KC/DC Cycle

Ride to live... live to ride

Monday, October 08, 2018

Heros and the long haul

I'm a member of a Facebook group called "Cycling over 60". Many members of the group had returned to cycling for the first time since childhood. So my skills and experience are valuable in that context. They are learning to ride again. They are learning about exercise again. They don't know the developments in bicycle technology that I've seen in transition. The group tends to be wealthy and attracted to the bright lights and whiz bang factor. Everyone submits their "riding my age" journal entry. I submit my "riding my maturity age" journal entry. I enjoy riding my bicycle. In the US I rode all the time every week often doing 50-100 miles a week. It's not so much about the mileage but the regular enjoyment of physical activity which helps me to divert my energy from rational thinking to a peaceful relaxation.

There are some folks like me that just enjoy a simple ride a few days a week without even knowing the tabulation of statistics. I don't use a speedo much less the heart rate monitor, rpm gauge, altimeter readings. I'm of the simple and cheap school of riding. As a child I was already scavenging parts from the rubbish bin to build or repair my bike. I was wrenching to replace parts. I remember vividly noticing how torn up my axle nuts were after I was finishing removing the wheel a few times. I often used vise grips or channel lock pliers. The rounded the edges of many a nut. As a child I bought tools. I still have one of the first tools I bought. It is a cable cutter which is used to trip the extra length from a brake or derailleur cable. I'm still not a great mechanic especially when facing something carbon fiberish.

I was also on a listserv group for cyclists who look for the long haul ultimate utility bike. One of the oft quoted sayings there is "steel is real". They referred to carbon bits cynically as "crabon". They wanted to be assured if there bike got banged around and used for decades it would still usable and repairable. The BOB group still gives me fond memories. The acronym comes from Bridgestone Owners Group. Grant Petersen was the US representative of the Bridgestone corporations bicycle group. He promoted the steel machine that would be practical for use in the US market. He revolutionized cycling with Rivendell cycle company. Rather than focus on the racing agenda in cycling his company focused on road riders who pursued other aims. He is one of my heros.

I have several cycling heros: Peter White, Sheldon Brown, Major Taylor, Peter Gostelow and Grant Petersen. 


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