Monday, July 12, 2010

The Search for Form, the Need for Speed and Economic Rationalisation Part 2

I arose early this morning to continue my complex and frustrating voyage along the comeback trail (I went for a ride). In a bid to accelerate the return of some sort of fitness I have decided its time to start doing some specific efforts. Now I’m not going to bore you with the details as I’m sure nobody would be interested in what I do to keep fit. In any case what works for me may not work for you and if you are after training advice you really shouldn’t be looking to me for help.

My ride took me along a popular training and commuting route for many Melbourne cyclists, and no it wasn’t Beach Road. As I rode along cross eyed, wanting to throw up and with the taste of blood in my mouth between efforts, I began to notice how few cyclists were out this morning, the usual small bunches of threes or fours were notably absent and apart from the commuters on hybrids and MTB’s, the only cyclist I saw out training (I know he was training because he didn’t have a backpack) was the guy in full HTC Columbia regalia riding without legwarmers. Obviously he must be one of those people who don’t feel the cold, in contrast to me, fully rugged up complete with booties, thick gloves, jacket and head band. I think it must have been around six degrees and I may have over done it slightly but I would much rather be hot and sweaty than cold and shivering. I’m guessing the absent cyclists were due to everyone staying up late to watch the coverage of that big bicycle rally in France.

Cyclingmuse in depth TDF analysis: Apparently some guy from Australia is leading and this American who won it like fifteen times crashed when he rolled his front tyre and lost over ten minutes. I wouldn’t want to be the mechanic responsible for that, but the real action everyone is talking about was the fight between Carlos Barredo and Rui Costa at the end of stage six.

Now back to my self indulgent musings. As you may already know I am currently exploring the possibility of acquiring new wheels and since returning from a short vacation I have now resumed my search for some race winning "hoops". Of course I am hoping that riding new race wheels will improve my "lifestyle" in as much as it may elevate me from my mediocre, also ran lifestyle, to a well respected fast guy always in the winning move kind of lifestyle. Try as I might I cant seem to find any brand being marketed as a lifestyle wheel, in fact when I typed  "lifestyle wheel" into a popular search engine I found this:

From what I can gather you fill in the various sections in accordance to your level of satisfaction. From this you or your life coach can see where your lifestyle is out of kilter. You can then concentrate on realigning your inner balance, so if you are run of the mill in all areas but rate highly in the family department you can do something detrimental in that area like alienating one of your children to throw the wheel back into balance.
It's not surprising that bicycle manufacturers have not embraced the lifestyle marketing craze as most bicycle manufacturers, regardless of how innovative or cutting edge they may elude to be, never really push the boundaries too far and for good reason. Cyclists can be a very traditional bunch and will only accept innovation in "micro doses". You only have to look at how little the bicycle has changed over the past 100 years to see this.

Triathletes on the other hand seem to embrace as many innovative contraptions as they can fit on one bike.

Well the search for wheels is beginning to depress me, I keep seeing plenty of worthy products out there but none of them seem to fall into my price range. Put it down to me getting older and grumpier but these days I find it difficult to pay more for a product than I think it is worth. Cycling was once a blue collar sport and yes I suppose you can still get an affordable entry level race bike to start out on but the nice stuff sure is getting expensive these days. The manufacturers will justify the price because of the expensive/extensive research that goes into product development but when a bidon cage costs more than a night out for two at a respectable restaurant with a nightcap on the way home, or about 45 cups of coffee, you really have to question how much we should be paying for this stuff. Are you willing to forego all those coffees at your Sunday morning cafe stop just so you can show off your latest lashing of carbon fibre?

Money doesn't grow on trees but apparently bikes do. I don't think the one on the right is ripe yet.


  1. Thanks Mr. Muse for another great article, but just one question why is it that pro bike riders fight like girls? After all, isn't the sport trying to promote riders as gladiators and in some cases calling him spartacus?!....and in regards to your wheel dilemma, it's easy try a set of Reynolds DV46TUL, there so good it destroyed my marriage but not my bank balance(well not until the missus get's it)!

  2. I think it has to be a combination of feeble arms and slippery cleats, they both ended up on the ground pretty fast! Thanks for the hot tip on the wheels and good luck with the divorce settlement!