Again in 2007, which is roughly one million years in the past in Web Time, I prophesied the Seven Indicators of the Fastened-Gear Apocalypse. Nicely, it seems I disregarded an indication, as a result of a reader alerts me that an eight trumpet hath rung out, and upon its sound a subway posted did hire itself and reveal the ultimate Harbinger of Doom:
All that’s left is for it to begin raining cogs which can bludgeon and puncture and lacerate the depraved and the freed from hub.
Not coincidentally, in an try to seek out salvation, I did spend all day Saturday on the Kissena Velodrome:
The place my son participated within the Star Observe session within the morning after which the open racing within the afternoon:
Star monitor is an outstanding program, so as an alternative of shopping for one thing silly you don’t want to your bike, contemplate making a donation, and should you dwell within the space and personal a human youngster I extremely suggest enrolling them. Once I was round my son’s age, or possibly a yr or two older, I raced BMX at a monitor on Lengthy Island:
That monitor is lengthy gone, and so far as I do know there’s nothing like that within the New York Metropolis metropolitan space at present. Nonetheless, whereas BMX and monitor racing are clearly fairly completely different, they’re each excellent entrees into the game since they each include quick races on a closed circuit–versus, say, highway or mountain racing, which entails disappearing into the panorama for hours on finish, and even cyclocross, which isn’t usually centered round a “house monitor” and which occurs largely when it’s chilly and shitty. Observe-based racing however (be it BMX or velodrome), entails extra hanging out and mingling in between actions, and within the case of Star Observe the bike-handling fundamentals they train are invaluable even should you’re not pressuring your child to turn into an Olympian. All of that is to say I’m grateful for the chance to each let my child expertise one thing much like what I did, and to vicariously relive my very own childhood.
So why this specific bicycle? Nicely, I’ve solely accomplished the 5 Boro Bike Tour as soon as earlier than, a few years in the past, on the crappy citified hybrid I had on the time. I had not but turn into a motorcycle messenger, or a racer; my BMX background however I used to be not steeped in “bike tradition;” and (humorous how some issues by no means change) I had no cash, so I used to be most likely sporting a sleeveless t-shirt and a fanny pack or one thing whereas driving a motorcycle wrapped in duct tape which was in some way meant to guard the paint. (What was I even considering?) Anyway, in some unspecified time in the future these guys who appeared like consultants to me due to their fancy gear however on reflection have been most likely full Fredly doofuses made some crack about my bike, which stuffed me with disgrace.
I don’t keep in mind a lot in regards to the Fredly doofuses, however I do keep in mind they (or not less than certainly one of them) have been driving Kestrels, which was an unique and drool-worthy bike on the time. In fact within the ensuing years I’ve turn into a New York Metropolis bike messenger who managed to get his bike stolen, a Cat 3 racer who’s been dropped and/or lapped in highway, mountain, cyclocross, and monitor races everywhere in the mid-Atlantic area, and eventually a as soon as world-famous and now completely washed-up semi-professional bike blogger who Lance Armstrong befriended throughout his (first) retirement in a pathetic try to appear related:
He certain did a whole lot of pandering throughout that interval:
By the best way, I at all times fully disassemble my headset once I journey with my bike:
Head-y days certainly.
Extra importantly, throughout that very same time I turned conscious about how pathetic it’s to do stuff like “flex” on individuals whereas driving the 5 Boro Bike Tour (!) on a Kestrel or it’s trendy equal. (Clearly Kestrel is now one other ASI model and doesn’t have remotely the cachet it as soon as did.) So once I look again on this traumatic occasion it’s all fairly laughable now–and ironic, too, when you think about that by trendy “bike tradition” requirements driving a hybrid wrapped in duct tape whereas sporting a cut-off t-shirt and a fanny pack is approach cooler than driving a crabon Fred bike since should you take away the duct tape and throw on a flannel you’re mainly a gravelista.
However does that imply I’ve forgiven them for his or her transgression? IT DOES NOT! And that’s the reason this yr’s 5 Boro Bike Tour shall be my very own private TOUR OF VENGEANCE [dripping blood letters], and why I can’t solely smash the
race experience whereas my firstborn son proudly seems to be on, however achieve this on a just about pristine Kestrel 4000 full with mirror-polished Document parts. And once I discover these ageing dentists, their weak and brittle knees creaking as they try and push their silly C68s or no matter they’re driving now over the Varazzano Verrazzanno bridge that goes to Staten Island, I’ll level and chortle and beat my chest and pound out a navy tattoo upon the monstrous seatstay/seat tube/prime tube junction of the Kestrel:
You get the thought.
Within the meantime, at present I rode the Kestrel (or certainly any Kestrel) for the primary time. Some years in the past, whereas in Austin with Bicycling for his or her Editor’s Alternative bike testing orgy (they by no means invited me again, go determine), I rode a Litespeed Archon:
I don’t keep in mind a lot about it, besides that I hated it and thought it sucked balls. So, trying on the Kestrel, I type of figured it would experience the identical approach (i.e. like a brick), being equally chunky and all. Nonetheless, I didn’t assume the Kestrel sucked balls in any respect; in reality, I discovered it fairly comfy. Granted, that would must do with the truth that, so far as highway bikes go, my scranus is at present calibrated for a 33 year-old bonded aluminum Trek. Or it may have been my G.O.A.T gloves:
And the way by which they complemented the classic cockpit:
Especialy the leather-wrapped bars:
Or possibly it was simply the luxurious 25mm tires, which nearly clear the Delta brakes, although should you experience by way of a puddle you’ll hear a scraping sound for the following few wheel revolutions:
Talking of the Delta brakes, this was additionally my first time utilizing that storied element, which is derided as a lot for its lack of stopping energy as it’s admired for its aesthetic magnificence. Nonetheless, thus far I’ve discovered the derision to be unfounded, as a result of they appear to cease simply fantastic, not less than in comparison with different older highway brakes. Then once more, because the Basic Cycle Outdated Crap Take a look at Pilot, I’ve turn into accustomed to brakes are extra dignified than their trendy counterparts, in that they don’t order the bike to cease a lot as they merely counsel it. Additionally, I’m gradual as chilly honey, so maybe I’m missing in objectivity.
Between the graceful contours of the body and the parts the general visible impact is certainly one of preternatural smoothness–apart from the pedals, that are chunky as fuck:
The Document parts really feel nearly 75% as exact because the 105 parts on the ’89 bonded aluminum Trek I’ve been driving whereas trying 1000% higher:
And the bike conjures up you to assault the climbs, for the straightforward cause that the gearing leaves you with no selection:
Between the body and the “aero” wheels my drag coefficient shall be decrease than the president’s approval ranking:
And there’s no tailwind just like the morale increase you get from valve caps that match your body:
…although I ponder in the event that they’ll ever get that patent:
The suspense is kiling me.
Regardless, should you’re the Kestrel Freds who insulted me, strive to not moist your self if you see this in your helmet mirror:
At your age it’s powerful to remain dry if you’re laughing that tough.