Thursday, May 26, 2016

Le Mans Start Today, Please Leave the Room and Wait for Further Instructions

Hello.

It's Public Service Thursday, which is a thing I just made up, and here's State Police Lieutenant Rob Davis to talk to you about bike safety in a lilting Michigan accent!



Now you know.

Meanwhile, a thousand or so miles due south in Louisiana, you've got his polar opposite, Sheriff Clay Higgins:



I realize I've posted this video before, but I feel strongly it's important to re-watch that at least once every few weeks.

You've now fulfilled the public service requirements for this blog.

Now let's move on to language.  Here on whatever the hell this blog's called we're constantly discovering new words and adding them to the lexicon of cycling.  Indeed, this week alone we've already learned "Velojackr:"

Velojackr [n]

1. Someone who steals bikes;

2. An exhibitionist who exposes himself while riding a bicycle.

And of course "Jack-tard:"

Jack-tard [n]

1. One who wears a cycling "smart jacket;"

2. One who experiences inordinate difficulty in completing the task of onanism.

Given the frequency with which new words arise, it's important to refresh our knowledge by occasionally revisiting older words, lest our collective vocabulary get snowed under in a blizzard of syntax.  To that end, this week's Refresher Word of the Day is "Budnitz:"

Budnitz [v]

1. To sell overpriced and rebranded design-y bikes to people who own loft apartments;
2. A common malapropism for "business" [e.g. "Taking care of Budnitz and working overtime."]
3. To catch the sleeve of your "smart jacket" in the spokes of your overpriced bicycle [e.g. "That velojacking jack-tard just tried to take his smart jacket off while riding, totally budnitzed it, and went right over the bars!"]

Anyway, astute readers may recall my own experience getting Budnitzed way back in 2012, and I was recently reminded of this because apparently now Old Man Budnitz is doing road bikes:


Paul Budnitz started a ti bike building company five years ago to construct something a bit different. What has developed over time are a series of swoopy, double-toptube frames with belt-drives and internally geared hubs. His newest bike – the Model Ø (or Zero) – takes the lessons he’s learned on city cruisers and mountain bikes and applies it to a fast-moving bike for longer commutes or even more dedicated road riding.

Yeah, they left out a little bit of the backstory, but whatever:


Anyway, the Budnitz O-With-A-Line-Through-It is apparently the culmination of two years of intense and uncompromising Budnitzing:


The new Budnitz Model Ø was two years in the making, as their designers worked to produce the fastest and most advanced bike in their catalog. Budnitz bikes use a twin-toptube design with a small weld connection at the seattube that allows the frame to flex in a unique way (much like Trek’s IsoCoupler) and gives a very smooth feel at the saddle. They received a lot of feedback from customers who wanted a fast bike with that same smooth ride, and so the new Model Ø was born.

I dunno, seems to me if the seat tube is welded to the top tube it's not moving like Trek's IsoCoupler, though I guess the way it looks makes you think it is, and I suppose that's the point:


It's also build for "fast off-road adventure:"

The bike begins with a handmade titanium frame and then builds to suit each customer starting with a carbon fork, a Gates Carbon belt drive, and a Di2 Alfine 11 speed hub. A Rohloff 14 speed option is also available. Tire-wise the Model Ø comes spec’d with 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Racers, but you can even swap in a set of knobby cross tires like Racing Ralphs for a bit more of a fast off-road adventure. The Model Ø get new-for-Budnitz geometry as well, with a shorter wheelbase and more road-oriented handling. It uses a tall tapered headtube and pairs with Enve fork and cockpit for rigid and predictable steering.

Even though no Budnitz customer in the history of Budnitzdom has ever or will ever undertake a "fast off-road adventure" (much less change the tires in order to do so).

Like all of his bikes, the Model Ø comes with a 100-mile no-questions-asked trial, so try and make sure you are happy when you buy. His frames and custom made components are also guaranteed for 100 years (not sure if that is to the original purchaser, or who will be handling claims in a century, whatever…), so we guess that is just a nod to confidence in their product and a willingness to stand behind what they make.

