Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

24 July 2014

The Light I Followed At The End Of The Day

Yesterday I gave you three images and a lot of words on a subject (and a couple of topics) of interest mainly to cyclists.  

Today I'm going to give you three images and fewer words.  I don't know what the subject or topic is.  All I know is that I captured them with my cell phone while riding home from work

Here's one from the Pulaski Bridge"

The light is interesting and unusual (Can one be without the other?)for the end of a late-July day.  Perhaps it is a foreshadowing...of what, I don't know.

My LeTour commuter-beater seems to blend right in:

A little later, camouflage would have been a bit more difficult:

That street is in--where else?--Williamsburg.


23 July 2014

Vessels Of Reflection

The heat's been turned up, again.

No, I'm not being chased. (Nor am I chaste--at least not by choice!)  And, thankfully, I'm not talking about my apartment or workplace, at least not now.

Instead, I'm talking about the weather.  The weekend, clear through Monday, was very mild for this time of year.  So I did a couple of good rides--ones I've written about before on this blog, but pleasant to do again nonetheless.

Yesterday the heat and humidity began to creep up.  Today's a full-blown "dog day".  I'm glad I brought a water bottle with me when I rode to work.  If this weather continues, it's going to get a lot of use.

If you've been following this blog, you've probably noticed that I use stainless-steel bottles.  I got into that habit around the time Chris started Valo Orange.  I think my first, or possibly my second or third, order from them included two of those bottles.

Like most cyclists of the past half-century or so, I'd been using plastic bottles.  I think the best was one of the first I had.  Specialites TA of France made it. 

At the time, I had no idea that my bottle differed from the ones used by most riders in the European peloton only in the graphics.  More precisely, mine had none:  It was just plain, stark white.  But what made it so great was its nozzle:  To this day, I haven't used any other that's easier to drink from while riding.

Specialites TA continues to make bottles and cages to this day, but they seem to have discontinued the nozzle I've mentioned not long after I got my bottle.  I know that if I really wanted another one, I could get it on eBay. All I'd have to do is outbid some Japanese collector who would pony up $200 or so.  I don't know which would be more questionable:  paying that much for a plastic bottle (even if it is TA!  even if it is French!) or drinking from a 40-year-old plastic bottle.

Before plastic, there was stainless steel, which brings to mind the joke about the "permanent" that's guaranteed for 90 days. (Old stainless steel took six months, vs. three for normal steel, to rust.) And there was aluminum, which most cyclists used.

Of course, aluminum had its own hazard:  People were poisoned by bottles that weren't properly cleaned or aired out.  (I heard of similar stories about aluminum canteens, like the one I had when I was a Scout.)  But they certainly had style.

So did the folks who decorated them:

Now, here's a question for all of you straight guys and lesbians:  Does this heat you up more than the water in it could cool you off?

If you prefer fast machines to fast...well, OK, I won't go there...here's something for you:

Interestingly, Monet Goyon was a manufacturer of motorcycles as well as bicycles in Macon, France.  Believe it or not, there were once two dozen or so French companies making motorcycles (or motorized bicycles of one kind or another) on French soil.  Most, like Peugeot, Motobecane and Solex, started as bicycle manufacturers.  Some abandoned either the motorized or human-powered markets; others, like Monet Goyon folded altogether.  Today there are a number of specialty and custom motorcycle makers, as well as a couple of reincarnations of old marques, making their wares in France.

Now, for those of you who don't care about motorized vehicles or gender politics, and are saying to yourselves, "I came here to read about bicycles," here's something you might prefer:

Actually, even if you don't care about bicycles, you might like that one.  I think it's one of the more tasteful testaments to France's most famous bicycle manufacturer I've seen.

All of the bottles pictured in this post are reproductions and are available from Vintage Bike Shop.