Monday, May 10, 2010

Barefoot in the Park: Keeping Up Appearances

It is not always easy to make sense of people's behavior at first glance--in fact, thanks to technology, it's getting more difficult every day. For example, it used to be that when you saw somebody walking down the street, gesticulating wildly, and talking loudly to nobody, you could safely conclude that he was insane. Now, however, he can just as easily be an executive wearing a hands-free headset and making a multi-million dollar business deal. (And even then, the "Businessman or Lunatic?" distinction is still not clear-cut, since ITTET it's increasingly obvious that many of our nation's businesspeople are lunatics.) Similarly, as people practice more and varied forms of physical recreation, it can be almost impossible to distinguish exercise from a complete psychological breakdown. Consider this man I saw recently running in Brooklyn's Prospect Park:

At first glance, he appears to be running (or jogging--as far as I can tell, "running" is to "cycling" as "jogging" is to "biking"), though upon closer inspection he's not only shirtless but shoeless. This could mean that he's joined the many people turning to barefoot running. Then again, I would think that you'd have to be pretty serious about running to do it barefoot (especially in Brooklyn, where you're liable to tread upon any number of infectious sharp implements), and that you'd probably have lost your "love handles" long before deciding to shed your New Balances. In any case, you'd almost certainly forego the wool cabbie hat. Therefore, after my initial "runner" prognosis, I ultimately decided that he had been caught in flagrante delicto with another man's spouse and was engaged in the "half-marathon of shame."

Of course, as a person who rarely runs unless chased (and even then only reluctantly), I'm not really qualified to draw any conclusions about people's barefoot perambulations. Similarly, certain writers should probably not be passing judgement on cyclists, as in this article forwarded to me by a number of readers:

I can certainly get behind the writer's main point, which is that people often make wildly impractical bicycle choices. However, like so many people before him with minimal cycling knowledge, he unfortunately veers off into an anti-Lycra diatribe:

While on the bike, he wears near-transparent Lycra, especially if he is slightly overweight and prone to sweating from the buttock cleft. As a rule, I have no time for Jeremy Clarkson, but he is right about the risibility of this rig-out. He once conducted an experiment on Top Gear that established that skin-tight Lycra gives a speed advantage of 0.0001 per cent compared with a man cycling in a three-piece tweed suit with a pipe in his mouth.

I'm not sure why Lycra gets some people so upset, though I suspect it's because they simply don't understand it. First of all, people don't wear Lycra because it's "faster;" they wear it because it's vastly more comfortable on long rides. Obviously it's silly to get "kitted up" and mount a road bike to ride a few miles to the store, but if the writer were to don a three-piece suit on a warm summer day, take an 85-mile ride, and then examine his crotch he'd have a far greater grasp on the subject of "proper cycling attire." I wonder if he's similarly vexed when he sees scuba divers also foregoing tweed in favor of wetsuits. He even undermines his own argument when he mentions that people who wear Lycra are "prone to sweating from the buttock cleft." Clearly, if you're going to be spending the day sweating from the ass and you don't fancy a case of adult diaper rash, you're far better off wearing Lycra than tweed. By the way, "Prospect" is apparently "the most intelligent current affairs and cultural debate magazine in Britain," despite the fact that its contributors are apparently unable to discern recreation from commuting and are baffled by the simple concept of crotchal hygiene.

Speaking of competitive cycling, the Giro d'Italia (which is Italian for the "Giro of Italy") began on Saturday, and I would be remiss if I did not mention that I am writing a short daily Giro-themed blog for the Universal Sports website, which you can find in the "Giro insider blog" section. While I am not exactly a Giro insider (unless you consider watching the Giro on Universal being "on the inside"), I'm also no stranger to competitive cycling. This is because I live and ride in New York City, where every intersection is the start of another match sprint. In particular, I am noticing that as the "fixerati" continue to "come into their own," they've grown increasingly fond of the extremely irritating phrase "on your left." I really should not have to hear these words if I am simply riding in a straight line and going about my business on my bicycle in the same way that I should not have to hear them when another gentleman sidles up next to me in a public restroom in order to use the neighboring urinal. In both cases, he's got his space, I've got mine, and as long as we stick to that space nobody's going to cross wheels or streams.

