Friday, February 5, 2016

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz It's Snowing Outside Oh My God I Need A Fat Bike!!!

Do you like lights?  Do you like multitools?  Well, have you ever wished you could have both of those things together in one unwieldy object?  Me neither.  Nevertheless, here are some people who want $70,000 in order to sell you just that:


And while I'm not particularly taken with the product, I do give the inventors credit for making what very well may be the greatest entrance in the history of Kickstarter:


Incredibly, they've simultaneously managed to evoke a pair of supervillains welcoming you to their underground lair, and a pair of swingers welcoming you to their key party:


Either way, they're going to erase your memory before you leave:


Thank god for that.

Anyway, the way the combination bike light/multitool works is that you're riding along a path at dusk when you encounter a fellow rider in mechanical distress:


So you stop and offer assistance:


And which point she turns around and HOLY FUCKING SHIT SHE'S A ZOMBIE!!!


But she's a friendly zombie, and so you remove your combination bike light/multitool:


And proceed to overhaul her shifter in the dark:


Sure, it's 2016 and your smartphone probably already has a light in it, but Kickstarter isn't about stuff you need, it's about asking for large amounts of money so you can combine random stuff that hasn't been combined yet.

Then, when you get home, you can use it to open a box:


Even though you probably have a million other things in the house you could also use for this purpose, not to mention lights.

Also, you can keep it on the fridge:


Or hang it awkwardly from your wrist:


Or even shower with it:


By the end of the video, it became fairly clear to me that the inventors are indeed supervillains, and the combination bike light/multitool with its freaky eye and alien shape is actually some kind of mind control device:


Meanwhile, speaking of futuristic things you probably don't need, the mayor wants to build a streetcar along the Great Hipster Silk Route:


Mr. de Blasio said on Thursday that he planned to build a new streetcar line along the waterfront from Brooklyn to Queens, a stretch of real estate that now commands stupefying prices but offers almost no public transit options. “Not everybody rides bicycles,” observed Richard Ravitch, the former lieutenant governor.

Of course, streetcars would aid and abet the rampage of gentrification.

Not that more public transit isn't a good thing, but I really wish they'd stop making excuses for people when it comes to riding bikes.  Sure, I realize this is mostly a gift from de Blasio to the real estate developers, but I'd love to hear somebody in an official capacity say, "You people in this part of the city have subways, buses, bike lanes, and a shitload of Citi Bike stations.  How much more do you need?!?  Ride a friggin' bike already!"


Then, instead of lavishing more amenities on the Great Hipster Silk Route, they could build some light rail somewhere people really need it:


But I guess that wouldn't look snazzy enough in the renderings:


And to be fair the city would probably face a lot of opposition from people crying, "THEY'RE COMING TO GENTRIFY US!"

I'm sure by 2035 you'll be able to leave your million-dollar studio apartment in Astoria, check out a Citi Bike, ride it directly onto a streetcar, and ride right off it again in Brooklyn to your brunch in Sunset Park without touching foot to pavement.

I know what you're thinking:  "Yeah, right.  And they'll send a Canadian to the Moon."

Hey, it could happen.

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 that's fantastic, and if you're wrong you'll see why cargo bikes are for "woosies."

Thanks very much, ride safe, and ride safely.


--Wildcat Rock Machine





1) Alleged motordoper Femke Van den Driessche's father and brother are currently facing charges for:

--Drug trafficking
--Tax evasion
--Loansharking
--Parakeet theft





2) What is this?

--An onboard cooling system
--The Spin Doctor Clean Machine Colon Cleaner from Nashbar*
--Helmet doping
--All of the above


*Enter discount code "IRRIGATEME" at checkout






3) Eddy Merckx rides an ebike.

--True
--False






4) Because they require different doping programs.

--True
--False





5) Why is this cyclist nonplussed?

--He showed up late for the bike polo match now everyone's already gone
--His helmet strap buckle keeps getting caught in his beard
--He's wearing a salad bowl on his head
--All of the above






6) I'm STILL not getting a fat bike.

