Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BSNYC TV: Putting Bikes on the Air

I find it both surprising and disappointing that in these days of specialized programming and infinite cable channels there isn't more bicycle-related television. Sure, there's Versus and their potent cocktail of professional road racing, rodeo, and hockey, but after that it's a precipitous drop into the world of public access cycling shows. And while I applaud their DIY efforts, watching grainy helmet-cam images of neon windbreaker-clad men with helmet cams on hybrids is more like watching moon rover footage than cycling programming. After that, the only thing left is Youtube. So I say that, like the trackstand-impaired, we put our collective foot down and demand some shows. Here is some of what what you'll be able to see on my fantasy network:

The Fixies

These four Brooklyn-based, mop-topped, fixed-gearin’ bandmates pick up where “The Monkees” left off. They’ll skip-stop and trackstand their way into your heart as they make their way from gig to gig, girl to girl, and comic predicament to comic predicament. You’ll love how the denouement of every episode involves them scrambling frantically to make it to a gig to the strains of their own ersatz indie-pop. Season one highlights include:

--The gang gets lost on the way to the Bohemian Hall in Astoria, winds up in East New York, and tries not to get jumped for their bikes;

--Blaine “borrows” Fab’s custom-painted Aerospoke to impress a hot date, robbing him of precious street cred on the day of the big alleycat. Recriminations and hijinx ensue;

--The special “Christmas in Hawaii” episode has the airline losing the gang’s baggage and they’re forced to travel around the Big Island on wicker tricycles;

--When Sherrod gets a geared bike and falls in with the roadie crowd, the band must show him the error of his lycra-clad ways. The hilarious ruse the guys use to trick Sherrod into showing up for the intervention puts the “sham” back in “chamois cream;”

--Christophe attempts to wrench his own bike rather than take it to the shop and loses his fretting digits to his NJS drivetrain. Fortunately the hospital is able to reattach them, but he won’t be able to play that night. Will special guest Thurston Moore save the day?

The Jobst Brandt Show

The irrascible author of “The Bicycle Wheel” begrudgingly allows guests into his home and systematically berates them while extolling the virtues of non-anodized rims. His imperious browbeatings are interspersed with impossibly tall tales of his Alpine cycling exploits such as: the time he descended so quickly his brake pads burst into flames; the time he found himself without a spare tube, killed a bear, and fashioned one from its intestines; and the time he accidentally created the Loire river by dragging his frame pump behind him.

America’s Next Top Bicycle Mail-Order Catalog Model

This behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make it in the cutthroat world of windbreaker, helmet and half-short modeling is sure to be nothing short of incendiary. Experience first-hand the sex, drugs, and excessive energy-drink consumption that takes place behind the cameras as a group of decent-looking ,corn-fed, and ethnically homogenous Midwesterners vie for the coveted fall Performance catalog cover. You’ll gain newfound respect for the production assistants who must teach these non-cycling J. Crew catalog rejects how to operate velcro, get into and out of clipless pedals, and in some cases how to ride bicycles.

The “Long Travel” Show

What do you get when you mix travel to exotic locales, freeriding, and extreme environtmental and cultural insensitivity? Awesomeness, that’s what! Watch as this fun-loving crew travels to some of the most amazing places on earth and completely shreds them. These guys are about platform pedals, not platitudes. In the debut episode they hit China, dam a Yangtzee river tributary so they can ride what their sonar indicates should be a “gnarly” riverbed, and consequently kill off the last of the baiji dolphins, also known as “pandas in water.” Then it’s off to Easter Island, where the famous ruins make for great riding and the traditional culture offers plenty of opportunities to offend. Comic misunderstandings will abound when the freeriders disgust the locals with their brusque manners, insatiable thirst for alcohol, and repeated offers of money for sex. And sparks will really fly when east meets west and the crew hits Mecca for some urban assault riding just in time for Ramadaan...

Paris-Breast-Paris

“Baywatch” meets “The Bachelorette” by way of “The Amazing Race” in this shameless ratings-boosting ploy in which a group of voluptuous women compete in a series of brevets to determine which one will win the hand of newly-single French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Bike Law and Order: Fashion Victims Unit

In the first episode, “Something Rotten in the State of Denmark,” a controversial and misanthropic New York cycling blogger makes an innocent and lame joke about a fixed-gear-related t-shirt produced by a Danish company. The next day, he is flamed like a Norwegian church by an anonymous commenter whose first language does not appear to be English. Shortly thereafter the blogger disappears. The FVU team then uncovers angry chatter on a Danish internet forum. Is the t-shirt model responsible? Will the blogger be found? Will his Chicago counterpart be able to stand in for him successfully? Or is the fact that the FVU team doesn’t speak a word of Danish leading them down the wrong path altogether? Tune in to find out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Germ-Laden Projectiles

(The "Mud Jug" portable spittoon.)

Certainly the most dangerous and unpleasant part of cycling in New York City is dealing with motor vehicles. Their behavior can range from the tedious (such as the car creeping along a narrow street in search of parking a space like a congressman trolling for a hooker) to the deadly (like the yellow cab that cuts across four lanes of traffic in order to beat another to a fare). But it’s not just the vehicles themselves that are the problem. Sometimes the worst part is what comes out of them.

As you ride in the city, you’ll notice that cars and trucks in the city are constantly disgorging detritus into the environment. Cigarette butts and cellophane are probably the most common things you’ll encounter coming out of cars, but coffee cups, food wrappers, random trash from impromptu red-light car-cleanups, and entire bags of McDonalds are also quite common. Taxis and car services also like to stop, open their doors, and spill out their excess coffee to make more room for cream, which for cyclists combines the excitement of getting scalded and getting doored. But worst of all (in terms of the impact on your dignity as opposed to the environment) is the spit.

Living in New York is like living in a giant baseball dugout. Everybody spits, all the time. On sunny days the streets practically glisten with it like glassphalt. And naturally, people don’t stop doing it when they’re in their cars. At red lights doors and windows are constantly opening to allow for the egress of spit, and riding through stopped traffic is like running a loogie gauntlet.

