Dave Moulton

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Women’s rights and an old picture from 1985

The above picture from the cover of an October 1985 “Cyclist” magazine, was brought to my attention recently. It is of interest to me because the bike in the picture is a FUSO that I built.

Apart from the bike and the cycling mitts the model is wearing, this picture from 33 years ago, has little to do with cycling. The “see through” skin suit is hardly practical cycling wear. The picture is nothing more than “Soft Porn” to draw attention to the magazine, and supposedly encourage men to buy it.

Today a similar picture on a cycling magazine cover would have the Twittersphere ablaze with outrageous indignation, and cries of “Sexism.” How times have changed, I thought. But have they?

I spent my childhood in the 1940s, my teen years in the 1950s. My father was physically abusive to my mother. People knew it went on, but did nothing, they “Minded their own business.” A women’s lot was pretty grim back then.

One thing that saved me from repeating this vicious cycle, was that my mother instilled in me, what a cowardly act is was for a man to hit a woman. As a result I have never abused a female, physically or otherwise. Hardly something to be proud of, this should be the norm. But some men are pigs, I am often ashamed of my own gender.

So what has really changed since 1985? We have the Internet and social media. Now far from everyone “Minding their own business,” everyone has a voice, and often anonymously. On the surface this would seem to be a good thing, but in many ways people are being driven further apart.

It seems everyone has an extreme POV. Extreme Left or Right politically. Fundamentally Religious or Complete Atheist on the other side, no middle ground. It has occurred to me that the moderate voices tend not to get involved in pointless online discussions. We only hear the extreme view point.

People always had differing opinions, but there used to be a respect for the other man’s point of view. Whatever happened to:

“I may not agree with your opinion, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

It has been replaced with, “I disagree with you, therefore you are a terrible person, and you should die a horrible death.” I have been told in the past that, “I should die of the worst kind of cancer.” Simply because someone disagreed (Anonymously of course.) with my point of view.

I do not need that kind of negative energy coming my way, so what do I usually do? I shut up and do not express an opinion. In that regard Political Correctness becomes a form of censorship.

The important issue is not “Girlie” pictures in magazines, or Podium Girls at bike races. Men need to stop beating women, raping and killing them. They need to be brought to justice if they do. There are currently thousands of rape kits in police departments all over the US. They go untested because of lack of funding.

I realize this is only part of women’s rights, but it is the biggest one. If a girl or woman can’t walk alone along a darkened street, or some deserted place, without the fear of being attacked, that is a huge loss of freedom that we men take for granted.

It is a national disgrace, and needs to be addressed. It is something I have been aware of for some time. It took and old picture from 1985 to give me a way to write about it without stirring up a political shit storm. I hope so anyway.


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The makeup of an artist

Most children are born with the potential to be an artist. A child’s imagination is pure creativity, and the basic instinct within every child, is to show off. “Look mommy, look at me.” The problem is the creativity, in most cases, is educated out of the child.

A child comes to a parent with some fantastic story, and they are told, “That’s not true, you made that up.” Instead of given credit for creating something, that is possibly quite cleaver. A better response might be, “That’s a wonderful story, did you make that up all by yourself?”

A child needs to be taught the difference between fact and fantasy, but what is writing a novel other than making stuff up and writing it down. In other words, child’s play.

I was fortunate that I had a mother who encouraged me to be creative, to draw and paint, and make little craft projects. She gave me praise for what I had created, and more important she told others about my creations, and even showed them off. She built my self-esteem.

If you look up the word “ego” in the dictionary, it refers to self esteem. Contrary to an “egotist” which refers to a self-centered person. As I see it, an artist can have an ego, and not necessarily be egotistical. However, we are often taught throughout our life that it is wrong to have an ego.

Children are taught that it is wrong to “show off.” Showing off is only wrong, when you have nothing worthwhile to show. The loud mouth in the bar is saying, “Look at me,” but when we look, there is no talent, nothing to see.

Most artists have an ego, the desire to “show off.” Without it, there would be no art. No TV or movies made,no books to read, and no music on the radio. Why would any actor get up on a stage or in front of an audience or camera, if they did not have the ego to say, “Look at me, and look at what I can do?”

It is not wrong to have an ego, but it may be a huge mistake to parade that ego in front of others. Get more than one of these persons in a room at the same time and you have a clash of egos.

Knowing that you have a talent for something is to have an ego, in other words, confidence in oneself, or self-esteem. However, ego needs to be toned down with a little humility. If a person truly has talent, it will be imminently plain for all to see. There is no need for further embellishment. 

Initially an artist creates for their own satisfaction of seeing what they have created. I always got a tremendous rush from looking at my finished bicycle frames. For some this is enough, but for most, we need the validation of others. This usually comes in the form of people putting down their hard-earned money for what you have created.

