Before I start on the topic of the day.
I have an announcement to make. I am bringing the “Punish the fat guy in Australia” competition to an end. There were 2 judges nominated and in the apparent absence of 1, the other has stepped up to the microphone.
Thank you MuMo for the following:
My biggest problem for thinking up a punishment is that I can’t visualize you
stumbling, much less failing. I know you will make it because you’re an Aussie
and Aussies are tough motherjumpers for sure. But in the far-fetched case that
you DID stumble, I think Fatty has the right ideas. He’s bril, dontchaknow?
She was referring to this from Fatty:
Everyone seems intent on making you get rid of hair. i propose the opposite.
The first time you miss, you grow lambchop sideburns.
The second time you miss, you grow a handlbar mustache.
The third time you miss, you grow a combover hairstyle.
The fourth time, you grow back your mullett, to whatever degree you are able, while
still keeping the combover.
You want a stick? There’s your stick.
And so it is. A series of failures shall see me become quite the modern dandy on my penny-farthing.
On with the show.
I’ve left you without a bike story for quite a while. So today I’ll fix it. I will take you for a walk through my cycling stable. It will be a history lesson for some and a tear inducing walk down memory lane for others. With a hint of tickle to keep even the non-cyclists alert.
Let’s just jump straight in.
The road bike. This beast is 4 years old and has already had a frame transplant due to a combination of my size and a manufacturing fault in a weld on the bottom bracket. It is the first bike I have owned with indexed gears. That is how long it is since I stepped back from mainstream cycling. It’s nothing to write home about, just an off the peg aluminium frame with Shimano Tiagra 9-speed and a seat that has been moulded to my backside through 18 years and 4 different bikes. You will notice the powerful red on red theme highlighted with a dash of black. This is the foundation and cornerstone of my riding. It sees me more than any other and from that familiarity grows a powerful attachment.
The fixie. This is grandpa’s axe. The frame is Columbus SLX of a vintage close to 1989. Many of the components are older than that. It became the fixie when the current road bike arrived. Galli Criterium cranks. Suntour Superbe Pro hubs and brakes. Selle Italia Turbo saddle (the same as the road bike). The Simplex friction gear levers are in the spare parts bucket awaiting a resurrection. It encourages my smooth cadence with the permanent 42×17 gearing. (those of you with a sharp eye will see that is currently has a 7-speed cluster, my nephew is visiting and it’s out on loan but I refuse to add the derailleurs etc.) This is the machine that gives me most of my “at one with the wind” moments.
The track bike. A work of art. I had this bike made after a very solid 4th place in the sprint at the 1988 Queensland state titles. That ride was on my first ever track bike with bottom of the range everything. The replacement was handmade by a member of my club and carries the name DaRoMi. It sounds quite Italian but was in fact derived from David (the frame builder), Robbie (my best friend and original LBS guy) and Michael (me). It is fitted with a complete Suntour Superbe Pro ensemble running 50×15. For anyone with less than 10 years of real cycling experience, Suntour was a major force in bicycle components until Campagnolo and Shimano shut everybody else out with their indexed gear systems. There are a set of high pressure training wheels as well as a set of spare racing wheels. The spares have mere Campagnolo Record hubs. All 3 sets of wheels run on Mavic rims and the spokes are tied and soldered. As you can see from the clutter around it, this is the business end of my bike riding. Apart from the extra wheels there are 4 extra chainrings (46,47,48,49 teeth), 12 rear sprockets (3 each of 12, 13, 14, 16). There are 2 spare sets of Suntour Superbe Pro track pedals in case a crash bends a pedal. And yes, double toe straps (Alfredo Binda with fibreglass inserts).
The extras and spares. This is the back corner of the garage. As you can see, there is a myriad of bits and pieces. The brown chest has enough Sugino, Campagnolo, Galli and Mavic components to build close to 3 complete bikes. The white frame hanging on the wall was part of grandpa’s axe. It has one of the legendary Nadax Fag bottom brackets in it. With a documented 80,000km (50,000mi) ridden the bottom bracket is still the smoothest, most free spinning I have ever experienced.
The engine. These are the components that truly matter. And these are the components that were feared above all else. Nobody wanted these legs sitting on their wheel with 400 metres to go in any kind of race (with the possible exception of a climbing finish of more than 10% gradient). Sadly they were also laughed at and ridden away from by most of the whippet-like climbers on any hill that lasted more than 500 metres (0.3mi).
The fuel tank. Laugh if you will. This is my single biggest handicap and it’s fading fast.
The auxiliary power supply. Solar panels are very energy efficient. I truly believe that they assist with power generation and help, in some small way, to offset the negative effect of carrying a years supply of converted carbohydrates in my shirt.
My permanent post script
No matter how meagre your existence may seem, if you are reading this you are in a position to be a hero to people who need heroes more than you could imagine. Click here to make a help difference.