La Vie Velominatus, Part I: Finding the V-Locus
Arms draped casually over the bars, wrists canted inward, knees tucked in neatly towards the top tube, bottom perched on the saddle’s rivet, chin dropped low to the stem. During maximum effort, all the elements of the rider seem to converge toward one point, an invisible spot on the machine where we may worship at the altar of the Man with the Hammer but elude his hammer’s vicious blow.
To the Velominati, this spot is known as the V-Locus, the sacred point where rider and machine are able to maximally channel The V. Where this point lies precisely differs from machine to machine and rider to rider, and can only be ascertained though careful and lengthy meditation. It is commonly found somewhere along the centerline of the frame, just shy of the head tube.
Take a moment to study this photo of de Vlaemicnk, pictured here having found the V-Locus. As your effort increases and you begin to channel the V, your body will naturally move towards this point. The elbows bend slightly at first. Your hands might slip from the hoods to the drops or from the drops to the hoods, but in either case, your wrists will roll inwards. As the effort further increases, your bottom will slip forward along the saddle until it comes to rest on the rivet. Shoulders arch inward, forcing your elbows down and out, crossing into the your leg’s airspace. To accomodate, your knees tuck inward at the top of each pedal stroke. Your head rolls downward, chin to the bars; you should be mindful to look down the road, though in this state of blurred vision your eyes serve limited purpose.
Locating the V-Locus takes time and mediation. As stated, it differs from bike to bike and from rider to rider, particularly among hand-built machines. After many long hours and kilometers spent in the saddle, you will start to become one with the machine, and the V-Locus will slowly begin to reveal itself to you. You will find that each of your bikes, however similarly built, has a different locus. Perhaps there is one that helps you channel the V more effectively than the others, but the V-Locus is always a fundamental variable of a bike’s personality. Take time to discover and understand it, and the V will grow within you. Vive la Vie Velominatus.