2014 Seasons in the Sun

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How to Wear a Cycling Cap: Louison Bobet

While working on your bike, even in the middle of the Tour de France.

The year is 1953, stage 7 during the Tour de France. Bobet is not only receiving some assistance from teammate, Bernard Gauthier, but judging by the intent expressions on the faces of the nearby spectators, I image there is quite a bit of unsolicited advice being given as well. Bobet failed to win on that day, but did capture two stages later in the race, and finished up in grand style by wearing Yellow for the final five stages and winning his first (of three) Tours de France.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Responsibly Obsolete

Jargogle, malagrugorous, jollux, frecking. Know what any of those words mean? Never fear, neither did I. They are all old English and no longer commonly used; the only place you are likely to hear them (intelligently) spoken is at a Renaissance Faire or SCA meeting.

I was interested to know if, and how often, words are removed from modern English dictionaries. When I contacted Webster about this, the person on the other end of the receiver kenched in a knowing sort of way. I asked if she could elaborate. In response she admitted to having sat in a meeting just last week to discuss the latest group of words facing extinction.

I was unsurprised to learn that responsibility was right at the top of the list.

"Yes, I knew it" I yelled after saying goodbye, thanks, and hung up the phone. I had been thinking for some time that responsibility had become not just passé, but obsolete, a forgotten word seeming to possess no meaning in this day's society. From elected officials failing to represent the many rather than the few to, yes, drivers who fail to recognize the lives of the many they share public space with.

Within just a few minutes this afternoon I read (via BikingInLa's Ted Rogers) about how a "driver in Santa Barbara bike collision may be same road raging driver who attacked cyclists", about a Kansas man who was sentenced to a "whole year for killing a cyclist he never saw because he was using cellphone GPS", of the "road raging Brit driver accused of intentionally ramming a bike rider on the sidewalk - with four kids in her car", of the Brit cyclist who caught a "driver watching a film behind the wheel", and of the "white South African men accused of dragging a black cyclist from their car."

Not a whole lot of responsibility being shown in any of those instances. Still, it would be a shame for the word to be stricken from, not only the dictionary, but common usage as well.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Upcoming: Classic Bike Show

I have neither seen, nor heard, anything about this, but it sounds pretty cool.

Is it at Coates, is it at Casa Colina, can I get the old Bottecchia in the show? Is it this year? On a Thursday? So many questions I need answers to.

Update: In answer to those questions - No, no, maybe. Yes. Yes.

Thursday the 15th at Pappas Artisanal Restaurant in La Verne. Relevant info here.

Bikes in Film: The Time Machine

In the background, passing left, passing right, people walking, people riding. No motors. Just a short scene, but yeah, in this future bikes are the primary mode of transportation. I don't remember what year it was that Alexander Hartdegen jumped to in his time machine, but neither the bikes nor helmets look particularly futuristic, so maybe it was about the time this version of the film was made (2002). 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

2015 Krosstoberfest: Oompah!

A deep lowing yet punctual series of booms sounding like a great group of bovines in some sort of distress reached me. They were not sounds I normally associate with this, or any other, stretch of the San Gabriel River Trail (SGRT). Given my location, though, I knew exactly what those sounds were, what they meant. Tuba, baritone, accordion. Yes, almost as pleasurable as the cool breeze blowing inland from the coast, was the sound of German Octoberfest, or in this case Krosstoberfest, music pulsating in waves from various speakers standing watch around the festival grounds. Not the heavy Oompah sounds, mind you, but a lighter, quicker polka, and in that sense more in keeping with the racing taking place all around. 

For this years' Krosstoberfest, the SoCalCross Prestige Series made its annual stop at that pock-marked and sun-dappled expanse of turf in El Dorado Parks Golden Grove. Though scaled back a bit from years past, the more compact course simply meant that there were more twists and turns to test riders' handling abilities and leg strength. Without naming names, plenty of racers miscalculated those turns, carried too much speed, requiring them to brake hard and then accelerate hard to regain speed. It was a challenge, I dare say, that the victors managed to more effectively overcome.

I have just one question - considering the name of the race, where was the bier? It was about the driest cross race I think I have ever seen. Since the racing was good, I guess that can be overlooked.

It pays to get there first. With a jam-up back at the barriers this little guy came out ahead in the game - by getting there first

Lesson: Young kid shows older folk how its done

Race face

Lift off

Colors of the season

Ballet or bike racing, or a bit of both?

There are one hundred twenty-nine photos in the Flickr album. Only a fraction of the six-hundred photos from the day made the album. The photos are not a complete catalog, but are representative of all the others taken during the day, so if you don't see what, or who, you were looking for in the album, let me know and I will see what I can find. If you see a photo you like, feel free to download it (credit where credit due, of course). You can also contact me via email and I will gladly send a full size jpeg file of the image. As usual, I don't charge for photos, but do appreciate it when someone purchases a copy of the annual (link at top of page). Until next time, good riding.

