Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

Longtime Surly pal Charlie The Bikemonger, who started the Big Dummy Society wrote recently:

Hi Guys, I am recovering from a jolly good night with your Mr Fleck and his kilt at Core Bike (a bike retailer show in the UK). Thanks Surly. Anyway he said I should share my view that gears cause global warming, it started some debate in the bar... so I have attached the full on info on why we are all doomed and how gears are obviously causing it all. Feel free to pop it on your blog, or where ever, or nowhere.

All the best,
England (that’s the old England, not the new one in the colonies)

DATE: 26/01/10

We have all seen the probable effects of global warming: extreme weather, droughts, floods, icecaps melting, whole species facing extinction, and most agreeable cider apple harvests. There are many common beliefs as to the cause of this “new” weather, and many of these are no doubt correct, however until now one possible suspect has been overlooked.

Charlie The Bikemonger a purveyor of fine cycle produce, has commissioned research in association with The Dorset Institute of Cider Konsumption, that fingers a new previously unsuspected culprit.

When our cycling forefathers embarked upon the apparently noble mechanical crusade to make cycling better, little did they know what consequences their actions would bring. In 1896 an Englishman E.H. Hodgkinson patented a 3-speed Gradient gear, a pre-cursor of the modern derailleur, and from this moment forth the world began to experience increasing global temperatures.

The graph below clearly illustrates the correlation between volume of gears and global temperatures.

Note the slight temperature “spike” in “1940-1949”, is it coincidence that the in 1949 the Hercules Herailleur a rear derailleur with indexed shift levers was launched? It was a mere 3 speed setup, but with indexing… could it be that it’s not only the volume of gears, but also their complexity that fuels global warming?

The 50’s and 60’s saw little gear innovation, but also towards the end of this era we see the birth of BMX and guess what happened with all those kids cranking one cog: a bloody great statistically significant decline in global temperatures!

1985 Shimano introduces SIS indexed shifting and from here on we are on an out of control rollercoaster of ramped up graphing and pernicious upgrading: indexed gears, , STI, gripshift, 8 speed, 9 speed, 10 speed, flappy paddle shifters… and ultimately the end of the world as we know it*!!!

In a bid to correct this dreadful situation Charlie The Bikemonger is proud to be a purveyor of fine fixed and single speed bicycle produce and sincerely implores all cyclists to negate their shifty bits, build a one speed and make the world a better place. “Shift and a Polar Bear Dies!” stickers may be available shortly.

It has been suggested in some quarters that this is pernicious nonsense and mocks a serious issue. However the amount of gears is illustrative of the ability of industry to make and sell us more and more consumer goods, be it bikes with even more gears, or cars with air conditioning etc. And that’s where the real connection is.

This also illustrates that when people want to prove there is no global warming and there is nothing to worry about… it’s pretty damned easy to find the statistics that make your theory look credible.

* maybe

Sources: Temp info: Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Earth Sciences Directorate.
Gear info:

That’s just…. Wow.

I also received an email newsletter from Jacob, one of the Riding The Spine guys. The news was partly an official notice that they had completed their odyssey, with no one dead or in prison. Sean, Jacob, and Goat started out in July of 2006 in Alaska, following the Great Divide north to south.

Jacob’s newsletter reads in part:
“Living off as little money as possible and seeking adventure along the way, they cooked their own food, wild camped most every night, and found themselves looking back on some truly epic moments: being chased by a wolf in Alaska, riding for months in snow/subzero temperatures, getting held at gunpoint by the military during a drug bust in the Copper Canyon, riding down Central America's tallest peak, sleeping at the base of active volcanos in Costa Rica while monkeys howled into the night, exploring the Cricamola River within the Ngobe-Bugle indigenous reserve, kayaking through the Kuna Yala in Panama all the way to Colombia, dragging their bikes through dangerous landslides in Colombia/Peru, crossing over the White Mountains of the Andes, rafting the Cotahuasi River, facing the intolerable winds of Patagonia, enjoying the classic landscape of the Carretera Austral in Chile, and eventually finding themselves in Tierra del Fuego - the end of the world.”

They did not ride the ‘easier’ Pan American Highway, but rather criss-crossed the Divide on muddy, dusty backroads. Which makes it sound a lot easier than it was. There’s a book about it in the works.

Finally today::::
Ladles and Germs, START YOUR LIVERS!!