A dog’s breakfast

The view from the DogDeck

The view from the DogDeck during a respite from cycling rumormongery.

The 2013 Giro has been fun to watch, but I won’t weep when it comes to an end this morning in Brescia.

Working each stage with Charles “Live Update Guy” Pelkey sort of fills up the morning, which is a time of day I normally reserve for trying to get the old motor started — stomping on the pedal with the key twisted in the ignition and the hood up, occasionally slouching forward to spray some ether into the carb’ and kick the sumbitch smack in the grille until black smoke farts out the rusty tailpipe.

This takes time. There must be at least two cups of strong coffee, followed by a leisurely breakfast taken while scanning the headlines to see what the gummint stole from us during the night and sold to the Kochs for pennies on the dollar. Fuckers are worse than crackheads. Steal the pennies off your dead granny’s eyes and the copper bottom right off your skillet, they will.

There’s none of this gradual easing into one’s morning during a grand tour. It’s up and at ’em, right from the gun, trying to entertain people who’ve already been up for hours, some of them in other countries where they actually know stuff and aren’t shy about correcting you a nanosecond after you sleep-type something exceptionally boneheaded.

And holy shit! Just about the time the peloton scrapes the Giro’s ice off its Oakleys it’ll be time for the Tour. It’s the 100th edition this time around, so there will be extra cluster in the fuck, and I can already hear my last few brain cells sputtering like a candle whose wick needs trimming.

Mister P and I are still on the fence as regards LUGging the Tour. ScribbleLive finally figured out how many viewer minutes we were doing and they’ve started to wonder how we’d feel about being bent over a desk with our trousers puddled around our ankles and some banjo music playing. There are other options, of course, but most are equally pricey or woefully inadequate.

And then there are the ruined breakfasts to consider. Twenty-one of them, to be precise.

So, yeah. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, we have one more Giro stage to get through. Swing on by Live Update Guy to say arrivederci.

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15 Responses to “A dog’s breakfast”

  1. John Says:

    I’ve only caught you and CP on LUG once or twice this Giro, but when I have it’s been entertaining. Mostly I’ve been watching it on Eurosport, and I’m confident that by the end of today’s stage I may be able to understand one entire sentence uttered by Sean Kelly.

    I’m surprised you missed one of my favorite stories coming out of yesterday’s stage. As a confirmed cycling luddite (I ride steel and my shift cables most emphatically do not transmit electrons on purpose), I found it interesting that poor Evans had “mechanical problems” on yesterday’s last climb such that his bike wouldn’t shift into his preferred gear (which on that hill for me would have been something like a 22×34). Cuddles and the rest of BMC appear to using DI2, which seems not to be proving all that reliable. First we had Wiggo doing a Di2 inspired bike toss during Romandie and now this. Maybe we’re finding out what makes this Di “number 2”. Is it unbecoming of those of us who prefer Wright Brothers Technology to gloat?

    Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like seeing Evans have trouble yesterday, but I detest the idea of overpriced, battery and computer operated, electronically shifted bicycles. It defeats the whole idea of the simple bicycle. And I wouldn’t resent it half so much if I didn’t suspect the manufacturers weren’t destined to eventually jam it down our throats. Have you tried to find thumb shifters lately?

    • Larry T. Says:

      My sentiments exactly bike-wise! While I fully understand one can’t control a modern airliner with cables and levers, even the most modern bicycle has (and should have) more in common with the Wright Bros (bike mechanics as I recall) flyer than a commercial airliner. Must EVERYTHING “evolve” into something more complicated and expensive? The simplicity of the bicycle combined with the fact that NONE of ’em go anywhere unless you pedal ’em (not including the battery powered unit reportedly used by Spartacus a few years back) is what keeps me interested. As we used to say in the SoCal bike shop I managed, “We sell everything here you need to be a champion cyclist — except the legs…ya can’t BUY those.”

    • Derek Lenahan Says:

      Um John, what type of thumb shifters would you like. I bet I have them in my garage. What part of derailleur isn’t dumb. Why worry about the shifting of a drivetrain hung out in the muck designed to self destruct. Think ahead. Gearbox. Internal hub.. Programmable shifting. Anyone who has lost function of a limb appreciates still being able to ride. Electronics allow it. Don’t get your finger stuck when those fuckers are shifting to the big ring either, the chain gets the ring whether your finger is involved or not. Flown recently? Wondered how the control signals are transmitted?
      Knowing all I know, my primary ride is a Ti frame, steel fork go anywhere, do anything vehicle. I do covet a full suspension ride however, the safety, the speed, the AIR.

