The Not-Disposable Bike

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Just as there was a sweet spot for cars – a moment in time when they were just modern enough to start perfectly every time, never stall, last almost forever and rarely require more than routine maintenance but were not yet over-laden with expensive electronics that rendered them economic throw-aways when those electronics began to crap out – there is also a sweet spot for motorcycles.

And the good news is, it’s closer in time to right now – so there are still plenty of them left (and at reasonable prices).

With cars, the sweet spot was – roughly – the early-mid 1990s through the early 2000s. So about 15 years ago. This was the era when new cars came with electronic fuel injection – but not direct injection. When they had air bags – but usually just two. They had transmissions with overdrive gearing – but not eight, nine and ten gears.

The cars (and trucks) from that era are worth their weight in gold, almost – because they can be kept going inexpensively almost forever.

When something breaks, it’s usually worth fixing – which is increasingly no longer the case with newer cars because the fix (more often than not, the replace) costs too much relative to the value of the car itself and – besides – something else Big Ticket will likely fail soon, too.

Once they reach a certain age, they quickly become money pits – and so, throw-aways.

New bikes, too.

Almost all of them now have computers, just like cars – and they are fuel-injected, just like cars. Even the small ones. Instead of spending twenty bucks on a set of jets to tune the carbs, as you could do until quite recently (relative to cars) you now send out the ECU to be reprogrammed.

For a couple hundred bucks.

You do not want to know what it costs to replace the computer – without which the modern bike won’t run.

It may have drive-by-wire throttle (like a new car).

An old-school push-pull cable isn’t as Tech but it only costs about $20. You do not want to know how much it costs to replace the drive-by-wire system.

Or the ABS pump.

They are installing the same kind of idiot-proofing on bikes that afflicts all new cars: Traction control (even wheelie control – yes, really) and developing automated kick stands. A few bikes have air bags.

These bikes will be interesting to own when they are 20 years old.

Probably, they will not be owned by then. They will have been recycled by then. Such bikes – contrary to the norm in the motorcycle world since the dawn of two-wheeling more than 100 years ago – are not long-term keepers. It is one thing to keep, say, a ’70s Universal Japanese Motorcycle (e.g., a Honda CB750 or Kaw 900) for decades because they last for decades and because whatever goes south is easily and usually cheaply put right – with hand tools and garage time.

Not computers and shop time.

When your injected, ABS-equipped and traction-controlled bike develops Code Fugue, it is time to call the man. And the man may have to send out the ECU to another man – because he lacks the necessary inscrutable diagnostic equipment and other such to deal with it.

New bikes are even more like iPhones than new cars because of the fact of lesser value, more rapidly depreciating – and higher fix-it costs. Take a bike you just bought for say $12,000. Five years from now, the bike will be worth half that. In ten years, it will be worth almost nothing. Are you going to spend $1,000 on a catalyst-equipped replacement exhaust system for it – plus the 02 sensor? Buy a new $800 ECU?

Probably not.

New bikes do amazing things – just like new cars. But it comes at a price. Nothing’s for free in this life.

So – where’s the sweet spot for bikes?

As recently as about five years ago – depending on the bike.

Many bikes – even sport bikes – didn’t even have computers or catalytic converters until around 2005 or so. Some within a few years of that range still had carburetors (my 2003 Kawasaki ZRX1200 is one of them) and these bikes are, in almost every meaningful/functional way – as easy (and cheap) to keep riding indefinitely as the bikes made 30 years ago. Only better because – as with new cars – the build quality/standards are generally higher and these bikes are modern where it counts (e.g., electronic ignition systems) and have almost all the advantages of the brand-new stuff as far as handling/braking/suspension equipment but lack the crap.

The electronic (and saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety) add-ons that will – inevitably – turn them into throw-aways, just like cars have become.

A bike like my ’03 Kaw is still entirely hand-tool fixable. It has mechanical parts that may need to be adjusted or repaired at some point. But it has very little in the way of electronic stuff that will one day need to be replaced. One does not need to plug it into anything. There are no codes to read.

Besides which, I like that it’s up to me to maintain control of traction. To apply just the right amount of pressure to the front and rear brakes, proportioning the ratio myself – by feel, based on experience.

Wheelie control – like hair gel – is for squids.

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  1. Another thing that newer bikes have thanks to environmental regulations and the necessity of the catalytic converters is the generated HEAT! Especially the larger bikes. Many are uncomfortable to ride once it gets much higher than mid 80s temp wise.

  2. Since we are a carbon based life form, the notion that “carbon” is a pollutant and a hazard is superstition on the level of the cargo cults in the south Pacific. These anti carbon loons are basically a primitive cult, slavishly worshiping fake earth deities.

    • Hi Greg,

      Amen… though I kinda like cargo cults… I have thought about building a wicker MiG 25 in the backyard… maybe it will attract a real one…

      • When they seriously propose taxing cow farts, you KNOW the world has gone insane, and it’s even beyond anything even the strangest cult could come up with.

        Eric? Would you settle for a pair of cargo pants?

        • Morning, Nunzio!

          Cycling seems to have become – to a great extent – another form of virtue signaling and is afflicted also by Cod Piece Fever. As you wrote up above, they seem to not be just out for a ride; they are pretending to be Lance Armstrong and in the Tour de France. They are belligerent about their cycling. It smacks to me of a North Korean mass exercise event.

          • eric, the SIL lives in Grapevine, Tx., yuppie-ville as the inhabitants call their neighborhood. They have large numbers of bikers who ignore all traffic laws. En masse they’ll take up an entire street and never yield to auto traffic as if they always have the ROW. It’s pretty amazing to see that mindset. I can tell you what it would get you in other parts, a trip to the morgue.

            They occasionally have an accident as not everyone is aware bikes “always” have the ROW. I wonder what happens in those cases. Probably I’ll continue to stop…..on my bike.

  3. Damn you nailed it again. I just checked on the ABS hydraulic unit for my old 2000 BMW R1150GS, $2562 and an ECU is $1701. While the ECU(?) for my 1981 R100RT is $152, heck I even carry a spare. And the bike cost less then the ABU unit. Granted I’ve put about a grand in getting it road ready but still less then those two units.
    When looking for a new(old) bike I was seriously tempted to get an 1150GS again. I’d bought one new back in 2000 and loved that bike for my IBA rides, but dreams of 17 years of neglected maintenance and the price of those parts drove me back to the RT.
    Although with Corn gas and low ZDDP oils the RT life might be limited. But I can still buy Valvoline VR1and I ride enough to keep that corn crap dry. We get around did a SS1000 on the Summer Solstice a few weeks ago!

    • Hi Tom,

      I rode my ’03 ZRX to the coffee joint today. Love this bike. And I love even more that, when the time comes, rebuilding the 1200 cc four will be not much different than rebuilding the ’76 Kaw 900’s four.

      Same goes for the carbs.

      And everything else.

      I could do a Muzzy big bore kit, refresh the bottom end – and have a 180 hp engine, ready to rock, for about $3,000 in parts.

  4. Around the mid-2000s, many bikes made the transition from carburetors to fuel injection (most likely due to environmental regulations). Many of those early fuel injected bikes had issues with “snatchy” on/off throttle response. Even now a significant number of new models are still having issues. The ones that still have carburetors are those that haven’t changed for decades and are “grandfathered” in. Fuel injection has many advantages, but the all critical throttle control is not one of them. I own a carbureted bike and a fuel injected bike and the throttle control is much better on the former.

    • I specifically bought a year 2000 Dyna Glide b/c that was the last year for the carburetor. Motorcycles are going the way of cars now, and that’s sad.

  5. My wife bought a Dodge Demon in October 1971. Slant 6, Holly 1 barrel. She drove it every day until we sold it in August of 2006 with 190k on the ORIGINAL engine & 3rd transmission. Our annual upkeep all the way through was about the equivalent of 2 car payments at the most.

    My bike is a 2014 Suzuki S40 650 air cooled thumper with a Mikuni carb. Long term reliability is one of the best. The same simple, proven technology for 30 years. My first bike was a 1969 BSA Lightning. I came away from that with this lesson: Reliability and serviceability come way ahead of the latest and greatest.

