Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

30 March 2013

An Old Riding Partner--Or Racing Rival?

"Mind if I ride your wheel?"

"No, not at all!"

He didn't realize it's the best--or, at least my favorite--question anyone has asked me in a while. It's  as good as "How old are you?  Forty?"

We'd been playing "tag" along Cross Bay Boulevard, the road that runs the length of an island in Jamaica Bay between Howard Beach and Rockaway Beach.  It's a long (about 4km) flat stretch, which makes almost anyone on a bike feel like a sprinter, at least for a few minutes.  The day was sunny, though chilly, and we were buffeted by the winds one expects at this time of year.  Still, I think both he and I felt  about ten years younger.

Actually, I felt even younger than that. A man--a trim one, who looked like he'd been riding more than I'd been--wanting to draft my wheel.  Hey, if he'd asked me, I probably would have pulled him with one hand!

Somehow he looked familiar.  He was maybe a centimeter, if that, taller than me and, as I mentioned, trimmer.  His dark beard was flecked with gray, and his fair black skin had a few small wrinkles.  I'd've guessed him to be close to my own age.  That guess would turn out to be correct.

As we talked, I couldn't help but to think we'd met--actually, ridden--together.  When I was living in Park Slope, he was living on the other side of Prospect Park, in Crown Heights.  Now he lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant.  So, naturally, we talked about riding in Prospect Park, and how we both had the "ten lap" rule:  Once we could ride that much in the park without much effort--something that would happen around this time of year, maybe a bit earlier--we'd "graduate" to longer rides outside the park,and even outside of Brooklyn or New York City.  I had a feeling I'd ridden with him on at least one of those longer rides; he had the same feeling. 

He also mentioned that he'd road-raced, around the same time I did.  Like me, he quit racing (and I also stopped riding off-road) after turning 40:  Although, ironically, I had more strength and endurance than I did 15 years earlier, my wounds weren't healing as quickly as they once did.  He also gave that as a reason for not chasing trophies, and other riders.

I rode with him for a couple of hours and, actually, off the route I'd planned to ride.  But I didn't mind:  Just as I was wondering whether I'd ever get myself into any kind of shape, ever again, he wanted to ride my wheel.  And he thought I'd been riding more than he'd been.  To be fair, I have to give at least some of the credit to Arielle:



To answer a question you might be asking:  He gave me his name (which was familiar) and told me where he works.





29 March 2013

Hunting For Spring



No, I didn't go hunting today.  Two of my uncles and my maternal grandfather hunted for sport (and food).  I cannot imagine myself doing such a thing--unless, perhaps, I were really desperate.

But I digress.  You may have noticed a staff propping up the "dog".  There are four such decoys or statues or whatever they are in a playground in Fort Totten Park, where I rode today.




The day was a bit colder than normal for this time of year. The wind was to be expected.  However, I think it was the sky that made this afternoon feel more autumnal than spring-like.



However, Tosca looks good in any season, if I do say so myself.

28 March 2013

A Mystery: It's About The Shoes

The weather this "spring" is nothing like it was at this time last year. Yesterday was the first day since the equinox that the temperature rose above 50F (10C).  Plus, we've had various combinations of precipitation, on and off, ever since the official beginning of the season.

Today I got out for a brief ride after an errand.  Along Greenwich Street, near the meat-packing district, I spotted this:


These days, it's hardly remarkable to see a bike parked on just about any street in New York.  But I wondered about the desert boots (That's what we used to call them back in the day)  someone left beside it.


Sometimes I see pairs of shoes left outside the doors of buildings in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.  That usually means that the building is a mosque.  However, I didn't think that the building behind the shoes--and bike--was used for Islamic prayer services.  

Although the "tongue" of the left shoe stuck out, I didn't get the impression that the shoes were abandoned.  Still, I had to wonder why they were left next to that bicycle.  

27 March 2013

Why I Didn't Give Up Cycling

I have been cycling, in one way or another, for more than four decades.  Now I do not pedal nearly as many miles (or kilometres) as I did "back in the day."  But I feel that, in some way, cycling is as much a part of my life now as it was then.

Through all of those years, there was one period when I seriously considered giving up cycling altogether.  I was going to keep one bike "for old time's sake" and, perhaps, for errands and transportation.  But I thought that my days as a regular rider were going to come to an end.

