25 December 2019

Merry Christmas Bike

I hope you are enjoying a holiday.

Since today is Christmas, I thought I'd share some images of the most Christmas-like object I own:

Yes, I've been doing some work on the Mercian King of Mercia I bought a few weeks ago.  For one thing, the sew-up wheels are gone:  I actually sold them on Craigslist.  In their place are a set of wheels with classic Campagnolo Record hubs with modern Mavic rims and DT spokes:

One reason I decided to use those hubs is that the rear one allowed me to employ an old trick:

The rear dropouts are spaced for 126 mm, as were most road bikes of the KoM's era (1984).  I rearranged the spacing on it so that both sides are even.  The good news is that I have a wheel with no dish.  The bad (depending on your point of view) news is that the right side spacing will allow me to use only 5-speed or Ultra (narrow)-6 freewheels---which is what I'd planned to use anyway.

And it allowed me to use the lightweight Open Pro rim.  It's actually a very strong rim for its weight, as Mavic rims tend to be.  Also, for a rim as narrow as it is, it can accommodate fairly wide tires--like the 700X32 C Paselas that adorn them now.

Probably the next most-significant change I made was in the derailleurs.  Getting a Rally derailleur was nice, but I actually like this one better:

I saw more than a few otherwise-all-Campy bikes equipped with Cyclone derailleurs from the mid-'70's to the mid-80's, so I don't feel as if I'm committing some sort of sacrilege.  With that change, I also swapped out the Campy shifters for ratcheted SunTour levers.

One more Campy part went from this bike to my parts box:  the pedals.  They don't seem to have been ridden much at all, so I wrapped them carefully and am saving them for "future reference."  The MKS platform pedals--my current favorites--bear enough resemblance to classic platform pedals like the Lyotard Berthet (#23) or the ones SR made that they don't look out of place on this bike. 

The fellow who bought the sew-up wheels also took the deep-drop Cinelli bars that came with the bike. (What such deep drops--or sew-ups--were doing on a touring bike, I'll never know.)  And I sold the stem--which had too long of an extension--on eBay.  In their place, I installed another favorite--Nitto Noodle bars with an NP (formerly Pearl) stem.  The Noodles bear enough resemblance to randonneur -style bars that I can justify (to myself, anyway) them on a bike like this.

If you saw my original post about this bike, you probably noticed three other changes:

The brake cable housings were cracked.  I like to replace cables on secondhand bikes anyway.  As luck would have it, I found these gold braided housings on eBay.

And I had to remove the leather sleeves that were stitched on to the handlebars in order to remove the brake levers.  Perhaps I will re-stitch them onto the new bars some day, but for now, I wrapped them with Tressostar brown and green cloth tape.  I also replaced the original Campagnolo gum rubber hoods, which were dried and cracks, with new items from Rustines.

Finally, I replaced the Avocet saddle with--what else?--a Brooks Professional.

This will give you a taste of things to come:

This bell bracket came from Velo Orange and will sport one of those lovely brass Japanese ringers.  And, of course, I will add bottle cages, a pump and a front rack for a bag.

Funny, isn't it, that a bike--which can be ridden all year round--can look as much like a Christmas ornament as anything that's hung on a Fraser fir.

24 December 2019

For A Professor, Comic Relief From Bicycle Face

One of my graduate school professors said, "If you can't say it in English, say it in French.  If French doesn't work, go to German.  If you still can't say what you're trying to say, try Latin. If that fails, there's always ancient Greek."

Well, I could follow his advice only partway:  Although my French was, and is, good, I had reading, but not conversational or writing, ability in Latin.  And I only knew all the German I learned in one semester and while biking through the country, just as I know a few words of Greek acquired just before, and during, my most recent trip.  (I wonder, though, how much Socrates' Greek was like the language I butchered in the marketplaces of Milos and cafes of Thissio.