    • Hi Greg,


      I keep most of the bikes I buy; still have the ’76 Kz900 after 20-plus years. Simple, easy to keep up. Inexpensive. Buy a new sport bike today with an ECU, catalyst, 02 sensors, ABS, linked brakes with ABS, stability control, etc. In 20 years, it will have long ago been recycled. That is, wastefully thrown away and replaced.

      Just like a modern car.

            • Greg, if you’ve never ridden a REAL road bike, ya HAVE to try it at least once! Gliding through the streets in silence under your own power, is not only about the most freedom we can experience these days….but it’s as close to flying as one can come without having an actual plane or glider!

            • Or me!

              I have a friend who is a maniac about this stuff. Like me, a middle-aged dude – not Lance Armstrong – but he spent $4k on a bike frame. It’s carbon fiber or some such.

              Makes my teeth hurt…

              • It is crazy! In the final analysis, no matter how great the bike or how much it cost, it’s still just a freakin’ bicycle, and the only thing that really matters is how you pedal it.

                When I used to spend time on bike forums, I’d read accounts about guys going on group rides (Another thing I’ll never “get”… rides…) and some famous racer or ex-racer showing up, on an old run-of-the-mill bike, while orthodontists who had to hang with the slow pack were riding $10K wonder bikes.

                I used to clock my times over the same 26 mile loop that I like to do, on the expensive Venge I had briefly, vs. a $300 chinese bike I had. 26 miles, and over a fair number of samplings, it turns out, the fancy bike would save me……12 seconds!

                If you’re in the Tour De France, that might be significant…..but for some guy just riding around? It’s only significant to the people selling the bikes!

                • Hi Nunzio,

                  I can see that a fractional difference in weight or some other such matters hugely to competitive racers – but for an average guy out riding on a weekend? C’mon!

                  It’s exactly like cars.

                  A guy like me, with some native talent, serious training and a bit of track time, can just barely drive a car like a Camry at the edge of its limits. The average guy will exceed his limits as a driver long before he approaches the limits of a car like a Camry.

                  In a Corvette? It’s absurd.

                  It’s all about posing.

                  Cod Piece Fever.

                  • Exactly Eric. Even the top racers- the bikes they ride are provided by the sponsors as part of the marketing game. If they had to choose their own bikes and pay for them, I guarantee you they’d be on much more mundane bikes (at least the saner guys) because the differences are so trivial.

                    Two of the biggest factors, even for those looking for top performance, are the tires you ride, and the position you ride in (Aerodynamics is one of the biggest limiting factors on a bike- Scrunching down low, with your torso horizontal, makes more difference than anything).

                    That being said though, the aesthetic difference between a Walmart bike, and say a $1000 bike, can make one’s riding experience a lot more enjoyable.

                    • Indeed, my Eyetalian amigo!

                      I sometimes get my giggles by taking some douchebag in a “luxury sport” sedan to school… as he tries to follow me down Bent Mountain (a great road, couple miles of sweeping and decreasing radius S curves) in my ’02 Nissan pickup.

                      The douchebag will ride my ass… on the straight stretch before the curves. Come the curves, the douchebag is way out of his depth, eve though he has much better equipment than I do.

                      But skill and some training makes up for a lot. Bob Bondurant taught me this many moons ago. In an E series Ford van.

                    • Eric, my favorite thing to do when I need to go the posted limit or otherwise law enforcement capped on speed is lead a tailgating moron on to a ramp or otherwise curved road without even lifting. So much fun watching these moron crumble or get in over their heads. Haven’t seen one wreck yet. And if they do what are they going to say? They exceeded their own abilities?

                      Oh as to skills and vans, this top gear classic comes to mind:
                      As far as driving skill and vans:

                    • I hate, absolutely hate riding in the drop position. I just power through the air. This another thing that angered the fancy pants types when I was younger.

                      POS heavy worn out bike riding with the aerodynamics of a brick wearing shorts and T shirt and still beating them.

                    • Funny thing, Brent- when I was 13, I’d ride strictly on the tops- hated the drops. Now at 55, I can ride the drops all day long- my saddle’s 5″ higher than my bars- no problemo, other than having to look over my glasses…..

                    • It’s not a can or cannot thing for me, it’s a like and dislike.

                      There’s no reason why I couldn’t ride all day in the drop position I simply don’t like to. I actually used to do it more at 13 (to go faster) than I do now.

                    • Yeah, Brent- I didn’t used too, ’cause it wasn’t the most comfortable thing….but as an adult, I quickly figured out that when the wind is blowing 20MPH, I had either better get used to the drops, or be content to go about 8MPH when riding into the wind (Which seems to be most of the time 😉 ).

                      Just doing it a lot over the course of that first windy winter that I got back into cycling as an old fart, I got comfortable with it- Not that it was ever uncomfortable- I just never used to like riding in the drops. Now I feel weird if I’m NOT riding the drops. And that’s when I really miss downtube shifters, too! I like to keep my hands low.

                    • In about ten years, or as soon as he dumps it, he’ll be wishing he’d bought a classic style steel frame. The rock is hard, rides harshly, OR is too limp, “noodle” like, and thus spooky. Worst? It has a street life of about ten years. Then it begins to crack up.

                      Find a vintage steel frame bike that is well made and FITS you. You will be faster, go farther, with less strain and weariness on a heavier bike that FITS than on a twelve pound lightwight flyer that doesn’t.Like the modern 10 and 11 speed click-shift (“index” systems? So do I… get the bits and retrofit to a classic old frame. Far less money than a new high tech, and a better bike.

                    • One time after a club ride, some guy was telling any with an empty ear all about the weight saving changes he’d made to his fancy “wheel”. I was mentally adding up the saved weight…. about the time he concluded his sales pitch, I pulled one of my water bottles out of its cage, held it up, remobed the cap, and poured out about six ounces of water. I put it back into the cage. One of the other guys “got it”, and began to crack up, I had just reduced te weight of my own bike by the same amount this other guy had… by simly pouring out a few ouncs of water. He’s spent a LOT of money….

                      Now, there ARE improvements can be made to make them faster…. low spoke count wheels (who needs the standard 36 spokes both ends, anyway? Even doing loaded touring, 32 works just fine most times.. choose the right rim and spoke lacing, get a really lightweight but STRONG hum (Doug WHite makes the lightst AND strongest in the industry), then “prep? the bearings….. Then the tyres… some geeks test things like drag, wear, speed on various surface types at different pressures, and then, of course, there is the totally sunbjective handling quality… I started out riding on “sew ups”, or “tubular” tyres.. 195 gramme silk casing, tube as thin as a rubber, runs at 180pis if you want it to, and NOTHING would stick in a corner like those. Stable at apeed, too.. I’ve been above 70 on a downhill.. rick solid stable.

                    • Right-on, Tionico!

                      You see people paying absurd amounts of money for the latest plastic superbikes (Which will be in the landfill 10 years down the road), when, for $1500 or less, they could have gotten a vintage steel work of art which is “alive” (Instead of dead, like CF) and amazing….and will still be rideable in another 30 or 40 years- and likely greatly appreciate in value…as opposed to the wonderbike, which depreciates like dog-doo on a 110*F day.

                    • Tionico, How about “drillium”? (People used to actually drill a series of holes in their components to make them lighter!)

                      They say you’ll gain 1MPH for every 12 lbs. you lose. Wonder how many thousandths of a MPH these dopes gained by shaving a few grams?

                      Those were probably the parents of the people who are the “greenies” today- who obsess over carbon footprints and “global warming” and drive electric cars….

                    • The way it goes for me, Brent, is I’ll ride into the wind, going….and then just as I get to my turn-around point, the wind’ll shift direction, and I’ll be riding into the wind on the way back, too!

                      No matter what I do, I’m always breaking wind! 😀

                      Hunkering down in the drops does help me a lot though- not only for the aerodynamics, but it seems to allow me to use the bigger muscles in my legs more efficiently- I seem to be able to transfer more power to the pedals in that position…which I think is ultimately what got me hooked on it (Which again, makes another good case for riding my fat bike on the road…no drop bars, so I’ll have to sit up, and can better enjoy the scenery!)

                • When I was in my early 20s and late teens I used to ride the chicago lakefront trail practically daily. I had my 1982 Raleigh with the steel lug frame worn out suntour components and kmart tires. I lived on the south side. On the north side were the fancy pants types with the expensive bikes the spandex and the whole nine yards. They would pick _southbound_ races with me. Only once or twice northbound but nearly every time one or more southbound races. I always won. They would take shortcuts and I would still win. Meaning I lost sight of them. Their outgoing trip, my return trip.