I suspect this 100-year warranty is more a nod to the confidence that no Budnitz customer will ever push their titanium frame to the point of failure, but sure, it sounds impressive to people who don't understand bikes.  The fact is you could safely slap the same warranty on a bicycle from BikesDirect--and indeed the warranty on a titanium Motobecane is also 100 years--but then you wouldn't get the pride of ownership that comes with paying $6,750 for a Budnitz:

The Model Zero is available in four stock sizes for $6750 for the complete build. They can also be painted-to-order in a wide range of standard solid colors for a $500 upcharge (nicely leaving the stays exposed ti.) Quantities are said to be limited, so hop on if you are looking for a smooth alternative ride for everything from morning road commutes to weekend gravel adventures.

Yowza!

Or, for that price, if you're looking for a "fast off-road adventure" you could buy two (2) titanium bikes made by the very same people who Budnitz pays to make his bikes for him:



Indeed, when I noticed you can even finance the goddamn things I almost did just that:


That's just dangerous.  There really ought to be a law against this sort of Fredatory lending.  And they even take trade-ins!

Wonder how much they'd give me for a lightly-used Budnitz.

Still, I suppose you can't put a price on riding the same bike as the Burlington, VT police department:


Who's doing their uniforms, Portlandia?

Meanwhile, in other news, it will no doubt shock you to learn that professional cycling is morally bankrupt:


(Via a reader)

Rumors started popping up in February that Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa (the head of Bahrain’s Olympic committee and the eldest son of the King of Bahrain’s second wife) was planning on adding disgraced former cycling team owner Bjarne Riis to a freshly-announced, mysterious cycling project and try to start up a new WorldTour team for the 2017 season. This week, a report in Italian paper Corriere della Sera linked Italian superstar Vincenzo Nibali to the team, and Lampre officials confirmed to Cycling News that the Italian team was in talks with the Bahrainis regarding a takeover. It appears that Prince will get involved to some degree, bringing much-needed cash to a sport seemingly locked in an existential crisis. Professional cycling is cash-strapped and might very well embrace him. This is a mistake. Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa has been credibly accused of personally torturing pro-democracy dissidents, and he’s not the savior the sport needs.

Not only that, but he's a hands-on torturer too, as opposed to the kinds we have in our government:

Mohammed Hassan Jawad (64 yrs old) was blindfolded and handcuffed when Nasser Bin Hamad asked him “do you know who I am, its Nasser with you” Then the son of the king started interrogating Mr. Jawad about the Safriya protest and accusing him of organizing the protest. To force him to confess, Nasser beat Mr. Jawad with a hose on his head until he fell to the ground. Then Nasser started kicking him mostly on his back, while swearing at shia clerics and imams.

Of course, it's a bit late to be worrying about any of this, since Eddy Merckx has been working with oppressive governments for years:


Though on the plus side, I suppose all these characters make Oleg Tinkov look like Noam Chomsky.

In the meantime, it's good to see the UCI is focussing on important issues, like disc brake boo-boos.

Rubber hoses are one thing, but you wouldn't want the Sheikh beating any dissidents with a disc brake rotor.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This Post Is Early By Wednesday Standards

Hi there!

As someone pointed out yesterday after the comments went all Godwin, this is a blog about bicycles, so let's talk about bikes.  Bikes!  And if you like to talk about bikes, you'll be pleased to know I've annexed (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) the Marin Pine Mountain 1, which is now officially a part of my stable, or quiver, or pod, or murder, or swarm, or whatever you call a bunch of velocipedes:


The bike's just too much fun to ride to send back.

Also, once again, I should point out that the Marin Pine Mountain 1 is not technically a fat bike, so you can rest assured that I AM STILL NOT GETTING A FAT BIKE.


I'm not, really.  First you get a fat bike, then you get one of those Bluetooth handlebar speakers, and before you know it you've gone "full bro" and you're wearing Crocs to dinner parties.

Anyway, I liked the Marin just as it came out of the box, but now that it is my prisoner for life I've made some small modifications to better suit me: I've schlonged-out-and-donged-out the cockpit with my preferred longish stem (I find that makes for better climbing and more stable handling); I've also vag-ed up said cockpit by fitting my preferred dork-tastic labia majora-style Ergon grips; and finally I've swapped the saddle and seatpost for some others I had in my vast bicycle parts storage area.

