Cycling keeps me sane. I like to take my exercise sitting down, or as my Olympic silver medal winning friend (rowing, eights, 1984) Charlie Clapp says, "weight-bearing exercise" is the way to go if you’re big and want to spare your knees the hell of running on pavement.
Someone on roadbikereview.com (my favorite cycling forum, where I post as Cape Cod Dave), said of one sub-genre of cycling that it was a "cult within a fetish, within an obsession." I think the entire sport is an obsession in its own way. Some cultures, the Dutch, the Chinese, the Swiss, are so cycling-centric that it is an essential of their society. In the U.S. the pastime runs the gamut from kids riding Wal-Mart tricycles, to single-track mountain bikers, to wanna-be Lance Armstrongs on $6000 carbon fiber rocket bikes.
Anyway, there are a couple special sites I’d like to list in no particular order:
- Ken Kifer’s Bike Pages: Ken Kifer was a spiritual cyclist, who as a young man rode a Schwinn Varsity from Alabama to Canada. A disciple of Henry David Thoreau, he poured his creativity into his website, chronicling epic rides around North America, subsisting on the kindness of strangers and loaves of bread. In 2003 he was killed by a drunk driver, but the site lives on in his memory. Tragic is an understatement.
- Sheldon Brown: In Newton, Massachusetts, at Harris Cyclery, lives Sheldon Brown, aka Captain Bike. I have never met the man, but his website is an astonishing insight into the mind of a master. If you need to know about the history of the Sturmey-Archer hub, Sheldon has it. Want to know the in’s and out’s of aligning a fixed-gear chainline? Sheldon has it. He also digresses wonderfully into his world of music, books, movies, and France. Sheldon is an icon. I am proud to have built my fixed-gear with his stuff.
3. Peter White Cycles : Somewhere in southern New Hampshire is Peter White, the man who can equip a randonneuring bike better than anybody. What is Randonneuring? Riding a bike extremely long distances against the clock, through the night, with lights, just because you can. This is the cult within the fetish I was talking about. White is the master of lighting, bicycle packs, and outfitting man’s most noble invention to do things most people think is impossible.
4. Drunk Cyclist: What can I say? This blog is insane. Pornography, tales of drunkeness, politically incorrect humor: the title tag on the homepage on 2.1.06 asks the post-State of the Union Question, "What the f$%k is Switch Grass?"
5. Lucas Brunelle: take a bicycle messenger, put a video camera in his helmet, and then watch him ride a race down 7th avenue in Manhattan at rush hour against equally crazed messengers, all to the soundtrack of Guns n’ Roses Welcome to the Jungle. Lucas is a genius. He turned a couch into a bicycle. He rides his bike on the Charles River (when the river is frozen).
6. Fixed Gear Gallery: how to explain a fixed-gear bike? It’s a track bike. It’s what messengers ride. It’s a classic steel racing bike but with no gears, and usually no brakes. You can’t coast. Ever. If the rear wheel turns, the cranks turn. This is zen cycling and I love it. This site is pictures of fixed gear bikes. Thousands of them. There’s a forum too, but its bike porn, plain and simple.
7. I could go on, and on, and on. And I will. This is a work in progress.