I got to thinking about my old professor's advice when I heard about another professor--Louis Vivanco, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Vermont.  His specialty is the anthropology of environmental movements, and he had a particular interest in cycling.  So, not surprisingly, he spent a lot of time looking at old newspaper articles about the "maladies" that afflicted early cyclists in Vermont, and other places.  There were warnings about "bicycle face," a mask into which a cyclist's face contorted itself,  as well as explanations about "cyclist's neuralgia," a condition that manifested itself with, among other symptoms, shriveling penises in men and "spinsterhood" (oh, my!) in women. 

He wanted to present his findings to a wider audience.  That brought him to a crisis:  He realized that an academic paper could not do them justice.  For a researcher like him, that's akin to a writer learning that words don't do justice to anything  (You mean they don't!) or a mathematician realizing that numbers can't express the relationships he or she is trying to elucidate.

His "crisis", if you will, came to a head while he attended a symposium on comics in academia.  At the end of a lecture, he went up to the presenting professor and asked "How can I do this myself?"

That professor's advice:  "Go get yourself an illustrator."

Such advice is sound, except for one problem which I, as an educator, can relate to:  Vivanco couldn't afford to hire such a professional.  So, he decided to "give it a shot" and draw the illustrations himself.  "I try to be kind an idiot savant:  I look at art and books and comics and then I do my best to reproduce what I see."

That work has led to comics about cycling throughout history, and in the present. They illustrate, if you will, much about the way larger society related to cycling and cyclists.  Today we lobby for better cycling infrastructure, or to get any such infrastructure at all.  So did cyclists 120 to 130 years ago, in Vermont and other places.  The difference, as Vivanco points out, is that because bicycles were far more expensive in relation to people's incomes than they are now, cyclists tended to be well-off and well-connected, and therefore had connections to leaders or power-brokers, if they weren't those leaders or power-brokers themselves.  Thus,  cycling clubs in places like Brattleboro and even larger cities were part of the political establishment and were quite effective in getting safer roads and other amenities.  Today, in contrast, cyclists are, in most places, organizing and lobbying as outsiders looking in at the lawmakers and institutions they're trying to influence.

From what Professor Vivanco says, media like comics are a way to help open the doors by making information more available to non-specialists.  He points out something I know very well:  Academic discourse has a language and culture all of its own and, because they are learned by relatively few people, reach very few people.  The same could be said for any number of professions related to urban planning and policy-making, such as law, engineering and environmental psychology.  Comics and other graphic media can also help people who are not specialists--and busy professionals who don't have the time or inclination to read lengthy tomes or ponderous articles on topics outside of their fields--to better understand how the struggle to get better conditions for cyclists is related to other efforts to make cities and other environments more livable and sustainable. 

Most important, perhaps, comics like Professor Vivanco's can show how demands for better air quality and bike lanes are not new, and are not battles that can be won today and forgotten tomorrow.

I'll close by saying that I like Vivanco's drawings:  They remind me of the work of Rick Morrall, who did the illustrations for Tom Cuthbertson's bike-related writings.  At least, I think that's what Morrall's work would look like if Bike Tripping  had been published in 1892 instead of 1972.

18 December 2019

Serious Mojo In The Shadow Of Power

Last week, I spotted a pair of Sun Tour shifters on eBay.  The item's location was listed as "New York, NY."  So I asked whether I could pick them up.

Turns out, the seller was even closer to where I live than I expected:  only about 4 kilometers away.  Woodside, Queens, to be exact.  And he said his "shop" was located behind a restaurant on one of the neighborhood's commercial strips.

The reason I'm not revealing the name of that restaurant, or the name of the shop, is that Damon asked me not to.  In fact, on his website, he says his "shop"--which is really more of a workshop--is in a "secret location" and that he meets customers only by appointment.

Damon is actually an engaging and friendly fellow.  The reason for his arrangement, he says, is that his shop--a garage, really--is a "passion" and he doesn't want to deal with the more mundane parts of the bike business.  (He once had a regular shop, he explained, and running it was nothing like he expected it to be.)  Also, I sensed that he wanted to deal only with customers who shared his passion for vintage bikes.

