“Fee Fie Fo Fum! I Smell The Crabon Of A Gravel Bike!”

I’ve become increasingly disillusioned by the mainstream media in recent years, but today I saw something that gave me hope:

Why? Because the writer was obviously very well-informed!

Also, when was the last time you saw a picture of a bike in a non-cycling magazine or newspaper that was actually interesting?

See, kids, before you could buy a pre-curated gravel-specific groupset, if you wanted wide-range gearing and other off-roady features on your drop-bar bike you had to get creative, and this is a perfect example of an early 21st century pre-gravel gravel bike. Campagnolo Ergo road levers? Shimano mountain rear derailleur? V-brakes? It’s the very opposite of plug-and-play, but (presumably) they made it work, and the end result is a thousand times more compelling than all those nearly-identical gravel bikes with their nearly-identical gigantic rear cassettes and nearly-identical moderately-flared bars.

Of course, friction shifters would have really opened up the possibilities on this bike, but people are very attached to their integrated levers and there’s nothing wrong with that. Also, working within the confines of indexing is a noble challenge, like writing fixed verse or coming up with Shabbat workarounds.

Meanwhile, you can’t stop progress–though maybe you should try. I may have been sanguine about the advent of dropper posts in road racing, but can any good come of on-board tire pressure management systems?

Here’s how it works, according to CyclingTips:

Only four thousand Euro-Dollars, I’ll take two for every bike I own:

Suspension front and rear, dropper posts, on-board tire pressure management…is there any aspect of the bicycle that’s safe from on-the-fly modification? Does everything need to expand, contract, retract, and telescope? Is the idea that you should pick a component or a gear or a tire pressure and live with it for one measly ride really all that unreasonable?

The answers to all these questions are obviously no, yes, and yes, in that order. But hey, I’m old and irrelevant. I remember fairy tales like “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and the giant who was going to grind up your bones to make his bread. Now they’re going to grind up your crabon bike to make tire sealant:

There was once a time you’d sent that old nag to the glue factory. Now you send your old plastic Fred sled to the tire sealant maker:

People have rage-quit this blog because I’m not tossing and turning at night over climate change, but even I’m creeped out by our wasteful obsession with making bikes out of crabon:

Though to be fair, it’s less about my concern for the welfare of the environment than it is about my intrinsic distaste for crabon. (Then again, maybe there’s something to be said for trusting your instincts.)

So old am I that it seems like only yesterday that I was outraged by Canyon’s new biplane gravel bar:

Now it’s already “iconic!”

Meanwhile, I’m riding the polar opposite of the biplane bar, which is basically a two-dimensional drop bar:

Fuss with our onboard tire pressure management system all you want, I’ll be in the flower bed with my clown shoes:

I don’t know if my eyes were watering from the pollen or the shoes. Probably a little bit of both.

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