Bike Nerd

DSCN3864Bike Nerd (Urban Dictionary, Lingo, Jargon): A person who regularly rides a bicycle. When not riding they can be found cleaning and tweaking  their bicycles. They watch cycling on the tv., Le Tour being their Super Bowl. They read about and study  bicycles, talks excessively and passionately about all things cycling to the point where non-cycling family members avoid being around when and where the bike nerds gather. Bike nerds know their metric system, weight is always in grams, air pressure in bars and distance is measured in kilometers. Their peculiar jargon includes words and phrases such as slam your stem, cadence, pull, bonked,  getting spit out, sitting up, half wheel, suck wheel, small ring therapy, break away, pursuit, attack, chewing bar tape, in the drops, dropped, peleton, paceline, double paceline, rolling paceline, echelon paceline, tarmac, roubaix, Garmin, Ant+, Shimano, Sram, crank set, chain ring, quick link, master link, missing link,  Strava, power meter, power tap, watts, heart rate, zone 1, 2, 3, 4, VO2 max, clinchers, tubular, presta, tempo, metric century, aero, hoop, free hub, free wheel, hanger set, sp, spd, groupo, bottom bracket, if it ain’t on Strava it didn’t happen, rule 5.

Road bike nerds are easily spotted. Their bikes are spotless, cogs and chains kept finger lickin’ good, and they’re wearing skin tight bright spandex. Nary a hair can be spotted on their legs, arms or faces. Conversely the off road bike nerds pride themselves with filthy bikes, being unshaven and covered with dirt, maybe even some bacon and a chain tattoo hanging on their legs.

Bike nerds have a spoke wrench, chain break, a cassette socket, a set of torque keys, a chain whip, a floor pump, a set of master link tools, chain stretch checker, tire irons which they call spoons, a dedicated work stand, many pairs of take off tires and wheel sets, a big box full of old cogs and chains plus every type of bicycle specific lube known to man, including something called shami- butter. They wear kits and enjoy dressing alike. They wipe their chains regularly, air their tires before every ride and prescribe to the rules and ideals of the Velominati. They can recite these rules verbatim. These people plan their day………….heck……..their  lives, including their vocations and greg lemondvacations around their ride schedule. There is no ride too long, no mountain too steep and no condition too hot, humid, dry or even cold that can ever deter their best go at it. They may not ride when it’s already raining at the start but that’s only because they don’t wish to get their bikes dirty. This practice being in strict violation of The Velominati Rule 9 they end up building a rainy day bike.

Bike Nerds talk passionately about their electrolyte of choice, they often make their own.  Bike nerds are not to be confused with the tri bikers. These odd ducks truly believe that they are riding in a wind tunnel and set their bikes up accordingly. They are ruled by aerodynamics not realizing that more often than not the wind is other than head on. They are hard workers. Their 5 mile pulls during the group ride are the well spring of myth and legend, held in awe and reverential respect mixed with fear, wonder and admiration by the road bike nerd who is content to just sit back and suck wheel………..until the final countdown.


Bike Nerds are an infectious lot and when overly exposed to them you will succumb. In rare instances………recovery is possible. Recognizing this as a problem is the  first of many steps.

Velominati Rule #12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1. While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.

Even a blind squirrel can find the acorns. The photos here are of the 2002 Lemond Buenos Aires that I found back in the stacks at a bike shop about a mile from my house. It was built to Greg Lemond’s specifications by Trek back in the days when Greg was still one of lemond rearTrek’s favorite sons. The story goes that Greg was outspoken about Lance Armstrong’s remarkable feats of strength and….well…..we all know how that all ended up, with Greg Lemond taking the limelight once more with a very nice line of bikes. This is NOT one of those.  There is so much information on the web about this bike that I can’t help but think that I may have found a diamond in the rough. A brief description of Lemond geometry is a longer horizontal plain and a lower bottom bracket. It’s 53 CM which is perfect for me, a tad longer than my medium Giant TCR and about 1/2″ lower. The first picture above is after I set the cockpit up my way and adding a saddle and some better bar tape that I had laying around. Everything on the bike is a wear item including the bar tape. Where did I hear this before!

DSCN3830This is what it looked like when I picked it up. The 3T stem was reversed while the bar tape and saddle were downright fugly. I was able to adjust the cockpit to model my TCR by reversing the stem, pulling the bars back and moving the shifters down, or forward. I’m waiting for the pedals to arrive and yes it would be cool if a drone brought them. The wheels are a Bontrager miss-match. They’re Rolf design from back when Rolf and Trek were in bed together. Rolf and Trek gotta divorce with Trek keeping  at least some of Rolf’s designs.They’re both 19 mm alloy wheels but the front one took me 2 tire irons and 3 Hail Mary’s to change out the trash tire and I ended up with a tendinitis flare up in my right hand. This wheel will become part of my wheel art collage. Short term plan is to use my 24 mm Giant wheel set that I took off my 2012 TCR. There is some wobble in the bottom bracket but it’s still smooth and quiet. I’m thinking about changing it rather than riding to fail. It’s a Shimano Ultegra 6500 9 speed groupo that’s in pretty good shape all things considered. It will remain this way because changing it over to a 10 speed would require new shifters and a rear derailure and so…….9 speed it is.

