Sunday, April 6, 2008

Half of my cycling poems...

The Old Days

Written in answer to "Why you would like a BOB (Bridgestone Owners' Bunch) fanny pack." Bridgestone was the most retro major bike maker around, thus the retro-style of the poem. I believe the poem, probably without the glossary, ran in a Bridgestone Bicycles Catalog. If know that not to be true, write me a comment and set me straight.

Because you have to come to reading this with a wealth of useless cycling lore and because of the many bits of jargon in the poem, here’s a glossary:

Inch-pitch - old chain and sprocket tooth spacing.
Hack – old, well used track bike. A tool, not an icon.
Pletcher rack - the old (and current) cheap-but-cheerful luggage rack.
Dettos - Detto Pietro shoes, popular old low-priced shoe.
Mafac - French manufacturer of light, powerful centerpull brakes that shrieked like fingernails on a chalkboard when you used them.
Sachs - Richard Sachs bicycles, made in CT, fine old-fashioned hand-crafted bikes.
Paneled downtube - painted like an old British frame.
Kelly's clips - Sean Kelly used toe clips years after everyone else in the pro ranks switched to clipless pedals.
Kestrel - high-tech, non-retro bicycles.
Coni – the "blue book;" the old Italian Federation training bible.
40 holes - old super-strong wheels used 40 spokes.
Wooden rims - either all-wood or aluminum rims, wood-filled - for tubular tires.
Gino - Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi's rival in the '40s and '50s.
Real-bike hour pace - Eddy Merckx's hour record was the last set on a conventional bicycle.
Shifters clamp in place - before frame braze-ons.
Dura-Ace – Campy’s competition; the racing parts new-comer.
Silks - expensive, hard to repair sew-up tires with silk carcasses.
Laughing pack - the chatty group that has given up trying to be competitive in the race but is trying to finish within the time limit.
Bob Jackson - well-known British builder, then and now.
Beige-box pieces - old Campy parts came in beige boxes that many of us saved.
Bindas - Alfredo Binda toe straps, the best brand back then.
Black shorts – the traditional color
Young guys would ride the track – to learn how to race the old-school way
S.L. blacks – the black-caged Campy Superleggera pedals that many of us rode.
Warm bee's wax - Grant Peterson of Bridgestone's recommendation for thread lubrication.

Good Enough for Fausto, by BOB 450 (That was me!)

Would I like the old days back?
Will I ride my inch-pitch hack
Till they bring the Yardbirds back?
Do I love my Pletcher rack?
And do I want the old days back?
By Bianchi green - I do.

Do I like my Dettos black?
Am I tattooed (twice) "Mafac?"
Will I ride my early Sachs
Till the paneled downtube cracks?
So do I want the old days back?
By Kelly's clips - I do.

Am I put off by Kestrel's act?
Do I take the Coni book as fact?
Will I ride 40 holes in back
Till proper wooden rims come back?
Do I want the old days back?
On Gino's health I do.

Do I defend, face-to-face
Merckx's "real-bike" Hour pace?
Do my shifters clamp in place?
Do I forget I never raced, just
Ground along at tourist pace
But passed by women, always chased?
But do I want Dura-Ace erased?
Trust me; yes I do.

In my world shorts would all be black,
All young guys would ride the track,
And fix my silks at a buck a crack.
See, I speak Campy but my voice is cracked,
I'm clipped and strapped but I'm off the back,
I learned the lingo but forgot the knack,
I'm retro-suffering in the laughing pack.
Getting dropped is what I do.

Enough already with the sordid facts;
I've admitted I want the old days back:
Like a red Bob Jackson in Santa's pack,
Beige-box pieces, front to back.
Cinelli, Bindas, S.L. blacks,
Each thread lubed with warm bee's wax.
We love our dreams but we live by facts;
I'd settle for a BOB-club fanny pack.


Richmond Roadie said...

"I'm clipped and strapped and off the back", that's way too funny (and all too familiar)!

Viva Dettos!

Yesterday I finally found my old Shaver Sport bibs & tights. They seem to be in great shape:)

Maynard said...

Shaver Sport... I lived in CA and we all liked that stuff. Now I'm in CO where it was made and I think it's gone. Jeez, Roadie, just hearing that name brought back memories. We were pretty loyal Vigorelli wearers in Berkeley, as you'd imagine. It was a local bikie-owned outfit.

Thanks again for reading and writing comments! Maynard