On Rule 2: Cycling Sensei


My buddy Chris wants to buy a road bike.  His primary reason for this is to improve his fitness after splitting his patella in half on a rock while skiing a couple weeks ago.   He believes that riding a bicycle, after his arduous healing process is complete, will be easy on his knees and provide him with a fun way to stay fit.  To that I say, of course it will.

It started benignly enough the other day when I stopped by Chris’ house for a visit.  Upon arrival he showed me an ad he had been contemplating on Craigslist.  The ad was for a Specialized Transition Pro Tri-bike.  Now, keep in mind that Chris has never owned a road bike so when he saw the Specialized being offered for a good price, in our area, he thought it was worth a closer look and some research.  I have to admit  the bike looked dandy and would certainly catch one’s eye.  Especially someone who knew he wanted a nice bike but wasn’t sure yet what he wanted, let alone needed.  Knowing of my passion for cycling (as the guy who gave me my V-cog tattoo) he asked what I thought about the bike in the ad.  Immediately, the first thoughts that came to my mind were:

  • Right-on man, you’re thinking about getting a bike.
  • Don’t buy a Tri-bike for your first bike.  Or even your second or third bike for that matter.
  • I could potentially get another riding buddy out of this.
  • How should I go about fanning the sparks of Chris’ interest in road cycling without blowing said sparks out  by overwhelming him with my enthusiasm and opinions on the matter?

It was this final thought that gave me a serious feeling of responsibility.  At a minimum, the responsibility of advising my friend on his first road bike so he ends up with something that works for him and is fun.  But moreover, the responsibility of conveying La Vie Velominatus to someone who doesn’t yet know it exists.  Whether or not Chris ever really embraces La Vie is not the issue.  I hope he does.  But my role in this is to introduce him to it so that he has the potential to at least glimpse what La Vie has to offer.  Of course all he thought he was doing was getting my opinion on a bicycle.

One does not just go out, buy a bike, and declare oneself a Velominatus, or even a cyclist.  It’s a process.  None of us here just got on a bike one day and instantly had it all figured out.  We can all take ownership for various Rule violations made over the years, money mis-spent on shitty pieces of equipment, flubs in etiquette in races and group rides, and missed opportunities to lay down some V.   Some of what we know to be La Vie Velominatus has come from trial and error and reflection.  And much of it has come to us through mentors or a cycling sensei, if you will.

Who among us did not have at least one mentor in her or his journey toward becoming a Velominatus?  For Merckx-sake, we wouldn’t even have the Rules if Johnny Klink had not had Col for inspiration and thus commanded Brett to “blog that shit”.   One of my own mentors is Frank who looked to his father and a wheel builder in The Netherlands for guidance.  These are people who’s sphere of influence we are granted access to when we ask.  Not necessarily the pros we look to for inspiration but the everyday Velominati who give us tips, insights, and advice on how and what cycling is, not how it ought to be.

So partially because Chris asked me and partially because I feel an obligation to my mentors, to our traditions, and to the Velominati (which means you) I find myself in the duty-bound position of being a cycling sensei.  The simple act of being asked by a friend what I think of a bike places me in this position.  I’m excited my friend has taken an interest in cycling and am chomping at the bit with the opportunity to help show him the way.  I’m eager to shepherd Chris into the rich traditions and joy that cycling can provide but I’m hesitant to come on too strong.  Hopefully Chris will discover what cycling is and ride the roads of the Velominatus.  But like it did for you and I, this can only happen when he is ready.

Who were your cycling sensei and how have you approached the responsibility of ushering someone into La Vie Velominatus?

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64 Replies to “On Rule 2: Cycling Sensei”

  1. Marko, nice write up and you are a better man than I. Brave is the word. My sensei was always trying to tell me that it was too hard, too long, too difficult. For some odd reason his method worked?

