Tulips are Up, Readers are Gone!

I didn’t write for months while I was busy passing days with my bride.  Even so, a dozen or more people would come by each day and have  look around.  Now I am writing regularly again, and my readers are all but gone!  C’est la vie!

Having exhausted my knowedge of the French language, on to bicycles.  A French one, this time.  Vitus with full Mavic groupo.  I don’t have a bicycle more willing to go.  So go I did, all of two miles anyway, to take pictures of my flowery steed in front of Albany’s finest tulip display.  Washington Park, just in advance of the annual tulip festival.  I have never been before, but I had a suspicion I would find flowers to compliment or match the colors on the Vitus.  Albany did not disappoint.

Above are tulips thoughtfully arranged to match both the anodized frame and the yellow accents.

Here are pastels that compliment, rather than match.  Hard to keep people out of the shots, as we were everywhere!  Nice to see folks in the park, actually.

Round trip was about five miles, but with my skinny tires pumped to 100, it was barely work at all.  The tires are to be pumped anywhere from 100 to 150.  150!  Crazy!  I know some tubulars can go higher, maybe even some clinchers, but really now.  Did you know that rims have maximum recommended pressures?  Not easy to find, but Mavic lists maximum tire pressures for its current wheels.  Looks like the maximum pressure is dependent on the width of the tire.  The narrower the tire, the higher maximum pressure.  Highest I saw was 146 psi for a 19mm tire.  Lowest was 117psi for a 28mm tire.  Apparently the sidewalls of rims can separate from the middle section of the rim.  The likelihood of this happening probably increases as rims are worn from braking and miles.  Something to think about.

Until today, the Vitus had clipless pedals.  The last bicycle so equipped in my collection.  I swapped those out for a nice set of Mavic quill pedals I received as a gift from the seller of the Bridgestone XO-1 I purchased this winter.  Even though I don’t enjoy clipless pedals, I waited to swap them out until I had the Mavic quills.  Any quill should have been fine, but I couldn’t ruin the all Mavic theme on the bicycle.  The only things on the bicycle that aren’t Mavic are the tires, tubes, bar tape, seat, toe clips and toe straps.  Everything else is branded Mavic, even things they surely didn’t bother to make in-house.  Even cable housing is stamped with the brand!

I like that they placed the logo on the bar tops to remind the pedaler whose parts are being ridden.

Got home and wanted to take some close ups.  My watch dog was off duty.  Too sunny and the grass was too soft.

She woke up with a oof as I was leaving the yard and came to apologize.  Who could be mad at that face?  

The frame is made of heavily shaped aluminum tubing bonded to an aerodynamic aluminum head tube, seat cluster and bottom bracket.  Early Vitus frames were very light and flexed a bunch under heavy pedaling.  One fellow I met said he could shift a gear just by flexing the frame when he stood to pedal up hills.  This frame suffers from none of that, at least not under my legs.  

Isn’t the crank lovely?  It is commonly referred to as the starfish crank.  My favorite of all time.  Check out that tiny freewheel!  I haven’t counted the teeth, but it looks like a junior straight block.  Some one tooth steps, then the last couple of gears have two tooth steps.  A straight block, to contrast, has just one tooth steps between each cog.  I heard it called a corncob when I was a kid.  Maybe because I was living in Nebraska?

To my eye, Mavic parts from this era are some of the loveliest produced.  Angular and purposeful, sure, but beauty turns up everywhere.  How about these brakes?

Components with moving parts can be rebuilt (if you can find the parts a decade or so later).  Bearings are of the highest quality.  I have a stash of hubs I plucked from eBay over the years.  Most of the next six sets of wheels I build, more than I will need in my lifetime, will be built with Mavic hubs from the 80s and 90s.  Joy!

For years I wanted only to have a riding partner or many riding partners.  Riding alone can be lonely!  Lately, though, I appreciate a solo ride now and again and again.  Pace is always perfect, all traffic laws are followed, cars are allowed to pass when too many get behind me or it is safe and easy to pull over and I quit just as soon as I am ready.  Today I got a thank you honk from a city bus after I let it pass.  That felt great.  I have had some bad passes by busses in the past.  Called the bus operator a couple of times.  Once a manager came to my home to apologize and explain the safety training they are undertaking relating to sharing the roads with bicycles and safe passing.  Amazing!

I can’t help but think that each time we ride in a courteous and safe manner, it gets noticed and chips away at the anger some feel when people pedal poorly (or pedal at all).  The angry comments made to articles reporting new bicycle friendly street architecture and policies are shocking.  See this article and the comments about my old home town and its upcoming bicycle lanes.  Some cannot be won over.  They just don’t want to share the road.  There must be people on the fence, though.  Pedal politely for them.  Bring them down on the right side of the fence so that when they pass you and me they give us the room we need.

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4 responses to “Tulips are Up, Readers are Gone!

  1. i’m happy the sage is back at it again! lots of wisdom, beautiful pictures! if only i could handle those drop bars on the vitus!

    • Thanks for reading and the kind words.

      In my five mile journey, I did go into the drops for about 10 seconds. I was surprised how comfortable it felt, but I was so self conscious that I had to go back to the hoods. I was also uncomfortable walking the bike around the park. I don’t want people to think I am pretending to be a racer or own a bike that should have a more deserving home. An owner that would go really fast on it or even race it. I love vintage racing bikes because they are cool as shit and are easy to pedal, but as you know I have never raced and don’t mean to. Is that so bad? I never feel weird on city bikes or tourers. I love pedaling at a comfortable pace and these other categories of bikes let me do that without feeling strange. In the end, I will never be without racers, but if I could only have one bike, it would certainly not be a racer.

  2. I love that bike and the attention to detail [with the pedals and such], not many know about all those Mavic parts. Great job of it 🙂

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