Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

31 October 2014

Fear Of Felines

Quick question:  What did Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Gengis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler and Mussolini have in common?

They all were ailurophobic.

(Hitler and Mussolini:  two ailurophibic who tried to take over  the world at the same time. Imagine that!)

I wonder what they did on Halloween.  They wouldn't have wanted to be with me on my most  recent Point Lookout ride.




It's a good thing I'm not ailurophobic.  I really, really had to go to the bathroom!

Happy Halloween! 

 

30 October 2014

1939 Suspended By Simplex

Some of my favorite civil structures are suspension bridges.  Perhaps my taste was developed by seeing the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge--still one of my favorites (Would I feel that way if I had to pay the toll every day?)--as a child.  Of course, I also love the Golden Gate Bridge as well as the George Washington (I don't have to commute over it every day!).  The Bronx-Whitestone is also quite nice, in my opinion.

The Bronx-Whitestone opened in 1939.  Somehow it seems entirely appropriate:  There is a certain distinctive style--epitomized by that year's World's Fair in New York-- to the buildings, vehicles and much else from that year, and the bridge fits it perfectly.  It, like the exhibits at the Fair, was vaguely futuristic but harkened to the Art Deco designs that had recently been popular. 

So why am I giving you an entirely amateur history/critical analysis of the art, architecture and design of a year and a period?  Well, I recently came across a photo of a bicycle accessory.  Before I read the caption that accompanied it, something in my mind said, "This could have been made only in 1939."





And, indeed, it was.  Apparently, it was produced only during that year.  Now, given that it was made in France, the fact that production stopped probably had more to do with a certain event that started late that year than to any change in tastes.  Like so many other things that stopped because of the war, production of it never resumed.  Some things can't be picked up where they were left off.  But, in this case, I think that the real reason Simplex didn't start making it again when they got back to manufacturing derailleurs, chainrings and other components and accessories is that Simplex simply stopped making bottle cages altogether. Or so it seems.

It looks great with the rust and patina.  I can only imagine what it looked like when the steel reflected the sun and sky:  Somehow I imagine that seeing it would feel a bit like looking at one of those bridges as ripples of water flickered at its feet.




I'd bet that it made a bottle look like it was suspended from the bike--especially if it was mounted on a handlebar, as this double version of the cage probably was.

29 October 2014

Rough Stuff From The Brothers

Back when mountain bikes were new--well, they weren't.  Not really.

When Gary Fisher, or whoever, broke his twentieth or thirtieth balloon-tire bomber frame while barreling down the fire trails of Marin County and decided to fashion a lighter, stronger frame with the same geometry--and provisions for multiple gears, dearailleurs and cantilever brakes--it wasn't a radical new idea.

That's not to say that it wasn't important, which would be like saying that Levi Strauss has had no effect on the way people dress.  At the time Gary Fisher, Keith Bontrager and those mountain-bike pioneers were introducing their rigs, almost no other Americans--or, for that matter, people in other parts of the cycling world--had seen a bike made for the rigors of trail riding.

The idea of such a bike has been around since the dawn of cycling itself.  It makes sense, when you think about it:  When the first vehicles we recognize as bicycles appeared about 130 or 140 years ago, there were few paved roads.  Riding even those could shake one's bones even more than the "boneshakers" of that time.  Bikes at that time had to withstand being ridden over ruts, rocks and sometimes roots.

Some might argue that the velos a ballon one still finds in the French countryside are forerunners of today's velos a tout terrain. Other possible ancestors of today's mountain bikes could also include any number of wide-tired bikes used for transportation and even recreation in various parts of the world.

In England, there was a genre called the "Rough Stuff" bike.  Jack Taylor Cycles, most renowned for their tandems, actually used the catchy phrase as the name for  one model  of single-rider bikes they made. 

Rough Stuff

Isn't it funny how so many ideas that seemed so radical in the 1980's are present on a bike designed three decades earlier?  I'm talking about the sloping top tube, high bottom bracket and small (compared to a typical road bike) diameter wheels.  Also, this bike has the Mafac cantilever brakes and Specialites TA ProVis 5 (a.k.a. Cyclotouriste) cranks. 



Jack Taylor, Rough Stuff
Before the tries and cables were replaced.

The bike was first produced from drawings submitted by a nature photographer.  In the early 1950's, photography equipment was much bigger, bulkier and heavier than it is now.  The built-in rear rack, like the whole bike, is built to withstand the rigors of carrying such a load in the wild.