The driving force behind most artists is not money. Those who become artists to make a lot of money rarely make any, and often are not good artists. Some do make a lot of money, movie stars for example. The money is really a validation of their work, a large number of people appreciate what they do.

All true artists are successful, there are only varying degrees of success. The simple act of creating something is a success in and of itself, even if it only benefits its creator. Who would even attempt to write a book if they didn’t think in the first place that someone would read what they had written? If no one tried in the first place for fear of failure, there would be no books.

No creative work is a complete failure, sometimes it is necessary to create one piece of work, simply to enable the artist to get it out of their system, and move on to the next project.

Failure paves the way for success in the future. Success cannot always be measured in terms of money. Every time a frame I built is sold on eBay, there is no monetary reward for me. Just the satisfaction of knowing I created something worthwhile, and it stilll has value.

The line between ego and egotistical can be extremely thin. How do I write about myself and not appear egotistical? I tell myself it is okay as long as I have something worthwhile to say.

I was blessed in this life to have been given the ability and the opportunity to build a few decent bicycle frames. Along the way, I gathered a great deal of knowledge about the bicycle and its design. Most of this knowledge is in my head and when I am gone, it too will be gone. That would be a shame and a waste.

Writing satisfies my creative passion, just as building bicycle frames did in the past. My purpose is to share knowledge, enlighten, and attempt to entertain. Statistics show that readership remains steady. As long as there are people willing to take the time to read my occasional scribbles, I will continue. This is my validation.


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Watch out for the Left Cross

I first posted this video here in September 2010, soon after the incident happened. I post it again because this is one of the most common causes of serious injury and death to both cyclists and motorcyclists. The more people made aware of this, the better.

University of Iowa football player Josh Koeppel miraculously escaped serious injury when the driver of a pickup truck made a left turn in front of him at an intersection.

Koepple’s motorcycle slammed into the front of the truck, and he was thrown into the air, landing on his side in the roadway. It appears in the video that he never made bodily contact with the truck which was fortunate.

The driver of the white pickup truck does not even slow as he makes the left turn, and will no doubt plead that he didn’t even see the motorcycle and rider.

While not excusing this act of gross negligence, it is probably true the driver didn’t see the approaching motorcycle. Watch the video a second time and you will notice a black car, followed by a light colored car waiting to turn left in the opposite direction.

Josh Koeppel was probably hidden from view behind these vehicles as he and the white truck approached the intersection, giving the driver the impression the road was clear, which is why he doesn’t even slow.

Once he starts the turn he is now looking in the direction he is traveling, no longer looking for oncoming traffic.

It behooves the cyclist or motorcyclist to look for vehicles in the center lane making a left turn. (A right turn in the UK.) Assume the driver has NOT seen you, rather than assume he has.  


Click here to watch a larger version on YouTube. 

I wrote about this very scenario previously 

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37.8 % of all statistics are made up on the spot by the 26.9% of statisticians who are in the ball park when they should be back at the office gathering facts to back up their statistics.

I can vouch for the validity of those figures because I just made them up. Whether or not you find that funny will depend on your falling into the 49.3% of people who are skeptical over statistics.

The thing that makes something funny is when a statement contains a modicum of truth, and the point here is that some of us are skeptical of certain statistics. Whether we buy into them depends on our opinions to begin with.

Here is one I see all the time:

 “Wearing a bike helmet is estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85 percent.” 

I’m not sure where this one started, but it has been around for thirty years or more and I’m assuming that originally it had some other statistics and solid data to back up that figure.

It has been repeated over, and over again so many times, that it is now stated as fact without reference to the original study. When you analyze the 85% all it does is reinforce a person’s view that bike helmets are a good idea, only if that person held that view to begin with.

Without the original study and the data to back it up, 85% is as meaningless a number as the ones I made up at the start of this piece. Like many statistics, the number is big enough that it sounds good, but not too big. This makes it believable if you don't give it too much thought. I think this has given this particular statistic its longevity.

I don’t even know any more if wearing a helmet is supposed to reduce injury by 85% or does it reduce death by 85%? People have accidents with and without helmets, some are injured and some die, but can anyone prove to me that it is even close to 85% survivor and 15% casualty rate.

Debates about helmet use can become as passionate as any religious or political debates. One argument is that helmets make cycling appear more dangerous than it really is. Around 800 cyclists are killed each year on US streets and highways. (A little over 2 per day.) A small number compared to the 100 or more people who die each day in automobiles. (These are statistics that a simple Google search will confirm.)

