Road Racing is Dangerous

As a former motorcycle road racer, I applaud and concur with the authors comments. I was fully aware of the dangers. With freewill, I accepted all the risks. Motorbike racing IS dangerous, in fact it’s supposed to be dangerous. Furthermore, any racing or fast riding on two wheels, motorized or not is dangerous.


Simon Andrews lost his life at the 2014 North West 200 in a crash on a very fast, straight section of road into Portrush. He was dismounted at high speed and suffered an impact with the kerb causing severe injuries. Typically in these circumstances the rider is put into an induced coma and airlifted. Simon showed some signs of recovery but passed away on Monday 19th May.

This along with an incident on the previous Thursday when a French rookie rider sustained severe injuries has induced the inevitable outcry from those who have nothing to do with the sport, suggesting that running the event is no longer feasible and indeed any government funding should be stopped. I feel the need to comment.

I feel this reaction is insulting to the life of Simon Andrews and all those other riders who have lost their lives for the sport. The implication that…

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Onboard Video – Tour of California

Onboard video of Giant-Shimano’s John Degenkolb sprint to the line in the 2014 ToC.

This was a ‘live’ shot at the time and this is the future of televised cycling. Long, long overdue but a welcome addition! As the technology is sorted, I am sure we will see more than just front and rearward shots. perhaps small cameras mounted on the chain stays, with various angles and some other perspectives as well. It will undoubtedly add a new and exciting dynamic to the sport of pro cycling.

Where the rubber and my ass meet the roads

I have  just made some part changes on the R002-SS machine in the form of a new set of tyres and a different saddle. When I was putting the together the bike, I had pre-ordered a bunch of parts in anticipation of the build, and tires were on the list of those parts. Being that I had ordered the 23mm width wheels, I wanted  25mm tires to take advantage of the wider rims and increased rubber patch on the road.

Unfortunately, the Continental Ultra Sports I ordered in the 25mm size showed up as 23mm wide tyres. When I had called the vendor to ask what happened, they informed me that the 25mm’s were out of stock and wouldn’t be restocked for at least a month or more. So, I went ahead and begrudgingly kept the 23mm’s.

So, in keeping with my ‘frugal’ nature, I was holding out for a sale or closeout on some decent 25mm tires. Then, last week nashbar was having a sale on Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick Tires. I ordered myself up a pair of the 700×25 folding tyres at $14.99 each plus $6.99 shipping, for a very reasonable $36.97 in total!


Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick Specs:

  • WEIGHT:   251g
  • SIZE:             700 x 25
  • TPI:               60
  • BEAD:         Folding

TPI wise, the Vittoria’s come in at 60 threads per inch per tyre and are also, obviously, a bit thinner than the 84 TPI Ultra Sports. With about 459 miles on the R-002/R-022 and the Conti Ultra Sports,  I can attest that they have performed very well. When cornering hard, grip is predictable and very good. Wear is moderate as well. As far as the tire profile is concerned, I was surprised to see that the Vittoria’s are about a 1/16th of an inch taller than the Ultra Sports.

What this means in the way of handling and feel remained to be seen. I have not yet rolled on the new Vittoria’s. I do have confidence in the Vittoria’s to perform as good or even better than the Ultra Sports, and I will put the Vittoria’s to the test for sure.

Another item I had pre-ordered was the saddle and being the cheapskate that I am, I went ahead and purchased a Vader 104 for a measly $8.64 on ebay. It is surprisingly, a very decent saddle. The Chinese made seat is comfortable, looks good and of course, uber cheap! The down side? a whopping 320 grams!  Well, I figured it was time to start seeking out some different and lighter options. Right then, off to my go-to site, ebay once again. I had missed out a few good auctions of some Selle’s and Fizik’s. But did manage to snag a Selle San Marco Spid for $36 bucks with free shipping. It’s used, but barely and looks virtually new. The Spid comes in at 210 grams, a good 110 grams lighter than my nine dollar Vader!


As far as comfort goes, believe it or not, the Vader just edges out the Selle. Hard to believe, I know. But the Selle is fairly comfortable at that. Since I have a rather fat-free ass…my sit bones need some decent support! Finding a good saddle is one of those trial and error deals that could take a long time…in fact, it could even take one years! A decent seat that is not too heavy will almost surely be a compromise, like everything else on a road bike. You want all out comfort? Okay, then if a 20lb bike doesn’t make recoil in horror…go for it!  While I’m not trying to be completely ‘weight-obsessive’ I do want to keep this bike in the 16 +/- pound range…

The STATIST quo…

Without doubt, this post will ruffle the feathers of some, if not many. As you might guess, that does not matter to me. What does matter, is that I opine a dissenting, opposing view to the popular beliefs in society (bike related or not) I was prompted to write this impromptu post after watching today’s Giro d’Italia and the crashes that took place near the end of the stage.

Statism is a form of a mild mental disorder. Which can be a short-term or a long-term affliction.

Statism not only applies to those who just blindly support the ‘State’ but who also blindly and without critical question or thinking, support popular but often false narratives.

Statists, often buy in to what are just falsities, notions that are illogical when critically analyzed, but are not given much thought, because they are a ‘popular’ belief. Sadly, most of these inaccuracies are perpetuated from when we are born. The collective are conditioned to believe almost everything we are taught or instructed to do so. Often by the media, schools and the masses of like-minded drones. Critical dissent and critical agitation are a must for the truth to survive and triumph.

