Letters to Cyclingnews April 17, 2001
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After a classic edition of Paris-Roubaix, Keith Connelly thinks it's time George Hincapie rode for a team that makes the Classics a priority. You do have to wonder if any team could have combated Domo's strength and tactics on Sunday, though.
Woyteck Morajko comes back with more thoughts about the fragility of modern bikes, and Julian Yuen has his own tale of failing bikes. As the site's resident tech-weenie, what I find more annoying is that you can barely buy a road bike these days that will take anything bigger than 25mm tyres. The market seems to demand road bikes that are totally focused on racing, when with a few changes that are inconsequential for racing, they'd be useful all-round as well.
Mike Kallal's article on fixed gear road bikes prompted a positive reaction from fixed aficionado John Forbes. Hobie Simons wrote to tell us of his rather sweet fixed set-up, and Jay Dwight wants some further discussion of fixie tech. Mike has other pieces in the pipeline for us, so look out for them in coming months.
Discussion of women's cycling continues to rumble on, with Kate Rowe responding to letters from last time, Tanya Wyr opining that women's races are just as exciting to watch as men's, and Stella citing a good women's event in New York.
In our other long-running discussion on the nature of sport, Rick Bose thinks that the popularity of sports depends on how easy it is for people to understand what's involved. This certainly helps explain why cycling is popular in Europewhere casual cycling is part of lifeand less so in Anglophone countries where the car is king.
To open up a couple of new subjects, Christine Wnuk wonders which athletes suffer most. I'm not sure you can quantify the different types of suffering endured by cyclists and, say, boxers. Any answers from people who have tried a variety of sports? Julian Yuen thinks there should be a Tour of Sydney stage race. Great idea, but I suspect the logistical problems would scupper it. Cyclingnews is based in Sydney, and to say it's not the most bike-friendly city in the world is like saying the Pacific Ocean is not driest place we can think of.
Finally, Paul J Lee is looking for some custom shoes. We're aware of Rocket 7 and also of LUST Racing, but does anyone out there know the whereabouts of Don Lamson?
It should be abundantly clear that it is time for George to move on. Enough monkeying around with the Postal team. No one of his stature should be left alone so far from the finish in such an important race. As much as I like to see Lance kill everyone in July, he does not need George. What George needs is a team that can support him in the classics. A real Euro powerhouse‚ of a team. He was so strong in Sunday's race, and it showed when he made the move in the Forest. Too bad he flatted because things could have turned out differently. But there should have been someone there to help. From that point on George and Ludo spent the rest of the race being bullied by Domo.
It is clear that the number one priority for the Postal team is the Tour, and it should be. But the team is also doing nothing for George, and there is no reason for him to stick around. They clearly do not put 100 per cent into the classics, and George might as well have started yesterday by himself. Going to Lampre next year would not be a bad idea… He is the next great thing in American cycling. He needs, and deserves the proper support in order to achieve what is possible!
As far as stress is concerned, it's debatable. Since I'm at 230 pounds (110kg) and manage 6000-7000 miles a year, I believe I'm stressing the frame a considerable amount! Would a 2.5 pound frame last under these conditions?
While we all agree that pros will never use touring bikes, the general public (leisure, recreational, touring, commuting, etc) would be well advised to consider safety and durability as much as lightness when purchasing equipment. This applies to tires as well. Would a size 25/28mm tire be that much slower? How about using Kevlar/Nylon belts for puncture protection? Just thinking...
Woyteck A. Morajko
While getting it repaired bought a 6061 aluminium Peleton. That lasted 12 months before it fractured on the right chain stay 2-3 inches behind the bottom bracket. I got a new one on warranty. At the time I rode the 6061 aluminium bike day in day out (about 15,000km annually at that time). Now the replacement is a race bike and the 753 has been repaired and is a training bike!
In addition to the varied rewards mentioned by Mike Kallal, other benefits include ease of care, fewer moving parts, no chain rub induced by shifting, less wear on brakes and so forth. My coach has us ride only fixed for a least a couple of months each winter with a fair number of 70+ mile rides as part of the routine. However, his only reason for so doing is that come March we really appreciate a 'regular' bike. Frankly, I hate giving up my fixed then, It's my favourite commuter and so much fun watching potential thieves try and ride off on it! Sure makes for an easy catch.