That time came early in my life as Justine.  I really didn't know how, or even whether, I could combine cycling--or, more precisely, my identity as a cyclist (There were years in which I pedaled 360 days and 25,000 or more kilometers!) with the life on which I was about to embark.  One reason for that was, frankly, I had practically no idea of what the life on which I was embarking would be like.  Oh, I had visions of who and what Justine would be.  But, as happens with nearly everyone who undergoes a gender transition, my expectations--and the sort of woman I would become--differed, at least somewhat. Although my therapist, social worker, doctor and other transgender people who were further along in their transitions--or who'd had surgery and were living fully in their "new" genders--told me such a thing would probably happen, I had no idea of what I would become as a woman.

Also, I was trying so hard to be the sort of woman I envisioned at the beginning of my transition that it took me time to realize that it could encompass much more than I imagined at the time--and that, of course, the sort of woman I could, and would, become could be different.  I'd entered my transition with ideas of what women in the '40's and '50's were like, which were the ideas to which early transsexuals like Christine Jorgensen conformed, and what the public expected of transsexuals (to the extent that they paid attention to us).

But, perhaps the most important reason why I thought I might not ride anymore was that so much of my cycling had been a means of escape, however temporary.  Whether I was pedaling 180 rpm on the Prospect Park loop or hugging the edge of a virage in the Alps--or dodging taxis and giving the one-fingered peace sign to drivers who got in my way--bicycling had always been a means of escape for me.  I think now of a friendly acquaintance who was one of the first women to attend her undergraduate college on a track and field scholarship.  She has told me that whether she was training on local streets or pumping away during the state championships, she was "running for my life by running from my life".  She never would have been able to attend her college without that scholarship, she said.  But, perhaps even more important, she says she doesn't know  how she would have "survived, in one piece" a childhood that included incest and other forms of dysfunction and disease in her family.

My childhood wasn't nearly as Dickensian as hers.  Perhaps I shouldn't say that, for such a comparison may not make any sense:  After all, she suffered at the hands of other people, while most of my torment came from within me.  Still, I could relate to what she said as much as anything anyone else has said to me.  Her running and my cycling had been means of escape, however momentary.  

She hasn't run, even for fitness, in more than two decades.  She has taken up other sports (including cycling, which is how I know her) and forms of training, but she has not run since the day she was doing laps in the park and "asking myself why," she said.

But I didn't give up cycling because, frankly, I probably have always enjoyed it more than she liked running, and I now have more reasons to continue on two wheels than she does on the training loop.  Also, during my second year of living as Justine, I was running errands and shopping after work one Friday.  It was a pleasantly cool day in May,and I was still in the blouse, skirt and low heels I'd worn to work that day. I had just come out of a store and was unlocking my bike from a parking meter when a tall black man chatted me up.  "Are you European?", he wondered.

"Well, I've lived and traveled there," I explained.  "But I'm from here, and I've lived most of my life here."

"You look more like a European woman, getting around on your bike," he said.  He confirmed what I suspected, from his accent and mannerisms, that he was born in Africa but had lived much of his life in Europe--specifically, France.


By Harmonyhalo


That day I realized that, one way or another, I would probably continue to ride my bicycle in my new life.  I would never be the same kind of cyclist I was when I was living as Nick--and, honestly, at that time, I didn't want to be.  But I knew that as Justine, a newly-born woman in her 40's, I would be able to ride her bike in my new life--and my job and those stores wouldn't be my only destinations, any more than commuting and store-hopping would be my only rides.  

26 March 2013

In The Cards

How many poker players are cyclists? 

For that matter, how many magicians ride bikes?


Those questions crossed my mind today when I was in a store, shopping for something entirely unrelated, and I came across decks of Bicycle playing cards.




I've seen them before, even though I can't remember the last time I played a card game and don't know the first thing about poker.  


Turns out, Bicycle cards are some of the best-known. They have been in continuous production since 1885.  Although I have found no information to confirm it, I suspect that the name has to do with the start date:  That is around the time bicycling was becoming fashionable.  A high-wheeler from that time cost, in today's dollars, more than even the most expensive custom machines made for record attempts and the riders on the wealthy nations' national teams.