One of our common loves, as it turns out, is frames from British builders.  He showed me a Claud Butler from the '50's that he's fixing up, along with a few other frames from Claud's countrymen.  When I revealed my own love of Mercians, he knew he'd found a soulmate, at least in bicycle terms.

(Oh, and he did some of his studies for his profession--his "day job"--in Paris and, quelle coincidence, was living in the City of Light at the same time I was there. How do Francophiles become aficionados of British Frames?  Hmm...)

All of the frames in his "shop" were steel, except for one older Vitus bike.  Among his Butlers and early '80's Treks stood one of what might be the most sought-after (by collectors and enthusiasts) bike from a mass manufacturer:  Raleigh Lenton.  It was in really good shape, except for the cellulose fenders--which are almost always broken.  

I could have spent all day at that shop, and with Damon. Because he's trying not to publicize his operation too much, I didn't take photos--except for one particularly intriguing machine.

Damon equipped this Olmo city bike, which probably dates from the '50's or '60's, with Campagnolo Gran Sport equipment, except for the Weinmann centerpull brakes. (The Gran Sport brakes wouldn't have been long enough or played nice with the fenders.)  He was impressed that I've actually written posts about GS equipment and Weinmann brakes, but I was even more taken with some other features of that bike:

Those bars put those narrow "city bars" I see on hipsters' fixies to shame--both for function and style.  But perhaps the best (or at least my favorite) part is something Damon customized.

He bent it to accommodate the front derailleur.  That alone would have made me want to make a return trip to his "shop"--which is just a few blocks away from where Dick Power had his framebuilding shop and retail store.

Before I left, I noticed that he had some vintage Silca pumps that, he explained, had been stored away from sunlight which, apparently, is what makes the plastic on them brittle.  I bought one, in black, for Negrosa, the 1973 full-Campy Mercian I picked up last year.  I know that the Zefal HPX (or even the earlier HP and Competition) pumps are easier to use and sturdier, but most full-Campy bikes of the time had Silca Imperos--and Regina freewheels, which I also have, even though I know the SunTour New Winner and Winner Pro are better in almost every way.  

That trip was short but sweet, to say the least!

12 December 2019


I have pedaled into the sunrise, and into the sunset, to work.

Likewise, I have ridden into the sunrise, and into the sunset, to go home.

Less often, I have cycled into a moonrise, to or from my job.

This morning, for the first time (that I can recall, anyway), I spun my wheels into the path of a moonset.

A full moon setting, no less--on my to the college.

(Photos taken today, along East 139th Street, Bronx, NY)

10 December 2019

It Doesn't Take Much

If you're of a certain age, you remember what happened on 28 January 1986:  The Space Shuttle Challenger blew apart just 73 seconds after lifting off.

The real tragedy, of course, is that Challenger commander Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judy Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe lost their lives.  But perhaps the most vexing part of the story is that one of the most sophisticated pieces of technology created up to that point in time was undone by a couple of rubber O-rings that didn't seal properly.

Now, the story I am going to tell next is not nearly as terrible as the fate of the Challenger crew members.  But it has this parallel:  A big, expensive piece of machinery undone by a (relatively) tiny part.

The machine in question is a Trek Super Commuter+8S electric bike--specifically, the 2017, 2018 and 2019 models.  The little part in question is a bolt that attaches the front fender to the fork crown--unless, of course, said bolt comes unthreaded, as it has on two reported occasions.  Trek says that in both cases, the wrong bolt was used.  The result was a chain reaction:  The fender fell off and jammed the front wheel, causing it to fall off.  One of those accidents resulted in a broken back for the rider. 

A $5200 machine halted--and a back broken--because of a small bolt.  It doesn't take much, does it?

As a result, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a recall for those bikes, which sold for $5200 each.  

05 December 2019

Delivered In A Cube, On A Bike?

