Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Evolution of the Fred

Like New York City, London is an economic powerhouse, and wherever you find money you find Freds:


(Parking for one (1) Fred, spotted in London by a reader.)

But did you know that Fred Culture actually began in London?  It's true.  Consider this article from 1874, which chronicles the birth of the cycling craze, and in the process reveals what may be the very genesis of Fredness:


A form of amusement which appears to be becoming very popular in England is what is called “bicycling.”  

Great name, I love it!

Unfortunately, by the 20th century, Americans would shorten it to "biking," which they pronounce "bi-keen."

When bicycles were first introduced there was a disposition to treat them with ridicule, and many persons imagined that working a machine of this kind was simply a roundabout way of applying physical force in order to do what could be more effectively done by simply walking or running.  

This blows my mind.  Today, we're derided for not driving cars, yet 140 years ago our forbears were ridiculed for not simply running:


It's strangely comforting that we've been annoying people with our efficient machines ever since history's very first pedal stroke.

In the first instance, the machines were, of course, rather rough and clumsy, and very heavy into the bargain, and there is therefore some excuse for the contempt with which they were regarded.  But great improvements have lately been made both in their form and materials; the weight has been considerably reduced, higher wheels have been supplied, and various arrangements made by which the person working the bicycle is enabled to acquire a more thorough and easy command over its movements.

Behold, the Venge-Schmenge of its day:


According to reviewers of the time, it cornered like it was on stilts.

A school of daring and expert riders has also risen up; and though it is doubtful how far the bicycle will ever be introduced for the purposes of ordinary locomotion, it is evident that it is likely to take a prominent place as a form of competitive sport.

"Riding bicycles in order to get around?  Fie on that!  Bicycling's future lies in racing against ponies!"


(What, no helme(n)ts?)

A new class of sportsmen are thus introduced to the pleasures of the chase, and though the humbler riders on their five-pound velocipedes cannot keep pace with aristocratic rivals mounted on 200-guinea hunters, still they enjoy, to a great extent, the same sort of exhilaration and excitement.

Wow, that sounds like it's right out of Bicycling...1874:



"The £5 Hi-Wheel Sport with its cast iron frame lacks the supple lightweight steel tubing of its 200-guinea sibling the Ultra-Hi SL, but it's an ideal rig for the entry-level rider interested in charity rides, quick jaunts to the country, and even the occasional pony race."

And so it was that Fred-dom was born.

By the way, this article also contains the first-ever recorded answer to the question "Whatgearyourunning?"

It may be mentioned that Stanton’s bicycle has a driving-wheel fifty-eight inches in diameter, and is under fifty pounds in weight.  Keen rode with a fifty-four-inch wheel, the weight of his machine being less than thirty-six pounds.

Keen was like totally spun out with that tiny wheel.

I wonder how many skid patches he had...

Of course, since then, competitive cycling has come a long way--by which I mean the drugs are way better:


Recent positive drug tests by two cyclists suggest there is a new, cutting-edge substance making its way to athletes looking for performance-enhancement: FG-4592, an experimental drug that increases production of red blood cells but has not yet been approved for human consumption.

FG-4592?  Sounds like a model of fixie from BikesDirect--and as it turns out it's just as easy to order online:

In theory, FG-4592 is available only to participants in clinical trials being conducted by AstraZeneca and FibroGen. The drug is in the final stage of testing, but not approved for sale.

But at least three chemical-supply companies sell FG-4592. A person can simply go to a website, click on FG-4592, add it to a cart, pay with a credit card, and even get it sent via overnight delivery. The hitch, though, is that the buyer has to be a researcher.

“You have to have something in writing saying you will be using it for research purposes,” said Jane Lee, a technical-support specialist at Selleck, a company that sells the compound and advertises it to be 99.36 percent pure. Lee added that the compound has to be sent to a university or research facility.

Fortunately, the Cipollini Bikes headquarters technically counts as a research center:


Sure, they don't have a wind tunnel like Specialized, but they do have a "Virility Chamber" where Cipollini himself has been conducting extensive research on the alleged link between cycling and impotence:


(The Cipollini Bikes Virility Chamber)

So far he hasn't found any, but he feels it's still too early to draw a conclusion.

Speaking of competitive cycling, cyclocross season will be here before you know it--but even if you're trying to ignore it you know it anyway, thanks to the incessant chatter on Twitter:
I wonder how people even rode cyclocross before Twitter...

Oh, right, I forgot: before social networking there was no such thing as cyclocross.

