Arguably the most famous date in literary fiction is June 16, 1904…Bloomsday…the single day James Joyce steers protagonists Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus throughout the streets of Dublin. Ulysses is a fearsomely lengthy, legendary tome: dense, complex, employing different literary styles for each of the 18 chapters, the object of a landmark obscenity trial. Yet it’s also a love affair with his native Dublin, penned in exile. Says Joyce, “I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book.” Buried hundreds of pages into the book, the date is revealed to the reader in a solitary mention. And why June 16, 1904? It was the day of Joyce’s first date with his wife-to-be Nora Barnacle.

Style-wise, Tim Krabbe’s elegantly crafted novella The Rider is the anti-Ulysses: stripped down prose, crisp sentences, a sleek and svelte 148 pages in length. It, too, takes place on a solitary day, June 26, 1977, revealed in the very first sentence. Thirty-one years ago today. It’s a book which can be comfortably digested in a single sitting. It’s a book which definitively addresses what it means to be a racing cyclist. And it’s a book which will stay with you for as long as your passion for cycling flickers.

It’s no surprise that the Rapha braintrust live and breathe The Rider. Take a moment to read of their own Tour du Mont Aigoual, find out from the man himself the significance of June 26, 1977, soak up some photography, and go for a ride.

Give that man a beer

It all seemed so innocuous. A pro cyclist is laboring up a climb in searing heat, he’s thirsty, a spectator offers a beverage, said pro takes the hand-up and puts it away. Nobody bats an eye.

But let Glen Chadwick explain what happened in Philadelphia last Sunday…

I joked to Eric the night before about grabbing a beer out of the crowd up the wall and on the second last run up there in the break opportunity beckoned! Out from the crowd came this shiny freshly cracked icy cold can of beer and I grabbed that sucker, which obviously pleased the crowd, they couldn’t believe it. I necked half the can like in a commercial and launched the remains over the heads of some spectators further up who were equally surprised. It tasted great to be quite honest and refreshing to say the least! I didn’t realise at the time, but out team car was behind and saw me grab it also and gave ‘em a good laugh. They reckon if it was on film that it should of gotten the play of the week on ESPN. That would be a classic!

“Now it’s a ‘72 with a hole in it…”

Have you ever pondered the actual physical manifestation of the idiom “talking out of one’s ass”? Well…problem solved. Solved by one of the most bizarre cartoons I’ve ever laid eyes upon. And made even more stunningly surreal by its cycling reference.

First, before you hit play, a bit of context. This clip is from an Adult Swim cartoon entitled Assy McGee. The eponymous title character is described as, “an ultra-violent and emotionally disturbed police detective who just happens to be a walking pair of buttocks”. In this episode, “Bikes for Bombs”, Assy McGee is trying to track down the thief who stole his beloved bike and happens to uncover a rogue element within the CIA.

All I know is that one (if not both) of the show’s creators, Matt Harrigan and Carl W. Adams, are fans of cycling. And my wife is seriously disturbed that I managed to ID the bike on the wall before its identity was revealed.

See the entire episode of “Bikes for Bombs”.

Read some more about Assy McGee if you so desire.