Fresh greens delivered on a cargo bicycle.

It's not one of those "Only in Portland" or "Only in Williamsburg" fever-dreams.  Yesterday, it became a reality--well, sort of, and for a few people and businesses--in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.

 UPS, Amazon and DHL entered a Commercial Cargo Bike Pilot Program, in which deliveries are made on bikes with large containers attached to their rears.  DHL is already using such "Cubicycles" in Europe. New York City's Department of Transportation is collecting data on the ones launched yesterday and the DOT's commissioner, Polly Trachtenberg said the project is intended to make deliveries "safer and greener" by using those bikes instead of trucks.

H/O: Cargo bikes 1
A UPS cargo bike in Seattle.

The "greener" part seems obvious.  As for safety, Trachtenberg noted that a disproportionate number of the city's  cycling fatalities--11 of 27 to date this year--involved trucks.

Traffic congestion and its effects have long been problems in New York City.  In recent years, however, they have grown worse.  The level of fine particle pollution in the Big Apple's air actually declined, slowly but steadily, for a decade until 2015.  Since then, the levels of those pollutants, and others, have increased.  Most of that deterioration in the city's air quality has been blamed on two factors:  for-hire car services like Uber and Lyft, and the increasing popularity of package deliveries from Amazon and other retailers. 

H/O: DHL Cargo bikes
DHL "Cube bike" in Berlin

It would be great if hundreds, or even thousands, of trucks could be replaced by cargo bikes.  Could some of those containers could be fitted to accommodate passengers?

28 November 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This lovely image was created by Dai Trinh Huu

I am thankful for all of the places, people, feelings and things cycling has brought me.  I am thankful I am riding at this time in my life.

This is my first holiday without my mother in my life.  I miss her, but I am grateful to have had in my life for as long as I did.  And for the people with whom I will spend today.

27 November 2019

They Need It Like A Hole In The....

A few years ago, it seemed that "drillium" might make a comeback.  A few companies, including Velo Orange, were offering drilled-out versions of  chainrings and other components. Some still are. VO's drilled-out chainrings are actually pretty:  They seemed  seemed to be covered with pindots.  I'd actually put them on one or two of my bikes.

Back in the heyday of drillium, it seemed that anything and everything that could take a drill--and a few things that couldn't--got the treatment.  In addition to chainrings, shift levers and brake lever handles commonly got drilled.  When I first began to work in a bike shop, one of the jokes about Lambert/Viscount bikes was that they came with drilled-out tires and water bottles.

Seriously, though, some cyclists were manic with drills.  I saw toe clips and other kinds of clips--for brake cables and water bottle cages--perforated, ostensibly in the name of saving weight.  Sometimes, components that really didn't need to be any lighter were riddled with pockmarks, like the Huret Jubilee, still the lightest (and to my eye, prettiest) rear derailleur ever made.  Or this derailleur I saw on eBay:

The first-generation SunTour Cyclone might be the second-lightest rear derailleur ever made.  It's certainly lighter than any made today.  Oh, and I think the silver version with the black inset is the second-prettiest derailleur ever made:  all the more reason it shouldn't be defaced with a drill!

21 November 2019

Any Bike You Want, As Long As It's...

About thirty years ago, I was a writer-in-residence at a number of New York City schools, and St. Mary's Hospital for Children, through the Teachers and Writers program.  Most of the time, I cycled to the schools or hospital.  Most of the time, I had to lock my bike on city streets.  That meant, for me, riding my "beater," whatever it happened to be at the time.

The bikes I used for the purpose weren't bad:  Bike-Boom era 10-speeds that I turned into 5- or single-speeds. (A couple were stolen; one crashed.)  But they weren't as nimble and fun to ride as my racing, or even touring, bike.  Sometimes, after my workshops with the kids and teachers, I'd go out for a spin on my "beater" because there wasn't enough remaining daylight for, or it was simply easier than, riding  to my apartment and switching bikes.

