Friction-Shifting and Fancy-Free

As the weather continues to warm up and cycling becomes enjoyable to normal people as well as terminal bike weenies, family rides are now back on the table:

Yes, that’s two (2) Rivendells for maximum pretentiousness:

And of course one (1) vintage mountain bike complete with Suntour thumbshifters in friction mode:

At this point the only way to outdo ourselves would be to get our younger son on an early ’80s Mongoose Californian.

Speaking of my wife’s Rivendell, I continue to be jealous of this exquisite four-bolt Nitto quill stem:

As an Old Crap Test Pilot I may think nothing of undertaking helmentless descents on ancient bikes with rotting tires, but even I like to know I’ve got four bolts holding my rather wide bars in place when I go riding off a curb.

Speaking of test-piloting old crap, today I headed up to the forbidding Trails Behind The Mall on the Specialized RockCombo:

This was my first ride on these particular trails since replacing the tires with a pair that has more volume and less dry-rot, and it proved to be a tremendous improvement. The trails were also in excellent shape, but unfortunately I can’t say the same for myself, and what little all-terrain bicycling skills I possess had atrophied considerably over the winter months. Some time ago I tweeted this:

And I’d append that to add that every mountain bike photo you look at on Strava was taken when the rider dismounted after failing to clear an obstacle:

Make of that what you will:

But while I may suck, at least I look the Mudbunion part, right down to my $140 bike-specific flannel from Pearl Izumi:

And of course my hand-curated deerskin gloves courtesy of Barry Wicks:

In case you’re wondering, yes, I do also wear the sneakers. When I do, some people compliment me, others look at my feet like I’m wearing scuba fins, and still others do both.

Speaking of the bar-end friction-shifting lifestyle, you’re not a true Mudbunion captain until you’ve got a handlebar bag. Awhile back Chrome sent me this one:

How much does it hold? Well, in the photo above it contains one (1) mini pump, one (1) expensive bicycle-specific flannel, and one (1) pair of artisanal deerskin gloves, and is at just about maximum capacity. Not bad, considering that flannel is actually pretty voluminous.

Anyway, that’s me, living the country life here in upstate New York City:

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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