                  It was a lot of fun. But I wouldn’t ride anything like that even if I was still that fast.

                  I’m no gram shaver and I don’t need the best anything but I’ve learned the difference between cheap bikes and good ones and I have the money so I’m not going back to my ~$300 Giant (that replaced the Raleigh)

              • Hi Eric,

                Sure there are alot of posers out there who buy stuff primarily to show off. But, to many others, bicycling brings a profound joy. I was 36 years old before I bought a car that cost more than my primary bike. Because I felt the same way about spending 15-20 thou on a car as you do about spending 4 thou on a bike. But, people have different interests and different things bring them happiness.

                For me, a bike was always more than an object that brought freedom and physical pleasure (although it did and does provide those), it was, and is, a vehicle for my creative imagination. I built my first set of wheels at 12 years old. Every bike I have ever owned, I built from the frame up, including hand built wheels. I have constantly modified parts to make them do things they’re not supposed to be able to do.

                I hand built my own brakes in the early days of mountain biking that were easily twice as powerful as anything available at the time. In fact, I still use them on one of my bikes and they are just as powerful as modern hydraulic disc brakes. I designed my own road hubs because there didn’t seem to be any hub manufacturers that seemed to really understand wheel-building. They didn’t understand that the hub is the base of the wheel, and that as much, or more, than any other single factor, hub design determines the strength and stiffness of the finished wheel.

                I consider all of my bikes to be evolving works of art. They fuel my mind, repair my body and give me great joy. In short, bikes do for me what cars and motorcycles do for you.

                Kind Regards,

                  • Hi Eric,

                    I hear you too. After all, it’s only irrational when other people do it, ha ha.

                    BTW, what did you think of the hot sauce.


        • Greg, at the bottom of the comment, when reading it in your email, there is a link that says “Manage your subscriptions” -which will take you to a page where you can choose which threads you want to unsubscribe from. (Which would pretty much be any thread in which I participate- as it will be guaranteed to go seriously off-topic! Sorry, guys….)

            • Yeah! We’re not like those sissy Harley riders, who have to have their wittle motors, and thick padded seats, and fat biker mama on the back! 😉

            • yeah… when you spend a ouple hundred thousand miles making those pedals go round and round, it has gone beyond a normal “passion”. For me, these days, it is quite literally ride or die…. cycling is the ONLY cardio exercise remaining for me (workplace injury and aftermath) And with money very tight these days, any miles I can put on the bike helps ME keep fit, and saves burning fuel. So, in short, the bikes tend to become more central……..

              • Come to think of it, Tionico, cycling is about the only “exercise” I can stand! I can’t do exercise for exercise’s sake- I could never go to a gym or anything like that- I have to get enjoyment/pleasure out of what I’m doing….and cycling provides that.

                Life is too short to run like a rat on some treadmill or torture yourself inside of some stinky artificially-lit gym.

    • As for 1969 BSA Lightning, I have a 1970, which is the same piece of junk.
      Didn’t every one of those fracture the timing side case and take out the sissy plain bearing?
      Tomorrow I am going to look at, and probably buy an Arbarth Fiat 124 (Miata bastardy). I wonder what I am in for what with twin turds Fiat and Chrysler.
      At least it is a four year warranty that I have little chance of outliving.

  6. I’ve had a motorcycle license for a good twenty five years now. Been riding longer, if you count off-road. I’ve owned old bikes, new bikes, carbureted, FI, ABS, Non-abs, linked braking, multiple different versions of traction control, and wheelie control. I ride somewhere between 10k-15k miles a year.

    Raced on and off road, and still race NHRA.

    I was never particularly fast or talented. But you know what I learned to be indisputably true?

    Nobody is a good as he thinks he is.

    And modern tcs and abs are so far beyond us as to be almost godlike in ability. If you hate computer aids, by all means, don’t buy a bike with them. But pretending they’re for squids or that you’re faster or better without them is simply not true. I’ve ridden the same bike, electronic aids on and off, and the difference in acceleration, handling, and braking isn’t even in the same universe. Even in a truly controlled environment, with a truly gifted and skilled rider, the number of people faster and safer on a no electronics bike is going to be miniscule. So unless your name is Gadson, Agostini, or Rossi, my money says you’re wrong.

    Keep the shiny side up.

    • Hi John,

      I’m not disputing any of that – I just don’t like electronic idiot proofing. I like a bike that I have to ride with respect – and within my abilities.

      I am not interested in fastest lap times.

      I am interested in controlling my machine.

      • The Lord knows that I am an incompetent rider, but lucky enough to escape a few crashes. I am with you on my level of ability not wanting the short lived junk that will cause your bike or car to be a throwaway.
        I had a Rickman bastard in the 1970’s that had German electrics that failed and they would not support them. I tried to rewind the failed coil but it did not work.
        I don’t care that much if I have the best. Something that is serviceable is far more important.
        (I should learn to dispose of stuff that has a problem.)

  7. They now have freaking BICYCLES with electronic shifting!

    Yes….rechargeable batteries; servo motors, switches; wires; junction boxes, and of course….a computer- all to accomplish the Herculean task of moving a quarter-inch-wide chain a franction of an inch- which, for the last 70 years has been accomplished with ease by a mechanical lever, a spring and a cable.

    The mechanical shifters on my bicycle are 20 years old and still work flawlessly. Electronic shifters which are 5 years old, are now depricated and obsolete.

    And yet cyclists are gobbling up electronic shifting…..keeping their batteries charged; buying new batteries; paying for software upgrades until their particular model is no longer supported…..

    EVERYTHING seems to be going this way- not just cars and motorcicles….and the scary thing is: It’s going this way with the consent and willing participation of the majority of consumers, who think it is just great! THIS is why this world is in serious trouble! People not only go along…but they’re eager to go along, and think that it’s a benefit!!!!!!!

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    • I still ride the 3 speed I had in high school, on its umpteenth set of tires and brake blocks but I keep the chain and cables well lubed and it still gets me around. Like most here I’m a great proponent of the “keep it simple, stupid, rule.

      • While I’m a proponent of KISS I sold my Jenet in the 80’s because of the idiots in cars working the patch and running 100 mph on the roads I rode and never slowed down going by. I had racing carts that ran N or 80 and they’d run right up behind me just feet away. I sold them too.

        Now I have a bike that is a contradiction. Looks like a bike but weighs nothing. I’m afraid I’ll collapse it but haven’t so far.

        I had a Schwinn 10 speed that was heavy but lots of fun.

        • Hey 8,

          Don’t worry, you won’t collapse that bike. Mine’s lighter and it supports me no problem.


          • Yeah Jeremy, your bike is a mirage, lighter than air but you probably don’t have 225 lbs to hurt it with. Don’t know how those tiny spokes can hold me.

        • 8, my two Treks are sitting in the garage now. I can’t ride anymore since I have one working leg and one working arm. Guess they’ll go to a yard sale eventually. I had about stopped riding the trek navigator road bike except on my own private road to the mailbox because of what you described.

          Local drivers out here run right down the middle of the road because there’s no painted centerline, but they would always move over to pass closer to me and hit me with their draft. Assholes.

          Anyway, One Navigator and one 820 are gonna go cheap when I sell them.

          • Dammit Ed, I really hate to hear that. When I went back to trucking my broke leg was still not working right. I tried to run to the fenceline one day after a coyote but just couldn’t stand the pain. A couple days later the boss picks me up and we go to haul water to his cattle before heading to the plains to stay for a few months.

            We got to the place and somebody had stolen some lines and other stuff to fill the portable tank and ones to dump it into a trough. I fiddled with the pump but somebody not knowing their bidness had left the control panel a couple parts shy. He calls in the troops and we start rounding up wild cattle.

            We had his two little boys with us and before long it was one of those contests of will. Cows were half crazy for water and we were trying to get them into pens so we could load them and haul them to my place with water and plenty of grazing.

            He was pushing those little boys and I was afraid they were gonna get run over. He kept telling them to “push” those cows but cows don’t pay much attention to 40″ children and every time he’d holler at ’em I’d tell em to hang back and not get too close.

