Monday, April 11, 2011

The Slow Lane: Smugness by the Shedload

As I mentioned on Friday, this past weekend I traveled to whatever that country in Europe is in order to compete in the 417th running of the Paris-Roubaix road race. Also known as the l'enfant du Nord, Paris-Roubaix is famous for its giant cobblesones (or "pavé," which is pronounced "LAY-oh-pard Trek") which rain from the sky bringing death and destruction and crushing the hopes and dreams of all who taunt their skull-crushing power. Also, there's cake, and at the end they have a big naked shower party. (Legend has it that hirsute Classics specialist Peter Van Petegem once clogged the drains so badly with his body hair that the Roubaix vélodrome was flooded for weeks afterwards, during which time the local children simply used it as a community swimming pool.)

Alas, I'm sorry to report that I failed to win Paris-Roubaix this year due to a mechanical (my bolo tie got caught in my drivetrain at a crucial moment again), which allowed Garmin-Cervelo rider Johan Van Summeren to ride away from me and take the victory. Then, in a touching moment, he proposed marriage to his girlfriend:

Sadly she kicked him in the "pants yabbies" and told him to go "eff" himself, but at least he'll always have his Paris-Roubaix novelty trophy. Team director Jonathan Vaughters, for his part, was up to his ascot in smugness, and he celebrated by having an uncharacteristically raucous celebratory tea party with both of his sideburns.

Meanwhile, in addition to missing the decisive move in Paris-Roubaix because I was being strangled by my tie, I'm also almost exactly three months late in mentioning that the good people at Vecchio's Bicicletteria in Boulder, CO have a new three month-old website:

I've never actually been to Vecchio's (only because I've never been to Boulder) but as an erstwhile reader of the rec.bicycles.tech newsgroup I've long fantasized about producing a "Firing Line"-esque TV show about wheelbuilding and owner/patriarch Peter Chisholm would easily be my top choice to play the William F. Buckley, Jr. role if Jobst Brandt were not available. Anyway, visit the website, or better yet the shop--or, just do what minimalists do and stand around in the shop while browsing the website on your iPad.

In any case, while I was off humiliating myself on the cobbled roads of northern whatever-that-country-is, I missed The Prospect Park West Bike Lane Smug-In, though thanks to Streetsfilms I feel like I was there (minus the all-consuming sense of self-satisfaction):

Prospect Park West Family Bike Ride/We Ride the Lanes from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

I very much regret having missed this ride, partially because I support this bike lane, but mostly because it consisted of a bunch of total slowpokes so I would have totally "thrown down" and "Cat 6"-ed the hell out of everybody:

As any seasoned competitive commuter or charity ride menace can see, the move here is to rocket up the left side. Then, when you encounter the riders heading in the other direction, you just hop the curb, hit those cobbles, and "Whap!" with your elbow any orange-shirted smugness marshalls foolish enough to get in your way:

I'd have been at the Connecticut Muffin in Windsor Terrace before half those smugmongers were even finished zipping up their DayGlo windbreakers. Amateurs. (By which I mean amateur amateurs. A "Cat 6" racer is, of course, a pro amateur.) I mean, seriously, who would have challenged me? A bunch of smuggies on "bake feets?"

I don't think so.

Besides missing an opportunity for victory, it looks like as the participants passed each other they also missed a perfect setup for a truly "epic" high five train:

I was also tremendously disappointed by the safety-minded chanting and general air of positivity:

I kind of hoped that they'd go with something more confrontational, like "All You Stevens Spirn My Balls:"

("My balls have been spurned for years, now see how you like it.")

