Sacred Flemish grime covered our bikes.

La Vie Velominatus: Saleté Sacrée

La Vie Velominatus: Saleté Sacrée

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A Velominatus maintains their machine with meticulous care, doting over it daily. A bicycle is a tool, but it is also a work of art, and serves us loyally in pursuit of our craft. We love them as though they were alive; as we grow together, the cracks and lines formed upon both our skins signifies the journey that has passed beneath our wheels.

A clean bicycle with a boastful luster inspires pride; I find myself constantly fighting the urge to carry mine upstairs to sit by the dinner table each time it has been cleaned, the bar tape freshly wrapped, or any old component swapped for a new one. I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a thing or two to say about it; I know the VMH does.

And yet, there are times when it pains me to clean my machine. After our first day on the Cobbles of Roubaix on Keepers Tour 2012, I left my bike dirty for two days because I couldn’t bring myself to rid her frame of the sacred dust that had accumulated after a day’s hard riding over some of the most hallowed roads in the world. A week later, I suffered the same condition the day after riding the route of De Ronde through hail, rain, and wind which left our machines covered in mud, manure, and Merckx knows what else. I think some part of me hoped the Flemish spirit held within all that grit would somehow be absorbed by my bike, that it would somehow help complete her soul.

But this kind of sacred dirt, the kind we don’t want to wash from our steeds, isn’t found only on the holy roads of Northern Europe. I found myself with the same reluctance to clean my Graveur after riding Heck of the North this year; a race held outside a small Northern Minnesota town nearly half a world from Flanders. I also serendipitously found photos Pavé William took of his Rosin after riding the Strade Bianche, documenting the covering of white dust upon its tubes. This condition afflicts us all, it would seem.

Any dirt becomes holy when we’ve suffered through it, when it took something from us in order to find its way onto our bikes and clothing. Sacred Dirt it is created spontaneously after prolonged exposure to The V.

Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// La Vie Velominatus // The Bikes

  1. @DCR

    Only downside I could see with lower pressure in a larger tire is the increased contact patch. May equal more grip but also more rolling resistance.

    Counter intuitively, the opposite may be the case (within reason). When I race CX on hard bumpy surfaces and grass with small tussocks, it’s advantageous to run less pressure as you get less ‘rebound’ of the tire against the obstacle. This rebound may be happening on a much smaller scale when dealing with rougher roads and chip seal, and *may* be why it feels smoother/faster with slightly less pressure. The smoother the road/track, the higher pressure may be more advantageous.

  2. @Buck Rogers

    @frank Oh shit.

    Enter “rolling resistance and tire width/pressure” discussion number 27.

    Woops. Sorry mate.

  3. @Teocalli

    @DCR

    Has anyone used the tubeless road wheels? Haven’t really seen much on them. Whats the benefit?

    Yes I use them. Started with Bontrager and while they were OK and I had some “saves” by using them they did not seem great at holding air and would typically lose 10 psi or so every day after a ride. Changed to Schwalbe Utremo and they have been great, felt better on the road vs the Bontrager do not lose pressure and gave me a number of “saves” before I got a “terminal” on the Cogal so had to put a tube in. Not too much hassle. One theory about them is that when you have a blowout it is not as sudden as a tube – which was born out in my case – though I think @roadslave had a decent spray of latex behind me! I think there is less risk of rolling off the rim than a clincher as they are a darned sight harder to get on/off than any clincher I have used. So for me the benefit is that I have definitely saved some punctures on rides. There are also claims that the ride is near that of a tub and better than clincher/tube but as I had them from new on the current bike I can’t really say.

    Thanks for the info. I am in the market for a wheelset and was considering the tubeless route. I may have to give them a shot.

  4. As far as ride quality, would Open Corsa SC and latex tubes not be pretty close to a tubular?

  5. @frank Re:  700x23s vs. 700x25s, I can believe that tire quality might be more important than size.  One of these days, I’ll have to replace the 110 tpi Michelins I’m using with some flavor of Vittoria Open Corsas or Veloflex Masters and find out for myself.

