Friday, June 29, 2007

The Velorution will NOT be motorized! A Q&A With Adrian Hands


The Velorution will NOT be motorized! -- Quote from Adrian Hand’s Web site, Mi Pagina de la Bicicleta

When the Velorution gets under way, when bicycles take back the Earth and cars are rarer than a rubber machine at the Vatican, we can count on Yo Adrian to be leading the troops.

Simply put, Yo A is the best cycling advocate we’ve got.

He is the former president of the North Carolina Bicycle Club and has organized several of its century rides.

He’s been an active leader of a local charity ride, the Frostbite Tour.

He's always on hand anytime bicycling is publicly promoted in the Triangle.

And have you checked out his Web site? It’s Links-O-Rama, baby: Bikes, Routes, Safety, Clubs, Randonneuring, Advocacy, Cycling Heros, Bike Camping. You want it? He’s got it.

Maybe every cycling club has a character like Adrian. If they don’t, they need one.

Adrian is the guy who will cycle anywhere, anytime, no questions asked.

Have a few extra vacation days? Book a jet to Germany, borrow a bike from a new Internet pal, and explore the river paths, or radwegs, along the Main, Rhine, Mosel and Kyll.

Bulgaria sounds like a cool place. While there, what the hey, why not do a little biking -- say a little 1200K called Sofia-Varna-Sofia.

Up for a 200K? Hmm… this ride in China sounds interesting.

Adrian is the guy who believes bikes belong everywhere.

I remember driving back into Raleigh from a beach trip. As I hit the edge of town on Hwy 64 -- one of our busiest arteries -- I saw a fixed gear in the far right lane. Yup: Yo A.

Adrian is the guy who believes carrying water on a 600K is optional. There’ll be some along the way, right?

Adrian will be part of Team Tar Heel at this year’s Paris Brest Paris. In typical fashion, he’s arriving through Belgium for a little sightseeing beforehand.

Adrian will be riding a recumbent this time around. He has nerve damage in his left hand that has made it hard for him to use the bars and brakes on a standard bike.

Following is his e-mail Q&A. I’ve left untouched his e.e. cummings’ approach to capitalization.

You've done PBP once before. What did you learn in 03 that will help you this time? lots of little things--e.g. don't leave your drop bag on the metro--but mostly that i can do it. prior to pbp, the longest rides i'd done were the 600kms, and i'd never finished one feeling like i could take a short nap and repeat. but after pbp, i felt on top of the world. i couldn't wait four years, so i went to bulgaria the next summer to ride the 1200km there.

as far as lessons learned--get some rest BEFORE the ride...we'll see. on long rides its good to have an accurately calibrated odometer--in kilometers, more important on the rides with fewer participants to follow. france is colder than nc. pick up as many french phrases as you can.

As a randonneur, you tend to take as much time as the ride allows. If you get 90 hours, you take 90 hours. Your philosophy? we call it "getting your money's worth" ;-) i think it should be a ninety hour ride. if you finish in 80, you should do another loop, maybe to belgium and back.

sridhar said it best: "it's important to finish with a certain measure of style and grace." who wants to drag themselves half-dead across the finish line? don't finish before noon on Friday, please, it's not in keeping with the l'esprit. on an epic ride, like pbp or cnc, i hate for it to end, so theres no way i'm finishong before i have to.

Your most memorable brevet, and why? did i mention i really enjoyed bulgaria? i got a kick out of doing jim wilson's brevets in gainesville beginning in january after pbp. it was neat having randonneurs from all over--well, not all over the world, but from several states--descend on this unsuspecting florida town to light out at 4am on a brevet, whiring generators, geeky lights, reflective vests, long miles and all.

You've switched over to a recumbent. Do you prefer bent over nonbent? i really like my diamond-frame fixed-gear, but i want to do pbp on the 'bent this time, so i've parked the fixie until after pbp. i got the 'bent after a physical therapist recommended it--i've been having motor nerve problems since 2005, but honestly i'd thought about touring 'bent even before--for a better view of the french countryside, though i like the respect for tradition and heritage inherent in a proper upright bike (like Velocio rode!)

What ride or adventure is on your "Gee-whiz, I gotta do that one" list? m-g-m, s-r-s, the baltic-star lake ladoga, maybe iceland. i'd like to ride bulgaria again, but it doesn't have to be the 1200km. i've been thinking about riding from varna on bulgarya's black sea coast to istanbul--that would be cool!

You never seem to get down or show your suffering on these long rides. Your secret? maybe i'm fortunate that i don't suffer much--i don't get cramps and i've a cast-iron stomach. maybe i'm too lazy to push myself to the point of severe suffering. i was born in louisiana and though i didn't grow up there, i spent a number of years there--got married twice there--and le Joie de Vivre is one aspect of the culture i choose to retain. i think it makes sense that randonneuring attracts cheerful people--the "vineger tasters"--who know how to enjoy life even when things get uncomfortable. "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

What book(s) are you taking to Paris? books are great, but best left at home--travel light--read them before you go, then carry memories!

What's in rotation on your I-Pod? french language lessons. the language structure seems more difficult for english speakers than spanish or even german, but it's very rewarding to learn.

When's the last time you owned a car? Why'd you sell it? seven years ago--a giant ford econoline conversion van. i was embarassed to drive it to sierra club meetings! i swear i thought the salesman was joking when he said "10mpg". over an eighteen year span, i've owned a couple vw vans, a buick, a chevy, a ford, a toyota, a mazda and then i discovered i like everything about bikes much more than anything about cars.

Any questions you wish I'd asked? i wish you'd ask me to recite the bene gesserit litany on randonneuring. thus i have heard:

"I must not sleep.
Sleep is the brevet-killer.
Sleep is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fatigue.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fatigue has gone there will be nothing.
Only the brevet will remain."

1 comment:

Rico said...

Nice poetry. I know YoA lives by it, though generally the "nothing" is filled by beer or wine! A few years ago I stayed at Adrian's house before and after a 600k. I got done earlier than he, was showered, had had a nap, etc. When, after a 40 hour "full experience" brevet, YoA calls from a bar in Cary: "Come on over! We're having beers!" When fatigue passes, there is always time for beer. Apparently.