It took disc brakes and hashtags in order to make the sport viable.

And of course under no circumstances should you attempt to engage in cyclocross without taking part in a "clinic" administered by an expert:


Sure it's just getting on and off your bike quickly, but it's different when you do it in a skinsuit.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Advisory In Effect, Do Not Leave Your Sofa or Cubicle

Firstly, you should know that New York City is under a heat advisory and air quality alert:


* STAY IN YOUR CAR

* DO NOT SHUT OFF MOTOR OR AIR CONDITIONING FOR ANY REASON

* IDLING RESTRICTIONS HAVE BEEN LIFTED

* IF YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE, BE SURE TO DOUBLE-PARK IN FRONT OF A RETAIL COOLING CENTER :


The “Shut the Front Door!” initiative kicked off Wednesday with an estimated 200 volunteers fanning out across the five boroughs to chat with businesses about the true costs of pumping air conditioning into the ether, while tweeting about it with #BeCoolSaveFuel. The volunteers reminded some 5,000 businesses about Local Law 38, passed in 2008 to ban open door A/C at large chains or stores with more than 4,000 square feet.

I'm not sure why the city is making a big deal about this.  Forcing people into overcooled restaurants and retail establishments due to extreme temperatures seems like a great way to stimulate the economy--because nothing staves off heat exhaustion like shopping for underpants at Abercrombie and Fitch, or dining on Eggs Benedict and bottomless mimosas:



Of course, as the atmosphere becomes increasingly thick, aerodynamics in cycling will only become more important.  This is why the new Specialized Venge-Schmenge is yet another harbinger of the Apocalypse:


We've already heard from Bike Radar and VeloNews about how this new miracle bike will turn plodding Freds into ever-so-slightly-less-plodding Freds, and now it's Bicycling's turn to Enter the Wind Tunnel:

The protocol went like this: Each journalist (there were 12 total) had a basic bike fit done in advance of the event. We had two bikes set up: a new Venge ViAS and an S-Works Tarmac. We took wind-tunnel readings on both setups to establish drag, and then did a back-to-back road test of each setup on a lightly rolling 19km loop to see whether we were faster. 

Firstly, I don't think it's fair to refer to bike reviewers as "journalists."  That's like calling amateur bike racers "athletes," or like calling me an "athlete" or a "journalist."  Secondly, it's fairly clear to me that Specialized's wind tunnel is also a brainwashing machine, which is why they've been marching all these bike reviewers into it one after another.

So what happened?

Across my two runs, the Venge setup was 122 seconds faster than the conventional setup, or an average speed increase of 1.74kph (a little over 1mph). That’s significant, especially considering that the actual “conventional” setup we ran was slightly faster than their benchmarks, and since the Sub-6 shoes weren’t available to test, that made the Venge ViAS setup a little slower.

Yeah, I don't care about these bike reviewers beating their own pathetic times.  I WANT TO KNOW WHICH OF THE 12 CYCLING "JOURNALISTS" WAS THE FASTEST!  These people have been selling us on the idea of speed for years, so it's only fair that we learn the outcome so we can ridicule the losers.  Live by the Fred Sled, die by the Fred Sled.

But of course no review is complete without the "spurious anecdote," so here it is:

The Venge ViAS was the first aero road bike I’ve been on that I actually enjoyed. On a 62-mile road ride, it proved comfortable trading pulls on the gently rolling outward leg, grinding up a climb or hammering an almost 40mph paceline with a tailwind. At one point, grimly hanging on to the back of the line after a pull, I thought to myself: “If I was on a Tarmac right now, I’d be screwed.”

See that?  The $12,500 Venge-Shmenge (not to mention the $1,000+ outfit you need to wear with it in order to reap the full aero benefits) is the difference between getting dropped and finishing with the group.

So there you go.

[40mph paceline?  I el-oh-elled.]

As for me, I'd much rather have this "Cipollini Equipped" custom-curated vintage pro bike replica, as forwarded to me by a reader:



This 2000 Cannondale R2000 Saeco-Cannondale team bicycle that I have built to replicate the racing machine of the legendary sprinter Mario Cipollini. The bike is equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 component group, and is highlighted by the funky Cinelli Alter stem (hard-to-find in team colors) and Spinergy Wheels. The carbon fork is made by TIME, but is branded CODA Slice Prodigy. 


