IMG_2331

The Hard Way

The Hard Way

by / / 170 posts

Doing things the hard way is a luxury. It says to the world that we’ve beat evolution; intelligence is no match for technology and economy is no match for indulgence. We need only step a bit outside our bubble to realize the scale of the illusion, but nevertheless it has become reality for many of us who live our lives happily and fortunately in the middle and upper classes of the developed world where survival has nothing whatsoever to do with being the fittest.

One of the things that struck me within weeks of moving to the Pacific Northwest was the frequency with which people die here; not from disease (although Ebola can go fuck itself, pardon my francais) but from tucking into the wilderness for some weekend relaxation. The PNW has some of the world’s biggest cities, but most of it is untamed wilderness – including radical weather systems, cougars, rattlesnakes, bear, The Sasquatch, and possibly ManBearPig. This place will mess you up, son; your GPS or iPhone isn’t going to be your savior.

The first-hand experience of the realities of a system provides a more intimate learning tool than does the passive observation, although in an evolutionary sense the latter is the more effective method for the survival of a species; our ancestors learned to stay away from bees by watching the guy who drew the short straw poke at a hive and die from anaphylactic shock without needing to then poke at the hive themselves. Nevertheless the tangible nature of repercussions forges an indelible bond between action and result.

It is also interesting that complexity and abstraction are inversely bound; the more complex the system, the farther the user is removed from its operation. The simplicity of the friction downtube shifter is in sharp contrast to the complexity of an electronic drivetrain. My steel bike has friction downtube shifters, a fact that makes itself especially well known while climbing. To shift requires planning and skill; I have to find a part of the climb where I can be seated, unload the chain, and shift by feeling the chain as it slides across the block and listen for the telltale silence when the chain is securely seated back onto an adjacent cog. At that point, I’m committed to that gear until the climb grants me the next opportunity to shift. On Bike #1, I can shift under full load at my whim and without consequence. The artistry of shifting is lost, though I wouldn’t go back to downtube shifters on any bike I plan to ride seriously.

I love the contrast of evolution and tradition in the modern racing bicycle, with carbon tubulars being perhaps the most fitting contrast where the most modern technology is dependent on the oldest form of affixing a tire to a rim. Gluing on a set of tubular tires is no longer a necessary skill in our sport with good clinchers being readily available. Gluing tubs takes time and careful attention, two things that are in short supply in our modern society. But to glue on a set of tires brings you closer to the machine and from where our sport has progressed. To build a set of wheels does so even more, and I imagine building a frame by hand builds the ultimate bond to our history.

We live at a time when the things that are irrelevant to survival take on their own crucial importance; we return to tradition in order to remember where we came from so we may understand where we are going. Doing things the hard way is a beautiful way to remind ourselves of the history that built the luxuries we surround ourselves with.

// Nostalgia // Tradition

  1. @ChrisO

    @ChrissyOne

    @frank

    The thought of plugging my bike into a usb socket makes my die a little insid.

    Me too. But here’s my biggest concern””the future.

    In 20 years, if my mechanical shifting system needs fixin’, I will be able to buy a cable (anywhere, even as I have found, WalMart), replace said cable, clean and lube everything else, and voila! Shifting happiness returns.

    But with electronics””let’s say some part of said electronics goes belly up. Stranger things have happened in rain-soaked Washington state. Now I have to find a replacement part that is compatible with that specific electronic system. Sooner or later the battery will die too. I’m reasonably certain that Shimano will still be around in 20 years. But it might be a bit of a chore to track down the precise part I need to make my bike not useless. I’m reminded of when ProFlex bikes, a long, long time ago, had electronic suspension adjustments on their mountain bikes. I just did a bit of Googling and I can barely find any information at all on said systems, much less actual parts for them. Meanwhile, my 20+ year old Grip-shifters on my 20+ year old mountain bike need only the occasional cable replacement, which costs a few dollars.

    I’m no luddite””I welcome our new technological overlords. You people will all be using disc brakes and (eventually) real suspension systems on road bikes. Some day. Yes you will. I promise. But then, hydraulic fluid is easy to come by.
    I’m not so certain about 5-way junction boxes.

    Nice Kent Brockman reference slipped in there.

    For me the issue with electronic is that a bike is by definition a human powered vehicle.