And that's about all I'm gonna do until stuff wears out or breaks.

Speaking of breaking, after a couple months of road-only cycling due to a busted thumbing finger, the Marin was the perfect bike with which to regain my off-road footing, since wide gear ranges and even wider tires provide both confidence and margin for error.  However, now that I'm feeling sharp and over-confident again, this morning I broke out my Engin custom artisanal singlespeed instead:


I was secretly worried that the Marin might have ruined me for singlespeeds with "regular" sub-3" tires, but I couldn't have been more wrong, and as I rode I fell in love with this bike all over again and congratulated myself for the umpteenth time for ordering it.

Yay me.

Yes, we cyclists love our bikes, as the inventor of the "Velojackr" well knows:




"Cyclists.  We love our bikes, but we hate punctures.  Nobody wants to flip their bikes and risk damaging expensive saddles, handlebars, gear shifters, and other cycle-tech accessories by resting them on the ground."

Firstly, I could listen to the word "ground" spoken in a Scottish accent all day.  Secondly, is it really so hard to lay your bike down without damaging it?  All you have to do is lay it down in the grass:


That seems like a more convenient option than taking up your bottle cage real estate with this tool Thermos:


Also, it's hard to imagine the typical cyclist will be able to place the Velojackr's patented handlebar rests in just the right orientation to receive the cockpit:


("Initiate cockpit docking procedure!")

No offense, but the sorts of Freds who represent the target market for this typically don't possess that degree of spatial intelligence:


("Cockpit docking procedure complete!")

I've also got serious misgivings about the name, which seems like it would be defined thusly:

"Velojackr" [n]

1. Someone who steals bikes;

2. An exhibitionist who exposes himself while riding a bicycle.

The latter definition is reinforced by the fact that the Velojackr comes with gloves:


Because what's creepier than someone slipping on a pair of latex gloves?


It's almost as creepy as holding things near your midsection and measuring them:


Meanwhile, on the other end of the cycling spectrum from the Fredcycle with its cluttered cockpit is The Perfect Urban Bike:



Which is pretty much just like every other "minimalist" mail order bike, with the addition of some tire liners:


Or you could just use better tires, but that would be too easy.

Indeed, it's telling that the most promising Kickstarter innovation currently soliciting funding is the Rainette:


Which is basically a waterproof human baby sack:


This should go over especially well in America.  After all, most people think you're crazy for transporting a child by bicycle on a beautiful sunny day, so you can only imagine their horror when it starts raining and you stuff your kid in a sack:


Hey, don't get me wrong, as a child-schlepper and parent I'm all in favor of both foul-weather child transport and putting kids in bags.  It's just that the typical layperson probably wouldn't understand--though of course it's perfectly fine when the NYPD does it:


I guess they're taking that prisoner to go.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Not Your Father's BMX...Oh Wait Yes It Is.

First of all, further to yesterday's post, various Gran Fondon't participants commented to testify on behalf of the Toyota Matrix driver I pilloried therein.  Apparently the Matrix driver was not honking at us, and was instead honking at the Porsche driver.  Or something.

Inasmuch as I was at the front of the ride (owing both to my responsibilities as ride leader as well as my formidable climbing prowess), I admit I did not witness the genesis of the event, and therefore I will defer to those whose vantage point allowed them to watch it unfold in its entirety.  And if I did indeed mistakenly berate the Matrix driver, I'd like to apologize to him, as well as to Matrix drivers everywhere, assuming they are not assholes:



As for the Porsche driver, there seems to be unanimity in the opinion that he was a gigantic douchebag, so screw him.

Moving on, as you've probably heard by now, metal band Slayer (whose music is currently blasting out of roughly 2/3rds of the Toyota Matrices on the road today) have embarked upon a bicycle "collabo" with the BMX company Subrosa:


And in addition to both 20" and 26" BMX bikes, the new Slayer line will also include a 700c whatever-this-is:


As well as a balance bike:


Because apparently the amount of time it takes for a metal band to go from penning adulatory songs about Josef Mengele to co-branding bikes for toddlers is exactly 30 years.