I remember that bike well, and it arguably represents Cipollini's stylistic zenith--though it's worth noting that as fashions change so does the Cipo, and here he is today clad in a full-camo Fred onesie with bike to match:


Of course, with Cipollini camouflage is more than just a fashion statement.

He also has to hide from all those paternity suits.

Finally, a reader forwarded me an amusing and insightful video that entertainingly underscores just how abjectly bicycle-unfriendly Australia is:


(Sorry, you'll have to click the link, I couldn't embed it because of technology.)

While another reader forwarded me this group of Melbournites (or Melbournians, or Melbatoasts, or whatever they are) brunching in an off-brand Dumpster:


They ought to have no problem surviving the Apocalypse.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Steal is Real

If you read this blog you probably ride a bike, and if you ride a bike you're probably a giant nerd, and if you're a giant nerd who rides bikes and reads blogs there's a 99% chance you know "The Lumberjack Song:"

"He's a lumberjack and he's okay, he sleeps all night and he...STEALS BIKES ALL DAY?!?"

[Cue record scratching sound.]

Yep, that's right, a bike thief in Williamsburg, Brooklyn felled a tree in order to steal a bike:


SOUTH WILLIAMSBURG — A thief sawed down a 25-foot tree to steal a bicycle locked to its trunk last week, according to locals.

Sawed, are they sure?  Have the forensics come back?  This is Williamsburg, after all.  Are they absolutely positive the tree wasn't hewn with an artisanal axe?

Either way, the police have released a composite sketch of the suspect:
Fortunately it's summer, so relatively few men are dressed in "lumberjack chic" at the moment.  If it were fall the police would have to stop and question almost every single white male in gentrified Brooklyn.*

*[Just kidding, that doesn't happen to white people.]

Several witnesses also said the thief was accompanied by a blue bovine of some kind, and that after tucking the bike into the pocket of his flannel shirt he made his escape by using two MTA express buses as Rollerblades.  However, police believe the witnesses may have been intoxicated.

Anyway, the upshot of all of this is DON'T LOCK YOUR BIKE TO TREES.  First of all, it happens to be illegal:

Christopher Ryan said his friend locked a bike to a tree in front of 242 Grand St., between Driggs Avenue and Roebling Street, overnight last week — a move Ryan acknowledged was illegal and carries a $1,000 fine.

But more importantly, it's bad for the tree--especially when some lumberdouche decides to chop it down.

Still, it seems that many area cyclists are locking their bikes to trees, and so residents are calling for more bike parking:

As the neighborhood has grown, she's seen construction vehicles and beer trucks damage the relatively new trees. And many new residents are cyclists who attach their bikes to trees, damaging them with chains and locks, she said.

"We've had this explosive growth. Our infrastructure in general hasn't been able to keep up with it," Chapman said. "There is just not enough bike parking. They need to put up more bike stands, all over the neighborhood."

Okay.  I agree, the city needs more bike parking.  Absolutely.  More bike racks, less car parking, livable streets, blah blah blah and so forth.  I'm with it.  Totally.

However, I also have an issue with the idea that, since bike parking is tight, then locking your bike to a tree is somehow unavoidable.

See, there are two problems with this line of thinking.  Firstly, more bike racks in neighborhoods like this--while sorely needed--will not magically solve the problem, because they'll just get filled up immediately with delivery bikes and abandoned vintage 10-speeds left behind by people who have run screaming with snot bubbles in their noses to "cities" like Des Moines after realizing they can't hack it in New York.  That's just the way it works.  It's like these people who think rents will magically go down if we build tons of luxury condos get rid of rent control and stabilization.  Yeah, right.

Secondly, cyclists are lazy, especially when it comes to parking our bikes.  Think about it: if you can't park your bike right in front of your destination you're like, "This is bullshit."  If you can't park it on the same block you're like, "The city needs to provide me with more bike racks, I'm being persecuted, this is a conspiracy on the part of the automotive industrial complex."  And if you have to go all the way to a different street to park your bike you're like, "OH MY GOD WHERE AM I WILL MY CELLPHONE STILL WORK HERE WILL THERE BE ROAMING CHARGES?!?"

Actually, that third thing isn't true, because most cyclists flat-out refuse to park their bikes on a different street, and instead will do something lazy and selfish like lock up to a tree--or someone else's bike:


Look.  I get it.  Bikes are so damn convenient that having to walk from your bike to all the way to your destination seems inherently wrong and almost absurd.  However, it's time we cyclists realize that in a crowded city we can't always be guaranteed our ideal spot.  This parking crunch is a good thing, because it means there are more of us.  After all, if we don't come to terms with the realities of bike parking and resolve to walk a bit more, are we then not as bad as the motorists, who think they're entitled to free car parking in one of the most expensive real estate markets in America?

