Monday, July 2, 2007

Five Reasons I Hate Being a Cyclist

Being Treated Like a Moron by the Companies that Manufacture the Equipment I Use

Come on. How stupid do these companies think I am? How can something be "stiff yet compliant?" Why do they think I will pay twice as much for the same stem I've been using for six years because now it's wrapped in carbon fiber and weighs 40 grams more? Why do they keep expanding the diameter of my headtube? Why the hell does everything have to be "oversized?" Every clamp, bearing, and tube is swelling faster than the waistlines of the middle-aged investment bankers who are buying them. Why do they think I can't figure out by looking at a component with a fancy graphic printed on it that it is identical to another company's less-expensive component that is made in the same Asian factory? Why do they keep taking spokes out of my goddamned wheels? Why do they put labels on everything warning me not to try to service it, as though it's more complicated than tightening a bolt with an allen key? You can build a whole damn bike with about three tools! Why does "Bontrager" think I'm dumb enough to pay $20 for bar end plugs? And so forth.

Explaining the Tour de France to Laypeople

The Tour is right around the corner, and I have no intention of writing about it. That will be done elsewhere--from the straight coverage on Cyclingnews to the satirical coverage they'll undoubtedly provide on Velocitynation (the US Weekly of NYC bike racing, for better or for worse). But like most cyclists at this time of year I will have at least one layperson ask me to explain how the Tour works. There was a time when I enjoyed revealing the subtleties and intricacies of the race to the uninitiated, in hopes that they would be converted and in turn spread the word and help the sport grow. Now, years later, I've come to terms with the fact that this will never happen. They'll nod their heads and go back to watching football. Good. I'm sick of explaining it anyway. What's more, I no longer want the sport to grow. It's filled with enough idiots as it is.

People Who Think That Charity Rides Are Races

I'm no misanthrope. Actually I am, but I'm all in favor of charity rides. I mean, come on, they help people and they get people riding. However, I become a little touchy when people think that they are races. Like when they close half the city for the MS Ride and some friend-of-a-friend or relative asks me, "Oh, were you in that big race today?" Or when you mention you race bikes to somebody and they tell you how the 195 pound chainsmoker in the cubicle next to them did that Five Borough Bike Tour "race" last week on a straining, squeaky hybrid and ask you why you didn't. Then when you take pains to gently explain that those aren't races, they think you're an arrogant prick. (OK, maybe that's just me.)

Being Treated Like Garbage By Everybody

Anybody who commutes by bike knows the sheer rage you feel when some obese retard in a minivan takes a break from his or her cellphone conversation to yell between bites of Dunkin' Donuts that you "belong on the sidewalk." Or how pedestrians look right through you when you have the light and walk right into your path. This is nothing new. Nor is it new that when you try to bring your valuable bicycle into a store or place of business so that it won't get stolen, the proprietor usually acts like you're bringing in a wild boar with diarrhea. But as a racer, it would at least kind of make up for it if we got any respect as athletes. But we don't. At least not in NYC. Here we're allowed to use the parks for races only until the sun comes up, at which point we're banished like Giuliani banished the homeless. Usually we're being forced out to accommodate a running race of some kind. The runners are usually allowed to stay the whole day. Over a course of many hours, finishers gradually stumble across the line while their adoring friends and family applaud and wrap them in tinfoil capes. Why are runners so loved and cyclists so despised? What's so great about running anyway? Most of these people will never get anywhere near the winners of their races. They just run for their "personal bests." Big deal! I can beat myself without even trying! I suck! You're supposed to beat somebody better than you. Maybe that's why people hate us. Because we can admit that.

Being Asked If I Won My Race

Of course I didn't! As I already mentioned, I suck. The correct question is, "How was the race?"


Joos Litvalk said...

When people ask me if I won the race I just did, I simply reply, "Nope, I lost."

GhostRider said...

Alright, you've wholly redeemed yourself -- your comments about how bike commuters are treated like dirt are so "right on the money", and your rant about bike manufacturers is spot-on. Can I get an amen? I said, CAN I GET AN AMEN two times?!?

Bob G said...

amen, amen...
and what IS the deal about every ride being a damn race? grrrrr

alliwannadoisbicycle said...

word to your mom. she's a nice lady.

Nrjetik1 said...

HaHaHa...I commute by bike (in San Francisco)ahem Bianchi Pista with front brake, have done a fair bit of road racing, and participated in many charity centuries to boot and I must agree: motorists and pedestrians are mostly clueless...

As to "did you win?" well, there was a time once lesser a Category and a few years younger when I could say yes, but these days I just smile and say I was happy not to be DFL.

Anonymous said...

As far as "being treated like garbage by everybody", why didn't you include the way certain cyclists treat others?
I've gone into many a LBS on my bmx bike and been anywhere from ignored to laughed at (I also ride a mountain bike). The ones doing the ignoring and laughing were either road bikers or roadies turned mountain bikers. Complete assholes. I don't think all roadies and mountain bikers are that way but I've met quite a few who are. Christ, I've met bmx'ers treat their own kind the same way...

