Paceline Podcast 192

Paceline Podcast 192

There’s been a lot of talk about what constitutes an “essential business” as more and more communities are put on a diet of shelter in place. For many people, bike shops are an essential business due to riders’ needs for tubes, tires, chain lube and service.

We also take on some reader questions about metal water bottles and L’Eroica, the vintage bike event conducted over dirt roads.



Does your bike need some love? Shimano original replacement parts are the best way to renew the original function of your Shimano-equipped bike. Available online and at your local retailer.


Show links:

Shimano XC5 Shoes

Velocio Unity Jersey

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  1. shiggy

    Balconies are not safe. I have heard of bikes being taken from third floor balconies while the owners are home

    1. Author

      And some folks have had bikes stolen from inside their homes. People can be real assholes. I really wish I knew the ideal answer.

  2. John Hunt

    Patrick, I couldn’t find an email for you- So I am contacting you this way.

    Can you tell me more about the Aliied Allroad?

    I am considering this bike as my primary road bike. I would run it with 28-32mm road tires most of the time, But maybe larger tires for certain Grasshopper events.

    Would you recommend this bike ft this? How is ride quality? Weight? General handling?

    Thanks in advance for you thoughts,

    John Hunt

    1. Author

      It’s an awesome bike, full stop. It could easily do double-duty as both a road bike with 28s and as a gravel bike with 32s. I don’t recall the weight on the frame, but what they have accomplished in ride quality by being ultra-careful about layup while only building with intermediate modulus carbon fiber couldn’t be more impressive. The handling is the best of any gravel bike I’ve ridden, which continues to amaze me. They are good people doing exceptional work. They could use the extra vote of confidence in a purchase.

  3. Jackie

    Thanks for taking up my questions re: water bottles and L’eroica.
    The water bottle issue arose due to my purchase of dimpled, insulated “polar bottles” which came with explicit instructions to not use bleach. Hmmmm. Thus the mold issue even with bottle brushes and detergent. Therefore, no more dimpled bottles for me. I appreciate your aversion to metal due to the “dropped bottle” crash scenario. Had not thought about that. Got it.

    re: L’eroica, I was pleased to hear that you had tried it Patrick, and it just wasn’t your cup of tea. Not sure I agree with the “exclusivity” element, ie: rules re: age of bike and vintage wool clothing as it seems to me that much of biking is exclusionary, but no more so than any other sport like skiing, ping pong, kayaking, roller-blading, etc. One always needs the right equipment to participate and to excel one often needs to spend a bit more moolah for performance.

    The L’Eroica appeal to me is the vintage aspect. The same way that I appreciate vintage cars, movies, clothing, and objects in general. We shall see how I feel about the reality when I try one of the events.

    1. Nathan

      Hi Jackie, Abby Mickey at CyclingTips recommended the ‘elastic titanium’ bottles from Keego ( – they are presumably pretty good for keeping mould at bay, might be what you’re looking for?

      (Abby is another huge Velocio fan)

    2. Author

      I can totally appreciate the vintage aspect of l’Eroica and don’t struggle with that at all. However, the event wouldn’t be the least bit harmed by allowing my friends with Campy Ergo-equipped Pegorettis to attend. By demanding that folks buy an old bike it is by it’s very nature exclusionary. When I raced inline skates there were very few rules about who could show up. My whitewater friends show up to events with modern, plastic stuff. When I lived in New England there were no events at all that demanded you show up with old skis. Let’s not forget that some of those old parts didn’t work that well then and really hadn’t aged well; consider some of the Modolo stuff that actually broke. There’s no sort of inspection of the bikes to make sure they actually work well, which creates a safety issue. This isn’t a matter of having the right equipment to complete the event successfully, which is what all other equipment requirements I’ve seen are; it strikes me as the opposite.

  4. KZ

    One of the things I’ve always appreciated about RKP is the product reviews. The don’t appear in the written-word much these days; they’re now part of the Paceline Podcasts. Unfortunately, I often don’t have the hour of time needed to listen to a podcast. It would be great if the product reviews were stand-alone. Thanks

    1. Author

      We’ve got more on the way. My current life of being stay-at-home dad to two boys who carry on like Israel and Palestine are making any productive writing difficult in a way I can’t even define for myself. Sorry to leave you hanging.

  5. Nathan

    Sorry to hear you got burgled Patrick :(. I wonder how much they knew about you beforehand, maybe even through RKP/The Paceline?

