Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Flights of Fancy: The Art of Unsimplification

One of the best parts of doing a BRA tour is having the opportunity to ride a bicycle in various cities, and one of the worst parts is flying with your bicycle in order to do so. Traveling with a bike is especially vexing when your relatively shallow "stable" does not contain a bicycle that is specially designed to be broken down so that it can fit into a "standard"-sized suitcase, and mine is such a stable. Here's an example of the sort of bicycle I do not currently own, as well as the fun you can have with it in the hotel room after the flight:



Even the most mundane task seems filthy and salacious with a Barry White accompaniment.

In the best circumstances, flying with a full-sized non-folding bicycle is inconvenient, but when you fly on the airline Bicycling magazine ranked second-worst for bicycle-schlepping ("schlepping" is Yiddish for "portaging") it becomes nightmarish:

By the way, Bicycling is the same magazine that ranked Portland the second-best cycling city in America, so in their universe you can be sure that, whether best or worst, second place is First Place 2.0.

I'm sure people will chide me for not employing a ruse in which I claimed that my bike bag contained a non-bicycular item such as a massage table or a large placard bearing the visage of Larry King, but such subterfuge would only serve to avoid a truth we all need to confront eventually, which is that traveling with a bicycle flags you immediately for airline mistreatment. In fact, in future I may simply claim that the bicycle is a gun, as I'm sure I would be far better accommodated.

Of course, as is the case with all prejudices, the reason airlines hate bicycles is that they don't understand them. This became clear to me at check-in after I made a benign comment to a United ticketing agent about their high bicycle fee, to which she responded by administering an angry and venomous lecture about how my bicycle required the aircraft to burn more costly fuel. I might have explained to her that my full bicycle bag was well under United's 50lb weight allowance for checked luggage, and the only way it would cause the airplane to burn more fuel than a regular suitcase would be if they transported it on the roof like the plane was a Subaru headed to a cyclocross race, but I did not have an opportunity to do so, for immediately after finishing she stormed off in a huff, never to be seen again.

Naturally, I understand weight is not the airline's only concern--there's also bulk, and the handling of this bulk. Certainly United is unable to correctly answer the riddle, "Which weighs more, 20lbs of bicycle or 50lbs of underpants?," but if the bag requires special handling regardless of weight it's reasonable to expect to have to pay for that handling. However, judging from the number of times my bicycle bag tumbled onto the carousel along with the rest of the luggage I'm not sure exactly how and where this handling is taking place. (Though I admit literally hurling the bicycle shotput-style like I saw a handler in Seattle do qualifies as a sort of "special handling.")

Also, when I arrived home in New York City, I asked a United representative where my oversized bag would emerge. "What's your idea of an oversized bag?," she replied. Until then I had no idea that it was up to me to determine whether my bag was oversized, nor did I have the wherewithal after a long flight to enter into a philosophical discussion about relativity. I explained that, according to United, my bag was oversized, but she still didn't believe me. Finally, I said, "It's a bicycle," and she finally said, "Ohhh," like I had just told her I was traveling with the corpse of a deceased relative, and she basically explained that it could emerge from pretty much anywhere.

Ultimately though the bag didn't emerge from anywhere since it never made it onto the plane in the first place--because, as another United employee explained to me, smaller planes have weight restrictions. In other words, my non-overweight bag was withheld from the plane for being too heavy. "They don't tell the passenger when they do that?," I asked, to which she replied, "They're supposed to, but they never do." The bicycle eventually arrived at my home the following morning.

Then again, this may be about more than a failure to understand simple concepts such as the weight of objects. More than this, it seems as though humans as a whole are genetically predisposed to complicate simple things--and since few machines are simpler than bicycles, the temptation to complicate them and everything associated with them is irresistible. Consider the "Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer:"

A reader alerted me to this new product, and you may also have noticed it on blogs such as that of fixed-gear freestyle impresario and streetwear enthusiast Prolly. While the tool itself is simple (basically, it's a cog that acts as a lockring remover) the degree of embellishment surrounding it is extraordinary. Here is the story behind it:

Designers/Inventors: Joshua Kampa (OPEN Bicycle) & Aaron Panone (aarn)
Packaging Design: Mike Dacey (Repeat Press)

After a year of development, incubation, and manufacturing research, Union Foundry is proud to present our first official product. The inaugural, limited first run of T0001 was designed on kitchen checks and cocktail napkins at our local. Days later, with the initial design still just a sketch, prototypes were milled and sent downtown to be tested by Boston bike couriers and other local riders.

