Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Alarming Data: Number Crunching and Gear Mashing

As I mentioned yesterday, I have wroten an article about my trip to Portland, OR for the May issue "Outside" magazine (or, as it is published in Canada, "Ootside"). While I highly recommend the print edition of the magazine for the simple reason that the format is handiest for reading in the bathroom, I also understand that there are people who eschew paper ("eschew," pronounced "achoo," is an onomatopoeia for sneezing at something). For some, paper avoidance is about saving trees, and for others it's about not spending money, which especially ITTET does not grow on them. So if the only thing you subscribe to is paperlessness, you'll be pleased to know you can now read the article online instead of loitering in the Barnes & Noble magazine section or waiting for your next dental appointment:

I should point out that "Outside" came up with the title, since I don't understand why people call Portland "PDX" for the simple reason that it has more syllables. LA, SF, and even NYC I can understand, but the only reason I can see for calling Portland PDX is so that people don't confuse it with Portland, Maine--though in that case they might as well just call it "PO." Of course, affectionate nicknames are something else--for example, New York City is "The Big Apple," and New Orleans is "The Big Easy." Both of these are longer than the city name (depending on how you pronounce "New Orleans"), but they are also evocative, which "PDX" is not. I just think if they're going to add unnecessary syllables, they might as well get something descriptive in the bargain, and if I were Portlandese I would lobby to have my city called "The Big Smugness." (Then again, I'm from "'da JFK," so what do I know.)

Speaking of getting your money's worth, if you're a fan of professional cycling you are getting short-changed, since a reader has informed me that a new study indicates that the "Grand Tours" have been getting slower since 2004:

This, the researchers conclude, indicates that pre-2004 gains were attributable to doping, and that anti-doping efforts are now resulting in slower races:

If this is in fact true, then the pros better start doping again, since according to the abstract "the average speed has decreased by 0.22 km/h per year," which means that eventually a Grand Tour will take an entire calendar year. In other words, the prior year's Tour or Giro or Vuelta finishers will be rolling across the finish line of the final stage just as the next year's riders are beginning the prologue. Even more disturbing, consider that the 2009 Tour de France winner, Alberto Contador, won with an average speed of 40.31 km/hr. Therefore, if the UCI allows speeds to continue to decrease at this rate, in just 183.23 years the Tour winner's average speed will actually be 0km/hr--or, to put it another way, he won't even have rolled off the start ramp in the first place.

Clearly, then, the current anti-doping model is not sustainable and will bring to an end bicycle racing as we know it. (The best case scenario is that in two centuries Grand Tours will become giant trackstand competitions.) This may be why at least some Belgians seem less concerned about cleaning up the sport in terms of doping and are literally focussing on cleaning up the sport:

Landbouwkrediet team manager Gerard Bulens, however, dismissed the clean-up efforts as "ridiculous:"

As for water bottles, Bulens said he would be surprised to see any left along the way after a race. The bottles are highly prized souvenirs for fans. “There are serious collectors,” he said. “A cycle race is an exceptional event. I am agree that we should think about the environment, but we must not get caught up in the ridiculous. "

As a proud owner of a small piece of Vladimir Karpets's tire, I would be inclined to agree that no piece of refuse is too insignificant (or even disgusting) for the typical cycling fan. I must say, though, that the idea of "drop points for rubbish" is an intriguing one. Perhaps they can institute a new type of "green" jersey by giving points to riders for managing to throw their water bottles and gel packets into recycling bins along the race route. It could be made of hemp, and they could call it the "Maillot Smugness." Best of all, those souvenir-hungry fans can then dive into the bin and fight for scraps like a bunch of hungry "freegans."

