Saturday, February 6, 2010
Generations-which are you?
Being an old fossil has its rewards, like witnessing generational changes in the cycling "community". The oldest riders among us were the wool and sew-up generation. There was NO lycra, folks! Wool shrank or stretched, soon was full of holes, but we had no choice. Leather chamois were the reason we used chamois cream, to soften hard leather, not for the reasons given these days. One had 2 choices in wheels, sew-ups or HEAVY 1 1/4" touring tires. We rode with a spare sew-up or two tied to the seat, and woe was you if you had two flats. Remember, there were no cell phones, either! The biggest change was light clincher wheels, pioneered by Mavic in the mid-seventies. Finally -tires we could repair on the road! Greg LeMond jump-started a stale cycling scene... and then there were mountain bikes. Yes, Virginia, before the early 80s there were NO mountain bikes. You rode road, BMX, or you did not ride! In the beginning days of mountain biking, we could ride anywhere, wilderness or not, and we did! The bikes had NO suspension-none! The mountain bike scene had not splintered into various disciplines, or tribes, we were all brothers, and we all partied together after the races. Alas, we all know this did not last. Then there was the road renaissance, inspired by Lance, and a counterpoint to what had become your father's mountain bike. The fixie generation is the latest, revolting against the daunting complexity of modern bikes to start a return to the drive trains of the early 1900s. Quite a wild ride it has been, and it's not over yet!