Anyway, last I checked, this was America (Canada's wobbly step stool), and the only thing Americans respect less than yielding is Canadians. Did cars take control of the streets by yielding to pedestrians? No they did not--they did it by killing them indiscriminately and in huge numbers. Maybe instead of emphasizing the whole "safe, clean, and healthy" thing cyclists should just start threatening to crush all opposition beneath our wheels, and to pile their lifeless bodies into the boxy wheelbarrow parts our "bake feets." Americans have no interest in surrendering even an inch of their streets to any vehicle that isn't deadly, but I bet if bicycles killed hundreds of people last year instead of like nobody that they'd be giving us bike lanes twice as wide. Maybe if we ratchet up that death toll we'll have our very own infrastructure faster than you can say, "Yay, smugness!"

("Yay, smugness!")

But how many victims is enough? Perhaps a "shed-load" will do it. As it happens, a reader tells me that the "shed culture" and the "bike culture" have finally come together, and that the bicycle industry has finally embraced the shed as a unit of measurement:

The pedal body is 63mm wide, which is exactly the same width as Look Keo Carbon Blades (£274.99 with titanium axle, £179.99 with cro-mo axle), so you get a shed-load of stability.

So, to recap:

--To measure frame weight, you use either milk or babies;

--To measure spoke strength, you use diminutive Frenchmen (or DFUs);

--To measure road hazards, you use sunglasses;

--To measure smugness, you use a complex formula which yields the "smugness quotient;"

--To measure pedal stability you use sheds.

As of now I'm still unclear on how much a "shed-load is" (to say nothing as to whether or not DFUs can be converted into shed-loads), but I'm guessing that, since this is a Dura-Ace pedal, it's even more than a "shitload" (Ultegra) and maybe twice as much as a "buttload" (105).

That's definitely a worthwhile upgrade.

93 comments:

SLAM said...

Who's getting married? would you just look at that rock?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

No Comment.

Anonymous said...

Ladies?!?!?!

Twistyface said...

Meh

Anonymous said...

huggy podium!

Lantern Rouge said...

Smug 6th

ricky said...

tractor-haulin top ten

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

ringcycles said...

Thor, proving I'm a good teammate now.

waxmouth said...

One thing I don't get: why "Connecticut" Muffin?

mikeweb said...

l'enfer du(Prospect Park)ouest.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

ringcycles said...

shed load = volume of a whole port-a-john after a NASCAR race/chilli cook-off.

jarvinho said...

The future mrs vansummeren is freakishly tall.
http://www.garagetv.com/video-gallery/videoclip/Jasmine_Vangrieken_in__De_Dinsdagshow_.aspx

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

On a serious note I like the bike lane video. Sure looks like New Yorkers like the PPW bike lane. Now the bike lane haters can go suck it.

Kenny Banya said...

Sheds of Gold Snobby!

mikeweb said...

About the PPW bike lane: I have to say, I've used part of it the prior 2 weekends, and even when there isn't a l'enfer du ouest going on, there's about as many cyclists in the lane as there is cars using the street. And that's when it's only in the 40s or 50s.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Snob, the gutter sprint is the Cat 4 wet dream...

crosspalms said...

Alternatively, shedload=pedal cost/number of years of dental school completed.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Most pros would use a towel to clean the sweat and grime off their faces at the Roubais velodrome. Van Summeren used his girlfriend's face. A classic move.

Can anyone confirm the rumor that she asked him how many Euros he got to keep out of the prize money before she responded to his proposal?

samh said...

ALL YOU STEVENS SPIRN MY BALLS.

brokenknees said...

i would've placed higher but i had to fill my bake-feets with random children. i got three in there now and it feels like a shed load...

g-roc said...

And to measure impact resistance of crabon forks you use the Australian Skull Unit.

domotion2011 said...

Who are all these people in the slow lane. It's like amateur night or what we call New Years eve. As soon as the event is over they'll all go back home and sleep off their exhaustion until the next big event. St Patty's day or St Genero day.

Anonymous said...

I would have placed higher, but I was thinking about a threesome with me, BikeSnob and Minimalist Guy.

ervgopwr said...

SPRN BALS

But in all seriousness, good for you NYers to get out there and show the "car"tel that you like your facilities and use them.

And to use you children as human shields. Snob, you were eligible for this too.

Anonymous said...

< l'enfer du(Prospect Park)ouest >

Did you spend a long time thinking that one up, or was it hastily cobbled together?

hey nonny mouse

OBA said...

@ waxmouth: It's just the name of the local coffee & baked goods franchise in Park Slope/Windsor Terrace - a smugger version of Starbucks.

John said...

"...into the boxy wheelbarrow parts OF our 'bake-feets'"

Marcel Da Chump said...

For a minute, the PPW video made me wish I lived in Brooklyn.
-looking for a certain ratio

shu-sin said...

because of you, snobby, i actually woke my daughter up early sunday morning to trek south to PPW and join the hordes of smuggerattee... this marked my first political ride (and probably my last)...
i only say 'because of you' because like it or not, you come across as a head smuggerattee when it comes to PPW bike lane advocacy. let's just say i was there in your place because i don't even have occasion to use the damn thing. (oh, i totally left everyone i could in the dust!)

Twistyface said...

I've just gotten over my disappointment at not being on the podium.

Glad you got to Paris Roubaix - did you hang out with the Rapha chaps? I saw their 'mystery mobile' parked at Secteur 10...

xyxax said...

Look has countered with their Keo Blade's "fuckton" of stability.

(or the metric fucktonne in the land of Perry Roobakes)

mikeweb said...

@nonny,

Cobbled together yes, but alas it was a long brutal parcours...

shu-sin said...

oh, i just have to say, the 'yielding to pedestrians' was taken to a ridiculous level... riders in front of me were stopping for people even when riders had the green light... i mean, to do that you are inciting pedestrians to cross right into car traffic!! so you even had gridlocks where no traffic was moving in ANY direction.

Perry Mason said...

Paris Maison?

CommieCanuck said...

Does anyone know where I've been?

hillbilly said...

fabian is mad at me for wheelsuckage

Fucking Republican* said...

*better than non-fucking.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice last Friday in the bicycle friendly Wall Street Journal:
"Home Bases for Bicyclists" in the Real Estate section. Davis, CA (Davis is Fabulous!), Minneapolis, and Boulder, CO. No mention of Brooklyn, or NYC.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703806304576243283034453332.html?mod=WSJ_RealEstate_LeftTopNews

republocrat said...

Snobby,

"threatening to crush all opposition" is trademarked, patented, and a monopoly owned by the Fricking Republican's overlord, the Republican party.

While Republicans are claiming victory over a Federal budget that does nothing (zero, really) to address spending/income imbalance, your use of the above mentioned patented, trademarked and monopolized phrase is theft.

How dare you steal protected intellectual property and have an opinion that differs from God believing car-driving republicans and republocrats everywhere.

More bad news, God doesn't like cyclists because there's no mention of cyclists in the bible.

You have to let the Republicans and my fellow Republocrats have absolutely everything they demand. It's the only way. They own several patents and the Trademark on being right.

I'm still (not) fighting for cyclists!

The Republicans will see you in Federal court soon for intellectual property violations.

Surly Bastard said...

Charity Ride Menace. I knew him well. I used to ride with him until he tried to kill me. He was a helluva guy. For somebody that was a Charity Ride Menace.

Anonymous said...

Been to Vecchio's. Low smug factor from my experience. They genuinely are about "a" bike experience, not just "their" kind of bike experience. I was very happy. Their web-zone reflects little about the real character of the store, which I found honest and down to earth. There are a few other places such as one with it's bike museum with spot lighted bike fitting temple up on a pedestal, ahem.

I could be wrong but Vecchio's would actually seem to be a seal of approval place fer bike snob. Hmm. Anyway, my 2 cents. P.s. I don't live near nor is it my regular haunt, I'm in Illinois. But when I visit family in the front range, I do have a short list of bike places, Vecchio's is one.

Surly Bastard said...

What's with the political comments? I come here to get away from that shit. And away from the Charity Ride Menace. That guy kills me.

republocrat said...

Snobby,

More bad news.

My close associates in the Energy lobby are going to sue you as well.

They own several patents on 'cars belong on the road' and 'cyclists do not belong on any road.'

As an update on the fake photos of me 'in flagrante delecto' in non-biblically approved ways, the investigation into the photoshopped(Trademarked, Patented, and approved for use by Adobe Systems) continues. Per the recommendation of the Republican party, I've outsourced the investigation.

Spiritual counseling with my beard is going great.

Charity Ride Menace said...

Vote for me!

SMUG GER! said...

Smuggies!

When is the awards ceremony?
And surely you will come up with an appropriate (sustainably harvested bamboo?) trophy.

Paul said...

"Did cars take control of the streets by yielding to pedestrians? No they did not--they did it by killing them indiscriminately and in huge numbers."

haha this whole rant is absolutely brilliant

one of my favorite posts so this year

republocrat said...

Surly @ 2:47,

Don't worry. Everything is going to be fine. The Republocrats are watching out for you. Really.

Just don't ride your bike on the street. The Halliburton owns the patent on that.

Parts said...

BAKE FEET

John said...

Thank you, John 1:33

crush all opposition beneath our wheels, and to pile their lifeless bodies into the boxy wheelbarrow parts our "bake feets."

Surly Bastard said...

As much as I hate your wheelsucking-ass Charity Ride Menace, you've got my vote. You never pretended to be anything but the Menace you are. Now excuse me I have to oil my chain. Thanks Halliburton, that pesky creaking noise is gone!

Salty and Sore said...

Anon 12:57-

What?

Salty and Sore said...

Sorry, I was too busy "surfing my iPad".

Dickie Cheney said...

Surly,

You are welcome. Buy more oil.

Fucking Republican said...

Fuck politics. I'm here for the hipster pussy.

Bobby said...

CommieCanuck! Were you looking for Fabian's Motor?

Buffalo Bill said...

Yay smugness!

Dave said...

And an assload more than Tiagra

Marcel Da Chump said...

I want to ride my bike right now, but I'm stuck inside an office building!

Feeling like the late, great Sam Kinison in anguish...oh! oh! oh! Ooooohhh!

Bobby said...

Is Republicrat also known as...what was it? Bearded Dragon, Dragon something or other a few days ago. So what's with the liberal mantras anyway? Has your absorbtion into the Borg been complete? Everyone knows Jesus rides a Big Dummy, old boy, that's old news. As for the conspiracy theories, we all know its the Chinese, not Halliburton, populating the planet with cheap crabon.

Anonymous said...

The "Yay to smugness" trio has disposable coffee cups with plastic lids in their hands. Maybe menmbers of the smug club back east but not in the Northwest Snobby. So unsustainable. C'mon!

PawnShop said...

Inferstructure!!!!!

Chazu said...

Its been awhile since RTMS worked the word "sobriquet" into his blog.

But wait; the blog itself is a sobriquet.

Nevermind.

bikesgonewild said...

...where was david byrne through alla this, huh ???...

...if yer gonna have loads a' bikes n' all that smugness pedaling around, just where the fuck is cycling's tartan prince of nyc ???...

g-roc said...

Bobby 4:14, that's exactly what I was thinking. Only problem is Angry Douchebag doesn't know how to put his name in the title of his comment.

I'll just say one thing. There's a federal election campaign going on up here in America's carcake but you don't hear all us Canucks boring the fuck out of all of you ad nauseum.

Marcel Da Chump said...

I miss being a bike messenger.
There, I said it.

Burt Reynolds 531 said...

Fucking Republicans can be fun. It's tricky though, because you have to get them really drunk before they lose any of their inhibitions, and of course it's really easy to overdo it and have them pass out or something. I usually don't bother if there is a reasonable alternative.

Rupert Murdoch said...