There are few things as simultaneously infuriating and degrading as being spit on. It is a primal act of derision far worse than the most prolonged horn-blow or the most hateful invective. I’m sure I’m not the only cyclist to have been accidentally spit upon, or to have flown into a rage as a result. Perhaps the only saving grace is that when you do start screaming insults at the spitter, they accept the insults and apologize. A driver might make an illegal turn and almost kill you, and when you yell at him he will yell right back. But the spitter at least understands the universal awfulness of spitting on someone, and so he yields. As humans, it seems to be embedded in our DNA that spitting on people is worse than killing them.

I thought about all of this once again this morning as I was nearly slathered in lung-butter like a piece of toast at a greasy spoon. Fortunately I heard the sound of the window opening and that telltale guttural hocking sound and was able to adjust my speed accordingly. I did manage to evade the projectile, though unfortunately I rolled through it and was forced to observe the wet spot on my tire for a few rotations. And true to the spitter’s creed, when I loudly admonished him for having Oedipal tendencies, he simply held his tongue and took it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Apocafixed Now! The End Is Nigh

Awhile back I posted about the Seven Signs of the Fixed-Gear Apocalypse. Frankly, I can't blame you if you read that at the time and shrugged it off the same way people did when they first started hearing about global warming. But today I've come across some things which, like that drowning polar bear in "An Inconvenient Truth," should shock you once and for all into believing this thing is for real. In fact, I'm going so far as to raise the BSNYC Fixed-Gear Apocalypse Advisory System level from orange to red, and that tearing sound you hear is me opening the velcro on the orange BSNYC FGAAS top-tube pad and replacing it with a red one.




The first thing to give me pause today was this entry on Velospace. Like a Doctors Without Borders volunteer who's seen one too many goiters and is no longer fazed by them, I have now reached the point where I can look at fixed-gear freestylers like this without throwing up (though I was a bit disturbed by the way this one evoked the old admonition not to eat yellow snow). But it wasn't until I came across this in the description that I became frightened: "beautiful, stiff, and could survive the apocalypse." Apocalypse?!? What does this person know about the Apocalypse, and why is he building a bike to survive it? I suspected immediately that he knew more than he was letting on.

My suspicions were confirmed immediately, when I discovered that on that very same day, in the very same village, a mountain bike had been born without spokes, hubs, or drivetrain. Yet the wheels stayed on!

And even more grotesque, a geared DeRosa was born with bullhorns and top-mount brake levers.


Perhaps most horrific of all was this abomination. Until today I was fortunate enough to be able to say that I'd never seen a pair of flopped-and-chopped mountain bike bars, but I can't say that anymore. I feel like damaged goods now. Two hours in the shower with a loofah and a tub of citrus hand-degreaser and I still feel dirty after looking at this thing. The angled saddle taunts me, its proboscis pointing mockingly at the bars and its plastic cupcake swaying like a saccharine censer in a satanic breeze that carries the wretched stench of death and burning Vittorias. This bicycle confirms what I've long suspected: like the Discovery Channel and most fans of professional road racing, God has given up on cyling.

King Kog's site serves as sort of an early warning system for me--it is of course where I first learned of the Aerospoke Crisis. So, alarmed by the aforementioned bicycles, I clicked over and discovered the "Pista Paria" t-shirt above. At first I was puzzled, and suspected that the the shirt was simply missing an "H." But a little Wikipedia research soon revealed that "Paria is a village situated near Vapi in Valsad District, Gujarat, India...Its population of is approximately 5,000." Clearly this shirt indicates the existence of some kind of rural Indian fixed-gear subculture. And if this whole thing has become so popular that they're even doing it in Paria (where they've only just gotten "Chico and the Man" from what I understand) then there is officialy nowhere to hide.


And clearly Fabric Horse is expecting the Apocalypse as well, judging from this product. According to the copy it's "A superhero of rust, black, and shades of gray for that long sought-after, rugged cyclist look." I once thought that these cycling utility belts had come about because pants have gotten so tight people can no longer keep things in their pockets, but now it is obvious to me that Fabric Horse too know the Apocalypse is coming and want people to be prepared for it. I only hope it's not coming too soon, though, since the site also says to "allow 2-4 weeks for delivery."

Now fully convinced that we were in trouble, I went over to Craigslist. I figured if the Apocalypse was truly nigh people would be ditching their fixed-gears the way rats ditch a sinking ship. Sure enough I was right:


Bianchi Pista - $599 (Chelsea) [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/462792062.html]

Brand New " been on the road 3 times" still under service warranty

51" frame

Upgrade on Pedals and Hand Brake

Chrome Frame

Not even 3 months old

Buy this bike new which it pretty much is will cost you over $800

Cash Only Seriously Interested people only!!

Price is Final


Chilling. Upgraded "hand brake" and pedals, and he was only asking for about $50 above full retail! He must be desperate. Then I saw this:

53 cm mercier green fixed - $350 [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/462858848.html]

53 cm green mercier kilo tt, rides great, in need of quick cash so must sell asap, if you want pictures, and specs, i will email you my phone number. moving out of ny. fixed gear, track, velocity


OK, if you're not convinced now, you're crazy. This guy's skipping town and he's not even taking his pogo stick on wheels with him. He obviously knows what's about to happen. So repent, and don't say I didn't warn you. (And note the red top tube pad!)

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's All in the Details: Screw Your Bike!


Among the many reasons to visit the great drunkcyclist.com is to remind yourself how short life as a cyclist can be. Certainly my own commute is often like queueing up for a taco of annoyance at the clusterfuqeria, but I try to keep that in perspective and enjoy the ride as much as possible lest it be my last. And while there are many obstacles to being happy on the bike—among them wayward garbage trucks, clueless pedestrians, and even other cyclists—there are certain things we can control.

