Ride all about it

Unbeknownst to me, there is nothing new under the sun.

Of course, that’s not true. I have a Brittanican knowledge of clichés and, as well, post-modern literary theory. More precisely, I did not know about “It’s All About the Bike: The pursuit of happiness on two wheels” by Robert Penn, a book published in 2010 and outside my awareness until last month. I’m reading it now.


Mr. Penn’s subject is the same as these serial posts, only better reported and with superior writing. Penn does a beautiful job capturing in words the joy of riding, the attraction two wheels hold. He ably and engagingly describes the beauty and engineering of bicycle parts. His transitions are seamless.

I am about to read the chapter on the very crankset installed on Hugo Black and that I just wrote about myself. I am sure I will not benefit by the comparison.

It is, of course, of interest to me. Mr. Penn declares he is constructing his perfect bicycle. I hold no or little truck with his efforts, except to say I clearly think I’ve got the better end of the twig. He goes with a venerated, personable, beautiful frame maker in Britain’s Midlands for his steel bike instead of the carbon fiber frame born of a Pacific rim epoxy-laden process endangering the health of all involved in its manufacture I have chosen. Further, Penn has lined up wonderful trips to see the makers of his hubs and builder of his wheels (different from my choices) as well as his saddle, rims and drivetrain (where we are in accord).

It is absolutely worth the read.

But it’s not as good as a ride. On my perfect bike.