    When you introduce a battery you are no longer relying on human power alone.

    Whatever it looks like Wilburrox you are not riding a bike in my view.

    Oh come on man… dump the battery powered power meter then and ride by feel and what the race dictates… that’s just a little more pure hey? whatev…

    Still, I might well have put more miles on a down tube friction shifting 12-sp bike this past year than anyone in my town that ride bikes. So at least that counts for riding a bike I guess. The rest of the time I’m just f***ing around I suppose. That’s okay ’cause I like just f***ing around as much as the next guy. Even if it is just f***ing around with a HR pinned at 170.

  2. @frank

    @wiscot

    I am not technically/mechanically gifted, but I love how I can look at my bikes and see exactly how things work – and even fix much of it myself. This creates a special relationship between me and my bikes – I have touched, cleaned, installed, tweaked every part of it. Looking at something like the laptop I’m working on right now leaves me cold.

    THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS!

    And another THIS!

    This relationship with a system you understand and can interact with meaningfully is such a welcome relief from the effects of our intensifying division of labor. It’s like digging a cat-hole and shitting in the woods (you aren’t really IN the woods until your first shit is done and buried). It’s like cooking and eating something you killed and butchered or grew and harvested yourself.

    No cyclist is an island–I doubt any of us is ever going to mine and produce our own metals and such and build a bike from the ground up. But, still, any slivery semblance of mastery in a world that makes us progressively more focused on one or two things and more stupid about everything else is a good thing.

  3. @frank

    @wiscot

    I am not technically/mechanically gifted, but I love how I can look at my bikes and see exactly how things work – and even fix much of it myself. This creates a special relationship between me and my bikes – I have touched, cleaned, installed, tweaked every part of it. Looking at something like the laptop I’m working on right now leaves me cold.

    THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS!

    @ChrisO

    For me the issue with electronic is that a bike is by definition a human powered vehicle.

    When you introduce a battery you are no longer relying on human power alone.

    I like this viewpoint; it might most succinctly define why I am so resistant to it. Except I do use lights which use batteries, and a Garmin (sometimes) which uses one, but I suppose they are not powering the vehicle, they’re keeping its motor (me) from getting killed or recording the vehicles path trajectory.

    Exactly. The battery running your lights, or a cycle computer or power meter is not powering the vehicle, and they don’t make it easier for me to control it.

    The battery on Di2/EPS is connected to the drive train FFS – apart from having an actual motor how much closer does it get.

    Why does it matter? Imagine a cold Milan-San Remo when the finishers’ hands are frozen, but the rider who has been training in Belgium all winter is able to shift and sprint and the rider who stayed indoors… can now press a button to get the same electrically-powered effect.

  4. @ChrisO Not only that, they can mash a button that’s been strategically placed so as to better manage the sprint ! What I’m gonna take from this is the purely psychological effect that my drivetrain has a battery attached to it and I should be faster than everyone else. Someone earlier mentioned regenerative power. They’re on to something.

    Me, personally, I can think of one GOOD reason to not like Di2. It’s not pretty. And if I’m building a bike purely focused on aesthetics, say a steel framed beauty, I’m sure not gonna plug on a servo motor hanging off the drop out.

    I can’t wait for a good reason to post pictures of my belt drive bike ! I love that bike. Cheers

  5. Batteries not included……

  6. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @rfreese888

    I think there should be a rule that says ‘though shalt own a bike with down tube shifters as part of your stable’

    Hard is Beautiful

    Amen to that!

    Buck, I really wish you knew how to use a computer well enough to not only upload a thumbnail of that beauty! Which bars are those? I love the look of that shape. I have the Merckx bend ttt bars on mine but I’m not crazy about the shape.

    Yeah, I am a FOOOK’IN retard when it comes to computers. That is a pic of my 1992 Merckx with every piece legit ’92. I put the original Rolls saddle back on and it has full DA 7400 with aero seatpost and all. I actually had to replace the seatpost as it was too short for me but I have the original saved. As for the handlebars, they are Cinelli Eubios with a Cenilli stem. Fucking LOVE HER. I get my best rides with the cycling ghosts on her. Often Fignon, LeMan and Hampsten join me for a ride when I take her out.

    And, you would be able to see her in person if you ever came to any of my Cogals, i.e. 200-on-100 or the multiple West Point Cogals!