Another way to increase speeds would be to allow the riders to use electric bicycles, like this Lexus hybrid which was forwarded to me by a number of readers:

There is of course a strict rule in journalism that any article involving bicycles must include mention of either honey magnate Lance Armstrong or the Tour de France, regardless of how unrelated either of these things may be to the article's subject. What does an electric bike have to do with the Tour? It would also be less grueling if the riders were allowed to use cars or motorcycles, but I don't see anybody mentioning that when they're writing about Accords and Gold Wings. Anyway, I don't see what's so remarkable about a bike Lexus won't even put into production, especially when the electric bicycle has already completely taken over Chinatown and beyond. (I have near-collisions with people using electric bicycles on a near-daily basis--there are fewer creatures more silent and dangerous than the "Electro-Salmon.")

Really, the best thing about the article was its use of the term "man-made torque," which is apparently "Pedaling 2.0" (and not a euphemism for "foffing off," despite how it sounds). By the way, if you're a fixed-gear rider and you want to see how many gear inches your choice of cog and chainring will yield with the addition of man-made torque, you can now download "Chainvetica," which was forwarded to me by the creator:

It's basically like a regular gear-inch calculator, only with an attractive "colourway" and hipster-taunting copy. I was amused, but alas I think they might be a bit too late with this one, since discerning fixed-gear and singlespeed riders are now calculating their gears in sunglasses. ("Tight whip! How many babies does it weigh, and how many sunglasses are you pushing?"

Less whimsical but perhaps more pointless is this bike-sizing "app," which I saw on Trackosaurusrex:

The only situation I could envision in which you'd need an iPhone app to tell you what size bike you need would be if you're an aspiring N├╝-Fred, you're browsing Craigslist on your phone, you don't know what size bike you ride, and you stumble on what could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a famous "fixie" (forwarded by another reader):

59cm fixed single speed Bottecchia - $1050 (Nopo)
Date: 2010-04-27, 12:33PM PDT
Reply to: [deleted]

59cm fixed single speed '89 Bottecchia
Columbus SP tubing – all chrome underneath the classic Italian paint.
Velocity Deep V rims laced to Miche hubs- flip-flop (rear panaracer tire shows some wear in the center, front is at 85%)
New Ultegra headset
New Nitto noodle bars & tape (44cm)
Technomic stem (110mm)
Sugino cranks & chain ring (49t)
Euro-Asia Imports track cog (18t)
Shimano Cartridge bottom bracket
Vintage Shimano 600 break caliper (new pads)
Modern Shimano 105 lever
Fizik Arionne saddle (a year old with wear on the tip- still plenty of miles left!)
New Bar Tape

And yep. This is the bike from the youtube video Performance.
You will receive attention riding around on this bike. Absurdly short handlebars and spoke-card not included.

This bike is in excellent riding condition: wheels trued, chain line perfectly straight, bearings spinning smooth. The paint is in very good condition for a bike of its era, but there are some small chips. There are braze-ons for both derailleurs, shifters AND internal cable routing, should you ever decide to convert the bike back to a geared set-up.

Specs aside, this frame rides like a dream. Give it a ride if you’re a serious about buying. I need the money to travel abroad. $1050obo
5o three, 7o2 o3six2

At one point even I speculated that this bicycle was a good investment, but it seems that between the short shelf-life of the "Performance" video and fact that we're now living in the post-Walmart era its value is dropping precipitously. If I were the seller, I'd at least consider adding some interesting features, like a Top Tube-Mounted Auxiliary Brake Lever (or TTMABL):

This unique set-up was spotted by a reader in Boston, and a closer look reveals just how ingenious it is:

Awed, I simply stared at it while listening to this.

Indeed, it would not surprise me if the TTMABL were the hot set-up at this year's Five Boro Bike Tour, which takes place this Sunday. Of course, the world's most epic "race" is sold out, but you still might be able to weasel your way in and score yourself a pinny thanks to Craigslist:

BIKE NEW YORK BIKENY BIKE NY possibly 2 registrations available (midtown)
Date: 2010-04-28, 8:18AM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

I have been riding in BIKENY for years. Unfortunately I hurt my shoulder a few weeks ago. As of now ( Wednesday ) it is iffy as to if I am going to be able to ride this year. Even though I live in Northern CT - I still have to come down to NY on Saturday ( Peter Gabriel on Sunday night -- BOO YAAAA!!!!!! )

I will not decide until Saturday morning if I will or will not ride. I want to have a list of people I can call or email on Saturday if I decide I cannot ride.

