The simple art of riding a bicycle can be undertaken in many ways. Watching the stylish commuters of Amsterdam going about their business in the most Casually Deliberate way makes you wonder if indeed anyone is actually going about any business at all. I don’t know how anything ever gets done in that city; everyone seems to be on their way to the coffee shop or on the way somewhere else from the coffee shop or just generally moving about with no actual destination or modus operandi to speak of. Sometimes the only indication that these aren’t Dutch zombies riding around the city is their abilty to smoke and text while riding, something I’ve never seen a zombie do successfully.
The French are also renown for the laidbackness, and while the volume of Gallic bicycle commuters is nowhere near the levels of the Dutch, they still can lay down some serious Cas Del around the rues. And god knows what those women are talking about on their phones while cruising along, but it still sounds sexy as hell to me. A good reason not to learn the language, as they could be just ordering a pizza, and to hear that accent reeling off a list of meaty toppings would spoil the fantasy, I’m afraid.
Which makes me wonder if Damien Gaudin is in fact French. I’m sure he’s got a voice like honey over velvet, skin as smooth as polished alabaster and eyes you could swim in, but boy, he sure does make a meal of riding his bike. Oh, he can ride it fast for a long time, for sure, but he looks like he’s trying to rip the headtube from the frame with his own bare hands kilometre after kilometre. Bottom brackets must cringe when they see the 189cm, 79kg figure approaching, and his time trial bike is thankful it only has to endure the punishment over a short distance.
With shoulders more often seen on a footballer than the snake-like ones of most cyclists, and knees and feet more at home caving in someone’s skull in a bar brawl, Gaudin is a picture of raw power on the bike the likes the French haven’t produced since The Badger ruled the peloton. While Msr Gaudin exudes none of the supple stroke or total Rule #5 class that Le Blaireau oozed, he may well have a post-racing career pushing people off podiums just like his country’s national icon.