Monthly Archives: February 2016

Froze Toes Road Race

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I’ve been itching to race so that what I did yesterday again.  It is sort of hard to explain, but in reality racing local and regional races is much harder than doing huge events.  There is really no place to hide in these local events, so you know that it is going to be a sufferfest from the gun.

Yesterday, Bill, Trudi, Tucker and I drove the 3 hours over to Columbia Missouri to do the kickoff road race of the area, Frozen Toes.  It is a 60 mile road race, 2 laps on a pretty flat course. There is really only one hill and it really isn’t much.

The real concern yesterday was the wind.  This race is known for it being windy, but it was really windy, like consistently over 30 or more.  I had a 41 mph max speed, on flat road, not downhill.

The were nearly 50 guys at the start.  The race started pretty fast, mainly because I started rotating early.  But the wind wasn’t quite right early on and it was just plain super hard.  I didn’t wear a heart strap, but my heartrate was pegged.

Guys kept rolling off the front.  A couple groups of 2 got away, with the first two guys, Hogan Sills and Justin Maciekowicz riding 2/3’rds of the race together, hauling ass.   I eventually got into a group 5.  I was with two guys from the Olathe Subaru team and was on the rivet.  I had to sit out a few rotations, telling the other guys I would get better, which I did.  The problem was that my nose was dripping into my throat and I was aspirating it.  I kept coughing when I was so short of air already, I could barely function.

Soon we absorbed Jonah MeadVanCort and Michael Allison, the only two other guys off the front, other than Hogan and Justin.  The 7 of us rotated pretty good, but it took nearly 30 miles to catch them.

It was really never super easy.  I wasn’t having a good day.  I was comfortable for maybe 15 minutes the whole day.  There was so much sidewind that it was a struggle to get back onto the wheel in front of you after you pulled off.

Embarrassingly, I was mistaken most of the race how many laps we were doing.  For some reason, I thought the race was three laps, but by the mileage, that was obviously wrong.  When we started not working, maybe 8 miles out, I couldn’t figure it out.  I was getting better compared to my group, we were all sort of falling apart, me a little slower than some of the others.

Finally someone told me we were finishing in 5 miles and I was super surprised.  How amateur is that?  I was feeling okay, actually better than I had most of the race.  From Saturday, I realized my sprint is pretty suspect just now, so I took a solo flyer on the last hill, maybe a mile or more from the finish.  I got a good gap, but was riding directly into a 35mph headwind.  There was virtually no side aspect to the wind, thus when I was caught, it was by everyonee.

The sprint was a little chaotic of course.  There was a small amount of bumping, then it was a free for all.  I’m not sure anyone in finished on the wheel of anyone else.  It was one guy, then two or three bike lengths, then another and so on.  Benn Stover jumped way out and looked like he was going to win, but cramped up, but held on for 2nd.  Jonah MeadVanCort ended up winning.  I was 5th.

Bill had a crazy day.  He was off the front, then completely dropped, then caught back on to a the chasing field and ended up riding off the front towards the end to finish 12th.  He said he felt pretty good at the end, which is always a good sign.

I had nearly a 300 watt average for most of the race.  It dropped towards the end when we started dicking around, but it was still high.

It is impossible to train that hard.  Early season racing is super painful, this year, more so.  I’m not sure why that is.  I feel like I’m riding alright, but when I’m hurting, it seems like I’m really hurting.  It can only get better.

The highlight of the day was going over to my friend’s house, Ethan and Laura Froese for a early dinner.  I’ve know those guys forever and it was super catching up.  I’ve stayed with them when I’ve raced in Columbia, but had never been to their new house, which is next door to their old one.  It is super cool, an old brick house with unbelievable character.  Build in cabinets and all old custom woodwork.

Anyway, the conversations were engaging and it was a super fun evening.  Ethan gave me a limited edition  print of one of his dad’s drawings.  His dad was from Kansas and was super into bikes.  Plus, a super artist.  I am honored to possess it.

The day is what truly attracts me to the sport.  Super hard competition, camaraderie with my breakaway companions, then catching up with friends who share the same passion for the sport and life.  Can’t get much better than that.

Tucker waiting for the sprint.

Tucker waiting for the sprint.