    I am thankful that I have never been put in the position that you are in especially, with a guy who is good with needles. I have no advice but maybe try the above method – it might just have merit…

    Sorry, I could not resist. In all seriousness John Allis, original hardman, took me in hand at a time when it was just me. He was 35ish I was a virginal 22ish and keen. John’s method was consistency. We met 6:30 most mornings and did the “Allis Loop” a 30-40 mile out and back from Belmont Mass. Always in a 42-17, always with John in front and me trying to pass him on any hill and never (at least until I started racing more than him at the time) being able to get my wheel an inch ahead of his – for 2 years. Along with the physical indoctrination came the stories of racing and thus a sort of how you do it from the questions I would ask. This was all before the net and the only reading was the old pre color Velo News which had no how to stuff.

    I do not know if this helps, you might want to go slow with your mate and give info in little bits. If you can do solo rides with him and show him things as they come to him rather than swamp him with info.

    What ever you do do not show him this site! He will start running even if his knee is in bits. Good luck – let us know how he does.

  2. Oooh. I don’t think I’m gonna publicly state who my senseis were. Their reputations would be ruined. They might see this and think, “Shit. I thought he was dead. He should be. And why’d he have to mention me? I’m not taking responsibility for the shit he claims he knows about cycling. Twatwaffle.”

    But, I’m still forever grateful. You know who you are. Merckx Bless You.

    As for showing a newbie the ways of the Velominati, I lead by example. I ride with dignity, with grace, and in a straight line. I am clean. My kit is clean. My bike is clean.

    If I see a novice, guilty of breaching at least 60 Rules simultaneously, I ride with him, handlebar to handlebar, and engage him in small talk. Once familiarity is established, and he no longer has to squint from the glare of my magnificance, I gently explain that the pad thingy sewn to his shorts goes on the inside. And it’s pronounced “shamm-eee.” And I’m sure the gas station up ahead has a bathroom where he can excuse himself to turn his shorts right side out. And he can, if he chooses, take a moment to scrub away the chain grease from his calf, his hands, his cheek, and his forehead. And that it’s okay, I will watch his bike for him.

    I could go on. But there’s really no need. You, too, have made similar journeys.

  3. awesome post! as a bike shop guy, i walk that tightrope every day. balancing my enthusiasm for the details and history of the sport can be quite overwhelming to the newbie drooling over $800 entry level bikes, so i feel i have a responsibility to reel in my own excitement to try and match that of my customers, which can range from uninterested to uber-psyched. it is only after a certain degree of patronage or riding together that i ever consider exposing people to this awesome website. in some ways, i feel like i should be protecting it from the people who won’t appreciate its tone and and what being a Velominatus truly means! bella in sella…

  4. Great post!
    I just realised that in the past 3 motnhs I have help 4 friends pick out their first bikes, I even spent hours online researching and comparing different models for one guy so he would get the perfect ride!
    I think I may have over stepped a little on the enthusiasm but anyone who knows me understands you mention a bike or a mountain and you will spend the next hour talking about cycling! These guys seemed happy enough to listen and a couple have joined me on a few rides before christmas – Chalk up 2 for the converted.
    I never realised just how important the people i first spoke to when I started riding were, the guys at the LBS, the bloke up the road that kept riding past morning after morning, the bloke at work with the pinarello that just looked like “a really nice ride” to me. All these guys can claim to be my sensei and I hope to be able to share that same passion and inspiration with other people!

  5. A mate of mine has decided to give bike riding a try. A mutual friend has lent him a bike for an indefinite period – a Colnago C-50, Record equipped with Campy Hyperons. Now I wish I had a sensei like that when I started bike riding.

    Shame for this new cyclist when he buys his first bike and finds out not all bikes are that nice!

    I have acted as a a quasi-sensei to a number of mates and it can be a dangerous position. There is nothing as galling as handing out tips and advice to a cycling neophyte only to have him thank you for the advice a few months later (esp the lesson on the definition of half-wheeling) by dropping you like a bad habit in the hills. Oh the shame of it.

  6. I was just contemplating my history as a cyclist today. I think there’s some advice you realize you are given, and there’s some advice you’ve attained. There’s other advice you’ve differed in opinion on and have taken a different line. You give sparingly and marginally to retainable, reasonable amounts, and embrace honestly with enthusiasm to answer thoughtful questions to beginning or less-experienced riders. Candidly and clearly.