Once the final design was locked, the tools were machined less than a mile from the place of their inception, then delivered, by bicycle, to be hand-polished by the same finishing shop that worked with Somerville bicycle legends Merlin and Fat Chance. The military-grade stainless steel parts were polished to a jewelry-grade finish then shipped off to our laser shop to be etched by the same machinists that cut titanium parts for Independent Fabrication and Seven Cycles. Upon their return to Union Foundry headquarters, the same building that housed Merlin Bicycles until the late 90s, packaging materials were hand cut and printed by local letter-press outfit Repeat Press, and then assembled and packaged for sale.


When purchasing a portable multi-tool (or in this case, portable non-multi tool) it is essential to me that the tool have a suitably engrossing "backstory," and the Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer does not disappoint in this regard (clearly, "designer/inventors" Joshua Kampa and Aaron Panone are a couple of "hipster" Ron Popeils)--nor does it disappoint with regard to its name, for asking a fellow rider, "Dude, do you have a Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer on you? I left mine on my other carabiner," is just the sort of thing that allows you to prove to the "fixerati" that you're "in the know." Best of all, in addition to a solid backstory and an unwieldy name, there's also a credit for "Packaging Design." In these strange times, it is considered wasteful and gauche to ask for a bag at the supermarket, yet it's perfectly reasonable to not only package a small piece of metal but also to use the package (and the designer of that package) as an actual selling point.

Sure, I know what you're thinking. "I'm interested in the Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer, but I'm not convinced. Is there an artfully conceived promotional 'edit' that accompanies it and shows me how to integrate this product neatly into my lifestyle?" The answer, of course, is "Yes:"

Union Foundry T-0001 Roto-Fix Tool from Paper Fortress on Vimeo.

The video opens with a "fixter" of the helmet-and-no-brakes variety riding on a grittily gentrified urban street. "Hmmm," he thinks to himself, "this is pretty Zen, but if I had different gearing it would be even Zenner:"

Fortunately, he's got a Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer dangling from his carabiner:

Next, he finds a suitably picturesque spot (in the "hipster" community it is essential to perform all roadside repairs in front of a visually pleasing backdrop), and like all brakeless riders uses almost the entire width of the road to bring his bicycle to a stop:

The background he has chosen, by the way, is edgy yet retro, and features both a razor wire fence and a VW Microbus:

Next, he removes his rear wheel:


Then, he returns his peanut butter wrench to his back pocket and grabs the Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer, presumably more comfortable carrying his tools in his tight pants than in his giant backpack:


Next, he applies the Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer:


And easy as you please (almost but not quite as easy as using a regular lockring tool), the lockring is removed, allowing him to fish around in his pants for a different cog:

You may be wondering at this point why, if urban fixed-gear cycling is about simplicity, one would feel the need to change cogs on the fly. You may also be wondering if the rider is aware that a simple flip-flop hub would involve considerably less work. Finally, you may be wondering how much the Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer costs, and the answer to that is $85:

It's surprising to me, especially given the undeniable appeal of being able to change gear ratios quickly, that before the Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer came along nobody had thought to invent something that would allow you to change gear ratios quickly and that costs under $100:


Sure, I realize that it takes more than just a rear derailleur to change gear ratios, but when you factor in additional cogs, capacious messenger bags, carabiners, jeans, and "boutique" tools, you're probably well on your way to a Red group.

Of course, now that the fixed-gear freestylers are adopting 26" wheels they continue to be well on their way to reinventing the BMX bike, so it is only natural that "hipsters" are slowly reinventing the derailleur drivetrain as well. Presumably we'll see a "boutique" rod shifter for the fixed-gear set by the time even Sora is fully electronic and everyone else is shifting with their minds. And in the meantime, there's always Velosynth, which was forwarded to me by another reader:

The video is particularly entertaining:


velosynth release#001 from velosynth on Vimeo.

Judging from the pronunciation, they've even reinvented the word "velo."

132 comments:

Anonymous said...

first

Astroluc said...

second?

Fred said...

Fastest Fred!

Anonymous said...

podium?

Anonymous said...

bonjour

smugseattle said...

Top ten!

ringcycles said...

Top Ten, first time in a while

Anonymous said...