      • John Says:

        I don’t begrudge the new, whiz-bang stuff in and of itself, it’s the ridiculous planned obsolescence that gets me. Sure, offer the internal hub or electronic shifting, be it for those who need it, as in your example, or for those who merely want it, but don’t force me to convert to the more expensive (and often less durable) technology if I don’t want to. Some of us just want the pure pleasure of going for a bike ride without being concerned about CPU battery life, or worrying about the fragility of dozens of carbon do-dads, and fretting about being able to afford replacement parts for when things wear out all-too-soon (I go through 10s chains on my road bike about twice as fast as I ever wore out 9s chains, and I’m no fatter and definitely not any stronger than I used to be).

        Meanwhile, if you have any of the old XT or Deore 7 speed thumb shifters in good condition sitting around, maybe we can work a deal. I use them on my towner bike that I like to keep simple, inexpensive, and reliable.

        And by the way, no, I haven’t flown lately as a matter of fact. There’s something about combining all the joys of a body cavity search in county lock up with the fun of motion sickness that has me reluctant. I also think I’m on that “no-fly” list thing, something to do with following some mad dog media blog.

      • Derek Lenahan Says:

        I believe I might have some of both the Deore and the XT. I will have a look this afternoon.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m obviously a fan of simplicity in cycling technology, but Derek makes a good point, one I often overlook: The whizbang doodads we often ridicule help put folks on bikes who might otherwise be unable to operate the damn’ things. An electronic push button might be just the thing for someone with only one hand.

      That said, I like thumb shifters, too, even though I have some issues operating same with a left thumb left damaged and arthritic from a mountain-bike crash. You can get ’em from Rivendell and Velo-Orange, or make your own from bar-cons using Paul’s Thumbies. BTI also stocks SunRace thumbshifters, if you prefer to go through your local shop.

      • John Says:

        Hey PO’G. I’m always on the lookout for thumb shifters since I use them on my towner bike, they’re the best shifters to use for winter commuting when mittens are desired. My preference is for “old school” XT or Deore 7 speed shifters that also work 8 speed flawlessly. My Far Better Half as Paul’s Thumbies on her Salsa Vaya and, frankly, I haven’t been too impressed: the 9 speed shifter doesn’t fit snug so it likes to wobble and work itself loose. Also, at somewhere around $50 to $75 for just the mounts (and about that much again for the shifters), that’s a bit rich for a towner bike. I’ve looked at SunRace and thought they looked to be a bit too much like Shimano Tourney (I’m a bike snob with my towner too, apparently). Microshift is making what appear to be good quality 8- and 9-speed thumb shifters too, they come stock on the Surly Moonlander, but the last I checked there isn’t any US distributor yet (not even QBP).

        Microshift may be positioning themselves to take advantage of us “luddite” types that the big names are ignoring. I’m interested in seeing what else they come up with.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’m hearing good things about MicroShift. And they’re not just for us Luddites, either … their TT shifters were on at least one bike in this year’s Giro.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      If you want to grow, and keep your stockholders happy, you got to churn the market baby! Sell you shit you don’t need, just want.
      Patrick, we have a guy here that rides with one hand, and I think he used a gripshift for the front and a rapidfire for the rear mounted on the same side. But your point is well taken. Somebody might need it to accommodate their limitation. But I doubt if Shimano was thinking that. Pro riders use what they are paid to use. Shit don’t work? Part of the deal. I think 11 speeds and electronic shifting were answers when there were no questions.

  2. Steve O Says:

    How bad is WordPress’s live blog plug in?

  3. brokenlinkjournalism Says:

    Electric shifting…….sounds very interesting. How did that Mavic shifter Mr. Lemond was using back in the 90s work – when it worked? K.I.S.S. (not just the name of a band or a Bianchi single speed)

  4. Trailer Park Cyclist Says:

    I’m so old I was there to watch Ford take a pretty good little sports car and gradually morph it into a bloated spaceship. It was a damn cool bloated spaceship, but the problem was the pretty cool little sports car was gone.

    The other day I gave up on my worn drive train (that I was too poor and lazy to replace) and put a single speed cog on the back and reversed the big chainring. Added a new chain a friend sent me and now I am blasting around in single speed heaven. The bike is ten pounds lighter and my legs are twice as strong. All in a matter of hours.

    My point? I forget. Oh yeah. All sporting events are now media driven. I guess they always were, but today’s media being what they are means advertisers need some really groovy (I said I was old) stuff to advertise. So all manner of outlandish gewgaws will continue to appear on boring old bicycles.with their measly one man-power motors until they finally are transformed into bloated spaceships.

    The use of electronics (or even nuclear power) to keep special needs persons on a bicycle will always, of course, be righteous and applaudable.

    Whatever. I’m off to grab a couple beers and a shot or two and maybe I’ll come back and try again when I can write more better.


  5. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Sitting here sipping my second cuppa coffee, and thinking of the fresh blueberries, walnuts, and bananas fixing to go in the morning oatmeal, I think your description of your LUG efforts sounds like a steady job. That is scary. Maybe your should concentrate on buying up your neighborhood and becoming king of the vacation bungalows!

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