Hunt For Steel

    - This week’s dream bike. - This week’s dream component. Not Alfredo Binda, but beautiful all the same. - This is one part of what we dream about when we dream about Girona. - After mentioning a few weeks back that I was on the hunt for a steel road frame and fork, I went ahead and ordered a Dave Kirk. I’ll keep folks posted here about the purchase process. My last email to Dave revealed that there are plenty of questions for us to answer – Dave – Sorry for the delay in getting back in touch. I think [...]

    - Taking hairpins in the left lane. Flipping off idiot drivers. Running red lights. Refusing to opt out of the crit-ending field sprint. Inside every bike racing lifer is a deep vein of rage. And with that comes a tolerance — no, an embrace — of ill-considered behavior. And in the shadow of Mother’s Day, it’s proper to acknowledge that, indeed, it’s the woman who pays. It’s the mothers and wives who tolerate our absence from home, nevertheless sow the seeds of joy, and then welcome us back as if we haven’t just spent the morning doing very bad things. [...]

    The Giro d’Italia. It’s a grand tour like those races in France and Spain, but something about it seems different. For us, the big thing is more chaos. This quality seems to stem from no clear patron, a course that changes dramatically year to year, the leader’s jersey getting swapped from rider to rider to rider, dramatic changes in climatic conditions, and bitter feuds played out in media. But there’s another larger reason for Anglophones’ distance from the Giro. Unlike the Tour, there is little in the way of history of the Giro to give context and meaning to what [...]

    Low-tech/high-tech. There must be a name for this growing category of cycling clothing. Clothing that uses the latest materials, cuts, and joinery, but consciously tries to evoke earlier eras. This is the place we see the Giordana Sport cycling clothing slotting. The name comes from the tags that the company sewed onto the inside hem of the jersey when the company started, a common placement in those days. Back in 1979, the jersey fabric of choice was wool. They made spandex shorts, and were quickly moving to work with the then-new polyester and elastic fabrics as well as classic wool. [...]

    We’re dedicated to the idea that all of cycling deserves careful analysis. Some time ago, we decided that socks aren’t merely a foot covering that protects your skin from your shoes, but a clothing item that, when done right, improves performance. So it is that we now turn our attention to Swiftwick socks. Swiftwick makes a point of calling their foot covers “compression socks,” and the melding of socks with compression alone is one worth investigating. We picked up two pair: the Aspire and Pursuit. The Aspire is the jewel of their line. The sock is heavy on the Olefin [...]

    - The question used to be Do you use Strava when you ride? But, like clipless pedals or heart rate monitors, it’s taken ahold of our sport with a rare combination of broad and deep appeal. So the better question now is whether you use Strava as a verb or, in a moment of mid-ride hypoxia, find yourself playing word games – Stravacide, [strah-veh-sahyd] noun To ride significantly harder during training than originally planned (e.g. on a climb or a defined stretch of road) in order to increase one’s ranking on the Strava Leaderboard for a specific segment. Stravasnipe, [strah-veh-snahyp], [...]

    - A few weeks back I mentioned I might be in the market for a steel frame and fork. It wasn’t mere passing fancy. I contacted three ‘name’ American frame manufacturers to get an understanding of how the purchase process might work. A voice in my head told me to span the generations. After all, framebuilders have been trying to master the craft for nearly a century. So I emailed builders whose frames’ rise to prominence came in different decades. Representing the Old School is Roland Della Santa of Reno, Nevada. Bridging the gap between Old and New is David [...]

    - The Bicycle Leadership Conference (BLC) took place in Monterey, California last week. It’s an annual opportunity for industry leaders to take a tiny step back from the strictures of singleminded company loyalty to collaborate on the future of the industry. The heavy-hitters in attendance included John Burke, CEO of Trek; Stan Day, Founder and President of SRAM; Steve Flagg, Founder and CEO of Quality Bicycle Products; Bob Margevicius, Executive VP of Specialized as well as the executive management teams of their companies and countless others. I was not there to valet cars. But as I sat alongside the titans [...]

    - This is Evgeni Berzin, circa 1996. Below is a photo of Berzin, circa 2011. While I was critical of Herbie Sykes’ prolix writing style last week, I must praise him this time. His essay in Rouleur 28 about Berzin’s current station in life is the saddest cycling tale you’ll read this spring. The 1990′s racing legend has become a bitter and bereft Fiat salesman. - Another fixture of the late 90′s pro scene were the Shimano Dura Ace PD-7401 pedals. They were made for Shimano by Look, but they weren’t just rebadged Look pedals. They offered Dura Ace-caliber lightness [...]