This is not to impugn Slayer by any means, for they were just doing their job in an era when subjects such as Nazi war criminals, virgin sacrifices, serial killers, and good old-fashioned corpse-fuckers were very much in the zeitgeist.  See, you have to understand that the 1980s were a much quainter time, and there were still delicate sensibilities left to offend:


I also don't mean to impugn Slayer's embarking on a commercial venture with a bicycle company.  Indeed, I only want them to succeed, which is precisely why I'm so concerned.  Frankly, this smaks of a major marketing misfire.  Consider, for example, Subrosa brand manager Ryan Sher's comments regarding that 700c whatever-it-is, which carries the unfortunate moniker "Cradle to Grave:"


“And we love the Cradle to Grave concept,” Sher adds. “We want to create lifelong fans of our brand and lifelong fans of cycling. Once a kid gets on a BMX bike—sort of the dirty little brother of cycling—that’s the gateway into cycling. You’ll become a mountain biker, a road cyclist... so the theme starts and finishes your life on a bike.”

Those ellipses are very disturbing.  So you start with BMX, move on to mountain biking, then take up road cycling...and then you die?!?  Hey, I realize Slayer sing about death and stuff, but I don't think most people want to "finish their life on a bike."  Some of us want to at least survive well past the Fred phase.  We want to live long enough to covet Rivendells and Bromptons and lugged steel and touring bikes with a bunch of leather and canvas accessories and all that other stuff old people like.  Plus, if Slayer really wanted to push this "finish your life on a bike" concept, they'd sell a Slayer-branded trailer that doubles as a coffin:



That way when you're ready to finish your life you just crawl into it, launch the "Cradle to Grave" app, and Slayer Graveside Assistance comes to bury you alive in it.

Even better, with a Slayer line of recumbents, you wouldn't even have to climb into the trailer, and they could just bury you in situ:



Plus, by selling BMX bikes, is Slayer really tapping into their core market?  I mean look at them:


These guys are old and so are their fans.  Bassist and lead vocalist Tom Araya may have ridden BMX bikes as a kid, but the guy hasn't even been able to headbang for six years, and I'm willing to bet if he tried to straddle one of his own band's branded bikes he'd break a hip.

And sure, I know what you're thinking: "These bikes aren't for Slayer's aging fanbase, they're for their kids."  But do kids really want bikes branded with the music their deeply uncool Toyota Matrix-driving parents like?  Slayer formed in 1981, and their landmark album "Reign in Blood" is now 30 years old.  Thirty years old.  That's fucking ancient.  Look at it this way: I was deeply into BMX when I was 12 years old, and you know what rock album was 30 years old then?  "Rock Around the Clock."  And I can assure you there's no fucking way I would have ridden a Bill Haley and His Comets BMX back in 1985, no matter how badass my parents assured me it was.


("Raining blood, from a lacerated sky..."--Bill Haley and His Comets)

I'd have been way into a Slayer bike though...just like, if I'm to be totally honest, I'd probably be way into a Slayer folding bike today.  Their logo even looks kind of like a folded up Brompton:


A hand-chamfered Brooks with a pentagram burned into it and it's ready to go.

You're welcome, Slayer.

It could even come with a hand-painted denim Slayer smart jacket:


Imagine if you could control your phone and favourite mobile apps with a simple touch of a jacket sleeve while cycling along.

Science fiction? Maybe, but it's soon to be science fact in the shape of Levi’s Commuter Trucker jacket with Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP’s) Project Jacquard technology woven in.

Incidentally, if you're wondering how to pronounce "Jacquard," it rhymes with "Jack-Tard," which is the smart jacket equivalent of a "Glasshole."

Project Jacquard is designed to make it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard industrial looms. By combining thin metallic alloys together with more commonplace yarns like cotton or silk, the garment can almost invisibly add smart capabilities.

Incredible!  I can't wait for Project Jack-Tard.  Just think of the possibilities.  Indeed, it's only a matter of time before your KuKu Penthouse is equipped with a "smart chamois" which allows you to run through the functions of your "smart glasses" using only your scranus:



Just don't let your "smart jacket" wet, which shouldn't be a problem because nobody ever gets caught in the rain while riding:


"Detachable brains" indeed.

