La Bicyclette

I love the shape of it. Aroma of it. The way it feels to be around it. It will catch my eye from across the way; I will be powerless to resist taking in its form and perhaps allow my hand to graze its surface. The source of such beauty and harmony, it is a fountain of unspeakable happiness.

It offers me companionship when I need it, solitude when I want to be alone. It distracts me when I’m trying to focus and focuses me when I am trying not to be distracted. It inspires me to take chances, and reminds me to be patient.

It breaks me down when I’m overconfident, it builds me up when I’m insecure. It brings me pain to remind me I should become a stronger man.

I love it when it’s flawless, but I love it more when it shows signs of wear; our time together has changed us both indelibly for the better.

It is no wonder the French and Italians refer to the bicycle in the feminine form, for all these things embody what it means to be a strong woman.

Women are made to be loved, not understood. -Oscar Wilde

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182 Replies to “La Bicyclette”

  1. @Oli
    Alright Oli, heres a technical question for ya: those old mavic cosmic pros, with the bluish cast tubulars- are they1) bombproof and 2) easy to change to campy from shimano freehub?

  2. @gaswepass
    I haven’t really dealt with any since the 90s, so I can’t comment on the durability (is it a bad sign that there aren’t many around still?), and I never had to convert any to Campag so I can’t help there either, sorry! Certainly replacing freehubs on Mavic hubs since the Ksyrium came out is easy, but prior to that I couldn’t tell you without taking it apart or looking at a manual, I’m afraid.

  3. As a Velomibachelor living in a Velomibachelor pad my bikes live in the living room. I actually have it arranged so there is empty wall space for them to lean against. I’m pretty sure that’s love.

  4. @brett

    I could sit and stare at my bike for hours.

    I saw a photo recently of your Merckx, same colors with Zipp 404s (or some deep carbone wheels) and it looked so awesome. I’m thinking you need some of those.

    @thelastkilometer
    You Rule! Many thanks for posting those photos on the site. Excellent.

    @the Engine

    This is my bike. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
    My bike is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
    My bike, without me, is useless. Without my bike, I am useless.

    +1 Keep it up.

  5. If you’re going to buy a new bike, wait for a day when you’re in a bad mood.

    Why waste such a mood booster on a day that’s already good?

  6. @brett

    @ChrisO

    @brett

    I love cycling, not bikes.

    Man, you’re really weird! Do you love being married, but not your wife?

    Just as I love certain parts of a woman’s body, I love certain parts of my bike(s). The area around the fork crown/downtube is particularly attractive to me, just as a woman’s hips/abdomen are as well. A hollow section rim is akin to slender thighs, and the saddle, well I think you know where I’m going.

    Dear Penthouse, I never though this would happen to me in real life, but my name’s Bretto and I’ve got a story to share…

    Seriously, did you watch that Video and think of all the things right with it?

  7. Interesting to note, Frank, that the words you write are similar to what many musicians think of their prized guitars. If I’m having a shitty day, I’ll pick up my guitar and just play without putting too much thought into what I’m playing. Just play. After a while, being lost in the music, all my stress and anxiety has faded away. Very similar to what happens on the bike.

  8. I’m so stoked. I picked up #3 today! It’s looking to be #1 as soon as I get my Velominati Sticker Pack.
    Whadya think guys (and girl)?

    Crappy photo cause I’m soooo excited I was shaking.

  9. @brett

    @ChrisO

    @brett
    I don’t think it would make a difference TBH – as I said, I appreciate the beauty of certain design. My Ridley is a beautiful fast thing, my Colnago Master is a beautiful classic thing and my Roberts is a beautiful handmade thing. I sometimes look at other bikes and think how beautiful they are.
    But do I love it/them ? I love what it allows me to do and I love some of the experiences I have on it. But the experiences are mine and I have them on it, not with it, and I could probably have them with another ‘it’.
    I love cycling, not bikes.

    Man, you’re really weird! Do you love being married, but not your wife?
    A bike is a thing of physical beauty as well as a means to an end; Just as I love certain parts of a woman’s body, I love certain parts of my bike(s). The area around the fork crown/downtube is particularly attractive to me, just as a woman’s hips/abdomen are as well. A hollow section rim is akin to slender thighs, and the saddle, well I think you know where I’m going.

    If my bike was like my wife, just as soon as I bought it, it would have stopped letting me ride it so much. And riding on the bars would have been forbidden.

  10. @frank

    @graham d.m.

    Well done! I’ve only found/joined this community recently. But I’m glad I did for moments like these posts. It helps me feel less insane as I realize there are others out there who have crazy love affairs with their bikes. What a cool place this is!

    Thanks mate. Yeah, we’re the opposite of AA for cyclists; we’re like a full-on enablement circle. Though in fairness, we recently suggested to @Ron that he actually sell one of his bikes.

