La Vie Velominatus is a life spent in the sway of the push and pull between function and aesthetics. The former, of course, is paramount, but not necessarily at the cost of latter. A prime example is the European Posterior Man-Satchel; many feel that its use is dictated by functionality, that to abandon the saddle bag is to abandon the tools and supplies required for the ride. But it is also a crutch. A crutch that allows us to forgive ourselves of poorly maintaining our machines. A crutch that allows us indulge in excess, to indiscriminately carry tools and supplies that are not required. Tools and supplies that will only serve to weigh down both rider and machine, disrupting the harmonious balance between the two.
Riding our bikes is about simplicity. The simplicity of flight. The simplicity of silence. The simplicity of self-reliance. To amputate the saddle bag is to sever the last remaining tie to excess. It requires that we distill our needs to the essential and choose tools that are functional and lightweight, yet unfailingly reliable, for while a well-maintained machine should require little roadside maintenance, those incidents which do befall us are often critical and it is in these moments of need when our tools must not fail us.
Enthusiasm got the better of me when I elevated the Pro Mini Tool 11 onto a pedestal that it would later prove unworthy of. While it is remains a fine tool and still holds a place in my quiver of multi-tools, after 6 months in use, it has failed me on several occasions; a crime for which it cannot be forgiven and for which it has been demoted from my daily riding kit and, as a consequence, from it’s Reverence status. Twice it has occurred, once for a derailleur mishap riding the cobbles of Queen Anne and once during my 90km commute, that the tool was required desperately and failed to answer the call due to imprecise machining of the 3mm and 4mm allens. Unbecoming of a Velominatus not to notice such a thing earlier, I know; for that I humbly apologize.
But when Merckx closes a door, he opens a window, and with that I have returned to the unofficial Velominati tool brand of choice, Lezyne. I have owned it for some time – I’m not even sure how it came into my possession – but for reasons I can not fully explain, my Lezyne RAP6 tool sat idly in my tool box. It sat there, resplendent in its lightweight aluminum body and its 6mm, 5mm, 4mm, and 3mm allens, with its screwdriver and its Torx T25. Compact, and meticulously crafted, this tool is classic Lezyne: small, light, and with the complete set of required functionality. It fits neatly into my center jersey pocket, just underneath the spare tube, C02 canisters, and Lezyne tire irons. The Lezyne C02 chuck continues to live happily in my left pocket, with my key and patch kit living in the right.
Balance has been restored. Vive la Vie Velominatus.