  6. @Weldertron

    As far as ride quality, would Open Corsa SC and latex tubes not be pretty close to a tubular?

    Ultimately depends on which tubular; but a good tub will blow your mind. And, tubs are round, and don’t distort the way clinchers do, especially cornering.

    CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.

  7. Got some grime on the #1 today.  The road I was on went to gravel, became double track, then entered a state forest and became basically a rocky stream bed.  I forged ahead, hiked over the rocks, leaves, snow and sand until I crested and dropped out the other side on a muddy, slippery downhill.  Never go back.

  8. @frank

    @Weldertron

    As far as ride quality, would Open Corsa SC and latex tubes not be pretty close to a tubular?

    Ultimately depends on which tubular; but a good tub will blow your mind. And, tubs are round, and don’t distort the way clinchers do, especially cornering.

    CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.

    How much of a hassle are they when dealing with flats? Do they make good tubulars with flat protection? I ask due to the fact that here we deal with some of the nastiest thorns I have seen. Most desert plants like to stab you.

  9. @DCR

    @frank

    @Weldertron

    As far as ride quality, would Open Corsa SC and latex tubes not be pretty close to a tubular?

    Ultimately depends on which tubular; but a good tub will blow your mind. And, tubs are round, and don’t distort the way clinchers do, especially cornering.

    CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.

    How much of a hassle are they when dealing with flats? Do they make good tubulars with flat protection? I ask due to the fact that here we deal with some of the nastiest thorns I have seen. Most desert plants like to stab you.

    Here in Utah, we have the nasty and ubiquitous goat head thorns.  When I put on a new tubular, I remove the valve core and add 1oz of Stan’s tire sealant.  With that, and a quality tire, I’ve had no problems.  I currently run Vittoria Pave’ EVO-CGs (290tpi w/ Kevlar).

  10. @Optimiste

    @DCR

    @frank

    @Weldertron

    As far as ride quality, would Open Corsa SC and latex tubes not be pretty close to a tubular?

    Ultimately depends on which tubular; but a good tub will blow your mind. And, tubs are round, and don’t distort the way clinchers do, especially cornering.

    CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.

    How much of a hassle are they when dealing with flats? Do they make good tubulars with flat protection? I ask due to the fact that here we deal with some of the nastiest thorns I have seen. Most desert plants like to stab you.

    Here in Utah, we have the nasty and ubiquitous goat head thorns. When I put on a new tubular, I remove the valve core and add 1oz of Stan’s tire sealant. With that, and a quality tire, I’ve had no problems. I currently run Vittoria Pave’ EVO-CGs (290tpi w/ Kevlar).

    Ah the goat head…. they are quite prolific here. This is my main concern. Thanks for the input. I luckily have a couple of wheels that can serve as commuter sets so tubulars may be in my future.

  11. @DCR

    @Optimiste

    @DCR

    @frank

    @Weldertron

    As far as ride quality, would Open Corsa SC and latex tubes not be pretty close to a tubular?

    Ultimately depends on which tubular; but a good tub will blow your mind. And, tubs are round, and don’t distort the way clinchers do, especially cornering.

    CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.

    How much of a hassle are they when dealing with flats? Do they make good tubulars with flat protection? I ask due to the fact that here we deal with some of the nastiest thorns I have seen. Most desert plants like to stab you.

    Here in Utah, we have the nasty and ubiquitous goat head thorns. When I put on a new tubular, I remove the valve core and add 1oz of Stan’s tire sealant. With that, and a quality tire, I’ve had no problems. I currently run Vittoria Pave’ EVO-CGs (290tpi w/ Kevlar).

    Ah the goat head…. they are quite prolific here. This is my main concern. Thanks for the input. I luckily have a couple of wheels that can serve as commuter sets so tubulars may be in my future.

