La Vie Velominatus: Flemish Tan Lines

La Vie Velominatus: Flemish Tan Lines

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Clouds hang heavy in the sky, plump with a rain which contemplates the opportunity to hurl itself towards the Earth below. I get the sense that we wait for each other, the Rain and I; the rain relishes the opportunity to soak my clothes and skin, seeking to corrode my resolve while I cherish the opportunity to prove to myself that it will not be shaped by such things.

As a kid, I had an illustrated book of Aesop’s Fables. This time of year, I’m often reminded of one fable in particular, that of the Wind and the Sun. As the tale goes, the two are in the midst of an argument over which is the stronger when they spot a traveller on the road below. The Sun suggests that whichever of them can cause the traveller to take off his cloak will be declared the winner. The Wind blows and blows with all its might but the traveller only pulls his cloak closer. The Sun, on the other hand, beams with all its yellow glory, and the traveller soon finds it too hot for his cloak and discards it.

Aesop’s moral was that kindness is more effective than severity, but that sounds a lot like it would require introspection to really digest. Instead, I like to think of myself as the traveller and my resolve as the cloak; the worse the weather, the closer I pull it to me and the more determined I am to hold my course. In fact, this concept extends to any hardship in life; the greater the challenge, the stronger my determination.

So there we are, the Rain and I, waiting for each other; me with my cloak and the Rain with its severity. At this time of year, when the skies have turned grey but the chill hasn’t yet arrived to keep it company, I enjoy waiting for the rain to fall before embarking on my rides. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the questioning looks from the neighbors who descend from their homes in coats and hiding beneath their umbrellas for the journey from front door to automobile; they serve as further evidence that the public still has some distance yet to cover before understanding the Velominatus.

The rain pours down and in minutes soaks my clothes. Rain drops drip from the brim of my cycling cap; when I clench my fist, water steams from the fingers of my gloves. The roads are soaked; both the rain and traffic cast debris towards the gutters. My path crosses between the two and the grit and dirt afloat in the rain water are flung onto my machine and body.

When I return home from the ride, the evidence of my journey is carried in my clothing which is heavy with water and debris. Overshoes and knee warmers, once removed, reveal my Flemish Tan Lines via the clean skin beneath.

Perhaps Flanders is a place not defined by the borders between people, but between wool and flesh. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// Belgian Affirmations // La Vie Velominatus // The Rules

  1. @frank

    On the other hand, mud guards (I’ll concede this is the proper name, not fenders, by the way) add weight, noise, make it hard to change tire, can no longer fork-mount it in the car, and make maintenance and cleanup harder. I also suspect they increase tire wear since they rarely can keep off the damn things, but I eighty-sixed my fenders before I could prove that to be the case.

    weight – they add about 200 grams.  really, that’s a problem for you?  take a dump before your ride and call it a wash.  noise – not if set up correctly (see below).  changing tires – it actually impedes nothing, you just have to be a little careful (and we’re talking a winter/rain bike here; you should be running more puncture resistant tires anyway).  fork mounting – false.  i’ve tried a few different ones and all of them work.  even long mudflap ones work fine (the flap just flaps up).  maintenance – it’s actually WAY easier with fenders as there’s far less shit on your bike.  it’s just focused in a couple spots.  and you occasionally need to remove the wheels to clean under them.  much better than cleaning a bike without them thoroughly after every ride.  (not to mention your kit is generally a good bit cleaner as well.)  tire wear – again, not if set up correctly.

    my ultimate feeling on this is that mudguards should not be on a road bike that’s not made for them.  that means no sks raceblades or crud roadracers shoe-horned onto a carbon bike with short reach brakes, no chain stay mount, etc.  if your bike doesn’t have these features, don’t mount fenders to it.  that pretty much excludes all race-oriented bikes which, i’m sure we all can agree, look like shit with mudguards and should never be seen wearing them.  and as mentioned above, a bike made for them will have very little issues running them and your overall ride experience will not be adversely impacted at all; it will only improve.

