drunk on freedom duncan crossley

I believe that the bicycle is one of mans greatest creations but my own relationship with the machine has been one of love and hate. Bicycle world is an ideal place for fantasists and can consume large pieces of time that didn't necessarily trade in as fitness or endorphins. I blame the early onset of lower back pain on hours spent hunched over bottom brackets and front mechanisms in what my family called the bike room. I learned about rage in that room, under that 60 watt bulb. My hands bled into old food containers full of black turps fishing for missing bearings, cones, jockey wheel bushing caps. Incompatibility is something I first understood in bicycle world. I saw it emerge through a film of grease. I found out that things that don't fit mangle and cause heavy tools and crank arms to slip. Suddenly releasing large forces, body weights against knuckles. The phrase "Cross threading" fills my heart with woe. I discovered vandalism through cycling and buried its mangled carbon product in my garden. I learned about money, about inappropriate fiscal behavior and instant gratification. I traded rent for italian cast aluminium - food for swiss lycra. I reached a point where I was spending more time faffing with bikes than riding them. Sometimes they where stripped down on completion because a key component was needed for another machine, for, say, the time trial machine- the carbon post allowed the saddle a few millimeters more forward adjustment, the cranks; I needed the long ones for more torque and they looked better with a single ring, but was the single a bad idea? Look what happened to David Millar in Paris. Might need another record axle- The 101mm. What are they now with the weak pound £120?

I dropped my fathers Condor on a damp corner in Letchworth, He said it never rode the same again. I dreamt frayed cable ends. I missed work to train for races I didn't ride. I hit the wall in ways I care not to count. I learned the language of pain then never spoke.

BEWARE!