Monday, September 24, 2018

Dirt Season

I've now officially transitioned into autumn mode, and this past Friday I kept things dirt-oriented by setting out on the Jones:


On Saturday I did relapse into Fredness a bit by taking a spin on the Renovo, but I did return to the Jones on Sunday for some more fat-tire cyclocrossing:


Along with my son:


This particular three-race series is now over, and I'm impressed that he rousted himself early three Sundays in a row in order to do the bike racing--though the sweet bike did serve as motivation:


If you're outfitting a child of similar age I highly recommend this bike, though if you really want to project your Fredly aspirations onto your kid you can always go for the "Pro" version:

Which is a dangerous thing to do because before you know it you'll be spending $900 on a balance bike:

What Strider put together is wild, maybe a little ridiculous, and stunning to look at. The 12 ST-R, which will be available for sale next month, has a red carbon fiber frame, carbon fork, and carbon wheels. It weighs 5.6 pounds and with 12-inch wheels will fit riders between 18 months and 5 years, Strider says. It will look appropriate in your garage, cozied up against your Specialized Tarmac or Juliana Joplin carbon fiber adult bikes.

Not ridiculous at all!  Scoff if you will, but but a high-quality balance bike is a great investment as it will last for years and your child can ride it well into adulthood.

No, the real irony is that when it comes to balance bikes the wooden ones are the cheapest:


That's now how it's supposed to work:

Friday, September 21, 2018

Timeless Design Is Timeless

Yesterday I set more mundane concerns aside and went for a ride on the Jones:


It was the ideal route for this bike, consisting of some pavement, some singletrack, and some dirt trail:


Now that I've set the tone for the fall, I intend to continue in this vein for the next few months.

Speaking of bikes with chubby tires, Lennard Zinn asked various bike industry people about what they considered to be "came-changing" technology:

("The new ultra-precision titanium mustache combs are game-changing when it comes to post-ride grooming.")

It's worth noting that out of seven (7) people, most of whom were mountain bike types, two (2) of them emphatically said wide tires and rims.  Meanwhile, suspension only came up once, and only in passing.

Think about it.

Or don't, I really don't care.

And in other tech news, it's becoming easier and easier to ignore Interbike, but I made a point to check out James Huang's coverage recently because it's always worthwhile.  The first thing that jumped out at me was this magnesium bike:


Sure, I enjoyed their questionable "pound of lead vs. pound of feathers" marketing approach:


But the real reason I took notice was that we all know Segal bikes were making magnesium bikes years ago:



I don't know if Segal are still making bikes, but US distributor Trish Cohen's website is still up, so make of that what you will.  And to be honest I still find myself thinking about that bike from time to time: light, endearingly ugly, and made of metal, it was in some ways the perfect New York City park racer, and I kind of wish I'd held onto it. (Though I think if you own a magnesium bike and a wood bike you may be taking the alternative frame material thing too far.)

Elsewhere in James Huang's coverage I found myself puzzling over this:


The cleverly named Tacx Radar (it’s a palindrome …) bottle cage can be configured for left-hand or right-hand access. It seems to hold bottles quite securely, too.

"How the hell can a bottle cage be right- or left-handed?," I wondered.  What's next, a right- or left-handed water bottle?  So I went to the website:


The Radar is a side load bottle cage with very good clamping and especially designed to fit small bike frames. You insert and remove your bottle sideways, from either the left or the right side.

I guess how it works is that if you have a tight frame and a big bottle you can yank the bottle out at sort of an angle, which does make sense.  So there you go.

Finally, via a reader, Old Man Budnitz is doing a "gravel grinder" now:


Basically, it has a belt drive and a Rohloff hub:

The trick to the dropbar Rohloff setup, the Ø:G uses the shifters from a set of SRAM Force 22 road hydraulic disc brake levers with their internal ratcheting mechanisms removed to control the internally geared rear hub without a bulky, less ergonomic shifter à la the Gebla Rohbox mod.

I thought Rohbox was that video game my kid plays until I read more about it:


Now I see why Budnitz doesn't include any pictures.

Hey, it may very well be a fantastic bit of tech, but that's still a lot to pay for a bike with the Rohloff equivalent of a Jtek ShiftMate.

As for actual useful information about the bike (tire clearance, bag mounting capability, etc.), I couldn't find any of that over at the Budnitz website, but I did find this video:

The Owner from Budnitz Bicycles on Vimeo.

And what I learned from that is that cool designer-type people ride Budnitzes:


So cool in fact they ride on the opposite side of the road:


One thing you can say for design people is they feel really strongly about design:


The world doesn't need junk, it needs responsible, well-considered, timeless, meaningful design.

You mean like upside-down skulls that say "Fuck Apathy" underneath them in Sharpie?


Timeless indeed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hello! And Goodbye!

Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the year in Judaism.

I don't really care about any of that.  (I have nothing to atone for, I am a Perfect Being.)

What I do care about is that school is closed today, so if you need me I'll be off parenting.  Oh, and on this holiest of holy days, I already almost completely lost my shit on some asshole washing his Escalade in the bike lane:
Sweet Jesus give me strength.

Oh, wait, wrong religion.  Sorry.  Though if you think about it the Judeo-Christian faiths are basically like the various drivetrain manufacturers in that while you push slightly different buttons they all do more or less the same thing.

Think about it.

And happy fasting!


--Tan Tenovo


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

New Outside Column!

I didn't want to do it, but what can I say, responding to dumbass stories about bikes is kind of a compulsion for me:


Sure, I may be giving the dipshit a few clicks, but I do love that illustration.

And I like this one even better:



In fact if you think of my Outside column as a bunch of random words below a series of excellent illustrations it kinda makes sense.