If I cannot ride - and I do end up selling. Its very basic - will sell at our cost. You will get both of our envelopes with the vests, the number for your helmet -- everything contained.. I will also forward you all information on the pictures they take and everything else.


Safe riding to everyone!!!!!!!!!

Following the words "Peter Gabriel" with "BOO YAAAA!!!!!!" is perhaps the best example of a "douche-clamation point" I've seen to date.


ronnie raygun said...


ronnie raygun said...


samh said...


ronnie raygun said...

sorry i got overzealous.

ronnie raygun said...

I'm in France. We never win.

Anonymous said...


ronnie raygun said...

I'm not even French, but I feel their pain.

ringcycles said...

Top 10! I'm on fire this week!

hillbilly said...

you have wroten an article?

mikeweb said...

I'm back, and illin'!!

Seriously, I'm under the weather...

ronnie raygun said...

I was blood doping.

Salty and Sore said...


The Sommer's Eve/Goldmann Sacks - Follow the Snob/I've Heard Phish is Getting Back Together Tour 2010, has been cancelled for religious reasons. While it garnered adequate, financial support, it happened to conflict with the recognized month-long, holy, cycling-related holiday, known as Bike Month, during which, we understand, cyclists all over the world will be offering tithes and sacrifices to their favored bicycles. Additionally, we've been informed that the date the Tour was scheduled to arrive in Milwaukee, there is also a recognized holiday for a growing sect of Lobsterism to which many of the expected travellers adhere.

We regret any subsequent inconvenience, and encourage our participants to compose haiku poetry describing cycling in the city of their

Silly Portlanders
And their cloying niceties
Must be the good beer

hillbilly said...

i think it's high time for a romantic comedy where a popular blogger meets and falls in love with a commenter on his site (a critic perhaps, and maybe he doesn't know that she is said commenter)

Anonymous said...

Forst place

ronnie raygun said...

And I'm from PDX.

Anonymous said...

Jeux sans frontieres, booya.

Jefe said...

Top 20.

dignan said...

top 20? barely...

resopmok said...

We live in the days when typing is more important than speaking, so obviously PDX is a shorter form than "Portland, OR." And, since the fabled "portland native" is such a rare sighting, I suppose it is appropriate we should be known by our airport for all those that come, and go..

We do appreciate the kind things you've said about our city, but really we don't have any jobs either. It's nice place to visit, but you don't want to live here.

shoegazer said...

in with the pack again

Anonymous said...

Y'know, I've been studying that TTMABL for about ten minutes now & I just don't get it. Really, I just don't get it.

Forget the 5 Boro ride, I'm doing the Tour de Stooges this Saturday. That's right! Portland has nothing on StL.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Note to commenters: If you ever garner enough success as a rider to become involved with a race which includes a start ramp, you should remember Snob's sagacious advice to "roll off the starting ramp in the forst place."

Jefe said...

"Wroten." Is the definition: writing that is rotten? Hope not. I like Outside Magazine mostly, but that picture of you on the cover was over the top. I know you like cyclocross, but what a faceplant!

ant1 said...


Anonymous said...


ant1 said...

snobby - "rolled off the start ramp in the forst place"

Unknown said...

Dear Jeff

I don't care who I hurt, I don't care who I do wrong.

This is your mess I'm stuck in, I really don't belong.

...Peter Gabriel, "Back in N.Y.C."
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

Anonymous said...