Still, there I was, riding as straight as a well-hydrated marksman's urine stream, when I heard those annoying words and a fixed-gear rider darted in front of me. Apparently, he was in a big hurry to get to the red light before I did. At the intersection, I stopped, sat jauntily on my top tube, and admired the passing wardrobes of spring, while the person who had been "on my left" rode as far into traffic as possible and froze himself into a trackstand like a pointer who's spotted a duck:

Unfortunately, though, the rider lacked the pointer's poise, and he botched the trackstand due to a combination of his own lack of skill and some sort of mishap with his toe clip:


He continued to wrestle with this complex piece of engineering for some time:

Indeed, he was still attempting to tie his sneaker to his pedal when the light changed, and by the time he finished I was well on my way. Unfortunately, bicycle commuting in New York City is increasingly a tedious process of being cut off by other cyclists and then having to wait behind them while they either practice their trackstands or simply attempt to figure out their own bicycles.

Speaking of figuring out bicycles, a reader in San Francisco recently sent this tantalizingly short video clip of a very mysterious bicycle indeed:

video

Spotted in the Mission District, the rider is wearing a hardhat and an old-timey mustache and riding a bicycle that places him atop the handlebars. Apparently he refused to share any details about the bike, opting instead to simply regard the camera with a nonplussed expression.

Meanwhile, another reader has sent me a compelling Craigslist ad for a "vintage" Colnago:




Date: 2010-05-09, 10:08PM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

Original paint/decals. EXCELLENT CONDITION. 1977 Colnago Super, 53cm squared. Columbus SL, Campagnolo dropouts, full Campagnolo Super Record (excellent condition) components. Cinelli 1A 90mm stem (old logo), Cinelli Giro D'Italia bars, Cinelli cork tape. Tan Binda straps with Colango buttons. SADDLE AND TIRES NOT INCLUDED. 1,500

In this case, it's not the bicycle itself that is remarkable; rather, it's the disembodied hand in the photo:

The disembodied hand has become a mainstay of amateur bicycle portraiture. However, whereas the hand is usually real and engaged in holding the bicycle upright, in this case it's simply rendered in oil and looming menacingly in the background:

I'm not sure to whom the hand belongs, but I have my suspicions:

While some people get very excited about old Italian road bikes, I am not one of them. For me, the phrase "vintage Campy" simply evokes old John Waters films, and whether it's bike parts or movies I find both of them quirky and uninteresting. Then again, if you take a "retro" bike to Staten Island things could get exciting:



who is that guy... - w4m - 39 (Great Kills)
Date: 2010-05-08, 2:55PM EDT

on the retro silver bike in Gateway? I would like to shove my tits in his face, 69 him, and ride him while he pumps away inside me. Does he like middle aged women?

It sounds like the basis for a John Waters remake of "Breaking Away."

Fortunately, if you're looking to get pounced upon but you don't have $1,500 to spend on a Colnago, you could always pick up this vintage "Jewish" bike, which was also forwarded to me by a number of readers:




Having tested an Israeli bicycle before, I was fascinated to learn that the Jews, despite their bike lane-hating ways, have indeed long been at the forefront of road bike technology. As you can see, they even pioneered the gimmicky wavy fork technology you now find on Pinarellos:
Theoretically, the purpose of the design is to absorb road chatter--or what Samson engineers used to call "kibbitzing."

Of course, closer inspection reveals that the fender eyelets are actually at the front of the fork:

Obviously this bicycle is equipped with Reversible Fork Technology (or RFT)--in the event of a front-end collision, simply flip your fork around to correct the geometry.

106 comments:

Anonymous said...

w00t!

Paul said...

podium?

mikeweb said...

hi

Paul said...

awesome too easy!

Anonymous said...

Top 5 without even trying.

Dr. Feel Good said...

Podium! With a Cavendish two-finger salute.

David said...

top ten

Anonymous said...

top ten!!!!

Paul said...

running is the new cycling...

Anonymous said...

Boo. Yah.