853The Lemond Buenos Aires is an USA built steel bike with a carbon fiber fork. The fork was a nice surprise. It was built using Reynolds 853 steel tubing, strong and light for it’s time. Again a lot of information out there about Reynolds tubing and the Holy of the Holies, Columbus tubing.

Rust Never Sleeps

Being an old steel bike I was curious about rust. There was a little surface rust at the bottom of the head tube so I wanted to look inside. The shop pulled the seat post and sure enough… dust but no pitting or flaking. The head tube was clean as a whistle. We peaked in on the BB and while it’s sloppy it’s not rusty. I cleaned up the surface rust on the head tube and decided to clean and grease it as well. Half of the bottom bearing set was missing. HMMM. The bearings are floaters and someone had it apart and they got away. Okay. I get a handful of bearings from the bike shop and clean things up, add grease and replace the missing bearings. How does that go? Leave one out for space? I do. It’s a Crane Creek head set so maybe they can steer me towards a caged or sealed set. Something for later. If you picked up on the pun two sentences ago you are a true Bike Nerd.

It passes the bounce test and so let’s ride. It’s quick, smooth, quiet and felt great on the tarmac. I expected some chain noise, stiff shifting and so forth but nothing on the first ride. Next is to see how much tire I can get on it and I’m hoping that the 24mm rims will help me get a pair of 28’s on. Still need to fuss with the cockpit.

This bike rises up like mercury (Elvis Costello) on one of my favorite web sites, roadbikes cheap. If you’re a bike nerd you are familiar with this site. It goes out and finds all the EBAY auctions and categorizes them by type and manufacturer. While I can’t recommend buying a bike sight unseen it’s a great resource for finding out what things are going for.

lemond ffThere’s a real good chance that if you show up on a steel bike you’re a bike nerd. By no means is this to be taken as an affront. Embrace the reality that in this crazy mixed up world where all the rage is the flavor of the day, lighter, deep disc aero wheels (yes still grinding on those), 11 speed cassettes, carbon fiber everything, power meters, on board cameras, cyclometers the size of laptops yada yada yada,  you’ve decided to go another way, listen to a different beat, take the path less traveled, go old school, you’ve stood up and decided to take a perfectly good multi speed steel bike and turn it into a fixie!! The fixie conversion is not the plan for this bike. STEEL IS REAL! is said a lot and I really don’t know what that means. Real in that it’s not made of rayon carbon fiber, a petroleum based product?  YES! STICK IT TO THE MAN. ALL STINKIN’ OIL BASED PRODUCTS SHOULD BE THROWN INTO THE HOPPER!  I’m pretty sure that’s not what is meant.>

It’s not very likely that this steel bike will surpass my carbon bike for comfort and performance. It’s a bit heavier which does make it a great trainer. I have yet to weigh it but the published weight is 21 or so lbs or about 3 point something pounds more than my TCR and so I’ll be a bit lighter on the Saturday ride. For now I’ll continue to pull the TCR off the rack when it’s time to get jiggy with it. They still make steel road bikes by the way. Lemond makes a dandy, not cheap, starting about 3 grand, but drop dead gorgeous. And guess what! The frame is 853 Reynolds tubing!


It’s 8/30/15 and I now have about a 100 miles on the Lemond. It’s a very nice riding bike. After fussing with the handlebars and shifters a bit more it’s comfortable and may get out regularly  for the more laid back rides. With the lower bb it’s not going to be a stump jumper for sure but maybe, just maybe my gravel road bike. Felt nice on the cobbles anyway. BUT ALAS! My discretionary bicycle funds have been depleted……for now………what with repairs to the TCR  and rescuing this old bike from……..well I don’t know what……….but something. The rear wheel intended for it needs some spokes replaced and tires of course, this will have to wait until October. I have emergency funds but neither of these items fit that line item. Unless of course something fails. The saddle is not what I really want. I’ve gotten very comfortable with the  Fi’zi:k Arione that’s on the TCR, something to do with wings, and so maybe stick with that, standardize. Those new Brooks saddles look nice but maybe it’s just the idea of a Brooks saddle I like.

A Comment About N+1/S-1.

The wife, who as far as I know coined the phrase #Bike Nerd while looking straight at me, is scared to death that I’ll some day drop 10K on a bike and so spending a lot less came with almost no comment aside from “you can only ride one at a time.” I’ve actually seen people riding more than one at a time, circus act of course, not where I’m heading, but to the point, it’s all in the set up. Let on about the expensive bikes that you really like, say a real gussied up Lynskey, and then come home with something far less expensive. Works like a champ. Leading with a gift for her, something of greater value, is also a great way to get what you want. HMMM……now what to get her.


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