I've logged a lot of fixed and single speed miles over the years but the bike I'm riding the most these days is this beat-up old orphan Bianchi mountain bike. The Bianchi has three chainrings up front, seven decadent gears in the back and deraillers, so of course my fixed and single speed pals tell me that I've gone soft. Maybe I have, but for now I'm having fun scooting around on the Bianchi.
But there has been a problem, most of my bikes wind up having some kind of a name, not a personification exactly but more a shorthand that sums up the bike. My Monocog pretty much always will be the Monocog and the Kogswell seems sufficiently Kogswellian but this Bianchi mountain bike doesn't seem like a Bianchi to me. It's not celeste, it's not an Italian road machine and it doesn't have a bit of Campy gear anywhere on it. It may have a Bianchi sticker on it somewhere under all the stickers I've added to it but it doesn't feel like a Bianchi. It's something else, something I haven't quite identified yet.
The bike came very close to being dubbed the "Strawberry Pancake" thanks to my evil friend Tarik. If you want to understand the story, you will follow this link here:
If you value your sanity, you won't click on the above link.
Alas, I did not follow the advice in the above sentence and I have had the wretched Strawberry Pancake song stuck in my head for weeks and I have this bike that is sort of strawberry colored (and the crossbar's real low). Something needed to be done.
In an effort to clear my mind, I regressed to my wasted youth (as Meatloaf noted "a wasted youth is better by far than a wise and productive old age") and have been running classic rock through my head and digging through what we used to quaintly call "albums."
Which brings me to Cream's classic album Disraeli Gears. I got to wondering about the name and found this fascinating tidbit in the Wikipedia entry at:
The title of the album was an inside joke. Clapton had been thinking of getting a racing bike and was discussing it with Baker, when Mick Turner, one of the roadies, commented on the performance of "those Disraeli gears", meaning to say "derailleur gears". The band thought this was hilarious and decided that it should be the title of their next album. Had it not been for the roadie's malapropism, the album would simply have been entitled Cream.
So what bike am I taking down to Oregon this weekend? Not the Bianchi. Not the Strawberry Pancake. Nope, I'm taking the bike with those Disraeli Gears.