Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cool New Bike Porn

The Competition Bicycle
A photographic history
By Jan Heine and Jean-Pierre Praderes

There is almost no bicycle book I don’t love, and this latest coffee-table book, weighing in at three and a half pounds, is a velo-bibliophile’s dream tome. It could be the coffee table itself, so long as you wrapped it in two layers of plexiglass to keep it pristine.

The well-reproduced color photographs by renowned French photographer (himself a devout randonneur) Jean-Pierre Praderes show every gritty inch, er..millimeter of the legendary frames that propelled the greats from Coppi to Merckx to Lemond (with a couple of feminine detours thank goddess) across destiny’s finish line.

Jan Heine, the author and publisher (www.vintagebicyclepress.com) is a rabid Paris-Brest-Paris competitor. When he called me a year ago about photographing my bicycle Otto, I was astonished to learn mine would be the only mountain bike in the book.
It’s an honor
Said Heine: What other mountain bike was twenty years ahead of its time?
Eat yr heart out, Tom (name withheld to protect ego). Sometimes steel IS real…real heavy!
Settle down, girl. This is a magazine. Not a gossip sheet. (Feel free to hurl, o editor mine)
The fast majority of the bicycles shown are indeed steel, custom machines that reveal over 150 years of improvement the leapfrogging improvements that allow us to enjoy multiple gear choices, modern materials and sometimes even evolutionary cul-de sacs (psst: “Dursley Pedersen”)

Many of the original machines (flown in for the photo shoot) reveal details of workmanship that cannot be found anywhere else, unless specified to a custom builder today.

Artsy touches appear in the mass-produced chainrings of British Short Arms bikes (BSA spelt out in the chainring) and ALCYON cast into the pedal cages).

The reader will at first page through this book slowly, savoring the pictures—most of which have never been seen before—bicycles seemingly track-standing mid-air…and action shots of the great racers. Later, the reader will return feverish for more intimate details of bicycles hard-ridden and put away, but not forgotten.
The book costs sixty (swiftly deflating) dollars, plus about thirty dollars post (THAT is not gonna go down, with fuel costs rising)… it’s the perfect stocking stuffer if you have a sock the size of Santa’s size fourteen platters tacked to the mantel with a grade twelve alloy steel 10-32 socket-head cap screw with cold-rolled threads. Ahem.
Santa? Got that?

3 comments:

beth h said...

I got my copy on the early-decision plan.
It came a couple of weeks ago.
It's totally worth it. Drooly delicious.

GhostRider said...

Great review! This one's on my "Santa List".

By the way, BSA stands for "British Small Arms". Not "Short Arms". Unless I'm missing your sense of sarcasm...

revphil said...

i am a fan of the stiff steel.

revphil
bike pornographer
www.BikeSmut.com