Can't we all just pedal along and quit bitching? But then your blog wouldn't be as funny as it is. Damnit!!! Such a dilemma.

meh-wee-uhn said...

Re. Running: The wheel was invented thousands of years ago and I find it silly that so many people are so eager to take an evolutionary step backwards.

Morgan said...

Those $20 bar plugs look a bit cheap. You should try a pair of these. A snip at $75...

MRussell said...

Did I win?, damn right I won.

I won because I don't live on a couch and consider exercise getting a beer from the fridge during a tv timeout...

Carbon bar plugs, classic... 1.5grams, hmmm how much do the plastic ones that come in the box of bar tape weight????

Great blog. Keep slapping 'em around till they get some common sense...

Bobke Strut said...

A corollary to "Explaining the Tour de France to Laypeople" is having to inform my co-workers/friends/relative exactly why I'm not racing Le Tour. It seems that the common perception of how the Tour de France operates is that anybody with a bike and a means to get to France can enter, just like anybody with sneakers and $10 can run their local Saturday morning 5k running race.

Anonymous said...

Thank you BSNYC.
your blog rocks! I have been in the "industry" for 13 years and I hate cyclists more every day. My new mantra is "love the bike, hate the biker". Can we please get a little hate for the 24hr/Mnt. bike fest or trade shows next please? I need to warm up for Interbike.

Anonymous said...

may we please have you give this poser a well writen beat-down:

Arrrg... it's got it all: sidways hat, chain wallet, deep-Vs, stupid tats...

Anonymous said...

Damn! the link got cut off. Here's the whole thing. Link to ubber hipness.

Fixxie choad keep'n it real

Anonymous said...

One more time then I give up:

The last bit of link is.."JasonHimstedt.html"

BikeSnobNYC said...


Wow, thanks for that one. I actually saw it but hadn't scrolled down to the ones showing the guy in action. Those shots are priceless. Wasn't he in Blink 182? I didn't know the fashion guidelines for Middle School teachers were so stringent these days. I particulary like how he's throwing down in the schoolyard. I bet he and the tweens have some pretty mean skid contests. Jeez.

El Serracho! said...

harmonic dampeners. heh. anyone who buys those deserves them.

Anonymous said...

As the office "guy who rides a bike," I love it when the Tour de France comes around.

The aftermath of last year's Tour was especially good, when I was assigned the role of office authority on doping. Good fun!

Anonymous said...

Amen about being the cultural attache for cycling at work every July. Now I just make stuff up:

"The word 'peleton' translates in French to 'a group of emaciated drug addicts wearing tight pants'."

Oh ... wait ... I guess that's true.

That twat is a middle school teacher!?!?

J said...

Oh, boy...

J said...

That link got cut off.

Add "en.htm" to the end, and it should work...


Anonymous said...

While that duct-tape job is just ridiculous, the 2" of extra chain he has on that bike are almost as bad.

Anonymous said...

"What's more, I no longer want the sport to grow. It's filled with enough idiots as it is"

"However, I become a little touchy when people think that they are races. Like when they close half the city for the MS Ride and some friend-of-a-friend or relative asks me, "Oh, were you in that big race today"

Your douchebaggery continues--you seem fixated on telling yourself this banal narrative that you are part of a rarified and special enterprise--cycling. As the holder of special knowledge and sensibilities you can achieve the psychological equivalent of a short man wearing elevator shoes. . .I won't speculate on the source of your anxiety but it seems some couch time is warranted--please desist from this silliness.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous July 5th 2:31am,

Thanks for the post. I do appreciate the feedback and figured I'd take a moment to reply. You have good insight into the site, except I think you made a wrong turn at taking it too seriously. Please know that I certainly count myself among the "idiots" I mentioned. I'm glad you at least took the time to visit and read. There's still too much in my suitcase of douchebaggery to desist at this point, and I think this site probably just isn't for you (and, I'm sure, plenty of others). Fortunately there are probably a couple other cycling sites out there to read instead.

Sorry I rubbed you the wrong way. Thanks again and keep riding.


Gustavo said...


All I can say is that there are 2 kinds of douchebags. The ones that KNOW they are douchebags, and the ones that DON'T.

"Mr. Anonymous" is operating under the idea that you are a mere pretender to HIS lofty heights, but it is obvious that are aware of your own douchebaggery, so please continue with your hilarious, yet accurate, assessments and commentary of bike culture.

Regards from a fellow douchebag cyclist,

Portland, Oregon

Anonymous said...

Funny, in a cynical, holier than thou, i'm cooler than you, way.

Anonymous said...

Nut many times.. not!

Goulden21 said...

haha i just stumbled upon your blog.. it was hilarious!!

i am doing some research regarding cycling and am trying to figure out how to get around the expensive-ness of the sport!!!

bikes.. holy jesus!
200 for the OUTFIT. you need a helme.t you need proper shoes.

its like you need a whole new everything..

this sport is not gentle to the newbies is it? ( physically and to the wallet)

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Bird of Paradise said...

Cyclists should obey all the traffic laws just as motorists do and should be curtius to pedestrians

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