Here is a BBC documentary about Jack--and his brothers/fellow builders Ken and Norman--that aired in 1986:


 

28 October 2014

Curious George Rides A Bike

Normally, I can't bring myself to watch movies made from TV shows or books--especially books--that I liked when I was a kid.

A few years ago, someone persuaded me to watch the Curious George movie.  I was pleasantly surprised:  It mostly kept to the spirit of the books I loved as a small childMy only real criticism of the movie was that it downplayed George's mischievousness, his most endearing quality.

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I saw a kid carrying a copy of Curious George Rides A Bike.  Perhaps there is hope for the current generation after all! ;-)



27 October 2014

A Cloud Over Cyclists' Safety

120.

Why does that number matter?

It's how many cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in two different localities during 2012.

Take a guess as to which localities.

All right, I'll tell you the first one:  the United Kingdom. About 64 million people live in its 242,990 square kilometers of land.  About 43 percent of the people own or have access to a bicycle.  By this definition, the UK has 27.5 million cyclists, of whom 3 million cycle three times a week or more.

Now, what's the other place where 120 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2012?



It's none other than Florida.

Yes, the Sunshine State, which is about two-thirds the size of Britain and has less than a third of its population. 

The fatality statistics come from an article on The Economist's blog.  It also mentions that Florida's pedestrian fatality rate is double the US average. In fact, according to the National Complete Streets Coalition, the four most dangerous cities for pedestrians in America are also the four largest cities in Florida:  Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa-St.Petersburg and Orlando.

The article rightly points out, "Florida's cities are routinely dangerous because they are designed for cars, not for people."  That is true:  Traffic lanes are wider in Florida's cities than they are in other urban areas of the United States, and speed limits are higher but not enforced. This encourages drivers to go faster than they should. 

What the article doesn't mention--and I know from a fairly extensive amount of cycling in Florida--is that those drivers are rarely cyclists themselves, and are thus unaware of what makes for a safe (let alone harmonious) existence between cyclists and motorists.  I have argued, in other posts on this blog, that this is the single most important factor, apart from the behavior of cyclists themselves, in determining the safety of cyclists.  Without this internal human infrastructure, so to speak (which is what much of Europe has), no number of bike lanes or traffic signals is going to make cycling safer in any city.

To its credit, Florida officials are looking into the issue of bicycle/pedestrian safety and, I believe, some localities are addressing the issue as best as they know how.  One problem, as The Economist article points out, is that the state also plans to continue with an economic model based on breakneck growth, all of it fueled by cars.  It is not an exaggeration to say that for every person added to the Sunshine State's population, another car is added to its roadways.

Interestingly, the author of the article seems to recognize that it's not a sustainable economic model.  And it's not a recipe for reducing the number of cyclists killed, no matter how many new bike paths are built.
 

26 October 2014

A Fall Classic (For Me, Anyway)

Few things in this world are more of a treat than a bike ride on a beautiful mid-fall day.

A pleasantly cool breeze stroked my back as my feet seemed to glide through circles down the path beside Beach Channel Drive, the road that cuts through a sliver of land in Jamaica Bay.  Part of that land is occupied by Gateway National Recreation Area which, from what I understand, is a great bird-watching spot.  I was flying, with a great bike under me and a blaze of colors surrounding me.  

In addition to the trees whose leaves have turned yellow and orange, I saw these bushes:




I never noticed those deep red leaves before.  Is that a fall color?  I also saw, for the first time, berries that looked like blackcurrants.  Knowing that my temptation to try them could get the better of me, I sought out a ranger.  (I know there's usually at least one on duty:  I've seen them before.)  But I could not find him or her.  I did, however, see a lot of people who were probably bird-watchers or hikers.  One of them might have known about those bushes, but I couldn't bring myself to ask.  

Oh well.  I guess if I want to make Ribena, I'll have to get my fruit elsewhere!

Anyway...I rode out to--you guessed it--Point Lookout.  I've been there when the tide was out, but I've never seen anything like this:




Usually, when the tide is out, just the sandbars are exposed.  I've never before seen that pool of moss where I usually see water lapping up against the rocks.

Perhaps it's not that unusual for that place.  At least, that's what I hope.  Then I can see the moss as just another one of this beautiful day's colors.

 

25 October 2014

A New Coney Island Ride?

If you've been following this blog, you know that I frequently ride to Coney Island.


