Thursday, December 8, 2016

Put a Lid On It



Subsequent to the unveiling of the last BSNYC cap--which still seems to be available despite being a "Limited Edition," go figure:


Some people expressed an aversion to black and made comments along the lines of "I'd buy one if only it were [insert color here]."

Well, guess what?  Now you can transform your every aesthetic whim into reality with just a few mouse clicks, thanks to Walz's Build-a-Cap custom headwear curation system!


Yep, just visit the Build-a-Cap page, choose your colors and embroidery, and they'll stitch you up the cap of your dreams!


Sure, you can't put my logo on it, but if anything that's a selling point.

I even took Build-a-Cap for a little spin myself, and I'm pleased to announce it handles like a dream:


What's that you say?  It's not enough that you can design your own cap?  You want a discount too?  Fine, here's a discount code, you're welcome:


That's good through Wednesday, December 14th, so get on it.

In other news, a cyclist in (where else?) New South Wales, Australia was fined $750 for taking part in a parade on a bicycle without wearing a helmet:


A Blackheath cyclist has been hit with a $750 fine for “reckless” riding and not wearing a helmet in the annual Blackheath rhododendron street parade.

Robin Martin has participated in the past six festivals and usually joins in at the last minute “as the festival goes right past my house”.

But this year police introduced stricter measures around the parade, including pre-registering, something which has left some Blackheathens concerned over “heavy handedness”.

Yes, it would appear that this the organizers of the Blackheath Rhododendron Festival managed to find that sweet spot where helmet hysteria meets terrorist paranoia, with a little "Won't somebody think of the children!" thrown in for good measure:

Police say the charges were laid because “any person riding a motor cycle or a bicycle without wearing an approved helmet sets a poor example to other road users including children and are committing an offence”.

And Blackheath Rhododendron Festival Committee president Elizabeth Giddey, who took the reins of the committee this year, said she could understand the police concerns.

“Our aim was to have a safe and happy day and parade … we could be sitting ducks [for terrorist attacks].”

Okay, what does the helmet ticket have to do with terrorism?  Are they concerned that the helmetless cyclist could have been injured in the event of a terrorist attack due to his flagrant lack of head protection?  Or are they concerned that he could in fact be a terrorist?  Because even if ISIS were hellbent on unleashing their fury on the fucking Blackheath Rhododendron Festival for some reason, I'm not sure if this is quite their modus operandi:


She said police were concerned Mr Martin was “riding up the side of people … where the vintage cars were ... without a helmet and with his hands off the handlebar”.

Ms Giddey said the committee was yet to come to an official position over the fine, but if people had a problem with the new protective measures they “should take it up with the police … or write to the people in ISIS.”

Hopefully people take Ms. Giddey up on that, and here's a template I've prepared if you'd like to do so:

Dear ISIS,

I am writing to request that you refrain from attacking the Blackheath Rhododendron Festival so that I may ride safely without a helmet.

Yours etc.,

Nonplussed in NSW

Though on second thought Ms. Giddey's suggestion is rather irresponsible, because what happens when ISIS opens the letter and says, "What's this Rhododendron Festival?  Sounds interesting.  We should look into blowing it up!"

As for the cyclist, he's nailed his Disputation on the Power of Indulgences to the door at the local hardware store:

Mr Martin, 65, has started a petition protesting the incident, which is at the Blackheath Mitre 10 hardware store.

“I decided on the spur of the moment to put on a silly wig and overalls and join in. My fingers never left the [brake] levers. People lining the street seemed to enjoy my contribution, many holding out their hands to slap as I passed. It honestly didn’t occur to me that a helmet was necessary because the normal road rules were suspended.”

But police said “at the relevant time, all road users were subject to the road rules as they were driving/riding on a public road”. 

Though he might be better off seeking a pardon from the newly-crowned Princess Blackheath:


I hope that crown meets Australian safety standards.