If I found myself in a really good rhythm, or pedaling into a headwind, I'd wish that my "beater" could transform into my racing, or even my touring, bike.  

Have you ever wished, in the middle of a ride, that the bike you're riding could become another bike?  Perhaps you were yearning for a bike you didn't have. Or, you own multiple bikes, took one out and, because the day's ride was not what you'd anticipated, wished that you'd mounted one of your other steeds.  

(I think now of a time I pedaled my mountain bike into a stiff headwind I didn't anticipate on a course that was flatter and clearer of debris, mud and slush than I expected it to be after a snowstorm.)

Well, you now you can have a "chameleon" bike

as long as you are happy on a lowrider or extra-tall bike!

The strange-change machine, an entry in the Make It Move contest on Instructables, started as a full-suspension mountain bike.  The rear spring was removed to make room for the gas cylinder that pivots the rear triangle.  Also, the front fork was replaced with a (much) longer one.  

Gotta love that paint job! 

13 November 2019

Retail Therapy

In the days after 11 September 2001, the US stock market incurred some of its biggest losses up to that point in its history.  Other markets around the world took similar "hits"; some feared that a recession that had begun earlier in the year would turn into a depression.

While there would be further losses, and the economy would show other signs of weakness, by end of 2001, the markets and other sectors of the economy had regained most of their losses.  And, even though tourism (particularly the airlines) experienced a major slump, the economy as a whole didn't fare as badly as some expected.  This, according to economists, was due at least in part to consumer spending.

In other words, people (at least those who could afford to do so) used "retail therapy" to deal with the stress and anxiety caused by events of that time.  They were encouraged by the President himself and enabled by low interest rates on loans and credit cards.

Now, I don't mean to equate the death of my mother with the shock of 9/11, though it's the saddest event of my life.  But I suppose that buying something you like can ease, if momentarily, some emotional pain.  And, aside from what it does to one's budget, I guess it's better than, say, taking drugs or drinking, though not quite as good for a person as bike riding--which, by the way, I've been doing.

Speaking of bike riding--with the emphasis on "bike"--I engaged in a bit of retail therapy.  Yes, I bought another bike.  I couldn't resist.  Well, all right, I could have.  But when the guy who sold it dropped the price, he lowered my resistance.

Truthfully, that bike would have been hard to resist anyway.  For one thing, it's a Mercian.  For another, it's the right size.  And the Campagnolo triple crankset and Rally derailleur definitely are rarities.

Oh, and that paint job!

One of the reasons why I got such a good deal, I believe, is that the bike has sew-up tires.  I haven't ridden such tires in about twenty years, and have no intention of riding them again.  The other things I'll change are the stem (because it's too long) and the saddle.  But, really, I simply couldn't pass up an almost-full Campagnolo bike on a Reynolds 531 frame with that paint job.  That paint job!

And it's a Mercian--a 1984 King of Mercia, to be exact.  The wheelbase and clearances--not to mention the rack braze-ons and the bottle cage mount on the underside of the down tube--give this bike a more-than-passing resemblance to touring bikes from Trek as well as a number of Japanese manufacturers during the early-to-mid '80's.  Tubular tires don't make much sense on it; I think that the original wheels were lost.  

Even after I replace the tires, rims, saddle and stem, this bike will still be a great buy.  Especially with that paint job!

12 November 2019

Home, Into The Sunset--For Now

Daylight Savings Time ended last Sunday.  That meant setting clocks back an hour.  A result is that, for at least a couple of weeks, I'll pedal through the sunrise during my commute to work, and cycle through the sunset on my way home.

07 November 2019

He Survived Combat. Then His Bike Blew Up.

Once upon a time, before X-boxes and I-phones roamed the Earth, kids actually wanted--and sometimes got--bikes for Christmas.  So, after my first bike shop laid me off early in the Fall, the owner asked whether I could come back for a few weeks in December and early January.  