CONTENDER!

paul said...

Top Ten Atlien

Anonymous said...

I carry extra wheels with me when I need to change my cogs.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

hillbilly said...

I carry extra bikes with me just in case.

tail said...

AYHSMB

Jefe said...

Top 20.

kimbriki micky said...

i just created a google account to give my 'anonymous' posts more credibility. Can't wait to start telling you I like your old stuff better than your new stuff...

Anonymous said...

USA! USA! USA!

samh said...

Way to point out rod shifters, Snob. How long until those start poppin' up everywhere?

ringcycles said...

Yes, somewhere near Vicenza, Tullio Campagnolo is spinning a high cadence in his grave at the mere idea that fixie hipsters have discovered gear shifting.

I would use the velosynth, If I could plug in an earpiece and program it to yell at me that I suck in flemish or italian, especially when trying to bridge up to a break. It would be like having a virtual DS on group rides.

g said...

Did I miss something or is velosynth the stupidest fucking thing ever curated? I really want to know.

Jefe said...

Only transport bikes on Southwest Airlines or Jet Blue. It's $50 each way, and their otherwise low rates make up for the fees. As for packing, I use the Aerus Biospeed Travel Case. It is a soft case that weighs less than 10 lbs. empty. I easily haul it with just a shoulder strap. You need only to remove pedals and wheels and unclamp the handelbars from the stem. If you really want to be careful, you can unbolt your rear derailleur, but I don't. I have never gotten a scratch on my bike after many trips.

Bad Lawyer said...

Velo-ur

Udder said...

The Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer would have come in handy to the fixie hipsters I saw last week in San Francisco walking their bikes up Nob Hill.

Anonymous said...

top 5

Anonymous said...

Hey, we just got that model T-0001-0A Union Foundry sure-grip suck machine that you ordered.

Anonymous said...

Damn, it looks like that T-1000 I mean T-0001 tool is both military grade and jewelry grade, which probably means that Patton himself would be proud to palp it along with those pearl-handled revolvers.

Anonymous said...

Those Union Foundry guys are wizards, true stars!

Tappity said...

Velosynth...finally, a use for your unwanted clamshell to-go food boxes.

Fred said...

The rotofixer strikes me as the same kind of ridiculous as the elaborate systems many cars have to remind you that you left the headlights on after turning the key off (chimes, robotic voices, etc.).

Why not just turn the lights off when the key is turned off, you know, like the radio and EVERYTHING ELSE?

At least the Velosynth does a thing that is new. Nobody in their right mind would want that thing, but it is new.

mikeweb said...

Oh my Lob!! The artistic and harmonic use of the VW bus wheel as a backdrop to the fixie wheel in that 'edit' is amazing.

Way to go astroluc and Fred!!

Anonymous said...

what i really love about the rotofixer dude is his hat. with the bill up, the rider expresses an ironic sensibility regarding the nature of hat visors and their intended purpose, while still using his head as advertising space and rendering useless all the ventholes in his helmet. nice work!

Enchy said...

That Velosynth appeals to the hacker inside of me. It bridges the gap between the two things I love most, cycling and computers. I might buy one.

g said...

I have a device on my bike that has a sensor, a magnet and microprocessor. It takes the rate at which the magnet passes a fixed point sensor and calculates things like distance, speed, cadence to name a few. The information is conveyed via a small 1"x1" lcd screen mounted in an inconspicuous spot on my stem. What is "new" about this velosynth device? That it does none of those things in the same manner and makes sounds? I can rig up a device with a clothes pin and a playing card that will do the same thing for a heckuva lot less. I will send you a clothespin for $57 and you can supply your own card (baseball or playing card) or for just $128, I will send you the entire set up and support you via this blogs comments section. Call now, operators are standing by!

grog said...

Does the Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer come with complete instructions, warranty, and age-appropriate warnings? Clearly, this could be the most dangerous tool in your pocket. Always wear goggles, helmet, gloves and cup when you rotofix.
ROTO THIS

CommieCanuck said...

Why not just turn the lights off when the key is turned off, you know, like the radio and EVERYTHING ELSE?

Two words, no, three words: hot car sex. You need to keep Barry on when the engine goes off. Parking lights set that amber mood.