Two (2) things:
1. Using one arbitrarily picked race placing to determine the over all speed of an event as large, and with the many variables the Tour presents is such a faulty model that I'm surprised the article ever saw print. Journalism is dead.
2. The folk who ride electric bikes are completely incompetent, adding additional hazards to the bike lane. I suggest we start issuing krypto-smackdowns.

Astroluc (Find me on Tumblr and Instagram @Astroluc) said...

"forst place"

Hans said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah, the bike sizing app is pretty hilarious. If you're so into cycling that you'd want a bike sizing app, wouldn't you already have to an LBS? Or does the bike sizing app presuppose cyclists who only shop via Craig's list or the internets? In which case the most important thing to remember is that when you hopp off your pedals--don't let the top tube hit you in the yabbies!


ronnie raygun said...

I've always gone by the "yabbies" rule and it has never failed me.

streepo said...

"mad made torque"? There is more torque made when you are angry or insane.

Anonymous said...

Idaho is the new Oregon and Boise (BOI) is the new PDX. You heard it here first.

Anonymous said...

Or the labbies!

For us womenfolk. Or any hermaphrodites, depending on their particular situation.

ronnie raygun said...

I've been to Idaho, and I've been to Boise. Have you been to PDx?

Udder said...

I was inspired by the ad copy for the Bottechia describing the frame as being all chrome underneath the paint.

In the ad to sell my house I'm going to write: "Beautiful, hand-masoned stone exterior underneath the cheap vinyl siding that you see."

Anonymous said...

Another ridiculous electric bike:

Shaun said...

Very adenoidal.

Paul Bowen said...

Enjoyed the piece about your trip to Portland Snobby; a latte to your normal espresso, giving the same enjoyment in a more relaxed enjoymentway.

Anyway I found a not terribly good picture of the picture in St Stephen's if any other readers want to see it. It's also in the background of this shot of a lady rushing to stop her Lemon D shagging a pew.

Anonymous said...

Peter Gabriel OMG, wonder if he'll dress like a sunflower or a gay fox for this one? I cannot contain my excitement.

Anonymous said...

FYI, PDX is also 'The Rose City'

Anonymous said...

is 80's grunge band an oxymoron?

Shram said...

get onto the bus...that's gonna take us back to Beelzebub

Slow Joe Crow said...

Try Portland's less PC name, Stumptown which got Mountain Cycle into a trademark dispute with Specialized. Also I find the TTMABL a total WTF since the bike appears to have a fully functional rear brake lever, but I ride a cyclocross bike so what do I know?

leroy said...

Frilly -- forget the 5 Boro??!!

No way. I've been training all year.

Last year, I stood in the rain for five hours holding a sign advising riders to "Go Slow" and looking like Wile E. Coyote when he holds up a sign saying "Help" just after he races off a cliff, but before gravity kicks in.

I'm marshalling again this year, but this time, I might ride with the "Go Slow" sign. That ought to finally get me on the podium.

This is my year. I just know it.

mikeweb said...


As long as you're not holding that sign near the bank of porta-johns. Those lines are long enough.

BunE said...

Does anyone actually care about Peter Gabriel?

leroy said...

Mikeweb --

Oh now you're just trying to sandbag me.

Hincapie went into the Roubaix with full gas.

We didn't hear him making excuses.

(BTW -- get well soon. Or at least by Sunday.)

Anonymous said...

I just love the way you made that politically correct. The visual is awesome!

grog said...

Must be Weednesday.
Yes,*thumbs up*, peeing is fun.
Underneath all this clothing, I'm totally naked.

fierce panties said...

After I sold a stolen purple snakeskin top tube protector a horse tried to trample me. Weird.

yogisurf said...

Snobby, that’s a TTMABLwHSS (with Handlebar Stem Support) set-up. Very fresh and innovative. It’s a shame, however, that the rider did not spring for the Crabon Fribre model.

Nogocyclist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Epic said...

Portland, OR aka PDX aka "The Big Cheesy"


Yeah, boyyyyy!