Soon you'll be able to say you left yours in your other pants.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Things Are Going To Get Worse Before They Get Worse

Well I'm back.



And of course the highlight of my absence was leading the BSNYC Gran Fondon't, which took place this past Saturday.  It is vital to keep the Gran Fondon't shrouded in mystery in order to maintain its considerable mystique.  Therefore I did not take any photos (though feel free to share yours if you took them), but you can safely assume it was nothing like this:



Instead, a goodly-sized group of hale cyclists did gather at the pointy end of Manhattan at about 7:30am, and then we embarked upon a 40-ish mile mixed-terrain jaunt through the quasi-bucolic precincts north of the city.  Finally, we concluded the ride by drinking beer and eating food at a brewery in Yonkers.

And that's how it's done.

I'm also pleased to report there was only one (1) frustrating interaction with motorists (at least as far as I know).  Ironically, this occurred at the point furthest from the city, on quiet, lightly-trafficked country roads.  We were making our way up a hill, and the fact that we were taking up more than six inches of roadway absolutely infuriated the driver of some sort of late-model Porsche, and so he (it had to have been a "he") roared past us while laying on the horn.  Then, moments later, he was followed by the driver of a shitty Toyota Matrix who did exactly the same thing.

It was an amusing display in that it represented the broad spectrum of douche-tastic motorist behavior: on one end the entitled asshole in the $90,000 car who can't wait a few moments to pass courteously, and on the other the pathetic shitbox pilot attempting to emulate him.  However, it was also infuriating, in that it was indicative of the sad fact that the more fortunate people are the more insufferable they become.  Here's someone fortunate enough to have access to a fancy car, and to live in a wealthy area surrounded by rolling green hills, where the biggest transportation-related problem he has to face is occasionally sharing the roads with people on bicycles coming up to enjoy it.  Yet instead of enjoying it all he's got to throw a temper tantrum and wave his impotent dick in the direction of his good fortune.  (As for the Matrix driver, I'm assuming he doesn't have as much money as the asshole in the Porsche, but fuck him too.)

Of course, in dedicating so many words to this incident I've already blown it out of proportion in that it was really only a tiny blemish on what was otherwise a lovely day.  Nevertheless, while Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal may have pledged to love even the automobile drivers, I will continue to pray to God and Jesus that people like the motorists above lose control of their vehicles, have collisions that involve only themselves, and sustain somewhat improbable injuries in which their gear selectors somehow manage to penetrate their rectums.  So please, join hands with me, bow your heads, and implore Lord Jesus to fuck the motorists in the ass with their own cars:


("C'mere you little piece a shit!"--Corinthians 13:3)

I have faith in you, Jesus Christ, and I know that in your infinite mercy you will make it so.

A-meh and Holy Luau.

(As for the Fondon't, if you missed it there's always next year, and there's also the chance I'll organize another ride before that.  At this moment the chances of that happening are exactly 43.2%, and I'll keep you posted.)

Alas, according to the New York Times, God won't hear my prayer because He doesn't cause "accidents," He only lays out strange dietary requirements and plants fake dinosaur fossils to challenge our faith:


Even so, I was quite pleased to see this article:


Roadway fatalities are soaring at a rate not seen in 50 years, resulting from crashes, collisions and other incidents caused by drivers.

Just don’t call them accidents anymore.

That is the position of a growing number of safety advocates, including grass-roots groups, federal officials and state and local leaders across the country. They are campaigning to change a 100-year-old mentality that they say trivializes the single most common cause of traffic incidents: human error.

“When you use the word ‘accident,’ it’s like, ‘God made it happen,’ ” Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said at a driver safety conference this month at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“In our society,” he added, “language can be everything.”

Very true.  Unfortunately not everyone's convinced:

But use of “accident” has its defenders, as Mr. Larason discovered in 2014 when he posted his thoughts on the word in a Facebook group popular among traffic reporters.

“Why can’t human error be an accident even if the error is preventable,” one person wrote. “What is being solved by having this debate? What injustice are we correcting?”

What injustices?  Oh, I dunno, how about police believing the lies of killer motorists, or failing to charge drivers who kill children?