Anonymous said...

boo. yah

grog said...

BARE FOOT

hillbilly said...

nice job with the Giro blog, snob

Astroluc said...

my comment is not relevant other than to say, "top 20"

that is all... now to read the post.

Anonymous said...

Zut alors! I should have thrown away my water bottle!!.

Dr. Snob, sorry for passing "judgment" but I believe it is not "passing judgement..."

le correcteur said...

Top 20; left coast! At least I hope!

le correcteur said...

Running barefoot is the new fixed gear brakeless riding. The ironic hat, the lack of protection from the harsh surroundings: it's the same.

mikeweb said...

I received the book last Friday and I'm almost finished. So far I'd have to say that chapter 4 is my favorite.

Demetri said...

I second your commuting lament! Jerks rolling in front at red lights only to discover their head is permanently lodged in their rectum. A pathetic lot.

Alex said...

Giro blog!

Anonymous said...

So Snob, you're commenting on the Giro. Tell us then, was that the Winner's Dildo given to Tyler Farrar yesterday? He was definitely looking plussed when handed some long orange thing, and I was watching today to see if the winner got one, but I only saw flowers. What's the story?

Anonymous said...

Seattle Cheese

http://www.seattlecheesefestival.com/

Daddo said...

Snob:

How can one ACTUALLY WATCH the Giro here in the US - either on TV or at universal's website?

I can't make heads or tails of exactly how to do it from the website.

mikeweb said...

Daddo,

You can watch from the US website, but you have to pay $15 for the 'Giro package'. And by 'Giro package', I'm not referring to Mario Cipollini.

Otherwise, if you point your TV antenna around, you might be able to get it over the air. As far as I know, Universal Sports isn't carried by too mnay cable companies.

Jefe said...

BSNYC, I have questions about your book. You say that to clean a chain you must take it off the bike. Are you just messing with us? Do you have some special chain that easily snaps on and off, and is completely unaffected by repeated coupling? Maybe you are just trying to upset Lennard Zinn, who gives the completely opposite advice? Also, if you are correct, why do you list the only necessary tools as Allen keys, a floor pump, and a wrench (and then only if you lack quick release skewers)? Don’t you need a chain tool to support your cleaning method? On the other hand, the stickers are great.

McGrath said...

Those backwards cabbie hats are just BEGGING for snob treatment. There is no more blatant and desperate grasp at insta-coolness. Even Samuel L. Jackson looks like a dork because he simply won't take the foolish thing off his head. Posers: it's beat, okay?

Anonymous said...

Daddo... watched yesterday from gazzeta.it (???) link in italian from steephill.tv (bobita boobita)

McGrath said...

Jefe, I had kind of the same question, but you must know about the SRAM magic link that lets you uncouple with thumb pressure.

But as you imply, to the extent I ever clean a chain it's on the bike. I just squirt some lube onto a rag, grip the chain firmly and wipe.

If BSNYC recommends bathing it in something, curious to know what that is. Either way, I'd be too lazy to do it.

hillbilly said...

daddo - channel 162 on Time Warner in Bklyn, that's the extent of my knowledge.

Jefe said...

McGrath 12:44 -
I do know about the SRAM link (and have one), but it takes serious thumb power, and I question its durability after taking it apart and reattaching it multiple times.

Anonymous said...

I hate on your lefters

BikeSnobNYC said...

Jefe,

I find the Wipperman Connex links work very well.

--BSNYC

yofilly said...

Funny post today, Snobby. I'm worried about the safety of that cyclist in the Mission District. Helmet looks good, but is that mustache waxed?

"half-marathon of shame"... hee hee.

Buffalo Bill said...

I reuse those SRAM link thingies multiple times. I'm not sure how long they last as I always seem to lose them before they break.

Daddo said...

Isn't cleaning/lubing with T-9 just perfectly fine with on the bike chain cleaning? Drop it on like you're lubing, run the chain backward to get a little centrifugal force going to get it where you want it, then rag it off by running the wheel backward. My chains get clean and lubed and done in a snap. I don't take a chain off until its time for a new one.

Bearded Rivendell Owner w/Helmet Mirror said...