The funny thing is, I can't remember the last time I went on the Cyclone or any of the classic rides. And I've never been on the Thunderbolt.  


Maybe I don't need to ride the Thunderbolt, Cyclone or any other contraption that twists and turns me upside down. Instead, I can ride this:

 

24 October 2014

This Post Is "Rare" And "Vintage"



It seems that every other bike, part or accessory advertised on eBay or Criagslist is “vintage” or “rare”.

A "rare" "vintage" bicycle




 What, exactly, is “vintage”?  Is it the same as “antique”?


According to the wine industry, “vintage” is the wine-making season or the gathering of grapes for the purpose.  So, every year in which wine is made has a vintage.   Years with great wines have great vintages; from that, “vintage” took on the connotation of a wine for the ages.



How does a bicycle, part or accessory fit any of those definitions?  I guess any model year could be considered a bike “vintage”.  From that, I suppose a particularly good year for a bike model might be called “vintage”.



So, one of last year’s models might be considered “vintage”.  But an unexceptional bike from long ago wouldn’t get that appellation.



What about “rare”?  It sometimes seems that anything that hasn’t been made in a while is called “rare”—even a Schwinn Varsity, Peugeot U-08 or PX-10, Raleigh Grand Prix, Motobecane Mirage or Fuji S-10S (or it successor, the S-12S).  Each of those is a fine bike, in its own way.  If you want one, it won’t take you long to find it:  Millions of each were made, and many are still around.  In fact, it would take just a bit of patience to come across one in excellent condition:  During the ‘70’s Bike Boom, many people bought bikes because it was the thing to do, rode once or twice and decided cycling wasn’t for them, and kept their bike in a basement or garage.





That is not to say that you shouldn’t buy one of those bikes.  The PX-10, in particular, is worth getting or keeping, whether you want to preserve or restore it or re-purpose it as, say, a light-load touring bike.   (Check out what the late Sheldon Brown did with his.)  Each of the other bikes I’ve mentioned will serve some purpose:  The Varsity is a tank; the Mirage and S-10S give stable but nimble rides and the Raleighs are, well, Raleighs.



If you want one of those bikes, or any like them, look around and don’t buy the first one you see.  Also, think about how much you can (or want to) spend.  If something is described as “rare” and you’ve seen one like it somewhere else (or it was made within the past few decades or by a manufacturer that’s still making bikes)—or if it’s called “vintage”—the price is inflated. You can probably find something like it for considerably less money in a thrift store (outside of hip neighborhoods in large cities), on a bike classified site or publication, or even in a bike shop that sells used bikes. 





Buying from the bike shop may be your best option, especially if you can’t or don’t want to do repairs.  You’ll pay more, initially, than you would in Goodwill or to someone who’s listing on a bike site, but you’ll probably get a bike that’s ready to ride.  (Occasionally, a shop will sell something in “as is” condition, but shops that specialize in, or simply sell a lot of, used bikes will usually fix it before selling it.)  On the other hand, if you get something “for a song” from a yard sale or flea market, you may have to spend almost as much as the cost of the bike from the shop to make it rideable—or even to restore it as a wall hanging.  This is especially true if you pay someone else to do the work for you.





One thing I’ve noticed is that shops that sell used bikes tend not to deal in hyperbole.  Very often, such shops are owned and operated by mechanics.  They tend to be quiet, unassuming people—like the folks who run or staff most thrift shops and many flea markets.  You won’t hear them tossing around words like “rare” and “vintage”.  And you won’t see those words very often in bike listings from actual cyclists.

23 October 2014

Stopping Everywhere: Weinmann Brakes

A couple of days ago, I wrote about something no one seems to make anymore:  a component (as opposed to an accessory) found on bicycles in all price ranges.  Specifically, I wrote about Mafac Racer brakes, which were found on everything from the most elegant constructeur frames to utilitarian commuters.

Today, I am going to write about another such component.  Interestingly enough, it is also a brake.  Like the Mafac, there's a good chance you rode it, especially if you came of age during the '70's Bike Boom.  You may still be riding it.

I am talking about the Weinmann Vainqueur center-pull brake.  If you rode a derailleur-equipped bike from just about any British maker or Schwinn --or Motobecane or any number of other continental European manufacturers-- it most likely had the Vainqueur. (Motobecane, Raleigh, Schwinn and some other bike-makers re-badged the brakes.) Schwinn outfitted their otherwise-Campagnolo-equipped  top-of-the-line Paramount road bikes with Vainqueurs; on the racing version of the bike, they could be replaced with Campagnolo side pulls for an extra cost. Such an option was not available for the touring version, which had larger clearances for wider tires and fenders.