The person who wrote that comment was probably the same asshole driving that Matrix.

The article also provides some fascinating insight into how the word "accident" became the default term:

The word was introduced into the lexicon of manufacturing and other industries in the early 1900s, when companies were looking to protect themselves from the costs of caring for workers who were injured on the job, according to Peter Norton, a historian and associate professor at the University of Virginia’s department of engineering.

The business community even developed a cartoon character — the foolish Otto Nobetter, who suffered frequent accidents that left him maimed, immolated, crushed, and even blown up. The character was meant to warn workers about the risks of inattention.

“Relentless safety campaigns started calling these events ‘accidents,’ which excused the employer of responsibility,” Dr. Norton said.

When traffic deaths spiked in the 1920s, a consortium of auto-industry interests, including insurers, borrowed the word to shift the focus away from the cars themselves. “Automakers were very interested in blaming reckless drivers,” Dr. Norton said.

So basically, like "jaywalker," it's an example of business interests using language to fuck us.

In any case, while it's good to see the media waking up to all of this, it's too bad that those same business interests are always at least a few steps ahead of us.  Sure, by the time the self-driving cars take over the media may not call crashes "accidents" anymore, but everyone's still going to assume you're at fault when one hits you and you wind up stuck to its hood:

(There's that "A"-word, by the way!)

“Ideally, the adhesive coating on the front portion of the vehicle may be activated on contact and will be able to adhere to the pedestrian nearly instantaneously,” according to the patent description.

“This instantaneous or nearly-instantaneous action may help to constrain the movement of the pedestrian, who may be carried on the front end of the vehicle until the driver of the vehicle (or the vehicle itself in the case of an autonomous vehicle) reacts to the incident and applies the brakes.”

If you weren't yet paranoid that the machines are taking over then I'm willing to bet you are now, and I look forward to Google's next patent for a device that renders pedestrians and cyclists who fall victim to self-driving cars into Soylent Green.

No way I'm falling victim to any of that, which is why 10 years from now you'll find me riding around town slathered in marine grease.

Speaking of dystopias, those stratospherically high bicycle fines in New South Wales, Australia have been in effect for a few months now, and apparently they're really raking it in:



Cyclists fined for not wearing helmets rose to 1098 in March and April – up from 710 previously. They make up more than two-thirds of the total number of infringement notices.
Advertisement

The fine for riding without a helmet more than quadrupled on March 1 to $319.

It means the amount of fines collected from people riding without helmets totalled $350,262 in March and April, compared with just over $50,000 in the same period in 2015.

In contrast to the number of cyclists penalised, four motorists were fined for not passing cyclists at a safe distance during the period.

Nice.

I look forward to the end of the year, when statistics show that cyclists have not been made even remotely safer by any of this, and/or that large numbers of people have simply abandoned riding bikes altogether.

Lastly, for those of you brave enough to continue riding in this nightmarish future, here's the e-bike of your nightmares:



A "Sport Utility Vehicle / SUV" is defined as "a large vehicle that is designed to be used on rough surfaces but that is often used on city roads or highways”. The Carbon ebike is perhaps the most advanced concept of e-bike available today. It could be interpreted as a hybrid bicycle/motorcycle: a lightweight device which releases large amounts of power. Still a true bicycle that you can enjoy in every sense of the word, it offers you much more in terms of usability, performance and freedom: the SUV ebike®.

The Carbon SUV ebike is a superior e-bike in terms of performance, comfort, technology, and brand image.

Should look great stuck to the hood of a Google car.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

This is not a post, I'm not here until Monday.

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm gone until Monday, so what you're reading isn't a post.  It's just the blogging equivalent of popping back in because I forgot my umbrella.  Except instead of my umbrella what I forgot was to share with you this delightfully smug little piece I wrote for "Reclaim," which is Transportation Alternatives's magazine:



I'm not sure what the smugness equivalent of a "mic drop" is, but it's probably something like tossing your reusable hemp shopping bag over your shoulder, pivoting on your Birkenstocks, and walking briskly away.