    And pay attention to older, wiser riders however you meet them on your various cycling related ventures. A cyclist many more years in, from a different era, will have many wise and unpredictable notions to add to your knowledge and experience to the passion.

    It is never unwise to prompty advise newbs on basic equipment use, ettiquette, and bike cleanliness. Teach those whom are eager, and learn from those whom have arrived at their place in the world of cycling.

  7. Great post Marko, as a newb myself I am slowly beginning to appreciate how much learning there is to be done. I seem to be gaining lots of experience relating to punctures e.g-1. buy a floor pump to avoid pinch flats 2. stock tires wear quickly and are shite (on my bike at least) 3. carry spare tubes and repair flats at home.. Can be so frustrating… But when you have the rides when everything is great the passion is stoked.

    This site has been like my sensei in a way, teaching me about all that makes this sport so special and the rules that should, or must, be followed.

    Just as a matter of interest, what are the how to sites that you guys can recommend?

  8. @William

    I should say, though, there are few sites (any? this one, of course) that compare with more experienced riding partners as a source of info. No site is going to critique your climbing style or whatnot.

  9. Great post & one most of us can relate to I hope.
    I have helped both family & friends over the years in choosing a bike/set up along with training & racing. While I don’t even think of myself as a sensei, I do like to give whatever advice I can, where & when appropriate, i.e. not going over the top & through using my own experiences.
    I learned what I know from other riders that I have met on the road so to speak, reading, experience, my fellow Velominatus & whoever/wherever I can. Even bad riders may give you some knowledge, even if it’s what not to do!

    @colin, nicely expressed as well by the way

  10. Diamonds are created through equal parts time, heat and pressure. That being said, a gem cannot be manufactured, it takes the right combination of natural elements and forces. Does he want to ride or does he just want that pretty bike to hang in his garage?

    Remember Mr Miagi pointing to his head & heart and saying “Karate here.” Teach patience Sensei and start him out on Rule #6.

  11. @Colin
    ++1

    @Rob
    Chris and some other friends and I did a small local charity ride this past fall. He had the sense to at least put slicks on his mountain bike. None of the other guys were really road cyclists either so I organized them into a pace line. I had the sense to ride my cross bike so I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb with #1 and look like the douche who shows up to the knife fight with an Abrams. At any rate, I got them all to see the fun and efficiency in group riding and would push up the pace every now and then just get them thinking. I think this too got Chris thinking. That and he’s got a really cool VMH who wants him to get a bike so she can get one.

    @Greg
    As a former ski and paddlesports store employee I can totally relate to that.

    @Oli Brooke-White
    Recent? I figured you’ve been a sensei for years.

    @foghorn leghorn
    Nice. And good to see you again.

  12. @all

    So riddle me this. After having the requisite discussion on the pros and cons of different frame materials, gruppos, sizes, etc, I’m poking around online to see what’s potentially out there for Chris. I happen across a Serotta Colorado AL in his size that’s virtually identical to Il Gruppo Progetto. Different paint scheme but same ultegra 6500 gruppo and it has Mavic Open Pro 32h 3x rims. Looks to be in excellent shape. IMO it’d be a great bike for him to get started on. Would it be weird though if we were rolling around on pretty much identical bikes?

  13. @Marko

    Marko:
    @all
    So riddle me this. Would it be weird though if we were rolling around on pretty much identical bikes?

    Depends… Are you then going to give him a sweet deal on some V-Bibs and a V-Jersey? ‘Cos that’d really be where weird starts.

  14. @Marko
    They sound like they are ripe for conversion and you are pivotal, perhaps, as you already know, it will be done subtly keying off what they already are headed toward and just giving little pokes of info that eases the beginner lows and ups the highs.

