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Balance: An invisible, fragile, powerful and incalculable force. Like love.

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Momentum: Too little is boring and makes you apt to topple, but too much is dangerous and makes you apt to shatter. Like lust.

THEPERIODICTABLE OFCYCLING
By
bicycling

Wine:Italy, France,California. Coincidence?

staff and contributors

n the 1860s and 70s, while charting elements according to atomic weight, Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleyev noticed a pattern: Elements with similar properties grouped up in columns. The blanks in this revolutionary table left a map for future smart people to fill with undiscovered elements. So we thought, hey, if the Periodic Table of Elements is good enough to explain the mysteries of being, its good enough for cycling. Heres our take on the most essential elements of our great sport. We tried to list only those absolutely fundamental piecesfor instance, we believe bikes will always have wheels, but maybe not chains. And while a future without bikes of steel and carbon fiber might seem unimaginable, were big thinkers and didnt rule out the day when a bike made of pure magnetic (or whatever) force eliminates the need for solid material. In other words, weve created the chart with such preternatural wisdom that in the year 4012 cyclists will refer to our Table in wonder and ask, How did those guys know snot would always be so funny?

For Down More Fre bicycl loaDs, go e ing.co to M/Free .

Campagnolo: Shiftingby GiorgioArmani.

Wind:Heads,hell. Tails,heaven.

Jerks: Angry balding guy in a ragtop, yokels with an empty six in the bedor the socially maladroit roadie who disapproves of your shoe color.

Gary Fisher: Pops embodies all thats good and badand marketable about mountain biking.

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Void: Spit, snot, pee, carbon dioxide, sweat and the tops of gel packets. What kind of great sport is it in which discarding only one of these on the roll is bad form?

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Suffering: The hated, feared, ultimate enemy right up to the point where it becomes your old friend.

Sweat: The stuff that drips out when you squeeze a big bunch of speed.

Wool:Youknow whatlivesin sheepsclothing.

Jersey pockets: Is there anything as functional, simple, iconic and inevitable? Whats that? The Chipwich? Oh, yeah.

Gear: Gloves, helmets, goggles, padswarriors need their armaments, and kids need their costumes.

Crash:Goingdown makesstayingup sweeter.

Climb:Your offeringtothe godsofpain.

Road: Our surface sounds like the past tense of our action. Perfect.

Life: Yes, dear, getting that gallon of milk is more important than riding. Today.

Ailments: From road rash to saddle sores to achy knees, Nietzsche had it exactly right.

Eddy Merckx: If he didnt exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

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Lungs: Make it all possible by linking oxygen to chemistry but they dont work so well when theyre coming up your throat.

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Race: Whether its against other cyclists with number plates, a leaf blowing in the wind or a coming storm, we all do it.

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Descend:When thegodsofpain rewardyour suffering.

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Oxygen:You breatheit,burn itandbattleit.

Snot: That aint mucus leaving your body, its weakness. Dont ask us why it exits via the nose.

Frame:Thisisthe bike.Components areclothes.

Wheels:Thereal circlesoflife.

Clean: Wheels on the ground, feet on the pedals, you on a roll.

Home workouts: Rollers, trainers and polyester shirts. Dont let them be found in your basement after your death.

Cold: Its what the bank thermometer will tell you it is, while youre sweating.

Dogs: Remember, you dont have to outride the dog, just one friend.

Shimano: ShiftingbyZen.

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Pedals: You touch your bike with your feet, hands and buttimagine if your hands and butt had to do 110 rpm.

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Recover: Forget speed, watts, LT, max and the next 800 performance criteria. If you can talk five seconds after a sprint or topping a peak, youre fit.

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Convenience store:Howdid cyclistskillthe bonkbefore 7-Eleven?

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Fuel: It makes you go fast. Its more palatable form, food, is the reward for going fast.

Espresso: Doppio, please.

Heart:Pumps blood,enables triumph.

Legs: The most powerful, sexy body part not covered by spandex.

Measure: Miles, heartbeats, watts, grams, number of friends burned off the friendly Saturday ride we quantify all we do.

Corner:Theinstant whereskilltrumps fitness.

Gyms: Therapeutic when taken medicinally, but toxic in large doses.

Traffic: Hazardous, scary, smelly, dirtyand sometimes slower than you.

Kooks: From recumbent Moonies to anti-bike-lane advocates, you know who you are. Wait a minute, you donttheres the problem.

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Shave: Aerodynamics, healing, massageyeah, yeah. Its narcissistic autoeroticism involving wet skin, slick gels and razors. No wonder we like it.

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Bonk:Itslike balancingyour bankaccountby bouncingacheck.

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Fastguy(orgal): Theresalways oneaheadofyou.

Lactic acid: If hippies had put this on their blotters, the 60s wouldve really changed things.

Butt:Properly muscled,letsyou spanktheroad.

Stretchy, clingy apparel: Cripes, we wish spandex (and its future incarnations) didnt work.

Commute:Playon thewaytowork.

Drop: Leave your nemesis or best friend behinddivine. Lose the friendly couple on their first club ridedumb.

Sprint:Speed strippedtoitscore.

Pack: Like lions, beers and supermodels, hanging together increases the danger, fun and beauty.

Bike shop: Market, church, bar, gym, home. And it smells cool, too.

Moab: How did geology know mountain biking was just 3.9 billion years away?

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Suspension: Humankindsvictoryoverwashboard.

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Chase:From Cyrano,toSpot, tous,thepursuits thething.

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DaveStohler: Hesnever tired.Hesnever miserable.

Water: You ever try running a bike without lube? Drink up.

Lube: Ever try running your body without water? Drip, spray and coat regularly.

Jump: More powerful than gravityfor an instant (that feels like an eternity).

Draft: The moment where even those of us who dont spend time in wind tunnels understand physics.

Fix: Three words sum up all you need to know about bike repair: Never. Walk. Home.

Off-road: Apply the perfect human invention to dirt, rock, wood and other primal surfaces, and the contrast is magic.

Bike path: From the functional to the idyllic, a route especially sized for our sport.

velodrome:The ovalofpurity.

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Beer: Pretty simpleif you cant ride the next day, you had too much.

Rain:Itreally,really,reallysucks. untilyourewet.

ELEmENT GROuPS

THEPRINCIPLES

THELIquIDS

THESOLIDS

THEACTIONS

THEENvIRONmENTS

THEOBSTACLES

THEICONS

Italy: That feeling after a perfect ride on a perfect day with your best riding friends? Every day, here, pal. Every freaking day. With marinara.

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