--True
--False






7) Earn money while you ride by becoming a:

--Messenger
--Food delivery person
--Pedicab driver
--Human billboard


***Special Fred-By-Numbers Bonus Video!***

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Doping Ain't Easy

There's been lots of arguing in the wake of the mechanical doping scandal, but the one thing almost everyone agrees with is that the term "mechanical doping" is stupid, since it's a motor, not drugs:


(Mechanical doping is also a major problem in oral hygiene.)

I can understand the objection, but personally I'm okay with it.  Nobody complains that "workaholics" aren't addicted to workahol, or that "senioritis" isn't an inflammation of the senior.  We just go ahead and heedlessly stick the suffixes "-aholic" and "-itis" at the end of everything, and you could even go so far as to say that in this regard we're aholicaholics suffering from itisitis.

Therefore I'm fully in favor of using "doping" as a catch-all term for increasing performance by means of additives, and if anything I think we should use it even more liberally:



Speaking of motorholic dopingitis, remember how one pundit said that it was particularly bad because it requires so much collusion?

With a concealed motor, there is very little chance an athlete has “gone rogue” and operated on his or her own, without help. Any professional team mechanic would notice the difference in frame weight, and performance, associated with a motor. The degree of conspiracy would be profound, and defenseless.

Well, that's not necessarily the case, and in fact Femke could have bought her moto-sled as easily as you purchase a Scattante from Nashbar:

It turns out that Femke Van den Driessche’s motorized Wilier cyclocross bike may not have been a marvel of engineering by her team, mechanics or father.

It turns out that online retailer salden.nl offers the Wilier cyclocross bike already equipped with a pedal assist motor starting at €4,990 or about $5500 USD.

Done, and done:


And here's how the motor works:



Though admittedly she'd have to have made some modifications.  For example, she'd never have gotten away with the pendulous battery pack:


Though I easily would:


And clearly she went for the handlebar button upgrade over the stock under-the-saddle setup:


By the way, until now if you saw an older gentleman riding a carbon Fred sled with a bloated saddle bag while poking at his crotch area, you'd have just assumed he was suffering from prostate problems.

Now he's a potential motodoper.

Or, it could be that his bike is equipped with a Cipollini:

(Via Todd)

I'd be very wary of riding anything that's "Cipollini Equipped," because if you get to close to "Li'l Cipo" then nine months later you could wind up equipped with a Cipollini, Jr.


Or at the very least with a nasty case of some kind of "itis."

Speaking of Cipollini, he called this whole motodoping thing way back in May of last year:



I wouldn't let Cipollini sell me a bicycle or get anywhere near my family members or housepets, but when someone that greasy talks about cheating, I listen.

In other news of ex-pros with questionable ethics, check out Vino's gilded Fred sled:


I bet you could buy a lot of Liège-Bastogne-Lièges with that bike.  At the very least, you could almost certainly use it to buy someone's stake in an app that winds up being worth millions:

A civil servant traded in his stake in the keyboard app SwiftKey in 2008 in exchange for a bike, only to see it grow into a £170m success – and to miss out on a payout that could have been worth £25m.

Yes, nobody is more easily bought then a cyclist.  That's why no bike shop employee in the history of cycling has ever received actual currency.  They all work for bike parts.

At any rate, he calls it "the biggest mistake I ever made:"

The co-founder had reportedly become disillusioned with the long hours and financial insecurity inherent with leading a startup, according to the Times.

On Twitter on Wednesday, Hill-Scott, a University of Reading graduate, described the decision, eight years ago, as “the biggest mistake I ever made”, before setting his account to private following media attention.

As for what kind of bike it was, they don't say, but if it was 2008 then chances are it was one of these:


I bet for awhile he really thought he'd gotten the sweet end of the deal too:


Hey, how was he to know this whole texting thing would catch on?

