INDEX 2

WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Rumour has it that Il Pompino, a pale blue number from On-One, specially tailored for fixed gear fanciers, means 'blow job' in Italian. If true, this brings a number of questions tumbling to mind:

- Are they offering a [so-called] women's frame as well? If so, I have another Latin based suggestion.
- Is that slang for something else yet again? Singlespeedspeak which has special meaning only within the subculture à la NYPD Blue's use of 'handjob'? As long as we're on the subject.
- Do any of our American readers happen to know who the ambassador to Italy was during the Clinton administration, and how they got their job?

I have no real complaints about On-One's choice, though it won't be to everyone's taste. At least it promotes multilingualism.

It must be galling for car manufacturers to watch an unsexy bicycle company get away with this sort of thing, when for decades they've been selling their wares as phallic symbols but have been forced to make do with all manner of lame handles, even to the extent of hiring poet Marianne Moore in the late 50s to offer suggestions for their new coupe. She suggested Silver Sword, Varsity Stroke, Anticipator, Utopian Turtletop, and many others. Henry Ford preferred to christen it as he did his only son, Edsel. In my humble opinion they were both running on empty.

It's hard to gauge the importance of the name that's been stuck on the tube. Will it be a spot on the marque, or a beauty mark? It's purely a marketing thang: hit or miss as to its descriptive finesse and pulling power. Take the Cannondale Bad Boy. A very Good seller, so I'm told. Does it attract secret bad boys, or inoffensive connoisseurs of matt black phat aluminium? It's anybody's guess where the demographics converge. Thumbing through back issues armed with a highlighter, I considered the following:

The bargain-priced Edinburgh Courier. Presumably dispenses with paint to keep costs down, making do with tape.

Thorn Nemesis. Not to cast aspersions, but a cross between Damien in The Omen and a rather tame James Bond villain.

Cube Agree. Pleasantly strange.

Airborne Valkyrie. Positively sings.

Manhattan Project by the same company, who are particularly good at this game, their Carpe Diem being a favourite of mine. Almost but not quite as expensive as the project physicist Leo Szilard (speaking of memorable names) helped germinate which ended in that fungi-shaped cloud. Airborne also make the Spectre — see above Bond ref.

Alan. Just... Alan. Spotted on page 22 of the January issue.

Accessories are often blessed with refreshingly, some might say disappointingly, no-nonsense monikers: Dr Sludge tyre sealant. Sealskinz waterproof socks. Grippaglow reflective arm/leg bands. Karrimor panniers. Eggbeater clipless pedals, incidentally 70 more than the entire Edinburgh Courier. Crud mudguards. Even the Topeak Alien isn't false advertising, really.

There are a few names I'd change were it in my power.

Birdy. Love the bike, less enamoured of the whimsical appellation.

Gore. If only because the company feel the urge to splash it in large letters over their garments, which must look odd to squeamish noncyclists.

Surly. Another singlespeed. What is it with these guys? Urban cyclists have enough of a PR problem as it is. Goes good with Gore bikewear, though.

Battaglin Spider. Arachnaphobia kicking in here.

Ridgeback Genesis Day 02. Companion to my Litespeed Blue Ridge, whose decals I managed to scrape off as I prefer 'em naked. Oh, the name itself is perfectly fine; on the second day god made heaven, and the bike gives a cloud 9 ride. But the offending writing is sealed under a clear you're-not-getting-rid-of-me film. Diabolique.

Deeply Unfashionable. Yes, the name of this column. Even though that was my postmodern irony at work, at times it seems a little too apt. I considered the following candidates: Addendum. Strange Rides. Back Pedalling (taken). Cycling Sideways (taken, but far more appropriate here). Freewheeling (undoubtedly taken, constantly). Sidetracked. The Spoken Word. Rest Stop. Full Stop. Easy Rider (my second choice)
. Alternate Transport. Spare Parts. Bylane. Hidden Lane.

And those are just the ones I didn't burn, though some would make fine kindling. It's probably like worrying what to call your bike. In any case, you don't change horses in midstream. Or do you?

Note the graceful transition in the byline: 'Scott Munn' is history.

It's hard to gauge the importance of the name that's been stuck on the birth certificate. On one hand it's meaningless. On the other, it's your bloody name, innit. Tends to crop up on a daily basis. Gets called over the tannoy, machine-printed in junk mail, chiselled onto your gravestone. In my case, constantly misspelled as mann and mispronounced as moon no matter how clearly I speak — Mann on the Moon, anyone? Tends to put me over the wing in airplane seating charts, when I prefer the back. Sue Miller argues the case for a character in her book The Good Mother: Leon prefers Leo because he wishes to escape "abrupt nasalization." Well, we all have our reasons.

I have no special attachment to my father's father's father's etc. name. I've been planning this for quite awhile but never got around to the paperwork. My latest birthday, which will be hitting the calander around the time the latest issue of C+ hits the stands, seemed as good a time as any. The transition won't be too great a lurch; my wife has known me as Sam since the 80s. Wherefore Walker? More or less out of a hat. Like the first time around.

Cycling Plus, May 2003