Sunday, 13 June 2010

Marge my friend, we haven't learned a thing.

Another week, another poll. This time the vote was on whether amateur male cyclists should be mocked or respected for shaving their legs. The overwhelming result (80% of the vote) was for mockery. This will be disappointing news for Matt, whose sleek lady legs are lovingly wrapped in Roman sandals whilst he rides to Brighton with his other team. Or something. (STOP PRESS: one of the Tweed Run Team went down, and sadly is as a precaution being taken to hospital. The Trois V wishes him well for a speedy recovery).

The poll result renders otiose the upcoming discussion on the matter of shaved legs, which is just as well as I can't be bothered with talking to people, it's far too difficult. I much prefer writing and reading, and so I was extra-specially delighted to find that one of the tasks for part II of Let's Go Ride a Bike Summer Games was to read a book about cycling.

The chosen book was Bike Snob, written by our new pal, the Bike Snob NYC. The Bike Snob has a blog, much more established and better than ours, which sets about "SYSTEMATICALLY AND MERCILESSLY DISASSEMBLING, FLUSHING, GREASING, AND RE-PACKING THE CYCLING CULTURE".

We at the Trois V are well aware that love and hate are two emotions separated by the thinnest smearing of chamois cream. One of our number has described himself as 'basically waking up each day an angry ball of hate', and those who have had to witness my tortured ambiguity when it comes to supporting my national team at the world cup will testify that I am no stranger to self-loathing driven by twisted love.

The Bike Snob is of similar pedigree, and his blog is, to put it very crudely indeed, basically a long scream at the idiotic side of cycling, put into words, in what seems like an attempt at catharsis to stop himself beating a hipster to death with a bicycle polo mallet.

What's not clear from this brief summary is that all of this hate and anger, pushed to an extreme for comic effect, is driven by a pure and luminous love for the simple joy of riding a bike. In the book, this is the main event.

Of course this wouldn't be the Bike Snob unless despair and sarcasm were served to those who would use cycling as a lifestyle accessory or marketing tool, but the Bike Snob book is, for the vast majority of its all too few pages, a wonderful, hilarious, passionate and happy celebration of the bicycle and the act of riding it.

Even we jaded and cynical types at Trois V HQ, who thought they had already read the best of what could be written about the bicycle, had our eyes opened by the Snob's book. The early chapter about early New York society cyclists (I'm imagining Henry James lookalikes and women in gigantic dresses) heading out to Long Island just to experience the pleasure of riding on a tarmac road made me think of all the bike rides I've done, and realise for the first time that one of the things that sticks in my memory about many of them is whenever there has been a particularly smooth and clean bit of road.

If it were just that chapter that pointed out what was unseen but always present in our love of cycling, that would be cause enough for us to consider inventing a Trois V seal of approval for Bike Snob's book. But the whole book is simply wonderful, and does what all the best books about cycling do: it makes you want to ride your bike.

And it has stickers. We commend it to you even though the Bike Snob has no blogroll and can't link to us to help improve our traffic levels upwards from the mid-teens (but we love each and every one of you). To butcher a quote: buy the Bike Snob book, you will not regret it and you will live. We've added ourselves a second club award to show our appreciation, over there to your right, under the Wyvern.

So with a bike repair job done, a bike decorated (albeit inadvertently with dog hair) and a book read, we've really gone to town on the summer games, and we've still got until the 27 June to test ride a new kind of bike, and carry a load on our bikes (besides ourselves). Fingers crossed for a Trois V victory! In celebration of our summer games efforts, a song.

Snob, make what you will of the standing drummer.


Trois V!


  1. All I can say at the moment is wear your helmets, people.

  2. Some photos of the ride