Re: [CR]brit bikes dominate? Oh, please...

Example: Component Manufacturers

From: "P.C. Kohler" <>
To: <>
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Subject: Re: [CR]brit bikes dominate? Oh, please...
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004 20:24:56 -0400

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2004 7:30 PM
Subject: [CR]brit bikes dominate? Oh, please...

>> I'm not sure who wrote that...but I'll take the troll, and happily.
> I'm going to assume that this is an amusing joke.
> Brit bikes the best? Please. That *is* a joke.
> There are lots of them, but that's about all you can say.
> Charles "I admire some brit bikes, but I admire more bikes guys
> actually rode to Masis, colnagos, Pogliagis, and
> DeRosas; can someone tell me the last time someone rode
> a Raleigh International or Pro to victory in any major professional
> race? The odd Hetchins, sure...but most other brit bikes? Not many" Andrews
> Fastcal

Well now...

I guess you Italophiles are indeed just that.. you believe the only use for a bicycle is for testerone-driven professional racing. Fine. That's Italianissimo. Cycling is for 22 year olds or granny going for a loaf. And not a lot in between.

But consider for a moment that it was the British who gave us what most of us actually do: we ride lovely lightweights for pleasure and sport. Not for elite professional competition.You may ride a 1978 Masi but I kinda bet you are riding it British style.. club riding or individually rather than in some pro race. How many active pro racers on this list? Hands please.

Britain fostered pleasure, sports and recreational riding more than any other country. It is this style of riding we have in the USA. Cycle sport is swell and so is Lance. But it's a big country with lots of folks riding "pro" bikes who are... not pros. Which is great. But it's not Italian.

As for the quality and characteristics of British bikes vs. others, hey that's a matter of opinion. Shocking to find opinion on the CR list, eh? But it's my opinion that to judge a nation's bikes on how many races they won is rubbish. If that's true, then you dishonour the bike by daring to even ride it unless you're a "pro". Hang it on a wall and worship it.

The reason there are so "many" British bikes out there is because they did what no Italian "pro" bike did: they introduced several generations of normal blokes to the joys of sports and lightweight cycling. The much maligned Raleigh International and surely the Schwinn Paramount did more for lightweight cycling in the USA than any Italian bike or make. Count 'em. Or do their very popularity run them into that elitist brickwall?

British bikes did something else: they did their fair duty and won their fair share of honours on another very British ride: the time trial. They also did pretty well in BRITISH races too. Or do only races count if they are in Italy? Or France?

Coppi et. al were great. But so was Eileen Sheridan (rode a Hercules), Ray Booty (a Mercian and a Raleigh RRA) et. al. Or Tommy Simpson who rode, er... well... ok a Peugeot... (but with BP as a sponsor!).

It's a pity Dave Stoller in "Breaking Away" didn't ride a '78 Raleigh Professional.. or I suspect this list would be thronged with Brit bike guys. But a movie about an 18 year old American emulating a British cyclist just doesn't quite work, does it?

And finally, Italian bikes don't have celluloid mudguards, Hinduminium brakes, Coloral feeding bottles, sleeve grips and "polychromatic" colours. Or names like Moth Magnificent, Golden Flash or Mayfly. That's not an opinion. Just a pity.

Peter Kohler
Washington DC USA