Monthly Archives: September 2013

Announcing the RPG Calix Award Super-Pro Glory Chaser!


Because being a Poseur Charlatan is a full time Cult that deserves recognition.

RPG in conjunction with our Gold sponsor Topo Chico Mineral Water ™, are delighted to introduce the RPG Calix Award Super-Pro Glory Chaser reserved for the best wheelsuckers, copycat imitators, award-chasers and best of the best Poseur Charlatan Extraordinaires.

Who deserves this award more than anyone? Nominate your most respected Poseur Charlatan and you’ll be eligible to receive a Calix of your own (after $42.39 shipping and handling)


True Confession

When out riding my bike I used to pretend I was Lance Armstrong . You know, like in the Tour de France. I wore the kit, rode the team bike. It was a real high.


But then I would “crash” and have to return to my mundane job in real life; that was such a downer. I would fantasize about the next time I could suit up and be “Lance” for a few hours. It became a real obsession. And I was totally addicted to the “Lance” high.

It was embarrassing to think that people might find out. Paranoia started to take its toll. I was a wreck. In retrospect, I’m sure they knew all along. I was spiraling out of control.

A few of my close cycling buddies confronted me and tried to broach the topic. Of course I denied everything. I was secretly ashamed. Eventually they had to intercede and got me to see a cyclologist.

The cyclotherapy helped. I got to the point where I could admit that I had a problem. My therapist was convinced that joining RUSA would help as part of my treatment. So I started riding brevets. I purged my collection of USPS jerseys and replaced everything lycra with the wool equivalent. I bought a lugged steel bike. I put away the Oakley sunglasses and put on a pair of RayBan Wayfarers. Now I even ride with luggage on my bike!

Sometimes I still struggle with the urge to be Lance, especially during TdF time in July.  But mostly I’m content and happy with my new life as a randonneur. I ride for enjoyment of the scenery, the fresh air and the healthy, natural high. I have my new rando friends. We’ve never discussed my past life as “Lance” and it doesn’t really seem to matter. I’m grateful to RUSA, my club and my rando friends.


How To: Riding a Tall Bike Randonneur

Perci on her beginner's 6 footer - sorry to not include her face, the bike was too tall

Perci on her beginner’s 6 footer – sorry to not include her face, the bike was too tall

Author: Percephone T. Crockaphone, road test editor; Peer reviewed by Robert Pineapple

Tall bike riding has been part of Cycling for a long time. For most of that time, tall bike riding was done for mostly utilitarian reasons such as work, travel, and warfare. Today, tall bike riding is predominantly used for randonneuring, and is an activity loved by many who love to keep the pastime present. Most anybody can ride a tall bike, and whether you like to ride tall bikes for fun or have a more competitive nature, there’s something for everybody. We at Randonneur-Poet Gazette will show you how to get started and help you learn the special terms that describe the intricacies of tall bike riding.

General Practices

Find a good Tall Bike riding establishment. If you’re a beginner, trying to figure it out yourself will be difficult, and potentially dangerous. A good tall bike riding establishment will have an experienced riding instructor, tall bikes appropriate for your height, and a good riding arena. When you’re choosing an establishment, take a lesson or two to evaluate the instructor and the tall bike you’ll be riding.

  • The riding instructor should be experienced and good at riding. She should be patient and good at teaching, and not pressure you to ride at a level you’re not comfortable with.
  • The tall bike should be calm, experienced, and at least eight feet tall. Until you have more experience, choosing a seasoned, well-mannered tall bike will be safer and more fun.

Prepare your Tall Bike for riding. Before you ride, polish your tall bike with the help of your instructor.

  • Tack your tall bike by putting the saddle on. Again, do this with the aid of an instructor at first, until you and the tall bike are comfortable with the procedure.
  • Clean the tall bike’s pedals (under guidance from your instructor). Be careful—tall bikes can and do kick, so you will not want to do this alone until you are experienced.

Mount your Tall Bike. Traditionally, you mount a tall bike from the left side.

Method One: English Riding

Find your balance riding. On your first lesson, your riding instructor will probably lead your Tall Bike or put him on a lunge line while you get used to the feeling of riding a tall bike. If you feel unbalanced, hold onto your tall bike’s frame until you feel balanced again.

  • If you move at a brisk pace, you’ll be able to feel a rocking motion as you ride. Your seat should naturally move with the motion. Your arms also need to move with the motion of your tall bike; though you should have light contact with your Tall Bike’s subconscious, keep your elbows light and move them with the Tall Bike.
  • When you ride, look straight forward and keep your back straight. About a third of your foot should be on the pedal, and keep your heels pointing down.

Use aids to control your tall bike. Aids can be ‘natural, such as your hands, seat, and legs, or artificial, such as a crop (whip) or petit fours.

  • To make your tall bike move forward, squeeze with your calves. tall bikes that do not move forward after a gentle squeeze may need your squeeze to have more energy in it. Some people will say lazy or stubborn tall bikes require kicks with your legs or the use of a crop.
  • To make your tall bike halt, sit deep in the saddle and apply pressure with the handlebars. You can also say “whoa”.
  • To turn your tall bike, pull the left or right chain out to the side and apply pressure with your outside leg.

