getting on and pedalling, fast, may be the crux of winning the Tour, Roubaix, or the local B grade crit, but if it is held as the most important aspect, then…

Warming up for an hour of suffering. Photo ChrissyOne

The Quitter

by / / 75 posts

The truth is that I’d been thinking about quitting for the best part of forty-five minutes. Round and round I went on that track, every lap hurting a little bit more than the previous; every lap taking a little bit longer to complete, every lap that voice inside my head getting a little bit louder.…

The case for black socks...and orange patent leather shoes.

On Rule #28: The Case for Black Socks

by / / 127 posts

Science has proven that people who wear crazy socks are smarter than those boring snooze factories who wear simple plain socks. I know the data supporting the claims is legitimate because I read it on LinkedIn. Also, when I say “read”, I mean that I glanced briefly at the title while simultaneously performing several other critical…

The Machine of the Hour

Festum Prophetae: Waiting for the Hour

by / / 119 posts

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. – Mike Tyson The one thing everyone should always plan for is that however well-conceived a program might be, things will never go to plan. The high level plan for my Festum Prophetae Hour Ride was as follows: Have a custom Hour Bike built by Don Walker. Because…

The way down should hurt as much or more than the way up. Photo: Jared Gruber

On Rule #93: The Throw Down

by / / 70 posts

The human mind is designed to forget how much things suck. That is a fact. If women had the capacity to retain meaningful data on how horrible things can be, there would be exactly zero families on the planet with more than one child. This has nothing to do with how wonderful children are; it has to do with…

Use the Five, Pedalwan.

On Rule #74: The Targeting Computer

by / / 38 posts

I could feel the power in my body as I breathed in the warm Spring air and pulled lightly on the handlebars; strength flowed from my lungs and shoulders into my chest, through my hips and down to my legs which churned over with alarming ease. With every change of gradient, I either stood on the pedals to maintain the…

The climber in a gorilla suit is a mysterious beast.

The Climber in a Gorilla Suit

by / / 72 posts

There is a force upon this world which governs all manner of voodoo and wizardry. This force ensures the streak in your windshield wiper is always precisely at eye level. It ensures that the phone call goes to voicemail just as you touch the “answer” button. It ensures that a product which you endlessly encountered but…

Rider and car (nearly) collide on the Koppenberg in the 1987 Tour of Flanders.

On Motors and Bikes: The Next Ride

by / / 67 posts

Every time I go riding, I know I subject myself to masses of cars and motorcycles, each of which has the potential to momentarily occupy the same space my bicycle and I are occupying, a physical impossibility that Nature will resolve via a messy process involving my death. I don’t know very much about the vehicles…

If you're not window shopping, you're lying.

Window Shopping

by / / 64 posts

One of the great dichotomies of being a Cyclist is that of our commitment to suffering paired against our fastidious attention to our appearance. We sacrifice endlessly for the sake of our craft, suffering hours on end in horrendous weather and diverting any money saved on depriving ourselves of food into maintaining and improving our equipment.…

Hey guys, we're turning non-drive now.

Drive Side/Non-Drive Side

by / / 52 posts

I have a hard time with labels, which is why I am terrible at remembering people’s names. I remember the person and the conversation, but I rarely remember their name; the person had meaning, the label did not. I also can’t tell my left from my right which similarly feel like labels for “this way” or…

These cobbles don't stand a chance against little Lizzie A. Photo: Ashley Gruber.

This Spells Rain

by / / 68 posts

For those of you with an interest in the subtle art of Paying Attention, you may have noticed a few things about my writing technique: apart from the inescapable fact that it is untrained and terrible, I make a habit of overusing the semicolon, a practice I started when I heard my third grade teacher tell…

A bunch of new friends rolls along, getting to know one another.

Oversharing on the Group Ride

by / / 57 posts

My dog greets every dog on the street as though it were her long lost best friend. As soon as the customary butt-sniffing has been sorted out, the two dogs will wrestle each other endlessly, stopping only after an owner-forced separation. Any human that falls within her gaze is a viable candidate for a new home…

The Goldilocks Principle in full effect.

Goldilocks Principle: The Golden Ratio

by / / 127 posts

There is a disturbance in the V. I have felt it for some time, and I suspect many of you have as well. The matter has to do with the ever increasing length of bibshorts and socks, approaching the knee like two lionesses stalking their prey in the savanna. Tracing back to the origin of this trend,…

Today is a good day to ride.

The Fasting Ride

by / / 81 posts

I’ve been doing fasting rides on the weekend, before breakfast and maybe also before lunch, depending on how long the ride is. The longer the ride, the lower the intensity. Also the more likely I am to meet my old friend, the Man with the Hammer. I might bring an Emergency Gel, in its glass tube, but I…

A fenderless creature emerges from the bog of the Forest of Arenberg.

Fendangelism

by / / 143 posts

Mudguards (fenders) and saddlebags are two subjects that are sure to get our collective ire up as Cyclists. When I wrote in one of my columns for Cyclist that saddlebags should never be used, my editor told me that he received a record number of emails threatening to cancel their subscription on the basis that my column was a…

Phantom aero in the snow. Top marks, Michele.

Breathing Through Your Ears

by / / 65 posts

Suffering is part of Cycling the way alcohol is part of liver failure: they are obviously connected but it’s too much fun to stop and think about why you do it. Grace finds us through La Volupté, but her touch is rare and we generally are far better acquainted with her husband, The Man with the…

The Pro Mechanic. Is that a cigarette and is that diesel in there? Photo: HBStache

Dream Job

by / / 87 posts

I love working on my bikes. I feel closer to them, like a samurai sharpening their blade or a soldier cleaning their pistol; this simple act of preparation prepares us for the suffering that is to come, with the notable distinction that a Cyclist chooses this suffering with no tangible consequence while the warrior faces probably…

As a matter of fact, no, I hadn't forgotten how awesome I am.

Body Language

by / / 87 posts

A true leader rarely asks someone to do something for them; the best leaders inspire through their own example those around them to follow suit and join them in their cause. The leader is fueled by something that is not externally driven, it is born from within and appears in this world as passion and conviction. These…

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