Rotofixer is awesome. But, I've seen better: you're just riding along, come to a big hill, you stop, change the rear cog, pull out you Chainfixer and add a few links, add back your bigger cog, reassemble everything, restore the chain link pins, remove the breaks (don't need'em uphill), pull out a hacksaw and cut the top tube to change for better climbing geometry, re-weld the tube with your solar-powered electric welder in tow, then take on that hill.

Seriously, what could be easier?

Jen said...

Love how (1) dude is wearing black gloves to conceal the amount of chain grease he's palping as he rotofixates, and (2) there's vestigial white coverings only on the drops of his handlebars, but not where he actually puts his grimy little mitts.

Ah, the lube that dares not speak its name...

CommieCanuck said...

I can rig up a device with a clothes pin and a playing card that will do the same thing for a heckuva lot less. I will send you a clothespin for $57 and you can supply your own card (baseball or playing card) or for just $128, I will send you the entire set up and support you via this blogs comments section.

For $35, I'll send you an instructional DVD on how to make buzzing noises while working on the computer. Extreme Raspberries 2.0, intro by Tony Hawk, whoever the hell that is.

g said...

And just like that, the entire noise/computer/cycling industry is shipped to, of all places, Canada.

Fucking NAFTA.

InDaDrops said...

all you haters suck my useful audio feedback

Anonymous said...

The gal in the hotel room could have a more enjoyable stay if she'd leave her bike at home and just pack that multitool.

Anonymous said...

snob, why did you lug your bike around in the first place? I'm sure there would have been more than one person to offer you up loner on each stop of your multi-city BRApalooza given the large crowds on each of the bike rides. anywho, not sure what has less utility the Rotofixer or the velosynth.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:17pm,

If I did that I'd have to keep re-installing the Gruber Assist.

--RTMS

Alan Arvesen said...

@Anon 1:28, you have eloquently answered my question of what to with something that is simultaneously military- and jewelry-grade.

I am surprised that there are no comments about the multi-tool curation in that rockin' how-to-assemble-your-bike video.

Anonymous said...

there was a very ugly plane crash not that far back on the dachsund the caused the faa to reexamine passenger weight estimations. apparently, passenger weights were being estimated based on an average american's weight in the 1930s, which was quite a bit lighter than the contemporary average american... thus a contributing factor to this crash was that there was a whole lot more gut on board than the pilots had factored into their calculations (# passengers x avg. weight) and the plane was above allowed limits.

without prejudice to the noble clydesdales and expat dutch city bikes making sojourns back to the motherland, it would be preferable to cyclists to charge based on luggage (bike) + measured passenger weight, an equation many riders would do pretty well against.

then again, flying is way too cheap anyway. just consider the prospect of raam, pay-up and be happy.

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20030110X00049&key=1

mikeweb said...

All in all, the velosynth looks to be much more useful, I dare say necessary, than the Union Foundry T-0001-0A Rotofixer.

jon said...

Our bike-building gal pal in the video should have just gone to a LBS in her destination city and bought a new bike, rather than schlepping an obviously never-before-ridden one on the plane.

Otherwise, good luck not trashing the carpet with chain spooge and varied other road filths, no matter how well you cleaned before packing it up for travel.

I am the engine. said...

Classic, you write much better at home.

The answer to your first paragraph is make sure you never fly United again, never again. Are there more expensive grades of aviation fuel since bikes are involved.

How do they plan ahead?

Never underestimate the need for one more redundant tool, why do you have two lite nutcrackers?

Anonymous said...

So with the Velosynth, I'll be able to travel to and witness the Horsehead Nebula with my own peepers? Tempting...

leroy said...

As long as we're discussing cycling product advances, it is a little known fact that the Gruber Assist is named after Torpedoman Lester Gruber, the affable Brooklyn born get-rich-quick schemer from the 60's sitcom "McHale's Navy."

Okay, that may not be a fact. But it is little known.

Pablo said...

And just like that, the entire noise/computer/cycling industry is shipped to, of all places, Canada.

Fucking NAFTA.


For $12 I send you my seester, and she make all the noises you want.

Jason said...

Any time I've ever flown in NA it has been a nightmare in charges, etc. Half the time Air Canada employees don't even know their own procedures for a bike so it takes forever at the counter...ug

The best experience I ever had flying a bike was coming back from Russia flying Aeroflot, the place I was most nervous about flying out of ever.

The woman at the counter took one look at the bike case, told me to put in on a special rack and I was on my merry way. No charges, no fuss, no wait. Pure awesome.