Anyway, if his goal really were to terrorize the Rhododendron Festival parade, he's have been much better off riding the Rammstein collabo-bike of your dreams and/or nightmares, which a reader recently forwarded me:



Rammstein's music addresses "controversial and taboo subjects such as sadomasochism, homosexuality, intersexuality, incest, pedophilia, necrophilia, cannibalism, pyromania, religion and sexual violence," and their bike is compatible with both fenders and pannier racks:

Mudguards: mudguard mounting possible

Carrier: front pannier rack mounting possible

So there you go.

Lastly, speaking of uncomfortable subject matter, Bicycling wants to talk about that itchy ass of yours:
If you're an adult you probably should have learned how to take care of your own ass and crotch by now, but if for some reason you haven't I'd suggest reading parenting magazines, because chamois maintenance is pretty much exactly the same as diaper protocol.  Indeed, Freds are basically just diapered adults, and clearly the reason they're so cranky all the time is like half of them are suffering from diaper rash, and the other half have jock itch.  Yet instead of using Clotrimazole to treat their fungus-ridden crotches, they use boutique chamois creams with the same ingredients as their fucking brunch:

Atlas Cedar – a mild astringent reputedly good for relieving stress and tension.
Lavender – a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory used to help ease aches and pains.
Pine needle – reputed to ease rheumatism and respiratory complaints.
Rosemary – characteristic Mediterranean aroma and general tonic to stimulate the senses.
Juniper Berry – a centuries-old boost the immune system.
Lemon – refreshing citrus is naturally anti-bacterial.
Cypress – aromatic conifer rumoured to have anti-rheumatic properties.
Patchouli – anti-inflammatory often used to treat skin conditions.

Sounds delish.  Might as well stick a freaking salad down your shorts.

No wonder they've got problems.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Are we all here? Good. Now let's begin.

Well, you'll be pleased to know I managed to squeeze in another rainy ride this morning, and here's yet another entry for my new coffee table book, "Scenic Pee Spots of the Lower Hudson Valley:"


It's a work in progress.

By the way, can you spot all the holiday gift ideas in the above photo?

--EH Works tool roll: ✓
--Brooks Cambium: ✓
--Milwaukee metal-tubed bicycle frame: ✓

(Yeah, sure, buy yourself a new bike frame, you deserve it.)

And don't forget that as I took that picture I was wearing a Walz cap and was jacked up on Bike Snob coffee, hence the pee break.

Yes, your life could also be this glamorous!  Just imagine urinating publicly in Yonkers whilst bedecked in the finest artisanal cycling accoutrements.  All you need to do is head on over to the BSNYC Margin Mall and exercise your shopping finger.

Then again, I suppose all those items are all fairly traditional, so if you're in the market for something a bit more cutting-edge you might want to head over to Kickstarter instead.  For example, now's the time to get in on the ground floor with Kwiggle® the world's most compact folding bike:



Though before you do, you should know that the Kwiggle®Meister is a supervillain who is going to take over the world:

You've been warned.

Anyway, I'm not sure whether or not this is indeed the world's most compact folding bike as it purports to be, but I do know that "Riding the Kwiggle®" is officially the most sexually suggestive non-sexual phrase of 2016--which makes this phrase positively salacious:

"People who try Kwiggle® always say they like the relaxing ride."

I bet they do.

But what makes the Kwiggle® truly special is that you stand bolt upright while riding it:


Yes, you've got to be fully erect to ride the Kwiggle® or else it won't work.

Anyway, lest you think the Kwiggle® is only for those who live in an urban environment, this Kwiggle® Fred proves that its equally at home in town:


And country:


Plus, you can even hit Kwiggle® Fred "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" speed on it, which is somewhere around 30kph:


So if you've ever longed to marry the convenience of a Brompton with the pushing-a-shopping-cart riding position of a Segway then the Kwiggle® may be the bike-like contraption for you.

