Have you noticed how some things are cool straight out of the box and others gain coolness over time? More importantly, cool doesn’t have to be proven because it’s gained global recognition. Cool is a social perception and not an inherent quality. A Cool thing is much more than just something good. Cool things have another dimension. Cool can be recognised and created by one person and without any concerns about achieving global coolness either. With me so far?
Here’s my example. Take a good look at my very Cool bike in the feature image. You’ll notice it carries the classic, Swiss Cilo logo. However, this wasn’t made on the shores of Lake Geneva. It was made in Asia, badged up as a Cilo and sold out of small bike shop, and not at a premium price, although neither was it on the cheap rack, which isn’t Cool in itself. The bike wears different coloured tyres. It has a pair of ultra-practical ‘Crud Road Racer’ mudguards made by the Cool Mr Crud from North Yorkshire, UK. The saddle is a British Brooks leather racing job, and whilst it isn’t comfy like a sofa, it is quite comfy and looks ace. Brooks saddles are also very Cool on their own, just hanging on a hook in the bike shop because you know that they’ve been proven of the last century. There are a pair of tri-bars bolted onto the handlebars and a little saddle pack containing spare tubes and stuff. There is usually a pair of lights fitted, but as it’s June when this photo was taken, they’ve been removed for extra ‘lightness’.
Sometimes, when this bike is used for the weekend bread run, it has an old, framed saddle bag attached to the saddle as well. The front chainring has 3 rings for climbing really big hills at a leisurely pace, so it’s not an out and out racing or touring bike either. It does have ‘Look’ clipless pedals because it’s used with proper road racing shoes. The frame carries two water bottle cages for long distance ride hydration. There is no computer on it or any form of distance, speed or power measurement. It proudly carries the name of this blog in several places, which arguably doesn’t make it Cool, but hey! So what type of bike is it and why do I claim it hits the Cool drum, really loudly?
This bike does everything, all year round, any time, any weather and at spontaneous notice. It has developed its list of accessories over a period of 3 years and evolved into its form, and a form that suits the many needs of different ride requirements. It did have a pair of red tyres, but as the back one wore out first, a black one replaced it from the cupboard in the shed. It’s delivered quite a few epic rides, some planned and some not. Some rides just happened and just turned out to be epic.
The brand, whilst being the last generation of Cilo logos, represents a once Cool, Swiss cycle making company that turned out some amazing racing bikes, as well as sponsoring that iconic grand tour team, Cilo Aufina. We all see bikes like this parked up or being ridden all of the time, but they don’t get the gasps of ‘Cool praise’ like a seafoam green thoroughbred Bianchi would. My claim is that in my eyes, it’s smashes the Bianchi in terms of Coolness, and that’s because I’ve developed a strong relationship with the bike over time. We’ve done stuff together which is memorable for the right reasons, and that makes it special and not just the ordinary bike in the picture that you see leant up against a very Cool, green, mossy tree.
So what really is the definition of ‘bike Cool’? Being cool requires a very delicate balance of doing ‘something’ that shows that you have created ‘something‘ your own way, and not just bought somebody else’s ‘Cool something’ off the shelf. I’m making an assumption that you recognise Cool, because you know what you consider normal and you know what you consider to hit the limits of abnormality. This means that somewhere within the spectrum of these two, your definition of Cool, like mine, will be clear.
I’m sure that you have owned or still have, a Cool bike just like my Cilo. So all of this stuff justifies my claim of ‘very Cool’, and which you may even agree with, now that you know the story behind it.
Want to know more about Cilo Cycles? Just type ‘Cilo’ into the search bar at the top of this page or see some of the links to Cilo posts below.
All photos by the Author
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