Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

06 May 2013

Methode VTT (Velo Tout Terrain)

On New Year's Day, you may have shared a bottle of "champagne" with friends or family members. 

Chances are, though, that it wasn't Champagne.  More than likely, it was probably a sparkling wine prepared according to the Methode Champenoise.

Now, I haven't drunk very much Methode Champenoise wine--or, for that matter, Champagne itself. So, I don't mean to be snobbish or condescending when I make the distinction between sparkling wines. I mention it only because  someone who drinks, makes or sells Champagne, though, would probably be upset if you used the name of their product for the bubbly you drank over the holidays.

What got me thinking about that distinction?, you ask.  Believe it or not, it was a bike parked a couple of blocks from my apartment:

Now, what does a bike from which a Huffy would be an upgrade have to do with a drink some blind French monk invented by accident?  

Take a look at the downtube:

It reads "ATB Style."

I guess it's supposed to mean that the bike is an ATB-style bike.  In what sense, though?  Sure, it has fat tires, upright handlebars and gears.  But it also has the wretched cheap long-arm sidepulls found on so many bad bike-boom ten-sppeds.  Worse, the brakes are supposed to do their work on steel rims--which means that in wet weather, they will hardly work at all.

And, of course, the bike is twice as heavy and about half as strong as a real ATB.  

What I find interesting is that All-Terrain Bike was coined because Joe Breeze, one of the early builders of bikes in this genre, patented the term "mountain bike" and wasn't too happy when Gary Fisher, Fat Chance and other fat-tire pioneers were using the term.    So, one might say that "ATB" is the methode champenoise of off-road bicycles.

Then again, for all I know, ATB might be the monogram of a fashion designer or clothing store.

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