Nogocyclist said...

"Therefore, if the UCI allows speeds to continue to decrease at this rate, in just 183.23 years the Tour winner's average speed will actually be 0km/hr--or, to put it another way, he won't even have rolled off the start ramp in the first place"

In the years to come, the winner of the Tour de France could use my profile name justifiably.

If I live long enough, I have the potential of actually earning the coveted yellow jersey.

Only problem, there will be many people wanting Nogocyclist for their various computer identifications. Nogocyclist1034, Nogocyclist9565, etc....

At least I was the first. So for now, I claim "First." or "Podium" or "Fingerbang" but I do not claim "BOO YAAAA!!!!!!!" I confess, I am too dignified to claim that.

The original "Nogocyclist."

mikeweb said...


Thanks and I hope I feel better too.

I won't be doing the 5-boro Sunday though. That day I'll be on Cape Cod nursing a hangover after a day of Holy Lobster worship. Praise the Claw!!

db said...

I'd need to use Wednesday Weed for that "Peter Gabriel + BOOYAH" formula to make sense. In a way, you'd think they would cancel each other out ("= 0").

ervgopwr said...



eslam said...


Salty and Sore said...

Go Frilly!

Anonymous said...


The Gratuitous Top Tube Mounted Handlebar Stem ( GTTMHS ) is probably clamping the two halves of the top tube together, after it was cut to enable TTMABL installation. That it also acts as a handy guide for the Multi-Piece Auxiliary Lever Cable Housing ( M-PALCH ) is just frosting on the cakeway.

Salty and Sore said...


Ewww. Treacly love stories give me stomach cramps.

The one I want to see is the Rachel Maddow/Maria Bartiromo Story.

luciferyellow said...

Is there a non-verbal equivalent of BOO-YAA? (maybe the simulated discharge of a shotgun?) That would be so much more bad-ass than a mere fingerbang or karate hands.

Anonymous said...

if you click through to the bike sizing app they have adapted the Leonardo drawing and it now looks suspiciously like a diagram for the old dance "do the freddie"

Thorns said...

Snob, I haven't read your article in Outside, but I have met that driver that nudged you over. She was in Winston-Salem during one of the early years of the Hanes Park Criterium. We have good support from local police, and they had put barriers at all streets leading into the race course. A policeman at one of the intersections looked up to see that old lady in the Buick driving on the sidewalk adjacent to the race course. "Why are you driving on the sidewalk?" he asked. Calmly, she replied, "There's a barricade in the road."

Fred said...

A few weeks back, crossing one of PDX's lovely bridges, a gap-toothed cracker in an 80's Dodge pickup saluted our group ride with the index-fingerbang and opined "get of the road you pedal-pushing faggots."

I can't wait until he's at the dentist getting that gap fixed and he reads Snob's article about how awesome cycling here is. It's gonna blow his mind.

In his defense, there were two guys riding a tandem in our group, so, you know.

db said...

got my book today. now i can read bikesnob in the bathroom!

Anonymous said...

PDX is the three-letter code for the Portland (OR) *airport*, technically, not the city in general...

toddyd said...

just went to barnes and noble and read the article, i can't believe you kissed our ass so much after all the (awesome) shit you talk about the portland smugness. i'll expect better at your book reading, otherwise i might hafta start bikesnobpdx

Anonymous said...

I like to visit new cityways and never leave the airport. Save a ton of money on rental cars. Although one can take the light rail from PDX to Portland proper if one were to choose that travelway.

Anonymous said...

@ toddyd:

First off I am amazed that there is not a bikesnobpdx. Secondly, perhaps snobbie should sell franchises of his schtick to rubes with more money than sense...

Bike Slob LDN said...

Great idea!

hillbilly said...

SS - thanks, I think that is precisely the effect I'm shooting for! It's gotta be repugnant and repulsive to sane folk, otherwise it's sure to be a flop.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine that frequently reaching down towards your crotchway to use your TTMABL could very easily be mistaken for foffing off.