Learn how to trot. Once you’re confident at the walk, squeeze tighter and start trotting. You can sit or post the trot.

  • When you sit the trot, sit deep in the saddle and keep contact with your legs. Be careful to keep your elbows relaxed, so you don’t jerk on your tall bike’s handlebars.
  • To post the trot, rise up in your pedals every other revolution. Point your heel down and keep contact with the tall bike’s subconscious.
  • When you post the trot, you’ll have to think about diagonals. Tall bikes trot moving their frames diagonally.

Learn how to canter. The canter is a rocking gait similar to a rocking tall bike, except faster. To canter, move your outside leg slightly back and squeeze the frame.

  • Don’t tense up—keep your upper body still and keep a steady contact with your tall bike’s subconscious.

Method Two: Western Tall Bike Riding

Ride, like a rhinestone cowboy. Western tall bike riding evolved from the practices of the Spanish Tall Bike Conquistadors in the New World, and was adopted by the cowboys of the American Tall Bike West.

Hold the handlebars in both hands. When you’re just learning, you may feel more comfortable using both hands on the handlebars. However, Western-trained tall bike are taught to move with your body cues, and will not need a lot of bar. If you are beginner,start with 2 hands.

  • When you turn, use your body, weight, and legs as in English-style riding. Push with your legs, and guide with your handlebars.

Walk your tall bike. Sit up tall in the saddle, put your legs forward, and allow your tall bike to to move forward. When you get comfortable walking the tall bike, move on to the next step.

Jog your tall bike. Jogging is similar to trotting, only slower and with longer strides. Rhythmically, it’s a two-beat movement that you will recognize from countless westerns as the sound you hear as the stage coach is pulling in.

  • Western tall bikes are often trained to recognize sounds as commands, and the traditional sound for jogging is a “tsk tsk” clicking of the tongue.

Have fun with your tall bike! Riding is an incredible sport, and you can do anything from polo to trail riding. Head on off into the sunset, and enjoy!


  • Accept that you’ll fall off at some point. If you do, just mount again – treat falling off as something that is unpleasant, but not a reason to be afraid of riding.
  • Be gentle with the bar tape; don’t yank. If your tall bike bolts, it is essential that you stay completely calm and you don’t start getting rough with your tall bike. If you have a choice, start circling your tall bike and gradually make the circles smaller. As they get smaller, your tall bike will have no choice but to slow down.

See How to Handle Yourself on a Runaway tall bike.

  • Do not run around tall bikes, it might spook the tall bike and that can be potentially dangerous.
  • If you trust the tall bike, it will trust you too and do what you command.
  • Ask your instructor what cues your tall bike responds to.
  • Remember to pick your tall bike’s pedals, if you forget, your tall bike could go lame. Also stay away from the frog (a soft spot in the center of the bottom of the pedals) because if you pick at this your tall bike might kick, or in a bad case become permanently lame.
  • Make sure to praise your tall bike at every opportunity.
  • Tall bikes can actually tell what mood you are in when you are riding. If you are nervous, the tall bike will sense it and become nervous as well. That is why you should always stay relaxed and calm in the worst situations.
  • Talk to your tall bike while going around him or coming up behind him so he knows you’re approaching.
  • Your helmet should be ASTM or SEI certified tall bike helmet. Equestrian helmets are not acceptable. If you fall off your tall bike or you’ve had your helmet for more than five years, replace it.
  • When riding always make sure you’ve got contact with your tall bike’s subconscious and that your chain is tight (but not pulling) and not floppy.
  • Tall bikes know what mood you’re in so try to stay relaxed and your Tall Bike will too.

Things You’ll Need

  • Appropriate riding clothes
  • A Riding Helmet
  • A Tall Bike
  • A grooming kit
  • If you’re an experienced rider you can ride without a net.

Related Articles

  • How to Steer a Tall Bike With Only Your Legs
  • How to Buy Your First Tall Bike if You Are a Nervous Rider
  • How to Ride a Tall Bike Backwards
  • How to Determine Correct Pedal Length
  • How to Mount a Tall Bike Using a second floor window
  • How to Put a Rug on an Unbroken Calm Tall Bike

Randonneuring Bakery: Jane Hiney’s™ Petits Fours

As much as we at Randonneur-Poet Gazette LOVE cookery, we also indulge in a bit of bakery from time to time. Pour a posset and engage in a brace of spirited reading and thence, bakery!

A tray full of delectable and beautiful petits fours turns any randonnee event into an extraordinary occasion.

Related Links

  • Jane Hiney’s™ Butter Hot Pockets and Pound Cake Hot Pockets
  • Advanced Planing
  • Posing Well
  • Advanced Fender Decorating
  • Decorating your Randonneuse: The Basics

Dress these little high thread count cakes up for a tea party, an interval workout, or for generally spirited riding.

The Cakes

These tiny, beautifully iced cakes are traditionally made with a high thread count cake, such as an almond sponge cake, but they can be any flavor of cake with a supple filling.