No, of course not.  We'll never be as bad as motorists.  Motorists are fat, stupid, and ugly, and they kill people while pawing at their smartphones with their greasy hands.

Still, that doesn't change the fact that you should be prepared to walk a few blocks instead of locking your bike to a tree, because anything you lock your bike to becomes a potential victim.

Speaking of bike theft, here's a gripping story from Portland:


So, I’m walking back to my shop from the coffee shop when I see a guy (young male with his shirt unbuttoned) on a track bike. I instantly knew something was wrong and followed him around the corner. My brain said “that’s the bike stolen from alpenrose!” So, I grabbed him and asked “where the fuck did you get that bike?” He claimed he “bought it in north Portland for $300″ I said “bullshit you did” and grabbed the saddle and refused to let go, while asking a guy walking buy to call 911.

I'm glad this worked out and all, but NEVER DO THIS.  Firstly, you could get stabbed, and getting stabbed over a track bike is like crushing your genitals on your top tube because you saved grams by drilling holes in your crankarms--not even remotely worth it, if not totally embarrassing.  (Everyone knows track bikes are out of style, so if you're going to get stabbed over a bike it should at least be a 27.5+ bikepacking bike.)  Secondly, when it comes to making snap judgements about people, cyclists are not always the most reliable--and that goes double for cyclists in Portland, who tend to be bewildered by anyone who doesn't look like they stepped straight out of Momentum Mag.

Of course, in this case, as a bike shop employee he was able to make up for his lack of law enforcement training with his superior mechanical knowledge:

Me and the bystander had to hold him for about 15 minutes before the cops did show up. He kept screaming obscenities at me and tried to wrestle away many times. I let the air out of the rear tire so in case he did get away he wouldn’t be able to ride it. But being a track bike with no brakes, track pedals and tall gearing, it would have been extremely difficult to actually ride anyway.

Oh, bike dorks...  "I knew the bike had a 49/16 gear ratio, which would yield 80.5 gear inches and 16 skid patches.  For every revolution of the pedals his bike would move forward roughly 21 feet.  Furthermore, at 90rpm he would reach a maximum speed of 21.6mph, so if I reduced his tire pressure by 50psi..."

As a New Yorker though I was quite surprised to read this:

The officers that showed up knew exactly which bike it was, as they just personally filed the report. They were very helpful and the one officer was taking about how stoked he was that we recovered it and that “bike thieves make him sick”.

Wow.  The police praised him?  The NYPD would have thrown him in jail.

Lastly, check this out:


What, he didn't ride back down?

I told you cyclists were lazy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A broken clock is right twice a day, while a broken Apple Watch is never right at all.




Well, the Touring of France is over, and to celebrate, Chris Froome chugged gazpacho from a giant bowl:


Presumably he's relieved that the Tour is over, because now he can take a much-needed rest from being showered in bodily fluids:

PARIS, (AFP) — Chris Froome said he felt “incredible” after winning his second Tour de France title on Sunday in a competition that has seen him accused of cheating, spat upon, and doused with urine.

And that's not even counting the incessant snot rocket mist that is a normal part of riding in a tight pack of roadies.

No wonder these guys are always getting sick--not only are they constantly being spritzed with saliva, mucus, and pee, but they're also all at least 30 pounds underweight and on drugs.

Indeed, physiologically speaking, there's little difference between a professional cyclist and a "crust punk" band member.  (Though socioeconomically the "crust punk" is roughly 20 times more likely to hail from a wealthy Greenwich family.)

Still, Froome isn't complaining about all the urine.  In fact, it seems he kinda likes it:

“Of course it was a very, very difficult Tour, both on the bike and off it. I’m so happy to be here in yellow..."

See that?  He's happy to be in yellow.

So there you go.

Meanwhile, Dorothy Rabinowitz must be plotzing, because her newspaper is way into Citi Bike now:



Citi Bike still isn’t perfect. Over the course of 15 test rides and 45 miles of biking, I encountered four docking snafus, a sticky gear shifter and one flat tire. But overall, the new Citi Bike experience is like cruising on a different planet: a magical world where a bright blue bike waits on every third street corner to provide fun, convenient transport—assuming you don’t get clipped by a cab.