In other words, bicycles had the same connotations as a private jet might have today.  People rode them to the opera and to art openings.  As arduous as they were to ride, nobody would mount a "penny farthing" unless he or she were wearing "proper" attire.  And I ain't talkin' about "billboard" jerseys and shorts in lycra!


Apparently, BIcycle cards are available in a variety of configurations, including versions for various card games and large-print cards for people with low vision.  However, nearly all Bicycle decks have an "air cushion" finish, which is said to improve their handling and is one of the reasons why they are so favored by magicians and performers who incorporate card tricks into their routines.




The first card in a typical deck is Bicycle's uniquely-styled Ace of Spades.  That card played a role its designers probably didn't envision.  During the Vietnam War, two American lieutenants wrote to the United States Playing Card Company (the manufacturer of Bicycle cards) and requested decks containing nothing but Aces of Spades.  Those officers, and their underlings, scattered those cards around the countryside.  Some Vietcong fled at the mere sight of them:  They conflated the Ace of Spades with a similar-looking French fortune-telling card that foretold death and suffering.  (Vietnam, a.k.a. Indochina, had been a French colony for nearly a century.)   Some of the Vietcong also regarded Lady LIberty, which was inscribed on some decks of cards, as a goddess of death.


I'm sure some of them fled on bicycles.



25 March 2013

Bicycles Are Beautiful. Bill Cosby Says So.

If you see a picture of people riding one of these and smiling, don't believe it.  They're probably gritting their teeth.

"One of these" refers to the "boneshaker".  Who made that trenchant observation about navigating one of those wood wheeled wonders?

Why, it was none other than everybody's favorite dad--in the 1980's, anyway.  I'm talking, of course, about Bill Cosby.

He uttered those immortal lines in "Bicycles Are Beautiful", a safety program he made during the 1970's "bike boom".  It's charming, even quaint, for a number of reasons.  One, of course, is seeing a younger Cosby.  But it's also interesting to see bikes, cars and the California landscape of that time.  Also, only one cyclist is wearing a helmet. Ironically, that cyclist got "doored" in the program.  And his helmet looked more like something a motocross or dirt-bike racer might wear. Given that the only alternative to that kind of helmet was the "leather hairnet" (which offered about as much protection against head injuries as the rhythm method offers against unplanned pregnancy), it's understandable that no one else was wearing helmets.

However, to his credit, Cosby dispelled some widely- (and wrongly-) held notions, such as the one that cyclists should ride against traffic.  Also, in watching the program, Cosby was not only admonishing cyclists to be vigilant and obey rules; he was also--as he has so often--promoting respect and civility.  I don't know whether or not he was an active cyclist, but the title of the program seems to reflect his attitude about bicycles and cyclists.

Still, I can't get over the fact that he pronounces "bicycle" as "buy-sigh-kle".


24 March 2013

Riding In The Parks

For someone who's lived as long as I've lived in New York, I really haven't done much cycling in Central Park.  Even during the eight years I lived in Manhattan, I seldom ventured into Frederick Law Olmstead's masterpiece of urban landscaping.

I guess part of the reason why I didn't do many laps around Strawberry Fields and the lake is that, well, riding or running in the park seemed like such a New York cliche.  Being a reel Noo Yawkuh (and being young and full of testosterone and alcohol, among other things), I thought I was just too cool for that.

Actually, I came up with some pretty good reasons not to ride in the park:  Most of the times when I could ride there, the lanes were choked with other cyclists, runners, joggers, women (and, occasionally, men) pushing strollers and, ahem,  the bane of every New Yorker's existence:  those dreaded, dratted tourists!  Later, inline skaters would be added to the mix.  And, it seemed, nobody watched where he or she was going, especially the skaters. 

The funny thing was that everything I just said could also be said about Prospect Park in Brooklyn.  But I rode there far more often than I rode in Central Park. Part of the reason for that was that I lived very close to Prospect during my eleven years in Park Slope.  Also, when I was living there, I had begun to do a lot of fixed-gear riding, and Prospect was nearly perfect for that.  Plus, being a bit older, I think I'd  become a bit more tolerant of tourists and such.

Anyway, what got me to thinking about Central Park was a photo I came across:

Photo by Faungg on Flickr

23 March 2013

Hello Kitty, Allen Keys And Yogurt



Today I think I took the sort of ride only I could have taken.

