Documenting the process of buying a bike, eating duck sauce, and Jewish Law's take on TT helmets

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When I saw Quiet Riot play live in 1989, they were way past their prime. I didn't even like them, but semi-heavy music was so rare in Colombia that my brother and I decided to go (and our mom went with us). Before the show, I remember hearing that one of the band members was under the weather, and that their performance could suffer as a result. In reality, that was like saying that the guy who's about to punch you in the face has a slightly larger-than-average hand, so it might hurt a bit more. In the end, such details make no difference. The effect, and the suck-fest that took place that night in 1989 was about the same either way. Why bring this up? Because I'll be traveling this week, so (like the guys from Quiet Riot) I may not be up to my full potential. That, my friends and fellow readers, includes this post. Today's post is comprised of random cycling-related musings that have accumulated in my mind during my travels, much like bike shop-branded jerseys that are accumulating at your local shop, because no one in their right might wants to pay $75 for a badly designed jersey of a bike shop that wants you to advertise for them for free.



A book review of a book I've never read.
At the risk of sounding like I'm twice my age, I have to say that things like Facebook and Blogger have created a false sense of importance for many people, perhaps myself included. Having the ability to publish your thoughts allows you to own "the means of production" (in the words of our fellow comrades). The ability to communicate freely is a very democratic one, but one that is largely wasted on sub-par content. With that in mind, I have to say that I long for the days when every tiny aspect of everyone's life was not published and deemed worthy of sharing with the world. Clearly, these comments do not apply to this blog...which is amazingly important, well written and thus beyond reproach, I'm talking about the idea of publishing an entire book about the process of buying a frame and the parts that will go with it. That's exactly what this book is all about. Here's part of a description about the book:

Tells the story of a journey to design and build a dream bike. From Stoke-on-Trent, where an artisan hand builds his frame, to California, home of the mountain bike, where the author tracks down the perfect wheels, via Portland, Milan and Coventry, birthplace of the modern bicycle, this narrative is about our love affair with cycling.


Though I'm sure that the author of this book is talented, and that it tells a slightly bigger story than that of simply buying a bike (let's hope), I still can't help but feel that an entire chapter of the book will be devoted to the decision of getting the black or salmon-colored KoolStop pads. Does the world need a book like this one? One fully dedicated to putting a bike together? I know that if you reduce books to their most basic message, they all start to seem rather plain. Ulysses is a book about walking through Dublin, 100 Years Of Solitude is a little story about a Colombian family, and Grapes Of Wrath is about Tom Joad going on a trip. Still, I can't help but feel that building/putting together a bike is just...well.. building a bike. In the world of "artisan" and "curated" goods, is the art of buying worth documenting? I suppose this book tells us that it is.

Yes, you can slave over decisions when buying or a frame. I have. Having one custom-made probably brings up a lot of questions, and is probably a very rewarding process. But a book devoted to this process strikes me as proof that the bike industry is basically starting to fellate itself in a self-referential manner that would even leave most post-modernist architects gasping in horror. For the life of me, I will never understand why there's such a compulsive need to complicate something as simple as a bike, and why there's an equally strong desire to document our every move as though all of them have a higher meaning. It's the same way that friends of mine used to try to see a higher meaning in movies like Star Wars, or groundbreaking TV shows Perfect Strangers, Small Wonder, or my beloved Quantum Leap. Buying a bike is just buying a bike, even if it's built around a custom frame, and Quantum Leap was just a TV show. It was a great one, which served as an amazing vehicle for Scott Bakula to deliver his acting prowess though, that's for damn sure. I mean, I admire Bakula's entire body of work, and I'll be damned if pseudo intellectuals will ruin his most sublime achievement by over analyzing it in the same manner that buying a bike how now been over analyzed.


Scott, you had all of us on the palm of your many hand before we even set eyes on your shiny and futuristic man-blouse.


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As this map shows, Canada is home to a large portion of the world's moose population. Wait, why did I want to tell you guys about the moose population in Canada? Oh right, because Ryder Hesjedal has an award winning case of moose knuckle. between his legs.


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Cycling Inquisition's Thrifty Tip of the Day
Colombian's tend to be notoriously cheap, and I'm being perfectly honest when I tell you that even for a Colombian, I'm pretty damn cheap. If any of you say that I'm also cheap because I'm a bit Jewish, I'll come over to your house and beat you mercilessly with an extension cord, while I have you banned from the internet due to your anti-semitic remarks. Having said that, here's your Cycling Inquisition super-saver tip of the day, which was given to me recently during a ride:


Duck sauce is the thrifty man's Gu and/or Power Gel. Hey, it's free. Try it.


While we're on the subject of Judaism and cycling, I'd like to share the picture below, which I saw in Pez, and immediately caught my attention.




For all the work that has been done within Rabbinic Judaism to interpret the Talmud, I would venture to say that at no point has a correct protocol been developed for the issues that this man was faced with on the day of his wedding. If a Jewish man is to be married while wearing his TT helmet, does the yarmulke go under or over the helmet? I'm happy to report, however, that the man officiating the wedding followed liturgical tradition by wearing a sleeveless jersey. In any case mazel tov to the lucky couple. May your helmets help shave seconds off your personal records (once said helmet is yarmulke free), may your skinsuits never chafe, and may you always rest your bike drivetrain-side up (as your officiant wisely did). Congratulations to you both.

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The new climb that the Vuelta will tackle this year is called "Bola del Mundo", which means "Ball of the world". Jesus, you suddenly realize how poetic names like Tourmalet, Hautacam, and Col de la Bonette are by comparison.

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Past winners of the Vuelta A Colombia (© Luis Barbosa)

The 60th Vuelta A Colombia started yesterday (Sunday). You can see the results daily here. Fabio Duarte, Oscar Sevilla and Mauricio Ortega are among the favorites. At the team presentation, past winners such as Luis Herrera, Oscar Botero and Spaniard Jose Gomez del Moral (who won in 1957) were honored. I will be in Colombia during the later stages of the race, but sadly will not be able to see it in person.


Jose Gomez del Moral (© Luis Barbosa)
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A new episode of my brother's podcast is up, and it features Mike from Gage & Desoto. These two talking about the Tour, especially the key stages that they watched together at the Rapha club in Manhattan is an unstoppable volcanic eruption of cycling magama that will not be stopped. By comparison, this blog (in which I don't discuss the stages of the Tour which I watched alone while at work) is but a troublesome rumbling, like the one I had that one time I got food poisoning from the all-you-can-eat Indian buffet near my house. Be that as it may, the podcast is very good, and well worth listening.