Thursday, March 5, 2015

Optimism is Just Pretentious Denial

Did you know that bicycles and the riding of them can bring everyone together, solve all the world's differences, and end global conflict forever?

Sure, why not?

On a tandem sitting together are Rabbi Daniel Alter and Imam Ferid Heider, both cyclists themselves and who work together promoting peace and understanding through their project meet2respect.

We believe this unusual motif should not be unusual. And to bring home the message, there will be a "Cycling Unites" Critical Mass tour at the end of the BERLIN BICYCLE WEEK, where 3 tandems, each with an Imam and a Rabbi, will ride together with hundreds of supporters to jointly set an example for tolerance, diversity, and the right for everyone to live (and ride ) in peace.

The campaign will start running next week across Berlin.  The link to the Critical Mass: https://www.facebook.com/events/976789308999296/

image: Tino Pohlmann Fotografie / GREY Berlin

I think it's an inspiring image--though not to be picky, but I'd have leavened it with a little more hope:


My faith in humanity is now restored...

...until the next time I look at the newspaper.

Speaking of unity and world peace and reading the newspaper, North Korea cordially invites you to run a marathon in beautiful Pyongang:


BEIJING — Foreigners wanting to compete in the Pyongyang marathon next month can now sign up since North Korea reopened its borders this week after a four-month closing over Ebola fears.

North Korea closed its borders because they were afraid of Ebola?  Please.  Even Ebola doesn't want to go to North Korea.


("North Korea?  Fuck that!")

Though if you did run a North Korean marathon you could make a video of your subsequent arrest and torture (provided they take place at night) and submit it to Knog's film competition, which they've asked me to share with you:


There's over $15,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, with the winner walking away with a prize valued at $10,000 and there are heaps of chances to win. The winning videos will be screened globally (in 7 different countries over 24hours) as part of the No Ordinary Night film festival on 6th June. All people need to do is film their #NoOrdinaryNight adventures for a chance to win.

Please note that your film must be shot at night, which makes my submission completely ineligible:



Sweet Rabbi and Imam on a Tandem, it hurts to look at that!  What's better than riding mountain bikes in the fall?  Well, various things, but it's still pretty damn pleasant.  Meanwhile, it's snowing on us yet again as I type this, and the winter is clearly pushing people to the very edge of sanity:



If only this was shot at night then they could have submitted it to the Knog film contest.

Well, at least this one is probably eligible:


No ordinary night indeed.

As for me, I refuse to ride indoors.  Instead, I prefer to spend cold winter days drinking beer and getting interviewed for cycling websites:


I drank two pints of Gun Hill Brewing Co. something-or-other during the course of our chat and my tolerance isn't what it once was, so it was very kind of him to edit out the part where I revealed all my childhood traumas and then collapsed sobbing in my mac and cheese.  Also, the place where we met does happen to be one of my favorite spots in the city geographically speaking, and here's my bike parked right nearby:


When I stumbled out two hours later a polar bear was attempting to steal it.

In any case, I know it's been a long winter because yesterday evening I found myself in Target and came this close [indicates tiny distance with fingers] to buying a fat bike:


To the layperson it might appear that the fork is on backwards, but those of us in the know understand that Target is marketing this bike to true connoisseurs and they did this on purpose to show that you can do barspinzzz on it:


Plus, as far as bicycle mechanics go, I have more confidence in Target than I have in Andy Schleck, who plans to open a shop:


"The store will not only be a lobby with bikes that will be on display," Schleck told the website. "We want to give great importance to the service. I want to transfer to the customer service my skills and my athletic experience."

Really?  He'll focus on service?  This is ironic considering Schleck is most famous for losing the yellow jersey due to a mechanical problem:



In retropsect, I'm amazed Phil Liggett managed to narrate all that drama and excitement without uttering a single racial slur.  ("He's got a bit of a Jew in the drivetrain, eh Paul?")

Also, Schleck's shop (say that ten times fast!) will have a café:

Along with the bike shop, the article states that Schleck wants to open an adjoining café.

If his cooking is as good as his mechanical skills then you'll be leaving with a stomach full of anger.

Be sure to bring some Imodium.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

This Wednesday has been optimized for maximum power transfer.

Happy National Grammar Day!



Grammar is constantly evolving so I'm not sure why people are so obsessed with strict adherence to grammatical rules, though if you want to clench up your sphincter and be a "Language Fred" then that's up to you.

Frankly, I'm much more excited about National Passive Voice Day next week:


(Should be "Rats Attacked The City Baby.")

It's a celebration not to be missed.

National Mixed Metaphor Week is also a lot of fun, but by the end you tend to get burned out from flogging a dead horse since the metaphors can become strained and it's like trying to get blood from a stone.