  15. Marko:
    @Oli Brooke-White
    Recent? I figured you’ve been a sensei for years.

    Without wanting him in any way to be held responsible for the rule-breaking fred I turned out to be, Oli’s a big part of the reason I’m into the sport. From helping me piece together a bike, to not getting fucked off with my constant mispronunciation of Bianchi, he’s put up with a lot of over-enthusiastic conversation. Chur.

  16. Awesome. Glad you are helping a friend, but also glad you are going to show him the (proper) ropes. Friends don’t let friends get a tri-bike!

    I have been lucky enough to get a bunch of friends into cycling, maybe not become road cyclists, but at least riding road bikes around to commute, for exercise, etc.

    Mistakes along the way – the first race I toed the line for…I did so in a pair of blue adidas sambas with Giant toe clips grabbed off my first mountain bike, purchased with lawn mowing money when I was fourteen.

    My sensei? I never really had one. I picked up bits and pieces of advice here and there from other riders, did a ton of article reading, picked through good stuff on forums. And heck, I brought a good sense of dedication, style, and appreciation for the small things from other sports I played growing up. Just like Frank and learning to wear a ski cap properly while growing up on the mountain, I brought some of my knowledge of inherent Rules from other sports.

    I need to find a sensei though. At the moment my most frequent riding buddies don’t quite live La Vie Velominatus. They like to ride hard, but don’t care much for flash bikes or sharp kit. It’s almost like the missed out on that part of cycling.

    Good luck, Marko. I’m sure you’ll make a fine sensei!

  17. Of course we all have had a mentor of sorts, but it is indeed a tall order. I mean, looking back at my own sense of style, it has changed over time more often than a sixteen y/o girl changes dress’s getting ready for the homecoming dance. Settling in however w/a sense of what is right, the bike, the goods, shoes, glass’s, socks…when sorted out for oneself, is nearly a zen moment.

    A good friend told me never lead someone else like a ‘good friend’ into cycling. It will only be a disappointment. Either, they will be wrong about everything or they will take off and kick your arse. So, just let them find it for themselves, afterall, being a cyclist and an example is ample enough for them to see.

    so, thats been my approach. Approachable, reasonable, helpful but never pushing someone to ride.

  18. @Rob
    WELL WRITTEN.
    The guys who took me out and showed me bits of the whole will always be present on my rides. It was the little things: the tucking of my shorts under my saddle as we rode by a cafe (hey! now I ride bibs), the slapped shifters as they’d pass on a hill (now I guard my bars and my line), the various bumps and elbows…I love those guys.

  19. Nice article! (On an unrelated note, I think Karate Kid may have one of the best movie soundtracks ever. Just saying.)

    After thinking about this for a bit, I am somewhat sad to say I’ve never really had any real cycling mentors. I have had people who have influenced me, but never anyone who has steadily been a mentor and helped me grow.

    At the top of my list of cycling influences would be my late father, who cycled a lot with me as a kid, and was with me for every mile of the boy scout cycling merit badge, where I received my first taste of The V as a kid (to this day I remember how much those damn hills hurt as a struggled up them on my shitty old kid bike).

    His old Schwinn was my first road bike, and I still own it and ride it occasionally. It’s heavy as all get-out so I don’t take it on “pleasure” rides often.

    Souleur:
    So, just let them find it for themselves, afterall, being a cyclist and an example is ample enough for them to see.
    so, thats been my approach. Approachable, reasonable, helpful but never pushing someone to ride.

    I like this idea a lot. I have one good friend who got into cycling independently of me, so we push each other hard on rides and it’s all good. However, for my non cycling friends (or friends who will bike to a bar but that’s about it), I have found that they don’t really understand or appreciate the sport side of cycling, or why someone would get up at 6 am on a perfectly good Saturday or Sunday and be out the door for a 40 mile ride before most people in my age group are even up for the day.

  20. Nestor Gernay, DS of the now defunct Ten Speed Drive Team in the northeast was my mentor. I rolled into his shop, frosh year of art school with my 1st Colnago with Campy friction downtube levers, my V1 pro and my best Atlantic Bicycle Club gawdy kit. I asked him how to get faster, in typical Flem-triteness he pointed to the nearby “Hunter Loop,” and told me to ride there and in the wind.

