Milk Of Magnesium

Yesterday I committed the sin of being flippant about the fate of humanity. Today I see I must repent, for I have seen several signs that the end is nigh. For example, on the List of Craig, a Bianchi Pista is on sale for a staggering sum, indicating that the PistaDex is not just frothy but roiling:

In the Borough of the Bronx, the Earth hath opened its maw and consigned a van to Hellfire:

Alas, the owner is not penitent:

Stepping out of the Apocalyptic conceit for a moment, we could probably all learn a thing or two from the unflappable Antonio Papadoboulos.

Anyway, stepping back into the conceit and resuming the inventory sure signs that we are well on our way to eternal damnation, the coastline is under attack by sharks:

And indeed the First Horseman of the Apocalypse hath already reared his head:

Also, I hurt my back lifting an air conditioner, which means I am officially a victim of climate change, and therefore entitled to “climate justice.”

Hot times, summer in the city, etc.

Of course, in times such as these it is essential to assuage our guilt through our purposes, for atonement through consumerism is the one true path to salvation. As it happens, I was checking out some Eurobike coverage on the Tips of Cycling when I happened upon this:

Vaast sounded familiar to me, and not just because of that “Seinfeld” episode:

In fact, I’d come across them before, when James Huang described riding one of their magnesium bikes as an “out-of-body experience.”

Like belt drives, magnesium is one of those things people keep trying to make happen in the bike world, but which never really catch on. (And no, I don’t want to hear about how wonderful your belt drive commuter is, and if you so much as type the words “Rohloff hub” in this comment section so help me I’ll ban you for life. Just because a few uber-nerds use these things and like to get all effusive about them on Internet forums does not mean they have “caught on,” so please take that crap to Reddit where it belongs.)

Okay, I’ve calmed down now.

So yeah, they keep trying to make magnesium happen, and it never really does–though now I see they’ve got a new angle on the stuff:

Specifically, it’s “less resource-intensive to produce:”

The Vaast site goes even further, and you rarely see prose this transcendent outside of a Whole Foods:

VAAST Bikes is a brand thoughtfully conceived to set ourselves free from old paradigms. Freed to create new ways to reach farther than ever before. Freed to prove that there are different, better ways to build a bike and achieve more.

Innovative performance focused bikes designed for more mindful, expanded human powered personal mobility. VAAST engineers, scientists, designers and riders continue to successfully obsess over developing more functional, durable, well-rounded fine-tuned bikes that encourage the discovery of more farther-reaching experiences. We utilize optimized and alternative materials, designs and our V-Fit technologies to call into existence a ride feel that will make the often-difficult routes less traveled beg you to ride them over and over again.

And, because everything is interconnected, we never stop seeking ways to have a more reciprocal relationship with the planet that provides the surfaces we ride upon.

According to them, magnesium is double-digit-percent better than everything else, in attention to being so “environmentally superior” that its superiority in this department cannot be expressed numerically but only in leaves:

And by buying one you are doing nothing less than ensuring the survival of the human race, or sometning:


My interest piqued, I spent at least four minutes researching magnesium on the Internet, and at least one supplier says* it’s the “most eco-friendly and sustainable metal in the world:”

*[Note: I’ve since learned this magnesium supplier and Vaast are owned by the same company. They also own Huffy, Niner, and Royce Union.]

Here is a magnesium bike after it’s dissolved naturally:

As you may recall, I spent some time with a magnesium bike many years ago, and I really liked it–though not quite as much as the bike’s distributor apparently did:

This sort of marketing is liable to get you cancelled today, and in fact I’m pretty sure she’s been sent to some sort of inclusive gravel fondo for “reeducation.”

As for the Vaast bikes, they seem reasonably priced:

Though I suppose the real question is whether they’ll stand the test of time, which so far no other magnesium bikes have really seemed to do for whatever reason–museum pieces notwithstanding, of course:

[Photo: Classic Cycle]

I won’t even pretend to know enough about engineering to know if magnesium can potentially replace crabon or aluminum or titanium, nor will I pretend to care about how “sustainable” it is, partially because I just don’t, and partially because “sustainability” is a state of mind–I’ve been riding the hell out of a plastic Kestrel from 1987 lately, and it seems to be that no matter what it’s made from a 35 year-old bike with mostly original parts is about as sustainable as it gets.

None of this is to impugn Vaast or the people who ride them, as I fully support the buying and selling of bikes, even ones that are made out of stuff that dissolves. However, it is to point out, however annoyingly, that there are decades upon decades of old bikes to explore, some of which are surprisingly awesome, and that if you’re really worried about being sustainable it’s probably more ethical to adopt.

I’m genuinely curious to see if anyone will be riding a 25 year-old magnesium bike in 2057. (Though I’m pretty confident life on this planet will be just fine.)

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