  7. @wilburrox

    @ChrisO Not only that, they can mash a button that’s been strategically placed so as to better manage the sprint ! What I’m gonna take from this is the purely psychological effect that my drivetrain has a battery attached to it and I should be faster than everyone else. Someone earlier mentioned regenerative power. They’re on to something.

    Me, personally, I can think of one GOOD reason to not like Di2. It’s not pretty. And if I’m building a bike purely focused on aesthetics, say a steel framed beauty, I’m sure not gonna plug on a servo motor hanging off the drop out.

    I can’t wait for a good reason to post pictures of my belt drive bike ! I love that bike. Cheers

    ^ This. The junction box is ugly. It clutters the stem. The derailleurs are lumpy. If there’s a battery on the bottom of the down tube… Don’t even get me started on that.

    That said, they’ll improve and the parts will get smaller. When they’re as clean as mechanical then I’ll be much less down on them, but the future-proofness will still be a concern.

  8. @Buck Rogers

    Yeah, I am a FOOOK’IN retard when it comes to computers. !

    You could instead say that you’re a caveman.

  9. @ChrissyOne

    @wilburrox

    @ChrisO Not only that, they can mash a button that’s been strategically placed so as to better manage the sprint ! What I’m gonna take from this is the purely psychological effect that my drivetrain has a battery attached to it and I should be faster than everyone else. Someone earlier mentioned regenerative power. They’re on to something.

    Me, personally, I can think of one GOOD reason to not like Di2. It’s not pretty. And if I’m building a bike purely focused on aesthetics, say a steel framed beauty, I’m sure not gonna plug on a servo motor hanging off the drop out.

    I can’t wait for a good reason to post pictures of my belt drive bike ! I love that bike. Cheers

    ^ This. The junction box is ugly. It clutters the stem. The derailleurs are lumpy. If there’s a battery on the bottom of the down tube… Don’t even get me started on that.

    That said, they’ll improve and the parts will get smaller. When they’re as clean as mechanical then I’ll be much less down on them, but the future-proofness will still be a concern.

    The current breed with the battery in the seat tube are a lot better. However that is step 1 in your comment – how long will you be able to get an external battery when they start to pack up? Then you have to buy a seat tube one with the conversion kit being a drill for the extra holes required in the frame…….

  10. When I started riding my first real bicycle back in 1965 was a 1937 Belgian race-bike with three gears and a single guide wheel shifter. You had to learn clean shifting if you wanted a clean ride. It became part of the soul.

  11. @PeakInTwoYears

    @frank

    @wiscot

    I am not technically/mechanically gifted, but I love how I can look at my bikes and see exactly how things work – and even fix much of it myself. This creates a special relationship between me and my bikes – I have touched, cleaned, installed, tweaked every part of it. Looking at something like the laptop I’m working on right now leaves me cold.

    THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS!

    And another THIS!

    This relationship with a system you understand and can interact with meaningfully is such a welcome relief from the effects of our intensifying division of labor. It’s like digging a cat-hole and shitting in the woods (you aren’t really IN the woods until your first shit is done and buried). It’s like cooking and eating something you killed and butchered or grew and harvested yourself.

    No cyclist is an island-I doubt any of us is ever going to mine and produce our own metals and such and build a bike from the ground up. But, still, any slivery semblance of mastery in a world that makes us progressively more focused on one or two things and more stupid about everything else is a good thing.

    Freaking John Donne! Awesome! I do prefer the simple, clean elegance of steel bikes with down tube shifters, but there is something undeniably sexy about a carbon bike completely tricked out… Unless the rider is slower and fatter than me, and then it just looks stupid.

  12. @Carel

    When I started riding my first real bicycle back in 1965 was a 1937 Belgian race-bike with three gears and a single guide wheel shifter. You had to learn clean shifting if you wanted a clean ride. It became part of the soul.

    Please tell me you still have this bike! And if you do, we need photos!

  13. @ChrisO

    Imagine a cold Milan-San Remo when the finishers’ hands are frozen,

    A cold MSR? That’s a little far-fetched!

  14. You bikes are obviously way cooler than mine, but I do at least still have the first real bike I bought too long ago to remember when. I still commute on that bike most days which allows me to post this photo. I like the bike, I enjoy riding it but I still prefer the double tap equipped #1 bike which is why this bike only every comes out for the commute!