Actually, there was nothing terribly unusual about the ride itself (which is not to say that I didn't enjoy it). I rode into, and was blown by, wind gusts of up to 50 KPH as I pedaled along the World's Fair Marina Promenade and along under the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges.  At least I had the wind at my back for part of the return ride.

Just as I was leaving the WFM Promenade, near LaGuardia Airport, I spotted this on the battered concrete ramp:


I'm guessing that this Park Tool Allen key set fell out of someone's seat bag, backpack or messenger bag.  The keys were in surprisingly good condition.  The smaller ones showed some wear, but still look usable, while the larger ones are in really good shape.

After finding that little treasure, I rode about two more kilometers to Kesso's for a container of my favorite Greek yogurt, which is made fresh every day.

As the owner packed a container for me, I found this on the floor:





What girl doesn't need a book of Hello Kitty! stickers?   None  had been removed; the booklet looked as if it just came off the shelf of a kiddie boutique in Park Slope.  

I picked it up and showed it to the owner of the shop.  He shrugged his shoulders.  "You like?  Take!"

Between those stickers, the tool, the yougurt and little Greek pastries, I was glad I rode with my Barley bag!

22 March 2013

Before Tosca: Dee Bee, A De Bernardi "Thron"

Today you're going to meet Tosca's predecessor.

That is to say, you're going to see the fixed gear bike I rode before Tosca came into my life.

If you want an old-school European steel track bike--or, at least, one that has geometry more or less like what you'd find on a real track bike--you'd do well with the De Bernardi Pista I rode for three years.



The frame was constructed of Columbus "Thron" tubing.   So, it's a bit heavier than what most professional racers would ride on the track, or anything NJS would approve. Still, it has that "riding on rails" quality track bike aficianados like. It didn't respond or handle quite as quickly as Tosca does, but it was, I think, a little better than the KHS I had.  

I set the bike up for runs along the north shore of Queens and Nassau County, or spins down to Rockaway or Coney Island Beach.  So, of course, the bike didn't have pure track--let alone NJS-approved--components. Still, most of them served me well.

I rode the wheels you see in the picture for most of the time I rode the bike.  Velocity laced their own Deep-V rims onto Velocity-rebranded Formula hubs with bladed spokes in a gold finish that matched the rims and hubs.  

After nearly three years, the rear spokes started to break.  At that point, I had Hal at Bicycle Habitat build me another set of wheels with Mavic Open Pro rims on Phil Wood hubs. A few months later, Tosca arrived and inherited those wheels.  I bought another set of wheels with Formula hubs from an eBay sellerThose wheels--in black--were on "Dee-Bee" when I sold her.

"Dee-Bee" was, I believe, a worthy predecessor to Tosca. 

21 March 2013

This Medici Won't Fade Away

Just when I thought neon fades had been consigned to the dustbin of history, I saw this:


Now, as you well know, I have nothing against purple and green standing side by side.  In fact, it's my favorite color combination. But not in this shade of green.

Too bad it's on such a good bikea Medici.  About 30 years ago, Gian Simonetti and Mike Howard left Masi USA to start the brand.   Not surprisingly, Medicis were very similar in design and in finishing details to the USA-made Masis which, according to some purists snobs, weren't quite as nice as the bikes Signor Masi built when he was in Italy.

I knew people who had both US- and Italian-made Masis, as well as MedicisTruthfully, nobody could quite explain what the differences were between them, and I couldn't tell by riding them.  Then again, those people might argue that I didn't spend enough time riding those bikes.

I'd be curious about the one in the photo, though.  The early Medicis--including the ones I rode--were made from Columbus SL tubing.  On the other hand, the frame in the photo was made from Tange Prestige tubing, which means that it was probably made in the early or mid-1990's.

As far as I can tell, the Medici marquee no longer exists.  i guess the Medicis, like all dynasties, had to end some time!  

20 March 2013

Spring?

Ah, yes.  Today's the first day of Spring.  At least, that's what the calendar says.  And, according to Punxsutawney Phil, the season should be well under way by now.

However, riding to work today looked more like this--minus the scenery, of course:

 
At least the snow is on the sides of the street, not in the roadway.  I'm grateful for small things.

19 March 2013

Hawthorne Flyer Lands By Navy Yard

The other day, I saw this bike parked near the Brooklyn Navy Yard:





It's a Hawthorne Flyer from, I'm guessing, the 1930's or '40's.


