no one line

The Artifice of a Derailleur
October 28, 2009, 11:51 pm
Filed under: bikes, fixed gears, fun

For the first time in years, I have more geared bikes than fixed gear bikes. The ratio swung quite recently from 1:3 to 4:3, not because I acquired three geared bikes, but rather, I acquired one, sold a fixed gear, and mothballed another (giving it “half a bike status”), giving me two geared bikes and one and a half track bikes – which, yes, are track bikes according to my terminological standards.

If you’ve ever spent a minute on Sheldon Brown‘s website, which provides an ABCs in bicycle education and is part of many neophyte fixed gear riders’ education, you may have come across the quote, “Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur?”

That was spoken by Henri Desgrange, the nerd pictured above. The full quote is, “I applaud this test, but I still feel that variable gears are only for people over 45. Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are getting soft. Come on fellows. Let’s say that the test was a fine demonstration – for our grandparents! As for me, give me a fixed gear!” and Desgrange was responding to a “test” off derailleur bicycles, which pitted a rider on a fixed gear versus a rider on a three-speed derailleur-equipped bicycle, which the latter won.

Is Desgrange calling me a weenie? An old fart? Desgrange is just a jerk who, as the founder and manager of the Tour de France, just told other people what to do. Well, Henri, all I’ve got to say i, I’m not the guy with a mustache that looks like I toss around a medicine ball with some guy named Finneaus.

Though, in all fairness, my new bicycle, which tipped the scales of the ratio I mentioned above, has a couple of those mustaches.

2 Comments so far
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Fortunately, I’m 45; Desgrange gave me an out, and I’m takin’ it.

Comment by Velosopher

Hi, this is not an answer to this blog but to your offer of a fixed fixed campa araya adx wheelset in the serotta forum. Are they still for sale?? Please let me know: h9450436 at is my address. Thanks! H ps my account is not yet activated at the serotta forum

Comment by hugo_koblet

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