Of course, as more and more cities adopt bike share there could be less and less need for gadgets like the Kwiggle®, though some of these towns could really stand to work harder on their marketing campaigns:



Seriously, it seems like Los Angeles should have way cooler bike share videos.  You've got to figure there are at least five or ten aspiring filmmakers at any given coffee shop who would have been willing to take a swing at this for free.  (Not to mention some aspiring actors who actually know how to balance a bicycle.)  And what the hell is up with their crazy train PSAs?!?



Okay, so the cop or security agent or whatever he is frightens this kid off with a series of aggressive hand gestures that could easily be construed as assault:


The kid then hits some debris on the platform because the agency has been criminally negligent:


And finally he goes flying into a train and gets his leg cut off:


He may be off the board for awhile but he's going to win millions from that lawsuit.

But hey, what do I know?  I'm used to our anti-preening PSAs:


Thanks to these, now whenever my kid sees someone on the train applying lipstick he says to me in a stage whisper, "SHE SHOULDN'T BE DOING THAT!"

"Yeah?  And I shouldn't be doing this, either," I reply as I crack open a can of beer cunningly concealed in a paper bag.

By the way, the person on the left appears to be doing some manscaping:


Hey, we've all been there.

Lastly, you'll be dismayed to learn that the fixie-bro film genre refuses to die, as evidenced in this promotional video for the holiday season from Chrome, the Affliction Clothing of messenger bag companies:


The Holidays are a time for reflection. To come together with those who mean most and look back on the all the good times we’ve shared. This year we brought together members of our Familia, decked them out in our Night Series gear and set them loose on the streets of NYC.

They did indeed.  My favorite is when this doofus speeds into an intersection:


Cuts this pedestrian the fuck off in the crosswalk:


And then does his very best to hit a taxi cab:


Brilliant.

Take that, society!

But you know, the ugly-ass Chrome shoes do have tiny reflective details (the "reflection" in the video description, how clever) so it's all okay:


Yes, minimal visibility is what you need when you're doing that salmon-to-whip-skid in the bike lane:


You also work up quite an appetite, which is why after inconveniencing pedestrians while modeling clothes these bros are totally gonna destroy some night-brunch:


Thank you, San Francisco, for always exporting the very finest aspects of your culture to our city.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

This post features a custom consonant-and-vowel layup for optimal lateral stiffness and vertical compliance.

Crassmas is coming, which means it's time for those tree-portaging tips!


Though I spat egg nog all over my Christmas sweater when I learned this story was written by a Jew:

In the interest of full disclosure and to explain the occasional Yiddish peppered throughout this article, Geffen Semach is Jewish and as such has never purchased a Christmas tree, and/or biked around with one. She does, however, love to cart other large and oddly-shaped items around by bike and thoroughly enjoyed writing this article. 

What, she never heard of a Hanukkah Bush?


Still, I dunno, taking Christmas tree-hauling tips from a Jewish person seems like taking gravel-grinding advice from a triathlete, and I'm not taking any chances until the experts at Bicycling weigh in on the subject:


I'm sure they'd recommend starting with a small potted plant in July and then slowly working your way up to that Christmas tree, but only after hiring a coach and following a custom-tailored training plan.  Also, the story would be adjacent to a full-page Nissan Titan ad:


Don't worry, the Titan also looks great fitted with a car Menorah:


Gotta love the holidays.

I don't know which makes me sadder: car menorahs, or people who drive around with red noses and deer antlers on their SUVs:


Something about it all evokes fake wood paneling and tears.

Speaking of portaging, here's a Kickstarter for a new upside-down roof rack:



Basically the idea is you can fold it up, carry it around with you, and then grub a ride home from the cyclocross race or whatever without kicking in any gas money (you know who you are), which seems like a decent-enough idea.  However, anyone who's read enough Lennard Zinn knows that bike dorks have an irrational fear of storing their bicycles upside-down, hence this exquisitely neurotic FAQ:


Yes, everybody knows disc brake-equipped bicycles can only be operated safely on level surfaces, which is why you should always bleed the system if your ride takes you up any climbs steeper than 4%.

