Friday, October 29, 2010

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

At the risk of being what "back in the day" certain people used to call a "nudge," I will remind you one last time to come to my BRA (or "Book-Related Appearance") tomorrow at 2:00pm at the Philly Bike Expo. As you probably recall, yesterday I enumerated the reasons you should attend, but here's a quick recap just in case:

SEE!

My PowerPoint presentation.

HEAR!

Me narrate my PowerPoint presentation.

SMELL!

The sweet, transportive fragrance of Rapha unguents.

WIN!

Small quantities of fabulous crap.

By the way, if you're wondering how I'll be getting to Philadelphia, I will of course be taking the Wagon Queen Family Truckster. In fact, I've already embarked, and here's some exciting footage of my journey which a fellow road user captured on amateur video:




I know they say the driver was a woman, but I always wear my driving wig when I car-salmon.

In other news, the electronic votes are virtually in, and it gives me great pleasure to declare the podium of the First (and Last Annual) Etcetera and So Forth Cockpit of the "Cockie" Compecockie:


So congratulations to "Antlers Sur L'Herbe":

The eternally-vexing "???:"


And of course the winner and therefore the most "flambullient" cockpit of all time, "Jacob's Ladder:"

As you can see above, the difference between first and second was incredibly close, but working in the winner's favorite was the fact that it had already won the Sheldon Brown Memorial Biplanar Cockpit Award, thus establishing it as the sentimental favorite.

I have not notified any of the winners yet, though I will be in touch in due course to arrange for delivery of your savory and delicious BSNYC/RTMS Coffee, courtesy of the Just Coffee Cooperative.

And so endeth the BSNYC/RTMS Cockpit of the Whatever Awards, not with a bang, but with a wimple:

Expect those Rapha bespoke cycling wimples to "drop" sometime in 2011.

Now, without further a-duh, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right then cheer and punch your neighbor, and if you're wrong you'll see more triathlete remounts.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and hope to see you at the Philly Bike Expo.


--BSNYC/Artie M. Ess






1. How is the NYPD coping with the problem of police cars parked in the bike lanes?

--Issuing summonses to the offending officers
--Encouraging cyclists to call 311
--Briefing officers about bicycle safety
--Ticketing the cyclists who are forced to ride around them






2. In New York City, children on training wheels can:

--Ride on the sidewalk
--Bring their bikes to school
--Attend special neighborhood bike safety classes
--Get sued







3. Holding your bike above your head is a good example of a "doucheclamation point."

--True
--False






4. Why are these riders throwing their bikes into the water?

--They are engaged in a bike-hurling competition
--They are Christians and are baptizing them
--They are racing old-timey cyclocross
--They are discarding them because they are made by Specialized






5. Fill in the blank: "Tarck" bikes are out, _____ are in.

--Cyclocross bikes
--Vintage road bikes
--Randonneur bikes
--Hybrid bikes







(Gynecologist's eye view, via Fyxomatosis)

6. In the above photograph, the clover is the:

--Colnago logo
--Pinarello logo
--Irish Spring logo
--Pubes





7. The L train remains the best place in New York City to see aging hipsters.

--True
--False




***Special Fixed-Gear-Themed Bonus Question***



According to the owner, this is:

--"probably the most outragous fix gear bike ever made in Australia"
--"probably the hotest custom ever to come out of Canada"
--"definately the sickest fixie on Craigslist"
--"vertically still, laterally compliant, and diagonally ridiculous"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pressing Issues: Matters of Miner Importance

I didn't become a bike blogger in order to do "work;" instead, I did it because it seemed like a relaxing way to sit in front of a computer all morning in my underpants. However, even into the most pantsless life a little responsibility must fall, and it is now my responsibility to remind you that I will be giving a presentation at the Philly Bike Expo this Saturday, October 30th, at 2:00pm. That's right in between Yoga For Cyclists (which is much easier than Advanced Autofellatio) and Georgena Terry's presentation (Terry being the inventor of the road bike with the tiny wheel in the front that inadvertently launched a "fixie" trend):