            We have most going the right direction but this big old longhorn with some Brahma in her had a 3-4 day old calf . I tried to get them around a big trailer but her calf went one direction and she went the other. When she looked around and he was 40 feet away and went baaah she came back on a mission. Then she and I went around that trailer a couple times and all I wanted was to get her calf back to her and all she wanted was to tromp me and rescue her calf. Next thing I know, I’m running. Hell, what a deal, I can run…with 1200 lbs of snot slinging mad mama chasing me.

            It hurt like hell and the next day wasn’t much fun but I swear it turned me around.

            Now I’m not advocating people to get in that predicament or that it would help a non-responding leg but I found out that for me it was only pain that kept me from moving fast. Of course that didn’t cure it but it sorta shamed me and made me laugh at myself.

            Two and a half years later I finally got to where I could rotate over on that foot and walk normally(kinda, sorta), get down and crawl under a truck and all that stuff. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

            Here’s hoping you’ll make a fair recovery to say the least. It’s only been in the last few months I don’t have regular leg pain and I am grateful for it. Every doctor I saw would look at the scars on my leg and have the same question “Who did your surgery?”. Then their jaw would drop when I’d say “Surgery? I didn’t have surgery”. I guess it was the scars from the inside out that threw them off. I’d be easy to track since I walk like a duck. I feel for you bud, I really do.

            • Nah, it ain’t a biggy. It’s amazing that I made it this long with as many parts in order as I have. The arm won’t ever come back any more than it has so far, 2 years after the wreck, a lot of it was gone and was replaced with titanium with little attachment to anything living. The leg is just dead from nerve damage.

              Selling a couple of bicycles that I don’t use anymore doesn’t bother me. I’m OK with just still being around to see my grandbaby born. What’s funny is looking at those expensive bicycles and saying “WTF did I need those for, anyway?”

              • I realize priorities change Ed. It happens with age and maturity and with life-changing things. It sucks you can’t ride but I can’t ride a horse anymore, kills me, but life goes on. Here’s to you enjoying your grandbaby for a long time to come and me being able to converse with you.

                But the reason you bought those bikes is the same reason we all have. Like Nunzio said, riding a road bike and gliding along is a combination of sensual, mental, and all those other things that enhance our appreciation of technology.

                Probably Fred Flintstone’s bike wasn’t quite so smooth and satisfyingly fast.

                I went from a 10 speed Schwinn to that Jenet that weighed just over 20 lbs and it was like being in another universe. The push of one pedal would sent me clicking along for a long way almost like a perpetual motion machine.

                I need to change tires from cyclocross to pure road to get that same thing from my X 15 now.

                Back in the day it was common for truckers to have a bike or small motorcycle. Much easier and enjoyable to find a good place to eat or rest or party than using a road tractor. And now you can’t legally load up with more than 2 people.

                • Well-said, 8!

                  I lived on bikes as a kid….but it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and bikeless, that I rented a bike to ride in Central Park once…and it happened to be a mediocre Raleigh road bike (que Tor), and getting a taste of a real road bike opened up a whole new perception of cycling! Even on the crowded streets of NYC (I ditched the park, after seeing what the bike could do on the street) the bike just opened up a whole new world of mobility and freedom and sensual enjoyment, even in that atmosphere of stifling sloth and confinement.

                  • In my basement I have a very nice Raleigh Pro that I paod about 750.00 for in 1972. I have several bikes that got ridden hard, but kept nicely always. In those days I rode track bikes on the streets. Nowaday a fat tire downhill bicycle will get ruined on the streets. I cannot guess how short the life of tubulars on Campagnolo rims would last. Perhaps a few short minutes.
                    Back then in a declining industrial city one could reasonably expect to ride without too many flats. Now the streets are impossible. What a dump even if I pay 8000.00 per year in tax.
                    It still is a pretty collection of bikes.
                    The fourteen motorcycles that I accumulated even have a tough time with the condition of our streets.

        • My Klein weighs 19 lbs- That’s about as light as I need to go. I like real metal. I got a good deal on a carbon fiber bike that cost $5K when it was new- weighed 17 lbs. played around with it for a few months…didn’t see the appeal. Sold it and even made a few bucks on it. Sad thing is, I just can’t find the time to ride lately. 🙁

          It doesn’t surprise me that you guys cycle! Cycling is one of the freest things we can still do. Unless you’re in a big communist city, like NY, L.A. or BAAHStin, you’re free when you’re on a bike.

          Best memories as an adult though, as far as bye-zycles are corcerned, was of one I found that someone had put out in the trash when I was in my 20’s. It was a cheap 10-speed- probably cost $99 when new- a BSO [Sicycle-Shaped Object- i.e. a piece of junk) and it was covered in house paint. I took it home and sanded it down and repainted it; took it apart and greased it and put on a new cable and new tubes, and tuned her up- and man, I had more fun riding that thing around the streets of suburban NY at night- just a few miles for relaxation. I think the appeal was: I didn’t care about it, so I’d ride it off curbs, or off-road, etc. It was just a bike ya didn’t have to give a thought to.

          And really- there’s little difference between a $99 bike and a $10K bike, other than aesthetics and status. Any differences in performance are so negligible, that you’d have to time them to the second over many miles to even notice. (And the sad thing is, if you’ve ever read any bicycle forums…people actually DO!)

          • Hi Nunzio,

            When I was younger, I often rode a bicycle. Not a Tour de France $4,000 bike. I wore cut-off jeans and a T shirt; never a helmet, for Christ’s sake!

            And today?

            You see herds of would-be Lance Armstrongs, body-painted (just about) in skin tight lycra (complete with cod piece) and those faggy helmets riding as if they thought they were competing in the Tour de France.

            I can’t recall the last time I saw anyone (even a kid) just riding a normal bike,in normal clothes – and without the faggy helmet.

            Yes, I know.


            No thanks.

            • Hey Eric!

              Oh, man! I spent my childhood on my $59 single-speed Ross! And thank gawd…no helmet!

              Today? Well….sad to say, I actually do wear a hi-vis jersey (road crew green) and the shorts with the cham-oys (Not really needed all the time, but when ya ride 35 miles when it’s 102* ya DON’T want chafing!)- and would ya believe it? I actually do wear a helmet now….not for “saaaafety”, but just because i want to be perceived as a “cyclist”- as when you’re riding in an area where no one else rides, and your 55 years old, if you don’t look like a cyclist, you just look like a retard or someone who lost their driver’s license. I normally don’t care what people think…but for some reason, I care in this instance. 😀 (Although, seeing as I’ve gotten my bike up to 47MPH….which on 1-inch wide tires tires on a 19 lb. vehicle….ya start to appreciate the helmet… :D)

              I’m conflicted though. I hate the “racer” mentality/culture/look. I just ride my bike…just ride around, and enjoy it, and stop to pet dogs….

              • I never had a helmet but I do appreciate your concerns.
                My big laugh was drafting behind the trucks that carried intercity mail as the aerodynamics of the low step truck would about suck you along. It was a chore to stay a few feet behind them while doing 45 MPH. Lose the draft and no more fun. Get too close and one could run into the back. Obviously one could never see ahead. I don’t recall exactly but I think it was a 60 front and a thirteen rear.
                It is cool to have real open experience in drafting. NASCAR couch potato viewers likely never experienced the real thing even if it was a bicycle.

            • I ride the same way today as I did in the 1980s. Shorts, T-shirt, and sunglasses. I wore a baseball cap in the 80s. No hats when biking now although I have actual bicycling sunglasses don’t fly off easily.

            • What I don’t get is how these guys will buy a helmet but won’t spring for a small rearview mirror. It’s always a crapshoot coming up behind one of those cyclists and passing them not knowing whether they will suddenly swing in front of you to miss a pothole.

              I would no more want to ride a bike in traffic without a mirror than I would want to ride one blindfolded.

              • In bicycle culture, having a mirror makes you a “fred”….but i won’t ride without one!

                Ditto people that ride with earbuds! If you can see and hear….you’re not as likely to ever need the helmet!

              • I’ve considered getting a rear view mirror but I’ve never needed one. On a bicycle I can hear and turn my head. I have on many occasions thought someone was approaching me from behind to find nothing there but I’ve never thought nothing was there and found out something was.