    I love my XC5s! I would love them more if they were narrower at the heel. My feet are shaped like ice cream cones – wide at the ball, narrow at the heel. Some people (me) just have to be awkward!

  6. Neil Winkelmann

    Love the rant on the period-correct L’eroica rides. You make a lot of very good points. Many of which I’d never considered. You’ve put me off them. I’ll explore the outdoors on appropriate equipment, and keep my 1976 NR Wilier on the wall in our living room.

    Sorry to hear about the burglaries. Good luck in finding new digs.

  7. Touriste-Routier

    Hey, I’m not that pasty… I don’t hide from sunlight or garlic, nor do I sleep in a closed box, and can see my reflection in mirrors! I’m just a lighter shade of pale… 🙂

    Yes, the first Eroica California was not the best organized events; chalk it up to a rookie effort. I was dehydrated not due to lack of supplies at the rest stop, but because I went off course and ended up having to ride an extra 20 miles with >2400′ of climbing to get to the stop we happened to meet at. Considering we had a hard winter in PA, I didn’t need those bonuses on a very warm day. The 2nd year was much better organized. I haven’t made it back since due to schedule conflicts, but their reputation is good, so I believe they’ve made substantial improvements.

    Patrick, we’ve debated all this before, and I don’t want to rehash it all here, but it is unfair to compare today’s gravel events and an Eroica event. The only thing they have in common are unpaved roads. And keep in mind, Eroica predates most gravel events by >15 years.

    Eroica is supposed to be a throwback event, founded on the principle of “the beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest”. The longer courses are supposed to be hard, and aren’t for everyone; just like the 200 mile Dirty Kanza course isn’t for everyone. Walking up some of the hills can be just part of the game, like it was in some of the races in the “Heroic” era.

    Yes, the equipment requirements can be considered onerous, particularly if you don’t already have access to it, but the CA event is less stringent than the Italian versions (the rules are essentially the same, but the enforcement is less). The period correct clothing is encouraged rather than required. By nature, the CA event tends to attract “collectors” and old bike racers, but the main event in Italy seems to attract all types, including those who just happen to still have an old bike in the garage.

    I think your experience might have been different, if you were on your own vintage bike, and if you were used to riding it+, as opposed to one you borrowed exclusively for the occasion. But all this said, Eroica events aren’t for everyone, and everyone has a different definition of fun vs crazy vs stupid.

    The longer courses tend to be appreciated more by those who remember what it was like to ride those bikes when they weren’t vintage, but were the latest & greatest. How did we climb mountains in a 42 x 23? Because we didn’t have any other options… Fausto Coppi would have thought Merckx was soft since he had to ride the same courses on a 46t small ring instead of a 42…

    To sum it up, if you think of Eroica as a vintage rally instead of a gravel ride, it makes much more sense. And if the vintage thing isn’t for you, they also offer Nova events, where modern equipment is allowed. And if the vintage aspect does appeal to you, you can always ride the shorter & flatter courses now offered.

  8. Steve Campbell

    Not that it will make you feel any better Patrick, but King County in Washington has also closed all of their parks This includes several regional rail-trails. They did make an exception for essential travel to continue using their trails.

    Seattle’s parks remain open. For now.

  9. Dan Murphy

    Really sorry about the bikes being stolen, Patrick. The feeling of being violated just doesn’t go away. I had a nice bike stolen in ’79(?) and it still sucks. Two robberies in one year? I’d kill.

    Just the thought of riding my old Masi with 42-23 gearing makes my knees hurt. I can understand the interest, but sorry, not for me.

    My first thought when I heard metal water bottles mentioned was the supposed rattling of the bottle in the cage. Yuck.

  10. Dion Goldsworthy

    Patrick, so sorry to hear about your burglaries! This is so sad. Hope that they can be recovered and returned to you.

    I have ridden the California Eroica, edition #2 & #3 and really loved both rides. Contrary to your experience, these were both very well organized and definitely the BEST food I’ve ever had on a bike ride. I have my own vintage bike, a 1984, Bruce Gordon, Columbus SL, with Shimano 600 components, Modolo brakes, newer H+Son rims on which I run new Vittoria Corsa 28’s. I run a 52-39 and 13-26 with newer aero brake levers, but original down-tube shifters. Nobody ever questioned my gear, except to ask me about my bike, how long I have owned it, etc. I bought this bike new, via mail order from Bruce in 1984 and it was my main road bike until 2015. Anyway, with the 28’s it was fine on the dirt sections, which were about 35 miles out of the 85. I rode in lycra, took the cleats off a pair of Giro shoes and put patches of duct tape on the bottom to keep them from slipping as bad on the toeclip pedals. Far from ideal, but serviceable for a day.