   

Along with the head logo, it has some other interesting features:




The chainring was, for me, oddly reminiscent of one you'd find on a Specilaties TA "Cyclotouriste", or other cranksets patterned after it.  


Gotta love this fender:





And this rear reflector is, as far as I can tell, glass, like others from the period:





The seat, with its steel pan and springs, is the exact opposite of a Brooks Professional or B-17.  I'm guessing that the seat had padding, or at least a covering.  It may have been leather, or possibly cloth.  But I can't imagine riding that seat in its current state!




Not everything on the bike is original.  This front wheel looks like it came off a Raleigh three-speed.  And, of course, the chainguard is missing.







Still, it is quite a find.  I hope that it finds a good home!








18 March 2013

Always Coney Island



On Saturday, I took my first ride to Coney Island since Superstorm Sandy.  Although some parts of the boardwalk were closed and I saw damaged and destroyed buildings, as well as beach erosion, things weren't as bad as I expected.  Then again, last week, I rode through Rockaway Beach in Queens and Long Beach in Nassau County, two of the most devastated areas.  In those two places, the boardwalks were completely destroyed, houses leveled and streets and the beach strafed as if they'd been hit with millions of rounds of mortar-fire.  At least most of Coney Island was still intact.

Still, I was surprised to see this:




I have memories of Coney Island, and Nathan's, going back half a century.  One of my earliest childhood memories was being there for a Fourth of July celebration with my mother, her parents, my father, two of my uncles and one of my aunts.  I recall it because, according to my  mother, I wondered aloud, "Did you tell all of these people it's my birthday?"

I have been to the boardwalk billed as the world's most famous hundreds of times, at all times of the day and year. Never can I recall seeing the original Nathan's closed--before the other day.

So I wasn't surprised to see all of the other stores and restaurants shuttered.  Granted, many of them would not have been open at this time of year.  But even with the few people who wandered on to the intact areas of the boardwalk, Coney Island seemed desolate in a way I never could have previously imagined.  In fact, I don't think I ever used "Coney Island" and "desolate" in the same sentence until now.

But I actually rather enjoyed it. For one thing, the few residents I saw didn't seem shell-shocked.  But, more to the point, the sky--from which snow flurries floated to the cold but suprisingly serene sea--was, in its gray light, as bracing to look at as the chilly air felt against my skin.





Because Coney Island has offered me such sensations, I will continue to ride there.  I don't know when CI will "come back" or if everything will indeed be open for Memorial Day weekend.  But at least it's still there, and I can still ride to it.





17 March 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A friend of mine insists that if I live a good life, I will come back as an Irish girl.

She may have butchered a couple of religious traditions and I may have offended your religious sensibilities, dear reader, for conveying her belief.  But if she's right, I will live a virtuous life in the hope of coming back like this lovely young lady:

From Riding Pretty

15 March 2013

A Flashy Racer Becomes A Classy Commuter



When you see a bike like this, you realize why people like me like steel road bikes so much.



I spotted this Pinarello, which appears to be from the '80's or early '90's, parked near the site of the former World Trade Center.

It's not so unusual to see old racing bikes re-purposed as commutersIt's most commonly done by replacing the dropped bars with flat ones, as the owner of this bike did.  However, I'm seeing more old road bikes with "mustache" bars or the Velo Orange Porteur (which I love).




But it's still fairly unusual to see full fenders on road bikes from the '80's or later, with their  short wheelbases and tight clearances.  Older racing bikes, like the Peugeot PX-10 and Raleigh International, were made to accommodate protection from the elements.     



That's why I was fascinated to see the Velo Orange hammered fenders on this Pinarello.  They're narrower than the ones I have on Helene and Vera, but of the same style.  It's funny how it can make what had been a flashy racing machine into a classy, classic commuter.

14 March 2013

The Season: Warmth Or Light?

This year, as in others, the middle of March is an odd time:  It's neither winter nor spring, really.  

From Kevin's Travel Journal


Although today is pretty wintry (temperature barely above freezing, strong gusts), it doesn't seem like a day in, say, late January or early February.  It may have something to do with the fact that Daylight Savings Time began on Sunday, so the sun is not setting until 7pm.  