  2. @Deakus

    Essentially you should equip your bike the way you believe you can best serve The Prophet, that means keep one eye on the Rules and another on The Masturbation Principle. Ride like a Lion, deploy the guns where they can do most damage and most of all VLVV.

    Hmmm, Like this you mean?

    Look Ma, no fenders (er, mudguards).

  3. I have a dedicated winter/rain bike… it has fenders… ahem mudguards. Clubs around here won’t let you ride or relegate you to the back of the bus if you show up for a winter ride with no fenders. I would gladly ride without them if someone else was doing my laundry and cleaning my bike after every ride.

    As for me… I like them and it keeps me riding in the Flandrianesque PNW weather. And done right, they don’t look that bad on race bike.

  4. @Deakus Diesel does much the same degreasing as petrol, but with a higher flashpoint.

    @All I love learning pointless shit due to threads like this, for I am an information whore. The topic pointed me to Wikipedia on rainfall. Where I live is 2000mm, Seattle proper 990mm, Some areas of Seattle metro 2500mm, and I feel for our fellow Velominati in Scotland, some areas there are 4500mm!

  5. Looks like our UK mates have more important things to worry about than guards…http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/shane-sutton-in-hospital-after-cycling-crash-35725/

  6. @frank  Heinrich’s hair represents externally his internal battle in deciding between German or Australian nationality. ‘Do I measure my seat post height to the exact millimetre Deutscher style or do I not give a fuck, she’ll be right Digger?”

  7. @IcemanYVR Fixed your post, but “done right, they don’t look that bad on a rain bike“.

  8. @The Pressure

    Looks like our UK mates have more important things to worry about than guards…http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/shane-sutton-in-hospital-after-cycling-crash-35725/

    Buzz is that the driver in Wiggo’s case will get put on an “Awareness Course”. There were no arrests in the Sutton case.

    But if you really want to depress yourself read what the trolls are saying in the article commentaries in the press. Thousands of innocent pedestrians are killed and maimed by cyclists and people get sooooo frustrated when they can’t pass people on bikes because they do less than 110kmh.

    Frankly many of my fellow citizens are a thoroughly nasty intolerant lot.

    Although when it comes to golf and ill trained dogs on paths the veins stand out on my forehead too – sigh.

  9. @Giles

    @IcemanYVR Fixed your post, but “done right, they don’t look that bad on a rain bike“.

    Now I’ve got visions of people with trouser clips, bowler hats and mudguards on Crits!  Even I can’t condone that…;)

  10. @the Engine

    @The Pressure

    Looks like our UK mates have more important things to worry about than guards…http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/shane-sutton-in-hospital-after-cycling-crash-35725/

    Buzz is that the driver in Wiggo’s case will get put on an “Awareness Course”. There were no arrests in the Sutton case.

    But if you really want to depress yourself read what the trolls are saying in the article commentaries in the press. Thousands of innocent pedestrians are killed and maimed by cyclists and people get sooooo frustrated when they can’t pass people on bikes because they do less than 110kmh.

    Frankly many of my fellow citizens are a thoroughly nasty intolerant lot.

    Although when it comes to golf and ill trained dogs on paths the veins stand out on my forehead too – sigh.

    Apparently Wiggo was hit by a driver turning out of a petrol station…..

  11. Yeah, probably going in the penality box for this one but, come on Frahnk, they are Flemish Tan lines, right?

  12. @Giles

    @IcemanYVR Fixed your post, but “done right, they don’t look that bad on a rain bike“.

    @Deakus

    @Giles

    @IcemanYVR Fixed your post, but “done right, they don’t look that bad on a rain bike“.

