Wednesday, February 12, 2020

My First Bike - 1968

This is me sitting on my first bicycle. Before I got this bicycle I rode one of my sister's hand me down girl's bike for years. This photo was taken in the summer of 1971. My blue and chrome bicycle has many miles on it by now! The car in the background is a 1969 Chevrolet Impala.

I remember running into the den of our house to see what was under the Christmas Tree in 1968. I don't remember anything else that I got that year, but I remember seeing my first bicycle that morning. It was blue with chrome fenders. Despite the fact that it was cold and still early, I had to go outside and ride my new bicycle right then. I bundled up and headed down the road. I didn't go far because my hands and face were freezing. I turned around and rode home as fast as I could. I made the same short trip several more times that morning before we drove to my grandparents house for more Christmas. I was anxious to get back home and go for another ride.

One thing on my new bike that was scary to me was the fact that it had a front hand brake. All of my friends that I showed my new pride and joy to told me the same thing: "If you put on the front brake you will flip over the handlebars." I made sure I never touched the front brake lever for any reason. My father was puzzled by my request to take the brake and lever off of my new bicycle. He tried to convince me that I should leave it on the bicycle and that I would learn to use it. Finally he gave in and took the lever and brake off my new bicycle. I felt much better about the bike then.

My new bicycle was my ticket to freedom. I rode to school every day I possibly could, as did most kids at elementary school in those days. There were two long bike racks that were full of bicycles on both sides everyday.  I never heard of a bicycle being stolen from the bike racks, but I carried a lock with me and locked my bike up every time I rode to school.

The best part of riding to school was that I could go wherever I wanted in the afternoon. I knew it would be okay as long as I didn't break the most important rule in our household: be sitting at the supper table by 5:30 sharp. Don't be late! This made for some fast rides home so that I would be sitting there at the table at 5:30. I remember, on many occasions, pedaling home from a friends house as hard as I could, while I nervously eyed my watch!

One of my favorite destinations was Sherwood Plaza Shopping Center. I rode there on after school adventure rides and on Saturday mornings too. It was a fun place to go and a great destination. Most of the time I didn't have any money to spend, but if I did I would buy Frozen Coke-a Cola and/or bubblegum. Money wasn't necessary to make Sherwood Plaza a fun destination. I would usually see someone I knew once I got there. Riding on the sidewalks in front of the stores was my favorite thing to do (even though I knew I wasn't supposed to). The slick surface of the cement sidewalks made long skid marks easy to do. Sometimes we would have contests on those sidewalks to see who could slide the farthest. I'm sure I was considered a brat to folks trying to walk from store to store, but I still think skid marks are cool!

My blue and chrome bike held up to a lot of use and abuse. It never occurred to me that my riding style might cause it damage. A favorite pastime was building wooden ramps out of scrap lumber and seeing how far I could jump. My goal was to jump the width of a driveway. The rims held up to many attempts and lots of falls. My blue bike also held up to years of riding wheelies and coming down hard on the front wheel.

At one point I added a generator that powered front and rear lights. The generator made it hard to pedal, but I thought it was great! This made it possible for me to ride after dark. During the summer months I could go anywhere I wanted as long as I was home by 10:00 PM. I roamed the neighborhood looking for adventure. There were always other baby boomer children outside to play with. (back in those days parents didn't worry about children being out of their sight like they do now)

I was always excited when I ran across the bug spraying truck on one of my summer adventure rides. The bug spraying truck drove up and down the streets spewing out poisonous gas to kill off some of the mosquitoes and other flying pests. After it had passed kids would run out into the street and play in the poisonous fog that filled the roads. I would chase the bug spraying truck in the poison fog on my bike for as long as I could. It never occurred to any of us that it might not be good for us to breath in the bug spray.

Other than a few flat tires from running over something, my blue and chrome bike never broke down. In the basement workshop of our house my father taught me how to take the wheels off and patch the tubes. I successfully patched the tubes many times. Occasionally I would have to replace a tube. Turtle car wax kept the blue metallic paint looking good.