CommentSnob said...

I don't wish to be critical, but the douche bag quotient for today's blog is up to about four nozzles right now.

At least there haven't been any gratuitous Palin comments. Those are always so fucking clever.

The blog was good, as always.

CommentSnob said...

The douche bag quotient is for the comments, not the blog, to make one thing perfectly clear. Snob is always on target. Always.

urchin said...

Fascinated by the TTMABL picture. Such an obvious investment of effort for something I still don't see a point for. Was it really worth all that wild cabling to avoid just flipping the lever backward? Double barreled cable stop at the caliper? Wow, just wow.

I like the theory that the stem is just holding the frame back together, but I feel that the mind that created this...thing...would have no hesitation in just bending the crap out of the brake lever clamp to get it onto the frame.

Even if the perp cut the top tube, a lot of bending would be required to get it past the brazed-on cable guide.



Anonymous said...

anon 1:34

Damn! and I really liked Boise.

yogisurf said...

Just got done with Chapter 1. Great cycling history.

Anonymous said...

Classic mistake to mis-identify the TTMABL. It is actualy a dick-brake (DB) that you operate with your third leg. Combined with your hands it provides unsurpassed braking power. Given the distance between the DB mount and the saddle I suspect the rider to be African.

Anonymous said...

Send ronnie raygun to doping controls

BOI....boyee, never will be PDX with all of those hopped up mormons, jeez

PDX or Ptld as i used to address my envelopes
stop masturbating yourself
you will go blind in the eyes of time
once hip turns to square

antny said...

Hey BSNYC When yer in PTLD. it will be almost summer here, should be able to get your fill of color coordinated fixed gear nightmares, matched with no lights, no brakes, and no regard to safety. go summer!!!
and O yah from your post yesterday. been think'n if I'm irish,arab,spanish jew, I'm I cool or do they all cancel each other out. Damn I think they do.

Odile Lee said...

I think the recyle bin points are a great idea!!
But who ultimately gets the spit infused dreg containers after they are binned? Will we see rich Freds frantically scrambling in the rubbish bins for that piece of brag bling?

I hope so!!!

Sammy the Salmon said...

Hey everyone, let's do the Salmon Dance!

Pontius Pilate said...



SD friend said...

DZ Nutz

Anonymous said...

Wow, those Rivendells are really sweet! I bet lifestyles like those cost a lot! But then if there were cheap, they wouldn't be unique, like me!

Anonymous said...

NOLA, its NOLA, "The Big Easy" is movie talk.

dinoibo said...

Sesli sohbet Sesli chat
Seslisohbet Seslichat
Sesli sohbet siteleri Sesli chat siteleri
Sesli Chat
Sohbet Sesli siteler
Sohbet siteleri Chat siteleri
Sohbet merkezi chat merkezi
Sesli merkezi sesli Sohbet merkezi
Sesli chat merkezi Sohbetmerkezi
Sesli Sohbet Sesli Chat
SesliSohbet Sesli chat siteleri
Sesli sohbet siteleri SesliChat
Sesli Sesli siteler
Seslimuhabbet sesli muhabbet
sesli sohbet sesli chat siteleri
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslisohbet seslichat
seslikent sesli kent
sesli sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli chat sesli chat siteleri
seslisohbet seslichat

Anonymous said...

Here what i found -> vision correction

Tabelac─▒ said...

nice blog Thanks for sharing. voicesohbet was really very nice.
sesli chat siteleri sesli sohbet
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslichat seslisohbet
sesli siteleri chat siteleri
sohbet siteleri sesli siteler
voice sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli sohbet seslisohbet
sohbet siteleri sesli chat siteleri
seslichat sesli chat
herkesburda herkes burda
sohbetmerkezi sohbetmerkezi

fixie bikes said...

didn't know bikers could number crunch