Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to get to spend the week in New York City. Wow, what a place, that city. A worthy adversary for sure. And now that we are on the subject, I think that it is safe to say that I know why people call it 'the City.' It used to piss me off when people from NYC would say that, referring to the place that they call home 'the City.' It just sounds so uppity and fucking annoying if I am allowed to speak plainly. And I am.
But when you spend a little time there you start to realize why it has earned its moniker. It has something to do with the people on top of people, but also the accesibilty of everything. The City itself defines exactly what it means to be a city, and then takes it to such an extreme that you cannot help but succumb to it. At least I did.
I found myself traipsing around the Lower East Side at night, nodding to the sentry's behind the newsstands, talking to loud into my phone and crossing the street whenever I damn well please. Same with being on the bike. If there is a way that I could bring Piers North out here to give a little lesson to...well, all of Portland, I would. And his lesson would be this "How to Ride your Bicycle in an Urban Environment." On one 20 block ride he nearly crashed into four old ladies, almost tipped over a fruit stand, and ran 32 red lights. It must be noted that not one of the old ladies even blinked as they avoided his spinning front wheel. I was in heaven while this all happened. Not even joking. I miss the days that aggressive city cycling was the norm.
And what was I doing when I was riding through that sweaty city? Commuting to work of course.
The Cycle Club is well on its way to Cycle Club infamy, as far as those things go.
And it has everything to do with the man in charge. I do not mean Brett Cleaver, I mean the man really in charge. If you do not know who Mike Spriggs is, you best familiarize yourself. Aside from Gage & Desoto (I always forget to ask where the name comes from) and being the head honcho over at the Club, he is also a) a really nice guy and b) a fierce collector of bicycle books. And aside aside from that he can be seen above furiously writing out the next days TdF Stage on the Leaderboard. And that was before he went home and wrote out a recap of that days stage (the yellow clipboard below the chalkboard).
No shit? - You're saying that to yourself right now aren't you? You did not know that about Mike. Well, now you do. The best part about this though, if you live in 'the City' is that Mike has made his library available for you to peruse. Well, he has made them available to you, and he has also stocked them with some of the better Cycling Publications out there, but also that have ever existed.
There is the current stock of pubs. Yeah, got it Alberto, you're saying Two with your hands there. But, really, if you had wanted to be ominous for PRO Cycling there, you would have held up "tres" fingers for us to see. (Tres is three in Mexican in case anyone is keeping track). But really the point of all this buildup is to get to the one that I have already shown you. It is this one right above, with Greg Lemond in the Stars and Strips (I like 'Strips' better because in England that is what they sometimes call Soccer Uniforms - Strips, and once a very beautiful, very English girl told me that she liked my Strip - it got weird because I thought she said "I'd like you to Strip" but alas, not all of them work out as planned - except that one did.) Aaaanyway...
No idea really as to why it is called "Eddy Merckx The Fabulous World Of Cycling" other than the fact that he wrote the intro. But I would venture a guess that if we had to call all of Cycling - Eddy Merckx, like, if he owned it, well, I guess I would be ok with that. "No Argue" he would say after that, and no one would.
The book itself is fuuuucking amazing though. I had the extreme pleasure of sitting with the author of the book Typography for the People (peep it in the photo where Mike is writing furiously - and then go buy it cause its awesome and comes with free fonts) and it is safe to say that we both went apeshit over the whole thing. The kits that everyone is wearing, every photo with Lemond and his neatly feathered hair, and some of the sponsors that were a part of the sport were mindblowingly awesome as well.
For a book about cycling, the were sure into the gore of the sport. Although, I guess, who isn't? The layout of the book is fantastic. The commentary alone is worth trying to find the book, I only glanced at a few of the descriptions, but they are all written with a strange air to them... take this one for example..
"In any case Kuiper's Victory deserves our full respect." Oh yeah? Well then why did you spend the lines before it talking about someone who had the potential to win, but did not? I find that to be an odd remark.
Just to have a visual photo album of the '83's races makes the book stand out on its own. The only thing better would be to have it signed by everyone involved, like a sort of yearbook.
"Hey Greg Sweet Race at Worlds! You win. Ps - Quit trying to use those dorky handlebars, they're never going to get you anywhere" - Prof.
"Yo Greggy. Time to get a cool nickname eh? Say hi to the ladies for me...
j/k see you in Colorado. Oh yeah, did you see that photo of me when I won Fleche? So badass!!" - Bernard "the Badger" Hinault
In any case, I am sure that we could go on and on with that one. Thanks goes out to Mike for sharing his beloved Cycling Library with everyone. Stop over and say hi and he would love to talk to you about Cycling. Or Bikes. Or Books. Or Babes (what? it starts with a "B"). But, my question for you - dear readers - is who the hell is this?