I still ride blue bikes and go on what i call "adventure rides." It's been many years since I saw a bug spraying truck!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bianchi Infinito CV Review

Joe with the Bianchi Infinito CV
   After playing around with the fit and changing a few contact points on the Bianchi Infinito CV the bike now weighs in at 17 pounds. The only reason to replace any parts on this bike would be personal preference. The bike comes with a sharp looking Fizik Alliante saddle and a Bianchi Brand Reporta Corsa handlebar and bar tape. I replaced the saddle with my favorite Fizik Arione 00 saddle and FSA K-Force carbon handlebar. The bar tape I favor is Fizik Endurance 2.5mm tacky tape. I also added Speedplay Zero Stainless Steel pedals and a couple of Pro carbon fiber bottle cages. These are just items I like to use and make the bike feel like a couple of bikes I have been riding for several years. 

   During the fitting process I rode many laps around the neighborhood. This allows me to turn in my driveway and use tools in my garage to make adjustments and then ride some more to check out how the set up feels. I have a route that I have ridden for many years that is similar to riding a Criterium Race. One section is a long downhill into an off camber corner. The CounterVail used in the carbon fiber of this frame makes a huge differnce when cornering on the Bianchi. The reduction in vibration throughout the frame and fork are confidence inspiring. There are many "endurance bikes" out there. This bike is an Endurace Race Bike! 

   I swapped out the stem for different models and lengths several times and decided a Thomson X2 stem in a 120mm length put me in the most comfortable position. Bianchi's Infinito CV has a taller head tube than their extreme racing series of bikes. This makes it easy to fit most riders. For me having the stem almost slammed on this 53cm size bicycle works great. I am annxoius to spend more time on the bike to see how it performs. 

Click here for earlier post on the Bianchi Infinito CV.
Click here to visit the Bianchi USA website.
Fizik Arione 00 saddle
Thomson X2 Stem and FSA K-Force Carbon Compact Handlebar, Fizik Endurange Bar Tape

Bianchi Infinito CV

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bianchi Infinito CV Review

2017 Bianchi Infinito CV
   I am excited to start a long time riding review of the Bianchi Infinito CV. I have owned one of these bicycles before. It has been a couple of years since I have ridden one. Over the next few months I am going to ride and share my thoughts on the experiences on this bicycle.

   This is a stock model offered by Bianchi that is built with Shimano Ultegra Components and has a set of Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels on it. The weight of the bicycle as it is offered from Bianchi is 16 pounds and 11 ounces (7.56 kilograms).

   The Infinito CV is part of Bianchi's Endurance Racing range of bicycles. It has a slightly taller head tube and longer chain stays than their Extreme Racing bicycle. The key word here is racing. The Infinito CV was designed as a racing bicycle. It is wonderful for long rides and rough surfaces and fast group rides. But it is also great for road races and I would have no hesitation to mix it up in a crit race on this bike.

   The carbon fiber used in making the frame set contains countervail. Countervail is a material developed by the aerospace company Material Sciences Corporation. It is designed to remove vibration from carbon fiber. It is interwoven into the layers of the carbon fiber of the Infinito CV. Countervail not only removes vibration, but it also makes the carbon fiber stronger. The Infinito CV was the first bike from Bianchi to have Countervail, it is now used in all of their top of the line road and mountain bikes.

MSRP: $3,799.99
Click here to visit Bianchi USA.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Graziano Battistini

Graziano Battistini

Graziano Battistini - (1936 - 1994) was an Italian professional bicycle racer. His racing career lasted for ten years, beginning in 1959 and going through 1968. He is credited with a total of eight race wins. 

Battistini won two stages of the 1960 Tour de France and finished second overall in the general classifications. 

At the Giro d'Italia he won a total of two stages. The first at the at the 1962 edition of the race and the second at the 1965 edition.
Graziano Battistini 1968

Thursday, February 4, 2016

My cool bike. - book review

My Cool Bike. An inspirational guide to bikes and bike culture. by: Chris Haddon
Photography by: Lydon McNeil
160 pages

Published in 2013 by Pavillon Books
An imprint of Anova Books Company Ltd
10 Southcomb Street
London W14 ORA

My Cool Bike is a fun book about cycling culture. The pages of this book are full of wonderful photos and short stories about each of the subjects. The topics covered include many unique bicycle businesses, clubs, collectors, designers and riders.  Modern racing bikes are not included.