Also in common with the Mafac Racer, the Weinmann Vainqueur was often found on bikes made by constructeurs like Rene Herse and Alex Singer.  On such bikes, the brake arms were likely to be fitted to brazed-on posts like those used for cantilevers.  It must be noted, however, that you can't use cantis on a center-pull mounts or vice-versa:  The studs for centerpulls were located higher up on the fork or seat stay than those used for cantilevers.




The Weinmann Vainqueur was introduced around 1957, or five years after the Mafac Racer. From the beginning, they were made in two lengths:  the 610 and 750.  All of the additional length on the 750s was below the pivot bolts. That might be a reason why some cyclists thought they were flexy.






The earliest Vainqueurs, made until 1964, featured engraved lettering and red washers over the metal pivot bushings.  The calipers were usually silver, but they were also available anodized in red, black or dark blue, rather like the "midnight blue" brakes Galli made a decade and a half later.  (At that time, Weinmann also offered wing nuts in those same colors!) To me, those brakes look rather nice--certainly, nicer than the Racer or any other brake Mafac was making at the time. 



Even more important, the earliest iterations of the Vainqueur had a single continuous spring that coiled around both pivots; after 1962, each pivot had separate springs.  Some argued that the single-spring models were stiffer and had a harder "feel", which made them more modulate-able.  (Is that a real word?)  I have never tested that hypothesis, so I couldn't say.  However, I can tell you that having separate springs makes cleaning and maintenance easier--and, of course, you can replace just one of the springs, if need be.






From 1965 onward, Weinmann abandoned the engraved lettering on the outer arm in favor of a foil applique.  It was red until some time in the late 1970's; after that, it was black.

Perhaps its most important feature--later copied by Dia-Compe, which made a virtual clone of the Vainqueur--was the "finger" that stuck out from the inside pivot arm into a groove on the back of the outside pivot arm.  That "finger", coated with plastic that matched the color of the sticker (and pivot washers), forced the two arms to work together.  I always liked that:  Once you adjusted and centered the brakes, you knew that there would be a nice, even action when you pulled the lever.

Some argue that Mafacs were of higher quality than the Weinmanns.  I find that debatable; having ridden thousands of miles on both and worked on dozens, if not hundreds of sets of both brands, I think the quality of the arms was about equal, though the finish on the Vainqueur was a little better than that of the Racer (but not of the later anodized brakes Mafac made).  However, I always though the quality of the fastening and attachment hardware was better on the Weinmanns than on the Mafacs.  At least, Weinmann's seemed a little beefier and didn't rust, tarnish or pit as easily as Mafac's.

One clear edge Mafacs had over Weinmanns was adjustability.  Weinmann brake shoes had threaded posts and bolted directly into the slot on the brake arm, in contrast to Mafac's pivoting eyebolt.   As I mentioned in my post about Mafac, that feature was important when many rims did not have parallel straight sides; however, when Weinmann's centerpulls came out, the trend was moving toward straight parallel sides, which nearly all new rims (the notable exception being those made for disc brakes) have today.  

Also, the transverse (straddle) cable on the Mafac Racer was infinitely adjustable in length; Weinmann's transverse cable had fixed ends.  But, in later years, Weinmann (as well as Dia Compe) offered their transverses in a variety of lengths.

Since I never had a rim like the Constrictor Asp, I never needed the kind of adjustability the Mafac offered.  And, as better replacement pads (such as Mathauser/Kool Stop) and cables became available, whatever advantages Mafac offered became less important.  It was probably for this reason, and the fact that Weinmanns were easier to set up, that some bike manufacturers--most notably Peugeot--that had been equipping their bikes with Mafacs shifted to Weinmann during the late 1970's.

Mafac went out of business around 1985.  Weinmann continued to make the Vainqueur for a few years after that.  But the demand for center-pulls dried up as the advantages offered by Campagnolo trickled down into mid- and lower-priced sidepulls, some of which were made by Weinmann.

Whatever one thought of Weinmann centerpulls , their name offered a moment of levity when some people--including Fred "Fritz" Kuhn, the longtime proprietor of Kopp's Cycles in Princeton, NJ--pronounced it "Vain-queer".

22 October 2014

Will Danes Go Dutch On Bike Parking?