    Meh, I thought. So much for intervals, ladders and other go fast rituals… I thought he was clueless and old for that matter… until he dropped me like a fat kid running stairs at the local group ride.

    He was spot on. Manners and etiquette. And laying down the V before I even knew (until recently) what V even meant, besides HTFU. A lot of people in this area””and several national champions””owe a lot to this seer of Savannah, chapeua Mr. Gernay!

    If you’re ever in the area, check out his namesake series The Nestor Cup.

  21. Ohhhh, great post. I always seem to overwhelm anyone I speak to about cycling and they run away screaming. It is soooo hard to hold in the enthusiasm and all the amazing subtleties of slowly entering and accepting the pain and amazing rebirth of becoming a cyclist.

    I was in tenth grade (1987) in high school and a new kid moved to my Vermont high school (Oxbow High School in Bradford, VT) who was a pretty good cyclist. He became my best friend and I started to hear more about cycling through him, who was the only person within 40 miles who had a bike worth more than $50 bucks and competed in racing. His name was Bill McDonnell and he became a US Pro over the years and a super XC skier as well. I have now lost contact with him but he totally introduced me to the world of cycling and I have never been the same since!

  22. My Senpai rode a Velo Cycle touring bike, which took him around Europe during his misguided youth. I got a custom Cyclops road bike (this one’s not mine, but you get the point) and thought that made me shit-hot.

    I was wrong. Me on my brand new shiny bike with Sidi shoes and Time pedals, he on his old beast with – likely – running shoes and toe straps. Sufferfest for me; learning experience for sure.

    I’ve since transitioned to a DeKerf Prodigy (Steel is still real), and to the aged side of “old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill any day”. One day I’ll introduce my own Kohai to the world of the Velominati.

  23. Marko, you really are a genius! This has turned into one great post – the stories are for the archives. Even Mcsqueak’s (second best avitar after Gianni) no mentor story brings a tear. Nestor Gernay, where would we hear of him or Bill McDonnell but right here?

    @reverend dick
    Ah – Rev – Do I know you? There is something about your little vignetts that just seem so familiar??

  24. Cereal, how could you not suck by learning from this guy (Nestor Gerny?) So much badassness in this pik my head exploded:

  25. @reverend dick
    Ah, the shorts over the saddle! Ok, you’ve broken open a rusty, closed footlocker in my memory. Here are some of my favorite bullshit stunts I learned from my senseis:

    How to pick up a cap (or anything really) at near speed without dismounting. This is the result of a teammate taking off someone else’s cap and hurling it up in the air and no one near the back catching it. The victim rolls off, turns around, grabs the cap at speed, turns around, and has to bridge back. Just a little extra interval pain for everyone else’s pleasure.

    At the start of a roller climb, imperceptably holding on to a teammate’s saddle and soft pedaling.

    As you mentioned, the slap of shifters as you go by. Related–putting a teammate’s bike in his 53×12 while he’s inside the store getting something to drink/eat.

    During a lull on a training ride, slide to the very back of the peloton, yell out like your about to crash, and drag a Coke can on the ground. The whole peloton scatters.

    While behind someone, make the sound of a flat tire so they look down and stop pedaling for a split second. Then lay down the V, hard!

    Merckx, I loved my senseis for all of this crap.

    Warning: Never do any of this in a group where you don’t know the skills of everyone there. Also, never do any of this until it’s been done to you so you know what it’s like to receive this shit.

  26. Marcus:There is nothing as galling as handing out tips and advice to a cycling neophyte only to have him thank you for the advice a few months later (esp the lesson on the definition of half-wheeling) by dropping you like a bad habit in the hills. Oh the shame of it.

    This is what I meant by recent, although to be fair it’s been happening for about a decade now. I’ve been in the trade for over thirty years.

