what was that? is that all there is? who is this? this is it.

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two little black plastic chicklets

June 2, 2022


It was a dark and stormy night one day when I replaced the grips on my Soma. Classic black OURYs on a sweptback Nitto bar. In the ends I tucked some old Cinelli bar plugs I had sitting around to keep the handlebar from slicing circles through the end of the grips over time or the end of my knee some day. 


Fast forward a few weeks when I’m rolling to work and I heard a rattling sound up in the headset handlebar area. In my groggy state I assumed it was cable housing slapping around or the headlight bracket or Steve clipped a paperclip on my bike somewhere back in 2009.  


On the way to work, it’s all downhill to the train and then all downhill from the train station to the mothership. So bike things rattle and bounce and clickety clack. The fastest my bike ever rolls is coasting downhill. On the way home it’s a slow motion single speed grind up hill. What I’m getting at is that the mystery rattle didn’t rattle on the way home and I forgot about it for a while and switched bikes a few times. But when I came back to the Soma another  morning, the same thing happened. 


If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you would have pinpointed and fixed that rattle within 30 seconds of hearing it. Some of you spend your entire weekend cleaning drivetrains and tweaking little bike tweaks ad nauseum. You may be very particular about your particulars.  But I have gotten pretty slack on things bike related these days. My few ounces of give-a-shit evaporated when I wrenched on bikes full time.  Good enough is good enough for me with bigger fish to fry and four bikes to ride… …that rattle hung around for weeks, giving me time to speculate about the source and really listen to the sound when I’d hop on the Soma in the morning and then forget about it in the afternoon. 


It sounded like a couple of plastic chicklets rattling in a steel tube. My speculation became a hypothesis which evolved into a theory: a tooth or two broke off the back of the Cinelli bar plug and began to rattle around in the handlebar. The manufacturer refers to them as “stay put ribs” designed to tuck into drop bars and keep the bar tape nice and neat. Aside from the RB-1 for RAGBRAI 2007, 08,09   I haven’t really rolled drop bars since 1998, which is one reason the teeth on these plugs were a little brittle. 


Yesterday morning at 5:47am I pulled one of the OURYs off and shook the busted chicklets out. My theory was correct. Then I slid the grip back on and rode down the hill to the train.  


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37 said...

I have a bazillion of those in black and silver thanks to barcons, which have been happily clicking and sliding up and down since 1999.

Posted June 2, 2022 09:42 PM | Reply to this comment

some guy on the train this morning said...

when he saw my downtube sticker, “what is that piss water in German? bilge water? piss water? what is that?”

Posted June 3, 2022 07:51 AM | Reply to this comment

Some Guy on the Train replied to some guy on the train this morning...

My deepest apologies. I assumed (and made myself an ass) it was some sort of statement. I truly did not mean to disparage your family name. I appreciate the fact that you laughed and did not take offense. I knew 'wasser' was German for 'water', but did not know what 'Pilder' translated as. A lot of German surnames are derived from occupations. I tried a little Googling to find out what the name means. You said you did not know. Pilder is suggested as an alternate form of Filder in a reference for Filderman in 'Jewish Family Names and Their Origins: An Etymological Dictionary' by Heinrich Walter Guggenheimer. The book suggests the name is a derivation of 'vilser' from Middle High German, meaning Feltmaker. All the Best!

Posted June 4, 2022 09:11 AM | Reply to this comment

Some Guy on the Train replied to Some Guy on the Train...

Typo. Should have been 'vilzer' not 'vilser'. Reference: tinyurl.com/2s3jtjy8

Posted June 4, 2022 09:23 AM | Reply to this comment

Some Guy on the Train said...

Another edit: I just read your "Pilder What?" post. It seems you have an origin for the name. I don't know how Miller became Pilder? Miller is so common. I trust you know best.

Posted June 4, 2022 09:36 AM | Reply to this comment

pilder said...

I can assure you I was not offended and you did not disparage my family or the name. Your question made me laugh which is why I shared it here. After riding RAGBRAI with the pilderwasser collective across Iowa several times, I’ve heard every question and variation on the theme “what the hell does that mean?” That downtube sticker on my bike is an extra from the pilderwasser team bus in Grinnell. Growing up with a six letter last name that gets mispronounced, mangled, jumbled and jacked up in ways you couldn’t imagine, I am not offended. It makes me smile. There’s a good chance I’ll see you on the train again. Cheers.

Posted June 4, 2022 10:20 AM | Reply to this comment

Judy Isaacson said...

Pilsner beats Pidler tho either may result in a better space for the journey

Posted June 7, 2022 07:56 AM | Reply to this comment

pilder m said...

more than a few pilsners before i'm a pidler

Posted June 7, 2022 03:42 PM | Reply to this comment

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