And while we're on the subject of my absence, yesterday a commenter commented thusly:

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if these "days off" were scheduled well in advance. As it is, they are just sprung on us last minute, leaving me to believe that the author doesn't care that much about this job. I would have thought he would take a few days off after the Fondon't, to recover, not take days off prior to the event. If you haven't put in the "fitness miles" by now, it too late.

May 17, 2016 at 4:32 PM

What?  I don't care much about this job, really?  I've been curating The World's Greatest Bike Blog for Nine (9) Goddamn Years!  They're going to teach classes about this blog in universities one day.  (That class will be called "Futility in the Digital Age.")  How dare you impugn my commitment to this blog, which has been nothing less than unwavering.  You don't think someone of my tremendous talent and intellect couldn't easily have forsaken this blog years ago for something more remunerative?  I have a BA in English from SUNY Albany, with a minor in Religious Studies!  With credentials like that I could easily drop this whole thing tomorrow and find high-paying work as a neurosurgeon, intergalactic space lawyer, or hedge fund manager.  (Granted, I'm not sure what a hedge fund manager does, but I think it has something to do with landscaping.)  And the idea that a cyclist of my caliber and experience needs this time to put in "fitness miles" for a jaunt I ride regularly is laughable.  LAUGHABLE!  Did it ever occur to you that maybe I need this time?  That maybe as a sophisticated urbanite with a rich and nuanced life I have to attend to something extremely important, even more so than this blog?

I mean I don't, not by a long shot, but that doesn't excuse your impudence.

Speaking of unwavering dedication to your job, the NYPD loves "crackdowns," and the latest one is on drivers who endanger cyclists--and if my commute yesterday is any indication, it involves parking a shitload of police cars in the bike lane all day to write a handful of tickets:


While I'm always pleased to see drivers with Jersey plates getting tickets, I'd also argue blocking a busy bike route (this is right by the Manhattan Bridge entrance, a major bicycle thoroughfare) for a full block might cause more problems than it solves:


The "unintended consequences" effect (or maybe they are intended) was even more pronounced as I made my way home last night, when instead of having to circumvent one douchebag on a heavily-trafficked avenue I had to circumvent said douchebag as well as the police car taking up the entire adjacent lane:


Also the usual NYPD bike lane blocking seems to remain in effect despite the crackdown, particularly in the bike lane in Union Square East, where a police car has been stationed since roughly the invention of the velocipede.

Of course common sense would dictate that the NYPD might consider conducting this crackdown on foot, but common sense is keeping its mouth shut ever since it received a little visit from Pat Lynch.

Lastly, the BSNYC Gran Fondon't is shaping up, because look at my inbox:


If you emailed you can expect a reply with details by tomorrow-ish.

I'd say goodbye now, but I was never here in the first place.

See you back here Monday, May 23rd.  (Unless I realize I forgot something else.)



--Wildcat Rock Machine

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This Just In: Your Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday Post...Today!

Okay, first order of business, I want everyone to grab their hot dude calendars:


(I suspect some of these models may be airbrushed.)

Now flip past the Assos Freak and turn to the May page:


Then grab your crayons and mark it up thusly:


So what does this mean?  It means I won't be updating this particular cycling blog tomorrow, or the day after that, or even the day after that, but I'll be back on Monday May 23rd with regular updates.

Sorry, but that's just the way it's going to be.

Also, you might want to note on your calendar that this coming Saturday, May 21st is The BSNYC Gran Fondon't!


Please don't let the auspicious-sounding title fool you, this is merely an excuse to get together for a 50-ish mile jaunt on some of the roads and trails north of the city and east of the mighty Hudson River.  This is by no means a "hammerfest," meaning no pace lines, town line sprints, or anything like that.  (Well, I mean go ahead and sprint if you want, but the rest of us will probably just laugh at you.)  At the same time, while we'll make a decent effort to keep things together and not drop anybody, we also want to do more riding and less loitering, so you should expect to, you know, ride your bike for 50 miles.  (Yes, of course we'll do the obligatory coffee stop and all the rest of it.)

And please note when I say "we" I mean me.