I recommend this book to anyone that loves all types of bikes. It is entertaining, informative and just plain fun. 

My Cool Bike is available most places books are sold. I buy most of my books either from the publisher directly or from Barnes & Noble (in store or online). Barnes & Noble and a used books store are the only two books stores in Winston-Salem. I support them when ever I can, because I don't want them to go away due to online shopping.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Kickstand Comics featuring Yehuda Moon

New Kickstand Comics are being posted again! Click here to visit the site and enjoy all the adventures at the Kickstand Bike Shop with Yehuda Moon, Joe King and Staff. Buy a book of their comics to enjoy forever and this will help keep the fun going.

Yehuda Moon

Yehuda Moon is an idealist. A dreamer. An advocate. A utilitarian. Yehuda runs the Kickstand Cyclery with his partner, Joe King. He believes cycling is an ideal form of transportation and can often be found tilting at windmills – some imaginary, some very real. Yehuda doesn’t like the automobile… but then, he’d likely wouldn’t have liked the horse a hundred years ago either. Yehuda is all about momentum and hard work and staving off the ills that come with ease and convenience.
Yehuda Moon

Joe King

Joe pursues the medal. To him, cycling is a pastime, a race to prove performance. Joe is all right with the fact that he drives to the Kickstand. He doesn’t see the bike as a savior of mankind. In fact, the fewer cyclists on the road means more room for him. Joe used to race, and has always worked at the Kickstand. He wasn’t too pleased when Fred (the first owner of the shop) took Yehuda under his wing, given that Moon didn’t know a thing about wrenching.
Joe King

Thistle Gin

Thistle is a mother who doesn’t want her child growing up in the back seat of a car. Though she has high hopes for the bicycle being a transportation choice for more and more people, she’s more balanced in her approach than Yehuda. An ace engineer, Thistle never went back to work at her old firm after discovering a bakfiets at the Kickstand. She works there wrenching while she raises Fizz (though events of late point to her having to return to her old job).
Thistle Gin

Fizz Gin

Fizz is Thistle’s daughter. Fizz is growing up in the Kickstand Cyclery. She’s about to move on to two wheelers. Watch out.
Fizz Gin

Sister Sprocket

Sprocket was an orphan adopted by the Shakers who build the bicycles for the shop. She grew up simply, and hasn’t changed. She rides a brakeless fixed gear mixte. She paints the Kickstand’s bicycles and designs the decals for the different models.
Sister Sprocket

Fred Banks

Fred opened the Kickstand Cyclery back in the 1970s during a ‘bicycle boom’. He hired Joe King and the two ran the shop until Yehuda Moon showed up intent on turning everyone into a cyclist. Fred took Yehuda under his wing despite the fact that Moon had no experience as a mechanic (much to Joe’s chagrin). But then Fred was killed by a motorist and Yehuda and Joe worked together to keep the Kickstand open. Yehuda, using a personal war chest, bought the Kickstand; he and Joe continue to run it today. Fred haunts the Kickstand as a ghost, and though he found peace with his murder, has returned to town when the Kickstand was recently burned to the ground.
Fred Banks

Brother Pilot

Brother Pilot leads the Shaker community that builds the Kickstand Cyclery’s bicycle frames. Pilot took a vow of silence when Fred was killed by a hit and run driver; he won’t speak until the driver is brought to justice.
Brother Pilot


Sweetroll and Yehuda Moon used to run BMX bikes in the sewers below Cleveland. Now he’s grown up. Yehuda hasn’t.

The Kickstand Cyclery

The Kickstand Cyclery is where everything goes down. A converted train station between urban rails, the Kickstand serves as the hub for all things in the comic strip. It’s where Fred’s ghost bike was placed. It’s where Thistle’s ‘build-a-bike’ program was put into action. It’s where Yehuda sleeps. At least until recently – the Kickstand was burned to the ground when a tree hit it and was ignited by downed electrical lines. While Yehuda and Joe sort out what’s going to happen with a new shop, the Kickstand has gone mobile; the two run a mobile repair stand out of a pair of bakfietsen.
The Kickstand Cyclery
The Kickstand Cyclery
The Kickstand Cyclery

Friday, January 29, 2016

Eric Leman

Eric Leman 1973
Eric Leman (born July 17, 1946) is a retired Belgian cyclist from West Flanders. He raced as a professional for ten years beginning in 1968 through 1977. During his career he is credited with 77 victories. He is most famous for his three wins at the Tour of Flanders: 1970, 1972, 1973. Leman won five stages of the Tour de France during his years of racing.

