I was out riding the Ciocc the other day, and I noticed that my barend plugs were mismatched. One was silver plastic, and the other was black plastic. Now this in itself didn't bother me. I've been known to wear different socks on each foot, either accidentally, or on purpose, or more often, accidentally-on-purpose -- a disposition also known as extreme laziness. In other words, I know I'm doing it, and I do it anyway. Willfully lazy, if that makes any sense. A thoughtful person might hope that asymmetry in the bike fashion world will one day supercede the Cannondale Lefty, but me being too lazy to fold socks in the laundry room -- well, that ain't exactly a bold fashion statement.
But so the next day, I went for another ride on the Ciocc. And midway through the ride, I noticed that the black plug was gone. This, of course, violates my legendary and nitpicky sense of cycling aesthetics -- the same sense of cycling aesthetics that has caused me to gripe bitterly about those scrotal saddle-bags, Dynacrap bikes, and sissy brake levers on cyclocross bikes, while everyone just stands around looking at my mouth like they don't speak my language.
Anyway, I was pleased to find the black plug laying on the floor of the garage in a sort of slurry of old transmission fluid, sandbox sand, a single mid-80s Diadora road shoe, and the broken shaft of a kickstand that would make an excellent shiv in cycling prison.
It got me thinking: Self-uninstalling plugs on my bar ends has been a longterm scourge that could use a decent permanent solution, preferably an absurdly overblown one that would require lots of time and money and effort. I'll bet Phil makes a polished, engraved Chrome-Moly bar end that installs with a torsion wrench and comes in special fixie and singlespeed models, anodized where available.
Until I receive my Phil catalog in the mail though, I thought I'd while away the hours with some DIY bar-end solutions.
Glue them in. I see no reason why I shouldn't just epoxy those suckers in permanently, other than the strong possiblity that plug fashions will invariably change in the next five to ten years, and I'll be stuck with the equivalent of bellbottoms at a time when everyone else is wearing stovepipes. Conversely, what if I have some sort of brain aneurism that turns me into a profound idiot and I want to put bar-end shifters on my roadbike? This would be the reverse of an actual situation in my garage: My Crosscheck, long since converted to a singlespeed commuter, retains -- and I mean retains, tenacious as an Amish claim of innocence--its bar-end shifters. I prefer to answer endless questions about what purpose they serve, rather than herniate my large intestine trying to get these things out.
Use wine corks. I think this is something I could totally get the Rivendell grumps excited about. Heck, they probably already have cork plugs to compliment their cork grips. But wine corks offer the splendid benefit of giving you yet another excuse to drink more. On top of that, it engenders an idea that is potentially revoilutionary: Why not use all that empty space inside your bars and frame to store your favorite beverage? Iditabike and Continental Divide legend Mike Curiak fills his tubes with white gas! (But you have to work your way up from wine and beer, I think. You can't just go straight to shooters of lantern fuel.)
Weld your barends shut. Like all those other high-end bikes with "sealed tubing," why not go ahead and finish off those handlebars with an end cap? Of course, sealed tubes are infamous for somehow allowing water inside, which you don't really notice until your frame has the displacement of a Cooper Mini. In that case, maybe you seal one side off, and then put a spigot on the other bar.
Use an actual butt plug. It's time to go ahead and step across the line of innuendo here and just acknowledge that the bar-end plug is strikingly similar to -- and , I assume interchangeable with -- the butt plug. A very brief session of research hipped me to the fact that the variety of styles and sizes is... well it's wide, to say the least. Not directly related note: One of my first gay friends claimed that he sometimes masturbated while riding his bike.
Put nose-cones on them. I realize that it's not exactly weight-conscious nor prudent to go with solid steel handlebars that could be sharpened to a point, like a pencil. But I think it should be possible to put very penetrating cone-like plugs into my bar ends, for a stylish variation that recalls the speed and precision of Madonna's boobs.
P.S. I know there are perfectly reasonable, locking plugs. But that would be too easy. And reasonable.
An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.