Started in sprint in 5th, finished in 5th.

Started in sprint in 5th, finished in 5th. Click to enlarge.  There were originally 9 guys on the hill.

This is a kid that went to University of Illinois. He name is Michael I think. I believe he rode the Cat 5 race. On this. Crazy. It was really 5 gears in the back. He said he was going to get it repainted, but I told him to leave it original. A 1974 Raleigh International really is a beautiful machine. Kickstand and all.

This is a kid that went to University of Illinois. He name is Michael I think. I believe he rode the Cat 5 race. On this. Crazy. It was really 5 gears in the back. He said he was going to get it repainted, but I told him to leave it original. A 1974 Raleigh International really is a beautiful machine. Kickstand and all.

An beautiful old tree I spotted trying warm down in 40 mph winds.

An beautiful old tree I spotted trying warm down in 40 mph winds.


Dinner at Ethan's.

Dinner at Ethan’s.

Check out their front door.

Check out their front door.

The lock is a piece of beauty.

The lock is a piece of beauty.

Ethan, Laura and I with Ethan's dad's art.

Ethan, Laura and I with Ethan’s dad’s art.

Tucker was pretty exhausted from the day.

Tucker was pretty exhausted from the day.

Spring Fling Criterium – Ouch

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Yesterday I rode over to Lawrence to start my 2016 race campaign.  I would have much preferred doing a long road race with moderate climbing, but instead, did an hour criterium, points race no less, in 25 mph winds.  Exactly the opposite what I am trained for, but obviously what I need to work on.

It is 25 miles each way to the course from my house, plus the hour race, so it worked out to be nearly 80 miles still.  I didn’t feel that great riding over.  John-Jack and Bill were pulling a group of us, with cross/tailwind, and it felt like they were hauling ass.  That is never a good sign.  I think it was because it seemed so hot, in the mid-70’s.  I can’t believe that in a couple months, that will feel cool.

Anyway, we got over there way quicker than I had anticipated, so we had about an hour to wait until the start.  I remembered from a couple years ago how guys get so excited early season that they start crazy hard.  And it was the case once again.  I think after 15-20 minutes, I looked down and had a normalize wattage of 380.

Since it was a points race, there were 3 sprints during the race, plus the final.  I sort of tried all 3 times, with not that much success.  I sort of am riding a little within myself because my left hand isn’t working all that great, thus the front brake is kind of non-existent.  There were 4 places and I was 5th the first two sprints.  After the 2nd one, I took off, and John-Jack came with me.

He pulled thru the first time so hard I could barely stay on, but I had just sprinted.  My heartrate was staying pretty high for me, so obviously I wasn’t recovering very well.  We only rode a couple laps off the front, but that softened up the Olathe Subaru team, that had 6 guys.  They had gotten 1-4 in the first two sprints, I think.

Before the 3rd sprint, Bill came up and asked me if he should lead me out.  I told him that I was okay, but he should attack after the sprint.  I started the sprint later, and got a little crossed up right before the line, but finished 2nd and got some points.  I could tell everyone was dead.  The field of 30 or so had be whittled down to something like 12.

Right then Bill and John-Jack came flying by and that was sort of it.  The Subaru guys were trying to catch their breathe from sprinting and Bill and Jack got an okay gap.  One other guy from Groove Cycling, a Colorado team, jumped a couple laps later and bridged up to the front two in a couple laps.

And that is the way it stayed.  I figured that Bill finishing top 3 in the final sprint was as best as we were going to do.

I finished 3rd in the field sprint, there were 8 places for points.  Bill was 2nd in the final sprint, so finished pretty good.  We had to leave before the results were posted because it was going to get dark.

I think we probably finished 4 and 5th, but could be off on that.  It is amazing how hard bike racing can feel when you haven’t done it in a few months.

Today we’re driving 3 hours to Columbia Missouri and doing a road race.  It is 63 miles, but is going to be super windy, so lots of gutter riding.  I think I am in better shape for gutter riding than sprinting, but we’ll see.  Early season you have to pay your dues.  And using racing to get race form is one of the ways, no matter how painful it is.

It was Tucker's first bike race.

It was Tucker’s first bike race.

He wasn't so sure what to make of it before the start.