One of the biggest impediments to cycling happiness is being overly fixated on your bike. As any Buddhist or the kid from “A Christmas Story” who gets his tongue stuck to the pole will tell you, attachment to material things only causes pain. Certainly your bike is a key component to cycling, but it’s only a tool. The ride is what’s important, and we all know that obsessing about what’s between your legs is only a way of compensating for feelings of inadequacy. If you're too hung up on what you're riding, here are a few ways to free yourself from this crippling attachment:

Downgrade Your Bike

Nothing will make you more miserable than getting stuck in an endless cycle of “upgrading” your components. No matter what you’re using, some German weight-weenies will come out with something else that’s half the weight and twice the price. Furthermore, most people are riding too much bike anyway. If you’re riding Dura Ace, chances are you’d be perfectly fine with Ultegra. If you’re riding XT, you probably really only need LX. Like the new rider who thinks he has to push a 53x12 all the time, most of us are simply overgeared. So sell your carbon bars and replace them with aluminum ones. Ebay the Ksyriums and try some conventional wheels. By freeing yourself from the cycle you’ll worry a lot less and you’ll realize what you thought was an upgrade was actually the equivalent of diamond-encrusted gold fronts.

Let Your Bike Get Scratched Up

Certainly it would be ridiculous and wasteful to purposely damage your bike. However, letting it get scratched up a bit can be liberating. Nothing will limit your enjoyment of your bike more than fretting about its appearance and trying to preserve the fleeting thrill of purchase and acquisition for all eternity. Don't be like Cameron Frye's father in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." This is the impulse that drives people to swaddle their bicycles in top tube pads and bandanas and treat them like lap dogs and bubble boys. Bicycle maintenance should only be about two things—keeping the bike working, and not letting it get stolen. The rest is a waste of riding time.



Remember That Your Bike Has No Soul
You’ve probably heard people say that certain bikes have soul. None of them do. That lugged steel Colnago, that Cinelli track bike, and even that Fat Chance mountain bike are all as devoid of soul as an Avril Lavigne record. I don’t care if Ugo DeRosa himself built your frame while drinking Chianti from a wicker-wrapped bottle, listening to Pagliacci on a warbly phonograph, and discussing the finer points of olive oil with Marcello Mastriani. Bikes don’t have souls—they have decals.

Don’t Clean Your Bike For A Month

Sure, keeping your bike clean is important and makes parts last longer, but when you’re threading a rag between your cogs after every ride you probably need to loosen up. Floss after eating, not after riding. If you’re a compulsive cleaner, lay off the Simple Green for a few weeks and give the dirt a little time to attach itself before you rinse it off. I want to run my finger under that top tube and feel sweat crust.

Work On Your Bike Yourself

Sure, some people just don’t have the time or the mechanical aptitude to work on their own bikes, and there’s nothing wrong with going to a shop when you get in over your head. But a lot of people don’t work on their bikes simply because they’re afraid of messing them up. If this is you, next time you need to repair or replace something get in there and do it yourself. Go ahead, strip a few bolts, scratch a few components, and mess up a few adjustments--it’s not the end of the world. Not doing your own work because you’re afraid of your bike is like taking the cheater line instead of trying to hop the log. Plus, leaving all the work to a shop means they set things up the way they think they should be set up, not necessarily the way that’s best for you. You should learn your own preferences, not have them dictated to you. After all, you choose your own underwear in the morning, right?

Sacrifice A Bike

Constantly selling and upgrading your bikes isn’t healthy, but neither is developing an overly-strong attachment to them. If you’ve got a bike you’re inordinately fond of but barely ride, sell it. And I’m not talking about that fake attention-seeking selling where you write an ad that’s really an essay about how wonderful your bike is and how reluctant you are to part with it and then ask a price you know you’ll never get. No, just list the components, price it to move, and get rid of it. Attachments are like friends in a bar fight—they’ll only hold you back.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

BSNYC Infrequently Asked Questions

Occasionally people write to me and ask me questions about bikes. While I’m flattered they think I’d know the answer, I must confess that the only subject I’m truly an expert on is stuff that annoys me. Nonetheless, even though I can’t offer the sagacity of “Ask Zach,” I do think I have some knowledge worth sharing. Here are a few random questions and answers in no particular order. So if you don’t mind misinformation feel free to email me, but just check here first since your question might already have been answered:

What is a freerider?

Freeriders are people who sit bolt-upright on their bikes, wear baggy clothes, and look for high things to ride off of. If you think of your favorite mountain bike trail as a human body, freeriders are the people who focus on one tiny part of it. They are the ear, nose, and throat doctors, bikini waxers, and foot fetishists of the mountain biking world.

Why are the woods squeaking?

No, you’re not about to be attacked by spider monkeys. If you’ve noticed recently that your local sylvan refuge sounds like the boxspring of your overly amorous neighbor, this is probably due to the fact that it is full of mountain bikers on dual suspension bikes who don’t maintain them properly. While these contraptions are admittedly complex, it would be nice if these riders would occasionally lubricate their pivots. Or failing that, they should take a cue from your overly amorous neighbor and discover the joys of riding rigid.

How can I overhaul my Shimano STI lever?

Well, the official answer is that you can’t, since they’re not meant to be rebuildable. However, some people claim to have done so successfully. If the lever’s dead anyway, you might as well try. Here’s an exploded diagram.

How can I overhaul my Campagnolo Ergo lever?

Unlike Shimano, Campy levers are designed to be rebuildable. This is why Campy owners exude that infuriating aura of smug self-satisfaction. If your Campy-equipped bike starts missing shifts like a cashier with a short register, here’s a simple diagram for you to follow. You’ll be clicking and gloating in no time.

I think I need a new bottom bracket. How do I know which type I need?

