Nigel, where is this… Netherlands?
*anyone that has a nice beautyshot to share… hit me up here and I’ll give you my contact info. Nigel does a strong beauty shot and sets the high bar so far. Let’s see what you’ve got… or else its back to grainy photos of me and stuff. Don’t be afraid to put yourself in the picture. You are the bike too. Hell, tell me about the ride you were on…..
Nov 17 | Another gem from Nigel
Nigel, where is this… Netherlands?
Nov 14 | Nigel
because it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you think about how your weight is distributed on the bike and that you think about the constant ever changing dynamics between you, the road and where you are on the thing (as well as the surround). The real point is that biking is thinking. Likely that it starts out as a conscious cognitive process until it becomes a kind of body thinking. No matter your fitness level.. think of your position on a bike as an open conversation and an evolution that speaks to function. Find the comfort in the function. How long and low can you sit on a bike and still feel comfortable and neutral. Can you find your center of gravity and use it in different ways on the bike? Can you change your body to make the dialogue with the bike work better?
Cycling can be an endless conversation between the mind, the body, and the road. There is this hysterical reaction I see evoked when you tell someone that their position to too high up front… when instead there’s a possiblity of this wonderful adaptation between the body and the bike. Bikes are about balance, they teach us about balance. Where you put your hands has everything to do with where you find your balance. Play with this…. because there are consequences to being out of balance. I feel best on a bike when I’m in balance and connected to it. It’s on me to find that. A stem isn’t about your manliness (it’ s just a stem/a part)… but how you sit on a bike can say alot about the nature of the conversation and the context of riding that works best for you. It’s a dynamic. Provoking this conversation about the front of the bike and your body somehow becomes a kind of hysteria. Balance is a conversation.. it’s the conversation. The one thing my bike is always teaching me.. is about balance.
Nov 8 | Death.
There was a Rapha ride last weekend that took riders down Las Flores Canyon. My father lived up that canyon in the early 80’s and I know it like the back of my hand. I’ve been riding it since 1983…. and I just rode it last week. I always give every descent my full attention and I treat every descent the same way a surfer treats a big wave… with the respect and attention it deserves. The rider that died simply overcooked a turn near Hume and Las Flores. A moment’s inattention on a diminishing radius turn and he’s gone. Riding is playing.. but its also a skill. Always always always treat your riding like a skill that takes devotion and patience. Have fun… but never bite off more than you can chew and never be afraid to slow down or take a break. I’m not a fan of fondos and fun rides…. they tend to celebrate disconnected riding. I hate that someone died on that road. I hate that the shop chose Las Flores when there are other descents that take so much less skill (when I read the email I commented to a friend that it was too technical a descent for that kind of ride and that someone would get killed). I’m tired of seeing folks ride like it doesn’t take skill. I’m tired of seeing guys that are more worried with getting faster than they are about getting better.
I traded messages with a friend.. we host a slow long Saturday ride up the coast. We’ve decided to change the focus of the ride to being about the group riding old school, perfectly aligned 2 abreast with nary a wheel overlapping. I love the Lance effect and all… but how you ride is what matters. It’s easy to get strong, it’s an endless conversation with yourself and the bike to get connected. Ride beautifully. It’s what matters.
You may think it’s ok to die riding because its doing something you love. I call bullshit. Dying having overcooked a turn is a real shit way to die. We’ve all over cooked a turn in our lives… its not worth dying over and knowing how to save it is a basic skill. Yes it takes luck. Yes people die every day in any number of stupid ways, and people die on their bikes.
Work on your descending. Dont get suckered into anything above your level. Dont be afraid to melt a rim or pull off and think about the next set of turns. And really think about those big group rides. If the nature of the ride is that being off the front or the top ten folks is the only good place to be… tap out. It’s not worth it. I love Rapha products. I’ve come to love them. I love the branding and the adverts… but you know it isn’t real. Don’t show up for that ride thinking what you see on the website is real. Riding isn’t a sentimental act. It’s not romantic until you’re off the bike and the photos are processed and printed. Ride present, ride smart, think critically and make your own luck.
I saw a picture of the guy… he looks like he was a lovely fellow. His bars were too high, too many spacers. I’m willing to bet his stem was too short. How you sit on a bike matters. How your bike fits matters. How much weight you have and where your center of gravity is going down a hill matters. It’s life and death.
Thanks for indulging my rant. I’ll probably take this down later.
*edit. I’m inclined to add that i dont represent any company veiw here. i dont speak for any entitiy or person involved with Vanilla. these are just ideas in print about something tragic for all parties. any conversation is important.