In previous posts, I've lamented the bike-parking situation here in New York and in my own neighborhood of Astoria.  But, I must say, our problems pale in comparison with those in Copenhagen:



I don't think I've seen anything like that here.  Penn Station, on its busiest day, has nothing like the cluster of bikes in front of the Danish capital's main rail terminal:


 



You might say that Copenhagen has become a victim of its own success as a bicycle-friendly city:  In a city with more bikes than people and more than half of those people pedal to work.  Moreover, about 41 percent of those who commute from homes outside of the city to jobs in it arrive at their workplaces on their cykler.

But many cyclists are frustrated by the lack of good parking spaces.  At the same time, some non-cyclists are upset because bikes are sometimes parked randomly on sidewalks, blocking entrances to stores and people's homes.

City officials are looking all over--especially to bike-friendly cities in nearby Holland--for ways to solve the problem. One includes converting disused automobile parking spaces in residential areas to bike ports.  Another is the building of bicycle storage facilities like the one that can hold 10,000 bikes under the train station in Groningen.  It's watched by a guard day and night.  In Utrecht, three floors above the rail terminal offer parking for 4300 cycles.  Soon there will be another facility east of the station, which can shelter 12,000 velocipedes.

What officials are dealing with in Copenhagen is, I believe, one of the last major hurdles in turning cities into places where it's more feasible for most people to ride bikes than to drive or even take municipal buses or trains.  If the folks in the Danish capital can work it out, I think we'll see bike commuting grow exponentially in a number of cities around the world.

 

21 October 2014

Going (Wing) Nuts


These days, when I hear the word "wingnut", I think of Rush Limbaugh, Fred Phelps, Jerry Falwell and Sean Hannity. 

Now, some of you may have decided to stop reading this post--or my blog--having read that.  But, hey, we have our differences, but we all love cycling, right?

Anyway...I am old enough to remember (There I go again!) when the term "wingnut" actually denoted a specific bicycle part.  And, I actually used a pair on one of my bikes.  You may have used--or still be using--them.

I had a pair that looked something like these on one of my bikes, long ago and far away:




Mine were chromed.  But they were shaped like those and indeed made by Huret in France.  I never saw the bronze version until I went to France.  At first, I thought they were corroded, as it's not unusual to see French people--especially in the countryside--riding bikes as old as they are.  Even if they (I'm talking about the wingnuts now!) were corroded, they would have been lovely.

Actually, I don't think I've seen a bike wingnut (as opposed to a right-wing radio talkshow host) that wasn't lovely.  Maybe it's not possible to make one that isn't attractive.

Of course, with good cheap quick release skewers available, there is little practical reason to use them today.  In my opinion, they should never be used on a rear wheel unless the rider is very light or weak and never rides uphill, into the wind or out-of-saddle.  But, I guess if you have a bike with solid axles and want to make the front wheel easily removable--say, for transport or storage--a pair of wings on the front is a good, and less expensive alternative, to replacing your axle or wheel.

And, of course, you can give your bike a little more style or enhance a "retro" look.  In addition to the Huret, I particularly like these from GB:



and from Gripfast:




I would trust the Gripfast ones because I've used their track nuts, which are solidly made and lushly chromed.  I never had any problems with my Hurets.


If you prefer something more modern, check out the ones from Velo Orange:



They're almost Bauhausian, at least to the extent that a wingnut can be Bauhausian.  Plus, they're made of stainless steel.  The only reservation I'd have about installing GBs on a bike I'd actually ride (as opposed to one that would hang on a wall) is that old alloy can be brittle.  That's a reservation I'd have about almost any old alloy component; it's not a commentary on the item's quality, as GB was making good stuff during the time those nuts were manufactured (1940's-1960's).

Here are some more examples of vintage wingnuts.  Have a good time looking for them on eBay!





 

20 October 2014

"The First Brakes That Worked"

If you have a Peugeot--or almost any other French bike (Motobecane being one of the notable exceptions) made before the late 1970's, you are riding them.

No, I'm not referring to those plastic Simplex derailleurs or the longer-lasting but worse-shifting Huret models.  Unless you acquired a bike that was never ridden, you've probably had to replace your shifters by now.  Even If you didn't need to, you might have.




On the other hand, there's a good chance you're still riding your Mafac "Racer" brakes.  You might have replaced the pads and cables--actually, you should have because even if the bike wasn't ridden, the cables were probably corroded and the pads hardened.  If you did, and your brakes are adjusted, they work as well as--or even better than--most brakes available today.