                With a mirror I gain marginal utility but it then increases the width of the bicycle. Always seemed like a net loss to me.

          • The performance difference between bicycles is considerable IME. But its not in gram shaving IMO but just the quality of the parts in question. The mechanical smoothness, etc.

            Riding a cheap bicycle sucks. They are shit, feel like shit, wear out and breakdown often. You get what you pay for. Could I ride a cheap heavy bike fast? Sure, when I was in my teens and 20s and even 30s. Now… not so much. But if I had the bike I do now when I was 21….

            • There is a point of diminishing returns though, Brent. I mean sure, no one wants to ride a Walmart bike….but the sweet spot is usually in the $1K-$2.5K range.

              In fact, as you start to go higher, the bikes become so delicate that IMO, you actually suffer.

              OTOH, you can get a pretty cheap bike, and if it’s assembled properly and greased well, and you put decent cables and brake pads on it and keep it in tune, it can be pretty sweet.

              Granted, the aesthetics of nice bikes are….nice.

              When I had a ’13 Venge Expert when it was a year old ($5K new…I got it for $1800) with Aerofly bars, and Praxis rings, etc. it was kinda cool- but other than the look and touch aspects, it was just a bicycle. I de ided to get rid of it before I started having trouble with the BB30 and carbon cranks. Really don’t miss it- my ’97 Klein rides just as nice…if not nicer.

              And I recently got a fat bike from for $300 (!)….no complaints at all. Hey, if I had the energy and stamina I had when I was a kid, I’d gladly go back to those $99 department-store 10-speeds! (I used to do a 20-something mile round-trip with fishing gear on one’a them…without even a water bottle)

              • Yep, cheap bikes are as good as any…….not on your life. Tell my buddy with a new Huffy sprinting with the rest of us and the front wheel collapsed. Once we got him and the bike scraped up it was time for him to hit the bed and me to use the Phisohex and look for painkillers. 66 years old and he still sports the scars.

                • Well if it’s any consolation your bud, 8, there actually is one thing even lower than a Huffy: A “GMC Denali”. Have ya ever seen these things?! A “road bike” that weighs more than any self-respecting mountain bike (29 lbs!); has twist shifters which were installed by sawing the handlebars in half, sliding them on, and then welding up the bars; and uses non-standard weirdo parts for just about everything, so ya actually see people saying they ended up buying another one just for parts, since the manufacturer never seems to have ’em. Google it and read about ’em- I spent several hours one night doing so- best entertainment I’ve had in a long time!

    • after the incident that hurt my bicycle I went looking for a new one and saw that nonsense.
      I found a way to fix fatal Al frame damage with the magic of carbon fiber. If I get a new one it will probably a custom steel bike with good old fashioned cable actuated mechanical bits.

      • They still can’t come up with anything that’s as good as steel! I have two AL bikes now, but if i had the time to ride more I’d find me a nice old DeRosa or ‘Nag or something- as long as it’s steel…and Eye-talian! 😉 They can keep their electronic shifting and hydraulic disc brakes and press-fit bottom brackets.

          • Hi Eric,

            Shimano introduced the first workable electronic shifting system in 2009. However, as of now, mechanical systems are still available over the entire range of components, including the top end. I don’t expect this to change any time soon. So, unlike cars, simple mechanical systems are still available for those who prefer them, as I do.

            Likewise with brakes, cable actuated, mechanical disc brakes and rim brakes are still available across the line. Disc brakes were first introduced for MTB bikes and they are available in mechanical or hydraulic versions. These systems do offer some advantages like better modulation, less heat fade and, most importantly, continued functionality if the wheel gets bent.


            As for wanna be racer boys I agree, the aesthetics are awful. But, if you’re going to put more than an hour in the saddle those “cod-piece” shorts are pretty got-damn essential.

            • Hey Jeremy!

              Ya have to admit, road bikes with disc brakes seem to be the preponderance at the moment. And almost all of the “good” bikes at least offer electronic shifting; or only come with it.

              • Hey Nunzio,

                Disc brakes will probably dominate the road market within a few years, which is a shame. Disc brakes produce loads that require heavier hubs and which necessitates that frames and forks be designed to accommodate the extra load. Another negative is that the venerable Q/R is being phased out in favor of thru-axle systems, which really sucks. Tulio is rolling in his grave.

                I don’t think electronic systems will dominate the market. Right now, Shimano offers electronic for Ultegra and Dura-Ace only. But, mechanical versions of those are still available and I don’t think that will change any time soon. Sram has just introduced a wireless electronic system which I suspect will be hacked at some point in the Tour de France. Imagine at the start of a monster climb, someone remotely locks your bike in the tallest gear!

                As for really cheap bikes, I agree with Brent. But, mid priced bikes today are really ‘effin good. Dep’t store bikes are awful. Sure they’re cheap but they rarely work properly even when brand new. This is so because the quality is very low and they’re usually built by a teenage kid who knows nothing about bikes. Pretty soon, the wheels are bent, the hubs are loose, the headset is loose, the bb is falling apart, etc…

                Still, even those bikes can be made to work OK if they’re built by a good mechanic, or you can do that stuff yourself. Problem is, building such a bike properly should cost more in labor than the damn thing cost new. Over the years I’ve had a few eccentric, homeless types that couldn’t afford anything but a dep’t store clunker. No other shops would touch them. But, I would work with them to fix everything that was wrong from the start, basically strip the bike to the frame and start over. Economically, it was crazy. But, I have a soft spot in my heart for some of these people.

                Steel is real, as they say. I think it is still the nicest material overall. But, I like titanium as well. Finally, low weight is overrated but a really good, light set of custom wheels makes a huge difference. My road bike is a custom Waterford with a very unique parts group and a set of my own custom wheels with my own hubs. It’s truly a pleasure to ride.


                • Ooooo!!! A Waterford!!!!!! I should’ve known! 🙂

                  I do agree about the cheapo bikes….it would be really depressing if we had to ride them. Cheap bikes today aren’t as good as cheap bikes years ago. Then again, $99 was a lot more money in 1976 than it is today…

                  And yes, it is truly crazy, about the disc brakes and through axles and all. Fine for MTBs…but totally absurd for road bikes. I guess they figure they’ll get everyone on these over-spec’d overweight monstrosities…and then in a few years QR’s and rim brakes will make a come-back, and then they’ll be hyping the weight savings, and poking fun at the heavy over-spec’d bikes so people will get rid of them and get new bikes…which will be like the bikes they got rid of when they bought the disc brake through-axle jobs!

                  On the positive side, it seems like good old threaded BB’s are gaining favor again….

                  • Hi Nunzio,

                    Yes, thru-axles and disc brakes make sense for full suspension MTB’s as the hub/axle serve as structural reinforcement for the swing arm and fork legs. But, on a road bike with a rigid fork and frame, this is not necessary.

                    I think disc brakes are being pushed for road bikes as a back-door attempt at eliminating the Q/R. A standard Q/R fork must be open at the bottom to make the “quick” part of a Q/R work. Disc brake loads create a force that can pull the front wheel out of the fork. So, a thru-axle system is desirable because that cannot happen.

                    The industry has hated the Q/R for years because they see it as a liability issue. But, prior to disc brakes, nobody would accept a bolt on system because the Q/R is so damn convenient. So, the “advantages” of disc brakes for road hikes are being intentionally exaggerated because the real goal is to get rid of the Q/R.

                    The other thing that is coming to road bikes, which is even stupider than disc brakes, is the 1 X system. This is a single chain ring up front mated to a wide range (10-42, 11-40, etc..) cassette.This is another import from MTB and while there is some justification for 1 X systems on an MTB, it is ludicrous for a road bike. Luckily, it is almost inconceivable that these systems will ever be accepted by professional racers because to do so would make one slower. Assuming two equally fit/talented riders and a given gear range, the rider with 2 chainrings will always beat the rider with one chainring over a normal stage in a race like the Tour. The reason for this is that close ratio gear changes are necessary to keep one in the most efficient cadence range over a variety of conditions.