Sram links work on Shimano chains and others too. They are easier to deal with after they are broken in. Yes, Sram says not to reuse them. They sell the things separately, ya know. I've never broken one, even a "worn out" one.

My current chain cleaning procedure is to remove the chain from the bike, put it in one of those tough plastic bags you find in cereal boxes, spray some Simple Green in there, shake vigorously and let it sit for half an hour. Then rinse with hot water. It's not too dirty a process if you do it right, and all you need to do is dry the chain and lube it before putting it back on the bike. Do this outside. In old clothes. Don't be a fool.

mikeweb said...

That's what I do too. That 'power orange' type solvent, clean with rag, dry with different rag, remove rear wheeel, use rag to thoroughly clean all the cogs, same with chain rings, replace wheel and relube the chain.

I get nervous removing/ replacing the chain, as I don't like to run the risk of it breaking when I'm 30 miles from home and 5 miles from the closest bike shop.

I used to remove my chains to clean them. Of course, back then I used to wax them too. But I'm older now, so I don't 'wax my chain' like I used to.

Anonymous said...

Do scuba divers need to make reservations for wetsuites?

ChrisO said...

Sheldon says...

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html

One of his many fine moments.

Anonymous said...

giving yourself a ride (on your handlebars) is the new way to say you are into masterdebating

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to start riding in staten island more often.

samh said...

BSNYC you've inadvertently linked the "Prospect" article to their "About Us" page. Readers wishing to read the original article may use this link: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/04/ban-silly-bikes/

JTK said...

There is a hotel chain in Nashville that is currently renting "wetsuites."

Anonymous said...

Serious question,

Is it bad decorum to pass someone in the bike lane while riding even if that person is riding much slower than you? I understand cutting someone off is not good, but simply passing them? how about riding the wrong way up the bike lane even if yielding to on coming riders. is this salmoning? I don't ride against car traffic but there are so few bike lanes that on occassion I will ride the wrong way on one especially during low traffic times. on occassion someone yells a profanity at me, but i just chalk that up to new yorker's dainty sensibilities. someone help me out here, the Snob's growing list of cycling rules is difficult to keep up with.

Jefe said...

Snob, I did not mean to imply it was impossible to take a chain off and clean it. It's just that your advice seemed to be directed toward folks without bike maintenance experience, and yet while you tell them to take their chain off you fail to mention that only certain chains are capable of reattachment without a chain tool.

Anonymous said...

"someone help me out here, the Snob's growing list of cycling rules is difficult to keep up with"

It's in the dictionary under 'common sense'.

Anonymous said...

I like to lube the chain with paraffin but also don't like to take the chain off, so I just have this huge vat I heat up over an applewood fire and toss the whole bike in there. Restores the Brooks saddle, rustproofs the frame, reseals the handlebar tape and twine and, if you leave your valves open, seals your tubes to prevent flats. A brisk rubdown when it comes out and all is as good as new!

Tony said...

Jefe,

I find the Wipperman Connex links work very well.

--BSNYC

I thought I was getting a link to the Giro d'Italia coverage and all I see is some stupid chain.

Anonymous said...

Riding the wrong way in a bike lane is not safe. It's not safe in high traffic and it's not safe in low traffic.

Saying you abuse a bike lane because there aren't enough of them is incredibly silly. Bike lanes are there to help keep us safe. Abusing the lane by "salmoning" in it, riding your razor scooter in it (in any direction), skateboarding in it (in any direction), running in it (with or without shoes, in any direction), is defeating the purpose of the bike lane's existence.

Cool The Kid said...

Wow... something tells me that "Missed Connections" post from SI summed up SI PERFECTLY.

Tom Robinson said...

I think the hard hat worn in the short mysterious video may be a pith helmet, which is even more iconoclastic.

Perhaps he's a subset of the tweed ride crowd who favors a colonial-era African look. Maybe training for the epic "Ride Across The Savannah, aka RATS.

mikeweb said...

@ anon 1:37,

Also something to be aware of: there doesn't have to be a bike lane on a street for you to be "allowed" to ride on it. If your choice is between taking a 'lane-less' street in the right direction or a bike lane in the wrong direction, always choose the former.