I am mentioning them because, for about two decades, they achieved a distinction very few other bike parts held:  They were used on bikes at all price and quality levels, from the machines ridden by Tour de France winners to the most utilitarian city and town bikes.  Some time in the mid-1970's, Mafac came out with the "Competition", which was really the same brake with a shorter reach.  Later, it was cleaned up and polished (and still later offered with gold anodizing).  A longer version of the Competition --i.e., one with the same reach as the Racer--was also marketed.

 

The one other difference between the "Racer" and "Competition" was the straddle cable:  The one on the Competition had double ball ends, while the Racer used what was essentially a shorter link of derailleur cable (with the barrel-shaped end used on Campagnolo and Simplex shifters) bolted into hex-shaped ends.

While some may see these brakes as anachronisms, they have an important place in cycling history. Some cycling historians say they were "the first brakes that actually worked".  That is almost not hyperbole:  There seemed to be a mentality among brake-makers (at least those that made brakes for road bikes) that was expressed by a Campagnolo representative at a training session:  The purpose of the brake is not to stop, but to decelerate.  Some would argue that notion gave the brakes of the time too much credit.

(When I first got serious about cycling, there was a joke that the Universal 68 side-pull--commonly supplied on bikes that were otherwise all-Campagnolo--was a "courtesy" brake.)

One reason for Mafac's superior power was the way the brake block attached to the arm:  through an eyebolt.  This allowed a far greater range of adjustability along the vertical and horizontal planes.  This was particularly important with rims like the Constrictor Asp, which did not have flat parallel sides.

(The Asp seems almost like an embryonic version of today's V-shaped "aero" rims!)

Another advantage offered by the "Racer" brakes was that the length of the straddle cable could be adjusted to optimize the mechanical advantage of the brake.  This allowed the brakes to work well with a variety of different levers, as well as with the pads set all the way up or all the way down--or anywhere in between--on the brake arm.

Now, you might be thinking that the first working center pull--and the one on which others were based, at least in part--is not so important because sidepulls have advanced so much, and so Mafac has been relegated to la poubelle de l'histoireWell, even though Mafac hasn't been in business for about three decades, their place in cycling history is sure because of the very first product they made, about seven years before the "Racer" was introduced.



Their cantilever brake, introduced in 1946, remained in production throughout the company's history (about four decades).  It's not the first of its type.  But, compared to the ones that had been made before, it was easy to set up and use, and was more powerful.  For as long as Mafac made them, nearly every lightweight tandem was equipped with them.  So were many high-quality bikes made for fully-loaded touring, and most cyclo-cross racers.  For the latter, cyclists often brazed the necessary posts to old racing frames to accommodate the cantilevers which, in addition to offering superior stopping power, were not as easily clogged by the mud that is an essential element of any cyclo-cross race.

The early mountain bikes also used Mafac cantis.  When Dia-Compe and Shimano made  cantilever brakes that appeared on off-the-shelf touring bikes (and second-generation mountain bikes) sold in the US, their designs were basically adaptations and refinements of Mafac's.  Weinmann also more-or-less copied Mafac cantis and, apparently, bought Mafac's tooling and continued making cantis, in steel as well as alloy, until their own demise in the 1990's.

Many of us still use cantis today.  Those of you who use V-brakes also have to thank Mafac, because Vees were developed from cantis.  And even those of us who use dual-pivot sidepulls owe a debt of gratitude to Manufacture Auvergnoise de Freins et Accessories pour Cycle for developing the centerpull that helped to make it possible!

For me, it's interesting to recall that Frank Chrinko, the proprietor of Highland Park (NJ) Cyclery when I was working there, would not ride any brakes but Mafac centerpulls.  In fact, he put a set of Competitions, along with a mixture of Campagnolo and top-shelf French and Japanese parts, on a frame that was built custom for him. 


19 October 2014

Light Along The Way



I tend to remember scenes, places and situations by the feelings I associate with them.  Those sensations are very much influenced by the light around them.






Although yesterday’s ride took me through places I’ve cycled many times before, I think it will become a Fall Classic, if you will, in my memory.



The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge always does interesting things to the hues of water, sky, sun and clouds:




and to newly-denuded limbs exposed to the wind that stripped them so that they could only open themselves to late-day sunlight trapped in a cloud.



At the end of the day’s fading light, across the water, a boat



follows the setting sun



Is it headed for a fjord of fire?