And what about your wheel bearings?
Sorry, this is completely untrue.  Everybody knows that if your wheels are allowed to spin freely while on top of a motor vehicle for a few hours this can overhead and distort your hub shells resulting in catastrophic failure.

I mean, come on, who wrote these FAQs?!?  These are the same sorts of irresponsible people who store their bicycles incorrectly.  If you're one of them, make sure you always adhere to the following rules:

--NEVER hang your bicycle by the wheels, this causes reverse stress on the spokes and can result in catastrophic failure.
--If storing your bicycle for more than 24 hours, ALWAYS rotate your wheels at least once every 24 hours to prevent bearing seizure and tire flat spots.
--ALWAYS deflate and re-inflate your tires at least once every 7 days.  Old air molecules can cause tire and tube degeneration and dry rot.
--Only store your bicycle with the derailleurs in the small/small combo.  This reduces pressure on the derailleur springs.  Storing your bicycle in the wrong gear can weaken the springs and degrade shifting performance.
--Be sure to turn your handlebars every few days to prevent headset bearing seizure and indexed steering.
--Brake pads can harden from exposure to air if not used frequently.  To protect them you should rubber-band your brake levers to your handlebars to maintain constant contact between pad surface and braking surface while your bike is not in use.
--If the bicycle remains unridden for more than six weeks then remove, discard, and replace the drive train as links can become brittle from disuse.

The most ironic thing though about the above FAQ is that it fails to address the one thing I'd actually worry about, which is relying on a lightweight racing saddle as a fastening point:


I mean seriously, those things can break:



Wow, it totally looks like she crapped a saddle.

In other competitive cycling news, professional cyclocrossing person Sven Nys took part in last weekend's Single Speed Cyclocross Single Speed World Single Speed Championship of Single-Speed Cyclocross:



The wildfire known as the Singlespeed World Championships (SSCXWC) roared into Portland this weekend for its tenth edition, fueled by the most pre-event hype in its history. Those flames were further fanned when the community got wind that Trek was bringing its best-known evangelist, living cyclocross legend Sven Nys.

It sounds like a great time for all involved, but I can't help thinking about how odd all this must be odd for him.  Think about it: you're really good at this weird Belgian sport, then suddenly it gets inexplicably popular in America and now your bike sponsor wants you to ride around a muddy field in Portland getting beer thrown in your face:

He also got beer and mud-covered exercise balls thrown in his face, but unlike his reaction to an infamous beer-throwing incident in Europe, Nys embraced the hop-laden face wash. “It’s a very good atmosphere and everybody is in a very good mood,” Nys told Cyclocross Magazine. “It’s amazing to be part of this event. They are yelling and throwing beer but that’s part of the game.”

I mean sure, it's great to see he's a good sport about it:

A video posted by Velofix Portland (@velofixportland) on


But you've got to figure that at least once he asked himself, "Why couldn't I have retired with dignity?"

Though arguably it's totally impossible to retire from pro cycling with anything resembling dignity.

Really, the best you can hope for is running a legal weed dispensary:


Though it could obviously be a whole lot worse for Nys.  For example, he could be getting sued for millions by a guy who runs a legal weed dispensary.  Or worst of all he could still be riding and suffering medical indignities they wouldn't even force on lab animals:


Yes, by dehydrating yourself to almost but not quite the point of death you can gain a crucial advantage over your opponents:

"And losing two kilos in a few hours one day in the mountains of the Tour, Froome is capable of ascending Alpe d'Huez 47 seconds quicker than his previous best, which is no little thing considering that in 2015, for example, he won the Tour by only 72 seconds," said Palfreeman. "You can lose those two kilos through controlled dehydration, functional, drinking less than certain logic would call for."

All you have to do is fool your body with mouthwash and antidepressants into thinking it's not dying:

Palfreeman believes that with adequate preparation, it is possible to combat the effects that the heat would have. He recommended that the riders remain ignorant of their state of dehydration, to avoid negative thoughts, and that menthol mouthwash be used to fool thirst and ‘generate a feeling of cold.’ Training for heat perception would also be required, and he added that medication such as paracetamol would help in altering the perception of heat. Palfreeman also states that Wellbutrin. also known as bupropion, would have an affect. However, the anti-depressant has caused some concern from the world Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and is currently on their monitored list.