It also, unfortunately, conflicts with the presentation of Drew Guldalian, who happens to build very nice bikes, which I know because my friend has one and I've ridden it:

Given this, as well as the fact that I'm intrinsically not very interesting, I know that I have to work in order to draw people to my presentation. To this end, I will first remind you that the Philly Bike Expo people have a "special" going, wherein you get a copy of my book:

Secondly, I will also tell you that the seminar I've prepared is more than entertaining; it's actually a major opportunity to get in on the "ground floor" of a tremendously exciting business venture. I can't tell you what this venture is, and I also won't confirm or deny that it involves time shares, but I will point out that the weather is quite lovely in Boca Raton at this time of year and just leave it at that. Plus, in addition to all of this, I will be giving out prizes, which will consist mostly of stuff I have lying around at home. For example, if you can believe it, Rapha actually just sent me some of their "performance skincare:"

This was very generous of them, and I'm honestly grateful, but the truth is that I have an aversion to scented unguents, and I could smell this stuff before it even got off the mail truck. (It smelled kind of like the bowls of potpourri they keep by the door in the sorts of shops that sell candles and teapots.) I'm also an avowed "lowbrow" when it comes to chamois cream (if you don't know, chamois cream is the stuff you put on your "lowbrow"), and the local pharmacy serves my crotchal needs just fine. (My motto is: "If it's good enough for a diaper, then it's good enough for my bib shorts.") Also, I once had an accident involving hot embrocation that is too graphic to relate here, and I'm now afraid to get anywhere near the stuff.

So, what this means is that I will award this deluxe Rapha Performance Skincare fun-pak as a prize at my BRA. By the way, it will also come in this Rapha sack, which is perfect for pretentiously storing that spare tubular tire you keep toe-clipped to the underside of the saddle on your Serotta, ostensibly in case of a puncture but in reality merely as a sort of "retro" affectation:

Or you can stuff it full of potpourri and hang it in your closet.

But this isn't the only prize I will dispense. I'll also rummage around and see what else I can find, and these items could include lights from Knog as well as perhaps a t-shirt or two. Moreover, I will attempt to dispense these items in a fashion that is enjoyable to all present. So I hope to see some of you there on Saturday, and I hope you will refrain from pelting me with cheese steaks.

Moving on, in the spirit of "work" and fulfilling responsibilities, it's also time to conclude The First (and Last) Annual BSNYC/RTMS Cockpit of the Year Award, sponsored by Just Coffee Cooperative, who won't listen to me when I tell them they'd make a lot more money if they'd just start exploiting people. Yesterday, you voted on the finalists, and here were the winners when I arbitrarily closed the polls this morning:

I. Best Antler or Animal By-Product


As you can see, "Antlers Sur L'Herbe" won by a comfortable margin:



II: Best Aero



In this race, a conservative gravel-phobic base rallied to make sure that aerobars are used only on the road:





III: Best Multi-Level
(The Sheldon Brown Memorial Biplanar Cockpit Award)


In this emotionally charged race, Jacob's Ladder was the clear favorite:




IV: Best STI



It was a very tight race, but the "Upright" configuration won by a rattly worn 9-speed STI lever top cap:




V: Best Owner "Curated" and Piloted



Also a very close race, in the end "Steering Wheel Guy" flipped "The Kansas Sail" the "bird:"




VI: "Freestyle"
(Anything Goes!)




And finally, in the always sensational "Freestyle" competition, the Terry Gilliamesque network of pneumatic tubes that is the "???" cockpit won decisively:


Thus having established the best-of-breed, it's now time to determine the Best In Show and finally put this contest to bed like a naughty dachshund. Simply vote below for the cockpit you like best, and the number of votes each cockpit receives will determine the first, second, and third place finishers:

This Is It! Who Should Get The "Cockie?"


Once the voters are in, that will be that, and three very lucky and potentially overstimulated people will receive their "Cockie" coffee.