Trust, laziness and apathy are at the heart of the propagation of such falsities and misunderstandings in all societies. In cycling, as in any form of moving transportation, the CAUSATION of any accident, crash or mishap is ALWAYS, always the fault of the operator(s). Let that sink in and either make you nod yes, maybe or pull down your undergarments from your backside- as I am sure they have may have wedged up there just a bit.

We have devolved in to a world of blaming anything and everything on someone or something else. To that, I say bullshit.

The Causation of a bike  pileup is NOT due to road furniture. Not due to slick roads. Not due to the rain, snow, ice, etc. But rather it is down to the operator(s) Which includes big packs of riders or drivers. That said, the above mentioned hazards do play a significant role. They are ancillary factors. Obstacles can be avoided. When they are not, excuses are at the forefront. This is somewhat normal human behavior, although when analyzed, not the truth.

The ice storms of this past winter in the northeast were NOT the causation of the multitude of wrecks and accidents. Certainly, the ice was a contributing factor- but not the Causation. The ice in fact was a Correlation. The pileups in bike races do not happen because OF an obstacle, or the roads were narrow or it was raining, etc. No, sorry to burst the statist bubble.

The crashes, the pileups, the accidents, all happen because the rider or driver did NOT keep control of his or her vehicle. Plain and simple. When conditions are not dry or impose a non-typical setting or surrounding, one must adapt to these changing and hazardous conditions. Not only adapt, but adapt well. Bike handling skills and vehicle control under duress and hazardous conditions are THE most important ability and understanding to have in any moving vehicle, 2 or 4 or more wheeled.

A crash or an accident reveals one and one thing only about the operator. Careless or reckless behavior. Yes, reckless. But mostly just careless actions. Now, can careless actions be a result of fatigue? Absolutely. How about because of someone else’s mistake? Again, absolutely. But no matter what the contributing or ancillary factors that were in play, the bottom line is…operator error. Operator fault. Crashes, accidents and mishaps expose ones lack of ability. Mine, yours, and everyone’s at some point in time.


1.not paying enough attention to what one does-


  1. utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless
    (usually followed by of ): to be reckless of danger.

2.characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness: reckless extravagance.

Without control, one is at the mercy of external forces (variable and changing conditions) and when in a pack of bicycles and riders,  one is also at the mercy of everyone around him or her. No amount of excuses will alter this truth, although many will try. Truth does not care about ones feelings, truth does not discriminate, Truth simply, is.


A click, a creak; could it be the crank or the seat…and so goes another mile and another bump in the road

Finally was able to sort out a few nagging issues I have had since the completion of
the build on the R002 SBK. Shifting was a problem from the get go. No matter what
adjustments I made to the low, high, the B stop and barrel adjuster, I could not get the
middle of the gears to shifty smoothly.  As the chain would always hang up, at mid-point.

One problem contributing to the shifting ills, was that I had installed the chain backwards. (WHAT?) Yes, turns out, the Shimano 6701 chain is directional! Who knew…well, not me. I only discovered it by accident while cleaning the chain. I noticed that there was only lettering on one side of the chain. So, I looked at some other chains and thought something might be up.  A little research on Shimano’s site and bingo.  Blunder # 1 discovered. While this seemed to help slightly,  the shifting was still not as fluid as it should be.


At this point, I relented and sought the help of an expert. My local mechanic, who happens to be the same guy who taught the Park School classes I attended earlier this year. He solved the problem within 10 minutes- but of course he did. That is why HE
is the expert and I am the novice…

There had also been a click or a creaking noise coming from the lower half of the bike on the downward pedal strokes. At first I thought it might be the pedals. After removing both sides, lubricating them and tightening them back up, the noise still persisted. Perhaps it might be the chain ring bolts or the maybe it was the crank arms I thought.
So back to youtube to watch some tips and tutorial videos on FSA crank arms and BB30 bottom brackets.

As I watched a particular video, the mechanic stated to remove the washer after unbolting the non-drive side arm. Huh? I don’t remember installing a washer. Out to garage to rummage through my build parts. I didn’t see anything that resembled a large wave washer, as in the video.  Hmmm. Okay, so a bit of forum and website research revealed that indeed you must install the washer on the FSA crankset, between the arm and the BB. After taking the crankset off and discovering that there was no washer I was hoping this was the source of the noise problem. (blunder #2) Off to the shop then to buy me a washer! I re-installed the crankset with the appropriate washer, tightened everything up and crossed me fingers.

I threw a leg over the top tube, clipped in and went for a short jaunt around the neighborhood. So far so good I thought…with each pedal stroke, there was a nary a sound except the change of the gears. Wala! Problem solved. So the bike is quiet, the gears are humming and I am happy. With only about 412 miles on the R-002 not much else to report on. I was going to write up a 500 mile report-review, but I may just wait until 750 or 1000 miles.

Until then…cheers




The tick of cogs, passing links of chain to lower gears…amidst the sound of a spinning
hub and whirling carbon wheels

The rhythm of the road;
my flesh, all of my blood and bone…together in harmony- this mortal man and
refined machine

Atop high-tech composites, molded and shaped  into swooping, aero-lines,
I sometimes wander and too, I do often wonder. The Ride, like Life is fleeting,



“Country Roads explored on a Sunny Spring Day…”