    Ahhhh! Sorry, I’ve been out riding since the Giro ended, trying to keep myself busy.

    I got the VMH out on the bike in question over the weekend. I’d been trying to get her to ride it for awhile. Alas, she had been happy to have just one bike. But she’s come around to having one do-it-all bike & one nice road bike. (we’re very similar in size)

    So, it’ll stay within the family. Super cool since now I don’t have to part with it. Sorry to bother ya with that, but thanks for the feedback, Frank, ‘squeak and others.

  11. @Marcus

    @brett

    @ChrisO

    @brett
    I don’t think it would make a difference TBH – as I said, I appreciate the beauty of certain design. My Ridley is a beautiful fast thing, my Colnago Master is a beautiful classic thing and my Roberts is a beautiful handmade thing. I sometimes look at other bikes and think how beautiful they are.
    But do I love it/them ? I love what it allows me to do and I love some of the experiences I have on it. But the experiences are mine and I have them on it, not with it, and I could probably have them with another ‘it’.
    I love cycling, not bikes.

    Man, you’re really weird! Do you love being married, but not your wife?
    A bike is a thing of physical beauty as well as a means to an end; Just as I love certain parts of a woman’s body, I love certain parts of my bike(s). The area around the fork crown/downtube is particularly attractive to me, just as a woman’s hips/abdomen are as well. A hollow section rim is akin to slender thighs, and the saddle, well I think you know where I’m going.

    If my bike was like my wife, just as soon as I bought it, it would have stopped letting me ride it so much. And riding on the bars would have been forbidden.

    WOAH! I get married on 6/17, a pretty important day. You’re saying no more riding on the bars…

  12. @Ron
    Be under no illusion – your life as you know it is about to end.

    Thinking of cycling and early days of marriage, one of my more embarrassing moments happened in 1997, not long after being married – I only realised my stupidity much later. My bike was sitting in the hallway – a Giant Peloton with Shimano 105 complete with aerobar extensions. A friend of a friend was over and asked me if I was a bike rider. I sniffed, “yeah I ride, but I am a triathlete.”

    She then very nicely says that here family is into cycling, her brothers and dad race, they do the Hell Ride etc etc. I pretty much didn’t listen because she wasn’t talking about triathlon.

    In 2000, that girl’s brother won Stage 7 of the Giro… Not the first or last time I have been an ignorant douche. Right Minion?

  13. Marcus – I’ve been told that, but I have managed to defy many odds to date. I guess this could be the toughest test though? We shall see. I don’t doubt it, but I am still bravely optimistic.

    Well, at least we’re going out with a bang. This past weekend was a holiday, so I got my Belgian, French, and Italian cousins out for a backyard bbq & party. In terms of life being simple, life being complex, marriage changing things – well, I feel fortunate to have such nice bikes and have the time to ride them. Here goes nothin’!

  14. @versio

    @Jamie
    What size shoe? I have a bargain if interested “” Giro Prolight SLX Black 44? I need a 44.5.

    Nice shoes and I’m generally 44 (UK 9). If @Jamie passes, how much?

  15. While some here mentioned the smell of bikes, its the smell in bike shops that gets me, rubber, polish, grease, leather, dreams.
    Even crappy bike shops smell good.

  16. @Oli

    @brett
    You’re saying you love PENIS!

    I don’t know what sort of women you’re hanging out with bro, but mine are sans member!

    @minion

    What video?

    @Gianni

    Zipps would have to be one of the least sexy wheels IMO, and not at all suitable for my bike. I’ve never been a fan of deep section wheels, give me low profile box sections any day.

    Or some of these…

  17. @brett
    The one in the very first post, that was discussed for, oh I dunno, about the first two pages. The one about how Jabba the hutt’s boyfriend would rather pash his car than her.

    @Oli

    Totally. Keep your powder dry and your caps lowered.

  18. @eightzero

    @the Engine

    This is my bike. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
    My bike is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
    My bike, without me, is useless. Without my bike, I am useless.

    You remind me of @PrivateJoker

    I’m in a world of shit… yes. But I am alive. And I am not afraid.

  19. @sthilzy

    You do that aswell It also shows I don’t have issues although my VMH, would definitely disagree. She has no problem asking me to fix her bike, yet when I suggest she glue my tubs on for me… not only does she refuse-the nerve-she looks at me with a blank expression, as though I’m an idiot. I can’t see what the problem is.

  20. @Oli

    @ChrisO
    I love bicycles and bicycling: I could (and do!) stare at my bikes for hours, admiring their lines and the way the light catches the paint or chrome just so, but I love to ride too, and that state where what bike you’re riding fades into utter irrelevance as you are transported along by your own leg and lung power, feeling nothing but the road, the air and the sheer exuberant physicality of riding.

