This year, for the first time in like a decade and a half, I did not renew my USA Cycling license. Retirement feels good. Really good. I roll out when I feel like it, I go wherever, and I don't pay anyone for the privilege. I wear mismatched stretchy clothes, I carry a bloated saddle bag that's bigger than my saddle, and I let my legs get all whiskery until I can't stand it anymore and then I give them a quick going over with the weed whacker.
Still, once in awhile I enjoy breaking out the plastic Fred Sled, which I did yesterday:
This was the last bike I really "raced" on, though by then I was already phoning it in. (Actually, I wasn't even phoning it in so much as I was mailing it in with insufficient postage.) Before yesterday I hadn't ridden it in awhile since there's a possibility it may be cracked because it's made of crabon and crabon is fucking stupid, but I figured it's been sitting in the basement since June without collapsing on itself and anyway if it is indeed cracked surely it's had time to heal itself by now. I mean, what could go wrong, right?
Anyway, the reason I mention this is because this bike has the "old" Shimano exposed shifter cables, and I have an extremely bike-dorky question:
Here's my question: "Is it me, or do these shift much better than the 'new' hidden-cable ones?" Because I have both kinds, and while the newer ones are perfectly acceptable, going from one to the other the superior shifting of the older ones is undeniable. (To say nothing of the fact that you can change the shift cables on the old shifters without unwrapping your handlebars. In a sane world, exposed cables would be touted as a feature, not a drawback.)
Now, I know what you're thinking: "Maybe your 'new' shifters are set up wrong." Well, I did the cabling on both bikes, and while I certainly don't deny my own incompetence, the fact is that both bikes have been set up by the same moron, so the playing field should be level there.
Then I realized that Shimano is probably slowly reducing the quality of their mechanical shifters in order to encourage people to go electronic, which I refuse to do. Call me a retrogrouch, but I don't want batteries on my bike. First of all, batteries give you scranus cancer, everybody knows that. Second of all, the whole point of bikes is that they work no matter what. In a post-apocalyptic scenario, if you were to find a bike in a basement 30 years after the world was ravaged by a viral epidemic, all you'd have to do would be to inflate the tires and you'd be ready to ride. (Obviously there would be a pump in the basement, don't be stupid.) Electronic shifting ruins all that, and good luck outrunning those zombies when you're stuck in a 53x12 and you have like zero fitness because you've been cowering in a subterranean bunker for three decades.
And don't tell me to use Campy or SRAM, because no. I have my reasons.
Usually though, if I'm riding a bike with those curved-type handlebars like they use in the Tour de France, I ride a bike made out of metal:
This has become my "retiree chariot," complete with fattish tires and compactual gearing:
Of course, I could just have one road bike and switch wheels when I want fatter tires, but when you get to this point in your life it's just easier to have two bikes. Nevertheless, I should probably just put the "old" shifters on the new bike and lose the plastic one--or, better yet, put a sticker over the ambiguous scratch/crack on the plastic one and sell it on eBay as "never raced or crashed." Then I could put a metal fork on the metal bike (I've kinda been eyeballing this one) and my de-crabonification will be complete.
(Flag of the International Crabon-Free Siblinghood)
By the way, when I went to Melbourne, I flew Qantas (pronounced "Cunt-Ass"), and the seats were actually made out of crabon:
I have to admit they were both laterally stiff and vertically compliant, and they soaked up the turbulence while I was napping, yet were snappy and responsive when I had to bolt up and sprint to the bathroom.
And yes, I wore my Lycra flying kit the entire way:
If you've been looking for a costume to wear to this year's Single Speed Cyclocross World Championship, you're welcome.
Another crucial component of my ongoing process of de-racification and de-crabonification is ignoring professional cycling, which is pretty easy to do. However, I do find myself checking in time to time, and when I do I'm unsurprised to find everybody still "foffing off" over this "Reasoned Decision "thing. Most recently, I guess everybody now thinks that an unnamed rider in the aforementioned decision is Chris Horner:
CN: Let me ask about rider 15 in the Reasoned Decision. There has been speculation and rumour that rider 15 is Chris Horner, something he hasn’t categorically denied. If you’re against speculation and it’s not Horner, is it in your interests and those of a clean Chris Horner to state that rider 15 isn’t that athlete?
TT: We don’t comment on speculation or innuendo. We don’t confirm or deny because otherwise journalists would then send us a list asking for us to confirm that rider 10 isn’t this rider or that rider 19 is this rider and before it’s all over there’s a list of riders who people speculate might fit the list. Out of respect for the process every rider is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proved otherwise by the legal process.
In other words, yeah, "Rider 15" is totally Chris Horner.
But at least nobody cheats in cyclocross.
In other news, if you've been keeping track of all the Kickstarter would-be saddle entrepreneurs who can't come to terms with the fact they should just give up and ride a recumbent already, here's another one for the file:
You know the story by now, which is that some aero-weenie can't get comfortable on his freak bike:
"I love biking. But I don't love bike seats."
Yeah, what you're doing is not "biking." Not even close. At best, it's putting on a costume and mimicking a suppository's journey up the rectum.
"As bikers, we've all searched for the perfect seat, without much success."
Okay, first of all, this guy needs to search for a pair of bib shorts because we're about to fall victim to a "crack attack." Second of all, I think most of us have found success when it comes to finding a comfortable bicycle saddle. If you want to say, "As rolling suppositories, we've all searched for the perfect way to be comfortable on our absurd contraptions," then by all means go ahead. But please don't attempt to wrangle people who actually ride bikes into your delusion.
By the way, I'm willing to bet that, like most people who ride bikes like this, he never, ever gets out of the saddle--including when he comes to a stop, at which point I guarantee he does that awkward thing where he unclips one foot, stays on the saddle, and balances on his tippy-toes. So lose the aero bars, ride a normal road bike when you're not doing one of your dork-athalons, and stand up now and again. I guarantee that will solve 95% of his problems. (The remaining 5% of his problems, which consists of being a terminal tridork, is sadly incurable.)
Anyway, then he goes through a ridiculous history of the bicycle, pans across a row of saddles, and declares:
"Basically, all the seats have remained virtually the same..."
Then he shows this thing:
Wait a minute. Are you telling me your ass gasket of a saddle with the cutout in it (saddle cutouts have been around forever, by the way) is more "different" than that freakish noseless thing you casually lumped in with all the other seats?
Then he tries to get all "medical," because he's a "chiropractor:"
No! The problem isn't the saddle, the problem is that he doesn't know how to use it. This is like saying:
Problems with the classic dinner fork
1) Chipped teeth
2) Lacerations in tongue
Maybe instead of redesigning the dinner fork you need to learn how to fucking eat!
Then there's this:
Yes, he actually illustrates the process of someone sliding all over a poorly adjusted saddle because he's splayed out over aerobars like an idiot, and unbeknownst to him this illustration completely undermines the supposed validity of his entire invention.
Look at it this way: for well over a century billions of people around the world have managed to ride bicycles without issue, yet somehow a small handful of tridorks are unable to get comfortable on their bikes. And this indicates there's a problem with the bicycle saddle? I mean come on!
Of course, what this saddle does have going for it is that it provides the user with mid-ride prostate stimulation:
I guess the concept here is to cancel out the pain with pleasure.
If so, I look forward to the Kickstarter for assless half-shorts with a super-absorbent chamois.