    Now I’ve got visions of people with trouser clips, bowler hats and mudguards on Crits! Even I can’t condone that…;)

    Yes to both of you… I did in fact mean “RAIN” bike… cycling version of a freudian slip ;)

  13. I only hope that Wiggo’s crash will result in some new awareness by drivers, both in the UK and around the world. I doubt it will but I’ll keep hoping. It’s a stretch and definitely apples to oranges but I’ve been trying to channel the energies and attitude of those fighting for civil rights, whether in the U.S. or anywhere. It’s a long haul, the deck is stacked against us, but you have to keep on trying, can’t get too pessimistic, and can’t go around cussing and finger saluting everyone who is a reckless driver.

    More bike lanes, more cyclists by the day in my city. That’s great! And I’m getting involved with the cycling coalition. I really, really want to work on a mass Kids Bike to School day. If folks saw all those kids and were able to connect a bit more that everyone on a bike, whether 10 or 45, deserves more respect, space, and safety I think it could only help the situation improve.

    I had a dude tell me on Wednesday that I was going to get run over if I kept biking like that. “Oh Defensively Aggressive, do you mean?” I wanted to ask. Yeah right. Sorry I signaled and then moved over when you were 200 meters back. I definitely should have dismounted and used the crosswalk to navigate the intersection. I told him to have a nice day.

  14. @IcemanYVR

    @Giles

    @IcemanYVR Fixed your post, but “done right, they don’t look that bad on a rain bike“.

    @Deakus

    @Giles

    @IcemanYVR Fixed your post, but “done right, they don’t look that bad on a rain bike“.

    Now I’ve got visions of people with trouser clips, bowler hats and mudguards on Crits! Even I can’t condone that…;)

    Yes to both of you… I did in fact mean “RAIN” bike… cycling version of a freudian slip ;)

    Is a Rein bike a LOOK 695 in Cofidis colors?

  15. @Buck Rogers

    Yeah, probably going in the penality box for this one but, come on Frahnk, they are Flemish Tan Lines, right?

    She must have needed someone to help her get the kit off without disturbing the tan lines.  Where’s the sign up list?

  16. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers

    Yeah, probably going in the penality box for this one but, come on Frahnk, they are Flemish Tan Lines, right?

    She must have needed someone to help her get the kit off without disturbing the tan lines. Where’s the sign up list?

    Yeah, must have been awwwful to have to carefully peel her out of her kit like that. 

    I have already signed up for the next ten times, so get in line.

  17. @Buck Rogers

    Hey, I’ve got an idea: post a picture you think is going to land you in the penalty box, and then KEEP FUCKING QUOTING THE WHOLE THING. OVER AND OVER.

    That said, they are indeed great FTLs.

  18. @minion

    @Oli

    @scaler911

    @frank

    You ride in the rain? Loons. That’s quality time you could be sitting around inside with a cup of hot chocolate admiring the pristine lines of your clean, dry bike while another’s manhood slowly withers and dies inside you. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as owning a wardrobe of pristine, clean new rain kit and never, ever using it but knowing you could if you ever – and I really mean never – rode in the rain.

    I’m off the the Rapha shop to buy some Tweed armwarmers and mustache embrocation for an upcoming Whiskey and chappettes ride. Course I’ll get to wear my Llama skin Cagoule if it rains but I won’t be going outside, no sir.

    fixed your post

  19. @Buck Rogers

    @Nate

    @Buck Rogers

    Yeah, probably going in the penality box for this one but, come on Frahnk, they are Flemish Tan Lines, right?

    She must have needed someone to help her get the kit off without disturbing the tan lines. Where’s the sign up list?

    Yeah, must have been awwwful to have to carefully peel her out of her kit like that.

    I have already signed up for the next ten times, so get in line.

    I might add, that this can’t be the only angle that was shot. There’s a photographer somewhere with some great shots on his hard drive. (In my best Beavis voice :hehe, hehehe, You said “shots” hehe, “hard drive” hehe hehe).

  20. @frank

    Nice, but in this case @Buck Rogers is nicer……….

  21. @all:

    Buck Rogers post is of a chicka, right?

