ToC from a distant perspective.

stage2_0341so i will openly admit that i am a roadie. i love the tradition, the images, the style, the discipline of the training all winter long. i would gladly head out the door to ride on skinny tires for 6 hours over the mountains to the coast and back. road bikes and road racing inspire me to add my fingerprint to the culture that continues to change before our eyes.

seeing the bikes at the tour of california is a mixed bag of style from my perspective. people are so pumped on the bikes of the prologue and it is hard for me to stomach some of the style. i don’t want to hold up the train of technology from leaving the station for something lighter, stiffer or smoother but some of the overall looks of these bikes lack a cohesive flow of style. the bmc tt bike for instance is a good example of this style. the cranks are crazy and lack a classic look but the frame design really wants to be a 1984 era funny bike. it is curious to see the styles come and go in cycles. i sure these bikes are super quick and efficient but they look like all the parts were developed in separate wind tunnels and then assembled in a frenzy by the mechanics the night before. some of this assemblage is evident and admirable with the “necessity is the mother of all invention” ethos running through all the fixes (even if it is for a garmin mount on a 2.5 mile tt course).

in the end there are a couple bikes that i have seen that i think pay homage to a sense of style and tradition while remaining classic in style and efficient in form. thanks to bkw for the photos and the great coverage!

i wil continue to shake my head in dissapointment but of course i will also follow the race every day.

i will recommend some of my favorite takes of the racing in cali though. bkw is a flurry of photos of the details behind the scenes. truly a solid professional take on the life and times of a pro bicycle racer. jeremy dunn is (b)logging some quality experiences with the bmc crew and his tales of the toc is found here. the best and most subtle take on the tour is rapha’s conti tour a week ago. not much pro, but you can see where the tour goes. cycling news is all about the bug-shaped carbon coverage. tech geek fest.


10 Responses to “ToC from a distant perspective.”

  1. matt hall Says:

    With my dremel and ziptie expertise….. I may be a mechanic in the PRO tour soon.

  2. Condor Says:

    I didn’t know the unabomber rode a bike

  3. Brian Says:

    Great post, Ira…keep ’em coming.

  4. Jason Says:

    I have a similar (if I read your blog entry correctly) sense of enthusiasm mixed with disgust when looking at some of the bikes from the TOC. On one hand I think machines that are so specific to their purpose are beautiful in a way, but on the other hand, it’s just a bunch of disparate components all designed to be the fastest. It reminds me of someone new into the sport buying all the “best” stuff for their bike at once. It doesn’t really work together. Also, seeing all those reverse mounted front brakes and goofy cable routing brings back nightmares of working in a shop and trying to fix some kid’s rusty gyro.

  5. ira ryan Says:

    maybe i will design an “ode to the tour” prologue bike that will incorporate a rusty gyro headset, i numerous holes drilled into every bit and some graffiti style paint (rock racing) that will be just thrown away after it’s 3 mile race for next year’s race.

  6. ronnie Says:

    nice post man.

  7. Jay Parkhill Says:

    I thought about this post all week while watching the race and I definitely agree with you. My favorite bikes in the race are the Parlees- road and time trial versions. They have a clean, purposeful look. It’s probably no coincidence that they are run by a small-budget team.

  8. Eric Keller Says:

    I was a little surprised at how much effort they put into making the vertical tubes present themselves at 90 degrees to the wind. It’s ugly, but it probably does keep the air from stopping at the top tube and the seat. Not sure if I believe that a vertical head tube is any faster, but they probably have done wind tunnel testing that shows that it does.

    I was one of the first riders to abandon steel since I had a teledyne titan. And I broke 2 of them, so I probably will never have another ti bike. I like steel bikes, it’s nice to know your bike will still be ridable in 30-50 years.

    • b1-66er Says:

      i think you should try for breaking a third:

      by the way, i agree with steel being kings of the road. out of a small herd, the bike i ride the most, by far, is a straight-ahead steel lemond. absolutely the most dependable of my bikes (including the original issue swiss army i have).

  9. How to Get Six Pack Fast Says:

    The style of writing is very familiar to me. Did you write guest posts for other bloggers?

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