  15. @frank

    @Carel

    When I started riding my first real bicycle back in 1965 was a 1937 Belgian race-bike with three gears and a single guide wheel shifter. You had to learn clean shifting if you wanted a clean ride. It became part of the soul.

    Please tell me you still have this bike! And if you do, we need photos!

    I still have the frame, which carries more recent components these days and keeps rolling. The derailleur broke in the 70′ and the LBS replaced it by some cheapo Huret plastic bits. Shortly after the bike went into storage in the attic. That’s why it survived.


  16. @ #135 The pictures in fact do no longer reflect the way she looks. I’ve changed the cranks since and added bar-end gear levers that were lingering in the bits and parts box.

  17. @Carel

    @ #135 The pictures in fact do no longer reflect the way she looks. I’ve changed the cranks since and added bar-end gear levers that were lingering in the bits and parts box.

    Good for you to hang onto it – I’ll bet you’ve never regretted it! Man, look at all those clips! That’s old school right there.

    Huret derailleurs? There’s a name that you don’t (fortunately) hear much any more. I think Simplex and Ofmega both made plastic derailleurs back in the day to – shite they were.

  18. @wiscot My dad had bought it from his first salaries. So it’s family heirloom!

  19. So this will go down well…….

  20. @Teocalli this is the end.

  21. @Teocalli As he says… “of most interest to people doing triathlon and TTs. ”

    No further comment needed.

  22. Same levers, running syncro with 7 speed. Set up properly, and with a bit of finesse, the shifting is as smooth as my bro-set. And the friction front never drops the chain.

  23. @Teocalli Just came across that myself and was about to post it here. I’d be interested to try it.

  24. @Geraint

    @Teocalli Just came across that myself and was about to post it here. I’d be interested to try it.

    Something tells me you just lined up for a flogging by mini-pump.

  25. @Teocalli you’re probably right, it does seem to have stimulated some reaction elsewhere.

    I only said I’d be interested to try it, not that I wanted to fit it to all my bikes. I prefer to be open minded and try stuff, then I can dismiss it based on experience rather than dogma.

  26. @Gibstone

    I’m on a 1990 RB-1 with Superbe Pro and also Mavic wheels.

    Oh for fucks sake, that is a dream of a bike right there. Karen Henderson was my first true crush.

  27. @ChrisO

    @Teocalli As he says… “of most interest to people doing triathlon and TTs. ”

    No further comment needed.

    I’m still confused as to why doing 180km nose to the wind as a warm-up for a marathon run is so disparaged around here, but since I used to do it, maybe I have a biased perspective.

    Anyway, I’m still a lover of a manual transmission with a clutch, and don’t want anything to do with a CVT in a car, so this is of no interest to me, even in a tri setting. However, if I was looking at a new tri bike, it would mosdef have Di2 with bar end and bullhorn shifters. If I still had my P3, I would be retro-fitting it too. Long course tri is so demanding that even the effort of changing gears becomes significant after a while.

    As I’ve noted before, the beauty of a bicycle is in it’s simplicity. The safety bicycle, as we know it, is the essence of beautiful simplicity, and history is replete with examples of failure to improve it through added complexity. This will be another. It’s not that it doesn’t work, but it’s simply a solution to a problem that does not exist.

  28. @frank

    @Gibstone

    I’m on a 1990 RB-1 with Superbe Pro and also Mavic wheels.

    Oh for fucks sake, that is a dream of a bike right there. Karen Henderson was my first true crush.

    For your viewing pleasure. Although I don’t look as good as good as Karen.

  29. @Ken Ho

    @ChrisO

    @Teocalli As he says… “of most interest to people doing triathlon and TTs. ”

    No further comment needed.

    Long course tri is so demanding that even the effort of changing gears becomes significant after a while.

    And this is why electronics are wrong.

    Just to show I put my money where my mouth is – I’m in the process of buying a Giant Trinity TT bike which I can get near cost price through our team sponsor, who is the Giant and Shimano distributor.

    I’ve ordered the Advanced 1 with mechanical Ultegra not the 0 with Di2.

    I already feel criminal just at the thought of using fishing tackle.