Why stop there?  Why not also put them in medically-induced comas every night to make sure they get adequate rest?  Anyway, it should be fun to watch Froome in the Tour next year hydrating himself with a medicine dropper--or maybe just riding around with one of those automatic chain lubricators strapped to his helmet.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Let's jump right in with both cleats!

Is there any more pleasant time of year to ride a bicycle than the autumn?

Probably, but whatever.

Nevertheless, yesterday I engaged in a bit of urban exploration (which perhaps you'll read about in a future Brooks blog, it's been awhile since my last one), after which I pointed my bicycle northward and scurried along the Hudson:


Keeping the Palisades on my left, the backyards of suburbia on my right, and my Brooks securely under my scranus, I pushed northward upon 32mm Paselas set to the optimal #whatpressuryourunning for the terrain, elevation, and atmospheric conditions:


When suddenly I came upon this arrangement of Osage oranges (I had to look that up), preternaturally stacked around the circumference of this old aqueduct vent:


"No human being would stack Osage oranges like this," I thought to myself, and immediately ascribed it to some supernatural being or folkloric creature:


After all, many regions have their own mythical beasts--the Pacific Northwest has Bigfoot, the Pine Barrens has the Jersey Devil, Cleveland has this guy--so it could very well have been the work of some local equivalent like Scraps, the Hellhound of Yonkers:


Or maybe it was Auðumbla, the primeval bovine of Norse mythology:


In case it's not clear what's going on in that painting, here's the description:

While Ymir suckles at the udder of Auðumbla, Búri is licked out of the ice in this 18th-century painting by Nicolai Abildgaard (1790)

Religion's a funny thing, and you've got to wonder why Jesus caught on but Ymir the Norse Bovine-Suckler didn't.

Speaking of bovines, my Brooks saddle's made from one, and it looks especially distinguished with an EH Works saddlebag tethered to it:


(Yes, in an emergency you can suckle your Brooks.)

That's called PRODUCT PLACEMENT, and it's what we semi-professional bloggers do around the holidays.  I'd be pretty happy to find an EH Works saddle bag or even a Brooks underneath my Festivus pole, Chrismas rock, or Ice Menorah, and I'm sure you know somebody who would the same, that's all I'm saying:


And this morning's ride was no less "epic," for I loaded up my WorkCycles with one of my spare human children and headed to the local library:


On the way there, we enjoyed a wildlife sighting on Helmet Mime Hill:


As I understand it, skunk are crepuscular, so I assume the fact it was out at mid-morning means either: A) it's rabid; B) it's doing the walk of shame; or C) both.

Regardless, it looked wet and pissed off, so it's a good thing my human child was wearing a helmet:


(#whatbabyyourunning)

Anyway, we picked out a book, which my human child struggled to figure out:


(He's wondering why this primitive object doesn't automatically orient itself like the phone.)

But once he did it kept him occupied for the ride home:


Yeah, my kid's reading (well, looking at) a book on a bike.  Out-smug THAT, suckers!!!

Meanwhile, Citi Bike was supposed to destroy New York City or something, but now there's citywide demand for it, go figure:


“It is imperative that we turn Citi Bike fully into a public good and a resource for our lowest income communities,” Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a Democrat from northern Manhattan, said at a recent City Council hearing on the program’s future.

Citi Bike officials say the system might not extend to all five boroughs unless the city is willing to help pay for it, an idea that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, is considering. For some elected city officials, the arrival of Citi Bike in Jersey City last year was yet another slight for their oft-neglected communities.