If you’re not sure what kind of bottom bracket your bike has, use the Samuel L. Jackson method of BB identification. If at the time you bought your bike Sam Jackson was an extremely talented character actor who appeared in films like “Goodfellas,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Patriot Games,” then you have a square taper bottom bracket. If Jackson had already done “Pulp Fiction” and was now getting top billing in films like “Jackie Brown,” “Unbreakable,” and the new “Star Wars” movies, then you probably have Octalink. If your crank is neither Shimano or Campy, Jackson was starting to do movies like “Changing Lanes,” and you were starting to ask yourself, “Is Sam even reading scripts anymore?,” then you’ve probably got ISIS. Finally, if Jackson had completed his transformation to camp-mongering schlockster specializing in B movies with serpentine references like “Black Snake Moan” and “Snakes on a Plane” then you’ve most likely got an outboard bottom bracket system.

If you’ve got a Campy crank, it’s a square taper. Unless your crank is ugly. Then it’s one of those Hirth joint things.

I just bought a new high-end road bike. How do I keep it in good working order?

You paid top dollar for a bicycle, and part of what you paid for is durability. Don’t compromise that durability by riding your bicycle in the rain, during the winter, or in any situation where it might get wet, dirty, or subject to damage of any kind. If you don’t already own a “rain bike,” make sure you get one immediately. You should also get a “crit bike,” a “training bike,” and a bike for long recreational rides. It should stand to reason that the more you paid for your bicycle the less you should ride it, and that you should spend most of your riding time on crappier bikes instead. Remember—your new road bike is less about riding then it is about your idea of what a road bike should be. It should be preserved in amber so that you can sell it on eBay when it’s time for an upgrade next year.

I want to sell my bike. How much is it worth?

If your bike is a vintage mountain bike, a track bike, or has horizontal dropouts, ask whatever you want and you’ll probably get it. And do it now, before the bubble pops. If it’s anything else, put it up on Craigslist for $20 less than you paid for it. Be sure to mention the many upgrades you’ve made to the bike, like the new American flag bar tape, suspension seatpost (bonus points if the suspension post is on a road bike), and bizarre handlebar attachments. Be sure to mention also that the bike has sentimental value to you, that CannondaleSpecializedBianchiTrek doesn’t make this color anymore, that it has completed the Five Boro Bike Tour, and that it deserves to be ridden and that you want it to go to a good home. Also throw in something extra, like a used pair of shorts. After four weeks and seventeen posts give up and put it in the basement. With any luck in ten years some new trend will come along, aluminum bikes with vertical dropouts and integrated headsets will be all the rage for some reason, and you’ll make a killing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Track or Treat: Dressing Your Bike for Halloween

Halloween is coming, and leaving your bike out of the festivites is like going trick-or-treating but leaving your child at home. So why not dress up your favorite ride and take it out for a night on the town? I've already got my bike costumes worked out--I'm dressing them all up as Mike Wallace and we're going to stay home reading aloud from transcripts of "60 Minutes"--but if you need help coming up with your own here are a few possibilities to lube your chain of creativity. Of course, these are all fixed-gears, but you should be able to come up with something for your own bike no matter what you're riding. And be sure to wear something yourself to complement your bike's costume:
Rolling Pumpkin

This one's easy. Gluing some leaves and a pumpkin stem to the top tube should complete the illusion:

And of course for the full Cucurbita effect you should be sure to don this delightful chapeau:





Scaffold


Ah yes, the tall bike--like a tandem, only way more stupid. The possibilities for dressing up your own are endless: a garment rack; the Wright Brothers plane; a Rube Goldberg device... But these can also be labor intensive. If you're pressed for time, just try a simple scaffold. You don't really have to do anything:


To drive home the point you can carry a bucket of paint around, offer to change people's light bulbs, or maybe even dress like this:


Or, if you're a surrealist, consider going in this direction:



Steven Tyler's Mic Stand

This costume is only a few more schmatas away from completion:


No prizes for figuring out who you should dress like when you take the stage with this bike. Let's just say he's ample of mouth, he's flirting with avian flu, and he talks, dresses, and acts like a slightly younger Joan Rivers:


Herb Garden

Just glue a few sprigs of parsley, basil, and thyme to this bike and hop aboard the garnish express:


Be sure to carry a garden trowel and dress accordingly:



Geared Road Bike




Dressing this bike up is easy too--just bolt on a derailleur and tape on some STI cable housing:


Don't forget to shave your legs and dress yourself up to match:

You can even include the dog!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Worst of NYC Craigslist Bike Ads #28-#32

If you’re familiar with the scene in “Trainspotting” where Ewan MacGregor goes diving into that ungodly toilet in search of his narcotic suppository then you have some idea what it’s like to go looking for bicycles in the NYC Craigslist bikes for sale section. If you’re not, then imagine passing a house with a lot of crap in the front lawn and not being able to tell whether they’re having a yard sale or are simply gutting the place. Craig should move all the bike stuff over to the "free" section so we can get rid of it and start over. Here is some of the best of the worst that Craigslist has to offer:

BAREKNUCKLE TRACK BIKE size 53cm - $1150 (Upper West Side) [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/455584863.html]
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2007-10-21, 5:01PM EDT

this bike is amazing...

it is a barknuckle electric blue frame and fork with chris king nothreadset,Thompson stem, sugino 48 cranks, dimension pedals, san marco seat, generic post, white painted generic rizer bar, pink oury grips, navy top tube pad, phil wood chrome hubset, velocity white rims...this setup is sick...I have been the only owner and have only had it since june, it is in near perfect condition.

I am asking $1200...lowered the price from $1350

email [deleted]


Yes, this bike sounds totally and completely "amazing" and "sick," though it's tough to verify that from the photo. Did you take it through a sheet of scratched plexiglas with your camera phone while lying on the floor? I suppose the fact that the crank's on the wrong side of the bike is pretty "amazing," and I guess you could also consider it "sick" since the bike is essentially suffering from a birth defect. At first I thought the $1,200 price tag was a little high, but then I noticed it was lowered from $1,350 so I better act now before you cut the price again. When I think of "amazing" and "sick" components I definitely think of Dimension pedals, a generic post, and generic riser bars. Oh, sorry, forgot the Phil Wood hubs, which provide an attachment point for spokes, cogs and axles like no other hub possibly could and also shave precious seconds off track stands. I would debate the validity of your claim that this is in "near perfect condition," though, since with the fixed-gear freestyler setup you've ruined what might potentially have been a perfectly good track bike.