He wasn’t so sure what to make of it before the start.

He was pretty zonked after the full day.

He was pretty zonked after the full day.

Host Housing

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If you started racing bikes at a young age you’ve depended on the generosity of others to make it work.   I couldn’t start to count the number of floors I’ve slept on and how many different places I’ve stayed over my lifetime.  Host housing is what allows many racers the freedom to be able to travel to races.

Host housing saves a ton of money, but in reality, the relationships you get from it are what matters.  I have to say that many of my best friends in this world started with them offering a place to stay during a race.

I was thinking of this today, since it is Walberg Road Race.  I’m not sure what year it was, but I think it was 2005.  It had been snowing in Kansas and I had around 500 miles.  I’d done a couple races in Austin the previous year and realized they were the next weekend.    I decided to go.

I called up the promoter of one of the races, Barry Lee, and Barry was super nice.  His team was sponsored by the Hotel San Jose and he said that he could give me a room for a week.  I’d heard about the hotel and thought that would be a great place to hang.  But, Barry kept telling me that he had some super host housing and that I should consider staying there.

I told Barry I wasn’t big on host housing, I’d given up on it since the last couple times I’d had bad experiences, mainly kids being sick, thus, I got sick.  Barry told me that he was fine with me staying at the hotel, but I should really consider host housing.

Finally, I realized that Barry really wanted me to stay at his host housing so I gave in.  Barry gave me an address and phone number.  I drove down there with Trudi, Catherine and Bromont.  I called the number and the woman that answered the phone had a thick southern accent.  I told her we had a dog and she said that was fine, since she had a dog too.

That was the first time I met Ann Riopel.  She was just into riding bikes and was a pathologist. Barry had warned me not to talk to Ann about doping, especially Lance, since she was a very generous to the Armstrong Foundation.

Soon, my whole team showed up and nearly invaded her house.   Ann was too nice to say anything.  Ann is from Charleston and is super smart and engaging, very easy to talk to.

Probably the 2nd night, over a glass of wine, Ann said something about Tyler Hamilton and how idiotic his defense was. She said that she did the test of two types of blood in a person and that the only way a man could have that would be by putting someone else’s blood in.

Then she started questioning my thoughts on Lance.  I was pretty outspoken on it, but heeded Barry’s advice and kept silent.  Finally she took me upstairs to a signed photo of the US Postal team time trial team  at the Tour, she had in her workout room.  She said that everyone of the guys on in the photo, other than Lance and George had tested positive, so how could it be that they weren’t doing the same, since they were better than the other guys.  So I told her everything I thought. Barry was wrong on this, she could make her own decisions about doping and cycling.

I’ve stayed with Ann more times than I can count.  We’ve drank a bunch of wine together, I’ve been to her Christmas parties, I trained there alone for a couple weeks in January before I raced Master’s Cyclocross Worlds in Belgium.  We’ve met in Las Vegas and really need to meet up more often, in cool places.  I love her dogs, past and present, and she was one of the first persons I called when Bromont got diagnosed with cancer.  She is a good friend.

Anyway, I would really like to be racing today and tomorrow in Austin.  Not because the races are so good, which they are, but because I haven’t seen Ann in such a long time.  She got married last year and moved into a new house a mile or so away from her other house.  I saw the house when it was getting remodeled, but haven’t seen it since they moved in.

I’m so glad that Barry talked me into host housing.  It is funny how small decisions you make, like whether to stay is a hotel or host housing can affect your life.  But, that is life, forks in the road, millions upon millions of them, that lead you to unknown places.

At Ann’s Christmas party.  She is in standing in the middle with the glass of champagne.

Ann’s old dog, Stanley, and Bromont at Starbucks near her house.

Stanley and Lulu on an outing.

Stanley and her new dog Lulu, on an outing.

                             The Hotel San Jose on South Congress, where the stars hang.

I can hardly wait for Lulu to meet Tucker. Lulu bugged Bromont to no end. I think Tucker will do payback.

I can hardly wait for Lulu to meet Tucker. Lulu bugged Bromont to no end. I think Tucker will do payback.


Bike Racing Weekend

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Man, this weekend is a busy weekend for bike racing and viewing.  Let’s start off with the viewing.

