Bike bullets


Several of the older bicycles I've been cleaning at the shop lately have the word "chromoly" decorating part of the frame. This got me thinking ... what the heck does that mean, precisely? Searching around, the simplest explanation I came across was provided by Detroit Bikes. Here's how they put it:

"Chromoly is an abbreviation for 'chromium-molybdenum.' Chromium is classified as a transition metal on the periodic table and is known for its resistance to corrosion; molybdenum is an element known for its strengthening properties and resistance to temperature fluctuations.

Have you got your sticker yet?

When combined, these elements form a specific alloy that is creep-resistant, meaning that unlike standard steel or aluminum, it won't deform or shift over time. This alloy is also extremely strong; it can put up with a lot more bumps and bruises than aluminum, and rivals industrial steel when it comes to a general lifespan.

In summary, chromoly steel is lighter than regular steel, more flexible than aluminum, more cost efficient than titanium, and the perfect material for your bike."

There you have it.


I was cruising home last week along the Kennebec River Rail Trail, when I encountered another cyclist going in the opposite direction. There was a friendly nod from each of us as we passed, but then he shouted something to get my attention.

Once stopped, we walked our bikes toward one another. Turns out, this dude wanted to take a closer look at what I was riding. Noticing the smaller tubing, he figured it was a vintage model, and he was right. I was pedaling my trusty old 1988 Schwinn Circuit.

"Man, that bike is a classic," he said, enthusiastically. "I really like the simple lines of your bike, and it still looks fantastic. What a ride!"

The stranger kept going on and on about my bicycle; it was almost embarrassing — but not quite. He also was motoring on an older model, built in 1979. But I can't remember the brand. Anyway, we exchanged a few more words, then we were off again. It was really nice receiving compliments about my oldest bike; one I would never think of parting with.


The other day at the bike shop, Alan jokingly opined that I'm riding too much, and he suggested I take six months off. Yeah, right! He just needs to ride more, so he doesn't get left behind.

I am continuing to pile up the miles. I surpassed 2,000 for the season — all outdoors — on April 22. I don't even have to check my logbook to know that I'm way ahead of any other year. I'm not one for setting mileage goals, but I could see me topping 7,000 for 2021. Doing it safely is the number one priority, though.


"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them." — Ernest Hemingway

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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