From Easy As Riding A Bike


At the same time, most of the trees are still bare and much of the ground is wizened (in spite of the rains we've had) and covered with brown grass, weeds and brush.  It's a bit like looking at an old person in an old winter coat, and knowing that both have to survive only a few more days to make it through the season, but also knowing that one or both might not make it.

We could still have another snowstorm or two, or some other kind of storm.  But the days grow longer and soon the trees will begin to bud.  I took did my first metric century (and first Point Lookout ride) of the year on Sunday, a few weeks earlier than I've done them in other years.  Still, I might be relegated to sneaking rides of two hours or so between bouts of bad weather and various obligations.

Of course, about five months ago, we had the inverse of what we're seeing now:  weather and water that were still pretty warm, trees still covered with leaves that were just beginning to change color, but days that were growing shorter.   I was riding into a season's, and a year's, demise, but it was harder to notice or easier to ignore, depending on how I think of it.  In contrast, my ride on Sunday, and the next few I will take, will be like emerging from a cocoon, however slowly, into light and space that could be almost overwhelming until I adjust to them, as I have done every year.

If you had to choose between cold and light or warmth (relative, anyway) and darkness, which would you choose, and why?

13 March 2013

My Only 'Cross: Voodoo Wazoo

In much of Europe, cyclo-cross season is in progress, or getting underway.  Until fairly recently, this form of bicycle racing was all but unknown in the US.  Part of the reason for that may have been that around the same time that Greg LeMond was winning the Tour de France, bicycle racing was enjoying its first spurt of popularity in the US since the days of the six-day races, but mountain biking was also becoming popular.  Americans who were just starting to pay attention to cycling subscribed to the “road racing/mountain biking” polarity.  Some seemed to think that mountain biking and cyclo cross were the same thing. 

Here is the difference between the two:  In mountain (or, more accurately, off-road) biking, you ride—and sometimes jump or hop—over whatever comes your way, but in cyclo-cross, you might actually hop off your bike and sling it over your shoulder to ford a stream, wade through mud, climb rocks (or a fence!) or goose-step your way through un-strategically placed 2x4s, rocks or debris.  Having done both, I think that mountain or off-road riding is about riding over whatever terrain you encounter, while cyclo-cross is more about getting you and your bike over any and all kinds of obstacles.  To use a ski analogy, cross-country and downhill mountain biking can be compared to their skiing counterparts, while cyclo-cross is like the biathlon with bikes and without the rifles.

In the past, racers often fitted old frames with cantilever bosses and wheels with wider tires and treads suited to mud and other conditions for cyclo-cross.  Bikes built specifically for that kind of racing are a fairly recent development.  I’ve owned one in my life: a Voodoo Wazoo.





As you can see, the frame was made of oversized TIG-welded Reynolds tubing and stays, which made it stiff for a bike with its geometry.  One result is that, even though it was somewhat heavier than my road bikes, it climbed well.  It also remained stable even with a rack and full panniers.  As you might expect, I rode the Wazoo on three loaded tours: from France into Spain through the Pyrenees, along the vineyards and chateaux of the Loire, and through the Alps from Lyon into Italy and Switzerland and back.

The only real complaint I had about the bike was that it had an odd chainstay configuration, which made it difficult to install a triple crankset and get a good chainline.  I had one smaller quibble:  When I bought the bike (complete), it came with V-brakes and Shimano “brifters”.  V-brakes aren’t made to work with road levers, at least not the ones available at that time. Voodoo included a “travel agent”, which was supposed to compensate for the fact that road levers have less range of motion (or “pull”) than V-brakes are designed for.  Alas, the setup never worked to my satisfaction; before I embarked upon my tours, I switched to cantilever brakes. 

I bought the bike, as it turned out, during a transition from one model year to the next (1997-98).  I expected to get the 1997 model, which had the same frame in a shade of green rather like chartreuse.  As you can see, I ended up with the 1998 model, which was only available in a screaming bright orange.  The color wasn’t my cup of tea;   however, the components were actually, I thought, slightly better than the ones on the 1997 model.  And I paid the same price for the new model that I would have paid for the older one.


The Wazoo is the sort of bike you’d want to have if you lived in the country and could have only one bike, but you wanted that bike to give you a lively ride while holding up to varied conditions. I might, one day, have Mercian build something like it for me—with lugs and in finish #57, of course.