That’s More Like It

After enduring 30-ish miles of this

…I was badly in need of a perineum palate cleanser yesterday, and so I headed out on this:

I chose this bike because it seemed the perfect counterbalance to the Softride. Both bikes were high-tech for their day, but this one is fully rigid, has skinny tires, sports a saddle that’s not purpose-built to pinch your nether regions like some sort of perverted uncle, and uses integrated shifters that actually work:

Of course, while the Litespeed feels thoroughly modern to me, it’s practically an antique. In fact, even the latest plastic offerings from Colnago are comparatively quaint by current road racing standards:

“I think Tom [Boonen] can very easily answer what the difference is between a very good bike, a slightly inferior bike, and a top bike,” De Wolf continued. “It’s like a Ferrari and a Porsche, there’s a difference. Tom?”

“I think [within] a top five of manufacturers, there is little difference [between] them,” Boonen responded. “There is of course always an order to it, but indeed, there is still a lot of difference between a top five and a top 10 or 15.”

Asked if he considered Colnago outside of that top five, Boonen agreed. “Yes. Colnago is catching up, but it’s still an old-school bike, and they haven’t quite mastered that super-hyper-aero stuff yet.”

An indignant Colnago responded…by inviting Boonen to Italy to ride bikes:

An irony noted by at least one Twitter user:

Given Colnago’s new PR approach, I’d also like to go on record by saying Colnago bikes suck ass, they’re slow as shit, and they’re about as technologically advanced as Ernesto’s combover:

That oughta buy me a deluxe Italian cycling vacation complete with lavish meals where I’ll be fêted with only the finest meats, wines, and cheeses.

I’d also like to add that I find the Master particularly objectionable, so if you want to teach me a lesson then sending me one would really set me straight:

I also wouldn’t mind one of these:

Wait–I mean it’s old and stupid, but you should send me one anyway just to prove me wrong.

Incidentally, I suspect Tadej Pogačar would still be very fast on either of those bikes, and I know this because I tried to keep up with him once and couldn’t, even though he was on a slow-ass Colnago:

When a certain cycling publication finally runs the story you’ll get to read all about it. They tell me October, which is great, because by then I’ll have completely forgotten everything about the ride and I’ll appreciate the reminder.

By the way, did you know that in addition to being a living legend who has been photographed peering pensively through his own frames for like 78 years now, Ernesto Colnago is also a cardinal?

His official cardinal name is “Fanculo-Fanabla I,” which I’m pretty sure is Italian for “Go fuck yourself.”

Speaking of classic sensibilities and people sending you stuff, I recently received an email from the proprietor of Wabi Woolens:

He wanted to know if I wanted to try one of his jerseys, and I replied in the affirmative faster than Ernie Colnago sends back the wine. (He always sends back the wine, it’s a total power move.)

For many years, as a sub-mediocre Cat 3, I did all my “real” cycling in synthetic jerseys and base layers. That stuff is the crabon fiber of clothing–it’s light and it’s great for racing, but it’s not all that versatile and it doesn’t hold up over the long term. Also, it’s ugly. (Yes, I realize the irony of my saying it doesn’t hold up when I also ride a crabon road bike from 1987, but if I threw a crabon bike and a steel bike out my front window I know which one I’d feel safer riding afterward.) These days I’ve learned that wool is the way to go, whether it’s traditional jerseys, merino base layers and t-shirts, or even regular old sweaters, which make excellent riding garments as long as you don’t need the back pockets. It’s comfortable, it handles water and odors well, it’s durable, and you can wear it on and off the bike. Once you start riding in wool, you really don’t want to wear anything else, which is why Mario Cipollini cycles naked:

I’m not kidding about Cipollini cycling naked, I’m kidding about showing you the photo. I’ll spare you for once. You deserve it.

Really, the only problem I have with wool is the moths, for just as a steel frame can rust, a wool garment can develop holes courtesy of those insidious flying sweater-munchers. (“Sweater-muncher” sounds like it should be a euphemism for something.) But just as you can prevent rust by taking some simple precautions, so too can you protect your clothes from moths–and even if you’re too lazy to do either of those things like I am, neither surface rust nor tiny holes are likely to cause any real structural damage, they just remind everyone else you’re a dirtbag, though if you’re like me everyone already knew that anyway, so who cares?

In any case, here’s the jersey I chose:

I’ve only got one ride in it so far, which was yesterday, but it seems beautifully made, and it’s quite comfy:

The pockets on classic wool jerseys can be a little saggy when you really load them up, but the triple configuration on this one is nice and snug, and it’s cut to conceal your crack if you’re not riding in bib shorts (wool jerseys pair nicely with jeans):

The very best thing about wool jerseys is that you can basically wear them day in and day out without ever washing them, which is what I plan to do with this one. I’ll keep you posted on how it holds up, and in the meantime I see they’re having a sale, so if your cycling wardrobe needs a little extra retro flair consider patronizing someone who seems like he deserves the support, even if he does live in Portland:

Hey, nobody’s perfect.

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