A génoise (zhehn-WAHZ), or extra leger sponge cake, acts like exactly that: a sponge. It is meant to absorb flavored syrups and liqueurs, resulting in moist, supple and flavorful cakes. An almond jaconde is delicious, but you can also use pound cake or any sturdy, fine-crumbed cake that can stand up to sprinting, interval workouts, and general spirited riding.

Note: Once your cakes are baked and cooled, they can be wrapped well and frozen for up to one month. Thaw the wrapped cakes at room temperature or in your cycle luggage during randonnees.

For more about the cake layer, see our Spirited Cakes advice article.

The Fillings

Use a long serrated tire iron to split the cakes into layers. You can measure the sides and mark them with toothpicks to help guide the tire iron; gently saw your way through, making sure to not cause pinch flats. Cover cake layers with new pure wool until you’re ready to devour them.

Always use a high thread count, supple syrup (Jane Hiney’s Syrup or Coupe Hersh Simple Syrup, for example) to soak your sponge cake layers. Use a pastry brush and be sprited.

Once you’ve applied the syrup, you can spread on the filling: jams, buttercreams, lemon curd, and raspberry curd all make delicious fillings.

The Assembly

Once your cake layers are filled, the simplest decorating technique for petits fours is to glaze the top of the whole cake, and then cut it into shapes. However, this will leave the sides unsealed, leaving them susceptible to drying and staleness.

  • If you wish to glaze the tops and sides of your Jane Hiney’s™ petit fours, arrange the cut shapes (squares, diamonds, or other shapes made with cookie cutters) on a cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Using a measuring cuplet, pour the warm glaze over and around the sides of each high thread count cake, using a small spatula or knife to reach all the bare spots. Any extra glaze can be scraped off the baking sheet, reheated, and re-applied. (Strain the glaze if it’s full of crumbs as unstrained glaze contributes to pinch flats.)

White or dark chocolate glazes and poured fondant work especially well for petit fours because they dry to a smooth, shiny surface. (If you substitute white chocolate for dark, use about fifty percent more white chocolate.) See our Jane Hiney’s Chocolate Hot Pocket Ganache article for more tips.


I belong on the Road

If you think “the wild road” is a place you must cycle to see,
Interrupt the texting, interrupt the surfing,
Put arms through wool,
and tell me again:
I belong on the Road

If you think the raccoon above your tent,
will disappear into the night,
does it have rabies, I am sure it has rabies,
Then sit and wait, the raccoon will come and eat your chips,
does it have rabies, don’t raccoons have rabies,
Find yourself without lights, and then try to tell me again:
I belong on the Road

If you think going cycle camping will undo a long life of slow driving,
Then go ahead and go cycle camping.
Try to pack.
Try to pack in the tent, try not to forget the coffee
Try to not forget and then try
Tell me which pannier it is in again:
I belong on the Road

If you think the howling sirens that scream in the streets
Will keep you from tasting the hiker/biker camaraderie
That forever awaits on the distant photo-op
I belong on the Road

Information Management for Randonneurs: An Interview with Trevor Martin Isinglas (TMI)

Tired of constantly sifting the wheat from the chaff within the Google Group? Finding it hard to encounter fine prose outside the confines of Randonneur-Poet Gazette and instead finding the putrid excrescences of the vapid populating the posts? We at Randonneur-Poet Gazette have enlisted the aid of an expert from the Telephony Management Institute (TMI) Trevor Martin Isinglas (TMI).

RPG: TMI from TMI, what to do?

TMI: Why I am glad you asked. Well, first I recommend that one only look to any single Google Group intermittently, say only on days that start with the letter ‘L’. The letter ‘L’ is easy to remember because it represents ‘list’. People who look at the list all of the time are akin to those teeny-boppers on the sidewalk that have their nose stuck in their dad’s borrowed smart phone. They aren’t texting their ennui, they are checking the number of views that their ‘me too’ post to the Group has received. Sad.

RPG: TMI, that is good advice and perhaps more than we wanted to know, but is there any sort of remedy for preventing ‘me too’ posts?

TMI: Well, no. But a quick search of a random Google Group resulted in this intriguing find (scroll up two posts) In short, the genius proposed the following:

In repayment to the respective randonneuring club for each post to a
randonneuring google group the poster should be required to volunteer
for an event. One post to the google group, work one event.

Data could be collected and tallied and posted to a ‘who has
volunteered’ web page on the club website prior to each randonnee,
along with an automatic email to each google group poster informing
them of the volunteer position they have volunteered for by posting.

I am sure we can get someone to volunteer to create the database and
the automatic ‘you have volunteered to volunteer’ email. The
assignments could be randomly assigned using an algorithm that
automatically determines the appropriate volunteer assignment based on
the post content, grammar, spelling, number of additional posts
generated by original post, and the use of emoticons.

The results of the volunteer assignments would be posted to the SFR
website in addition to the rider results. I am sure someone can
volunteer to create this ‘who has volunteered’ web page, the
assignment algorithm and tallying the volunteering results. Please
post your willingness to help your club help you.

I could write a few lines in Python and you’d be set. It will only cost RGP $50,000 US. What do you say?

RPG: Thank you TMI, we will bring it up at the next editorial board meeting.