Fred said...

Yes, the Velosynth is a miracle of modern miniaturization. Back in the 70's, I had to mount one of these on my Schwinn to get the same sound quality.

rjnerd said...

Airlines and bikes: The most annoying thing is that last time I checked, golf clubs still fly without a special surcharge. (just the normal baggage fee)

I have mocked up (using aluminum extrusion), but haven't yet turned into steel, a recumbent that disassembles into hunks that fit into a golf club hard shell case.

CommieCanuck said...

the Gruber Assist is named after Torpedoman Lester Gruber, the affable Brooklyn born get-rich-quick schemer from the 60's sitcom "McHale's Navy."

Bull shit. The Gurber assist was created by evil villain Hans Gruber, documented in "Die Hard2". His small fortune in patenting the Gruber assist whet his appetite for evil world domination. He sold the patent in 2007 to Bjarne Riis. True story, I read it on the internet.

CommieCanuck said...

I have mocked up (using aluminum extrusion), but haven't yet turned into steel, a recumbent that disassembles into hunks that fit into a golf club hard shell case.


Is it an autobot?, or a decepticon?

CommieCanuck said...

Airlines and bikes: The most annoying thing is that last time I checked, golf clubs still fly without a special surcharge. (just the normal baggage fee)

Dead restaurant managers, properly packed, still fly free out of Newark.

Salty and Sore said...

Union Foundry's ad copy spells it all out in ways I don't think they recognize. Really, it's a cry for help.

Passive voice is one of the worst symptoms of ED. No wonder they're trying to hard to make their new product sounds so uhmmmm...

Checked out the other products they offer: Malleable Iron Fittings, Risers, Screw Assemblies, Wrenches, Jointings. Come on Roto-guys, just 'ask your doctor' already.

Daddo said...

"Otherwise, good luck not trashing the carpet with chain spooge and varied other road filths, no matter how well you cleaned before packing it up for travel."

not true - I've done many a bike trip and put many bikes together in hotel rooms (I listen to Prince during these forays but BW is surely a fine alternative) with no spooge or fluids of any kind left behind. At least none visible without a black light.

I recently went to Italy with two bikes and was hoping the skycaps would take a fifty to treat my cases as regular bags. Even they arescared into compiance with Delta's obscene fees. Jetblue is surely run by someone with a decent head on theri shoulders - just need themt o fly INTL!

Salty and Sore said...

PS: had good luck shipping bikes via UPS. Just have to know what your 'destination' (aka hotel booking) is ahead of time.

I confess, borrowing someone else's bike always makes me feel so dirty.

...I shower, and I shower, and still it doesn't wash off...

Anonymous said...

In the 70's it sometimes was necessary to carry both Rick Wakeman and Todd Rundgren on one's bicycle which explains Pub deodorant.

biorider said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LK said...

Why does history keep repeating itself?

http://www.campyonly.com/history.html

I'm going fishing.

CommieCanuck said...

As if that chick needs to assemble her own bike. All she needs to do is show up to the hotel lobby and exclaim, "oh dear, I have no idea how to put this bike-thingy together, if only some guy could up to my room and help me while I take a long soapy shower."

Done and done.

Pete Townshend said...

And United breaks guitars. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

So?

Joe Strummer said...

yeah, so?

CommieCanuck said...

Why does history keep repeating itself?

Didn't you write this comment about a year ago?

ervgopwr said...

Ahh, so good to have the Snob back on his personal blogging chair, while CC is back on his comment commenting throne.

Well done all.

That computer is shit and so is an $85 paper weight. Buy this .

I am in no way affiliated with said sale.

Anonymous said...

Its GRUPPO damnit!

Anonymous said...

...nothing new under the sun - which would you rather have on your bike, a hipster velosynth or a Mattel Vroom ? Both would annoy but only one is really cool:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5874497295497895885#

Anonymous said...

How very hipster. Let's see, I need to 'regear'. I'll just stop here, lean my bike up against this van and work on my bike in the middle of the street.

Anonymous said...

Agree traveling with bikes is a PIA. Recently few from PHL to VCE with 3 bikes for $100 bike fee. Two bikes in BikePro Double race case ($100) and a Surly Traveler's Check in a Ritchey Break-a-way bag (Free). Talk about smugness.

CommieCanuck said...

