If last week's post about Willy and randonneering had an underlying theme it might have been the relationship between style and practicality. Willy aptly demonstrated you don't have to sacrifice one for the other, but cycling gear typically involves a trade off. The latest featherweight carbon component may not survive an innocent tumble. Helmets keep us safe but on some skulls they look positively goofy.
Each of us calculates the relative merits of the gear we choose. Who, in hindsight, would pass up the chance to rethink some of those choices, especially if the hindsight was provided by a dental mirror stuck to your forehead.
I thought about that scale when trying to position today's offering. On one extreme, there's riding without brakes (except on the track)... I can think of no better expression of style with zero practicality. The other extreme, practicality with zero style is tougher to identify but I'll nominate the do-rag. Unless you run a 4.5 forty and have some Afro-American street cred you've got no business going there (think Kip in Napoleon Dynamite)
Enter Continental's GP4000 Ltd. Edition White Tires. Reportedly handmade in Germany by naked Heidi Klum look-a-likes, these alabaster beauties slip on to carbon rims with an audible sigh (perhaps that was me).
Judge the images for yourself. I'd call it "Road Formal". There's just one small problem. The tires are WHITE!
And roads are SHITE! Hell it was almost impossible to photograph the bike without despoiling the tires, and I carried the bike from place to place like a temple virgin with tender feet.
I don't know what I was thinking, but short of removing my brakes for my next ride these Contis come as close to absolute zero on the practicality axis as is possible. I figure I have one ride, one chance to blind the wheelsuckers, to mesmerize the spectators with their brilliance. Sure I can try and clean them, but they'll never be the same.
Or I can peel them off and mount them on the garage wall to ride one day when all the streets are bleached white by global warming. It's a tough call... wonder if I can order a second set.
Continental GP4000 Ltd. Edition White tires are priced at $125 per pair