Wednesday, April 13, 2016

On Disc Brakes: An Open Letter to the UCI and the Inergalctic Federation of Cyclitesesis-ers

A Note:

It has recently come to my attention that coincendtal to my publication of an open letter to the UCI on the use of disc brakes on the road bicycles, another cyclist has also submitted a similar letter found here: LINK. I would like to clarify that while I believe these instance to be mere chance, I also fear that the timing could reflect the potential collision of two parallel universes that are soon to join as one as a result of the UCI's egregious oversight in allowing disc brakes to be used on road bikes so carelessly.

Another note (4/21/2016): Apparently there was some confusion about whether this was a serious post or let me clarify. Disc brakes are good. UCI needs to focus on things like, cleaning up the sport, for example. UCI finds it easier to remain backwards and reactionary. Dante makes joke post making fun of this on blog. Dante goes to ride on bike with disc brakes. Dante uses disc brakes and inadvertently starts a war with galaxy 5RAM, then realizes the true horror of disc brakes by nebulizing the entire solar system.

On disc brakes
I’ve spent 10 years in the road cycling peloton and another 10 riding mountain bikes making fun of road bikers for their goofy unitard suits and stupid-looking handle bars in my na├»ve youth. That makes it 20 years on my bike, training, if you can call it that, enjoying what I like most, my passion. Since I was six, I’ve enjoyed biking, it got harder when they took the training wheels off, I continue to do so, but I wish to use them again.

Just like in any other sport, cycling has evolved in many technical aspects. However, it has not done so in others in a way we’d all have liked.

Through all these years, I’ve witnessed many improvements on different parts of the bike and cycling apparel. Well, the apparel hasn’t improved because it still makes you look like a doof to outsiders, but I guess I’ve really just lowered my standards is what it boils down to. Anyway, we started off with 6 speeds, then 7 speeds, then 8 speeds, then 9 speeds, then 10 speeds, and then 11 speeds. That last one came here to stay; oh crap, never mind, SRAM just released 12 speeds last week.

We use presta valves to fill up our tires with air now. For decades the Schrader valve was king of the road, but riders needed greater flexibility when changing a flat, so the inventors, and the engineers, and the smartest people the bike industry could find in the bars brought us the simple and elegant beauty of presta. I was loathe to adopt but I admit now it is superior!

We’ve also stopped using bar ends on skinny handlebars, and now use huge wide bars with 100 variations of angled rise. The days are long gone too when we used stanchion boots to cover our suspension forks, them things were whack!

My point is: two years ago, we started seeing disc brakes put on cyclocross bikes; well, actually, they’ve been on mountain bikes for like 15 years, and cars and motorcycles probably since we invented fire; and the rumor was that there could be a chance that they be tested in road cycling events!

Beforehand, I want to make this clear: I’m in favor that all the other weak and stupid bike riders: the cyclocrossers, and the sucky amateurs who can’t pedal at an average rate of 300 watts for 5 hours straight, enjoy the immense pleasure of disc brakes during rides, because the rest of their life must totally suck.

But then, there’s road cycling. Was there really anyone who thought things like Monday night’s after work ride wouldn’t happen? Really, nobody thought disc brakes were dangerous? Nobody realized they can cut, or that they could get flung from a rider's bike and become giant inter-orbital saucers, possibly launching into inter-stellar flight, reaching another world, slicing open the thorax section of the giant insect mother queen ant of the planet Shimargoux-XT, resulting in a cross-galaxy fight for survival where the inhabitants of Earth were ultimately doomed to become enslaved by the RoboShock bots? Common UCI, use your head.

At the top of the big spiral railroad overpass bridge on the Anchorage Ship Creek Bike Path, only one rider used them. With 2 riders, that makes it 1 rider, carrying a total 2 disc brakes into the peloton, minus the square root of 1, plus one, so this still equals 1, right?

Let me take you there: to a wooden bridge, a steep 3 percent descent, handrails, a muddy brook nearby, with comets, and meteors falling, and the world imploding. I’ve got to brake, so I squeeze the levers. The bike slows at a really predictable rate. The wooded planks bounce me around, my teeth chatter together, but basically, I’m doing that because I’m a moron and should not have downed that double mocha shot gu. My brakes don’t squelch and squeal, I feel totally under control; I’m not worried about the fact that I’m using the same technology to slow my bike that Fausto Coppi was 60 years ago, that in a few seasons I will not have worn down my nice rims, heck, I won’t even have to put new cables or housing on my brakes next year. In fact, to be totally honest, I’m basically not even thinking about the brakes at all, because they're just working, normally.

At the bottom of the spiral bridge, I get off my bike, throw myself against the right-hand side of the path, cover my face with my hands in shock and disbelief, start to feel sick… I could only wait for my mom to come get me, while a lot of things come through my mind.
Mom never arrives, she's in Mexico stupid, but a guy named Bob comes by and lets me have a few swigs from his half-finished Colt 45. It’s warm.

Eventually, I get back on my bike, a little tipsy still. The world is flying by, but you know, I guess we can adapt.

Improved stopping power? Ya, like stopping the entire world as we know it and causing the destruction of all humanity!

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