Of course far more people drive cars than ride bikes, but even so in a country with a population well over 300 million, slightly more than two cycling deaths a day is not what I would label a dangerous activity. Unfortunately, the general population does not see it this way.

Jurors in civil cases often have a bias against cyclists. They view cycling on the public highways as a highly dangerous practice, and when people are perceived to engage in dangerous activities, juries tend to place some of the blame on the participant. This has a direct effect on the amount of compensation they award.

By voluntarily wearing a helmet you at least appear to a jury or an insurance adjuster to be someone who takes responsibility for their safety. They cannot award you less with the argument that you didn’t wear a helmet, therefore you contributed to your own injuries.

Unfortunately the 85% helmet statistic gives legislators fuel to press for mandatory helmet use for cyclists. While many more people die each year from a simple trip or slip and fall than from cycling related accidents.

During the bike-boom years of the 1970s, helmet manufacturers in the US saw an opportunity, and American cyclists being equipment conscious, accepted the helmet. It was however, decades later before the rest of the world followed suit. Even today the helmet is only accepted by cycling enthusiasts, not the general public.

Far more pedestrians and car drivers die each day from head injuries, yet no one suggests they should wear head protection. Maybe upon waking each morning we should place a helmet on our head before we even put slippers on our feet, not removing it until we return to bed that evening. Viewed in this light it makes the whole issue somewhat ludicrous.

Making helmets mandatory only re-enforces the general public’s view that cycling is dangerous. I still maintain that wearing a helmet should be a personal choice, making them mandatory stops some from taking up cycling in the first place.

Most start riding a bike without a helmet, a few will become serious and eventually buy a better bike and all the equipment that goes with it, which will probably include a helmet.

To sum up I wear a helmet because it offers some protection. I don’t believe it is even close to 85%, but wearing one can’t hurt. I may hit a pot hole and fall on my head, in which case my helmet may save me from serious injury. But a crash involving a motor vehicle? The best way to avoid injury there is to ride defensively and circumvent the collision altogether.


First posted in 2014. Accident figures have been updated to reflect today’s trends.

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Raphael Geminiani

Raphael Geminiani was born in France on July 12, 1925.

His parents were Italian immigrants who had moved to France in 1920 to escape Fascism.

Although he never won a Grand Tour, he stood on the podium of all three Grand Tour events, a total of six times.

He was second to Hugo Koblet in the 1951 Tour de France, and also won the King of the Mountains title that year.

Geminiani was also 3rd in the 1958 Tour de France behind Charly Gaul of Luxembourg and Vito Favero of Italy.

He won the Mountains Jersey in the Giro d’Italia in 1952 and 1957.

In addition, Geminiani was 3rd in the 1955 Vuelta a Espana behind Jean Dotto of France and Antonio Jimenez of Spain.

He raced in an era of other great riders such as Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Louison Bobet, and Jean Robic.

Above: At the finish of the 1951 Tour de France in Paris. Raphael Geminiani (Left.) 2nd. Place, and King of the Mountains. With the winner Swiss rider Hugo Koblet (Right.)

Raphael Geminiani grew up with a cycling background, his father owned a bike shop, and coached the young Raphael when he started racing in 1943. This was during the German occupation of France in WWII, when cycle races were still held.

Geminiani began his cycle racing career as an amateur at the same time as the other great French rider Louison Bobet. The two were sometimes on the same team, but more often than not were great rivals. Pictured together above with Bobet on the left.  

(Above.) Raphael Geminiani narrowly outsprints Italian Gino Bartali to win the 21st stage of the 1952 Tour de France. Alltogether he won seven stages of the TDF between 1949 and 1955 and wore the yellow leader's jersey for four days.

When Geminiani retired as a professional cyclist in 1960 he became a successful directeur sportif, notably of Jacques Anquetil and the St-Raphaël team. Anquetil was the first to win the Tour de France five times.

Raphael Geminiani also co-sponsored the St. Raphael Team, and marketed a line of Geminiani brand of bicycles that were built by the French Mercier bicycle manufacturer.

Above: Raphael Geminiani with Jacques Anquetil on the right.

In 1953 Geminiani rode for Fausto Coppi on his Bianchi Team, the two were lifelong friends. In late 1959 Raphael was part of a group that went on a hunting trip to Africa.

He shared a room with Fausto Coppi and the two contracted malaria. Geminiani returned to France and although seriously ill, he was correctly diagnosed, treated, and made a full recovery.

Fausto Coppi however, was miss-diagnosed by his Italian doctors and as a result died. He was only forty years old.

Raphael Geminiani was a hero of my teen years when I started racing in the 1950s. He turned 93 this year is one of the few living connections to the legends of that great era of cycling. He once stated, “There is not a day goes by that I do not think of Fausto Coppi.”


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