Tomorrow is the start of the spring classics, with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad tomorrow morning.  This is the race were Tom Boonen and two of his Etixx–Quick-Step team mates were schooled by one Ian Stannard last year.  That has to be one of the most embarrassing moments of Boonen’s career.  Video below.

If that isn’t enough, then you can watch Evelyn Stevens attempt the hour record tomorrow morning at Colorado Springs.  Both VeloNews and Ella CyclingTips are streaming the event live. I think she is hoping to do around 48 kms, which would be a pretty unbelievable distance.

I was thinking about going to Texas to race, but got behind in life and decided to stay here and race locally.  There is a local point race training criterium in Lawrence on Saturday.  It is nice because it is 25 miles there each way, so I’ll end up with close to 80 miles for the day, with 5 or 6 sprints.  It is supposed to be nearly 70 here, so that means really windy, of course.

Sunday there is the kickoff road race of the region with Froze Toes in Colombia Missouri.  This race has been going on forever and is really great.  I raced it last year, finishing 2nd.   I hope to go there again this year if I feel alright on Sunday.

These will be Tucker’s first bike races.  He has about 500 or so more to catch up with Bromont’s record.  Better to start young.

I’ve been repairing some old window sashes and once I start a big project, I kind of get caught up in it.  But this project would be huge to complete, so I’m slowly chipping away at it. Breathing 100 year old paint and wood dust isn’t the best thing for my lungs, so I’m trying to consciously wear a mask at all time.  That is easier said than done.

Bill and I rode 30 miles yesterday at 35 degrees.  I underdressed, which just wasted me that much more.  It is so weird how cold 35 feels when you’ve been riding at 50 and how warm it feels when you’ve been riding at 20.  I still don’t understand how a human body adapts to cold or heat.

Today it is supposed to be nearly 60, then in the upper 60’s, approaching 70 the next three days.

I glued on a tire last night on my rear race wheel.  Talk about having trouble.  Try to stretch a tire on with 2 1/2 broken fingers.  Especially since 1 1/2 of those are thumbs.(yes, I know, thumbs aren’t fingers).  Thumbless tire mounting would be a trick.

I’m going to work on Catherine’s bike some, but have to go get it from her garage.  Pick up and delivery bike repair. That is what my friend Trent Newcomer is doing out in Fort Collins/Boulder.  Check out his deal.

Okay, I’m just babbling.  I should probably accomplish something.

Evelyn is staying with Davis and Connie Phinney, which should help here a ton. Catch the live streaming video tomorrow at Velonews.

Evelyn is staying with Davis and Connie Phinney, which should help here a ton. Catch the live streaming video tomorrow at noon MST, at  Velonews.


A little primitive, but it works alright.

A little primitive, but it works alright.

Tucker starting to sort of point.

Tucker starting to sort of point.


Velon’s Powerplay

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Velon, which is a organization of 11 World Tour Teams, made a deal with Infront media, which they intend to provide live telemetry and on-bike video to someone.  I guess the media.

I see this as the Velon staking a claim to something that was just out there.  I think they are trying to claim it before the media, ASO, or UCI does.  I’m not sure it will work, but it seems like a good play.

I really don’t know who owns a rider’s telemetry.  By telemetry, at this time, they stated that they will provide speed, cadence, power, heart rate, altitude, and acceleration data.  It seems weird that your team can sell the rights to your telemetry.

What if Chris Froome jumped the gun and sold his lifetime telemetry rights last year?  Does he own his telemetry.  Obviously not if this goes through.

And just because Velon got some money from Infront for this, it doesn’t mean that the riders will see a penny of that.  I think this group of World Tour team are looking for a way to get some income, some payback of all their expenses.  As of now, their business model sucks.

It really is an interesting subject.  Does the media, the race, the teams or the riders own the telemetry?  I guess this means that each and every rider will have to ride with a powermeter. Do they all have to use the same one to make the comparisons valid?  Who is going to calibrate these powermeters before each stage?  There are lots of questions to be answered.

Anyway, I’d bet you anything this isn’t over.  There is going to be a problem between the ASO, UCI and Velon.  Infront is a huge, one of the world’s largest sports marketing firms.  They have much deeper pockets than the ASO or UCI.  That is what makes this partnership really interesting.  Maybe since Infront can take these guys to the cleaners financially, they will just roll over and concede this to Velon.  You never know.



