Friday, January 23, 2015

A Frame Pump

When I'm on a group ride I don't bother with a frame pump. No time! No time! Use a CO2 and getter' done. You don't know pressure until you have a group over your shoulder heckling you as you're trying to fix a flat tire.

In the winter time its even worse. They will ridicule your tire brand, model, tread and wear pattern all while your hands are freezing off trying to change the flat as quickly as possible.

Add the darkness of night and you've got yourself a trifecta of reasons not to use a frame pump.

But that isn't what this particular blog post is about...

It's more of a love letter.  A love letter to something that reminds me of my beginnings in the sport. Something that really embodies the idea of PRO.

The handful of professional racers that I've been around all had specific things on their bikes when doing a training ride.

1. Training wheels. Usually something with a lot of spokes and beefy tires stretched over them.

2. Two bottle cages with bottles. I've never once seen a pro out on a ride with just one bottle. I assume mostly because they are doing enough mileage that they don't want to have to stop to refill. And as my friend Grahamo always says, "One never knows...". Which is usually followed by a 70 mile grinder over hill and dale.

3. Saddle bag. Usually small, black and unobtrusive. Just big enough for two tubes, a lever and maybe a multi-tool

4. Frame pump.

I once asked a ex-professional racer why this seemed to be a theme amongst pro's and he said because the team mechanics were not willing to give everyone on the team enough CO2 cartridges to last the year.

I guess that makes sense...

But regardless, it makes me feel like I'm attached to my roots when I have one on my bike.

I always preferred the pump under my top tube. Some, like Canada Dave, always had it along his non-drive side seat stay. I've also seen it on the backside of the seat tube. Which ever way I saw it in the wild I would always look at that person like they were in the secret society.

Now I'm about to get a little elitist here (Shocking I know). Hand pumps that go in the pocket, attach to the bottle cage or under the saddle do not count. Sorry, but these inventions, while serving the same purpose don't have the same heritage as the full sized frame pumps. And often times put said user square in the Fred Zone. I mean the frame pump puts me in the retro-grouch zone but whatevs....

I know all of you out there that have been around for awhile and are reasonably observant know exactly what I'm talking about. But for those uninitiated. Next time you see one in the wild take note and follow that wheel. Because I bet you're going to get schooled. In one way or another...

Thanks for reading!

Rubbers side down,

Big E

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