It’s March, and that means it’s reader response time again... Let’s see what’s in the mail bag, shall we?

“Freddie: Who is this biker chick named Candi, and just what was your relationship with her in last month’s column?” (signed) -Nikki, Marketing Director, Assos Cycling Apparel, Lugano, Switzerland. Dear Nikki- She was just a young woman in gorgeous pair of lycra skinshorts. She meant nothing to me.

“Freddie: We knew you were weak in the knees over California bimbos, but criminy Freddie, you were only on the Left Coast for just 24 hours!” (signed) -Heidi & Elli, International Sales, SRAM Bicycle Components, Frankfurt, Germany. Dear Heidi & Elli- I swear you are the only two women I have ever shared Sachs with.

“Freddie: I read last month’s column, and I’m a bit concerned about letting another woman into your international circle of girlfriends. Just what are Candi’s credentials?” (signed) Mimi, Art Director, MAVIC Cycling Technologies, Lyon, France.” Dear Mimi- She’s a Cat. 2 road racer, with a Bachelor of Art in Massage Therapy. And her name ends in an “i”, dotted with a heart.

“Freddie: You know how jealous I get when you’re with other women. Was there any chance Candi was a transvestite?” (signed) Cheri, CEO, TI/Raleigh, Birmingham, England. Dear Cheri- Well... Now that you mentioned it, she did have rippling quads, and a baritone voice. But who can tell with the level of steroid use in top athletes these days!

FEMALE TROUBLE. At times like this, I like to recommend crawling off into your garage and giving your bicycle a tune-up. It’s amazing how far a little care and understanding can go towards repairing a rider/bicycle relationship. When was the last time you thoughtfully wrapped your bike’s handlebars with a high quality, fresh layer of bar tape? Nothing says, “I care,” more than Cinelli cork ribbon. And just imagine how thrilled your bike will be when its ferrules are rethreaded with new, Campagnolo cables and housing. Its brakes will know they’re involved in a binding relationship, and its derailleurs will jump at your every command. But if you really want to stir the soul of your significant other, make the supreme gesture and service its bottom bracket. By pressing your ear to its seat tube, and rotating the freshly greased bottom bracket axle, you can go beyond friction, by adjusting even rolling noise out of its bearings! At this point I feel I should caution the male Eagle reader however, and be sure to keep this month’s column out in the garage. For you may well just find your Female Trouble actually increasing, if your lady friend discovers such cyclo-sexist claptrap in the house.

Let’s face it, the garage is the proud domain of a guilty man. -E.F.

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Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie