Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making A Point: Paint, Sponges, and Determination

Obviously the big Tour de France news yesterday (aside from "Sunglassesgate") was Alberto Contador's counter-attack on Andy Schleck while the latter struggled with his recalcitrant drivetrain. Contador's move was tremendously controversial, since in the French sporting world any action that results in victory is considered unseemly. (Thomas Voeckler is exempt from this due to his appropriately disproportionate failure-to-success ratio.) Consequently, Camp Contador went into "damage control" mode, and in an attempt to cap the gushing crude oil of negative public opinion they "dropped" this apology "edit:"



I was especially pleased to see that Contador employed the new "corporate fingerbang" insigniaway:

This lent the video that important "Contador: A Brand You Can Trust" feeling, and it was almost (but not quite) enough to overcome the fact that it was shot in a cheap hotel room about as artfully as a celebrity sex tape.

Still, it's doubtful that this video will be sufficient to turn opinion in his favor--especially when he has already been judged in high-minded fashion by the Last Word In All Things Cycling, Gerard Vroomen of Cervelo:

(Wisdom emanates constantly from The Vroomen.)

No hastily-uploaded hotel apology could possibly counteract the power of a clever flip-the-words-around-for-emphasis sound bite "tweeted" by a man with a thoughtful expression and an authoritative and clinical lack of hair.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to understand what exactly happened to Andy Schleck's drivetrain yesterday, Last Word On All Things Cycling Tech (Provided They Cost Over A Thousand Dollars) Lennard Zinn has authored a 1,600-word technical document that basically says he dropped his chain:

So, we’re left with my original theory. LZ’s Schleck chain-drop theory in a nutshell: ‘twas a perfect storm of upshifting under load with a derailleur that has a big loop on it to snag the cogset when the chain drops off the bottom to the inside of the small chainring.

It seems to me that Zinn could have simply "tweeted" the words "he dropped his chain." Not only would this have been simpler, but he would have had an extra 120 characters left to engage in some Zenlike Vroonenese wordplay:


Incidentally, Zenlike Vroonenese is very similar to Yakov Smirnoffese:

Of course, Schleck could have obviated the issue of chain-droppage altogether if he had used this revolutionary new chainring design, which was forwarded to me by a reader:

"By removing the rear derailleur and cassette, the mass is relocated between the riders feet and away from the suspension, which gives much better small bump response, as well as increased grip and cornering ability," explains the designer, and I'm sure you'll agree that this a far more elegant and practical solution than a single chainring and a Rohloff Speedhub.

In any case, Andy Schleck was not the only rider with a stomach full of anger after yesterday's stage. Nicolas Roche (who Phil Liggett will duly remind you at every opportunity is the son of Stephen Roche) was also so angry at his teammate John Gadret that he actually threatened to take his life:


Indeed, on the very climb on which Schleck was undone by his SRAM Red drivetrain, Nicolas Roche asked Gadret for his wheel, to which Gadret simply replied, "Non:"

As our team car was No 11 in the cavalcade and it would take a lot of time for them to get to me through the streams of dropped riders, I asked Gadret -- who was there to help me -- for his wheel. I couldn't believe what happened next. He just shook his head and said 'Non'. At first I thought he was joking, but soon realised he wasn't when he kept riding past me.

By the way, "Non" is actually French for "No," which should help frame the incident in its proper linguistic and cultural context.

Speaking of cultural contexts, while I was browsing the Irish Independent I also noticed this article about yet another naked bike ride:

Apparently, this sordid procession delighted motorists, who "largely stared and whooped and gave the cavalcade the thumbs-up." (Though thumbs up what the article did not specify.) Yes, nothing is more delightful than "paint, sponges and determination:"

In Cork yesterday, it was all paint, sponges and determination at the day's first stop -- the pre-ride painting party.

While these elements may have characterized the "pre-ride painting party," unfortunatly at the after party it was all mineral spirits, loofahs, and sore crotches.

I wonder if there will be also paint, sponges, and determination at the Fifth Annual Fixed-Gear Symposium in Traverse City, Michigan, because I do know there will be "tight events:"

By which the organizers obviously mean "artistic cycling:"

As well as the usual assortment of bicycle-themed social activities:

While the "media" prefers to focus on the "outlaw" element in fixed-gear cycling, it's easy to forget that just as many if not more fixed-gear cyclists are simply complete dorks. Fortunately, we have the Fixed-Gear Symposium to remind us of this, as well as of an age when the reassuring countenance of Sheldon Brown (and not the collective faux scowl of "crews" like "MASHSF") was the face of fixed-gear cycling. Basically, it's like a Star Trek convention, but for "fixies."

I did note, however, that there was no mention of a skidding contest, and I can't help but wonder of the time-honored tradition of the inanely "epic" sliding stem-hump has finally come to an end. Here's some thrilling footage from the contest that took place at the 2006 Symposium:



If it is indeed the end of competitive skidding, then perhaps it's all for the best, since if you get excited by watching living creatures remain stock-still while riding slow-moving objects you can always watch dog surfing:



Sure, it looks cute, but 147 dogs lost their lives at sea that day. This one survived, though, thanks to his owner's well-honed "portaging" technique:

In lieu of a skidding contest, I think the organizers of the Fixed-Gear Symposium should hold a "disembodied hand" contest. The disembodied hand is as essential to bicycle photography as the rifle was to frontiersman portraiture, and here's an excellent example that was forwarded to me by a reader:


As well as a photograph of the actual body from which the hand was most likely disembodied:

Speaking of drawing conclusions, another reader forwarded me the following photo of a Brooks saddle he spotted while visiting New York City recently:

As any Brooks apologist will tell you until you politely insist that they be quiet, a Brooks saddle will eventually conform to the contours of one's anatomy, so one wonders what sort of cavernous crotchal region this particular rider must possess. It's enough to make you scratch your head with your pencil--which can be dangerous if it has just come back from the "artisanal pencil sharpener" (as forwarded by yet another reader):


I suppose "artisanal pencil sharpening" is better than "anal pencil sharpening."

87 comments:

jnos said...

first?

jnos said...

and second?

Lantern Rouge said...

?

Anonymous said...

contador sucks

Anonymous said...

I waited for andy.

Anonymous said...

fist

Anonymous said...

Rapha Pop Up Shop

Lantern Rouge said...

SRAM DROP

brant@shedfire said...

Top ten?

Pontius PIlate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

agent detroit said...

dirtbag win!

Desert Rider said...

top 20? stupid chain

Anonymous said...

There's a shop just down the street from here: Art's Anal Pencil Sharpening. Finally Albany is one step ahead!

Anonymous said...

The thing about that Brooks saddle at the end of todays post was not its unfortunate shape, but the extreme's the owner went to protect its ownership throughout time and eternity.
Reminescent of old school punks and jailers seeking to secure wallets stuffed with receipts and/or a healthy set of security door and cell keys. The owner of that saddle went a step further and employed a bit of West Coast NWA attitude and used a piece of hardware store chain commonly found around the neck of an up-and-comer from 8 Mile to secure his worn saddle.

Love,

Chumley

Anonymous said...

Chain Suck

Bad Lawyer said...

that Brooks saddle has been maimed...

mikeweb said...

That dude has some bad ass skid marks

Anonymous said...

Dirk Hofman Mobile Homes !

Simon said...

Almost Shulz!

Simon said...

Or not.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Shu-Sin said...

snob,
did you realize the bridal disembodied hand in this post is the completion of the "eerie and vaguely psycho-sexual disembodied hand" in your may 14 friday fun quiz?

hillbilly said...

non

JTK said...

POLO BABE

CXXIII said...

Thanks again, Bike Snob, for updating your blog so frequently. You maintain such high quality posts, and in such quantity!

Anonymous said...

Damn ladies, caught me with my panties down.

Beginner Cycling said...

I've never really followed it before, so tell me: is there always this much whining in the TDF?

Tex said...

There is an artisanal pencil sharpener in my town. I don't know where he lives, but he drives around in a '64 Chevy panel truck, plying his trade near job sites, out by the mall, and later in the day down at the VFW. He's the real deal. Used to be a carpenter, so he specializes in those flat wooden pencils that don't roll off the bench or the rafter pattern or whatever. He's more authentic than any foo-foo with a mechanical sharpener "liberated" from a classroom, too. He uses a Stanley utility knife with an Irwin titanium-nitride blade, and only charges $2.50 for a standard sharpening. Sure, he'll sell you a rare pencil with the name of a long defunct lumber yard printed on it, with a California style point or Philly or whatever, for around fifty bucks if that's what you want. I think he might sleep in his truck. Smells strongly of incense in there.

mikeweb said...

@Tex:

Does he also sell rubber walrus protectors?

Tex said...

I'll have to ask him, Mikeweb. I actually haven't seen him in a while. He goes to Laredo pretty often to see his girlfriend and restock, and sometimes he doesn't come back for a while.

Maybe that IS what I said...

Can skidding contestants have a collabo with curling sweepers?

Anonymous said...

PNCL SHRP

Mad Jack McMad said...

Rock over London!

Rock over Chicago!

Contador: It's a name you can trust!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else catch the Vroonenese irony of the revolutionary chainring copy? "We so often see design done by engineers, but rarely see engineering done by designers."

Anonymous said...

"...but rarely see engineering done by designers."

Gee, I wonder why that could be.

Matt said...

The Brooks saddle is in its final throes. The nose of the saddle has ripped off the steel tensioning piece at the rivets (one still in the leather, another still visible in the tensioner), hence the hammocky shape to the back of the saddle. I like both the bit of duct tape trying to hold it together and the anchor chain locking it to the bike because, you know, vintage Brooks saddles are worth tons of money.

I've seen saddles rip like this before (usually after 40 years of service) and they can be ridden for a little while with a tshirt rolled up under the leather and atop the rails, until you get to the next village with a Brooks shoppe in it.

CommieCanuck said...

July 21st is International talk like Andy Schleck day:

Well..you know, he should have stopped, I don't know, you know, I was tired, you know, and it would have been sporting to wait for me because my legs hurt, you know, but, I don't know, you know. I go now to throw up because I feel so fat, you know.

Anonymous said...

'Crash, Bang -- Nobody Cares!
Andy Schleck has fallen downstairs.

"A climber's life is terribly hard," said Alice.'
(Apologies to A.A. Milne)

CommieCanuck said...

Gerhard Vroomen also wrote:

"I've seen horrors... horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that... but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies! I remember when I was with CSC... seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to dope some riders..."

Jefe said...

And July 23rd is talk like Alberto Contador day, "No mas, por favor."

Anonymous said...

No worries; it's all Pooh sticks under the bridge in any event. Andy and Bertie have made up/kiss kiss, on French tv of all things ... "Oh, wait AlbErto, here's Andy ... here, sit down Andy ... "

streepo said...

@mikeweb
Nice Ren & Stimpy reference!

Anonymous said...

BONR SEAT

CommieCanuck said...

Desert Rider said...

top 20? stupid chain


Desert, we've all "decided" to slow down and let you finish with us en masse. It's the sporting thing to do.
2010: the year of the cycling Mulligan.

bikesgonewild said...

...i can't talk like 'berto contador...

...i couldn't contradict myself that often & keep a straight face...

Perry said...

Love the boo-birds when 'Berto's on the podium...

bikesgonewild said...

...re: artisanal pencil sharpening

"Just because something makes you smile or laugh ... doesn't mean it's a joke."...

...no, that's true but a $15 "hand sharpened" pencil is a joke...

...'artisanal pencil sharpening' is not a job for me...i couldn't keep a straight face...

CommieCanuck said...

It's good to see David Rees wearing safety goggles and a N95 mask, in the old days, sharpeners were essentially blind by the age of 23 after years of apprenticeship and living the rest of their lives in poverty, addicted to the smell of a freshly honed #2.

Writing with a artisan-honed pencil is as gratifying as tying one's shoes with handmade lace nibs, now made of cheap, dangerous Chinese plastic, but originally handcrafted from the dried urethra's of ocelots.

Anonymous said...

I love the chalk board shot on the bio page of Mr. Artisanal Pencil Sharpener. He's not just an artist but a scientist too. A true renaissance man. I wonder if he also designs bike drive trains with his hand-sharpened pencils.

Salty and Sore said...

Oh wait!

I get it, I get it, I get it!!

Andy's the vampire, and Berto's the werewolf.

Berto-
Sorry buddy. You're about to break a few ribs.

Andy-
You're about to have a teenage girl throw her crotch at you. Too bad you'll come back with some lame excuse about her inability to 'handle your power'.

Tour-
Start playing nice with Menchov.

Anonymous said...

so now that le maillot jaune is fair game anytime, i hope we see the top 10 not giving up and coasting into paris.

CommieCanuck said...

MULL IGAN

Jão said...

Gerhard Vroomen took his tweet from Tim Krabbe's 'The Rider':
'...the sport is exclusively about honor. And no matter how Kuiper had advanced his chances of winning the Tour by hanging on Thévenet’s wheel, he had destroyed every chance of winning the Tour grandly.'

Morgan said...

Zinn: "[...] in 2003 [...]Mayo’s wheel running into Armstrong’s right chainstay had cracked it, and when the Texan stood up on his pedals to chase back to the leaders, the broken chainstay caused the rear end to move laterally so much that his chain skipped and he dropped down onto his top tube and clipped out, causing Mayo to nearly run into him a second time."

A bike that self-destructs if you run into the chainstay? Steel is real holmes.

I am the Meh engine. said...

Thanks for illuminating me again snob.

Contador explains his feelings with his new corporate branding.

Meh.

Gerard Vrooman explains his feelings in 120 characters or less.

Even more Meh.

Another design student revolutionizes the cog.

Even a lot more Meh.

Naked bicylists in Ireland in paint.

Less Meh.

Indoor cycling is controlled by the UCI?

http://www.uci.ch/templates/UCI/UCI5/layout.asp?MenuId=MTI2MDY&LangId=1

How will I dope for these events? Maximum amount of Meh.

How are those ducks doing?


Design

Stupid Name said...

Canuk
"It's good to see David Rees wearing safety goggles and a N95 mask,"

I thought that is why they invented computers, so there would be no serious deaths at a young age.

I looked all over my desk, and could not find one pencil much less an artisan sharpened one.

Don't mind me while I crack open my ink cartridge and go nuts.

Anonymous Coward said...

On the Artisanal Pencil Sharpener's bio page: "I guarantee and authentic interaction with your pencil". Another thing you don't want to hear is a public restroom.

Quicksquirt McHurt said...

I'd hit it. It would be worth having to soak in paint thinner for a few hours.

Anonymous Coward said...

Oops, that would be "in" a public restroom.

Anonymous said...

You know, with this "make-up" business on live television, I am beginning to think that Andy and Albie are REALLY close friends. If you know what I mean, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Hell, Andy was probably holding the camera for Albie's YouTube apology.

Finger-bang to you. said...

Taken from a bike catalog, this writer needs to win a prize.
"Naked right chainstays are not pretty on derailleur-equipped bikes. On mountain bikes, the stay gets downright fugly. Chain slap takes even the prettiest, hardest stay and gouges it, scrapes, it, and lays down sub-dermal grease slicks that never look clean"

Why do I feel so dirty, is it wrong?

Beefy McManstick said...

There are myriad reasons why designers don't (and shouldn't) engineer.

frilly said...

I don't care what anybody says, I LOVE him. And I like those Astana polos too. It would complement the fingerbang watch beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Finally we have the answer to the question "What is art?"

Anonymous said...

David Gordon Wilson's "Bicycling Science" 3rd ed. lists three "expanding chainwheel" designs dating from the 1980's. Chris Holloway is 25 years late with his "new" invention.

Anonymous said...

schleck sounds exactly like the french racer from talladega nights. its uncanny. been laughing since i heard him speak a while ago. 'say you love crepes'

livingjetlag said...

I wonder why the pros, or more likely, the fake pros of Cat 4 and 5, haven't embraced the naked bike ride. It shaves valuable grams, and direct contact with the airflow is better at moisture control than even the most wicky fabric.

IBS said...

HI,

I am your internal bike messenger and I chose SRAM... WAIT FOR ME!!!

Anonymous said...

you got me looking at "artisanal" and noted it is obviously:
art is anal....

Anonymous said...

I am still looking for a skin to rivet to the frame of my skinless Brooks saddle.

Hide of Nauga, Ed Gien lampshade, carved from wood like a Dutch shoe? What has Brooks done with all those hideless frames floating around?

Retarded Comment Generator said...

I've heard of people stretching old inner tubes back and forth on bare Brooks frames, but I think it's a job for an artisan because it's pretty complicated to get it right so it doesn't pinch. Yeeeouch!

Ron @ DubaiFunHolidays said...

well, you made the point very aptly, a very cool collection of photos, i came to your blog the first time and liked it a lot

Lantern Rouge said...

ARTS ANAL

Anonymous said...

what is the naked blue woman doing to her stem? must be trying to fixie skid...

Stranded said...

Okay, here's my final (and only) word(s) on the now-infamous chain-drop incident. I know when Alberto talks he sounds like Mike Tyson would if someone were brave enough to squeeze his pant-yabbies, plus many of us can't understand a word he says anyway, whereas Andy has the looks that makes little girls (and other people) have NSFW fantasies, plus his accent is so cute you just want to hug it, and you understand everything he says. HOWEVER, the as-promised words are TEAM SPORT and COMPETITION. Racing is a team sport, so either Andy screwed up by dropping his chain with unskillful shifting, in which case he deserved to lose time for being worse at his sport than ALberto, or his mechanic, who is also part of the "team" in "team sport," screwed up by giving him an improperly adjusted drivetrain to work with. Either way, it's not as if Alberto actually pulled the chain off the ring. It's a competition, not a group ride. If you can cite examples of winners who exhibited fantastic sportsmanship, well, good for them. But if they had lost after waiting for the competition to catch up, they might have looked foolish, not magnanimous. Plus, does anyone ever ask the riders who get dropped again, even after being waited for during their difficulties? Do they feel grateful, or do they feel as if insult has been added to injury? Waiting for a rider who has self-dropped is like saying, "I know I can kick your ass either way, so I'll just take a break while you work out your little issues." It's like the tortoise and the hare, except the hare actually does win. So, Andy, even though you're so cute it makes us all want to wet our knickers, quit whining and race. It's not an amateur Saturday group ride.

Stranded said...

Andy, even though you're so cute you makes us all want to wet our knickers, quit whining and race. It's not an amateur Saturday group ride.

Anonymous said...

I think it's pronounced "Vroochbag".

John Sutcliffe said...

On the 'Contador just gained a great chance to win, but lost the chance to win greatly'. This guy stole it from Bob Roll who said it during the broadcast... or perhaps Bob stole it from this guy?

Jim Coyle said...

I have an around-town comfort-style bike, made by Yankee, with an expanding chainring design. I think it gets 8 or 9 ratios, and makes for a fun novelty. It also features a brake that consists of a kind of kevlar whip set inside the channel of a secondary rim set just out from the tire that tightens around said rim in order to apply braking force, which, though noisy, is also quite fun and novel. As a previous commenter said, the industrial designer is late to the party.

roger said...

I'm glad that i bought your terrific book when it was on sale at Powell's here in Portland. They don't even have a listing for it on their web site, which is lame. Why don't they list it with temporarily OS?

The big river company wants $65 - $150 for a copy! http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0811869989/sr=1-1/qid=1280733562/ref=olp_pg_new?ie=UTF8&coliid=&startIndex

What's up at Chronicle Books? Are they trying to find an ink for the cover that doesn't rub off and stickers that don't disintegrate in the rain?

Will the second printing be hardcover or paper?

roger said...

or you can buy it through alibris for $86 - $233...

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fixie bikes said...

wow that dude looks haggard.