The garage looks as a garage should. A phalanx of bikes hung across the back wall. A repair stand with half-ass repair in progress. A tool chest with bike stickers, drawers in various states of openness, the hex keys to the fore. Then a big plastic parts bin, too random to catalog, as well as another bin with lights, fenders, mismatched pedals, frame pumps, old shoe covers, water bottle cages, flotsam, jetsam and bric-a-brac. Two floor pumps. Three sets of orphaned wheels. A pile of tires. A shelf of lubes. Another shelf entirely dedicated to inner tubes needing repair. By the door, a rack with helmets, road, mountain and BMX.

Enter the basement. An entire coat rack devoted to cycling hats, wind vests, rain gear. A basket with seldom-used gloves, more hats, warmers, arm, knee and leg, and a few u-locks. Vintage cyclocross poster by the door. Posters from local races. A product poster with Cippolini on it, riding, laughing, text in Italian. The trainer, Kurt Kinetic, slung over by the TV. A pile of unwashed kit by the washing machine. That post-ride tang hanging in the air from when, last weekend?

Climb the stairs.

The living room offers up only a couple subtle clues. An RKP water bottle, half empty/half full. The kids use all my best water bottles to stay hydrated after obscenely large bowls of movie popcorn. On the bookshelf, a few cycling DVDs, Stars and Water Carriers, Overcoming, the 1994 Paris Roubaix.

On the kitchen counter, a brand new, tags-on Castelli cyclocross beanie, in gray. Also a copy of peloton, issue seven. Nearby, the bowl that holds the various and sundry on-bike nutritional products, ShotBloks, GUs, Lara Bars.

The half bath is a veritable trove. Copies of Cycling Plus, Road Bike Action, Velo, as well as the Colorado Cyclist catalog. A large framed poster from the 1943 Volta Cataluña, a smaller frame with the cover of the 1893 Columbia Safety Bicycles catalog. Two square canvases with original stencil art, one of the great Coppi, the other of Raymond Poulidor. It’s a half bath, but it’s all-cycling.

The dining room is littered with more evidence. My courier bag, Chrome Metropolis, black, ‘ROBOT’ stenciled across the back, a three-way flasher bolted through the top flap. Also, a small pile of gloves from Descente, Capo and Giro. The rest of the Castelli order, still tagged and cosseted in plastic; two thermal skull caps, one red, one black; a pair of Pavé bib tights; a smart, gray wool jersey; a pair of Diluvio gloves. Also, a pair of well-worn Sidis, tucked under a chair.

Up the stairs and into the bedroom. Lycra hung on door knobs and hooks, mostly to dry out before going into the hamper. Half pairs of nice wool socks on the floor, the other halves eaten by the greedy-ass dryer or simply hiding in another load. Beside the bed, another pile of cycling magazines, Patrick Brady’s “The No-Drop Zone”, for reference, and the inevitably large bedside “Journey Through Hell” that I never manage to finish reading, mostly because I only look at the pictures.

The bathroom keeps its secrets pretty well, but for those with the temerity to breach the medicine chest, there are multiple tubs of embrocation, Cream of Courage and Mad Alchemy’s Madness, as well as an Icy Hot balm stick, for when you just need that old, medicinal burn.

There’s a pair of wool RKP socks on top of the stairs, too. Who left those there? I did.

We could peek into the kids’ room. There will be more water bottles there. The little thieves.

The attic is cycling-free. Only insulation up there.

Look, I don’t know how all this happened. Credit cards were swiped. Gifts were given. SWAG was had. I traded for some of it, and because of what I do, much of it just washed in on the tide like so many broken clam shells and bits of sea vegetable.

In a court of law, I’d be easy to convict. I’m a cyclist. At some point you don’t have to be caught red-handed. The weight of circumstance is enough. The truth is, if you hang around long enough, it just gets all over you.


Follow me on Twitter @thebicyclerobot.

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  1. lawhaas

    I can relate…In our half bath are pictures of Hincape covered in mud on his way to 4th place in Paris-Roubaix and Andy Hampsten going over the Gavia covered in snow. on the wall outside the bath is a pic of a rider on a velodrome being paced by a motorbike circa 1914. My favorite however is my vintage Johnny T Oakley poster where his back tire is head level with a spectator. My garage is hung with bikes, some in the midst of half-ass repairs, a sticker covered tool box and helmets, shoes and gloves all around.
    I am just glad my kids are staying hydrated…even if I can never find a bottle to use. I am guilty of being a Cyclist too.

  2. todd k

    Great post Robot. If you ever find a solution to the “greedy-ass dryer” stealing your socks, please share. I have an equivalent pile in my house. I can’t muster the courage to part with the orphans. The pile contains only great socks in near pristine condition. If i recall correctly, one is also and RKP sock. I live in infinite denial that their lost brethren are due to return any day. For certain they will return if I throw out those that I do have in my possession.

    My kids and wife loot my water bottles as well.

    1. Padraig

      I was convicted with the jury out of the room and got a life sentence to boot. My wife doesn’t mind … mostly.

      And what is it with the looting of water bottles? I’m such a selfish ass about my favorite bottles.

  3. Dan O

    Great post – fun read. Similar scene for many cyclist’s homes – mine included…

    Garage a clutter mess of various bikes hanging off the ceiling, a few in rotation, others too old/cool/hip to sell. Kid’s bikes sitting on kickstands, ready for action. Son’s ‘cross bike, still muddy from last weekend’s race, propped against new mountain bike frame in the box, waiting for a build up – to replace his current mountain bike.

    Workbench with various chain lubes and cleaners scattered about. Two tool boxes, one full of ’70s era motocross stickers, the other full of bike related stickers sit on the bench. Nearby shelves full of water bottles, helmets, gloves, and other gear – old and in use. Muddy Sidis on the floor, near the pump. 1991 Bridgestone RB-1 sits on 1988 era wind trainer, ready for torture session. Various race and event numbers stapled to the ceiling.

    Living room, with ’80s era Tour of Somerville framed poster hanging over fireplace. Another framed pic from 1993 trip to Moab, me on Slickrock trail, complete with Oakley Pilot glasses. Piles of bike magazines and catalogs sit in a corner, magazine rack overflowing. Drying bib shorts, arm warmers, and jersey hang by the front door or off dining room chairs – wife loves that…

    12 year old racer boy son’s room contains more evidence. Closet doors overflowing with race numbers taped to it. Tour poster of Lance and downhill action/skinsuit clad John Tomac grace the walls. Medals and trinkets from various races on shelf near bed. Latest issue of Cyclocross magazine laying on the floor.

    I’m sure many readers of this blog have similar sights at home. It’s all part of being in the club.

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