Tucker is still a little mixed up on how to get the big sticks in their the pet door.

Tucker is still a little mixed up on how to get the big sticks in their the pet door.

Single File Discussion – Again

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The phrase single file is now only used pertaining to cyclists and how they don’t ride close enough the the side of the road.  Cyclists riding two abreast seems to be a recipe that turns regular people into  aggro motorists.

I saw an article at Cyclingweekly that was a discussion between Chris Boardman and someone that felt that a truck had passed her mother too closely.  Chris Boardman tweeted that they should have been riding single file on such a narrow road.

The only case I can see for this is that it might not piss off the truck driver so much.  It is definitely more dangerous.  Riding single file encourages drivers to try to make hasty passes when the road isn’t necessarily clear.

That is what most drivers don’t get, is that there isn’t enough room on a normal two lane road for two cars and one bicycle.  A car has to cross the centerline to pass safely.  If the average motorist understood this, I think the problem would be much less.

I got thinking about this because some dick on a Harley came by a couple days ago, revved his engine, which scared the shit out of me, and then proceeded to yell at us to ride single file.

The terrain around Northeast Kansas is such that we could encounter more issues if it were more populated.  It is rolling around here, with lots of short hills in succession, so hard to pass, even car vs. car.  What I have found alleviates the issue some, is when I get to the top of a hill and see that it is safe to cross the centerline for the car to pass, I wave the car by.  It seems to tell the driver that we were concerned about holding him up.  At least that is what I think.  I’ve never waved a car by and had the guy go irate on me.

Again, I googled it and have already written a post of most of my thought about single file riding.   Here it is.

Two Abreast, It’s the Law

That is the law here in Kansas for cyclists. It is a super good law. The only problem with the law is that nobody but cyclists know it.

I don’t know how many times in my lifetime I’ve had people yell “single file” to me. Probably 1000’s. The only time I’ve ever heard those two words in a phrase was when I was elementary school, walking in the hall to the auditorium or somewhere as a class and riding my bicycle. I don’t know where it got ingrained into people’s brains that single file is how cyclists are “supposed” to ride on the street, but it is a common mistake.

I’ve been riding back and forth to Lawrence recently. Unless I’m riding on gravel down by the river, I have to ride on State Hwy. 40 for some amount of time. The road isn’t too busy and really not that dangerous. But, it doesn’t have a shoulder and rolls enough to make passing tricky. Cars passing each other and cars passing cyclists.

At least once, and usually more, when I ride the road, some yahoo will pass me, crossing into the opposite lane going up a hill. Inevitably, a car will be coming from the other direction and have to swerve, brake or something. It never ceases to amaze me that the guy in the other lane nearly always honks or flips me off when he comes by.

I just don’t get it. The car that was passing me is nearly always crossing a double yellow line on a blind hill and the other car blames the cyclist. What’s up with that?

It is even worse when I’m riding with someone else. The drivers of the cars think, mistakenly, that we’re breaking the law by riding two abreast. Somehow that mentality gives these people the need to try to enforce their mistaken thoughts by honking or coming by dangerously close, usually passing illegally themselves. It is super weird, like the law should even matter enough to endanger someones life.

I’ve had people actually stop a couple times and go into a tirade about the two abreast riding. Only a couple times. I used to carry a piece of paper in plastic that stated the Kansas State Law concerning riding bicycles two abreast. Each time a person stopped, I would show them the law and it was amazing how that would calm them down. It is like they thought they were the two abreast police and the realization that they didn’t know the law completely deflated them down to nothing.

Once we were riding over to Kansas City for a training race and got pulled over by the Douglas County Sheriffs near Lawrence. The guy was hassling us for riding two abreast. I happened to have the law with me and showed it to the officer. Next thing I know, the guy’s supervisor shows up. The officer had already called him since there were 6 of us. The officer goes and tells him that we were riding 4 abreast, when just 5 minutes earlier he had told us he stopped us for not riding single file. I was obviously pissed.