..while CC is back on his comment commenting throne.

How did he know I use my iPad on the toilet? Shit. I've been flagged.

Matt said...

Long ago in the last century (1980) I took my bike to England on Northwest Orient (later Northwest, now Delta) and there was no charge. Ahhh, the good old days! And United gave me a bike box to pack it in.

I believe Amtrak will ship bikes for you to their destinations for a reasonable fee. Have nice big bike boxes, too, not the little ones bike stores have from their new bikes, but Amtrak charges like $10 for the box. Last time they just gave me a used one and it had some chick's name, address and phone number on it which was intriguing but I'm married already.

PhilboydStunge said...

Its true that airlines hate bicycles & bicyclists, but don't take it personally, they hate all baggage and all flyers. And don't be fooled by Aeroflot's lack of special concern/checkin procedure for your bike. They will smash/lose/soak/set on fire your bicycle with the same unconcern as your clothes.

What is amazing about Jason's Aeroflot experience isn't that they were nice to him, its that he rode his bike in Russia and made it out alive. Way to go Jason!

B34NS said...

wait, no bugle moment or battered old guy glance. i feel robbed.

heath said...

la la la

cyclotourist said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if some real smart people found a way to have two cogs on the same side of fixed hub (forget about those flip flop hubs, there's no street-cred in that!). And then sell it for really cheap through any bike shop or on-line vendor in the whole world.

Oh, wait...

ArgoNavis said...

Baggage handlers don't just shotput bikes. Sometimes they use them as ramps for their baggage carts. Check out American Airlines Breaks Bikes (on Facebook or just watch the video on YouTube)

Sigurd said...

Snob, you really are a snob. Your David Byrne-phobia aside, why didn't you just bring a folder? Both soft and hard carrying cases are available for Dahons and Bromptons alike. Don't pretend they're "not REAL bikes". Bog knows, the "biek" freaks you witnessed *and* rode with, had mounts that were weirder and dumber than any honest folder. It's not like you had any cred to lose in that crowd. Spend some of your ill-gotten book royalties on an all-American, made-in-Taiwan Dahon next time you tour.

Anonymous said...

I think the bike is a special part of the overall cycling experience. I completly understand why you took yours along for the BRA tour. Would Kenny G travel without the appropriate sax?

bikesgonewild said...

...are there prizes here ???...

...'cuz if there are prizes here, that darn leroy deserves the best prize for the day...

...still fucking laughing...

Anonymous said...

I saw your presentation in Seattle and the motion you mimed was the baggage handler doing a "hammer throw" which makes more sense than doing a "shot put". A bicycle box "hammer throw" would allow the baggage handler to use the weight of the bike as momentum to achieve the throw, whereas doing a "shot put" with such a large package would be just clumsy, if you think about it.

Just sayin.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Sigurd,

Because I do not own a folder.

Anonymous 6:24pm,

You're exactly right, it was a hammer throw--I got my heavy object hurling sports confused.

--BSNYC

bavarian camembert said...

For the first time in soccer world cup history, the US team reaches 1/8 final, finishing first of its group.

Congratulations !!

Any bike ride organized to celebrate this, Portland style?

Fred said...

I believe the bike throw is correctly performed here.

Stupid Name said...

Please explain this tool to me, it is a cog, with two key-ways installed, so you can remove a lock-nut.

Seems like that would be worth 85.00. I need two.

Just try to use it with-out gloves. It is not a tool, it is a fashion statement. The person who has one is a tool.

Anonymous said...

martina patella ??

wishiwasmerckx said...

I propose a field study measuring total distance obtained in bicycle propulsion comparing hammer-throwing, shot-putting, javelin-tossing, discus-throwing and caber-tossing bikes in carrier boxes.

Anonymous said...

Think UPS next time. I shipped a bike for 35.00 across the country, and it arrived on time. Fuck airlines.

Jason said...

@PhilboydStunge

The road surfaces were generally atrocious in the Russian countryside but to be perfectly honest except for the insanity on the highway into Saint-Petersburg and a few of the logging highways, it was perfectly safe.

The drivers were as a rule dramatically more friendly and gave significantly more passing space than the drivers in most of the NA cities I've been to. This included massive logging trucks.

The road design in Saint Petersburg is actually pretty sweet for biking and it is possibly the nicest city I've ever biked in. On my way back I ran into a troupe of British Urban riders who were taking advantage of the cool park spaces in Moscow.