Also, while there was a guy who showed up on a three-speed or something last year and acquitted himself rather well, I'd suggest riding a "normal" sporty-type bike with those curved-type handlebars they use in the Tour de France for maximum enjoyment.  Hey, I'm not saying you have to by any means--feel free to ride whatever you like--but don't expect everybody to wait for you just because you wanted to score some irony points.

As for the route, it will most likely be more or less last year's route, but in reverse.  Expect some hills and some dirt.  Yes, your road bike is fine.  No, you don't need special tires.  If you're a decent bike-handler your 23mm Fred tires will be fine, but in this Fred's opinion 28-32mm tires are ideal.  Your cyclocross or oh-so-trendy gravel bike is also a good choice, but by no means do you need knobby tires or anything like that.  Also, if you buy special tires for this you're a giant dork.

Lastly, don't use fenders unless they're the breakaway kind.  I know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, that's far more words than an informal ride like this warrants.  If you want to join, please email me at bikesnobnyc [at] yahoo [dot] com with the following subject line:

HOW MUCH DON'T WOULD A FONDON'T DON'T IF A FONDON'T DID NOT DO

Please email me no later than Thursday, 12:00pm EST and I'll send you the start time and place and all the rest of it.  (I'll also have a way to contact you if the weather sucks and I decide to stay in bed.)  Most likely we'll roll out at 7:30am or thereabouts on the northern tip of the Isle of Manhattan.

So there you go.

Moving on, remember that inverted bike lane in Brisbane, Australia I mentioned yesterday?



Well the very same reader who alerted me to it informs me it has already claimed its first victim:

Nice.

If you're still puzzled as to why they put the buffer between the bike lane and the curb as opposed to between the bike lane and motor vehicle traffic, apparently it was to prevent this somehow:
Which obviously still makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

Just the latest cautionary tale from The Land Down Under, which as far as I can see is a gigantic experiment in creating an environment in which cycling cannot exist.

Penultimately, here's your next fat bike:

 
Just imagine, being able to ride without limitations:


So what does that mean?  Well, obviously it means you can ride in snow, which is sort of the whole point of fat bikes:


Though as nobody who sells fat bikes likes to remind you, even with a fat bike this is only possible if the trails are packed in and groomed first, meaning either you have to live where there are lots of snowmobiles, or else you basically just have to have no life or responsibilities and lots of spare time to flatten snow so you can ride a bike slowly on it.

But wait, there's more, because with the Growler you can also ride on smooth trails in fall, which is simply not possible with a normal mountain bike:


Not to mention spring, when those tiny sprouts along the sides of the trail can be very dangerous on a bike with a tire width of less than four inches:


And without a fat bike you can just forget about summer, when those tiny sprouts grow into killer ground cover, which means only a fat bike will allow you to conquer this verdant carpet of death:


Plus logs:


And water:


All otherwise insurmountable on your feeble all-terrain bicycle, which is really only suitable for pavement at this point.

And yes, I realize the irony of making fun of fat bikes when I ride a Marin Pine Mountain 1, and yes, it is technically mine now because I'm going to buy it, AND YES, I did say I'd never buy a fat bike...but in my defense the Marin Pine Mountain 1 is not a fat bike:


It's a plus-sized bike.  There's a difference.  Because it's 2016, and as soon as you change the width of a bicycle tire by more than 3mm it becomes a completely different category of bike.

That's marketing, baby.

Lastly, remember how someone in The Washington Post said cycling is 500 times more fatal than riding the bus?  Well, not anymore:



A fleet of London buses that have been fitted with mobile spinning studios are in the pipeline to be launched in London later this year, travelling across the most popular commuter routes in London to help busy workers to get the most out of their mornings.

The idea, which is the brainchild of boutique gym 1Rebel's founders James Balfour and Giles Dean, was born as a result of the popularity of their most over subscribed class, RIDE, and a desire to remove any hurdles that prevent busy Londoners from working out. 

Incredible.  Finally, someone has figured out how to put cyclists inside a helmet.

It was bound to happen.

In the meantime, see some of you on Saturday, and the rest of you on Monday, May 23rd!

Love,


--Wildcat Rock Machine



PS: Don't forget to buy yourself a book and a hat!

Or just a book, from your favorite bookstore.  Or just a hat, from Walz.

Whatever you do, just buy something.