  22. @itburns

    @minion

    @Oli

    @scaler911

    @frank

    You ride in the rain? Loons. That’s quality time you could be sitting around inside with a cup of hot chocolate admiring the pristine lines of your clean, dry bike while another’s manhood slowly withers and dies inside you. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as owning a wardrobe of pristine, clean new rain kit and never, ever using it but knowing you could if you ever – and I really mean never – rode in the rain.

    I’m off the the Rapha shop to buy some Tweed armwarmers and mustache embrocation for an upcoming Whiskey and chappettes ride. Course I’ll get to wear my Llama skin Cagoule if it rains but I won’t be going outside, no sir.

    fixed your post

    Nicely done. Nicely done.

  23. @scaler911

    @all:

    Buck Rogers post is of a chicka, right?

    I sure hope so.  Let’s review the evidence again, shall we?

  24. I dunno, those could be a set of moobs he/she is hiding behind the arms.

  25. @mcsqueak

    I dunno, those could be a set of moobs he/she is hiding behind the arms.

    Son, u been in the pnw a bit too long.

  26. @Nate

    @scaler911

    @all:

    Buck Rogers post is of a chicka, right?

    I sure hope so. Let’s review the evidence again, shall we?

    Hard to say….  This might take a while.

  27. ok this is not sexy like the girl with the paint on mud, but here in Belgium this is what a Flandrian in training looks like after a road ride ion November

  28. @Beers Approx 1200mm (avg annual) in the TN/KY region where I ride. Nov-Jan appear to get ~90mm avg monthly precip. Have a beautiful day going on outside right now. I am heading out for a couple hrs and looking to go over the top on my 2000 miles (3225km) for the year. 

  29. As previously advertised, it was an awesome day to ride in the Cumberland Mtns.  Saw way too many people getting their X-mas lights up on their double-wides and inflatable Santa’s out in the yard w/the hounds and sporting chickens.  Not me though.  The  temp was 22.38C, and perfect for 94.61km & 744m total climbing over 3hrs 45min. It was enough to go OTT on my year-end goal.  To be honest and forthcoming, that total includes a couple pancake rides on the greenway, a few MTB rides, and some CX training. So, I’m still short by a little less than 500km for some true Rule #5, laying down the V,  riding.  Still have a few weeks left to throw it down, but it is clear I will need to make a real plan next year to increase the time/distance in the saddle.  This year’s numbers just sort of developed w/ a little bit of half-assed comittment, but I’m still feeling warm and fuzzy anyway.

  30. Flemish face tan. Who is it?

  31. Don’t know if anyone has posted this elsewhere yet:

    EPMS positive, outrageous MTB rear mudguard present, facial hair replete. I present WinterWiggo for your viewing pleasure. I’m happy to say that I ride in the the same area as him and my Sunday club runs visit the same cafe as he does (see this months Cycling Plus – I’ve never seen him in there) so I’m in full agreement with the need for a mudguard but surely Team Sky can splash out on something a) more subtle and b) more effective!

    Great to see him back on his bike despite his recent injuries.

  32. @heinous

    Don’t know if anyone has posted this elsewhere yet:

    EPMS positive, outrageous MTB rear mudguard present, facial hair replete. I present WinterWiggo for your viewing pleasure. I’m happy to say that I ride in the the same area as him and my Sunday club runs visit the same cafe as he does (see this months Cycling Plus – I’ve never seen him in there) so I’m in full agreement with the need for a mudguard but surely Team Sky can splash out on something a) more subtle and b) more effective!

    Great to see him back on his bike despite his recent injuries.

    He looks hella fat.

  33. @sthilzy

    Flemish face tan. Who is it?

    No idea but she has great eyes and looks awesomely hardcore!

  34. @frank

    @heinous

    Don’t know if anyone has posted this elsewhere yet:

    EPMS positive, outrageous MTB rear mudguard present, facial hair replete. I present WinterWiggo for your viewing pleasure. I’m happy to say that I ride in the the same area as him and my Sunday club runs visit the same cafe as he does (see this months Cycling Plus – I’ve never seen him in there) so I’m in full agreement with the need for a mudguard but surely Team Sky can splash out on something a) more subtle and b) more effective!