18" custom singlespeed, built brand new - $220 [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/456975520.html]
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2007-10-23, 1:25AM EDT

Except for the fork and wheelset, pretty much all the parts are brand new, right down to the front and rear brake cable hangers. Having said that, the fork is a butted GT cromoly, and the wheelset is hand-built with Mavic 220 rims, Shimano Deore LX hubs, and DOUBLE-BUTTED Wheelsmith spokes. The frame is made of double-butted 7005 aluminum by Intercycle of Quebec, Canada, and is brand new. Gearing is 42t front and 15t rear, perfect for NYC riding: low enough to take any bridges or hills, but not too slow on the flats. I just did Tour de Bronx with it.

Brand new parts:

18" Intercycle 7005 alu MTB frame, burnt orange / cobalt blue
Bontrager 90mm threadless stem
Tange Japan threadless headset w/ Shimano fully sealed cartridge bearings
Nashbar sealed cartridge bottom bracket 68x113
Nashbar seat collar
Kalloy 27.2 post
Shimano M340 cranks w/ 42t ring
Sette singlespeed spacers & 15t cog
Sampson Fat Wrap bar tape
Nashbar 1.25" slicks
Specialized tubes
KMC 7/8spd chain
Trek alloy bottle cage

Used parts: Tektro canti brakes, Wellgo pedals, Selle Italia Flite saddle, 39cm bar, and Weinmann non-aero levers.

$220 for the bike only. Extras shown in pic (second bottle cage with Minoura mount on fork, orca bell, sadde bag) are not part of the deal. Thanks for looking.

With its surgical cap seat cover, ample fluids, and killer whale noisemaker, this bike looks like a jovial Patch Adams-type doctor making the rounds and entertaining patients in a children's hospital ward. My biggest complaint here is that the modest $220 price tag doesn't include the fork-mounted cage, since if you're the kind of person who wears a wrist wallet that's probably an accessory you'd want. In a nod to current fashion I also note the owner has left the very ends of the bars untaped, so while it's not a full-on dog erection tape job it does at least evoke a canine in a mild state of arousal. I rate this one a strong "buy" for the entertainment value alone.

Grey Bianchi Pista - $600 [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/453822631.html ]
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2007-10-19, 3:38PM EDT

Bike: Gray Bianchi PISTA

Size: 57 CM

Gear: 48/16

Specs: Nitto Bull Horn handle bars, Oury Grips, Sugino 75 Crank, MKS Pedals, IZUMI Chain, Italia gel flow seat, EAI Cog, Mavic CXP22 front wheel, Bianchi front Hub, Velocity Deep V rear wheel, Formula rear Hub, Vittoria tires.

Condition: very good condition, minimal scratches, rides excellent

Contact: [deleted]


It wouldn't be a trip to Craigslist Hell if I didn't encounter a Pista being sold for at or above full MSRP, and I certainly wasn't disappointed this time. Sure, you could get a brand-new Pista for $600, but then you'd have to go through all the trouble of ruining it yourself. Fixedgeargallery entries and Craigslist ads read like mantras now, and this entry too joins in the chant: OurySuginoMKSIzumiVelocity...OurySuginoMKSIzumiVelocity.... What aspiring fixed-gear freestyler can't rattle these words off in his or her sleep? As for my own sleep, it is now plagued by nightmares of hordes of undead roaming the streets of Brooklyn on bicycles, mumbling these words as they eat the geared drivetrains of the living.

KING - $325 [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/wch/bik/457083336.html]
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2007-10-23, 8:06AM EDT

Turn any Dinglespeed into a BLINGLESPEED!

Chris King wheelset 26er, GOLD King wheels, REAR has just been rebuilt with Mavic 819 tubless, Black butted spokes. Frt is unknown rim (I think a velocity) with stan's liner. Comes with IRC Serac UST tires, XT cassette. Put some serious BLING into you rig without alot of $$ even run it singlespeed with spacers

I also have some Easton Monkey lite sl's low rise with Syntace 120 6rise super light weight stem w/ti bolt kit 140.00 for both.

other parts as well please see my other ads from moots parting out.

Selling to fund my new titanium soft tail 29er singlespeed (blinglespeed) project



I would ride with a Burberry top-tube pad ebroidered with the phrase "BSNYC is a Fixster Doofus" on every one of my bikes for a year to have the word "bling" permanenty banished from cycling. Certainly our little subculture is not well-insulated against stupid trends from the outside world, but this is one I think we can all make a collective effort to screen out. This guy has been listing these same wheels for weeks now, and he employs a favorite tactic of the desperate CLer: appealing to people's altruism by explaining how he needs the money to fund another project. Sorry, but the last thing I need to run across on my next MTB ride is another guy on an overpriced dual-suspended titanium La-Z-Boy bouncing around the woods like an overgrown hairy-legged kid on a hop ball. Maybe he'd already have enough money if he hadn't spent it on stupid things like ti bolt kits. The kinds of people who use ti bolt kits on mountain bikes are the same ones who buy Harley Davidson-edition Ford F-150s with skull-head ball hitches, and I don't want to help fund that kind of misguided extravagance.

wanted - professional bike painter - powdercoating HELP! [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/456912317.html]
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2007-10-22, 11:41PM EDT

im looking for someone to pwdercoat my frame for me, please point me in the direction of somebody good! any help is a huge help!

