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. 

Victor: My heroes are the everyday people who ride their bikes and challenge themselves. The people who really aren't sure if they have it in them to do a metric, century, or DC, or whatever it is that is on their radar ... but the give it their best anyway.

It doesn't matter if it's 10 miles, 20, 50, 100 or 1000. What counts is that they are willing to chase their goal and make it happen.

Lee: See the book by John Howard about Major Taylor (recent release). He just coached / ran the team of Denise Meuller-Konarek breaking bike land speed record (at salt flats) 184 MPH 2 weeks ago. A fearless rennaissance 'hero' Mr. Howard is.

Jerry: The Wright Brothers..both bike mechanics...bio in David McCullough showed their tenacity and ethics.

Also Chuck Bramwell, the guy behind the California Triple Crown. Always positive,encouraging to others and amazing at avoiding conflicts with people who do not always agree.

Earl: I gained a hero along about the fourth or fifth stage of the Tour de France this year. Luis Leon Sanchez crashed just terribly and tried to get back on his bike and continue. He tried HARD, but with four broken ribs and a broken elbow the body just wouldn't do it. That takes guts.

James: Andy Hampsten, a clean rider who still really enjoys riding a bike

Alan: Lance Armstrong.


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