  30. @ChrisO

    @Ken Ho

    @ChrisO

    @Teocalli As he says… “of most interest to people doing triathlon and TTs. ”

    No further comment needed.

    Long course tri is so demanding that even the effort of changing gears becomes significant after a while.

    And this is why electronics are wrong.

    Just to show I put my money where my mouth is – I’m in the process of buying a Giant Trinity TT bike which I can get near cost price through our team sponsor, who is the Giant and Shimano distributor.

    I’ve ordered the Advanced 1 with mechanical Ultegra not the 0 with Di2.

    I already feel criminal just at the thought of using fishing tackle.

    good god, changing gear is part of being a cyclist, if we have an ‘auto’ doing that for us, we are losing part of the joy, I said before I don’t mind it in other applications, MTB, CX, Fatbike etc , but being able to change gear while fucked and redlining on the limit is all part of what we do, the heathens are at the gates, don’t buy that shit, it only encourages ’em.

  31. @ChrisO

    I already feel criminal just at the thought of using fishing tackle.

  32. @ChrisO

    Well, you should feel dirty about that, and should take a long old shower of purification, except that Campag disdains the TT market, so there ain’t a whole lot of options.

    I did a long solo 200km effort one day, on my roadie, which included a fuck-load of hills, one of which is 4km at about 12%, which I did both ways. About 2km from home I changed to the wee front sprocket to get up the last rise. Preceding that was about 5km of really coarse chip-seal. I was pretty knackered by this stage and my hands were so numb and weak that when I moved to “sur la plaque”, I could not actually do it. It took numerous attempts before I managed it, eventually using the devil’s hand and nearly crashing in the process. That was when I decided that Di2 would grace any future tri bike I owned. Not sure that I can concur with your implied position that using electronics to save a skerrick of effort is any more wrong than using an aero position, an aero helmet or aero wheels though.

    Equally, using lightweight wheels for climbing etc is also “equipment based cheating” by that logic.

    Where is the line ? How is using a powermeter in training not an unfair strategy, if not everyone has access to one ?

    Why the fuck are so many people on this site so narrow-minded ? I rejoice in the richness that comes with the variety of human experience. Without an urge to break the rules and make progress, Tulio Campagnolo would still be sitting on the side of the road with frozen fingers bemoaning the lack of a climbing cog.

  33. @piwakawaka

    @ChrisO

    @Ken Ho

    @ChrisO

    @Teocalli As he says… “of most interest to people doing triathlon and TTs. ”

    No further comment needed.

    Long course tri is so demanding that even the effort of changing gears becomes significant after a while.

    And this is why electronics are wrong.

    Just to show I put my money where my mouth is – I’m in the process of buying a Giant Trinity TT bike which I can get near cost price through our team sponsor, who is the Giant and Shimano distributor.

    I’ve ordered the Advanced 1 with mechanical Ultegra not the 0 with Di2.

    I already feel criminal just at the thought of using fishing tackle.

    good god, changing gear is part of being a cyclist, if we have an ‘auto’ doing that for us, we are losing part of the joy, I said before I don’t mind it in other applications, MTB, CX, Fatbike etc , but being able to change gear while fucked and redlining on the limit is all part of what we do, the heathens are at the gates, don’t buy that shit, it only encourages ’em.

    Shimano’s new XTR electronic for mtb can be operated with one shifter. Basically you program the algorithm to sort out the FD shift for you as you go up or down the gear range. Very cool. My experience is I’m more frequently redlined and shifting far more frequently in a cross country race than a road race. The e-shift could possibly be even more of an advantage on a mtb. I’ve opted to just skip using a FD altogether and have gone 1×11. And I’ll pass on the more pricey e-RD for mtb because of too frequently having to replace derailleurs due to trail damage.

  34. @ChrisO

    @Ken Ho

    @ChrisO

    @Teocalli As he says… “of most interest to people doing triathlon and TTs. ”

    No further comment needed.

    Long course tri is so demanding that even the effort of changing gears becomes significant after a while.

    And this is why electronics are wrong.

    Just to show I put my money where my mouth is – I’m in the process of buying a Giant Trinity TT bike which I can get near cost price through our team sponsor, who is the Giant and Shimano distributor.

    I’ve ordered the Advanced 1 with mechanical Ultegra not the 0 with Di2.

