Monday, July 25, 2011

Data Wranglers: Fred Fight at the Flat Bar Corral

In the 17 years that I've been "curating" this blog, I've witnessed many things I never thought would come to pass. I've seen "fixies" sold at Walmart. I've seen Letle Viride play his first gig since 1969, when he took that bad acid and locked himself inside a port-a-potty for 46 hours. And now, I've seen Cadel Evans win the Tour de France.

Like most cycling fans, when I woke up this morning I thought I'd merely dreamed Evans's victory. However, once I hit the bathroom and opened the newspaper I realized that my dream was actually reality:


I found the entire article quite moving, but perhaps no line was more evocative than this one:

“It was really amazing to see him grit his teeth and just keep coming,” Jeffrey said.

Wow. Jeffrey must have been watching the uncensored European coverage, because here in America we didn't get to see that on Versus. Then again, we're a prudish culture. Sure, we did get the "Big George After Dark" special, but it was on pay-per-view and you had to be over 18 to order:


For my part, I'd just like to set modesty aside for a moment and point out that: 1) Yesterday I filed the very first 2012 Tour de France preview (suck on that, "legitimate" journalists); and 2) I called the Cadel Evans victory way back on Stage 4:

Oh, how they laughed when Bicycling.com com filed my posts under "Expert Analysis"--and nobody harder than me, since calling me an "expert" on professional cycling is like calling Jerry Seinfeld an expert on aviation because he made a bunch of airline jokes. Moreover, being an "expert analyst" on Bicycling.com is arguably like being the sommelier at the Olive Garden anyway. Nevertheless, I feel I've now earned my expert stripes, and emboldened by my own sagacity I'm going to go ahead and predict that Cadel Evans will become Prime Minister of Australia within the next 10 years.

Sure, it may seem far-fetched, but when those bushy eyebrows are staring back at you from the Australian $17 bill (Evans's first act as Prime Minister will be to introduce a $17 bill and put his face on it) remember where you read it first.

Also, next time you're at the Olive Garden, may I recommend the Boone's Farm. It goes good with everything.

Speaking of the Tour de France, if you were watching yesterday's stage on Versus (the Olive Garden of sports networks) you might have seen this commercial, to which I was alerted by an esteemed reader:



In it, two Freds drift into town like tumbleweeds who shop at Performance and roll up to the local watering hole. One of them is on a flat bar bike, and the other on a bike with like those curly-type handlebars that they use in the Tour de France:

After securing their dorkcycles to the hitchin' post, they begin comparing units surreptitiously, like two businessmen at a urinal:

Flat Bar Fred has the new iBike Dash from iBike, and we can see from his easy-to-read and simple-to-navigate display that he's ridden eight (8) whole miles:

This is the expression a Fred with a flat bar bike makes when he sees he just cranked out eight freaking miles:

("Uh, can you say, 'Killin' it?'")

Meanwhile, Drop Bar Fred has some stupid old-fashioned computer like the kind the Amish people use on their buggies:


We don't see how many miles he's cranked out, since his display is miniscule and almost impossible to navigate. However, we do see that he wears a look of consternation, like a man who's having trouble in the bedroom:

("This never happens, I swear!")

Then we go back to the Flat Bar Fred, who has a full-on data boner. We can see his speed, distance, time, and even power:

Note that Flat Bar Fred has attained a maximum speed of 25.9mph, which is more than half the speed at which a Fred goes, "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!"

Presumably then, the Flat Bar Fred has not gone, "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" However, given his self-satisfied demeanor, we can infer that 7.9 miles and 25.9mph are the exact distance and speed at which a Fred becomes unbearably smug. We can also draw the following conclusions about the Fred-iverse:

1) Flat bar road bikes are the new drop bar road bikes;
2) "Decades" are the new century;
3) No ride is too slow, too short, or too pathetic to share and immortalize in digital form.

Of course, any true retrogrouch would scoff at the notion of using a smartphone as a cycling computer. If you like your rims boxy, your frames lugged, and your shifting friction, then you also surely use the age-old practice of "chamois divination."

Soothsayers of old used to tell the future by examining sheep's entrails. Similarly, the retrogrouch can ascertain every detail of a ride by studying the appearance, odor, and residue inside a pair of cycling shorts. Speed, distance, power...the well-calibrated nose can tell all of these things from a single whiff of a post-ride chamois. Even today, an experienced European soigneur is more accurate than the most sophisticated computer, smart phone, or power meter. Allen Lim may make his riders swallow thermometers, but his wizened Belgian counterparts are able to base entire training programs on taintal funk.