Speaking of elections, a number of people have informed me that this bloated saddlebag was recently elected the mayor of Toronto:



Sadly, all I can do is offer the people of Toronto my condolences. I was particularly confused by his self-defeating argument that people shouldn't ride bikes because "roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes," since if anything it means that the roads need to be upgraded. That's like saying people shouldn't use computers because "our communication infrastructure was built for letters and telegraphs, and not for the Internet." Of course, he does have a sensitive side:

My heart bleeds for ‘em when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.

His heart may be bleeding, but I suspect it's due not to the dead cyclists but to his corpulence, and that it has ruptured from the strain of pushing blood through his fat-clogged arteries. Unfortunately for him, "artificial hearts are built for health-minded people with congenital heart defects, not for people who eat all their meals at Tim Hortons."

Meanwhile, speaking of self-contradictory worldviews, a fellow Twitterer has informed me that the "57 Things" guy was on the CBS Evening News recently:



At first I was puzzled as to why a minimalist with a small amount of stuff would need such a big apartment:

But then I remembered that he and his girlfriend actually had a whole lot of stuff--until they broke up, leaving him in a typical "my girlfriend just left me" apartment. Fortunately though he still has a full wardrobe that easily contains at least 57 hangers:

He also still has his bike, which may or may not be a fixie but definitely has the top-mount-lever-only brake lever configuration so conducive to that "out of the saddle, hands on the bar tops" thing that "hipsters" love to do:

Meanwhile, CBS Evening News juxtaposes the incidental minimalism of a guy whose girlfriend just left him with the cluttered apartment of a former sorority sister who desperately clings to her sticker and shoelace collection:


Here she is standing in her closet:

I give it six weeks before she and "57 Things" guy move in together, and six months before she leaves him after a protracted fight about closet space.

They even talk to a professional organizer, whose orderly wood pile is a testament to his abilities:


But who fails to explain how having a bunch of cabinets you don't use is "minimalist:"

Really, it's no different from having a bunch of stickers you don't stick to anything, or a box of shoelaces you don't put in shoes.

By the way, I'd bet my Ironic Orange Julius Bike that the professional organizer with the tidy woodpile owns one of those artisanal axes:


Even though they're hopelessly out of style, since a reader informs me that it's now all about the designer pick axe:


Thanks to that rescue in Chile, urban lumberjacks are out, and "hipster" miners are in.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The First (and Last) Annual BSNYC/RTMS Cockpit of the Year Award: The Finalists

I've done some very difficult things in my time: I have swammed the English Chanel; I have peddled a freewheel unicycle from Nova Scotia to Tierra del Fuego; and, as you can see, I have even completed an intensive 6-month course in Craigslist spelling. However, none of these arduous tasks has approached in difficulty what has so far been the greatest challenge of my life, which has been "curating" The First (and Last) Annual BSNYC/RTMS Cockpit of the Year Award, sponsored by the smug caffeine purveyors at Just Coffee Cooperative. Indeed, so trying has this process been that earlier I accidentally launched an incomplete post into the "Internet," which I expect even now is languishing in caches and blog readers like a virtual chunk of spinach in my teeth.

So why have I undertaken this herculean (or at least homunculean) task? Well, it's because I wanted to share with you the delicious taste of my own eponymous coffee:

Of course, I don't actually brew my coffee, choosing instead to smoke it, but I am assured by those who have actually drunk it that it is quite tasty.

More importantly, though, I launched this contest because I wanted to celebrate the ZBC, or "Zany Bicycle Cockpit," and by extension the spirit innovation, exuberance, and self-expression that these rolling freak shows represent. Alas, if only I had more gimmicky coffee, I would award a bag to each and every entrant. However, my prizeways are limited, and so sadly there must be losers--even though each and every entrant is, in my view, a winner.

Even so, for simplicity's sake, let's just call these "winners" who will not be receiving bags of coffee "losers" anyway, and here are some losers who I feel are worthy of honorable mention. Firstly, there's this cockpit, spotted in downtown Manhattan:

With Segways costing something like $6,000, it's natural that people who covet the upright, reading-at-a-lectern position but find the cost too dear would attempt to replicate it on a far less expensive bicycle. But while I find the so-called "Segway conversion" compelling, the glimpse afforded by this photograph is simply too fleeting, and so it shall not be a finalist.

