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.
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The concept store business model takes a certain amount of heat from cycling enthusiasts. On the one hand, they tend to be beautiful stores. Merchandise is well-displayed, everything is clearly priced and their stock is often relatively consistent (i.e. they tend to keep your favorite tire in stock). Of course, the critical view is that they are homogenized, expensive and squeeze out any line that is remotely competitive with the primary line, be it Trek, Specialized or Giant.
Cynergy Cycles is a Specialized Concept Store in Santa Monica, California. In an attempt to help break the perception that a Specialized Concept Store has very little that isn’t Specialized, they invited customers and representatives of a few of their European lines to come and mingle one evening. As I’m a fan of anything a shop can do to break up the business-as-usual approach, I made sure to drop by.
The Buru promises to be the only top you’ll need on a moderately cool day.
Handlebar Coffee Roasters is a new line of coffee and café in Santa Barbara.
The owners are former PROs Kim Anderson who won the Route de France in 2009 and Aaron Olson who won stages of the Tours of Ireland and Poland among other achievements. Both are alums of Bob Stapleton’s High Road (previously T-Mobile) formation. They are genuinely charming folks with a real passion for coffee.
Multiply one guy by three days by more than 100 exhibitors who rank somewhere between curious and fascinating and the result is a negative number. The show really can’t be fully digested that way. When I left the floor of Interbike Friday afternoon, I had more questions than when I entered. The list of products I am dying to ride is too long to prioritize.
The number of companies that didn’t display on any level was much greater than I previously understood. I had assumed that Ochsner Imports, an importer with a number of interesting lines, would be present, but they had no booth. More than a few companies had smaller booths than in previous years.
The question of the relevance of the show was further called into question by the number of exhibitors taking orders at the show. I spoke with but one exhibitor who had taken orders in meetings with retailers.
One of the biggest trends illustrated at Interbike was the number of European companies that now own their American distributorship as a subsidiary. Sidi has formed a new U.S. distributorship, as has the German bike manufacturer Focus, whose Izalco was one of the freshest takes on bike design I saw all week. Despite occupying a distant corner of the show floor, the Focus booth enjoyed an ongoing stream of visitors.