The Past and the Future

I’m struggling with how to open this conversation without sounding like what I’m assuming my grandparents did when I was growing up. Maybe it’s because I’m just now clawing my way into some of the wisdom they had, or maybe I’m just less of an idiot than I was when they were moving their lips and I wasn’t listening. (Spoiler alert: everyone is less of an idiot then I was when I was a kid. No need to wait for the memoir.)

Kids these days have no respect.

There. I said it. Let me add some stage directions to this, for clarity.

Stage left, everyone under the age of 25: [heads down, tapping at their phones] Text me. I don’t do “speaking”. [All look up, sigh in chorus, and look back at their phones. Some of the cast members roll their eyes.]

Center stage, anyone between 25 and 37: Yeah, but they’ll learn. Give them a chance to express their ideas on this world and we’ll be happy for their challenging perspective. I embrace their view as it will help us grow both as individuals and a society. Also, Mom and Dad, please text me.

Stage right, everyone else: Bugger off, you disrespectful cretins.

The past informs the future; wisdom is learned through experience and experience is earned through the errors of our actions. That sounds a lot like a rationalization for screwing up all the time and maybe that’s true, but that doesn’t mean the premise is flawed; we must look behind us to understand where we are going. By respecting our past, we may build a better future.

In a world where the young have no respect for the wisdom of age and the old have no appreciation for the genius of youth, La Vie Velominatus cuts through the din and grounds us. Cycling is deeply rooted in the past while fiercely embracing the future. The Cyclist lives happily on both sides of the coin; cherishing our steel frames and hand-made tubular tires while embracing 10 and 11 speed drive-trains and featherweight carbon frames and deep-section wheels.

Keepers Tour 2012 was the first time I’d been to the cobbles of Northern Europe. When we arrived at the mouth of the Arenberg Forest, we were compelled to climb off and pay our respects to this, the most sacred of roads in our sport. By modern measure, this is the worst road imaginable: mossy cobbles roughly strewn across a narrow lane; uneven and sometimes as far as two or three centimeters apart. This is a road so rough it is difficult to walk down. To a Cyclist, it represents the most beautiful road on Earth. This is a road that lets us touch history.

A puzzle is meant to be solved; a mystery is not. The past is a puzzle and the future a mystery. Beauty is found in the space where the past and future live as one. Cycling is beauty.

Vive la Vie Velominatus.

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112 Replies to “The Past and the Future”

  1. @Chris

    @gilly

    @PeakinTwoYears couldn’t agree more. I liken it to making espresso. I used to have a beautiful little Francis X1 and a burr grinder. Bought my beans from a cool place that roast every Friday morning and that hadn’t had a refit since 1965. It took me 8 or 9 minutes each morning to make an espresso. It wasn’t perfect every day; sometimes I over tamped, sometimes under, but when I got it right it was like angels dancing on my tongue. Then I had kids and 8 or 9 minutes in the morning felt like a lifetime. I sold out… Bought a Nespresso machine, discovered the Dharkan espresso pod which is  rated 11, just like the amp in Spinal Tap! My machine makes wonderful espresso every time, but…it is soulless. I don’t love it like I truly loved my X1. We find pleasure in life by things not being easy, “if it’s easy it ain’t worth having” just like in cycling. I love a fast descent, but shit as I am at climbing, it’s where I find pleasure. The pleasure is in the difficulty and the challenge. The Nespresso is going on ebay!!

    I love my Nespresso machine dearly, I can make my double espresso at the same time as the porridge and while hassling the kids to get dressed, organised and fed. It’s the one time of the day when multi tasking is acceptable. If I didn’t I’d have to get up 20 minutes earlier and good deep sleep has way more soul than any coffee known to man.

    Besides, my second double espresso of the day come from here, is infinitely more awesome than any thing that I could make at home and the guy who makes it gets to worry about financing and cleaning the coffee machine.

    Hey @Chris, apologies for dissing the machine, I was welling in nostalgia for my old Francis. What a stunning place for your second Dopio of the day, you must find it hard to leave

  2. @gilly

    No apologies required. Did you ever try the Indriya, “only” a 9 but very smooth.

    Entoteca is a top spot and you could quite easily be fooled into thinking you were in Italy when waiting at the bar for your coffee. The really hard time to leave, though, is after lunch, the char grilled rib eye is stunning. It’s the sort of place where it’s best to order a bunch of dishes and share.

