Me And Tullio Down By The Schoolyard

In yesterday’s post, I shared my thoughts on the storied Campagnolo Delta brake:

Why people call it the “Delta” when it looks exactly like the Tin Man’s hat is beyond me:

In fact, between the hat and the built-in grease ports you probably won’t be surprised to learn the Tin Man was designed by Tullio himself:

The grateful producers offered him any part he wanted in the film, and ironically he ultimately chose to play the Cowardly Lion:

Though outside of the cycling world he’s best known for going on to play Fred Mertz in “I Love Lucy:”

Sadly the spin-off series, “Tullio The Irritable Italian Bicycle Mechanic,” never got past the pilot stage.

I mention all of this because, while I may have praised the Delta for its innovative design and its marginal adequacy, yesterday I took a ride on the Normcore Nostalgia Bike, which is equipped with a humble Shimano 105 group, including the brakes:

The Deltas and the 105s are near-contemporaries (the 105s are like two years newer), but riding them ore or less back-to-back I was stunned at how much better these were, even in rain, which was falling for a good portion of the ride–and they even have room for my little clip-on filth prophylactic:

Polarizing BioPace chainrings notwithstanding, given the quality and performance of even Shimano’s “sport”-level components at the time, it’s easy to see how they were soon able to eat Campagnolo’s lunch. At the same time, it’s equally easy to see why Campagnolo held onto its snob appeal for so long. I mean, look at it!

Then around 2008 they finally lost the snob appeal too, since that’s when their stuff stopped being pretty:

Alas, this was inevitable, since it was also around then that road cyclists really started to reject the idea of having anything silver on their bikes. (It didn’t really go with the plastic frames.) Also, riders who were too cool to use Shimano on their road bikes could now choose SRAM, which really excited people for some reason:

And that was that.

As for yesterday’s ride, I managed to cover something like seventeen (17) miles just to get to the hardware store down the street:

Where I purchased this important item:

Unfortunately they were out of the faux crabon weave finish, but I did install a stiffer titanium spring upgrade kit when I got home.

Then today I finally checked out a new trail I’d been passing:

It was clear from the wood chips that this wasn’t meant for bikes, but the sign didn’t expressly forbid them so I figured, “Why not?”

It was barely longer than a suburban driveway, and one the honeymoon period is over it will no doubt be covered with dog crap, which always hides so nicely in this sort of surface treatment. But until I hear otherwise I officially own the FKT for this route, so eat your heart out, Jan Heine:

You’ll be able to read all about it in my new randonneuring journal, “Waxed Canvas, Greased Lighting.”

Otherwise, weather conditions today were delightful–apart from the abundance of this stuff, which ravages your eyes and throat with its tiny barbs:

I was hacking like a cat with a hairball, but fortunately the horses used by the Parks Enforcement Patrol are unflappable:

I’m always considerate when I encounter park horses, but they don’t require the genuflecting and supplication those fancy gravel horses do:

Clearly the skittish horse was appalled by the rider’s choice of tire pressure and tread pattern.

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