I was surprised that he would want me, even for a few days, in the New Year.  I would learn that some of the bikes we sold for Christmas would be brought in for adjustments, as promised by the shop.  But other kids brought in bikes their parents hadn't bought from us.  Some of those machines were really twisted.  Even more serpentine were the stories they told us.  My favorite came from the parent of a kid whose wheels had folded into the shape of a certain Bachman's snack.  

According to that kid's supposed role model, the wheel assumed its form when the kid "turned the corner" and "the rim bent."

Now, I admit that my knowledge of physics was, at best, rudimentary.  So perhaps you, dear reader, can forgive me for not understanding how something made from two layers of steel could just fold over when a 65-pound kid turned it at a 45 degree angle.

Oh, and that kid's parent wanted us to replace the wheel--for free--on that bike, which wasn't purchased in our shop or, as best as I could tell, any bike shop.

Perhaps you can thus understand my skepticism when anyone claims that a bike fell apart as he or she rode it.  I know, well, that some bikes aren't very well-made, but very few are so shoddy that they will disintegrate under you as you ride.  I mean, I've heard of Lambert's "death forks" snapping when their riders hit bumps, and of various parts failing in one way or another under normal use.  But I don't recall any bike snapping at its frame joints during the course of a routine ride.

That is, until I came across the story of Ronnie Woodall.  

The Austin, Texas resident was riding along 4th street when the welds broke on his $1600 All City bicycle and sent him flying face-first into a construction fence.

The head and down tubes separated from the steer tube.  The result that Mr. Woodall's nose all but separated from his face.  It was "barely hanging on by this left side of my nostril, across the top," he recalls. The impact, which pushed his head back and twisted his neck,  "blew out out all of the vertebrae in my neck," he explains.

His doctor estimates that it will take $2 million to care of him medically in the future.  All City is a brand from Quality Bicycle Products.  According to a company statement,  QBP has  inspected the bicycle and claims to "have not found evidence" that "the bicycle spontaneously came apart," which is "something that, in our experience, bicycles simply do not do."

Whether or not the bike fell apart at faulty welds, or whether there was some other mitigating circumstance, there is another part of this story that is ironic, almost to the point of being incredible: Ronnie Woodall, a retired 30-year Army veteran, suffered his worst injuries, not on a nameless hill in some distant, forlorn country, but on a bike that cost more than most people in some of those distant, forlorn countries make in a year.  And it happened in the middle of the 11th-largest city in the United States.

05 November 2019

The Last Race?

Sometimes, it seems, people in other countries know the US political system and races even better than Americans known them. So it was not a surprise when, during a recent phone conversation, a friend in France asked for my opinions about the candidates for the Democratic party presidential nomination.

For now, I said, I am leaning toward Elizabeth Warren, though I also like Pete Buttigieg.  We are a year away from the election, so more than a few things could change my mind.  

Here's one:  If some candidate pledged to fund bicycling in any shape or form in the US, that might be enough to get my vote.

Of course, if it's so difficult for candidates to commit to establishing a healthcare system that doesn't leave people in poverty, or worse, when they have major medical problems, I don't think those same candidates are going to prioritize two-wheeled transportation, let alone a bike race.

That is, in essence, one reason why the Amgen Tour of California has been put "on hiatus," and why The Philly Cycling Classic, U.S. Pro Challenge, Tour de 'Toona and other major American races disappeared in recent years.  No less than Jonathan Vaughters, the current EF Education First team manager--and one-time US sprint champion--says as much.  "Municipalities or government entities are not going to sponsor cycling.  Our political system doesn't allow for that."  A result, he says, that we are not going to have " big-money, massive state-backed races like this new race in Saudi Arabia or the UAE Tour."  The money, he says, has to come from private sources.