Seems to me giving the entire city access to Citi Bikes makes a lot more sense than that goofy streetcar he wants to build.  After all, there's clearly a lot of pent-up demand for cycling in New York City, which is liable to explode if they ever manage to pop the cork of imminent death;

Many New Yorkers across different races, incomes and genders are concerned about riding safely on harrowing city streets. Though traffic crashes remain a persistent problem, no Citi Bike riders have died in an accident since the system started in 2013. But overall cyclist deaths in the city are up this year. There were 17 deaths so far in 2016, compared with 14 during the same period last year, city officials said.

Unfortunately when the city does try to liberate New Yorkers from the specter of death a small, vocal minority decries it as a deliberate attempt to inconvenience the poor, unfortunate motorists:

Today’s gridlock is the result of an effort by the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations over more than a decade of redesigning streets and ramping up police efforts, the sources said.

“The traffic is being engineered,” a former top NYPD official told The Post, explaining a long-term plan that began under Mayor Mike Bloomberg and hasn’t slowed with Mayor de Blasio.

No, today's gridlock is the result of a bunch of fucking morons in leased Hyundais who think driving into Manhattan during rush hour is a good idea.

“The city streets are being engineered to create traffic congestion, to slow traffic down, to favor bikers and pedestrians,” the former official said.

I wish this were true.  If the city actually went forward with street design that was punitive to motorists we'd be about a thousand times better off.  Tolls on the East River bridges?  Speed and red light cameras?  Weight-activated tire spikes in the bike lanes?  Bring it on, baby!

Green Light includes pedestrian plazas and protected bike lanes that are still being completed under de Blasio, who has further snarled traffic with reduced speed limits, redesigned intersections and aggressive summons-writing as part of his Vision Zero initiative.

I would give anything for a mayor with the balls and/or labia to tell these winy, entitled motorists to shut the fuck up.  If you can't figure out when it makes sense to use your car and when it doesn't then you deserve to sit in traffic.  Burn in "vehicular hell," suckers!

Still, Manhattan has become a vehicular hell where drivers suffer an average speed of 8.2 mph.

It's true, I miss the days when Manhattan was the first place you'd go to take a Sunday drive.

Among them was Braulio Cefea, who was stuck in a traffic jam on the Manhattan side of the Queens Midtown Tunnel Friday.

“This is a bad idea,” he said of Midtown’s intentional traffic snarls. “Bad, bad idea!”

Yeah, it was a bad idea.  Trying to take the Midtown Tunnel on a Friday, is he fucking nuts?!?  Too bad there's no other way to get from Manhattan to Queens, apart from numerous subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.

Troy Johnson, 29, sitting in the same traffic jam, was furious at the insiders’ allegations of an effort by City Hall to clog traffic.

“If it’s true,” he said, “you are going to see some serious road rage!”

Right, because we don't have that already.

Idiots.

These are the same geniuses who go to Black Friday sales and wind up stabbing people.

Meanwhile, London's mayor's spending a shitload of money on cycling:


London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has promised to spend £770m on cycling initiatives over the course of his term, saying he wants to make riding a bike the “safe and obvious” transport choice for all Londoners.

Following criticism that Khan has not been as bold as his predecessor, Boris Johnson, in committing to new bike routes, and amid increasing worries about air quality in London, Khan’s office has set out what is described as a hugely ambitious programme to boost cyclist numbers.

Wait, he's being criticized for not doing as much bike stuff as his predecessor?  This is exactly the opposite of New York, where our mayor gets criticized for continuing his predecessor's bike projects.

Wish we had that problem.

And there's even good news in New South Wales, where they've scrapped the mandatory ID for cyclists thing:


NSW residents will not be required to carry identification while riding a bike, after another about-turn by the Baird government.

The government had said cyclists could face a $106 fine for failing to carry identification from March.

This "alternative solution struck the right balance between safety and convenience," Mr Gay said.

Good day for cyclists, bad day for greyhounds and sharks:

Dropping the identification requirement is the latest in a string of policy backflips by the Baird government. Others include reversing its ban on greyhound racing, and agreeing to shark nets on the NSW north coast.

I sure hope those greyhounds wear helmets.