Eric Leman 1975

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Gunnar Roadie - Project Bike - Three Year Review

Gunnar Roadie
It's been well over three years since I first built up my Gunnar Roadie and began riding it. Together we have been on many wonderful adventures. I have had many great bikes, but this is the one I think of when I am going out for a ride. The geometry of this 52 centimeter frame fits me perfectly. 

Over the years all the parts on my Roadie have changed. It now has a Shimano 6800 11-speed group, Thomson seatpost and stem, an FSA carbon fiber handlebar and a 28 spoke wheelset. The weight of the bike as it is seen in the picture with everything on it (rear light, computer, seabag, etc.), minus the water bottle, is just over 19 pounds.

 I built the wheels out of new parts I have had for awhile and have never used. The rear hub is a Powertap SL and the front hub is a Paul's Components high flange. The rims are Velocity A23s with Continental 4000s tires. This combination makes for a great riding and reliable wheelset. 

Powertap SL Hub

Paul High Flange Front Hub
The very features that many bicycles are sold by, are the very ones that make this bike work so well. External brake and derailleur cables improve the performance to a level that no internally cable routed bike will ever be able to match. 

I recommend a Gunnar Roadie to anyone looking for a bicycle that they can ride and enjoy for many years.  I look forward to many more great cycling adventures riding this bicycle.
Poor Ole' Joe and my Gunnar Roadie

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A fixed gear bike with fenders is a good choice for riding on a day like today!

Fixed gear bike with fenders

Last weeks snow is finally melting off of the roads. This is the second day in a row with temperatures in the upper 40s to mid 50 degrees. The snow is mostly melted off of the roads, but there are several inches on the sides of the road. The melting snow is making the roads mostly wet.

On a day like today, I enjoy riding my fixed gear bike that has fenders on it. Riding fixed is an efficient way to get in a workout without pushing the speeds. The continuous pedaling required of a fixed bicycle also keeps you warmer in cold wet weather.

Whenever I ride a fixed gear bike in January  it brings back memories of bicycle rides back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In those years most cyclists owned at least one steel framed bike that had horizontal dropouts in the rear. This type of dropout enables you to slide the wheel back to create proper chain tension for running a single cog. It was traditional with many riders to use a fixed gear bike for the first thousand miles of the calendar year. I've been on many group rides where we were all riding fixed.

A saddle cover is a good idea to protect leather saddles on a wet day. My "Path Racer" has a nice Brooks B17 saddle that I find comfortable. I want to take care of this saddle so I can enjoy it for many years to come.
Borrow a friends bike, if possible, to try riding a fixed gear bike. Just be aware that you may become addicted!

The Stars and The Water Carriers: The 1973 Giro d'Italia

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Cycling Anthology: Volume One - Book Review

The Cycling Anthology Volume One
The Cycling Anthology: Volume One
Edited by Ellis Bacon & Lionel Birnie
Paperback - 272 pages

First Published in Great Britain in 2012 by Peloton Publishing

Yellow Jersey Press
Random House
 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road
London SW1V 2SA

Printed in Great Britain by Clays Ltd, St Ives plc

The Cycling Anthology: Volume one is a nice book that covers many different bicycle racing subjects and history. The book is written by sixteen different writers from magazines, newspapers and books. All the contributors are english speaking and from the USA, UK and Australia. 

Each chapter is an original writing and unique to this book. Not a reprint of an earlier published articles or interviews. 

The size and structure of this book makes it great for traveling. Many single topics are covered in each section. The Cycling Anthology is great to pick up and read awhile and then come back to it later on.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in bicycle racing. It is an enjoyable read. I look forward to reading the other volumes of The Cycling Anthology!