Four docking snafus, a sticky gear shifter and one flat tire?  Sounds like an evening with Mario Cipollini after he's had too much to drink:


("Sorry for docking snafus, dees a-never happen to da Cipo, I swear!")

As a Citi Bike user I agree that the system has improved tremendously, and indeed there's a lot to love about the convenience of bike share--though I'd stop short of saying the bikes themselves are the best part:

The bikes were always the best part of the system. Sturdy and tank-like, they breeze over cobblestones, curbs and potholes the size of kiddie pools. But the new model is even better. The brakes are tighter, the gears are smoother and there’s a blingy new light on the back fender. The handlebars collect a lot less schmutz.

Seriously, the bikes were always the best part?  That's like saying the best part of the subway system is the hard plastic seats.  (Though I'd certainly rather have hard plastic seats than the disgusting bacteria-ridden cloth they have on the BART.)  I do agree though that the new Ben Serotta-designed Cit Bikes are more responsive and "flickable" than the old model while still retaining the bone-jarring tankishness we bike-sharers so cherish--even though the author of the Journal piece clearly lacks the Cat 6 skillz to squeeze maximum performance from the machine:

My one gripe: Citi Bike has maintained the stingy time limits on how long you can keep a bike before returning it and borrowing another. Annual pass holders get 45 minutes; short-termers, just half an hour. If you’re obeying traffic laws, that isn’t enough time to get anywhere in New York.

Clearly she needs to subscribe to my Team Citi Bike Cat 6 coaching system, because according to my Citi Bike account I can do DUMBO, Brooklyn ("DUMBO" is an acronym for Douchebags Under the Manhattan Bride Overpass") to Grand Central in just over 30 minutes:


Keep in mind this route includes the dreaded Manhattan Bridge climb, which is the Tourmalet of Cat 6 ascents.  Also, I set this time on one of the old Citi Bikes, and I'm confident that the improved lateral stiffness, vertical compliance, and racier gear ratios of the new Serotta model would easily erase that 55 second deficit and have me docking at Pershing Square well inside of the 30-minute non-member time limit.  (Not that I have to worry about that, I am of course a Citi Bike founding member, not some sad non-member Citi Fred.)

I bet the new bikes are also more aerodynamic, which means that by Lennard Zinn's water bucket metric I'd save a whole gazpacho tureen's worth of time.

Speaking of the new Citi Bikes, I was riding one last week when I encountered this food cart in the bike lane:


I circumvented it handily, thanks to both the bike's improved geometry coupled with my own razor sharp Citi Bike handling skills:


What sets a semi-professional bike blogger and accomplished Cat 6 Citi Bike racer like me apart from the ordinary cyclist is the ability to: 1) avoid a food cart in the bike lane; 2) take a photo while doing so; and 3) press that "switcheroo" button on the screen and then take another over-the-shoulder shot of the same food cart receding into the distance, which you can see me doing in this reflection from my douchey sunglasses:


Not only that, but while doing all of this I was fondling my ego by reading my own blog:


Incredible.

Anyway, given all this success, it's no surprise that Citi Bike is expanding to a whole bunch of new neighborhoods in which you'll never be able to afford to live:


But you'll be able to borrow a Citi Bike while you're visiting, so at least there's that.

Lastly, according to the Twitter, Walmart continues to be totally up on the current offroad bicycling trends:
Sweet ride:


I expect a bikepacking bike from Kent any day now.

Friday, July 24, 2015

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

As most of us know, various activists and smuggies have been pushing to stop calling car crashes "accidents"--and for good reason, since as cyclists we're all to aware of how abjectly thoughtless it is to automatically dismiss road carnage as just a little "oopsie."  You'd think only the most ornery tabloid troglodytes would object to using more objective language when people are hurt or killed, but you'd be wrong.  You can also add pretentious Slate writers to that list, and here's one who doesn't like it just because it gives her an excuse to wave her degree around:


But the word can also simply describe “a happening that occurs unintentionally.” That seems to be the obvious spirit in which most traffic reports use accident today, and why not? Our justice system distinguishes between negligence and criminal intent for good reason. 

Come on.  Is it really all so "obvious?"  Police and media referring to collisions in which people are maimed or killed as "accidents" before the investigation begins--if they even bother to investigate it at all--isn't problematic to you?  I'm sure plenty of abusers don't mean to kill their partners, either--they just want to "discipline" them.  So maybe we should start calling these incidents "Domestic Violence Accidents."  And why call aviation disasters "Plane Crashes?"  More often than not the pilot didn't mean it, right?  So let's start calling them "Plane Accidents!"  Of course, we already do use the phrase "Accidental Shooting," but that's only because the only thing Americans are dumber about than cars is guns, and we'll bend over backwards linguistically to make sure nothing ever threatens our unrestricted access to either.  "Accidental Shooting?"  It's a fucking gun!  What else do they expect it's gonna do!?!

