There is no way whatsoever this year that I will miss the Bicycle Film Festival when it comes to Austin. Just watching the trailers is moving. I must have watched the trailer for Road to Roubaix two hundred times and I choked up at least the first fifty. Seriously, when that woman spins her hands like pedals and then slices the air with her open hand, grinning at the interviewer like Le Cheshire Cat, I just can't handle it. And when the cello comes in strongly after Sean Kelly, continuing through the brief crash montage... Okay, at least 51 times I've choked up.
And now, with this new movie, Soul of Steel with Giovanni Pelizzoli. I'm compelled. When Giovanni, "Ciocc," reasons "a mass produced frame does not have soul," I wasn't going to change the channel or anything, but I've certainly heard it all before. My mass produced frame may not have soul but she's taken me to such beautiful places and with such grace that whatever soul she lacked on the showroom floor, we've since created it together. She's my little Grinch (post returning presents to Whoville) on two wheels.
But then Ciocc says of the mass produced bike "it doesn't know anyone." Come on Ciocc! Why do you have to go and break my heart like that? Because I can totally see it. A bicycle isn't a computer or a table or panels of translucent aluminum. It really is artwork, mass produced or not, and it's a mechanical companion--very Data. The idea of all these mass produced bikes, especially the beautiful ones, the Madones, the S-Works, the Super-Six, racked along shop walls, high-gloss postured bastards, is saddening. I'm glad I found my Madone, gave her a home, shared with her my dream and gave her a purpose.
Still, I wish she could have met Ciocc. I wish she remembered the smell of his small workshop, of olive oil. I wish she mistook chain lube, if only for a moment, for first press EVO. Maybe I'll take her there someday. We could travel to see the Giro and watch the pro peloton flash by like a dipping kite, she could hear the spinning sounds, the whir of 180 straining gyroscopes, of chains confidently grabbing the next gear like pulling a lost boy from a well, of gossamer spokes flung infinitely through staid stays. We'll go to the mountains and climb all morning so that by afternoon I can put on a gilet and cap and descend, recklessly fast, laying off the brakes until just before that moment when we'd surely crash.