In fact, sometimes I'm so tired afterwards I have no energy left for National Run-On Sentence Day.

Anyway, I'd much rather use my energy to scout out a route for the BSNYC Gran Fondon't:



In fact, I went for a ride yesterday, but there's still too much goddamn snow to do proper reconnaissance:


Not like it's stopping Boris Bike Guy.

Nothing stops Boris bike Guy.

Anyway, if we do the BSNYC Gran Fondon't, naturally we'll time it to coincide with the Gran Fondo New York, but we'll do it on the opposite side of the river.  Here's when the GFNY happens:



By the way, speaking of National Grammar Day, they really ought to edit that countdown clock for accuracy:


And here is the countdown clock for the BSNYC Gran Fondon't:


Click here to download it to your smartphone.

Finally, the last thing I'll say about the BSNYC Gran Fondon't (which may or may not happen) for the moment is that the only rule will be NO GODDAMN STRAVA:


You want to Strava, go ride with this guy:


Just be ready to help him inflate his tires beforehand.

And if I wasn't busy enough not planning a non-event, now some TV production company wants me to do their casting for them:

Hi Bike Snob,

I'm writing from a British Television production company, Wild Blue Media.

We're looking for six highly competitive, speed junkies to take part in an adventure of a lifetime. They'll be filmed as they travel the world taking on locals in an amazing and diverse array of speed events from Yak riding in remote Mongolia to drag racing in Africa?

We want men and women with real lives; all with a passion for speed - 18 or over. Over 12 months they'll need to commit to a minimum of 13 trips to various remote and amazing destinations with all expenses paid.

We'd like to feature a NYC courier /fixie rider in the mix so hoped you could help us connect with the right people and spread the word on your site / FB / Twitter page and share our flyer.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Nick 

casting@wildbluemedia.tv



First of all..."speed junkie?"


(Ah, I see the difference.  He shaved his mustache.  Looks better actually.)

Secondly, it's 2015 for chrissake!  Do people still think there's life in this bike courier stereotype?!?  Did "Premium Rush" not suck the last bit of saccharine "juice" out of that over-marketed sack of Capri Sun?



Still, I think I know a guy:


He'll ride the shit out of a yak, too.

Of course, if they're going to be racing through Africa they could always use Lucas Brunelle and his posse of rolling Zoolanders:


("Meow!")

Or, you know, the messenger who did the stunts in "Premium Rush:"


One thing's for sure though, which is that there's currently more film and TV work for messengers than actual messenger work.  If you've got dreams of stardom, why go the Tobias Fünke route and humiliate yourself by auditioning for roles?  Instead, max out your credit card at the Chrome store, get a job with one of the few remaining messenger companies, and just ride around New York City looking the part.  Dial in the image and you'll be riding a yak on a reality show in no time.

Or, if you really want to set yourself apart, skip the Chrome store and wear some high-fashion on-the-bike rainwear instead:


Meet the designer:


"I'm Emma Jorn, I'm a fashion designer."

You don't say.

I was in no way stunned to learn the woman dressed like a daisy was a fashion designer, but I admit this three-in-one tandem poncho did surprise me:


It's perfect for riding three abreast, which will get you either arrested or simply run over in most of the United States.  Yes, American drivers hate when cyclists ride two or more abreast, because then you're almost as wide as a car, and for a brief moment they experience what it's like for us when we're stuck behind their bloated gas-guzzling road-hogging pieces of crap.

Anyway, for inspiration, the designer went to Tokyo:


And then she combined what she saw there with "chic Nordic design tradition," which is another way of saying "black capes like you'd wear to a funeral:"


She does love you, though:


Hey, I can appreciate the sentiment.  It's about time someone hitting you up for money on Kickstarter was nice to you.  How come the guy who invented the electric fat bike never says he loves me?


Still, she's really stuck on this three-in-one tandem poncho thing, which could be a problem:


Though I suppose it's great if you attend a lot of funerals in the rain.

To that end, she wants your help:


Which of course you're more than welcome to give her, and she's certainly likable enough...though I think she should launch a new Kickstarter for that sweet shower bike!


That's one less excuse for poor hygiene.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"I'll ride a bike when you pry my gun from my cold, dead hands."

Do you like to ride the bicycles?


(He does.)

Well guess what?  You're not alone!  Sure, the media treats us like a fringe group--and yes, we receive about as much respect as sex offenders, or those idiots who refuse to vaccinate their children against polio.  Nevertheless, it turns out lots of Americans do in fact ride bikes:


The U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmarking Report, commissioned by PeopleForBikes, indicates that 34 percent of Americans age three or older rode a bike at least once in 2014. For comparison, the same study found that 40 percent of Americans ran or jogged outside last year.