She continues:

You could even assert that baked into the prevalence of accident is the fundamentally American idea of “innocent until proven guilty.” Ascribing bloodthirsty motives to a careless motorist feels as problematic as suggesting that she bears no responsibility for the pain she’s sown.

No, "baked into the prevalence of accident" is that when you're behind the wheel you're automatically shielded from any consequences for your actions, regardless of whether you were negligent or downright antagonistic.  Why automatically rule out "bloodthirsty motives?"  Holy crap!  All too often motorists commit crimes behind the wheel and are never charged for them--if you've never seen or experienced a motorist using his or her car as a weapon then please invite me into your bubble sometime so I can meet your pet unicorn who farts rainbows.

But yes, we can't assume every automobile collision is the result of depraved bloodlust.  I mean, sure, probably at least half of them are, but not all of them.  That's precisely why we should be using a neutral, objective word like "crash."  There's no blame or absolution inherent in the word.  It is what it is.  So how could you possibly be opposed to that?

Well, you can be opposed to it if you're a pretentious bloviator who's the product of an overpriced education:

In classical philosophy, accidents are the opposite of occurrences that “happen without a cause.” In fact, they are precisely events that are contingent upon other events, rather than expressions of telos or inner nature. From that perspective, accident seems like the perfect word for a mishap that unfolds not necessarily from a person’s core being or values, but from his stupid lapse in judgment. (At the extreme edge of this claim lies drunk driving, which represents a choice and perhaps a deeper pathology.) You forgot to turn on your lights. No one repaired the pothole. These qualify as blameworthy errors with foreseeable consequences—exactly the sort of thing that might cause an accident.

Oh please.

Firstly, if there were "blameworthy errors with forseeable consequences," how the hell is that an accident?!?

Secondly, starting your argument with "In classical philosophy..." is the rhetorical equivalent of starting your story with "This one time at band camp..."  It means you're on a collision course (sorry, "accident course") with a non-sequitor.  But sure, by all means, let's not allow our language to change or evolve because you took a course on Aristotelianism in college.

The fact is that it's important to update our language and discard certain words from time to time (or at least change when and how we use them) in order to reflect what we've learned and to expunge the retrograde attitudes some words come to embody after awhile.  Saying we shouldn't stop calling car crashes "accidents" because of classical philosophy is like saying we shouldn't stop using racial slurs because they're simply rooted in the Latin word for "black."  Of course, this is not to say we should banish the word "accident" from our language--obviously there are about a million circumstances in which it's totally appropriate--but you've got to admit it's pretty stupid for law enforcement and the media to use the same word for a deadly crash that we use for when someone takes a dump in their pants.

You know, classical philosophers like Aristotle had some twisted views on women too, but fortunately we moved past those.  Time to drop the faux intellectual act and do the same thing with people who run other people down with their cars.


Thank you, thank you.

Please allow applause to play for remainder of post.

Speaking of accidents...OOPSIE!


BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- An individual has confessed to starting the Hull fire that broke out Wednesday.

Carrie Bilbao, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management in Boise, said the fire was caused by a mountain biker who burned toilet paper after making a restroom stop. 

Nicely done.

By the way, something to keep in mind:

The agency said the fire could've been avoided by burying human waste, not burning toilet paper in dry grass and on public lands and lastly, if you pack it in, make sure to pack it out.

I am a resolute urbanite who goes to great lengths to make sure I'm never beyond riding distance of a clean toilet, but even I could have figured that one out.

And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right great, and if you're wrong you'll see how drivers never have bloodthirsty motives.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and remember: accidents are for pants.


--Wildcat Rock Machine







1) What are these NYPD officers doing?

--Recovering a stolen bicycle
--Photographing the bicycle of a salmon who hit a pedestrian and cracked his head open, presumably so they can charge him before he gets out of the hospital or dies
--Ticketing the bicycle for being upside down
--Ticketing the fire hydrant for riding on the sidewalk





2) The Canadian equivalent of driving your car into a Dunkin' Donuts is:

--Driving your car into a Tim Hortons
--Driving your Zamboni into a Tim Hortons
--Launching a curling stone through the front window of a Loblaws
--Apologizing for driving your car into a Dunkin' Donuts






3) The $13,499 Look 795 comes with new "Neck Brace" headset technology, which means you can no longer turn the bars.