Another thing people don't realize: drivers and pedestrians - and other cyclists, when they're crossing a one way street a lot of times don't even look in both directions. After all why should they? there's not supposed to be any traffic of any kind coming in the wrong direction. So when riding the wrong way, don't be surprised when cars or walkers or riders pull right out in front of you without looking. That one's on you.

Anonymous said...

Appreciate the feedback and points all well taken, I will stop riding in bike lane in the wrong direction. I guess I deserved the profane outbursts.

Thanks,
Anon 1:37

3G said...

What makes the bicycle Jewish? Is the fork turned around circumcision 2.0?

I love it when they blow a track stand at the light. One of my favorites!

Jefe said...

ChrisO 1:21:
I looked at the Sheldon Brown link. That guy had an encyclopedic knowledge of bikes, but that advice he gives is insane. You could buy brand new chains several times a year for the time, effort, and cost of the complete chain disassembly and regreasing (two different kinds), that he recommends.

Anonymous said...

Too many times I have seen people driving the wrong direction on a one way street, they are only going one way. That is why I always look both ways before crossing. Expect the unexpected and you will survive to see another day.

Anonymous said...

Sheldon Brown's chain cleaning process equals spoof. But feel free to follow any written directions. It is on the Internet, so it must be true.

Double Nought Spy said...

I jest toss my chain in the fryin' pan with the mornin' bacon now and agin. Gives the bacon an intrestin' flaver and keeps the chain right greasy. Granny don't like it much, though.

Shaun said...

@Anon 2:47pm

Spoof? Really? So you're telling me that I completely disassembled my chain for no reason? For the love of Lob!

Anonymous said...

Haw Haw I saw the Jewish bike on cl yestarday and thought it might turn up here today.
Funny you mention John Waters Bikesnob during your radio interview I likened your voice to his.

db said...

Help with changing a SRAM PowerLink chain.

Cut my chain-cleaning time in half...

Jefe said...

Quoth the non-spoof Sheldon:

"The on-the-bike system has the advantage that the cleaning machine flexes the links and spins the rollers. This scrubbing action may do a better job of cleaning the innards."

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Anonymous said...

Best way is to train a monkey helper to clean your chain. I prefer to never ride my bike, and the NOS 70s chain keeps its value.

fierce panties said...

Bike Snob,

I always thought of you as the John Waters of cycling bloggers.

Salty Seattle said...

mmm...

I was going to vent about runners taking over Bike Month, as "National Runners' Month" [bitches]

...but all this discussion about Wipperdudes, rubbing chains and lubing is just making me hot.

[edited].

Salty Seattle said...

chain tool...

The item in the mechanics shop much less frightening than the nipple wrench.

Late sleeper said...

Podium???!!

ant1 said...

ant1st!

frilly said...

Vino! Vidi! Vici!

ant1 said...

sorry guys, goddamn work internet's been down all day. i had to do work. at least i got the 69th comment.

Nipple Wench said...

Did someone call?

Anonymous said...

that and it's a pretty safe bet the barefoot jogger is rubbing no underwear.

Anonymous said...

I'm not dissing your patron saint but reading someone's account of their Ironman competition is like reading details about someone's self-therapy for constipation.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Why would you read details about someone's self-therapy for constipation?

Anonymous said...

Given the number of crashes at the Giro I think the pros were secretly replaced by the guys in my local cat 5 crit.

heath said...

wait for it, wait for it...

Anonymous said...

heath-

Thank you.

You've shown me that I do not spend nearly enough of my life on YouTube.

I was starting to cheer the guy on, and even wanted to buy him that blue-spoked bike from Snobbie today..

..but I waited for it.

Anonymous said...

This may be a dumb question, but how easy is it to knock an aerospoke out of true? They just don't seem to me like the most practical wheels for the big city.

Anonymous said...

All You Righters Heed My Call

Dr Bob said...

Sure, the barefoot running is odd, but the guy in the background would appear to be fishing in the undergrowth.

Uncle Bob said...