Lastly, I'm still in possession of the Marin Pine Mountain 1, and coincidentally Xtracycle is now using it to model their Leap cargo attachment:


CREATE YOUR DREAM CARGO AND PASSENGER-HAULING MACHINE.

Choose A Bicycle, Bolt-On An Xtracycle Leap, And Transform Your Favorite Ride Into An Xtracycle.

Rugged, Torsionally-Rigid And Elegant Frame. Patent Pending.

Bomb-Proof Mounting System.

Compatible With Xtracycle Cargo And Family Accessories.

Optimized For Electric Conversion.

Electric conversion?!?  I wish I'd known about this before that fat bike race.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Folding Onto The Dream

After lumbering about on a fat bike there's no better chaser than riding a tiny one, and so yesterday I got multimodal with the Brompton:


You can keep your Lucas Brunelle videos.  To me, there's there's no more exhilarating form of urban cycling than arriving in a busy railway station at rush hour, unfurling a folding bike, and flitting about like a clown on a unicycle beneath the Empire State Building's gleaming spire:


In fact I'm working on a sick edit called "Premium Fold," and I'll let you know as soon as it drops.

Anyway, as much as I was enjoying the nimble Brompton it seems I can't escape the bloated specter of the fat bike, and here was one in service as a delivery bike:


It's a new world out there I tell you.

Continuing downtown, I neatly circumvented Dr. Douche, who had decided to block the protected bike lane with his BMW:


(Yes, I said "his."  Relax, I don't assume all doctors are men, I just assume all douchebags are.)

As you can see, there's plenty of parking to his right, which means there are two possibilities here:

1) Those spots were all taken when he arrived;

2) He wanted to park ten feet closer to his destination, cyclists be damned.

I'm not sure which is worse.  In the first scenario, it means that until those cars moved he had plugged up the entire protected bike lane.  In the second scenario, it's only defensible if the two seconds he saved were the difference between someone losing and keeping their hearing or sight.  (This is outside the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.)  Otherwise, if all he was doing was prescribing some pinkeye drops, that's just not cool.

Speaking of vision, awhile back there was some discussion on this blog (I'm too lazy to look up the exact post) about whether or not people who use extremely bright front lights on their bikes are inconsiderate.  I argued that they are not, and that you should feel free to employ a light cannon if you so desire.

However, after passing over the Manhattan Bridge last night I have to admit there is some basis to the argument that maybe people are going a bit crazy with the lumens, because it seemed like every other cyclist coming towards me blazed with the power of a thousand suns as they appeared over the span:


Still, at least when you see a bright front light like that you know they're coming towards you.  What about these psychedelic spoke lights that communicate no information as to your direction at all?


In fact, I'm not even sure that's a bike, and I suspect it might be some sort of alien technology:


I on the other hand was subtly hued in muted earth tones:


And as the sun set the city transformed itself into a galaxy of building lights, traffic signals, and blinkies, and it felt good to be a part of the fold:



Moving on, the Motörgäte scandal continues to ripple across the cycling world and beyond:


(You want a better logo?  You do it.)

And the latest news is that Femke Van den Driessche's father and brother are also facing charges of parakeet theft:


A report on hln.be Tuesday says that Van den Driessche’s father, Peter, and brother, Niels, are facing criminal charges for trying to steal two expensive parakeets from the pet store De Gouldamandine in Varsenare. If convicted, they could receive prison sentences of between one and five years, and a fine of up to €3,000.

The store owner, Patricia Inghelbrecht, recognised the two men when she was reading about Van den Driessche’s alleged bike fraud in the newspaper, and immediately linked them to her stolen birds

Who didn't see that one coming?

Of course, as delightfully absurd and utterly ridicule-worthy as this story is, some of the reactions have been a bit disappointing and seem to reveal a bit of a double standard in a sport that has always been rife with cheating.  Consider this opinion piece by Neal Rogers:

As an athletic endeavor, cycling is fairly unique in its union of man and machine. In this scenario, the body is the engine, providing power and control to the vehicle. Maintaining velocity while handling the machine at or above aerobic threshold is the very essence of the sport. (A few other examples include rowing and cross-country skiing.)