All this and cycling in Russia is marginal (I don't even know if they have road laws covering it there) and there are very few cyclists.

I got way better customer service and baggage handling from Aeroflot than I usually get from NA airlines and thats telling too.

We should be completely ashamed of ourselves with our pretences of bike friendliness, pathing etc.

Loren said...

Maybe you should try telling the ticket agent that your frame is light as milk.

Test Tickle said...

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/bik/1805793071.html

ballishish.

Anonymous said...

Velo synth in all it's pretentious irony is just about the dummest damn waste of manufacturing energy I think I've ever seen... WTF?? Is that what happens when we send our kids to college?

If I wanted to make noise that is related to my acceleration and speed whike riding a biek why not use a frigging baseball card and clothespin like we did as children and send the money I save to the poor?

Ok I'm done ranting time to ride.....

My head hurts...

If I Were King said...

I've always thought that weight on airlines should be assessed as a function of total weight. I don't understand why they don't figure in the weight of the passenger along with the weight of the bags. I weigh maybe 145lbs and travel light - one bag and a backpack. So why should I get hassled when that 300lbs guy over there with a 50lbs carry-on bag and a 49lbs "personal item" waddles though the lines without a worry? Turn it into a real meat market. Weigh passenger and bags, then issue weight-credits to under-weight passengers that they can then sell to all the overweight lipid lumberers so they bear the financial burden of all that special jet fuel.

Ricardo said...

http://www.sturmey-archer.com/products/hubs/cid/3/id/47

Maybe UnionFoundry should check this out.

bikesgonewild said...

...@ if i were king...even though i'm carrying a little (???) more weight than i'd like, (& thus i'd pay more than you) i say your idea is no "flight of fancy"...

...despite the inevitable squawking of "discrimination" that would be floating around, we are talking about a service wherein the vehicles ride on air...

...props...

Anonymous said...

Hey Bikesnob,

Since you missed L.A. on your book tour, could you weigh in on the latest L.A. cycling contretemps?

It started with this rather innocuous post - http://bikinginla.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/who%E2%80%99s-the-man-behind-the-curtain-of-l-a-bicycling/

But apparently someone took such exception to it that a FIVE part counterargument was required, beginning here - http://www.bikesidela.org/ted-rogers-phones-it-in-04/

But then the website taking exception to the first website began deleting comments, which led to the discussion on a third website here -
http://midnightridazz.com/forums.php?topicId=15256&pgnum=1

And now the 2nd of the 5 part discussion is available here - http://www.bikesidela.org/why-org-charts-matter/

Can you lend your talents toward offering these folks some advice, or at least your take on things?

bikesgonewild said...

...oh...i forgot...the talk's all been about how the airlines abuse bicycles...

...hell, how about how they treat us in coach class ???...can you say 'human baggage'...

...i'm just sayin'...

eric said...

Not only is the Union Foundry tool pretty useless, its not really that original either. "Cassette Crackers", which work in a similar fashion to remove the cassette lockring in an emergency, have been around for a while. So I additionally deny them originality of design. This tool, which admittedly has no backstory but is more useful, sells for $28 (http://www.adventurecycling.org/store/index.cfm/product/517_65/stein-mini-cassette-lock.cfm).

I just bought one for an upcoming month-log bike tour in case someone breaks a drive-side rear spoke.

Anonymous said...

So how 'bout those World Cup referees?

wishiwasmerckx said...

100th!

Salty and Sore said...

Congrats wiwm!

Did someone say that there's bikes in LA?

Cuz "Nobody walks in L.A."...


Must research this further.

My Russian tour guide said that nobody rides there because biking isn't cool. Forget what you learned during the Cold War; Russian culture is just like ours.

Anonymous said...

茜茜知道他有了外遇
他變得春風滿面,嘴裡總是哼著歌曲
他開始變得有耐心聽她說話、會買禮物給她、甚至帶她出遊
茜茜知道這是因為他對外遇有愧疚
她沒有揭穿丈夫的外遇,甚至享受這樣的生活
茜茜偷偷的跟姐妹滔說:感謝老公的外遇帶來更美好的夫妻生活!

Anonymous said...

what a load of steaming dog shit! velosynth! WTF!!! Those dickheads have been sucking too much dick! their minds are messed up from sucking dick! UNBELIEVABLE!