An important part of the fixed-gear mania is spending good money to powdercoat a crappy frame. Not saying that's the case here, but nonetheless I'd like to institute a rule that in order to qualify for custom painting or powdercoating your frame must be worth at least three times the cost of the job. In any event, trolling for a powdercoater on Craigslist is like living in California and traveling to Cleveland to surf. There are innumerable cycling websites and forums where you can get that kind of advice. Why seek it from people who promulgate misspellings like "break" and "peddle" and whose idea of Campy Record is the soundtrack to "Pink Flamingos?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

'Cross My Heart and Hope to Die: A BSNYC Cyclocross Primer

Cyclocross is the opposite of sex--if you're doing it right it hurts, and it's only fun before and after. In my time racing cyclocross I’ve learned some tips for dealing with that nasty in-between part, which I present to you herewith. I won’t say they’ll make you a better racer--the way I race puts the “can’t” back in “cantis”--but I guarantee they’ll make you a better loser:

Know When And Where The Race Is

Eddy Merckx famously said, "The Tour de France is won in bed." Cyclocross races, however, are not won in bed, since misreading the schedule, sleeping in, and arriving after your race has begun tends to winnow your chances down considerably. Furthermore, as I've cited before, Woody Allen once said, "90% of success is just showing up." Of course, that still leaves a 10% window for failure, since I've showed up at cyclocross races and not succeeded innumerable times. I will say though that 100% of failure is not showing up, because it's tough to be competitive when your race is starting and you're 30 miles from the venue because you Mapquested the wrong address.

Don't Pre-Ride the Course

Yes, you read that right. While this bit of advice flies counter to every bit of cyclocross wisdom you're likely ever to hear, I've always believed that courting common wisdom is the path to complacency. I find that going in cold and flying blind can take the edge off the searing pain of those first few laps, since you're too busy being surprised to focus on how awful you feel. And dreading that terrible run-up for a half a lap can be demoralizing, while the shock of suddenly discovering it can give you that extra shot of adrenaline to get you over it. Complete unfamiliarity with the course can turn a killing field into a haunted hayride teeming with fun-filled surprises, thrills and spills at every turn.

Do Not Have a Pit Bike

This is another counterintuitive tactic. If you’re like me, a crash or a mechanical problem comes as sweet relief. It’s like a fire drill in school during a test. Suddenly, the pressure’s off and there’s no more pressure to perform. On the other hand, having another bicycle in the pit so that you can make a quick bike change and continue to race only expands the vast horizon of opportunity for you to lose. It’s like getting one of those flu shots they give out at the office—how are you going to call in sick for a week when everybody knows you’re immune? Never squander your inventory of excuses.

Get a Bad Starting Position

There are few things as embarrassing as getting a great starting position only to drop through the pack and completely fall apart on the first lap. Not only do your fellow racers notice, but so do the spectators. It's like you're an Alka-Seltzer and the race is a big glass of water, and everybody gets to watch your effervescent, frothy demise. But if you start the race in the back, you have nowhere to go but up. If you finish DFL, you can blame your start position. If you finish strong, you can point out how many places you had to make up and how high you would have placed if you'd started up front. Everybody hates a sandbagger, but everybody loves an underdog.

Constantly Re-evaluate Your Goals

As in everyday life, it’s important to rationalize and to temper your expectations. Certainly you should start the race expecting to finish well. However, if you cling to that expectation you’ll only be disappointed. So take the time each lap to analyze your position and re-structure your goals. If you find yourself slipping back, try to keep the guy behind you from passing you. If he does, try to hold his wheel. If you can’t, repeat with the next guy. When there’s nobody left, just wait, because eventually you’ll get to experience the thrill of battling the race leader as you try to keep from being lapped. And if all else fails, comfort yourself with your superiority over the other riders in areas outside of racing. Sure, the guy who passed you just then was stronger than you, but there’s no way he’s better at cooking eggs than you. You’re the Egg Master.

“Chunk” the Race

You may have heard of the memorization technique called “chunking,” wherein you break large chunks of information up into smaller parts to make them easier to remember. Well, you should do that in cyclocross races as well. While a ‘cross race seems short and appears to unfold faster than a Dahon on a Friday afternoon, it can feel like an eternity if you’re actually in one. So like an alcoholic or someone getting paid by the hour to retile a bathroom, focus on completing one tiny section at a time. Like life, if you think about how much more you have left you can find yourself overwhelmed. Another “chunking” trick you can take from life is picking some small section of the course and convincing yourself you enjoy it. That way, you have something to look forward to each lap. It’s like hating your job but looking forward to lunch.

Ignore Your Surroundings

As the race leaves you behind like a club-footed tuba player in a marching band, try not to pay attention to the announcer or the crowd. The announcer’s spirited narration of the battle at the front will only serve to remind you how far back you are, especially when he starts describing the action on sections of the course you’ve just completed. Similarly, the crowd can be inadvertently discouraging as well. At first they’ll cheer excitedly. But as you slip back the cheers become gradually less animated and more conciliatory, until they eventually devolve into the type of “you can do it!” sentiments generally reserved for “special” people, and then finally disappear altogether. Then, it’s all about not getting passed by the riders warming up for the next race.

Have Fun!

That’s right, this is supposed to be fun. So try to remember that as you struggle to keep your perfectly-cooked eggs down.

Friday, October 19, 2007

BSNYC Product Review: The Gilded Cage

My revelation yesterday has prompted a number of people to say I’ve sold out. In fact, one commenter went so far as to say I will soon go on to “a full time job reviewing carbon bottle cages.” And that really made me angry. Why? Because that person clearly has never used a nice, high-quality carbon fiber bottle cage.



A surprising number of people pay little attention to their choice of bottle cage. But the fact is, most cages are too loose or too tight. For example, how often have you ridden over a rough patch of pavement, only to have your bottles eject themselves from your cages like pilots from a crashing fighter jet? And who hasn’t reached for a bottle only to have to pull and twist to free it, like trying to wrest a rawhide bone from a Rottweiler’s jaws? I know I’ve crashed innumerable times because I came into a turn at speed while pulling at the bottle on my seat tube with both hands.

