Go Forth And Friday!

Things move fast in our modern world, what with the Internet, and hand-held wireless phones, and tapeless home video rental, and all the rest of it. Trends and sensibilities change faster than they ever have in human history. Consider gravel racing, for example:

The first edition of this race took place in 2006 before the idea of “gravel” as a cycling discipline was even a thing and attracted 34 riders; now Peter Sagan’s doing it to prepare for the Tour de France and every Fred, Dick, and Harry you see out on the bike path is riding a dedicated garvel biek. Not only that, but in between the race even underwent a name change because someone decided the original one was racist, even though the very people who were supposed to be offended by it actually liked it. In the pre-Internet days, all of this might have taken generations. Now it happens in the blink of an eye…assuming it takes 16 years to blink your eye, but you know what I’m saying. I have Time ATAC cleats that are older than this race and are still in service! Amazing.

Speaking of garvel bieks, my last Outside column was about the road/gravel inversion, and about how you can totally ride a cheap old road bike in regular old clothes and without spending lots of money. Well, yesterday I did just that, except instead of a cheap old road bike I rode a fancy new Rivendell, and instead of wearing my regular old clothes I rode exquisite merino finery from Vulpine:

Hey, I didn’t get into the bike blogging game to practice what I preach, I got into it because I have a strong affinity for riding bikes and an equally strong aversion to work:

As for the Vulpine stuff, this included some items I just received, specifically this merino t-shirt:

And these padded merino underpants:

I’ve been quite pleased with a pair of merino underthings I received from Ortovox quite some time ago, so I was curious to try these out. In particular, I’m looking forward to seeing if the pad is a welcome addition on longer rides, or if it’s more of a superfluous addition useful mostly to wean you off bike-specific clothing, sort of like SPD sneakers. (SPD sneakers are basically a gateway drug to flat-pedal cycling.) We’ll see, but certainly in the meantime I was comfortable on my 20-ish mile ramble . What’s more, I could also join normal society at a moment’s notice–unlike, say, this guy:

That’s in no way to impugn his choice of recreation, but it would be more or less impossible for him to meet people for drinks on the way home…at least not without lots of slapstick comedy involving his roller skates and his ski poles.

Anyway, with the right bike and the right clothes, you can move seamlessly from trails to tavern:

Or stop and make cheesecake arrangements, as I did today:

Astute readers will recall the subject of cheesecake came up in these pages recently, and this is the Brooks saddle of cheesecake, in that it is both timeless and essentially unimprovable–though unlike a Brooks saddle it is a brick of deliciousness that is heavy enough to take down a medium-sized tree:

As for today’s attire, it was less formal:

And it wouldn’t be a casual Friday without a refreshing post-ride beverage:

I’ll be drinking these until September.

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