SO THIS IS WHAT CYCLING HAS BECOME
Thanks to hipsterism, the bicycle is culturally welded to the ironic moustache.
At least in the eyes of The Container Store and whatever company manufactures these novelty paper clips.
I’m not sure how I feel about this.
I know the moustaches are a fad and I don’t want riding a bicycle to dissipate with it.
Overthinking it a bit? Perhaps. But that’s how much I care about cycling.
I was solo for this morning’s ride.
83 minutes of riding
16.06 miles total
18 beetles I counted on the trail
9,830,420 people living in Los Angeles
0 people I saw. It was delightful.
Not a soul.
1/4 mile from the end of the ride, there he came. Up the trail. Huffing and puffing. A man, sporting white lycra running tights, shirtless apart from his iPod.
Only in LA.
UNIVERSAL TRUTH OF CYCLING #28: THE HAMMER AND CYCLE.
The Quantity Theory of Cycling or Hammer and Cycle Truth is as follows:
At any point in your cycling career, when you feel the rush of adrenaline, and the surge of strength in your limbs (and even though you claim to not be the competitive type - or even if you do) there is a moment when you drop a gear, stand or just drive a little harder, beginning to nudge forward from your fellow cyclists. You crest that hill just a moment sooner. Or you hammer like buggery as if there’s no tomorrow, and what started as a gentle spin turns into a wolf pack ride.
Here’s where the truth comes in. See, the degree to which you hammer and dish out that pain – the distance you put between you and your current riding partner (formerly referred to as a friend) – will be hammered back to you at some point. That amount, in equal, no more, no less, the exact serving of humble pie, will be dished back to you by someone faster and fitter.
There is a consistent amount of pain, suffering and distance out there on the hills and trails. It circulates between us all, constantly shifting, a form of transaction of effort, time and ego. The theory applies to millimeters as much to miles, but always in equal measures. It’s there. By God, it is there.
So whether you are the hammerer or the cursing hammeree (nail?), remember the Quantity Theory. I find it both a comfort and a warning.
The Quantity Theory of Cycling.
You’ve been warned.
Hammer and Cycle is a Registered ™ of 18milesperhour.com
HAPPY FRIDAY. RIDE YOUR BIKE THIS WEEKEND.
And make sure you’re as suave as Bobby Goulet up there. That girl’s heart doesn’t stand a chance. Homeboy was Lancelot for God’s sake.
In Camelot, not this atrocious, unsafe-at-any-speed Lancelot.
Speaking of Lancelot…behold, the Montgomery Ward Excalibur!
What about Merlin? They’re undergoing a “brand rebirth.” Sounds like a lot of huffing and puffing, sweating and pain, if you ask me.
Don’t let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment that was known
NANCY NEIMAN: YOUR NORMAL, EVERYDAY, PIONEERING CHAMPION.
Looks like a normal, everyday woman out for a ride, eh? Well, she was a fairly normal person who happened to be the U.S. Girl’s National Cycling Champion in 1953.
When she won it again in 1954 she pointed out that neither she, nor the other entrants, were girls, and it should be changed to “Women’s.”
This woman then took it again in 1956.
She also scrimped and saved so she could go overseas and race for a spell in 1954. She returned in 1956 and – using a borrowed jersey – was the sole American entrant in the stage race that was the women’s equivalent of Le Tour. She took 14th.
That makes her the first American of either sex to do a stage race in Europe.
Average, everyday woman? Hardly.
This Memorial day, as we remember all who sacrificed for us, let us cyclists also remember the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps at Fort Missoula, Montana back in 1896. Those are the Buffalo Soldiers you see up there, at Yellowstone. This Infantry was established to see if bikes could work for military purposes in mountainous terrain. Seeing as bikes were getting popular and the Europeans had already been using them for both recreation and military use, we decided to give it a look.
General Nelson A. Miles started all this. He’d seen a six-day race in Madison Square Garden and got the bug. He thought that, unlike a horse, a bike didn’t need to be watered, rested and fed (although most of us have babied ours more than any horse). There’s also the stealth qualities of a bike, compared to a snorting, neighing horse – an asset in battle. So the Bike Corps was formed.
Spalding bikes loaned the soldiers some single speed bikes and they set out on their first jaunt – a four-day, 126 mile trip. Each bike plus gear weighed over a hundred pounds. Not bad considering their rations:
“…1 jar Armour’s extract of beef, 7 cans beans, 2 lbs. salt, 5 lbs. prunes, 6 lbs. sugar, 5 lbs. rice, 2 lbs. baking powder, 1 can condensed milk, 20 lbs. bacon, 3 cans deviled ham, 2 ounces pepper, 2 lbs. coffee, 35 lbs. flour, 3 cans corn, 1 can syrup, 3 lbs. lard.”
The roads were muddy and steep, creek crossings meant tires had to be re-cemented to the wooden rims, but despite this, longer and tougher journeys were planned to test the men’s mettle. Journeys of 790 miles in 16 days and, the biggie, a 1,900 mile, 34 day journey from Missoula to St. Louis.
In the end, they realized that an Army Bicycle Corps could travel twice as fast as a typical cavalry or infantry and at one-third the cost and effort.
A large part of those tremendous stats and conclusions can be attributed to the spirit and toughness of those Buffalo Soldiers.
Thanks, guys. And thanks to everyone who’s made the ultimate sacrifice.
(Thanks to Tubulocity for the image and info)