Rouleur, Issue 15

Issue 15 just arrived on my doorstop, and it is especially good and is going to take a good long time to work through all the way to the back cover. But I can tell you about the beginning, which was particularly captivating. It started with a great piece on Jeremy Hunt (written by Domestique/Journalist extraordinaire Michael Barry), then slid into a wonderful one-pager on what it means to be a Super-Domestique. It was the next piece, however, that stopped me in my tracks. It’s entitled only “Gios” and the cover shot is of an old Gios gingerly tucked under a translucent plastic tarp like a Michelangelo during a remodel, with it’s corked bottles perched on the handlebars providing the only real clue as to the bicycle’s age.

The author starts with a two-page rant asserting that it is, in fact, about the bike and anyone who says otherwise stands a nonzero chance of be a douchebag. Those aren’t his words – I’m paraphrasing a bit – but it is the gist of what he’s getting at.

Then comes the following quote. This particular section describes “a friend” who is at this stage of his marriage not allowed to mention his bicycle in his home for fear of suffering a painful divorce as a consequence. I’m assuming part of the risk is that he would somehow loose his bikes in the divorce. He is relegated to a small room where he and his cousin may mention la bicicletta.

It is there that he and his unhinged cousin, the one who wears his heart rate monitor while gardening, yabber on pedantically about life’s rudiments such as Speedplay, VO2 max and float while their incredulous, shell-shocked wives deal with all the peripheral stuff – their children, their homes, the public preservation of the sham of normalcy, every single thing that is not cycling. My own father retains expensive bicycles in three separate European countries. My mother has a 25-year old microwave oven.

That actually sounds a lot like my own parents, aside from the fact that my mother actually has a good number of bicycles of her own – including an old-school Aluminum Alan and a Scalpel – although I suspect her accumulation of bikes has more to do with my father’s guilt than with her desire to groom a stable.

We are a strange lot, we cyclists.

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12 Replies to “Rouleur, Issue 15”

  1. Your mom with a Alan ‘cross bike and a Cannondale Scalpel? How cool is that? I can only imagine what collection your dad was riding. Nice bunch of family bikes I’d bet.

    Very different from my childhood – my parents didn’t own any bikes. In fact, my dad never learned to ride a bike as a kid and to this day – still doesn’t.

    How I picked up this two wheeled sickness is beyond me. My kids however, may have stories similar to yours.

  2. I was at the crappy little bike/ski shop in Virginia, MN last night I used to ski tech at years ago. The proprietor, my old boss and a total weirdo, has this steel Fuji Espree lugged frame in mint condition hanging on the wall. He told me to make an offer on it but I measured it at a 56. Too small. Of course as I was mulling it over I was thinking how it could be bike number 4 on my way to 117 and how I don’t have any steel in my livery yet (for those days when the weather looks questionable).

    I would add one small correction to Barry’s position which would be, it’s all about the bikeS.

  3. @Dan O
    The family stable is pretty cool. There is even a custom Eddy Merckx, hand-delivered by Eddy himself over dinner at the factory in Belgium.

    In fact, it was my dad’s acquisition of this particular bike that introduced him to the concept of “rain bike” because he didn’t dare ride it in the rain.

    The rational side of my mind urges the strength to your kids to only acquire this sickness in moderation, like my brother and sister. But the other half (which is much louder) is hollering, “Jump in, kids! The water’s great!”

  4. @Marko
    Touché. Well played, good sir.

    How do you know 56 is too small? Maybe it would fit you when you’re super old and short. Do you really want to short-change your future self like that? Maybe it would even fit your woman in the meantime before you shrink.

  5. @frank

    Let me chime in before Dan O to say that reply about your dad’s Merckx is no good without pics.

  6. @frank

    My woman,as you say, rides a 48. It’s got 650s on it. She’s pinner.

  7. @Marko
    Oh, sweet. I bet she loves drafting you.

    A 48, huh? Does she keep a little step stool around the house so she can reach the cupboards? Michelle has one of those because I put stuff on the top shelf. I call it her “Pygmy Prop”.

  8. Speaking of rouleur. Santa brought me a Kreitler roller trainer. Now I have to learn how to ride again. Woohoo!

  9. Sheri said she tried to find your contact info to ask your opinion on trainers. I thought that was nice and she would have appreciated the Dutch perspective. She did good. Krietlers are sweet. Gonna take a while to figure out.

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