Cheers to all the fixed riders out there.
Much of the information that I have received about fixed gear riding has come from the fixed gear section of Sheldon Brown's website which has a wealth of information regarding fixed gear/single speed bike setup and conversion.
I have a beauty that I built up specifically for this fringe activity. Attached is a picture of my trusty stead. It is a Gunnar Streetdog (made by Waterford), which is a cross frame for fixed gear/ single speed riding. I currently have it set up for road riding with a 46x15 fixed gear on 700x23C's with the option of flipping the hub over to an ACS Claws 16/17 combination BMX freewheel. I have equipped the bike with both front and rear brakes for the rare times that I do use the freewheel.
Follow up, if you could, with discussions about crankarm length, gear size, and the like. I ride 165's, and 46x17. Doing big hills isn't a real problem after a while. The track bike is so light and stiff. I just wish I lived near a track.
Those exceptional men are very supportive, but I reiterate, when those in power have attitudes like this and persist in calling us 'girls'… well what can I say? No matter what, we will still be out there cycling and trying.
Nevertheless, I still love sport and will do what I have always done and try to infuse my enthusiasm to the younger ones, and hopefully they will progress further than we oldies have been able to thus far.
It's frustrating to me that women's cycling is virtually ignored by the media. I think that this is the core of the inequality problem. I've suggested to World Cycling Productions that they cover some of the larger women's races. My girlfriends and I would definitely buy the tape! And hey, wouldn't guys like to watch some fit women cycling once in a while too?
When I go to major races I see the men's teams are well taken care of, while the women are left to fend on their own, often having to work full time jobs on the side to support their cycling. One of my friends, a professional cyclist, has to live out of a van to continue her career. Yes, I understand that it's a matter of economics at the moment, but give the gals a little publicity, cover their races in the cycling mags, and the interest will come. How can people be interested in something that they don't even know exists? More girls would get into cycling if there were role models to look up to.
I do feel that the tide is changing though, I am seeing more women out there now on bikes. But they are mostly doing multisport, where there is equal attention given to women and men in the sport.
The NYC Grants Tomb race is a great race to watch, and for the racers, challenging and exciting. If there were more prize money maybe more women would race. I know for myself I got very discouraged racing with very strong men. Sometimes we can't live on just, "the love of the sport".
I once read an article that proposed that one general spectator perception of cycling was hampered by the fact that, for instance, Michael Jordan at his best performs feats that make him look as if he is a being from another planet, whereas Greg Lemond at his best looks like you or me sprinting away from a chasing dog! I think that appreciation for the amazing feats in cycling has to come from an inside perspective as to what this kind of effort entails and how and why it is beyond the capabilities of most of us. I believe that the same article pointed out in fact that the reason you could find televised golf on the television every weekend was not because it was so obviously exciting to watch, but because there are so many people who themselves spend their free time chasing little white balls around the pasture, and can appreciate how the skills of the pros are above their own.
I had been racing for about three years when I met my hero Seamus McGrath. To my surprise he was one of the nicest people I have ever met. I have been lucky and have met a lot of pro athletes and most of them are really snobby and don't really care what you have to say. Seamus is an awesome guy and didn't hesitate to give you hints and race tips. I'm not sure if all racers are like that but I know that it is because of him that I am still racing to this day. Seamus, thanks a lot, Bro.
Has there ever been a study as to what is the pain tolerance of a pro, three-week cyclist say, compared to a boxer, or marathon runner?
Who suffers more at the office, Lance or Lennox Lewis?
To all you Sydney folk out there: what do you think of a Tour of Sydney? It could go like this:
Either one stage every weekend or over one week. National series points and so on, with grades!
I'm hoping you can help. I wear a pair of custom shoes made by Don Lamson. These shoes accommodate a leg length discrepancy of 15/16in and a variance in length of one full size. I need a new pair and haven't been successful locating Mr. Lamson. I fear he has discontinued his business or moved without a trail. I found a company named Rocket 7, but they cannot help with that severe of a build up due to their process with carbon fiber soles. Can anyone suggest a custom shoe builder that can assist me? I don't race, mostly road touring and fitness. I use Speedplay Mtn. pedals. Thanks for your time and consideration.
Paul J. Lee
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