  27. To gregb, who seeing me commute to work on my high school Huffy offered to lend me the steel-framed Pinarello he raced when he quit his job to do nothing but. He told me that once I rode that bike I would not be able to look back. He was dead on. He also said that there’s only one way to ride a bike — as fast as possible. Fashion aside, this embodies the tradition of Rule #5. In the roughly 15 years since, he’s offering me tons of advice and has been a great sounding board. Gregb, thanks!

  28. Great post – nicely done.

    I never really had any one mentor into all things cycling. As a kid, I always rode bikes – Sting Rays and a few department store “10 Speeds”. At that time, I knew nothing about road racing and it was the beginning of BMX. So when it comes down to it, I was just copying real motocross on my BMX converted Sting Rays waiting for the day I could actually afford an actual dirt motorcycle. That came a few years later with a succession of motocross motorcycles, loads of trail riding, and some racing as well. During that time, I still goofed around with bicycles however – always dug both – pedal and moto powered.

    A few more years later, dirt motorcycle days waning, college in progress – got a job at a bicycle shop – this was the early ’80s. Most employees rode just for fun, but a few actual road racers worked there for a short time. I was fascinated by the prospect of racing and peppered both dudes with many questions. Previously, I talked about racing with some of the older bike shop pals – who’ve been on training rides, etc. They said forget it – way too tough – with stories of getting dropped on training rides with racers. I figured no way and blew off the idea.

    Later, when I expressed interest to one of the actual racers at the shop. He said buy that bike – a Fuji Team hanging off the ceiling – and let’s go. Start training, let’s give it a go. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow his advice and blew the small sum of money I’ve saved on a ratty used Fiat X 1/9 instead. That’s another (stupid) story, but the encouragement he instantly gave me stuck with me. I also remember watching him race the Tour of Nutley (old race in New Jersey) and talking with him afterward – thinking the whole scene was super cool. We’re talking 1982 or so – old school stuff. He also didn’t own a car and rode everywhere, which I thought was amazing. I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t even remember the guy’s name, I knew him all of a few weeks – but he made an impression on me for sure.

    I didn’t really start riding seriously until after my bike shop days were over – wacky enough – after I scored my first “professional” job with a real pay check. A new Miyata mountain bike and used Raleigh road bike followed shortly. This was 1984 and I’ve been obsessed with it all ever since. I never road raced, but did wind up racing mountain bikes. I’ve always been a magazine fanatic and have been reading bicycle magazines since 1981 (still have ’em saved now) – so learned plenty from reading and always semi-appeared to know what I was doing – even if just an illusion at times.

    Over the years now, I’ll take some credit for turning other people onto riding as well. I’ve always been the “bike guy” at work, organized rides, fixed bikes for people, gave advice on what to buy, etc. The latest was a co-worker from a previous job. She was having trouble fitting bikes being barely 5 feet tall. She stopped over one day to show me her ill fitting hybrid bike, I showed her some info via websites, gave her shop names and bikes to test ride. She wound up with a custom fitted, budget priced, sweet steel bike from a shop in Seattle. She’s planning to ride the STP this summer on it. Great story.

    I repeat these stories not to say “Hey, look at me – Mr. Know it All” – but because it actually gives me great joy to get people riding. It’s a cool club to be a part of – commuters, racers, road, dirt – who cares man, just do it. As most people reading this blog know – it’s awesome stuff and we’re gonna try to sell it to anyone interested. True?

    Ride on.

  29. Hello, I’ve been reading your articles for a while and it feels like this is the best article on which to introduce myself.

    My grandad should have been my sensei, i have memories of watching the tour back in the 90’s and specifically Eric Zabel. He used to build me mountain bikes to riding round town, but despite the fact i used to race against the other kids round his house, he never gave me a racing bike. Made all the more surprising by the fact that he helped set up Otley Cycle Race, which has a good reputation and attracts good names, Cav came a few years ago and Ben Swift rode last June.

    My life on a road bike began in thrid year of Uni, in Aberystwyth, UK when sick of not being able to afford the wished for road bike i bought a 70’s Raleigh Equipe, steel frame and all, no Reynolds 531 tubing, toe clips and all for £50 and i joined the local cycling club.