                    I value close ration gearing so much that I run a custom triple (24,36,48 X 11-23). This gives me a 28″-118″ range with one tooth jumps from the 11-17 and 2 tooth jumps from the 17-23. I live in Santa Fe and only need those super low gears if I’m doing serious climbing. Maybe 5% of the time I ride. But, for the other 95% of the time I have “perfect” double gearing. People make fun of me, but most of those guys are running compact with an 11-32 stack. This produces about the same range as my system, but it has big jumps between most of the gears. So, for the few times they need that low end, they suffer with crappy gearing for everything else. Plus, my custom triple is lighter than any wide range double I know of.

                    Press in bb’s suck and threaded systems seem to be coming back. Creaky bb’s are annoying. There’s even a new threaded bb called the T47 designed for 30mm spindles.

                    Anyway, to those not interested, sorry to blather on about bike stuff. I know Brent is way into bikes, but it came as a pleasant surprise that you are as well.


                    • Hi Ya, Jeremy,

                      Your post pretty much explains why I am into classic and vintage bikes!

                      I hadn’t realized that your nor Brent were into bicycles!


                      I also have a custom set-up on my Klein: A compact in the front, with a 12×28 in the rear. (I really need a 34, but I didn’t want to have to get a different derailleur- All hills here where I live, and they kill me!)

                      I’m going to try riding my fat bike on the street one of these days. If it feels good, I can always get some skinnier slicks for it. (Yeah, I’m getting old and fartley./ Then again, I was never any good on hills…)

                    • I am a bicyclist but I am not into bicycles. I never keep up on equipment. I review it when I am in a market for a new a bicycle at the price point I am willing to pay.

                      I’m only on my fifth bicycle since 1975. Which includes the used bike I rode at age 5 and the Huffy I got at age 9.

                      And yes I pound them into the ground before I get a new one. My ’82 Raleigh I road to the point of metal fatigue cracking in both wheel mounts.

                    • Yeah, I have no interest in the modern bikes- it’s all gadgetry and keeping-up-with-the-jones’ism….and paying top dollar for things which don’t do anything more than your old bike.

                      When I want a new bike, I just look for vintage steel in good shape.

                      There are so many great old bikes out there- many of which were lightly used.

                      I tried a modern bike (The Venge I mentioned in previous posts)- just to experience what they’re like. It was O-K, but really, nothing special. I would never have paid the $5K for it that it cost new; and I was careful to resell it soon enough so as not to lose any money on it (I actually made a few hunnert bucks…)

                    • Awww, thanks, Jeremy!

                      I was actually thinking of putting a MTB triple on the Klein. Might be a little tricky finding the right square-taper JIS BB thouigh, as the Klein has an odd BB shell width for a road bike (73mm if memory serves) which gives it a weird chainline…

                      Ahhh…but then I’d need to change my 7700 Dura Ace brifters…. (I wish this bike were set up for downtube shifters…I prefer ’em!)

                    • That’s another thing, since I got my current bike in 2002, ordered as a triple, it seems triples have gone away. It appears the new gear sets cover most of the same range without going to three ring gears.

                      I’ve rarely used the triple except when I ride outside of my home flatlands.

                    • I’m not too fussy about cadence, Brent. I just need really low gears for the hills…and high gears for the flats or downhill. Seems like I’m always at the extreme ends!

                      I started out with a triple when I first got back into riding as an adult c. 6 years ago….but the small ring was a 30, which wasn’t quite small enough for me- ‘specially with a 25 in the rear.

                      Best thing about it? It felt like some kind of accomplishment being able to tune it to shift perfectly! 😉

                  • Hey Nunzio,

                    What kind of cranks do you have? They’re 110 BCD compact, right? IRD makes a tripleizer ring that will convert a double to a triple. Does your frame have a threaded bb, or is it the older Klein style with the direct press in bearing system?

                    White Industries still makes really nice square taper bb’s, as does Action-Tec. As for shifters, have you considered bar-cons?



                    • Yes, Jeremy, it has the threaded BB (than k goodness!)- and my compact is an FSA Vero (Cheap…but solid). I don’t care for bar-cons though.

                      Meh…kinda hate to frankenbike this thing any more than it already is.

                      I still have the 11-23 cassette and standard Ultegra crankset that it had on it when I got it…and I actually used to ride it like that. Last few years, my leg muscles- especially the calves, are giving me trouble though (Maybe that’s why?! 😉 )

                      Thanks for the suggestions- I’ll certainly keep them in mind.

                      Good old bike, this Klein- I chose to keep it, instead of the Venge!

                  • Hey Nunzio,

                    One more question. Do you have Dura-Ace or Ultegra brifters? Ultegra, from that generation, will handle a triple.


                    • Hi, Jeremy,

                      My brifters are D/A (The bike had Ultegra/600 when it was new, but the former owner had put on the D/A brifters and RD. FD and brakes are the only tri-color pieces remaining 🙂 )

                      I love that era D/A! But I’d still rather have downtube shifts….keep it simple…it works better. Why have the cables running all the way up to the handlebars, and have to go click!click!click!Click! to jump a few gears? With the DT’s, just flip the lever, and done! And they NEVER wear out!

                      What I’d like to do one day, is see if Klein made an earlier frame with the DT bosses, but without the proprietary BB. Get one of those and build it….that would be SWEET!

                      I bookmarked the link to that crank- very interesting! Thanks!

                • I was looking at Rodriguez bicycles among others. Not sure which one these builders are better or worse than the others. Which ones are worth their price and which ones are not.

                  My Canondale is starting to get to the point of needing way too much and with the damage from last year it’s probably not worth putting money into. But I don’t think I want another mass produced bike or an aluminum one and I certainly don’t want a carbon fiber one.

                  • Hey Brent,

                    I’ve worked on a few Rodriguez bikes over the years and have always been very impressed. I’m not sure how the cost compares to others. Here are two companies that offer really nice, hand built steel frames at very reasonable prices. Both offer “stock” versions and custom (based on your specific fit requirements) versions for a reasonable up-charge



                    Kelly also offers matching steel forks which, while heavier, have a ride feel that can’t be matched by carbon.

                    Yes, triples have disappeared which is a shame. This happened for a couple of reasons. First, none of the stock triple offerings made any sense. The inner ring offered was a 30T which was not sufficiently low to offer much of an advantage over a compact double with a 34T.

                    Second, wanna be racer boys, especially in the magazines, relentlessly ridiculed the idea of triples, even mocking those who rode them.

                    Modern compact doubles actually offer a slightly lower gear than the original triples (28″ vs 30″). So, comparing a stock triple to a compact double, the double makes more sense. But, a custom triple is vastly superior, in gearing terms, to a compact double. Comparing a custom triple set-up of 24,36,50 X 11-23 to a modern wide range compact of 34,50 X 11-32, the range is nearly identical (28.2″- 122.7″ vs 28.7″ – 122.7″). But the gear ratio progression of the triple is dramatically better. Most people who ride alot find themselves riding along a section and the grade changes slightly. You need a little lower gear, but the step to the next gear is way too much. So, your speed slows down more than it could because your cadence will fall back into a comfortable and efficient range. In short, you find yourself wanting a gear in between the gears you have.

                    As I said earlier, I’m often mocked because I run a triple, even from people running a wide range double. It is true that I rarely use the inner ring, but having it allows me to run a close ratio stack on the rear. so I have “perfect” double gearing. Counter intuitively, the best argument for a custom triple is that it vastly improves the performance of the “double” gears, which are used most of the time.

                    Also, if one compares the same gear range between a custom triple and a wide range double, the triple is usually lighter (shorter chain and lighter cassette more than offsets the weight of the inner ring).

                    But, road triples are gone, at least if you want to use “brifters”. Although, I’m working on an in line “switch” that would allow a double shifter to work with a triple (mostly for my own amusement).


                    • I’ve never had anyone mock my triple. I just find it useful now and then and really don’t care about the weight.

                      The rodbikes are pretty good on price and what I like is that they are semi custom. I’m not into all these mix and matching and researching every screw crap that the other builders cater to and then charge for.

                      I don’t need a bicycle to be that special. If I get one I wouldn’t be able to beat the crap out of it and not feel bad.

                      I’ll have to research the two suggestions. Thanks. As usual for these companies their websites are painful to figure out their offerings. I was also attracted to rodbikes because while their website isn’t great everything is explained. The other websites I feel like I am missing the decoder ring.

                  • Hi Brent,

                    I’ve been in the bike industry for 35 years, so I’ve probably met a lot more of the “racer boy” types than you. I also used to frequent a few bike blogs and while most people were interested and appreciative of what I, and others, had to say, some guys were just plain dickheads.