Sorry about bringing Obama to the dark side. It's just what I do, O.K? Hipster pussy? Yeah, baby!

Yoda said...

Evil, you are, Rupert.

Jasper said...

I would have thought the ever reliable "hey nonny mouse" would at least have pointed out that a shed-load is a well-known term of measurement over in Albion, probably being a politer version of the also much-bandied-about shit-load.
Of course you guys don't have so many potting sheds over here, so the visuals don't spring so readily to mind.

Vegas said...

Commie, I think all of us here in "Canada's Grass Skirt" naturally assumed you were buried underneath a snowdrift, a veritable "shed-load" of the powdery stuff, one might say. Phil saw his shadow this year, no?

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for alerting me to that which had passed me by - I do apologise; I've spent a large part of today buying a bloody enormous piano in need of repair (for some reason best known to myself) so I'm probably not in the right state of mind for commenting on U.S. cycling and its wily ways.

The shedload has been around for a while, but is a bit vague. I think it's a greater quantity than the Scots "hunners", but may well be less than "..fuckin' tons ae..".

It may also be taken as how much of a certain thing may be fitted into a normal shed (containing tools, hoses, plantpots, spiders, the radio for the test match, etc...). I'm fairly sure that it's not an absolute 6'x9'+pitched roof volume.

I do hope that this is of some help.

hey nonny mouse

FDB said...

Better a shedload of stability than a fredload of fragility, one must suppose.

Anonymous said...

Q: Ebeneezer, what is good in life?
A: To crush pedestrians, see them being carried on a stretcher, and hear the lamentation of the vimmen.

Seriously, if you hit an elderly pedestrian square on the torso/head at 15+ mph while cycling, you have a pretty good chance of killing him [doing's nature's work, in Conan's words].
Be careful out there.

CAMPIONE CYCLES CALGARY said...

The Dura-ace carbon pedals retail for less than the dura-aluminum pedals....At least here in Canada, the USA's foppish powdered wig.

Canada's soul patch said...

Wait, Canada had an election today????

Are the results in yet, and did Rob Ford get elected as your new Queen???

leroy said...

My dog says he was dominating the PPWFBR until he got distracted by a squirrel.

I guess it's true, you really have to train mentally and physically.

Anonymous said...

DANGEROUS SPIRN BUILD UP ON PPW!?

A said...

In italian the word "bicicletteria" does not exists, bike shops are usually called "ciclisti". On the otlher side Bicicletteria could be the right name for a fixed/ss retro minimalist shop in Milan, a place where customers ask the shop owner the difference between a fixed and a free whell AFTER buyng it.

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The Potting Shed said...

Which is it? First you twaid you were riding Battenkill in the dark. Then it turns out they missed your number at the finish of Roubaix. Chimera effect?

Lantern Rouge said...

Anonymous 1:29
"I would have placed higher, but I was thinking about a threesome with me, BikeSnob and Minimalist Guy."

Wouldn't mimilist guy frown on a threesome? The third person would seem superfluous.

J. Dyer said...

=v= My grandma had old copies of Reader's Digest lying around her house, and it had a feature that claimed It Pays To Increase Your Word Power, by which they meant vocabulary. How many years has this blog been wringing all possible wit from the words "smug" and "hipster?"

Stephanie said...

Dear Bike Snob,
I always enjoy reading your posts.
Thanks
Stephanie

The Dude Abides said...

Dude,
You need to bring your smugness to Boulder. The weather couldn't be more beautiful, and we can ride bikes, and eat organic ice cream.

The Dude Abides said...

Dude,
You need to bring your smugness to Boulder. The weather couldn't be more beautiful. We can ride to Vecchio's and eat organic ice cream.

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Fixie Bikes said...

Anyone trying to cross the street at prospect park must have been mad.

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Aryan Smith said...

There are a few other places such as one with it's bike museum with spot lighted bike fitting temple up on a pedestal.
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