It is only to be expected that "Prospect" magazine should not understand crotchal (or any other) hygiene. It is a British magazine, and the Poms famously do not wash.

Jason said...

a similar handlebar bike was on American Pickers, though I can't remember which one....

The taller picker has a thing for bikes, mostly Penny-farthers.

David said...

I’m going to ride my bike with the dirty chain now, shoeless, with a pipe in my mouth. No tweed. I will, however, examine my crotch afterwards. It can't be as interesting as my uncleaned chain.

innerlighter said...

Anyone else notice that CL Colnago is a 2809cm? What the hell is 53cm squared supposed to mean?

mehtypical

sully said...

I read your universal sports blog.I think the race would have been predictable if it was the tour de france.For the past few years I have been consistently nonplussed by how predictable its become.Whatever happened to the ban on race radios? if they want to clean up cycling they need to take away the goddamn radios so we dont have to be bored out of our minds while Bruyneel and company let the breakaway do their thing till the final Kilometers and have them reeled in and have HTC Columbia take the sprint if it doesnt involve the GC.

Jayne said...

nice job putting them in their place regarding proper cycling attire. i really don't understand the fear of lycra...well i sorta do, if you're a candy-ass.

Anonymous said...

Bikesnob,
I thought that you of all people would be aware of the greatness that is Jeremy Clarkson, the host of top gear. You should check out some of his videos on YouTube, maybe the one where all 4 presenters race across London (a bicycle wins). If he wrote a blog everyday it would probably be similar to yours except involve cars.

P.s. Clarkson would make up any sort of test result if it made the co-host and cyclist Richard Hammond sound dumb( and I'm pretty sure the author of that article knew that as well)

cyclegoddess said...

Idont know about you David but I find MY crotch MUCH more interesting than my uncleaned chain.
Yours however...
hmm this chain sure is dirty.

cyclegoddess said...

Lycra haters should be made to ride 85 + km on a non-cutout saddle, in tweed, in Australia, in summer.
But seeing as we are all comapssionate people, they will also be provided with tweezers and a magnifying glass.
That should weed 'em out.

Jefe said...

cyclegoddess 7:34 a.m. (or whatever time that is in Austrailia):
My question is, do you take the former item off the bike to clean it?

Anonymous said...

Here's a floating hand:

http://annarbor.craigslist.org/bik/1734807017.html

spacemodular said...

I am pretty sure that the mysterious rider is Johnny Payphone from the Rat Patrol and Burning Man. The bike is the Emigrant - his pennyfakething creation.

http://www.johnnypayphone.net/blog.php

Have you ever noticed all of the trackstanding malfunctions at the podium of this blog?

Bad Lawyer said...

Late to the gates, this was a great and silly post.

mikeweb said...

Going for the CP spin now - gotta beat the rain.

Anonymous said...

you gettin lazy. it's almost noon!

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLbF1aXr-dM

Anonymous said...

WAY TOO FUNNY! I saw this guy taking the pic on Saturday and was making fun of him myself.

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I like go out by bike
I think it is health living style1
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dontcoast said...

I'm glad Johnny payphone just looks nonplussed. His nutty bike creations are vastly superior to the trash that emanates from his mouth.

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Anonymous said...

Dude, I thank you for posting the picture of the barefoot runner. Barefoot running is indeed a trend that is catching on and for good reasons - mainly that running sneakers are the main cause of foot related injuries. I must add, that this barefoot runner is a happily married person and an avid runner who normally wears a bandana when he runs but probably forgot in in his gym bag that day. He runs on a pretty regular basis about one or two loops around the park and as far as I know eats pretty healthy and is in fairly good shape. So while on the subject of judging others, I think you need to include yourself in that category - especially since the runner is me!
Cheers

Anonymous said...

I must add to my last comment - I do like the angle in which you captured me - clearly I am getting better at my chi running as I let my body guide me and fall into my steps. BTW, I should only have you know that I have been running barefoot for over 10 years, well before barefoot running started entering the mainstream. Yes...I do like this picture very much, though I disagree with some of your comments which are at best empty and shallow

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fixie bikes said...

screw jogging, bike!