    The course was beautiful and it was fun to talk with folks about their bikes, background, etc. Overall, very congenial. At Edition #3, I met one of my all-time heroes, Andy Hampsten. All your points about newer bikes and gear making dirt more enjoyable are correct, but there is a certain sense of adventure and enjoyment to do a ride like this on your “old-school” bike. I don’t want to do it every weekend, but once a year or so, it’s really fun.

    Lastly, I do ride this old bike of mine about once a month (on pavement) and it is very fun. Still a fast, responsive bike – Bruce Gordon really knew what he was doing!

    1. Author

      If I had an old Bruce Gordon you can bet I’d be looking for cool opportunities to ride it. I’m glad to hear you have had good experiences with the event. Certainly, that’s better to hear than someone’s less than satisfying day.

    2. Dion Goldsworthy

      Thanks, Patrick. Keep up the good work on your podcasts! I really enjoy them and during this time of relative shut-in, they really help us to feel a little more connected beyond our own immediate walls. Thanks.

    3. Jackie Black

      Thanks Dion for that insider info on your Cali l’eroica experience. It sounds like everything I expect it to be: fun! I hope to make an event when we are all on the other side of this pandemic. Cheers and Ride On.

    4. Dion Goldsworthy

      Hi Jackie, yes, amen to that! I’m going to try to make the next Eroica myself. Stay safe!

  11. Scott

    One more thought on the cost aspect on the L’Eroica ride. IMHO The cost of the bike itself does not have to be exclusionary. There are a lot of budget bikes that meet the criteria that are just old, not collectible. A quick search of the local CL, showed a few pre 1987 bikes in the $200-500 range (Motobecane, Cannondale, Miyata,Trek, Univega) . Also…when done with the ride, these bikes still have market value or back up bike use. Do the ride a few times, sell it for what you paid for it. You won’t recoup the cost of the new tires/chain/pads/cables etc as needed, but fixing it and prepping is part of the “ride”. How exclusionary is a $5k-10k carbon bike?. How much are your modern wheels?..probably a lot more than a 1985 Trek. I picked up a nice 1978 vintage bike on ebay for $700 a few years back, enjoyed going through it and did the event a few times only 1 flat….and it is still worth what I paid for it. I did figure out an old man granny gear (highly suggested!)..but if I did not..I’d walk for a bit. No big deal. Some folks nerd out on the clothing, but I used very basic solid color clothing (black shorts, Adidas Sambas, solid old closeout Road Holland shirt, modern helmet). No issue at all. What is exclusionary is the travel/hotel-AirBnB/dining expenses for the event.. of course no weekend on the Coast of California with lodging will be cheap. It is not an inexpensive event overall, but the bike (and riding gear) does not have to be too costly.

    Cheers to you and sorry to hear about the break in!


    1. Author

      You bring up some terrific points, Scott. And for those willing to buy a bike and re-sell it after the event (or maybe hang onto it), that is a lower-impact commitment. As to how exclusionary a $5k+ bike is, I’ll defend those who make that decision as having chosen the thing because they want the thing; they didn’t buy the thing to be able to attend something else. There’s no doubt that you are right that a weekend trip to the Central Coast isn’t cheap; ah, this modern life.

  12. Miki Vuckovich

    Hi Patrick. Super bummed to hear about your stolen bikes. It’s something I’m paranoid about, not so much because it’s the most expensive thing I own after my house and car, but because of the time and fine tuning I’ve put into making it “me,” both in fit and character. A huge investment in time and energy that is completely worthless to anyone else. Anyway, I have an Ultegra medium cage rear derailleur and matching front derailleur I’m happy to donate, if you need them. They’re new take offs from my Canyon Endurace. Maybe Shimano is taking care of you (they should), but if not let me know. Cheers.

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for the offer. That’s incredibly kind of you. Thanks even more to you and everyone who have offered their condolences. It’s been a chastening experience. I’m inclined to think that my insurance company will make me whole, so maybe those parts could find a home with some high school kid in your area who is just getting into cycling.

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