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Emotions Wrapped in Bulletproof Glass

- No feeling is so transcendent: The deep-seated nonchalance that comes the day after a 6-hour ride. It’s not weariness, but rather an experience of having one’s emotions wrapped in bulletproof glass. The world feels slower, quieter, nothing perturbs. Even-keelness. Inner equilibrium. Glorious reminders that cycling is a drug indeed.

- If you own Campy brakes and you ever tried to replace your brake pads, you’ve likely acquainted yourself with all manner of expletives for the fact that pad-and-holder feel cemented together. Extracting the pad from the holder is a fingertip-numbing nightmare.

Campy Brakes 2011From the Dept. of Unintended Consequences is a change Campy made to their brakes for 2011. Check out the photo here and look at the upper arrow. You’ll see Campy added a spring to the front part of the brake shoe to make insertion/removal of the pad easier. Looking at the lower arrow, you’ll see the back side of one of these pads. It’s indented to accommodate the spring.

This makes pad replacement for your Campy-equipped brakes easier, though as a consequence it makes them largely incompatible with any current aftermarket pad. This is most significant if you own a set of Zipp 404 carbon clinchers. For these wheels, Zipp recommends the use of their own cork brake pads. The back of Zipp’s pads have no indentation, so they won’t fit in Campy’s holder.

Options? We’ve had some success in taking Swiss Stop Shimano pads and reversing their direction. The indentation in the pad nicely positions right at Campy’s spring. Also, the word from Zipp HQ is that Campy’s carbon-specific pads won’t hurt the rim (though, in their estimation, the stopping power isn’t as good as cork.) The upshot? In the upcoming year expect to see some new options in aftermarket brake pads to address Campy’s changes.

Comment- To those of you who accuse us of schadenfreude regarding the 5 words of attention we paid last week to the press about the ongoing lawsuit between Canyon and Cervélo, what can I do other than quote ‘Stripes’? In the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka, ‘Lighten up, Francis.’

The last thing we’d care to do is dis Cervélo. Why?

(a) We have a billion-zillion dollars of Cervélo inventory in stock. 14 years in the bike business and near-40 years of common sense suggests that disparaging a brand doesn’t stimulate sales of its products.

(b) If you’ve read (vs. skimmed) the words written here over the last several weeks about the state of our relationship with Cervélo, you’d comprehend our confidence that we’ll be selling Cervélo bikes again soon enough (maybe next week, but for sure no later than 2013.) Sales channel strategy is not a zero sum proposition, and Cervélo will learn this soon enough. Pulling ad hominem shit here won’t accelerate our inevitable reunion, so why would we do that?

(c) Our interest in Canyon vs. Cervélo is primarily a function of the rareness with which super-dirty public laundry gets aired in the bike business. The fact of the matter is that our industry is tiny and nobody -- not even the titans -- can comfortably digest more than about 4 hours per year of paid legal counsel. So when cases like this go nuclear in the public eye, who doesn’t rubberneck? Canyon vs. Cervélo has already exceeded ‘minor’ status (think Speedplay vs. Bebop) and is barreling with glamorous high-speed recklessness straight for the bike industry litigation Hall of Fame (think Specialized vs. Scott), which is primarily why we’re interested & why we reference it.

So, in the name of fair play, here is Cervélo’s reply to the Bike.eu article we referenced last week. And to further affirm our groovy kind of love for Cervélo, here are some photos of one-off paint on Cervélo RS frames we have in stock here (in 56cm only). We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: Cervélo bikes are sweet and we’d never steer somebody away from buying one. And, of course, if you’re interested in a one-off frame in green, orange, or blue, give us a jingle.

Cervelo RS Orange 3

Cervelo RS Green 2

- A fun interview with Team Garm*n Physio Toby Watson. It’s long, but it’s anecdotal nirvana. The best? Maybe his description of Pippo Pozzato at the 2010 Giro:

A mullet to challenge Karpets.‘…Pozzato having a spare set of sunnies in his back pocket was a hilarious display of the cliché of the poseur Italian. He hit the deck very hard in one of the Dutch stages of the Giro, and took ages to get back up off the ground, let alone onto his bike. He faffed around for a while with his helmet off, checking his hair was alright, then gingerly got himself back in the saddle, rolled up the road through the convoy and pulled another set of sunnies out of his pocket. Absolute gold.’

Watson is more than just a good interview. He has a heck of a good Flickr photostream as well FYI.

- For the gentleman who asked where our once-touted Text Message Specials went: We bailed on the SMS thing. It always had a scarily intrusive vibe to us, and in the time since we’ve gotten hip to Facebook which seems more pleasant for everyone involved, especially for those of you who get tired of hearing from us. It was a bear to communicate to us that you wanted opt off our SMS list. Our guess? SMS promos will be hot for nightclubs (the concept of promotional text messages was founded in the clubbing biz), but virtually no other industry.

- GapA quick note for our Bay Area customers: Our good friends at Public Bikes (they make the most deliciously beautiful-yet-thoroughly functional city bikes out there) have a pop-up store inside the flagship Gap Store at the end of the cable car line on Market Street in San Francisco. Even if $25 pocket T’s aren’t your thing, you should check out the sweet bikes.

- 108 days ’til Milan-San Remo. In the meantime, we’re warming our hearts with some old-school footage from when the race was won at a cadence maybe 20rpm’s lower.