--True
--False



4) New technology from Land Rover will:

--Alert you to when you're about to drive into the garage with your bike on the roof rack
--Allow you to drive the vehicle remotely with your smartphone while you're standing outside of it for some reason
--Activate a highly sophisticated "Crash Anglicisation" feature in the event of an imminent collision that will replace the word "accident" with "cock-up"
--Warn fellow road users that you're a douchebag






(Louis XVI really should have been wearing a helme(n)t)

5) So helme(n)ts protect against neck impalement somehow.

--"True"
--"False"





(Seattle's most ticketed rider.)

6) Police officers who enforce helme(n)t laws are child molesters.

--True
--False




7) Why is this bike getting a colonoscopy?

--They're checking for motors
--They're checking for cracks
--They're checking for hidden drugs
--The goddamn press-fit bottom bracket won't shut up!!!


***Special Bonus Question WITH PRIZE, Sponsored by Classic Cycle!***

The first person to email me at bikesnobnyc (@) yahoo (dot) com with the correct answer wins a prize courtesy of Classic Cycle!  Use subject line "IWONIWONIWON!"

Prize has been claimed!


Fill in the blank: "Dick _____"

--Head

Thursday, July 23, 2015

It's all coming together, though it's missing a few pieces.

Further to yesterday's post, you WILL be relieved to learn I put my rear hub back together yesterday:


It is still short one (1) bearing, but I rode around the neighborhood in flip-flops for five minutes and the hub seems perfectly fine.  And since a flip-flop shakedown ride is exactly the same thing in terms of rear hub stress as picking your way up a steep, rocky ascent in your lowest gear , I'm confident that the bearing shortage won't be an issue.

Plus, more importantly, the bike is now .443 grams lighter thanks to the missing bearing, and this weight savings is going to translate directly into PERFORMANCE!  (Remember that one?)

Either that, or into crushing my "pants yabbies" on my top tube when the rear hub gives up, I suppose all this remains to be seen.

Of course I could just buy a replacement bearing cage for the price of like one (1) beer, but I've already spent so much effort linking to it I'm not sure I can go the extra millimeter and place the order.

And I'd rather have the beer.

By the way, looking at my bike as pictured above, I've realized two things:

1) It's very dirty;

2) It's totally obsolete.

In fact, it's more than obsolete--it's downright primitive by bicycle industry standards.  Just look at this list of outdated features:

--Non-single-ring-specific single-ring drivetrain;
--Non-inverted suspension fork;
--Non-dropper seatpost;
--Non-thru axle quick release hubs;
--9(!)-speed;

And, worst of all...INNER TUBES!!!

According to the bicycle industry it should not be possible to ride this thing.

Speaking of heedlessness, sometimes when a cyclist hits a pedestrian the pedestrian wins:


"He dodged a car and then just kept riding in the bike lane but going the wrong way," Salim said. "He was going the wrong way. No helmet, no nothing."

I resent the implication that the rider's helme(n)tlessness somehow enhances the wrongitude of his salmoning.  So what, if he had been wearing a helme(n)t then it would have been okay?

Furthermore, Salim owns a business called "Salim Smoke Shop," and it seems to me that someone who MAKES A LIVING SELLING THE LEADING PREVENTABLE CAUSE OF DEATH IN THE UNITED STATES doesn't get to criticize someone for not wearing a helme(n)t.

Then again, the rider did crack his head open, so I suppose I have to allow it:

"The UPS guy walked out and was looking the other way and the bike hit him," he said. "The bicyclist flipped over a couple of times. His head cracked open."

The biker, who was in his 40s, was taken to Kings County Hospital, police said.

The pedestrian refused medical attention at the scene.

Oy.

And that's why you shouldn't salmon.

As for the helme(n)t, I doubt this would have turned out very well for him no matter what he was wearing on his head--though some sort of spring might have bounced him back onto his feet again.

By the way, check out the police taking bike porn shots of that beefy bottom bracket:


Yep, there it is, your answer to the riddle "How many cops does it take to photograph a bike?".  (One to operate the camera, one to take notes, and one to sleep while standing up.)  So it turns out the NYPD can collect evidence at a crash scene--but only in the event that it was cause by a cyclist.  I'm sure they're figuring out how many charges they can pile on the salmoner while his skull bones knit together.  Meanwhile, when you drive your car into a Dunkin' Donuts they swaddle you in a blanket, buy you a salted caramel hot chocolate, and give you a gift certificate for a free car wash.