    I already feel criminal just at the thought of using fishing tackle.

    I’d figure that on a TT bike the little ring is mostly superfluous ? Still, I guess it’s there for a reason. And every time you reach out on that bar end to yank that little lever so as to guide the chain in to the big ring just say to yourself, dang, this could be so much easier. If there is any shift in all of bikedom that I suspect would be most helped by an e-shift it is that shift: the little to big from the bar end of a TT rig.

    I’ll admit to being awfully tempted though to put some extra shift buttons on my bars in the “climber’s” position. Not for any real reason other than I could then mash some buttons with my thumb. It’d be just like txt’ing…

  35. @Ken Ho

    That was when I decided that Di2 would grace any future tri bike I owned. Not sure that I can concur with your implied position that using electronics to save a skerrick of effort is any more wrong than using an aero position, an aero helmet or aero wheels though.
    Equally, using lightweight wheels for climbing etc is also “equipment based cheating” by that logic.

    Where is the line ? How is using a powermeter in training not an unfair strategy, if not everyone has access to one ?

    Power meters and computers measure the human effort you’re already making.

    Aero helmets, TT bars and even Tulio’s derailleur maximise the efficiency of the human effort you are already making.

    Electronics replace the human effort using an external power source.

    It’s not that complicated, nor is it narrow-minded.

    If it is external power assistance, the line is crossed. You’re on the way to riding a moped.

  36. @Puffy

    You bikes are obviously way cooler than mine, but I do at least still have the first real bike I bought too long ago to remember when. I still commute on that bike most days which allows me to post this photo. I like the bike, I enjoy riding it but I still prefer the double tap equipped #1 bike which is why this bike only every comes out for the commute!

    Same thing with my bike’s; love the dt’s but there is no denying why brifters kick ass.

    @Carel

    It would be a fun project to get that baby rollin’ back old school. Plastic bits…YIKES!

    @pistard

    Same levers, running syncro with 7 speed. Set up properly, and with a bit of finesse, the shifting is as smooth as my Bro-Set. And the friction front never drops the chain.

    Eerie how much that looks like mine – down to the beautiful monoplanar brakes!

  37. @Teocalli

    We’ve seen the apocalypse. I’d rather be eaten by zombies. Fuck. That. Shit.

    People could really benefit from this, like people who are keen on triathlons.

    Yeah…

  38. @Gibstone

    That rear mech is every bit as glorious as the Record of the same era. Beauty.

  39. @wilburrox

    @piwakawaka

    @ChrisO

    @Ken Ho

    @ChrisO

    @Teocalli As he says… “of most interest to people doing triathlon and TTs. ”

    No further comment needed.

    Long course tri is so demanding that even the effort of changing gears becomes significant after a while.

    And this is why electronics are wrong.

    Just to show I put my money where my mouth is – I’m in the process of buying a Giant Trinity TT bike which I can get near cost price through our team sponsor, who is the Giant and Shimano distributor.

    I’ve ordered the Advanced 1 with mechanical Ultegra not the 0 with Di2.

    I already feel criminal just at the thought of using fishing tackle.

    good god, changing gear is part of being a cyclist, if we have an ‘auto’ doing that for us, we are losing part of the joy, I said before I don’t mind it in other applications, MTB, CX, Fatbike etc , but being able to change gear while fucked and redlining on the limit is all part of what we do, the heathens are at the gates, don’t buy that shit, it only encourages ’em.

    Shimano’s new XTR electronic for mtb can be operated with one shifter.

    Have you noticed the state of mountain biking? Most are 1x drives – which means any MTB drivetrain can be operated with one shifter.

    In fact, a fixie can be operated with none.

  40. @ChrisO

    @Ken Ho

    That was when I decided that Di2 would grace any future tri bike I owned. Not sure that I can concur with your implied position that using electronics to save a skerrick of effort is any more wrong than using an aero position, an aero helmet or aero wheels though.
    Equally, using lightweight wheels for climbing etc is also “equipment based cheating” by that logic.

    Where is the line ? How is using a powermeter in training not an unfair strategy, if not everyone has access to one ?

    Power meters and computers measure the human effort you’re already making.

    Aero helmets, TT bars and even Tulio’s derailleur maximise the efficiency of the human effort you are already making.

    Electronics replace the human effort using an external power source.