The Amgen Tour of California was the last remaining UCI World Tour race in the US. During its 14-year history, it brought some of the world's most talented riders to these shores.  In last year's Tour, Travis McCabe nearly out-sprinted Peter Sagan, regarded as one of the world's best in that discipline.  The loss of such a race in America could be a particular blow to the cycling scene in the US because it is "aspirational," according to Adam Myerson, president of Cycle-Smart coaching services.  "We need people to watch" races like the AMTOC, he explained, "and want to be racers because of it."  Of course, they can watch footage (although it is sometimes grainy) of events taking place in Europe and elsewhere, but nothing motivates young people like seeing a hometown hero on home turf.

Kristin Klein, president of ATOC and vice president of AEG Sports (the events company behind ATOC), says that AEG is "trying to determine if there is a business model that will allow us to successfully re-launch the race in 2021." Some observers believe that while the loss of the Tour is a blow to European-style racing in the US, it might force ride organizers to reassess the organizational structure of cycling events to determine what works, and what doesn't.

While European-style racing has struggled in the US, other events, like Gran Fondos and gravel racing, have grown in popularity.  Myerson and others envision a structure similar to that of the New York Marathon:  An elite contingent of 100 or so riders would challenge for prizes and championships, followed by thousands of other participants who have helped to finance it with their entrance fees.

In other words, the US cycling scene could be remade into something different, but no less interesting, than its counterparts overseas.  Or one of the candidates could pledge some money for cycling events...

31 October 2019

In Costume

I haven't posted in a while.  Halloween might seem like an odd day to return after an absence, especially when that hiatus is a result of my mother's passing.  If she is anywhere, she knows I mean no disrespect:  If anything, she probably would be happy that I'm blogging again.  And that I've been doing some other writing--and cycling.

It seems, however, appropriate, to write a post about this:

It seems that everyone and everything in that photo is in costume.  Grant Petersen sometimes refers to lycra racing kit as a "costume."  And millennials with "ironic" beards and shaved heads are, by definition, in costume.

I couldn't help but to think, though, that the bike is in costume, too.  I mean, aside from the fact that it has two wheels, pedals and handlebars--and no motor--it doesn't bear much resemblance to other bicycles I've seen.  Perhaps it's really a tuning fork in the guise of a velocipede.

British Cycling collaborated with Lotus and Hope Engineering--British makers of sports cars and high-end bicycle componentry, respectively--to build the bike.  BC's track racing team plans to ride it in the 2020 Olympics--unless it is banned. 

Don't get me wrong:  I am not against developing such bikes.  Racers want every advantage they can get, and the hopes of a nation ride (pun intended) on its national team.  I just hope that new bikes made for everyday riders aren't made to look like that--or, more important, require the proprietary technology that is of little or no use to anyone who isn't trying to set a record or win a medal.

At the same time, if the bike is banned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) or just about any other governing body--as Matthew Beedham expects it to be--I think it would be a hypocritical and simply dishonest move.  When the UCI or whoever decides not to allow bikes that are too technically advanced, or simply lightweight, for their tastes--or when they decide to regulate just about anything else, their rationale is always something along the lines of "We want the man, not the machine, to win."

I could respect such a stance if the UCI, the USA Cycling or any other governing body were serious, or at least consistent,  in enforcing policies about performance-enhancing drugs.  But, if Lance Armstrong used drugs (and intimidated his teammates into silence about it), I find it hard to believe that the UCI, USA Cycling or any other governing body didn't know.  Given that the Tour de France's--and competitive cycling in general's--reputation was in tatters after doping scandals involving the Festina team as well as other riders, the UCI and other organizations had every incentive to look the other way when Lance--especially with his "feel good" story--won.

Perhaps the folks at UCI, USA Cycling and similar organizations are wearing costumes:  those of "concerned guardians" of their sport.

By the way:  The bearded guy in the first photo is holding an image of a bike the UCI banned twice.  First, the Lotus 108 was barred under a 1987 ban on carbon-fiber monocoque frames.  Then the prohibition was overturned, but after a number of riders raced successfully on the 108, the UCI  used its "Lugano Charter" to outlaw Lotus' racing machine once again.