Pink, rose, rosa, pienk, vaaleanpunainen, pinc. America’s pink is for girls and golden age non-existent princesses, pink for breast cancer awareness, pink as a marketing ploy by clothing companies, pink as the opposite of manliness, pinko commies are the anti-Americans, the haters of freedom, pink walls in a jail cell to calm the nerves of those wrongfully imprisoned, dull pink cotton socks washed with a new red sweater, Elvis’s pink Caddy, the symbol of all that is right and wrong with American culture, memorialized in Springsteen’s song ‘Pink Cadillac’. Bruce’s double entendre was lost on FM radio culture and Mary Kay, who had her car painted ‘Mountain Laurel Blush’ to match a color of makeup she had in her purse. Top Mary Kay sales personnel still channel the Boss and the King to this day, driving a cultural burden with the aplomb of a color blind man sporting red and green socks.
French Rosé is for pink macaroons, which, let’s face it, are just whoopie pies with a beret, French rosé clay for spa facials and skin restoration, apparently the mildest of all the clays, debutante pink, also know as La France pink, is a moderate rosé that “is yellower and darker than arbutus pink and bluer and deeper than hydrangea pink.” But what of course, is hydrangea pink?
Let us not forget the Pink Panther, a series of slapstick detective movies featuring (and only watchable because of his presence) Peter Sellers, in a roll he came to despise so completely that his last movies as Inspector Clouseau are memorable more for his unrestrained loathing than any semblance of plot line. In the psychedelic opening of the series, the seemingly flawless diamond has a tiny imperfection at it’s core: a tiny leaping panther.
This was 1964, so the tiny panther needed be animated and have a top hat and a Henry Mancini song to dance to. Spanish rosado, Italian rosato, regional names for a style of wine popularized in the late 70’s, a time of growing taste for wine redolent of Hi-C. Fittingly the wine is often created through Saignée, French for ‘bleeding’, where the pink juice is left over from the creation of real red wine. The name ‘Blush’ was coined, and became synonymous with cut rate California table wine.
Rosa is the pink of Italians. Parma’s Baptistery, an strangely proportioned octagonal Medieval folly, constructed in the sunset of Romanesque architecture, is clad in Verona pink marble and houses a beautiful series of fraudulent frescoes, which modern science has been forced to restore using state of the art technology. Historians armed with syringes and spatulas add to the culture of God, graft and craft that created the building. Parma Ham, aka prosciutto crudo, thin sliced translucent meat, quinacridone pink, is cured on huge curved hooks. Parma hosted the Giro d’Italia in 2011. The regions other famous food caustically commemorated by BikesnobNYC: “…one rider became three, and three became eight, and soon a breakaway was thrumming along like an eight-cylinder engine—until it sort of threw a rod in the form of a Katusha rider, who touched wheels with the rider in front of him, careened out of the break, and did his best Parmesan cheese imitation on the abrasive road surface.” The raw salmon color of the La Galletia Della Sport newspaper gives the pink hue to the winner’s jersey of the Giro. The winner has worn the pink Maglia Rosa since 1931, a tradition as venerated as the yellow jersey of the Tour de France.
The 1946 bid for the Maglia Rosa: interrupted by pinko communists throwing sticks and stones and eventually bullets. Idealists and Allied forces dragging a finished conflict into a dim post-war spot light; the broken flesh of riders and spectators, the violent pink of azaleas in the spring, the wounds of a war that have left Italy in a state of perpetual confusion and conflict.
Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali, suffering and cycling, the spring air pregnant with sudor, oil and dirt. The woolen jersey saturated in salt, the pink hermosa of the fabric wrapped in webs of brine and strada. Riots in the port of Trieste at the news of the gunfire and violence. Unstable times, the pink carnation of the winner’s shirt an unwavering beacon, the rally point of a quivering nation. Gino won, the last time the pink wool would grace his shoulders.
The Indian city of Jaipur, the ‘Pink City’, with its wide boulevards and stately grid, was painted a rich perylene crimson. The planned city’s liquified terracotta finish honored the 1876 visit of Prince Albert, who is know mainly remembered for having a beard that did not meet his mustache, but rather hovered under his chin like a shade loving azalea. The Teej Festival of Jaipur is a women’s fasting festival, resplendent in poppy and pink hermosa dresses decorated with gold filigree.
