Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

27 August 2016

A Sign For The Road I Was On

Today was warm and sunny, without much humidity.  So, of course, I rode--Arielle, my Mercian Audax, to be exact.

We took another spin to Connecticut.  I spent some more time on back roads that wind through farms where horses are stabled and, I assume, taxes are sheletered.

That last assumption comes from something someone pointed out while I was riding through Vermont years ago.  On a road near Killington, I passed three organic herb farms within a stretch of about three kilometers.  I wondered, aloud, what it was like to farm in such a place.  After all, late in the previous afternoon, the temperature dropped from 52 F to 15F  (from +11 to -9 C) and rain turned to sleet and snow from skies that, that morning, had nary a cloud.

The local who accompanied me on that ride said that those farms "most likely" belonged to "rich people from Boston or New York" who, he said, "probably lost money but wrote it off." But they "didn't care," he explained: "It's a hobby, a tax shelter, for them."

Now, one would think that anyone who could think of how to such a thing is pretty smart, and possibly has some education.  And, perhaps not surprisingly, Connecticut perennially ranks among the top five US states in the percentage of its population who hold college degrees.  By that metric, Greenwich is one of the most educated municipalities in the Nutmeg State.

As someone who's taught in colleges, I've spent lots of time with educated people--or, at least, people who've spent lots of time in school.  Let me tell you, they are not immune to saying things that make you wonder just how educated they are.  I'll confess:  I make such blunders, too.  But I make sure that nobody notices them! ;-)

At least, I've always been careful to make sure that my mistakes won't be seen by some smart-ass cyclist:

A "dismissal entrance"?  One has to wonder what is being taught in a school where tuition is $66,060 for the Upper and Lower Schools (and a mere $45,000 for the Foundations program).  

After passing that sign, I continued along Glenville Road, which leads to the Empire State.  Someone at Eagle Hill, I am sure, was quoting Groucho Marx: "There's the road out of town.  It's the one I wish you were on."

26 August 2016

How Many Hipsters--Or Pimps--On The Head Of A Spoke?

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

That was, apparently, the question-of-the-day (or -century or -millenium) among medieval theologians.  If nothing else, it tells us that medieval theologians had lots of time on their hands.  Somehow I suspect that modern theologians do, too!

Apparently, some physicists have idle hours as well.  At least one took it upon himself to look for a possible answer to that question through a study of quantum gravity.  Now, I last took a physics class before most of you were born.  So, while I had a lot of fun reading the article, I can't tell you, exactly, what--besides its very premise--made it so amusing.

So now that I've waded into the territory of idle inquiries and can't get out  (a black hole,  perhaps?), I will plunge into another pointless probe.   

Here goes:  Is it possible to be a hipster and a pimp?

Such an inquest is not as impractical as it sounds.  It actually has profound implications for the bicycle world.  

After all, we really need to know whether it's possible to design a bike that will appeal to both a hipster and a pimp!

(Humor me and agree with the previous claim!)

A tiny company in Italy by the name of La Strana Officina may have given us the answer:

 At first glance, it might look like one of any number of "hipster fixies" you can find in almost any first-world city.  But the Cellini Uomo, to be fair, has touches won't find on very many other bikes.

As an example, the frame--made of TIG-welded from Nivacrom steel tubing--is bronzed before it is painted, in several stages.  Care is taken so that the dropout is not covered, and that the matte black paint does not completely mute the lustre of the metal.

The handlebars are 24-karat gold-plated.  So are the cable-housing ends! The handlebar covering on the right side is faux-python leather and the lever is, according to the company's website, of their own design, based on a joystick.

My favorite detail, though, is the gold anodizing on the pedals, which are built around titanium spindles.  The classic Christophe clips are great, but I'm rather surprised that those aren't gold-plated, or at least anodized.  That wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me (assuming, of course, I would buy such a bike).  However, this would:

Even if I were to buy the bike as a wall decoration (in what kind of space, I don't know), I would not want wheels with "bread tie" spokes.  They were a fad, mainly among mountain bikers, about twenty years ago.  I never saw the point of them--and I don't even like the way they look.  (Why they're on a "luxury" bike is beyond me.)  Both wheels of Cellini Uomo are spoked that way.  I guess if you were to order the bike, you could ask for a more conventional spoke pattern.

Somehow, though, I don't think a pimp or a hipster would care.   And either or both of them is the intended audience for this bike.  I'm not. 

Note:  The La Strana Officina website is only in Italian.  I interpreted it as best I could.

25 August 2016

Wearing Your Message On Your Sleeve (Or On Your Chest And Back, Anyway)

I stopped wearing bike-specific clothing (except for gloves and helmets) years ago.  I just might start again, at least in response to folks like Peter King and Heath Evans.

Actually, I would have a whole wardrobe of cycling tops.   For rides in which the possibility of encountering homicidal drivers is relatively low, I might wear this:

For times when there's a greater chance of a brush with a drunk or simply inconsiderate motorist--I could slip into this:

On days (or nights) when there might be more careless drivers--and there is a chance that one might be somewhat homicidal--I could sport this:

Finally, when it seems every other person behind a steering wheel has regressed to the emotional age of twelve, this just might set the right tone:

These jerseys are on Active.com.