This book is available many places. I buy most of my books from either the publisher directly or Barnes and Nobles. Barnes and Nobles operates a brick and mortar store in my home town. I enjoy browsing in book stores, so I want to support them.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Walter Godefroot

Walter Godefroot at the 1967 Liege-Batogne-Liege
 Walter Godefroot  (born July 2, 1943) is a retired Belgian professional road racer.  His professional racing career lasted for 15 years, beginning in 1965 and going through 1979. Godefroot is credited with 155 professional race victories. He won a bronze medal in the individual road race at the 1964 Summer Olympics, before turning professional.

Godefroot was a specialist in one-day classic cycle races. He won the 1967 Liege-Bastogne-Liege,  1969 Paris-Roubaix, and the Tour of Flanders (1968, 1978). 

 At the Tour de France he had a total of 10 stage wins and won the green jersey in 1970.

Walter won the Belgium National Road Race Championship in 1965 and then again in 1972.

Eddy Merckx said "Walter Godefroot is the only one of my adversaries who I never beat in a direct fight for victory."

After retiring as a rider, he became the director sportif of the T-Mobile professional team. At T-Mobile he guided Bjarne Riis and Jan Ulrich to back-to-back Tour de France victories. 

Walter Godefroot winning stage 9 of the 1971 Tour de France

Walter Godefroot winning in the 1974 Henninger Turn Classic

Monday, January 18, 2016

Frans Bonduel

Frans Bonduel 1931

   Frans Bonduel (1907-1947) was a Belgium professional bicycle racer from 1928 through 1947. 

   He raced for the Dialect-Wolber team all twenty years of his career. Occasionally he would ghost ride for another team at a few races if his real team wasn't going to participate. 

   Bonduel won forty four professional bicycle races. A few of his major victories are: Tour of Flanders 1930,  Paris-Brussels 1934 & 1939,  Paris Tours 1939.

   Frans Bonduel won three stages of the Tour de France. His first stage win came in 1930 when he won the 17th stage. He won stages 6 & 7 during the 1932 Tour de France.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Colnago's Bicycle Museum

Rene' Herse, Book Review

Rene' Herse

Written by: Jan Heine

Published by: Bicycle Quarterly Press
2116 Western Avenue
Seattle WA 98121

Copyright: 2012 
Printed in Malaysia
424 pages

Rene' Herse (1908-1976) was a constructor of fine bicycles from 1940 till his death. His bikes were most sought after by Cycletourists during the 1940s and 1950s. Herse's shop was in Paris France. He continued to manufacture and sell complete bikes through the German occupation of France during World War II. 

This fine book contains hundreds of photos of Rene' Herse's bicycles, riders and the shop where the bikes were made. Upon first examination of this book I assumed it to be a picture book with a lot of captions. When I sat down and began to read it, instead of flipping through the pages and looking at the photos, I found it to be very good reading. I enjoyed seeing the bikes and riders, but also hearing about their rides and competitions. A glimpse of life in Paris during the war is exposed while reading this book. 

Much of the information and photos contained in the book came from riders of Rene Herse bicycles. His daughter, Lyli Herse, was instrumental in Jan Heine's 10 years of research while writing this book. Lyle Herse rode and raced very successfully on her fathers bicycles and after his death continued in the production of Rene Herse Bicycles. 

This book sells for $85.00 and is a good investment and addition to any cycling library. It is my option that to truly understand bicycles one must study the history of them.  I highly recommend purchasing this book and taking the time to read and absorb it. Rene' Herse is available to purchase at 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Henri Van Lerberghe

Henri Van Lerberghe

Henri "Ritte" Van Lerberghe (1891 - 1966) was a Belgium racing cyclist who raced as a professional form 1910 through 1923. He is most famous for his win of the 1919 Tour of Flanders. The  third edition of the race. 

His racing style was to attack at the beginning of races. This usually didn't pan out for him, because it left him exhausted at the end of the race and unable to compete for the top places. Van Lerberghe was popular with the spectators, because of his aggressive riding during the early part of races.

"Ritte" won the fifth stage of the 1913 Tour de France.  He was racing in the category of an isolated cyclist. (individual cyclist, not part of a team) The "isolated cyclists" started fifteen minutes after the racers that were  members of a team. He was able to catch up to the lead cyclists and then go on to win the stage.