Indeed, cars and Dunkin' Donuts go together like coffee and...well, donuts:


They really need to change the slogan from "America Runs On Dunkin'" to "America Runs Into Dunkin'."

And if you're reading this north of the border, please allow me to translate this into Canadian for you:


We may eat different types of bacon, and you guys may talk a little funny (I don't mean the accents, I mean the politeness), but underneath it all we're basically the same--by which I mean none of us can drive for shit.

Alas, one wonders if things may have turned out better for the unfortunate salmoner if only he'd had access to life-saving headphones that tell you what to do while you ride:




You've got to appreciate a Kickstarter that involves nothing more than a sketch on graph paper accompanied by a paragraph that tells you all the cool stuff it's gonna do:

Well my design process is taking a while but I plan on having headphones with a mask that lays on top of your head, and comes down when you're in high winds (such as a person on a bike) or when a manual button is pushed,speaks to you letting you know that something is behind with the use of a night vision camera and possibly give you voical directions, has Bluetooth and wired connection to moble devices and Lots of other features. So I would like to get this out there if possible. I really would like to get the funding soonso I can get started right away on the prototype.

The breathless prose evokes Ralphie's theme in "A Christmas Story:"


What I want for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.  I think that everybody should have a Red Ryder bb gun.  They're very good for Christmas.  I don't think a football is a very good Christmas present.

Neither do I.

If "Christmas Story" took place today Ralphie would have launched a Kickstarter for that BB gun and the movie would have been over in five minutes.

Penultimately, Look has a new super-expensive Fredcycle, and they appear to be aiming it straight at the Specialized Venge-Schmenge:


The 795 is not cheap, by anyone's standards. The 795 Aerolight with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Mavic CXR 60s we have in for test goes for US$13,499 / £7,999. It weighs 7.47kg / 16.47lb in size Large.

Indeed, now that it's almost impossible to build a heavy road bike low weight is no longer a selling point, so clearly the bike companies have turned their attention to giving Fred a boner over aerodynamics.  Just check out this eerily streamlined and featureless cockpit, which looks like the genital area of a Ken doll:


It's as flat as Levi Leipheimer's personality, but the same can't be said about the front of Fred's shorts when he beholds this wind-cheating douche chariot.

And lastly, two (2) very different people who have helped me with my BRA (that's "Book-Related Appearance" of course) in the past have asked me to share with you two very different events.

So here goes.

Firstly, Esteemed Commenter Daddo One has a friend who is raising money for cancer research as part of the Pan-Mass Challenge:


It's a sad story and if I attempt to recount it here I'll cry, but the upshot is that if you give $25 you get a raffle ticket for a Parlee:

Here are the details:

-Tickets are $25 ea. Purchase as many tickets as you like! There is a very modest reserve to cover some of the bike costs. Though I fully expect the reserve to be met, if it is not, all funds will be promptly returned to the participants.

-To purchase tickets, the preferred method is to send a check made out to Branfman/Team Kermit to my address; 43 Chinian Path, Newton, MA 02459. Include your full contact information including email, snail mail, and phone. You may also purchase tickets by making an online donation to Team Kermit: http://www2.pmc.org/profile/TT0079 Include a note with your donation saying "Parlee Fundraiser"  to be sure that we see it as such. All ticket purchases will be acknowledged within 24 hours.

-Ticket purchases will be accepted until Monday August 3, 6PM Eastern time.

-The winning ticket will be chosen that evening at our Team Kermit Post PMC cookout and will be announced to the public via email the next day. The winner will be contacted by email and phone.

-The process of frame size selection, custom fit, bicycle build, and final delivery will then be arranged. There are also options for upgrades in componentry which would be the responsibility of the winner.

A Parlee, by the way, is a type of bicycle that is much prized for its Fred-tasticness.

Secondly, this guy, who was my fixer when I went to Cleveland, wants you to buy a ticket to a screening of "Heroes of Dirt:"


You don't win a Parlee and it doesn't do shit for cancer research as far as I can tell, but apparently you get to see this movie, which I assume will be shown in a spirit of drunken irony--and what else are you going to do in Cleveland anyway?



Clearly the filmmakers left no cliché unturned.

Now I'm going to go turn all that bearing money savings into beer.