    Excellent.  By the way, my EVOs have held up well amid the recent proliferation of chipseal here.  Your mileage may vary.

  12. Speaking of sacred dirt, live from Belgium cyclocross streaming here NOW.

  13. @DCR

    @frank

    @Weldertron

    As far as ride quality, would Open Corsa SC and latex tubes not be pretty close to a tubular?

    Ultimately depends on which tubular; but a good tub will blow your mind. And, tubs are round, and don’t distort the way clinchers do, especially cornering.

    CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.

    How much of a hassle are they when dealing with flats? Do they make good tubulars with flat protection? I ask due to the fact that here we deal with some of the nastiest thorns I have seen. Most desert plants like to stab you.

    Once you learn what you’re doing (I’ve changed about a dozen or so tubs now) you can pull a tub and slap a spare on in less time than it takes to change a clincher.

    I know several people who ride with goop in their tires, which I imagine is about as effective as with clinchers.

    That said, if flats are a daily or weekly issue, I’d probably stay away from tubs just for the sheer cost of tire replacement. (My only bike with clinchers now is my rain bike.)

  14. @VbyV

    Got some grime on the #1 today. The road I was on went to gravel, became double track, then entered a state forest and became basically a rocky stream bed. I forged ahead, hiked over the rocks, leaves, snow and sand until I crested and dropped out the other side on a muddy, slippery downhill. Never go back.

    Sounds like a great day out!

    @Optimiste

    @DCR

    @frank

    @Weldertron

    As far as ride quality, would Open Corsa SC and latex tubes not be pretty close to a tubular?

    Ultimately depends on which tubular; but a good tub will blow your mind. And, tubs are round, and don’t distort the way clinchers do, especially cornering.

    CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.

    How much of a hassle are they when dealing with flats? Do they make good tubulars with flat protection? I ask due to the fact that here we deal with some of the nastiest thorns I have seen. Most desert plants like to stab you.

    Here in Utah, we have the nasty and ubiquitous goat head thorns. When I put on a new tubular, I remove the valve core and add 1oz of Stan’s tire sealant. With that, and a quality tire, I’ve had no problems. I currently run Vittoria Pave’ EVO-CGs (290tpi w/ Kevlar).

    Well, there you have it. Case closed.

  15. @Optimiste those are cute. we have cactus down here, which I fell into one today. Merckx I love riding.

  16. @RedRanger

    @Optimiste those are cute. we have cactus down here, which I fell into one today. Merckx I love riding.

    Yeow!

  17. @Optimiste yup. had to walk my mtb back to my truck and pull thorns out with pliers

  18. Pictures?

  19. @RedRanger

    @Optimiste yup. had to walk my mtb back to my truck and pull thorns out with pliers

    Sooo, what your saying is you should have been on a road bike.  On the road.  Right?

  20. @Weldertron sorry that wasnt on the top of my list of things to do lol.

    @Optimiste I ride road also. Just like both

  21. @RedRanger Undoubtedly.  I’ve been saved from needing skin grafts numerous times on the road because of bike handling skills I developed on singletrack.  Good on ‘ya.

  22. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank Oh shit.

    Enter “rolling resistance and tire width/pressure” discussion number 27.

    Woops. Sorry mate.

    I may have to take the blame for that one !

    Having said that, no longer running hybrid set-up, 25’s alround and no more splinters @Mikael Liddy

  23. @Mikael Liddy

    @DCR @Barracuda biggest difference I’ve noticed is it feels much surer handling wise. Doubt Cuda would be getting that though given he’s still got a 23 up front, get many splinters from sitting on that fence?

    Got some big tweezers and prized those splinters out !  Gone from 23/25 to 25/25 and can confirm that it rocks !!    Much surere handling – as suggested on the front – without any noticeable speed or rolling dramas.

  24. @Barracuda good to hear!

  25. Filthy things rim brakes… Riding in the wet is filthy but fun.

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