Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

15 December 2014

Fantasies On Speed, Not Steroids

The other day, and the day before that, I wrote about vintage bike parts that were (and, in some cases, still are) elite, if not sublime.

Now I have to balance it out with the thoroughly ridiculous.  Also, I feel an obligation to show that not all crazy, impractical ideas are being conceived and carried out (of what?) today.

Specifically, I am going to write about a totally ridiculous shift lever.  Having been a cyclist for four decades, and having worked in bike shops, I've seen some doozies, including ones longer and wider than railroad spikes--mounted on top tubes, no less.  (Could that be a cause of the decrease in fertility?)  They are in the category of, "They don't make them like that anymore--thank Goddess!"

So is this shifter I found on eBay:

I mean, in what universe is a shifter shaped like that?  Or, for that matter, in what reality does one combine it with a speedometer.

I'll tell you what milieu I'm talking about, because I spent part of my childhood in it.  It's the decade or so--roughly from the mid-1960s until the mid- or late 1970s--when bikes were designed for boys who, from atop their banana seats and behind their "ape hanger" bars, dreamed of driving "muscle cars" on the Daytona flats.   

Said bikes were designed by like-minded boys, some of them in the bodies of 40-something men.  And the boys of that time are now the 40-, 50- and even 60-something men who still are driven (pun intended) by such fantasies.

I'll bet that someone like that will buy the shift lever/speedometer I found on eBay.  I mean, who else would?

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