                    In one forum I was told that “if I need a triple, I shouldn’t be riding a bike”, go figure.

                    I’m with you on the steep drop position. This works for some, but for many it doesn’t. Nunzio is correct about the importance of aerodynamics but comfort is even more important for performance.


                    • I stopped following any sort of bicycling groups online 15 years ago. They are populated by automobile haters and what I can best describe as bicycle-purtian assholes.

                      Funny thing is I did adopt vehicular bicycling as a result of my early time on rec.bicycles but now even that is hated best I can tell from more general transportation sites where these people can also be found.

                      I basically want nothing to do with bicycling communities, organized rides, or anything of the sort.

                      I know he’s right about the aerodynamics but I can still generate enough power to just force myself through the air and be fast enough.

                      Maybe I just never felt the need to get used to it since I was always faster than everyone else around me anyway. I’m sure if I had done racing I would have found faster but on the street and trails… nope.

                    • I’ve noticed that too, Brent!

                      Most cyclists tend to be communists! I used to think maybe it was just a NYC thing (NYC cyclists are the WORST!!! ) But then when the interwebz came along, I saw that the cycling forums were populated by like 90% communists!

                      That’s why I was so surprised to find out that you and Jeremy are into cycling. It’s a refreshing change. On the whole, I normally hate other cyclists! I hate cycling culture! Hate race culture!

                      And of course, the radical car-hating “bike advocates” ALWAYS live where there is abundant “mass transit”, and use it, and “advocate” for more of it. Sure, they don’t want the expense and responsibility of driving….but they have no problem making us all pay for their transportation on these ridiculous tax-funded liabilities known as buses and trains.

                    • Transit advocates and bicycling advocates are simply anti-motoring. They couldn’t care less about bicycling or transit IME.

                      As I have mentioned many times I once, until I was banned, participated on a “new urbanist” transportation site called “streetsblog”. These useful idiots opposed any transit or bicycling solution that did not have a negative impact on motoring.

                      The Chicago lake front trail which unlike most bike trails is actually speedy and useful had a numerous trouble spots. Over the years most had been resolved and in most cases without making for some other problem. One remained. Getting across the chicago river.

                      The bike trail used what amounted to a side walk on the lower deck of the 1930s draw bridge with a tricky intersection to navigate on the north end and the lead in to a beach area north of there. It was mess when I first rode it in 1990-1 and remained so.

                      The city decided to create a flyover, a separate bridge that separated bicycle travel from all this mess. I haven’t gone through there since it was to be built however it looked like it would solve all the problems despite being architecturally “fancy”.

                      These “advocates” opposed it. They instead demanded a bi-directional bicycle lane to replace the general traffic lane nearest the sidewalk. Complete insanity and less safe than the existing set up. But it harmed motoring. They justified it based on cost. Leaving it the way it had been forever would be better on cost and usage but they wanted to harm motoring. It’s all they ever want.

                      They also like to make bus stops where people exiting the bus step right into the bicycle lanes. They seem bound and determined to make any bicycling faster than 5-8mph dangerous.

                      I can go on and on but I think you can see why I was banned.

                    • Haha, yeah, Brent- the commies’ll ban anyone who makes sense and or who sheds light on their lunacy. Is it any wonder I’ve been banned by just about every non-Libertarian forum I’ve ever participated on?

                      Speaking of detriments to car traffic, I can’t believe what they’ve done to NYC recently!

                      Entire lanes of traffic and miles and miles of already scarce parking spaces decimated by bike lanes everywhere; Speed limit reduced to 25MPH on surface streets; speeds bumps installed on streets…

                      You’d literally have to be a sissy or be on tranquilizers to tolerate living that way…

                      And yet the average moron denies that there is an agenda to curtail driving……

                      And I couldn’t even imagine riding my bike in a bike lane! The way many cyclists ride- totally oblivious, if not crazy or stupid- I’d much rather ride with car traffic, as at least drivers tend to be more predictable.

                    • These commies as you call them claim that they need the bike lanes and such on the arterial streets for beginners. So they create this mess that puts their precious beginners off to the side, hidden behind parked cars, or going the wrong way just generally not where motorists look. They complicate the intersections as well. But beginners don’t even grasp the danger they are in.
                      Chicago has a grid system. If we had real bicycling advocates an entire system of bike routes could be set up on minor streets. It would have no measurable impact to motoring or general traffic and would get these beginning riders from A to B safely while they build the skills to ride in traffic. Experienced bicyclists like myself could get places quickly and in more comfort. I proposed this system and of course attacked over it because they want to wreck motoring.
                      I haven’t followed it for some time now but people were getting killed as a result of their nonsense. One woman turned left out of a bike lane and into the path of a motorcyclist. She was killed. They tried very hard to blame the motorcyclist. No, she turned left from the right side mid block across his path because she was duped into a feeling of safety instead of acquiring the skills to be safe.
                      Pennsylvania once upon a time put out a bicycle manual that teaches the reader how to properly ride in traffic. This is what people need to learn so they don’t get killed but instead it’s just do whatever hurts motoring based on making people feel safe. But they aren’t safer than riding without the setups. But bicycling is relatively safe even when done poorly so the damage won’t be big enough to make a political case. A death now and then when someone gutter passes or turns left or whathaveyou won’t be enough to unmask them.

                  • Hi Brent,

                    I despise group rides, I usually ride alone or occasionally with a good friend. I also abandoned the bike blogs many years ago. Too much knee jerk progressivism and “racer boy” flame attacks.

                    Unfortunately, many bicycle advocates are just jerks. Do you remember the “critical mass” rides that bicycle zealots once championed? My friend and fellow cyclist coined the perfect term for them: “critical massholes”.

                    My point about aerodynamics was that being “comfortable” is actually more important for performance as well as enjoyment. Struggling to maintain an aero position uses a lot of energy and is inefficient. Of course this varies dramatically from person to person. But, you were probably faster by maintaining a position that worked for you.


                    • Jeremy, Brent is right about some things….ok…..purt near everything and so are you.

                      Seriously, am I gonna adopt some position because Im more aerodynamic? It’s the same reason I prefer a 379 Peterbilt Classic to any of the “slick” tractors, comfort. I don’t race. That part of my life is over so I just want the slickest road bike I can afford and enjoy. Hell, I’d have a sleeper on it if I could.

                      At 67 years do I really want the least wind resistance? I’d need to halve my weight for that. I just like to ride. I like slick bikes but I’m not gonna race anyone.

                      Pickups these days are built with minimal weight for bs reasons, fractions of a mpg overall average. I load my pickup with headache racks made for HD service and tool boxes and stuffed with tools.

                      So why would I think a fat old man would need the most streamlined, highest pressure tires, etc. to get the best times?

                      I just like to ride. I ain’t racing anybody but me.

                      That light bike is fabulous and so is the slick chain system and I appreciate it all but that doesn’t mean I’m gong to get down to “racing weight”. Hell, my neighbor has a Monster that’s really nice and he’s so short he has to crawl over the bed of his pickup just to see what’s there. I can’t compete with a 30 year old guy who weighs 130 lbs but I don’t want to compete with him. We both ride for fun. He doesn’t compete except with his own times. I only compete with Mother nature and hope she takes me later rather than sooner. I dont go to those bike sites. It’s the sort of stuff racer boys like but none of them or few of them are really competitive to the ultimate race.

                      I simply enjoy and know everyone else here does also. Run past me and leave me in your dust and I’ll toddle along and be there somewhere behind you. Just have me a cold one waiting when I get there. If I really wanted to haul ass I’d have something that burned a petroleum product.

                    • I wasn’t disagreeing only saying I know I am hammering my way through the air.

                      All of bicycling advocacy and politics got taken over by anti-motoring people. People who are fundamentally opposed to private transportation. The same people who took over environmentalism. They use bicycling as a way to drive their political and social engineering agenda.

                      I’ve often written that once they eliminate the private passenger automobile they will work to eliminate the bicycle. Just like the environmentalists will turn against solar and wind if they ever actually work. Ultimately for them bicycling offers to great a range and too much freedom of untracked movement

                      Critical Mass is just a bunch of assholes. I swear if I ever encountered one their rides when I was bicycling I would end up insisting on going on green and then they would try to beat the shit out of me for ‘breaking their mass’ as they ran the red signal. Again another group that cares more about being anti-motoring than bicycling.