  3. @wiscot

    Did they take their caps off at least? (If they were wearing them) That’s another thing that irks me – going into an eatery and seeing boys/men wearing goddamn caps. And while I’m ranting, it also irks me to see guys going on dates where the lady has made some effort to look attractive (wash hair, apply make-up, wear something clean and nice) while the guy rolls in wearing whatever didn’t smell too bad in the laundry basket. And a fucking baseball cap.Apparently teaching cursive in schools (here in WI anyway) isn’t a “thing” anymore. Apparently, we’ll all be communicating in shorthand and emoticons in the future.There will be no need for being able to “write” anymore – and if the need arises, some pitiful scrawl in capitals will apparently suffice.

    Merckx have mercy on us all . . .

    Don’t get me started! My son, 9, has to take an iPad and get this… a calculator this year! In grade 4! I didn’t get to use a calculator until grade 10, and don’t get me started on iPads. He can’t keep track of his hat which has to be on his head whenever he exits a classroom let alone an iPad.

  4. @Chris

    I do love a Moleskine, I buy a new one for each project I start. As for propelling pencils, I can still remember having one of these in primary school.STAEDTLER-780C-Mars-Technico-2-0-mm-Mechanical-LEAD-HOLDER-Clutch-Pencil-BLUE

    Endless happy wasted taking it apart and putting it back together…

    Actually I have two of those on my desk right now. Used daily. I remember when I started full time work with one and I was considered a “young upstart” who didn’t know the pleasure of working with pencils. Well, look at me now!

  5. @wilburrox

    The future’s gonna bring a cure for cancer and cold fusion. You’ll think your thoughts in to digitized recording. And it’ll all be thanks to these kiddos that grew up staring in to their phones. As a result of gaming on line together they’ll be communicating and collabrating across time zones and borders w/o any sense of wow. Going to university? Bahhh… Can’t come soon enough.

    You’re right, but I can wait. Those kids staring into their devices all day will have improved on the already excellent algorithms that allow computers to think, to create and in short, replace humans in 90% of jobs. It’s here already, just needs perfecting and to become a bit cheaper. Googles already got a car that drives itself, there are algorithms that diagnose cancer, write poetry, blogs, news stories and you’d be flat out noticing they are not human. That’s just today, imagine what another 20 years will bring. They’ll be living in their walled and guarded (by robots) mansion living it up. What we’ll be doing is living in a slum killing each other for the slightest bit of food just to stay alive.

  6. @Chris

    @gilly

    No apologies required. Did you ever try the Indriya, “only” a 9 but very smooth.

    Entoteca is a top spot and you could quite easily be fooled into thinking you were in Italy when waiting at the bar for your coffee. The really hard time to leave, though, is after lunch, the char grilled rib eye is stunning. It’s the sort of place where it’s best to order a bunch of dishes and share.

    Yes, I like Indriya ( from India!) that extra bit of info always tickles me, but Dharkan and Kazaar are my main squeezes at the moment.

  7. Yes we’ve got a Nespresso in the office – it’s better than instant, faster than brewed (and stewed) and a lot easier than me pulling shots for six people at a meeting.

    @gilly +1 to Kazaa – it’s another ’11’ although I don’t find it overly strong but it has a lovely chocolatey base if you like that sort of thing. Perfect to follow lunch.

  8. @Puffy

    Don’t get me started! My son, 9, has to take an iPad and get this… a calculator this year! In grade 4! I didn’t get to use a calculator until grade 10, and don’t get me started on iPads. He can’t keep track of his hat which has to be on his head whenever he exits a classroom let alone an iPad.

    iPad is stretching it, but I’ve had to take a calculator to school in grade 4 as well, and that was 15 years ago. Funny, because I’m now finishing a degree in Physics and haven’t needed one for the last three years.

  9. @Chris

    @gilly

    No apologies required. Did you ever try the Indriya, “only” a 9 but very smooth.

    Entoteca is a top spot and you could quite easily be fooled into thinking you were in Italy when waiting at the bar for your coffee. The really hard time to leave, though, is after lunch, the char grilled rib eye is stunning. It’s the sort of place where it’s best to order a bunch of dishes and share.

    To think I go through Devonshire Square daily and have never noticed it.

    That will be rectified tomorrow!

    David

  10. @ChrisO

    Yes we’ve got a Nespresso in the office – it’s better than instant, faster than brewed (and stewed) and a lot easier than me pulling shots for six people at a meeting.

    @gilly +1 to Kazaa – it’s another ’11’ although I don’t find it overly strong but it has a lovely chocolatey base if you like that sort of thing. Perfect to follow lunch.

    Those two are good, but whatever the orange lungo is actually called. That one. Right there.

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