    There are some serious riders in this neck of the woods and i spent alot of the 1st year of riding getting dropped, increasingly less so as my legs solidified and i grew wiser in using my drop gears shifters. In these riders were some men who pointed out things like a Eurosport deal is £4 online and i should watch the pro’s race and so on, and there was Tim. Proper weather beaten cyclist who can just lay the power down at 55+ helped me over hills and dropped off the back with me on several occasions telling me he was struggling too, never believed him. Helped with little things like cleat positioning and tricks with bike maintenance.

    I then tackled the local TT, the club has a few routes and Tim was running the time keeping that day, i recorded my fastest time of 28:49, at which point he said “that on that steel frame of yours, it’s bloody genius” despite being well down the order, and that is why i got on with him, continual encouragement through and welcoming the pain, which is essential in any cyclists outlook as you have stated here.

    I have a Cannondale CAAD8 now and i can bury myself on climbs and chaingangs and live in the pain and actually get results. Unfortunately last semesters work and a vicious bout of Glandular Fever has reduced my fitness significantly (as well as my weight which is a little win out of it) but i’ll be back on soon.

  30. @Dan O
    As usual, great reply. I too had the experience of riding BMX and dirt bikes coming up. Found my dream high school moto in the paper a couple years back and bought it an 85 XR350 in great condition. Rode it down the freeway across state lines to get it home which was quite fun. With a few tweaks and rebuilt top end it’s pretty sweet and so much fun. I’ve been thinking about making it street legal.

    @Sam
    Nice entrance. “proper weather beaten cyclist”, well put.

  31. @Sam

    Welcome! Aberystwyth, eh? I’m a dirty Yank but I’ve got family from that part of the world. Met a few of them at various family reunions. I need to make it over there at some point…

  32. @mcsqueak
    If you can get out here bring your bike, there are some incredible views (providing it’s not raining or foggy or snowing), some nice climbs and brutal ones too. People seem to think that snowdonia and the brecon becons is all wales has too offer but there’s the cambrian mountains as well, Tour of Britain came by last year.

  33. Great stories from all, it’s awesome how we all get into our sport for different reasons, or through different channels. I’m also of the Dan O school, as I didn’t really have a sensei as such, I just always loved riding, tinkering… Maybe my father’s tale of how he got his Speedwell had an effect on me, and subconsciously guided me to a life on two wheels.

  34. while not exactly a sensei story, Velominati appear to have an imitator or at the least influenced by but hopefully in tribute to the Velominatus philosophy. Check this out & see what you think?
    http://www.velosophy.com.au
    Great picture but…..
    I saw a few of the boys out this morning on the way out to the Waterfall/Royal National park ride in Southern Sydney some may know of?
    Their jerseys & knicks bear a remarkable similarity to the Velominati’s own, in colourng & layout. Photo’s to follow if possible

  35. Any body in the states know of a decent first bike for sale for my buddy Chris in the story above? We’ve been scouring the usual places online and are finding stuff here and there but I thought I’d throw it out to you guys. His budget just shrunk a little so he’d like to keep it under a grand (which is tricky). He’s open to any frame material except steel (I know I know but he’s worried about rust and wants minimal maintenance/care). He’s looking in the 54-56 range for frame size. Any leads would be appreciated. Cheers

  36. @Marko
    Darn. I’m 179 cm (5’11”) with an inseam of 84cm (a little over 33″). I’ve got a 58cm that’s too big for me, so it would be way too big for Chris. It’s a 2008 Cervelo Soloist Team, aluminum, Ultegra front and back, freewheel, chain, and shifters, FSA everything else. I’d make an offer of $999.99 (or less), but he’s gotta grow about 3 more inches. That aluminum frame is a great crappy-weather bomber.

  37. Oops. Showing my age. My Mercian has the freewheel. The Cervelo has the cassette. Good catch. I still wanna sell the thing (cheap) and get an S2 or S3 in a 54. If Thor (who is so good he doesn’t need a last name) can ride a 54 and he’s 183cm, I can ride a 54 at 179cm no prob.

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