    It’s not that complicated, nor is it narrow-minded.

    If it is external power assistance, the line is crossed. You’re on the way to riding a moped.

    I’m not sure what’s weirder, you and me agreeing completely on the point or…no, whatever I were to add, it would still be the part about us totally agreeing.

    Oh, how I love me a good internet fight!

    @all

    Apropos to nothing, the point of the second paragraph was illustrated just today in the local paper:

    (subtitle says “Day hike turns into three nights lost in the Cascades.”)

  41. @frank

    @wilburrox

    @piwakawaka

    @ChrisO

    @Ken Ho

    @ChrisO

    @Teocalli As he says… “of most interest to people doing triathlon and TTs. ”

    No further comment needed.

    Long course tri is so demanding that even the effort of changing gears becomes significant after a while.

    And this is why electronics are wrong.

    Just to show I put my money where my mouth is – I’m in the process of buying a Giant Trinity TT bike which I can get near cost price through our team sponsor, who is the Giant and Shimano distributor.

    I’ve ordered the Advanced 1 with mechanical Ultegra not the 0 with Di2.

    I already feel criminal just at the thought of using fishing tackle.

    good god, changing gear is part of being a cyclist, if we have an ‘auto’ doing that for us, we are losing part of the joy, I said before I don’t mind it in other applications, MTB, CX, Fatbike etc , but being able to change gear while fucked and redlining on the limit is all part of what we do, the heathens are at the gates, don’t buy that shit, it only encourages ’em.

    Shimano’s new XTR electronic for mtb can be operated with one shifter.

    Have you noticed the state of mountain biking? Most are 1x drives – which means any MTB drivetrain can be operated with one shifter.

    In fact, a fixie can be operated with none.

    Wonder what a V-Bike with a single ring would look like in a race?

  42. @the Engine

    Wonder what a V-Bike with a single ring would look like in a race?

    Right at home? At least in this race.

  43. @PeakInTwoYears

    @the Engine

    Wonder what a V-Bike with a single ring would look like in a race?

    Right at home? At least in this race.

    A V-bike in a race..? Wouldn’t that be any track bike..?

  44. Meant..V-bike with a single ring in a race…

  45. @the Engine

    Love seeing Jeremy over there leading us out in his Carhartts and Filson oilskin jacket. Dude’s a hell of an organizer and a great guy and a snappy dresser.

  46. @the Engine

    How’d it go offroad on those skinny tires?

    @Haldy

    Very Pro. You even make that Giro look cool. But those bars are still massively fucked.

  47. @frank

    @the Engine

    How’d it go offroad on those skinny tires?

    @Haldy

    Very Pro. You even make that Giro look cool. But those bars are still massively fucked.

    I love how they confound you so….

  48. Time and careful attention. Every time I teach I become more convinced that these two things are going to be absolute relics for most folks with access to a smart phone and/or wifi. Heck, even just a huge t.v. with 300 channels.

    I think anyone who can focus on a task for five, or even ten whole minutes, is going to have a serious leg up on everyone else. Most people are completely unable to not know something and ponder it for a few minutes.

    I know I’m not the only one who walks away from a group of people at a party or gathering when something is unknown and five people pull out their phones. I’ve also taken to telling people, as they go for the grab, “It’s cool. I don’t have to know right now.”

    What’s so awful about not knowing a small bit of data for a bit, then having the desire to come back to it at a later time, think about it some more, then maybe go search for the answer?

  49. Ah, shifters. Nice timing! I’m considering a shifter swap on my do-it-all commuter. It’s a cross bike with full fenders, 30mm tires and 9-speed 105 shifters on drop bars. But, I’m never in the drops and I often ride with two full panniers. Hmm, some slightly rising bars with rapid fire shifters might be a nice change. Riding in traffic with two bags of groceries makes the upright position and easier shifting reach a nice option. Plus, I have a bunch of road bikes. I don’t have a roadie set up with riser bars and rapid fire shifters. And, I can always go back if I don’t dig it.

  50. @frank

    I have been pondering this for a bit since we briefly discussed it( and since I have been gluing a bunch of nice tires/wheels at work lately), and it falls in under doing things the “hard” or maybe Proper way..I think we need to have an addition to the Rules. I propose Rule #96..No Tubular Tape!

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