Once a motor is introduced into this scenario, it’s no longer a competition between man and machine; the very essence of the sport has been compromised, robbing fans and competitors of their faith, and therefore, their passion.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Whoa.

Okay, putting a motor in your bike to win a race is inexcusable, but how is it any different with blood doping?  What's the difference between a bike that's been improved with a motor and a rider that's been transformed by banned science?  Not only that, but at least once you pull the motor from the bike, that's it, everything's back to normal.  On the other hand, blood doping continues to improve performance even after the athlete stops, which is why the contrition of all these supposed ex-dopers who come back to the sport rings so false.  They're still benefitting years down the road.

And let's not forget that blood doping has killed people, whereas so far motor doping has only humiliated them.

Once proven guilty, any athlete implicated in this form of cheating must be banned, forever. And because this level of cheating does not occur in a vacuum, this should also apply to any mechanics, management, and support staff involved.

Some may question why punishment for technological fraud should be different than that for using a blood booster, such as EPO, which currently brings a mandatory four-year suspension. While both are cheating, there are differences — in terms of both evidence and execution.

With a concealed motor, there is no questioning sample collection process, or lab protocol; no courtroom arguments between scientists and attorneys.

With a concealed motor, there is very little chance an athlete has “gone rogue” and operated on his or her own, without help. Any professional team mechanic would notice the difference in frame weight, and performance, associated with a motor. The degree of conspiracy would be profound, and defenseless.

With a concealed motor, the relationship between man and machine is indelibly altered. The body is no longer the engine. That line has been crossed

What?  Cheating occurs in a vacuum?  Did he miss all those depositions in the reasoned decision?  Entire networks of riders, team staff, and medical professionals working together to permanently physically alter the performance characteristics of human beings.  In comparison, motor doping is a slightly more calculated version of hanging onto the team car.

Then you've got this guy:


“They have to suspend for life, for me they have to suspend for life,” Merckx told reporters in Doha on Monday on the eve of the Ladies Tour of Qatar. “From what I saw yesterday on the television, [it seemed] it was not the first time. They also showed a cyclo-cross on the Koppenberg [the Koppenberg cross where Van den Driessche finished second] and it was not normal. For me, it’s the worst thing you can do. You might as well go by motorcycle.”

Oh, shut up you old doper.

Actually, that would make a good t-shirt:


Oh, and Merckx rides an ebike now:

Merckx added that he, himself has taken to using a motorised bike in recent years, but only on leisure rides. “I also have an electric bike, but not for racing. It’s for climbing, for my health. But for racing, I would never use something like that. That’s very bad,” he said.

Yeah, but here's the real question:

Is he putting those e-assisted results on Strava?

Anyway, as Stevil Kinevil pointed out in a recent post on "All Hail The Black Market," it's hard to believe there's not some kind of scapegoating going on here:

Anyway as Bama very astutely pointed out regarding the motor- if the U23 folks have it, then you know everyone has it because the kids most certainly don’t have access to the hot shiz first. The sad thing is that the UCI most likely made an example out of Van den Driessche because she was a small but extremely visible fish, simply to send a message to the community at large (and more obvioulsy, professional teams). Popping a pro man at the Giro would be too much of a scandal. Pull the rug out of under a U23 woman? Much less collateral damage.

Sure, eject the 19 year-old kid from the sport forever. Meanwhile, the blood doping generation continues to run it.

How convenient.

And as batshit crazy as cycling is, it seems disingenuous to me to claim it's any more crazy than any other sport:
Oh come on, that's just not fair.  Are you kidding me?  Football?  Boxing???  FIFA?!?  Fucking FIFA for chrissake!  It's not a sports organization, it's a criminal enterprise!

If anything, tiny motors and stolen parakeets are quaint in comparison.