I had a conversation with the supervisor and told him that it was a much bigger deal having a sheriff lie to his supervisor, right in front of 6 regular citizens than whatever law the guy thought we were breaking to start with. It really didn’t go anywhere. The supervisor said that they had big problems with groups of riders “massing” on the county roads and thought this was one of those situations. Anyway, it goes to show that even the local law enforcement officers don’t know the law.

If that is the case, I don’t know why I would expect anyone else to. I went down and renewed my driver’s license in February. I thought that is would be a good idea to include a question on the renewal test about the two abreast law, but we don’t even take a test anymore. Just walk in, take an eye exam, get a photo taken, pay $25 and out. Maybe 5 minutes max.

I don’t know how to fix the problem. It sure would be nice if the drivers didn’t think that all us cyclists were law breakers when we ride side by side. I know that would alleviate a ton of the tension. But I don’t really see a way to do it.

Maybe some signs like this might help some. Funny, I got this off a website talking about riding in Tenerife and how it is a 1500 Euro fine to pass cyclists illegally in Spain.
 The cats are now staying high now that Tucker is more coordinated. 

Sorting Tools

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I’ve been spending the last few evenings over at the building I put a rubber roof on sorting through tools.  Man do I have a lot of tools.  The reason I’m having to sort through them is because about half the time I use these tools it is not here in Topeka, thus I load up a bunch of tools into the van, then they get all mixed up and when I’m back, I just unload them all in a big bunch on the floor.

Plus, there is all the excess stuff that I’ve bought.  Boxes of screws, nails and various other odd bits that might be useful on another project.  Yesterday those odd bits didn’t seem so valuable, so most of them went into recycling.

I love a project that involves buying a new tool.  A new tool that isn’t that expensive, but is key to the project getting completed timely.  Cordless power tools have been a game changer the past 20 years.  The batteries are getting better, thus the tool more powerful.  I was looking at my odd collection of cordless power tools and was thinking it is about time I get a new set.  I have quite a few Dewalt 18v tools, but they are so old and the drill drivers are about done.

I find that I’ve already written a post about just about everything I think about, thus there is this one about tools that I did 3 years ago.

Proper Tools are Invaluable 

I’ve been replacing this fence down in Richardson Texas the last few days. It always amazes me how important that the proper tools are for each and every situation. It isn’t only in construction, but everything you need a tool for.

I’d say that a large part of doing construction is having the right tools for the job and always having the necessary components when they are needed. Nothing slows a project down than running out of anything. It goes in a certain order and when that order is interrupted then the project sometimes comes to a complete stop.

The same when dealing with bicycles. More so. Can you imagine not having a chain tool when one is needed? There is nothing that can replace that. Maybe in “wartime” you could use a punch and a pair of pliers to get a chain back together, but not in a race situation.

Park Tool company is now taken for granted, but they have been innovators in bicycle tools. When Thomas Frischnecht first came to the US from Switzerland, he barely spoke English. It was about the same time that Park came out with the tri-tool, the y-tool with the 4-5-6 mm allen keys on it. When Thomas came to Boulder and stayed with me and saw the tool, he wanted to buy 50 and take them back to Switzerland and give them to his friends. He was that impressed with it. I have to agree. Life is much easier for me because there is a Park Hex wrench in the world. It holds true for lots and lots of tools.

Specialty tools are just that, special. There are many situations that there is nearly only one tool that will work for a specific situation. And if that tool is missing or unknown to the person that needs it, then there is nearly a zero percent chance that the task can be completed.

I guess this post is for me to acknowledge my appreciation to all the people out there that have thought through the process and made tools for each and every situation. It makes my life much easier on a daily basis. I always look for projects that “force” me to acquire new tools. If that is the case, then the project is usually always a success.

This little Bosch driver is one of my favorites now.  It fits in a pocket of a tool pouch and is pretty powerful considering its size.

This little Bosch driver is one of my favorites now. It fits in a pocket of a tool pouch and is pretty powerful considering its size.

This Paslode nail gun is can virtually build a house by itself. It is a framing nailer, but…..

it can also be used here with a non-mar tip to use on fences, etc.

The Park tri-tool and Shimano chain tool are a couple of the tools that are indispensable.



The Campagnolo Tool Kit. I still want one, even though most of the tools in it aren’t used for modern day bicycles now.


Me. Innocent.