Henri finished in second place overall at the 1914 Tour of Flanders. Racing in Europe was put on hold for several years at this time because of World War I.

No one considered Henri Van Lerberghe a possible winner of the 1919 Tour of Flanders. World War I had just ended and he traveled from his military assignment straight to the starting line of the race. He showed up without a bicycle. After  borrowing a bike from a local, he announced that he was going to ride all the other racers to death (off of his wheel). His statement amused the other riders and they laughed loudly at him. Van Lerberghe never had many great race results and wasn't thought to be much of a threat to the top racers. His reply to their laughter was that he would 'drop them all at their own front doors on the way to victory'. As soon as the race had begun, in true Ritte fashion, he attacked as hard as he could. 

The other riders didn't chase after the attacking rider for a some time. Pitying him, they wanted to allow him a breif moment of glory. Once they decided to catch up to him, it was too late. 

Henri Van Lerberghe was intent on not being caught and rode in a fury. He came upon a train stopped across a railway crossing. Determined that nothing would stop him, he dismounted his bike and ran through an open train car with his bike across his back. Once through the train he jumped back on his bike and continued his ride. When he saw the velodrome, where the race was going to finish, he knew he had a huge gap on the rest of the field. He decided to stop at a pub outside of the velodrome and have a beer. It tasted so good to him that he ordered and drank several more. He was finally convinced to finish the race. After making his way across the finish line and winning the race, he was so intoxicated that he had to walk his victory lap instead of riding. He then announced to the crowd of spectators "You can all go home! I have a half a days lead on the others!" He actually only had a lead of 14 minutes on the rest of the racers. 14 minutes remains the biggest lead of a break away rider at the finish of the Tour of Flounders to this day. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gunnar Roadie - Project Bike - Two Year Ride Review

Gunnar Roadie on the scales.
Gunnar Roadie

It's been two years since the build up of my Gunnar Roadie Project Bike. Thousands of miles and many component swaps have taken place on the Roadie in this time. 

A quality steel frame and fork, such as the Gunnar Roadie frameset, make for a bike that can be ridden a lifetime. (with reasonable care and baring any major accidents) 

Over the past two years I have changed many components on the bike:

  • Went from Shimano Ultegra 6700 10 speed group to an Ultegra 6800 11 speed group.
  • Swapped out the Pro Vibe 7 handlebars for FSA SL-K carbon handlebar 
  • Still using a Pro Vibe 7 stem, but added one that is a centimeter longer.
  • Built up a set of  Hed Belgium clincher rims with Powertap G3 hubs front and rear. These took the place of the original wheels that were built with Velocity hubs and A23 rims.
  • Added a NiteRider Solas rear light. 
  • Added a Bar Fly mount for a Powertap Joule bike computer.
  • Since this bike is ridden on a CycleOps Virtual Reality Trainer, I added a CycleOps ANT+ cadence sensor.

I expected the bike to have picked up some weight, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it had actually lost one once from the original build. The original build had the bike weighing in at 18 pounds and 13 ounces, now the bike weighs 18 pounds and 12 ounces. Even though I added a few things to the bike the overall weight has gone down. I think part of the lighter weight can be contributed to the Shimano Ultegra 6800 crankset.

The Gunnar Roadie has been my go to bike for the past two years. It has a nice smooth ride, corners like it is on rails, is light enough and very reliable. 

This is just one great bike. Several bikes have come and gone from my stable while I have had the Gunnar Roadie. After putting several thousand miles on it, it is just my go to bike and will continue to be so. I highly recommend a Roadie to everyone. Buy one, you'll be glad you did!
NiteRider Solas light is rechargeable using a USB cord.

Bar Fly computer mount for a CycleOps Joule bike computer.

Powertap G3 rear hub.

CycleOps cadence sensor.

Gunnar Roadie by Mallard Lake in Tanglewood Park.

Gunnar Roadie with horses at Tanglewood Park.

This horse is curious about the Gunnar Roadie!

He enjoyed me rubbing his long nose. I hated to say goodbye!
Click here for more information on Gunnar Cycles.
Click here for more information on this Gunnar Roadie frameset before it was built up into a bicycle.