Japanese cherry trees, blossoming in the aftermath of winter, pink flowers symbolizing the fallen warriors of the homeland. A culture converse to the Euro-centric view that pink is feminine, the Japanese associate it, rightly so, with muscles, heroism, and valiant death in defense of valiant ideals. A different spectrum of light is shed on the gift of the cherry trees on the National Mall.
Frederick: think local. The spring farm fields burgeoning with tiny vermilion shoots and thick terra cotta, applied with the heavy hand of Clyfford Still, rolling bands of earthen corduroy, plowed ridges fringed in follicles of pink, the dry brushed ground in nature’s painting. 100 liters of ox blood skimmed to 30 liters of syrum after a week standing in a cold barn, add clove oil to prevent spoiling, slaked lime and iron oxide. Linseed oil for the medium. Paint applied 100 years ago to oak boards faded to the color of raspberry sherbet, the barn sagging under the weight of a lichen laced slate roof, the protector becoming the oppressor, slate slowly returning to the earth as its adiposity bends the barn wood earthward.
An alizarin sun sets behind the Catoctin mountains, back-lit and Prussian blue against the sky, fields full and darkly silent, the air ripe with the low yowling of farm machinery. The sky spreads wide, a welcoming cloak of coming dusk, the sky thickens: Robbins egg blue melts into a burnt rose hue, clouds hovering like lost airships. Tail lights flick on in the ride group, raspberry eyes floating in the coming void of night. Tires whisk along the pavement, the earlier chatter giving way to contemplation and internal conversation. Dying rays pierce a water bottle, the last drops of liquid the color of a pink seashell at a tawdry tourist shop on a sandy road in some forgotten ocean town, swallowed by time like Hollywood Cerise swallows Scottish Heather.
A climber attacks a hill, with the whole body, a salmon swimming upstream for the last time, his pink underbelly flashing against the sun like a beacon of suffering and commitment. The mask of pain, the twisted lips of the climber, pale mauve with corners drawn into tight points of puce, veins on the forehead like a roiling post-flood brook, blood pounding beneath quivering dermis, lifelines the chroma of winter blackberry. The climb snakes into the woods, the top hidden by thick foliage.
We commemorate the color and its meaning in our Frederick Bike Doctor Jerseys. Pink for the life of cycling, for the images it conjures, for the climb, for the descent, for the skinned knuckles from the brush with the tree, for the sports drink crusted on the top tube where it dripped from your gaping mouth, for the dry tongue at the end of a century, for the ride of your life.
This Tuesday, join James and the Don BranDon down at Schaeffer Farms in Germantown for the regional Salsa mountain bikes Demo tour. Every mountain bike design they sell will be there, in a few sizes, including the Mukluk. Come try a few models out, and eat some hot dogs with the Bike Doc crew. We’ll be there from 2 till 7pm. More info here.
Sunday evenings, at 5.30, meet at the shop for a group road ride. We’ll head out and explore some less traveled roads in the Frederick area. You’ll need: a spare tube and something to pump it with, a tail light and possibly a headlight, and a road bike you aren’t afraid to get dirty on. Almost all of these rides have at least one dirt road on them. It goes till around dark, sometimes a little after… Casual pace but hard roads…
Tuesday mornings: Meet at the 7th street Starbucks at 8am for a mixed surface road ride. We’ll go from between 40 and 70 miles, depending on various variables. Not a fast ride, a chugging ride. Climbing, dirt, some place to eat something, even if it’s a gas station…
Wednesday evening shop ride with Brian. This is THE CLIMBING RIDE, pretty quick pace. The route is up Hamburg road, a real corker of a climb, and then decisions are made from the top of the climb as to the route. Back to the shop at dusk. A tail light isn’t a bad idea.
Thursday evening mountain ride at the Frederick Watershed with Brian and Team Flying Dog. Meet at the maintenance shed at the foot of mountain dale road, right where it goes from paved to gravel. Call at the shop if its been raining: we don’t like to ride on wet trails because it leads to damage. 5.30pm. Lots of climbing and tech rock sections. Experienced mountain riders…
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Thanks for reading,
The Bike Doctor Crew of Pernicious Purloined Pink Poppies.