Enter the Elite Custom Carbon bottle cage. At only $124.99, this cage is engineered with astounding precision, and boasts the kind of manufacturing tolerances that make a Swiss watch seem like a Play-Doh sundial sculpted by a two year-old with his feet. I was lucky enough to test this supermax of cages. So if beverage retention is as important to you as it is to me, you’ll want to keep reading.

Competitivecyclist.com says of this cage that “Elite puts equal priority on style and bottle security, and you get both in spades here. In a marketplace of Taiwanese knock-offs, the Custom Carbon is the only cage we know of that visually stands apart.” All of this was immediately apparent to me upon receiving the cage, as aesthetically it is simply stunning. The clear coat is so shiny that it looks wet, and it took a thorough examination with my tongue to confirm that the cage was indeed dry. And underneath it was the nicest weave I’ve seen since I got a close look at Johan Museeuw’s head. This is not just a bottle cage, I thought to myself. This is an engineering masterpiece.

Of course, like most carbon fiber products these days, the Elite Custom Carbon has very specific torque specs and must be installed with care. I recommend that you leave installation to a professional, which is what I did, since the recommended bolt torque of .0000297 newton-meters is roughly equivalent to a fly alighting on a pudding skin and is not attainable without laser-calibrated instruments. (I took mine to a neurosurgeon at Columbia Presbyterian.) Because I wanted to compare the Elite to my current metal bottle cage (and because the doctor charged me $17,000 for his labor), I installed only one on the downtube and left my old cage on the seattube. As beautiful as the Elite was, I couldn’t help but be skeptical as to whether it was really worth the money, so I figured a good old-fashioned bottle cage duel was the only way to know for sure.

Well, any doubts I had about the Elite were allayed as soon as I slid my bottle out for the first time. If you’ve ever removed a sterling silver Tiffany letter opener from a velvet pouch, withdrawn a handmade sword from its jeweled scabbard, or taken a bottle of Chateaux Margaux from its rack in a musty wine cellar in Provence, you can begin to appreciate what it’s like to pull a plastic bidon from an Elite Custom Carbon cage and take a swig of cleverly-marketed sugar water. And putting the bottle back in was no less sublime. It’s probably not necessary for me to make any obvious comparisons to putting something hard in something soft, but let’s just say that with the Elite it was impossible not to think about it, and as I rode my carbon fiber frame was not the only thing that was stiff yet compliant.

Well, after just one drink I was sold. Nonetheless, in the interest of objectivity I took a drink from my old cage on the seattube. Before the Elite I had never noticed how poorly my old cage functioned, but now grabbing that bottle felt like uprooting a carrot, and putting it back felt like trying to force-feed medication to a housecat. So if you think a bottle cage is just a bottle cage, think again.

The Bottom Line:

Buy it if: You want to feel like King Arthur pulling Excalibur from the rock.
Don’t buy it if: You want to feel like all those other losers tugging vainly on the handle.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

BSNYC Thursday Fun Quiz #3! (Special Self-Promotional Edition)

Don't worry, it's only one question, and it's an easy one. Think carefully and click on your answer. If you're wrong, you'll see Pee Wee Herman dancing with Grace Jones. If you're right, you'll see the maillot jaune saluting his adoring fans:

The December issue of "Bicycling" features an interview with which acrononymous entity?

--NYPD

--BSNYC

--BLT

--NAMBLA

Yes, awhile back I mentioned that I have always dreamed of being published in "Bicycling." Well, that dream has finally come true, proving that the best way to get people's attention is to taunt and mock them. And not only am I interviewed in that esteemed publication, but there are also obfuscated photos of me and a bicycle belonging to me. This should provide a good opportunity for anybody I have mocked here to mock me back.

The December issue will be on the stands on October 30th, but subscribers should be getting theirs any day now, so if you're curious keep an eye out for it. Thanks everybody for reading, and thanks to "Bicycling" for the fun opportunity.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Indignity of Commuting By Bicycle: Notes on a Scandal

People in New York love to leave each-other hand-written notes. It’s kind of like living in a giant apartment with a bunch of roommates, only instead of messages like “Lisa’s Cornflakes—do not eat,” “Please flush toilet,” or “Whoever keeps clogging the tub drain with your hair please clean it out (sample attached), ” the notes lean more towards “No dead cats in the trash” and “Please stop urinating on our front door.” I’m often tempted to follow people home and leave them notes when cycling in the city. Here are just a few I’ve drafted in my head recently:

Dear Fixed-Gear Freestyler,

If you’re going to pass me on a moderate incline, please continue traveling at the speed at which you passed me. Do not then sit up and silently congratulate yourself. This forces me to either sit on your wheel or in turn pass you, which will give you the mistaken impression I wish to race. I wish to do neither. I also am not interested in looking at the region where your back transitions into your ass, so please consider either higher pants or a longer shirt if you refuse to remain behind me. Please also consider either a brake or a larger gear so that when you reach the inevitable descent on the other side of the bridge you can travel down it at more than 12MPH. Until I encountered you, I didn’t realize a simple commute could make me feel like Borat being smothered by Azamat Bagatov.

Dear Guy On The Mountain Bike,

We were next to each-other at a red light. I lamely put my foot down like some kind of wuss. You, however, engaged in a violent trackstand during which you rocked the bike back and forth as though you were attempting to carve a furrow in the blacktop with your knobbies. You occasionally glanced at me as if to ask, “You want some of this?” In the process of attempting to stay upright though you dropped your chain. The light then changed and I clicked in and left. I hope you managed to get it on again while the light was still green.


Dear SUV Driver,

As I approached your door flew open and remained agape for what seemed like an eternity. I then passed and witnessed what I can only imagine will be the closest thing I’ll ever see to a live whale birth as you grasped each side of the door opening and attempted to extricate yourself from the vehicle. I thought perhaps you might be with child, however your gender leads me to rule that out. I pray that the vehicle eventually relinquished you from its handsomely-appointed interior and that you were not consigned to a Jonah-esque fate. I also suggest that in future you request a street closure in advance of your arrival so that you can flail and wriggle unmolested by traffic. Or at least consider some flares and cones.