Previous studies had pegged U.S. bicycling participation much lower. The 2014 National Sporting Goods Association data indicated a bicycling participation rate of only 12 percent.

This is good news...I guess.  Sadly, "rode a bike at least once" probably includes people who like to get drunk, go to Walmart, and joyride Kents through the seasonal decorations section.  Furthermore, while over 30% of Americans may have ridden a bike last year, this percentage is overshadowed by the 85% of Americans who are raging assholes.  This is why 52% of us (that's the sober half) are deathly afraid of getting run over by our fellow Americans:

However, the study also found that 48 percent of U.S. adults do not have access to a bike at home, and 52 percent worry about being hit by a car while riding.

“A lot of Americans ride bikes, but unfortunately from our point of view, most or many only ride occasionally,” Blumenthal said. “Thirty percent rode five days or less, and a pretty big number rode only once in the last year.

Worst of all, fully 93% of Americans fall under a category called "Too obese to ride."

So really, none of this is good news at all, and it's why our rallying cry here in Canada's impacted anal sac is "Fuck it, I'm leasing a Hyundai."

Well, at least until you can be the Hyundai:


I'm old enough to remember when this was supposed to be our future:


Which is why everybody used to scream about nuclear war:


Now though the concept of nuclear annihilation seems positively quaint, and it's quite clear that in a generation or two we'll all be reduced to a bunch of R2-D2s instead:


Every so often, a malfunctioning Apple car will hit a bunch of us in an iCrosswalk:


And we'll go skittering down the street like it's an Easter egg roll.

"No criminality suspected"--provided of course the driver has AppleCare.

So where do bikes fit into this electronic future?  Probably nowhere.  It's only a matter of time before our government hands off our crumbling infrastructure to the corporations in exchange for highway naming rights, and why would those corporations want to encourage people to ride bikes when they can sell us their rolling suppositories instead?  Well, that is unless the car companies start making bikes:


Though even the cycling layperson knows that buying a bike from a car company is like ordering sushi in a diner.

It's too bad Americans love cars but hate trains and bikes, because trains and bikes actually work really well together.  In fact, did you know that bike cars on trains make passengers safer?



HOW DOES IT WORK?

The idea is to disperse the energy created by impact away from the areas of passenger cars where people sit. To do so, cars are engineered with crush zones that collapse unoccupied areas, such as brake and electrical service closets, bicycle storage areas, vestibules and stairwells, according to a Federal Railroad Administration report on the technology. Cab cars at the front of trains also have a collapsible nose cone, which helps absorb impact.

Sadly, bicycle storage areas on trains are few and far between, and here in New York when riding the commuter trains with a bike you're supposed to put it in the handicapped seating area:


Presumably if someone in a wheelchair boards the train you're just supposed to fight it out.

But yeah, as I alluded to earlier, I'm getting old.  I used to see the Cro-Mags, now I see the dermatologist.  (Actually, I think my dermatologist was in the Cro-Mags.)  Still, I find myself growing nostalgic for the days when I used to ride skateboards and BMX bikes.  Fortunately, a reader named Kevin tells me I can now experience the thrill of both--simultaneously!--by riding a Bikeboard:



With the Bikeboard, you can execute a groin-tearing footplant:


As well as "catch" a "massive" amount of "air:"


All thanks to the "goofy tiller effect" of the reversed quill stem:


Best of all, the Bikeboard is easy on the hips, which is why a Bikeboard crew looks less like a bunch of hooligans and more like a physical therapy class at a retirement home:



See?  This duder looks comfy:


And check out Gramps:


(How the hell is it so sunny in Seattle?)

He hasn't had this much fun since he used to thrash on a scooter he made from a crate:


Yep, this is what it looks like when someone puts a GoPro on a walker:


And check out this sick cyclocross-style remount:


OH MY GOD THEIR NOT WEARING HELLMENTS THEIR GOING TO DIE!!!

Speaking of technological advancements, if your bike is slightly too wide to fit inside--and you use a quill stem--you may be interested in the FlipCrown:



I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "Can't I just loosen my stem and turn the handlebars sideways without the FlipCrown?"

Yes.  Yes you can.

Though this would come in very handy on my Bikeboard.

I know what else you're thinking.  You're thinking, "If storage space is at such a premium, instead of rotating your bars all the time, wouldn't it make sense to take advantage of the convenience and ease of a folding bike?"  Well, not if you're this woman:



Though after many years of training you might one day attempt to challenge the world record:



See that?  The secret to quick folding is to use both hands at once:


Just ask Mario Cipollini:


In fact, spending time with Cipollini is exactly like being a Brompton: in both cases you wind up collapsed in on yourself and utterly without dignity.