Friday Group Ride #22

If you’re like me, your daily encounter with the mailbox is followed, very closely, by an encounter with the recycle bin. Who in their right mind still prints things on paper, stuffs that paper in an envelope and pays postage to have a human trudge across the soggy expanses to plunk it in a box in front of your house? Lunatics do. And catalog businesses.

Of all the things I carry from box to bin, the only survivors are those bills that are not available digitally and bicycle catalogs. I get Nashbar and Performance and World Cycling Productions and VeloGear and various and sundry others. Each of them seems to sell some subset of the same array of lycra, carbon fiber and aluminum bits, but some are pricier than others. The photos are better (or worse). The models look more or less improbably like actual cyclists. They address different market segments (all of which I belong to in one way or another), and each of them gets a full flip through before being binned. I have kids. I can’t be buying every shiny bit of velophernalia that catches my eye.

Before we start let us all agree that the local bike shop (the proverbial LBS) is a grand and ideal place to spend our dollars/euros/rupees/limpira/pesos/pounds/sheckels/duckets/silver, BUT that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Probably as a result of being addicted to bicycles and all their related accessories, we have found our ways onto so many mailing lists, paper and binary, and so we find ourselves under fairly consistent bombardment by glossy shots of Assos kit and cut rate carbon handlebars.

What? Where? When? Why? How? The Group Ride starts now.

And because the pro peloton is riding rough over Italian asphalt this week, and those who are not in the land of pasta and Roman ruins are tuning up for the Tour of California, this week we will also have a little prediction action. Upcoming ToC (notice I leave out the sponsor’s name…they can have a mention when their check arrives at RKP HQ) prologue winner and GC finalist. Name both. Win stickers. Go.



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  2. SinglespeedJarv

    So while we’re undecided on whether the prediction is Stage 1 or the ITT:

    Stage 1 – Cavendish
    ITT – Cancellara
    Overall – DZ (putting it out there)

    Mailing lists, just deleted myself off most of them, including Greenpeace and Howies. Probably still on a couple of UK ‘net cycle stores.

  3. mark

    Since I want schwag, I’m going to say Dave Z for the ITT, even though I think Fabian will win.

    GC, again, I need to choose someone not named Leipheimer, so how about Dave Z for the GC as well.

    As for all those catalogs? I get them all, probably because at one point or another I have subscribed to Bicycling, Velo News, Bike, and Mountain Bike Action. I have not placed an actual order with most of the companies that send me catalogs.

  4. Robot


    And what about the catalogs? Are you guys so starved for stickers that you’ve completely ignored the topic of the ride?

    This is like an actual group ride where, no matter how hard you try, some people just drop off the back, and you sit at your desk on Monday wondering whether the buzzards are picking their bones in the desert or they made it home safe. Eventually.

  5. James

    Stage 1: Tom Boonen
    Overall: Matti Breschel

    As for the catalogs… I get them all too, both electronic and paper. I do enjoy flipping through the pages looking at what I can’t afford! I often dream about breezing up a local mountain with Campagnolo Super Record gleaming on my gleaming DeRosa King. It’s a nice way to kill some time!

    Just saw the clarification… Mick Rogers in the ITT.

  6. Souleur

    What? Where? When? Why? How?
    Colorado Cyclist, Excel Sport, Schwalbe-cycles..and Probikekit keeps me in order for times I find myself thinking, sitting alakamode and ready for bed, simply because…I am.

    I abhor Nashbar…sorry, they are a bunch of pussies.

    And tada, Performance. I use to use if for kindling, but I couldn’t help but see their latest and FINALLY descent attempt at elevating the common level of cyclist protoplasm w/Focus bikes, high level componentry and yes, some ok duds.

  7. todd k

    I’m pretty diligent about keeping myself off most catalogue lists. I generally hate the mail box. This is not as easy a task as I prefer since it seems most businesses force you to use the opt out rather than in. The only catalogue items I tend to get are from Rapha, which, to be honest, I don’t mind. I actually like them visually and at least they attempt to fully leverage the strengths of paper as a medium.

    What I get more of than anything else these days are unsolicited ’cause’ emails that often seem only remotely tied to the various charity rides, donations or surveys I participated in over the years. I have mixed feelings about those as they often seem to be very generous in sharing or using my email address in an effort to promote something.

  8. wvcycling

    Random musing: Excel Sports Boulder has one of the best printed catalogs I have seen from a large “LBS”. Their design, multiple images, listed data, make me give them a thumbs up, then their photography and layout brings it to two thumbs up.