Dear 2nd Ave. Bike Lane Salmon,

There was an entire school of you on old 10-speeds wearing skateboard helmets apparently heading upstream to spawn. I hope that the car-shaped bears did not thin your numbers too drastically as you valiantly fought the current on the way to your favorite mating eddy. However, if a few of you did fall victim, I remain philosophical as it is simply natural selection at work, and many of you seem to be carrying the gene for blithe unawareness. Like a toddler with a soiled diaper, I’d like to see that particular gene kept out of the pool.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fixedgeargallery...of disembodied hands.

While swinging through Fixedgeargallery this morning I was arrested by this entry. No, it had nothing to do with the untenability of the brakeless/platform pedal setup. We're all used to this by now, for better or for worse. (Adherents to this particular combo swear by the "Jamaican skid," though I'd think you'd be more likely to wind up doing a "Texan dismount" when you're thrown from the bike like a cowboy from a bronco, and then waking up in the hospital and executing a full "Regarding Henry.") What really made my heart skip a beat was the mysterious hand present in every shot.

Just who is at the end of that appendage? Maybe you can tell yourself it's just a guy with really banged-up shins, but I can't. The first thing I thought of were those creepy two-handed tambourine-wielding arms in the old Escape Club video. (For those of you who don't remember or were lucky enough not to have been around, this band was produced in a lab in the late 80s to serve as a replacement for INXS should their tour bus ever crash.) Then I calmed myself by thinking maybe it's just a regular guy, his best gal in one hand, his Pista's rim in the other:

The bike's picturesque placement also suggests that it could be part of a new London monument to fixed-gear freestylers.
Or is something more celestial at work here? Has this bike been placed here by God himself?



Or is the bike God, and are we the collective Adam, grasping its wheel so that we may be transported heavenward when it finally ascends?

Does it forego foot-retention of any kind to atone for all our sins?


Or could it belong to an aging Pete Townshend?

Of course, I could just read the guy's entry, but I'm not one for facile explanations.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Manifest Destiny: Wither Cycling Bliss?

I left town this past weekend. If you’ve had ever had a pleasant dream only to awake abruptly and see it dissipate like a squirt of octopus ink into the ocean of reality, then you know how I feel after returning to New York after a trip. I cling to the bliss for as long as I can, but like one of those rubber water snakes the tighter I squeeze the quicker it slips out of my hand. Of course, in times like this it is tempting to ask myself if perhaps I should move, but generally the bitterness subsumes me before I can get very far along in my planning. As of right now though the negativity has yet to reclaim me fully, so once again I find myself plotting my escape. And although I didn’t leave the East Coast this weekend, my thoughts inevitably drift westward. Here are the possibilities I'm considering:

Northern California


Pros:

--The cradle of mountain biking civilization
--Mild weather
--Progressive bike culture
--San Francisco is a cosmopolitan city, so no big city withdrawal
--Great places to ride

Cons:

--Expensive
--Everybody in New York seems to be from the Bay Area these days, so something must be wrong with it if they actually want to move here
--The palpable undercurrent of hippiness frightens me

What I could do there:

Open a cycling school for Bay Area residents planning their inevitable move to New York. Classes will include light-running, pedestrian chicken, and sitting in for the sprint. The final exam will involve being pursued for six straight hours by a minivan whose driver suffers from a rare combination of narcolepsy, rabies, and myopia.

Southern California

Pros:

--Warm all year round
--I can’t think of anything else

Cons:

--Car-centric
--I like beaches, but I don’t like beach cruisers
--Too many people with flat-brimmed caps and bandanas on their top tubes
--San Diego is there

What I could do there:

Showbiz! Currently I’m working on a stand-up act. Actually, it’s more of a ventriloquist bit. A rusty Schwinn conversion named “Jeff Fixworthy” with a Budweiser beer cosy for a top tube pad takes the stage and I provide the voice offstage in a southern drawl. His “You Might Be A Roadie” routine should kill. “If you spend your day with your nose six inches from someone else's butt and you’re not a proctologist or the President, you might be a roadie.” (Cue groans now.) Who doesn’t love paceline humor? The sitcom offer should be forthcoming.

The Pacific Northwest

Pros:

--Huge bike culture
--Has actual cities as well as natural beauty
--Thriving cyclocross scene

Cons:

--Wet
--Portland sounds like Williamsburg, Brooklyn if it were exposed to radiation
--I’m haunted by the 1992 Cameron Crowe film “Singles”
--People who obsess over coffee like it’s wine drive me even crazier than people who obsess over wine

What I could do there:

Open a shop called “The Fenderia” that only sells bicycle fenders.

The Southwest


Pros:

--Dry

Cons:

--Dry

What I could do there:

Start a company called Custer's Last Trackstand that makes Native American-inspired beaded top tube pads, messenger bags, and riding moccasins.

The Rockies



Pros:

--Great riding
--Hotbed for bike racing
--Stunning landscapes, rugged beauty

Cons:

--Epic climbs make wheelsucking impossible
--Snows too much
--Frequent references to cowboys and ranches are unsettling

What I could do there:

Open a dude ranch for fixed-gear freestylers called the The Lazy Q-Factor. Visitors can wear chaps and practice calf-roping and cattle-herding on their fixed-gears. With the popularity of bike polo, stunting, and branding, fixed-gear rodeo sounds like the next logical step.

The Great Plains


Pros:

--No climbs to get dropped on
--No urban cycling trends to taunt me

Cons:

--Daunting expanses
--Tornadoes
--No urban anything
--Too much wheat, not enough gluten

What I could do there:

Start a Velospace-type website called “The Bikes of Wrath” where people submit Dorothea Lange-inspired photographs of their weathered and beaten bicycles and lament their lots in life.