    I could stare at @Oli’s bike for hours

  21. @Tobin
    Oh boy is that ever a beaut. Nice choice. I’ve been thinking a lot about the new Gran Fondo lately as a replacement for the SLT01. Which doesn’t need to be replaced.

    @Marcus – I hope nobody else rides your bikes. At least your #1.It’s one thing for them to collect dust in the shop and another altogether for someone else to ride them.

    There are two kinds of blemishes on bikes. The wear and tear kind and the oh shit kind. The oh shit kind are really hard to accept.

  22. @wiscot

    I think one of the things that really ties us to our machines is that they are all – to a great extent – customized. Many may have begun “of the rack” but have been tweaked, upgraded, and most importantly, set up to fit just one person. This isn’t just shifting a seat forwards or backwards and adjusting a rear view mirror, these are the mechanical equivalent of a custom-made suit. It fits only one person and no-one else. If someone messed wih our bkes, we would know it instantly.Most of us could, if pressed, give a component-by-component breakdown of each of our rides. We feel close to our machines because they reflect us to an incredible degree – our likes, preferences, body geometry, financial status, and level of commitment.Collin is spot on and the guy who loves his car does so because it can’t tell him how it really feels about that bumfluff thing on his upper lip.

    So true, our bicycles become an extension of us which is why it’s so easy to fall into the Cult of the Upgrade.

    @ChrisO I know you’re a big fan of Brooks saddles but are your bikes pretty much stock apart from that? does the fact that you see them as tools rather than obsess over them keep the upgrading to a minimum?

  23. Slightly off topic but all this posting photos of fat people reminds me that last week there were two stories side by side in the Telegraph, one that Jessica Ennis Britain’s world heptathlon silver medallist and Olympic gold chance had been described as being too fat by a senior UK Athletics official and the other that Britain’s fattest teenager had to cut out of her house by rescue crews in order to get her to hospital. WTF on both counts.

    Ennis had also just beaten the Olympic 100 metre hurdle champion Dawn Harper and world 100 metre hurdle silver medallist Danielle Carruthers so could be described as “on form”

  24. @sthilzy

    @frank

    @RedRanger
    He chose the car over this little hunny? Hard to believe.

    This is what his view is like from inside the car leaving the driveway to go parking

    I know this is cruel to say, but she is the living personification of Jabba the Hut. Lordy, her head and neck are triangular!

  25. @sthilzy
    WTF are those things on her head anyway? The can’t be curlers as there’s really nothing that can be done on the improvements front. Are they some sort of fat persons sausage holding survival kit for when she’s got to leave the immediate vicinity of the fridge?

  26. @scaler911

    I’m so stoked. I picked up #3 today! It’s looking to be #1 as soon as I get my Velominati Sticker Pack.
    Whadya think guys (and girl)?

    Crappy photo cause I’m soooo excited I was shaking.

    So where’s wee Joe 90 then? That sure looks like his gizmo chair.

  27. @Chris

    Slightly off topic but all this posting photos of fat people reminds me that last week there were two stories side by side in the Telegraph, one that Jessica Ennis Britain’s world heptathlon silver medallist and Olympic gold chance had been described as being too fat by a senior UK Athletics official and the other that Britain’s fattest teenager had to cut out of her house by rescue crews in order to get her to hospital. WTF on both counts.

    Ennis had also just beaten the Olympic 100 metre hurdle champion Dawn Harper and world 100 metre hurdle silver medallist Danielle Carruthers so could be described as “on form”

    I read that too. I want to see a picture of the fat fuck in a blazer who called her fat. I think a wee head-to-head race should sort out the issue.

  28. @Chris

    @sthilzy
    WTF are those things on her head anyway? The can’t be curlers as there’s really nothing that can be done on the improvements front. Are they some sort of fat persons sausage holding survival kit for when she’s got to leave the immediate vicinity of the fridge?

    Correct. She is from Wisconsin and those curlers craftily hide a box of Johnsonville bratwurst in case she gets the munchies.

  29. @wiscot

    @Chris

    @sthilzy
    WTF are those things on her head anyway? The can’t be curlers as there’s really nothing that can be done on the improvements front. Are they some sort of fat persons sausage holding survival kit for when she’s got to leave the immediate vicinity of the fridge?

    Correct. She is from Wisconsin and those curlers craftily hide a box of Johnsonville bratwurst in case she gets the munchies.

    Carrying sausages is probably the only exercise she gets, might account for the neck.

    When you emigrated to Wisconsin, did you introduce the Scottish love of battering and deep frying all things from confectionery to offal? Were the locals skinny before that?

