03 October, 2017

Cycling Inspiration

By Scott

Inspiration - defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative.  Seeing other people's photos or stories for instance, can cause perfectly sane people to buy a van, pack it up, and head out for the open road with no end date in mind.  It's the reason I think Instagram is so popular. There's lots of photos that you can admire, and ones that inspire us to action.

I read a lot of books by UK cycling/travel writers in the 80's and 90's. There wasn't a lot (probably still isn't) of translated cycling books in English from German or French that I could find in the book stores of Vancouver.  Need for the Bike or The Rider were the only two books that were easily found in those days.

(A mix of old and new influences)

So my influences were largely UK riders - folks with transverse saddle bags and no front loads. Stopping to brew tea on a ride was normal for them. When I look at the bikes I've owned over the years, their style has prevailed (Clint says my bikes all look the same). I love the "all arounder" look of older British bikes, the Woodrup's and Carlton frames. They were bikes that took fenders, racks and could explore the countryside all while having wide enough tires to go on tow paths. Maybe this is one of the reasons the Polyvalent seems to be so much on my radar right now.

(Photo from The Crunch of Gravel cover)

Sometimes you find out that your inspirational look doesn't work out in your life. I had a transverse saddle bag for a few years and discovered the weight of it empty was more then my wife's trunk bag with a 600K worth of stuff in it. I installed non-aero brake levers on my Piolet. I was trying to copy a look I had seen of a touring bike in the French alps, which had non aero levers. I realized after a few rides, that I didn't like the cables out in front like that and am now swapping the levers for aero ones. Not everything works out the way we want/wish it to, I suppose.

Bunyan Velo has been doing a fine job of keeping inspiration up for a lot of folks in the four years Lucas has been publishing it. A new issue hits the internet today. We're proud to be a supporter of his efforts to help inspire others to get out for a ride.

Do you have a cycling hero or inspiration? How does it manifest in your cycling life? Do you emulate their bike, their style of riding, or in some other manner?


Unknown said...

British cycling film 1955


Unknown said...

Hey, I'll take anyone's British-style transverse saddle bag off their hands, if they don't want them anymore! ;-)


Anonymous said...

Sheldon Brown was and is my greatest source of cycling inspiration. When all else fails I have my fixed gear, not because I am a hipster punk messenger; oh no. Based on Sheldon's articles I just assumed fixed was something that curmudgeonly men of a certain age did, and being one myself, I tried it. Love at first ride and that must have been thirteen years ago. Thanks, Sheldon, wherever you are.

Anonymous said...

Jobst Brandt

Anonymous said...

Sheldon Brown, the Path Less Pedaled couple, Jeremy, a guy who met on the bike path, who told me, when I thought my bike was too large, "But it's your bike."
Tom in Alexandria, VA

Anonymous said...

The original Richard's Bicycle Book.


Jack Luke said...

Not cycling, but if you're into writing from that period, I can recommend a whole host of Scottish mountaineering literature — my other passion — to look at. Chief among those is the work of Dave Brown and Ian Mitchell.

Mountain Days and Bothy Nights and View From the Ridge are two of my favourite books of all time and have inspired much of what I aim to do with my bicycle travel in the years since I read them for the first time.

Unknown said...

Ken Kifer's cycling page inspired me as a teenager into political punk who cared about the environment to take up the bike as transportation. Even though I couldn't stand Thoreau. Rest in Peace. Sheldon Brown got me into the experimental and technical side of having a diverse stable.

GGriffinSLO said...

The FaceBook group Bicycle Touring and Bikepacking is a wonderful group of folks, inspirational and informative. So much is happening in that group and it keeps me interested.

Anonymous said...

Tour De Oz - Overlanders in Australias in the days before the car

Don said...

When I was a kid, my brother’s copy of Tom Cuthberson’s Anybody’s Bike Book gave me the confidence to work on my bike, a practice that became a hobby. More recently, Nicholas Carman has done a wonderful job documenting and promoting his approach to bike travel. I also enjoy Jan Heine’s focus on European and Japanese history and habits as a pleasant counterpoint to the US industry’s tendency toward macho bluster. But then I’m fascinated by the first west coast mtb generation circling around to “all-road” bikes as a kind of rando bike on steroids. Really any discussion that leaves hype at the door is a pleasure. Can’t leave out props to VO for balancing the practical and aesthetic.

bigJ said...

"Next stop adventure" by Matt Gauck