Anonymous said...

No need to worry, United Airlines will be dead in about five years time, because the cost & availability of fuel will drive them out of business, aka "peak oil".

The rude woman you encountered is evidence of that airline squeamishly undergoing their initial death throes.

Anonymous said...

Just for the Hipster check

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FsA3zDZNWk

Hamilton Grayton said...

Ha! You should have told United that your bike was an "inline-wheelchair" and that their treatment of you was grounds for a lawsuit citing "disability discrimination".

(I'm not a lawyer so there are probably more holes in this than a crossdrilled brake disc)

Anonymous said...

Hamilton Grayton ? what is the background with that name .
Just curious that`s all
Sounds like some Alec Guinness character .

Hamilton Grayton said...

The background? Well, I guess it's my nom de web (2.0), based on a clever (ahem) decoupling of my name and expanded into a gentrified character name.

Anonymous said...

@anon 12:10

What a bunch of babies in LA. Pure bush league - they'll never make it in politics like that. As an outsider it is entertaining to read but for pure sport, I prefer good old machine politics.

Anonymous said...

I`m struggling with the nom de web, Nom de web ? . Fanny repelant if you ask me . Vagina= fanny and all that U.S translation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRCKyX9BvEg

Michelle Simmons said...

My bike and me COMBINED weigh less than most other people traveling on the plane.

g-roc said...

I was disappointed that they never opened up the styrofoam food box to "reveal" the velosynth. Still, re-purposing garbage is "in" now, right?

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

NB said...

That Video reminded me of the creepy parts of A Requiem For a Dream.

livingjetlag said...

It doesn't take a computer to generate music from a bicycle. There are already so many wonderful sounds, like the crash of a failure to unclip, or the awesome "pillowcase full of mice" sound (thanks RTMS) of an unlubed chain, with the beat of a bottom bracket issue to keep time. If you are uncool enough to use brakes, then keep them squeaky, so even deceleration adds to the tune. Beater bikes unite!

Rammer said...

"Rotofixer is awesome. But, I've seen better: you're just riding along, come to a big hill, you stop, change the rear cog, pull out you Chainfixer and add a few links, add back your bigger cog, reassemble everything, restore the chain link pins, remove the breaks (don't need'em uphill), pull out a hacksaw and cut the top tube to change for better climbing geometry, re-weld the tube with your solar-powered electric welder in tow, then take on that hill."

First time caller, long time listener....this is the best response yet. Laughed out loud in my cube at work!

Anonymous said...

BS, how do you pronounce "velo"? They're saying it correctly.

Anonymous said...

Haha. "Union Foundry"
More like Union Lost and Found-ry.

Anonymous said...

I had the worst experience with United flying to japan and back. Called ahead and was quoted a special Japan only price of 60 dollars each way. Paid the 60 dollars to get there, then when I go to fly home they charge me close to 250. I tried to go up the management chain but they stalled me and I was going to miss my flight so I had to pay. A letter, with receipts proving all payments did several months later get me the difference between 60 and what I paid back but you can't even trust United to tell you what you are going to pay.

wle said...

WHO IS BIKE ASS-EMBLY WOMAN!!!!???

wle

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth...

I traveled from Toronto, Canada to Europe and back. On the plane and on the Europe trains I used a bike bag.

The airline handled my bike (and another one) just fine. For $30, they have minimal rules (deflate tires and a couple others) and pack the bikes separately so you dont need to do any crazy pack.

It got there and home just fine. It even showed up where they said it would! On time!

Anonymous said...

p.s. that was on Air Transat, a pretty no-frills airline

Anonymous said...

p.s. that was on Air Transat, a pretty no-frills airline.

Anonymous said...

Who is Rainn Wilson and why do we care what he twits. If he was a "well known actor" then I would have heard of him, but I suppose I'm too busy riding around in lycra.

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Anonymous said...

I love how many people completely miss the point of this product. It could easily be likened to a apple corer. Sure, you can core and slice the apple with a knife, just like you can remove a lockring with a lockring wrench, but who cares? The corer is easier and quicker, just like the rotofixer is easier and quicker.

Also, as far as the hate on the video goes, it's an ADVERTISMENT. Have you watched TV recently? Have you noticed how NOTHING is realistic in TV ads? sheesh.

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fixie bikes said...

bikes are easy to assemble right?