By the way, I assume the Out of Step rider is supposed to be me, and I like cartoon me better than the real me:


(Via here.)

I really should be wearing a gold chain to go along with that plunging neckline.

That bike really does kick ass though.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Riding Bicycles Is An Enjoyable Recreational Activity

It was, you'll no doubt be delighted to read on a Monday morning as you sidle into your cubicle, a rather fruitful three days of cycling for Jörs Trüli.

I began on Friday with a jaunt up to Stone Barns on my artisanally hewned wooden Fred sled, where I partook once again in a luncheon curated from locally-grown foodstuffs:


Then on Saturday I fired up the flux capacitor for a trip back in time on the Drysdale Special:


I am well aware of how pretentious this is going to sound, but as someone who likes to dork out on local history there is something positively sublime about wending your way down to Central Park on a 70-year old bicycle.  Remember how fixed-gear bicycles were a "zen thing" and you were "totally connected to the bike?"  Well I feel totally connected to history as I lash my perforated leather ballet slippers and glide across the 170 year-old bridge pictured above.  Of course there's no good reason for this, since the bridge is so old it really doesn't make a difference whether I'm riding a Drysdale or a Cannondale, and in order to ride a period-correct bike I'd have to get my hands (and crotch) on a dandy horse.  Still, sitting atop a saddle made from a cow that was born before World War II does put you in a frame of mind in which you're more receptive to the history that's all around you.  (Also, there's an undeniable pleasure in knowing that you're riding the coolest bike in Central Park.)

But the big throwdown happened on Sunday, when--like we did last week--my son and I went do go do the cyclocrossing:


Once again I rode the Jones, and once again I marveled at how perfect it was for the course:


In fact I'd go so far as to say it offered me an unfair advantage over a regular cyclocross bike, and I'd have felt guilty if I wasn't so badly in need of all the help I can get.

And yes, that is my reflection in The Car The Bank Owns Until I Finish Paying Them Back:


(The giant hole in my navel is actually a dent in the car.)

Now you cannot unsee it.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Leave Work Early Today And Go For A Ride, You Deserve It

Once again I was very busy yesterday.  First, I had to get my children to their various institutions.  (The younger helps assemble Apple products; the elder has moved up to sneaker manufacturing.)  Then, I had to go vote:


With the addition of that "I Voted" sticker I now have one of the most cloyingly smug bicycles north of 145th Street.

Sadly, my write-in candidate of Shirtless Guy Who Photobombed de Blasio did not defeat incumbent Andrew Cuomo despite my enthusiastic door-to-door campaigning:


Then it was time for the real work to begin:


But before it could I had to address some front shifting issues.  Curating gear changes between the large and small chainrings has been somewhat problematic on this bicycle for awhile now, but between being lazy and having like fifty other bicycles the way I've been addressing it has been to fiddle with the barrel adjuster while riding and then simply forget about it after riding.  Yesterday however (perhaps inspired by voting) I resolved to finally Do Something About It.

As I worked to correct the problem, I wondered why Shimano had designed a front derailleur with geometry such that in order to move the chain over onto the larger ring the outer plate of the derailleur had to move so far over that it hit the crankarm.  Then it dawned on me: they hadn't.  The cage was almost certainly bent.  This explained a lot.

I then rummaged in my parts bin for a replacement derailleur, but the most suitable one had a clamp that was way too big, even for a shim.  So, with no other options, I set about rectifying the problem via judicious application of force applied by means of pliers, adjustable wrenches, and whatever other grabby-ended levers were at hand, and before long the shifting had gone from "crappy" to "eh, that'll work for now."

I may have to requisition a new front derailleur from the CFO--or, more likely, steal one off another bicycle.

At any rate, after that off I went, over the GWB to Route 9W, the Fredliest cycling corridor in the Western Hemisphere, where I saw someone riding a Cannondale Slate:


I've been bicycle blogging for over 11 years now, and I've been alive on this planet like four times that.  In that time, I've largely gotten over being irritated by certain bicycles for no reason.  However, I must admit I still find myself bothered when I lay eyes on a Cannondale Slate.  I know it's petty and stupid of me, I'm sure it's a fun bike to ride, and if someone gave me one I'd gladly ride it.  (DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES SEND ME A CANNONDALE SLATE.)  Also, if you have a Cannondale Slate and love it then I am very happy for you.  Still, as a distillation of all that is trendy into a single bicycle--650b, drop bar go-anywhere bikes, suspension on bikes that really don't need it--it annoys me in the same way as people who get decked out head-to-toe in hiking gear and carry trekking poles to take a morning walk in the park.  What can I say, I'm shallow that way.

Anyway, other than that it was a good ride.

Speaking of gravel bikes:


The GR2 looks snazzy too, but it comes at a super-steep price: $6,500 for the frameset and up to $13,000 for a complete build.

Oh come on, it's not even made of wood!

Sorry, no sale.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Testing, Testing

Sorry, you won't find too much here from me I'm afraid, I've been off testing dockless bike share in the Bronx:


You can read all about it on the Bike Forecast tomorry.

Oh, remember how my son and I did the cyclocrossing this past weekend?  Well unfortunately for me there's photographic evidence:


(From here.)

I'm looking forward to the cease-and-desist from Jeff Jones ordering me to never allow myself to be photographed on one of his bikes agaain.

Finally--and this is how out of it I am--I didn't realize Rapha had changed their image:



This is a few months old now, but apparently they've abandoned the whole "glory through suffering" schtick and are now doing the whole "bros-n-sisses having good times together" thing that's so hot with the millennials nowadays.

Can't say I blame them, mind you, because suffering on the bike does not age well:


You might sell some life insurance with that image but that's about it.