Downhill all the way

My adult career began, hurrying to college in Solatio shoes, oxford bags and a Laurence Corner greatcoat. An ignorant prick who thought special clothes for cycling were counter-revolutionary. Last year I finished a fifth – OK you dragged it out of me – a fifth, Paris-Brest. Readers inexperienced enough to be impressed need to understand that the only reason you haven’t done it is that you don’t want to. Or haven’t wanted to yet?

Bicycle madness is analogous to the right-wing model of drug use. You start on shandy and progress to crack-cocaine.

genuine 1970's: note toe-clip damage

My adult career began, hurrying to college in Solatio shoes, oxford bags and a Laurence Corner greatcoat. An ignorant prick who thought special clothes for cycling were counter-revolutionary. Last year I finished a fifth – OK you dragged it out of me – a fifth, Paris-Brest.

Readers inexperienced enough to be impressed need to understand that the only reason you haven’t done it is that you don’t want to. Or haven’t wanted to yet?

An unbeaten streak, dating back to 1995, reveals the depths to which one can sink and the persistent nature of my own condition. I’m not dumb enough to build social-theory on one depraved biography but it has prompted an interest in the pathology of velomania.

mudguards, accessories obligatory for any presentable rider?

Copenhagen Cycle Chic is great – urban planning has always rung my bell – but maybe their 2008 manifesto carried a whiff of sectarianism? The credo says use mudguards “where possible”, yet absolutely prohibits streamlined clothing. Of course it’s a mistake to take these things too seriously and, as well as don of street-photography, Mikael Colville-Andersen – godfather of cycle chic –  is an aviation-grade sloganeer.

His observation…

“Our relationship to our bicycle is often the same as to our vacuum cleaner. Everyone has one, everyone uses it, but the vacuum cleaner and the bicycle are merely efficient and practical tools for making our everyday lives easier.”

 

…is an economical and sticky way of describing the push-rod’s main role in the well-run societies of North West Europe.

As follower of ChCC (What middle-aged man doesn’t enjoy quality pictures of well-groomed young people with nice looking  fenders?)  I’ve noticed that M. C-A may be getting a little too interested in the subject of humanity’s greatest mechanical contrivance; and I don’t mean his Nilfisk.

usually modelled by a fat bloke

Christmas just gone he let slip he’d loaded a sports odometer app on his smartphone, revealed how he’d ridden 60 km when the train would have been quicker and described a headwind as “pesky”. Can a novelty road jersey to cut the air-drag be far behind?

If nascent flirtation with performance were not worrying enough there’s also an alarming photograph, of the fetishistic deployment of a  bicycle as bathroom hand-basin stand, which Mikael describes as “quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in the bicycle furnishing category.”

‘Bicycle furnishing’?

I feel compelled to ask, “Why, M. C-A?”

It’s fun?

To stay in the realm of sanity…

Cycle furniture?

I’m sorry but that’s just wrong.

Don’t criticise others for inconsistency. A shifting position may be the sign of an open-mind; of personal development. When someone, who’s previously marked bicycles as ‘merely efficient and practical tools’, displays signs of advancing velomania, if an avowed champion of ‘normal’ cycling can develop velophilic symptoms, be warned. Mikael’s case emphsises just how insidious bicycle madness can be.

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