Gotten Too Slow

"I think I need a new bike, mine's gotten too slow."

It is not me who said that, it was the mrs. who informed me that some sort of backwards physics logic thing was affecting her road bike. I mean bikes can't really get slower over the years, right? Or can they? Technically, and in practice, they can get slower. Bearings will wear and chains will get gunked up with that tacky mixture of dust and old lube. Either of those, singly or combined, will cause a bike to get slower independent of the rider. Both of those can be easily ameliorated with regular maintenance, and since the mrs. has the mr. to give her chain a new coat of lube every few months or so, I knew right away what she was really talking about. 

She can't fool me. At least not again. And certainly not about this.

So, after laughing outright at her suggestion and recommending she re-examine the problem to find a more satisfactory solution, I tried steering her toward a more economically feasible answer: "Bikes don't get slow, people do" I said. "Maybe more miles, more riding would help" is said.

It had been another long day at work, but the boss man had invited us out for beers at a local brewery, and things were looking pretty good. I was confident that I had dodged that bike bullet and sat down to relax. 

It was while in that slumped down, completely relaxed, position on the couch (we need a new one) that another thought entered my mind: What can happen, of course, is that we can grow beyond the ability of our current bikes, they can hold us back and thus seem to be getting slower. What if, while out on her group rides, she takes a notice of all those nice new bikes people have. And what if, as her miles increase, she realizes that her bike is the oldest in the house, and so deserves to be next in line for a new one. Maybe I didn't think this through. Maybe I just backed myself into a corner.

Maybe now is not the time to mention that my mountain bike has been running a bit slow lately.

Friday, October 2, 2015

2015 Interbike: Chesini and Zullo

Well, it is a relief to get this post done, the final one from 2015 Interbike, bringing coverage of the big event to a close for another year. And did I save some special bikes for the grand finale! No typo there, that is an emphatic statement, not a question. I may not have awarded them Best of Show honors (as you know, the winner of that prize went way over the top), but there is no question, these are some beautiful creations.

Shown below are three bikes from Chesini, and another from Zullo. Both manufacturers (or maybe "makers" would be a better term in this case) are Italian, producing custom, and handmade machines.

Chesini falls into that category of makers I like to call venerable, 1925 being the number of the year in which Gelmino Chesini built his first frame. The first bikes were produced in a small workshop in the town of Nesente, but in the aftermath of World War II, production boomed and Chesini acquired a bike factory in nearby Verona.Throughout the passing of years Chesini has taken strides to remain innovative and relevant in the ever-changing world of bicycling - as recent as 2013 Chesini supplied bikes to the Italian World Championship team.

Tiziano Zullo began racing bicycles, road and cyclocross, at age fourteen in the Veneto region of Italy. Zullo never garnered international acclaim as a racer, but his bicycles have. He built his first bike, in the basement of his mothers' home, in 1973. It took a mere five years for the quality of Zullo's bikes to spread their fame around the world; by 1978 Zullo was exporting throughout Europe, to the United States, and to Australia. Between 1986 and 1992 Zullo supplied bikes to the Panasonic team whose champion-calibre riders, during those years, included the likes of Phil Anderson, Robert Millar, Erik Breukink, Eric van Lancker, Allan Peiper, Gert-Jan Theunisse, Eddy Planckaert, Urs Freuler, Danny Clark, Steven Rooks, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Eric Vanderaerden, Maurizio Fondriest, Olaf Ludwig, and Jens Hepner.

While best known, perhaps, for their classic steel bikes, Zullo has also produced aluminum frames since 1973, as well as custom carbon frames since 2003. To this day, Tiziano Zullo remains involved with production, mostly the steel framed end of things.

This is the XCr925, built with Columbus XCr tubing, claimed to have a greater stiffness to weight and UTS/weight ratios than aluminum or titanium alloys, making the frame exceptionally light and resistant to corrosion. 

This is the X-Uno, Chesini's limited-edition Anniversary bike. Chromed accents, from the lugs to the raised lettering contrast brilliantly with the finishing of the tubes. That is what originally caught my eye - it is this raw, matte finish that Chesini compares to Corten, or weathering steel, that stabilized rust appearance you see in the highest quality architectural and landscape architectural design. Beautiful crank set with chainrings, head badge, and red accents (check the chain stay). Custom only, no stock sizes.

You might be hard pressed to find a more elegant urban bike than this, the Vispula. Touches of classicism such as the geometry, swept-back bars, hammered fenders, flask holder and custom leather saddle are mated with modern function as seen in the disc brakes, belt drive and lighting

The color scheme, graphics and components all come together; this frame is put together so well, among the best of Italian handmade.

It is in the details, isn't it? The details may often be small, but when done right, like these rosettes, they really stand out.

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