  30. @Chris

    @wiscot

    @Chris

    @sthilzy
    WTF are those things on her head anyway? The can’t be curlers as there’s really nothing that can be done on the improvements front. Are they some sort of fat persons sausage holding survival kit for when she’s got to leave the immediate vicinity of the fridge?

    Correct. She is from Wisconsin and those curlers craftily hide a box of Johnsonville bratwurst in case she gets the munchies.

    Carrying sausages is probably the only exercise she gets, might account for the neck.

    When you emigrated to Wisconsin, did you introduce the Scottish love of battering and deep frying all things from confectionery to offal? Were the locals skinny before that?

    I don’t think introducing Wisconsinites to the joys of deep frying everything would be a good move. They seem to be doing ok with fish frys as it is. I think they might develop a love of Iru Bru if it was ever imported.

  31. @Chris

    @wiscot

    I think one of the things that really ties us to our machines is that they are all – to a great extent – customized. .

    @ChrisO I know you’re a big fan of Brooks saddles but are your bikes pretty much stock apart from that? does the fact that you see them as tools rather than obsess over them keep the upgrading to a minimum?

    Well one of them is handbuilt to me so that’s not stock. The Colnago – I’ve changed bars, seatposts, tape. The Ridley was bought as F+F with a custom paintjob and the rest was to my specs… So I guess the answer is no.

    Having said that I was quite happy to turn up at the Keepers Tour and ride a rental bike. I’m not obsessive about what I am on. I’d rather have been on my own bike for comfort and performance but it wouldn’t have made me appreciate my bike any more or any less by ‘sharing’ the experience.

    Just to be clear, I’m not saying I see them only as tools – I totally see the beauty of them as design. Like that Merckx that Pistard posted – I look at that and think it is a beautiful thing.

    But I admire bikes in the way I admire a work of art or a piece of music. I don’t feel emotional about them.

    In a fire I would be more likely to save my cat than my bike.*

    (*I only leave out my wife and children because they live in London while I’m in Abu Dhabi, so chances are they would have to save themselves inshallah).

  32. @Chris

    @Chris

    Hey, give us some credit. We were deep frying and ingesting everything we could find way before @wiscot showed up, and then we shove it on a stick for easy eatin’. Sausage. Bacon. Bananas. Snickers bars. Car batteries. Etc. Every year the top headline from the State Fair is what new deep-fried food-on-a-stick they’ve come up with.

  33. @motor city

    @versio

    @Jamie
    What size shoe? I have a bargain if interested “” Giro Prolight SLX Black 44? I need a 44.5.

    Nice shoes and I’m generally 44 (UK 9). If @Jamie passes, how much?

    They are scuffed on the right front. Just listed on Ebay today, so you could make an offer with Free shipping. Mention Velominati in your offer and I will give you a great bargain. Listed under title (Pre-owned Giro Prolight SLX cycling shoes Black size 44).

  34. @motor city

    @versio

    @Jamie
    What size shoe? I have a bargain if interested “” Giro Prolight SLX Black 44? I need a 44.5.

    Nice shoes and I’m generally 44 (UK 9). If @Jamie passes, how much?

    Need 60.00 USD to offer free shipping. Where are you located? Might need to make exception to the exclusion list.

  35. @The Oracle

    @Chris

    @Chris

    Hey, give us some credit. We were deep frying and ingesting everything we could find way before @wiscot showed up, and then we shove it on a stick for easy eatin’. Sausage. Bacon. Bananas. Snickers bars. Car batteries. Etc. Every year the top headline from the State Fair is what new deep-fried food-on-a-stick they’ve come up with.

    Indeed. In Scotland we just use our fingers. The sophisticates in WI use a stick. When I lived in IN a friend worked in a restaurant. One night he took the fat they cut off steaks, cubed it, rolled it in some spices and batter and deep fried it. In other words, deep-fried fat. The staff loved them but they never got on the menu. He called them Hoosier Snacks.

  36. @Marko

    The wear and tear kind and the oh shit kind.

    Ain’t that the truth. Good wear: rub marks on the cranks, the labels on the nose of your saddle being worn off…Bad wear: concave rim walls, deep scratch on the top tube where you leaned it against a tree by the frame instead of the saddle….

    @Chris

    @sthilzy, @Marko
    New rule proposal, you can only post pictures of fat people if they’re as fit as Jessica Ennis.

    Brilliant.

  37. @The Oracle

    @Chris

    @Chris

    Hey, give us some credit. We were deep frying and ingesting everything we could find way before @wiscot showed up, and then we shove it on a stick for easy eatin’. Sausage. Bacon. Bananas. Snickers bars. Car batteries. Etc. Every year the top headline from the State Fair is what new deep-fried food-on-a-stick they’ve come up with.

    One of the greatest things I’ve ever eaten are deep fried cheese curds in Black River Falls WI.

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