                    • 8, Jew got it, man!

                      You know, I’d say that a good 90% of the people who ride road bikes don’t enjoy their riding!

                      They “train”.
                      They “suffer”.
                      They wear a heartrate monitor and have a cadence sensor, and maybe even a power meter, and keep track of all the data and print it out on their ‘puter when they get home, so they can see how many tenths of a second faster they were today over a 50 mile ride, than yesterday; or how many ciks they took in the ass while riding through Greenwich Village, etc.

                      But they don’t enjoy it.
                      They never slow down to feel the warm breeze caressing their skin.
                      Never stop to smell the flowers or take in the scenery. Never stop to pet a dog (In fact, most of ’em are such pussies, if a chihuahua so much as runs after them, they’re getting out a canister of pepper spray)- If they saw their grandmother bleeding in the street, they probably wouldn’t stop.

                      What the hell kind of a hobby is THAT?!

                      I do tend to get a little obsessed with speed sometimes (Never was when I was younger….) but if we can just disregard speed and get the maxim enjoyment out of the environment we find ourselves in; and savor the sights and sounds and smells (Well, at least here, in the country…) ,and enjoy the nuances of the weather, THAT is what it is all about!

                      This is why I want to start riding my fat bike on the road. Not only will the climbing be much more comfortable….but I’ll pretty much have to forget about going fast, and just be forced to enjoy all of the other wonderful aspects which I often sacrifice for speed.

                    • I once got into trying to get to 20mph average speed getting to work. I managed to do it. That’s about the only time I concerned myself with the clock.

                      Dogs… I don’t like any animal that might run into my spokes or is capable of knocking me over when I am riding. I watch animals closely when they are nearby.

                    • Brent, the trick with dogs is: Talk to them. They seem to view bikes and riders as inanimate objects. Then, when you talk to them, they realize “Oh, it’s a guy…”, and usually either stop, or just run along behind you a little ways.

                      I carry dog biscuits in my pockets when I ride. I ‘ll stop and give some to “friends” along the way.

                      This one huge dog I nick-named “Bitey” (’cause he bit me once, when I first started riding…it was a very hot day…I was tired…didn’t talk to him as he was chasing me…) now sees me coming, and just goes and sits on the edge of his lawn and waits for me to come and give him a biscuit! We’re good friends now (Good thing, ’cause I have to pass him virtually every time I ride!)

                      It’s the little ankle-biters ya have to watch out for. There’s one a few miles from me, li’l tiny thing, but he’s a menace! Tenacious. He’s almost made me fall a few times. The only dog I’ve ever seen who won’t respond to talking or biscuits or anything. I tried scaring him by chasing him…but he still comes out the next time. I think I’m going to have to squirt him with water. Rottweilers; pitbulls; GSDs, no problem…but them little ankle biters just can’t be reasoned with!

                      I’m actually more concerned about a deer or possum or squirrel coming out in front of me when I’m bombing down a hill at 35MPH.

                • Jeremy, all of your points are true. A set of 1970 Campagnolo brake will stand your bike on it’s head. Maybe in a downhill mountain run they will fade if you ride them.
                  With fairly low handle pressure the front brake will flip you “Asshole over Teakettle” or whatever the expression is. There are some old bikes that give performance that darned near anyone cannot best.
                  I thought I was pretty OK with my high priced bikes, but I was nothing when against good amateur riders in my local area. It was great fun pushing my limits back then. Twenty miles per day gets one to see far more than I see today.
                  My best to you fellows.

          • Eric, even Rube Goldberg must be spinning in his grave! Talk about needlessly complicating simple things…. And it’s not that such nonsense even offers one any improvement or advantages. Hydraulic disc brakes, for instance….on a road bike that has barely 1-inch wide tires. You can lock up the wheels and easily lose adhesion with any old brakes. Hydro discs on a road bike are like putting air brakes on a VW Bug….

            And the thing is, we’re not talking just a few “superbikes” that only a handfull of people buy….but this crap has become all the rage among the average bike that cycling enthusiasts buy…

            What does this say about the people around us? Not only that they fall for the marketing, to always buy the “latest and greatest” new thing, even when the old worked just fine….but that they can’t even think!

            I’ve gotten into discussions on a cycling forum which I used to frequent, about electronic shifting. The proponents, when pressed, come up with exactly ONE advantage: You don’t have to adjust the derailleurs.

            Oh….thank God! It was SO HARD turning two little screws once every ten years or so….

            I’m just flabbergasted by stuff like this…. It makes me think that it wouldn’t be so much of a loss if all of these people who think that way were bulldozed into a big hole somewhere….. I mean, at what point does one’s inability to think and act in a logical manner render them kinda not really human??? (It goes beyond that, actually- my dogs and cats aren’t human….but they have a lot more sense than the people who are so easily manipulated; they’re nice “people”; but some people are mere functionaries- and it seems to be getting worse; it’s like technology is taking them over.)

            • Yup. I ride, most often, a 1993 Santana Team Tandem, full Campy group. (or is it worth more if I put the letter “o” after “group”?) It came fitted with Campy’s impeccable index shifting originally 7 speed, but I found a cam for five bucks that let me move to 8 seed cogset. I know I’ve put at least 20,000 miles on that bike…. one time I had to replace the funny little springs in the rear shifter. They cost maybe two bucks the pair, a real ripoff considering the pair weigh in at jud=st about one gramme). I have had to replace the shift cable a few times during MY miles on it. But I just carry a spare cable.. weighs in at less than the modern guys batteries do. I have had to change it “on the road”, no big deal. That shifter works perfectly every time with just a slight touch of my right thumb on the side lever.

  8. Mark’s top co-author

    Robert S Wright
    United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. · National Risk Management Research Laboratory

    In 2015, Robert S. Wright was a Chemist at the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Robert S. Wright is a GS-13 under the general schedule payscale.

    Year Occupation Paygrade Base Salary Bonus
    2015 Chemistry GS-13 $111,814 $1,300

  9. Thats the whole point my friend…. how can you possibly keep selling more and more shit to people who don’t need it and certainly can’t afford it if the old thing keeps working !!! Started with razor blades and now has seemed to reach cars!! Funny enough none of the “green” and “sustainability” debate ever takes into account how much energy and resource is wasted manufacturing new shit……

    • Hi Nasir,


      But tell it to Mark (the electric car/self-driving car/ride-car-sharing guy).

      No worries about buying all this stuff… we’ll just rent it instead! That’ll make it feel cheaper, you see…

      • Yep, yall hit the nail on the head. So what’s the carbon footprint of my politically correct friends with (only one still has his)Priuu? They’ve been through many vehicles while we keep running 22 year old and 17 year old vehicles with minimally more pollution and better mileage. They don’t eat parts of any kind except the new plugs and wires for the Z71. How much “carbon” is produced making that new, huge half ton pickup when my footprint is new hubs(goddamnit, dry bearing pieces of shit), rotors and brakes? They don’t have an ecological leg to stand on and I’m not reluctant to point it out.

        This is probably no surprise to those who know me but the entire world can KMA as long as they’ll keep re-applying Corona. Just don’t bite the ass that feeds you(DAC had a better if not more PC way to say this). I have no problem with Vegans and love my veggies but that brisket we cooked yesterday is mighty fine.

        The tree huggers want you to know how much energy in plant matter is wasted producing meat but they aren’t even knowledgeable enough to tell you how much those veggies that are continually containing less and less of the staff of life due to worked out soil. There are no free rides. Everything is a trade-off.

        And this goes for the dating sites too. There’s a point of no return for everything. The cost for tight sweet trim with a high libido is expensive, on the face of it so to speak, but is it more expensive than the high maintenance baby mama’s who expect you to foot the bill? See… free rides, no free meals, no free anything.

        But, it’s not PC to even mention such to those whose tiny minds that are made up because the whales are dying. They haven’t realized everything is dying. The planet is dying, with or without mankind or anything else. The universe is dying……stop that and I’ll listen to more of your babble pc fools.

        As soon as anything exists, it begins dying even as it grows. I’m sure Mark Twain had something meaningful to say about this, I just don’t recall it at the moment.


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