Another situation I encountered often while "curating" this contest was the cockpit that was compelling yet was not "zany" in the overall context of the bicycle. For example, on any other bicycle these bars, coupled with the old-timey bulb horn, would be zany, but on a Pedersen they're actually rather conservative:

The same thing goes for this bamboo cockpit:

Which is pretty much what you'd expect Gilligan to be "rocking:"

Also, "fixies" tend to feature such ridiculous handlebar setups that the curve on which a fixed-gear cockpit must be graded is so steep as to take them out of consideration altogether:


This is also true of Serottas (and Rivendells, obviously) and really high quill stems:

As well as of mobile "epic" burrito prep areas, or taxidermy studios, or tattoo parlors, or whatever this four-person configuration is:

Then there was this sublime cockpit from Houston--which, after much soul-searching, I decided to disqualify due to the fact that the bicycle has an engine:

Frankly, I prefer my "cockies" to be human-powered.

Also, while some cockpits had a single element that lent them shock value, overall they weren't sufficiently inventive. Consider this person, who apparently rides with a handlebar-mounted--and quite real--gun:

On a freewheel bicycle, you should always "palp" both a front and a rear brake in case one of them fails. Similarly, when "portaging" a gun, you should also carry a knife just in case of jamming or misfire--so I was pleased to see that this rider has a blade at the ready.

But perhaps the most difficult submissions to eliminate were the ones that were excellent, but that also came from more than one person who happened to have spotted the same bike. At first, I considered giving consideration to the entrant who had taken the better photo, but then I realized that, as a horrible photographer myself, it would be extremely unfair of me to "curate" a contest that ultimately came down to camera skills. So, in the name of fairness, I ultimately disqualified redundant submissions--even when they were incredible, like this one:


That's a lot of hand positions:


In fact, by my count, there are at least nine legitimate hand positions on offer:

Interestingly, this bicycle was spotted and photographed by two separate people in Juneau, Alaska, both of whom collectively must represent the city's entire "bike culture."

This brilliant contrivance, complete with vibration-absorbing bar extensions, was also spotted and submitted by more than one person:

As was James's retina-searing cockpit in Baltimore:


And this double-decker in Tucson:

Like kidney stones, it was extremely difficult and painful to eliminate these, but I did so nevertheless.

In any case, so much for the losers--now on to the finalists. What I've done is broken them down into six (6) separate categories. In each category, vote for your favorite cockpit. Then, at a later date, I will take the winner from each category and from these determine who shall be first, second and third overall.

I: Best Antler or Animal By-Product


(Antlers On The Stand)



(CSC TT Antlers)



(Antlers Sur L'Herbe)



(Hillbilly "Stemie")



Which Is Your Favorite Dead Animal Bike?






II: Best Aero



(Road Only)




(All-Terrain)



Which Is Your Favorite Time Trial Bike?




III: Best Multi-Level
(The Sheldon Brown Memorial Biplanar Cockpit Award)



(Jacob's Ladder)



(Reflections in a Pond)




Which Is Your Favorite Multi-Level Cockpit?



IV: Best STI


(Upright)




("Aggro")



Which Is Your Favorite STI Lever-Equipped Cockpit?



V: Best Owner "Curated" and Piloted




(Steering Wheel Guy)




This one is very zany because it features a quick release stem bolt that allows me to change the bar position from "normal" mode to full cruiser mode for that upright position to take advantage of the abundant tailwinds Kansas has to offer.

-- Rick
Scabadeba.com





(The Kansas Sail)




Which Is Your Favorite Owner-Operated Cockpit?





VI: "Freestyle"
(Anything Goes!)




(The Schematic)



(???)



(!!!)




Which Is Your Favorite "Freestyle" Cockpit?

So there it is. I reserve the right to add or withdraw finalists at any time, completely ignore polling results, or simply sob into my own woefully unfettered cockpit. I also hereby indemnify myself against hanging chads, itchy "pants yabbies," or any other form of ballot ambiguity. Vote early, vote often, vote angry--and, most importantly, vote drunk.

--BSNYC/RTMS