    Great to see him back on his bike despite his recent injuries.

    He looks hella fat.

    They must have reinflated him post tdf. It looks like he put on 30lbs, looks like a normal guy befitting the epms (but not the mtb fender doo-hickey).

  35. @Buck Rogers

    @sthilzy

    Flemish face tan. Who is it?

    No idea but she has great eyes and looks awesomely hardcore!

    http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/sabrina-stultiens

    Google-fu.

  36. @DerHoggz Shit I like her better all mucky, she looks about 12 years old when cleaned up and much of my appreciation vanished instantly!

  37. @Deakus

    From what I read she is 19.

  38. @heinous

    Don’t know if anyone has posted this elsewhere yet:

    EPMS positive, outrageous MTB rear mudguard present, facial hair replete. I present WinterWiggo for your viewing pleasure. I’m happy to say that I ride in the the same area as him and my Sunday club runs visit the same cafe as he does (see this months Cycling Plus – I’ve never seen him in there) so I’m in full agreement with the need for a mudguard but surely Team Sky can splash out on something a) more subtle and b) more effective!

    Great to see him back on his bike despite his recent injuries.

    I also note that he hasn’t burned the toe strip on his Bonts – maybe he has  man who cooks his shoes for him

  39. @Deakus

    @DerHoggz Shit I like her better all mucky, she looks about 12 years old when cleaned up and much of my appreciation vanished instantly!

    No kidding!  Damn, you know you are getting old when 19 year olds start looking like they’re twelve.  I walked around here on campus and everyone looks like they should be in junior high, not college!

  40. Genuine Flemish Tan Lines…..

    boonen. mt. baldy, tour of california, 2012.

    Source: emilymaye.com

  41. hey guys,

    i would never – ever – install a silly mudguard like wiggo’s but have been looking at this

    any one here knows about them??

    they say that, being dutch, they know about rain, and i tend to believe it.

  42. @xced May as well attach that cutout mud guard to one of these.

  43. @xced

    hey guys,

    i would never – ever – install a silly mudguard like wiggo’s but have been looking at this

    any one here knows about them??

    they say that, being dutch, they know about rain, and i tend to believe it.

    The Jockinese know all about rain, but mudguards on ya road bike is still a Minus.

  44. @xced and @strathlubnaig

    The point of the Fendor-Bendor is that it is an effective fender that is only there when needed. The rest of the time you can carry it along in your (saddle)bag or jersey pocket. It makes quite a difference on those fall rides if you can keep your chamois dry, with something that you can take with you but can forget about while cycling…. until it starts raining.

  45. @WIT

    @xced and @strathlubnaig

    The point of the Fendor-Bendor is that it is an effective fender that is only there when needed. The rest of the time you can carry it along in your (saddle)bag or jersey pocket. It makes quite a difference on those fall rides if you can keep your chamois dry, with something that you can take with you but can forget about while cycling…. until it starts raining.

    “in your saddle bag” …. the admission of EPMS usage is in contravention of the masterbation principle!

  46. @Deakus

    @WIT

    @xced and @strathlubnaig

    The point of the Fendor-Bendor is that it is an effective fender that is only there when needed. The rest of the time you can carry it along in your (saddle)bag or jersey pocket. It makes quite a difference on those fall rides if you can keep your chamois dry, with something that you can take with you but can forget about while cycling…. until it starts raining.

    “in your saddle bag” …. the admission of EPMS usage is in contravention of the masterbation principle!

    its made me so blind I can’t even spell it now!  masturbation principle

  47. turns out the fendorbendor wouldn’t work on my bike anyway so I got an ass-saver. it does what it says. http://ass-savers.com/

  48. Debut of the new steed yesterday…

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