    Check it out whenever you get the chance.

  9. Dan O

    Excel Sports, Colorado Cyclist and some other catalogs always seem to land in my mailbox. I always at least flip through ’em once to look – how can you not?

    Back in the ’80s, before the Internet and media bombardment from every angle, it was a big deal to get a Nashbar or Performance catalog in the mail. I’d flip through ’em over and over.

    Even after all these years, I still get a kick out of catalogs – paper and online. When I visit shops, I always grab bike catalogs as well – Trek, Specialized, Kona, etc.

    The day I no longer care about looking at bikes, related parts and clothes – will be a sad day indeed. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m hooked for life.

  10. Lachlan

    prologue: Cav.
    GC: Levi

    All for the paper Mailings too. The ones from Rapha in particular get more like beautiful cycling books by the month.. the “Vanity of Conquest” photo booklet of the Siracusa shoot they did is brilliant, and on lovely stock. Embossed and all… Not something thats done for instant return on investment. As a random note, they also seem to be doing a great job for Parlee and Edge… who feature very obviously in many of the cooler shots.

  11. SinglespeedJarv

    Everyone going on about the Rapha catalogue reminded me that i do get one mailing and that is the Howies catalogue. A different theme every time, it’s generally always an interesting read and a resource as well. Not that I’m trying to plug them, just liked what they were about.

  12. Jim

    I think the people who go all fanboy about the race without any sense that it’s name sponsor is the top maker of EPO will win, because ignance is bliss.

    Hey, how ’bout that Lance?

  13. Souleur

    @ Jim: is it ignorance or acceptance?

    Would it be better to lose the Amgen title sponsorship and also probably lose the ToC? That is what is happening to the Tour of Missouri, no title sponsor=no ride/race. It happened to Tour of Georgia as well.

    I have no beef about the sponsorship. IMHO its better than nothing, and in the meantime maybe one day a big deep pocketed cycist-philanthropic will just throw down a few mil a year for an altruistic endeavor. We can hope.

  14. randomactsofcycling

    OK….so…let’s make sure we all stay on topic here…..
    Living down here in Oz, printed catalogues are all but forgotten, unless it’s the local Supermarket specials or Department Store sales. I have actually set up a different e-mail account to handle anything I do on-line. It helps to minimize spam and makes my inbox easier to sort.
    Rogers for both! (not that I am at all parochial)

  15. Dan O

    Ah – forgot to mention the Rivendell catalogs. Those were always cool to get, as was the Rivendell Reader.

    Even if the bikes are not your thing – always interesting stuff to read from Rivendell – thanks to Grant Petersen. Grant was also the main force behind Bridgestone USA, back in the day.

  16. Michael

    i cannot for the life of me get excited about the TOC. The Giro is where all the action is happening, and yesterdays epic (yes it fully deserves that overly used term) stage over and through the mud of the rolling Tuscan hills even the most jaded cycling observer could not help but have a hint of a smile on the corner of his/her otherwise pursed lips.

    Single greatest Grand Tour stage I have seen in over a decade, that was magnificent and bike racing distilled to it’s sheer essence. The fact that Cadel was the one to take it home was just a little icing on the cake – he is honoring the WC jersey like no other rider that I can remember has in my adult lifetime (for reference, I am 37).

    Absolutely brilliant! In that context, watching multiple continental teams line up to try to take down a couple of profis in Cali is not high on my list of things to get excited about this week.

    1. Padraig

      Dan O and Michael: The Bridgestone catalogs were less catalogs than love songs to cycling. I don’t know a person who threw theirs away. I’m sure those catalogs had an influence on Rapha’s marketing materials.

  17. Timothy Day

    Also not getting excited by the ToC, but am enjoying having the Giro on our DVR! Mail, really bothered by all the charity junk mail I get. I think Livestrong may have sold their list or something, because I’m getting requests from EVERY CHARITY UNDER THE SUN. More free return address labels than I’ll ever need. I’m also starting to become a charity event doubter. If you took every dollar used to advertise and make pink t-shirts, and rent the 100 port-a-sans, canned the event and donated that loot to a cancer research facility I’d be a happy man.

  18. Big Mikey

    Banished to Canada several years ago. My days of bike catalogues are on hold for now.

    Can’t remember the last piece of good news I got via postal mail. I feel fortunate when there’s nothing but flyers.

    The Giro has been amazing in its first week. Here’s hoping the fun continues.

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