Nevertheless, Freds continue to adorn their cockpits with instrumentation that would be more than sufficient to pilot an aircraft--and speaking of aircraft, another reader tells me that, while David Byrne may not own a car, he does travel by helicopter:

Evidently, Byrne has forgotten a fundamental Law of Smugness, which is that you don't get to brag about not driving when you travel by helicopter. Jets, helicopters, boats, tour buses--sure, those are all fine, just as long as you don't ever hop in a Honda Civic. Of course, he did take a bike ride after the helicopter trip, so I guess it cancels out. Still, taking a helicopter to the ride makes the mountain biker who drives three miles to the trailhead seem like a food coop volunteer in comparison.

Lastly, here's a helicopter-inspired cockpit that was spotted by a reader:


I think this should have been included in the iBike Dash commercial. It would have given them both cockpit envy.

103 comments:

Kenny said...

AND THAT'S HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW!

... said...

second bjatch!

Anonymous said...

go

... said...

man next time first! this is so awsome flatbar! second! yehaaa!

ringcycles said...

Flight of the Contador!

... said...

“It was really amazing to see him grit his teeth and just keep coming,” Jeffrey said.

LOL makes me laugh like I was 13 again!

thx

Anonymous said...

Top 10!

Danielson, maybe.

jasper said...

Early doors

Rick Donkey said...

Powered by moose meat...

Amy said...

VIVE LTUR

Anonymous said...

Snob,

Why not make a prediction on next year's Grey Jersey? http://greyjersey.weebly.com/index.html

spokefolk said...

Snob-You just had to mention another electronic toy for my husband to buy for his Serotta. He is sooo going to order one this week.

Anonymous said...

What is going on? I like that the heli light shines on the rider, not the traffic.

Anonymous said...

After reading such a funny article I expect the comments to be funny...but they are not. You all suck.

... said...

byrne is such a douche

Amy said...

I was at a restaurant during the final stage of the tour and two roadies came in before a ride. This lame commercial came on, and they were VERY interested in the iBike dash...in fact one might already have one and was trying to convince his buddy he should get it.

... said...

@12:12: if so you are realy dumbdoucheratie

John Cardero said...

I am an avid bicycler and I just wanted to say I read your blog religiously. I don't usually comment, but you are definitely the best out there.

Bad Lawyer said...

"Moreover, being an 'expert analyst' on Bicycling.com is arguably like being the sommelier at the Olive Garden anyway."

That's a bon mot for the ages.

I AM FRESH said...

Hey, did anyone see Al Contanador punch that nurse?

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

Hey 12:12, let me try:

Of course, any true retrogrouch would scoff at the notion of using a smartphone as a cycling computer. If you like your rims boxy, your frames lugged, and your shifting friction, then you also surely use the age-old practice of "chamois divination."

Soothsayers of old used to tell the future by examining sheep's entrails. Similarly, the retrogrouch can ascertain every detail of a ride by studying the appearance, odor, and residue inside a pair of cycling shorts. Speed, distance, power...the well-calibrated nose can tell all of these things from a single whiff of a post-ride chamois. Even today, an experienced European soigneur is more accurate than the most sophisticated computer, smart phone, or power meter. Allen Lim may make his riders swallow thermometers, but his wizened Belgian counterparts are able to base entire training programs on taintal funk.

TJ Eckleburg said...

The Cadelmageddon has begun.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

you mean the Cadelysm, don't you?

Dave Byrne said...

St. George has been syncretized by Afro Brazilians, and to interpret the inclusion of this statue as strictly Catholic might be a mistake.

I encourage you to enlighten yourselves from my historical yet misguided assumptions.

I wish I was an aussie engine said...

Yea for the Ausies, dont let the french grab your pants yabbies.

I need a more complicated computer on my bike to tell me "YOU SUCK".

That is the most impressive cockpit ever created.

Oh yea, the journalism of the tour de france sucked, all around it was horrible, except for your snide quips snobby.

You are the daily show of cycling.

Dave said...

Wait David Byrne doesn't own a car?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

"full on data boner"
-gold snobbie

Yokota Fritz said...

I'd like to know how Flat Bar Fred managed to travel only 8 miles *and* keep his speed under 25 MPH to get to San Gregoria General Store.

Dancypants said...

That looks like a prospective "lone wolf" cockpit.

Bob said...

"This Evans no longer seemed like a diva in spandex bike shorts..." pretty damn good writing for the NY Times...

Trailer Park Cyclist said...

7.9 miles must be a Metric Decade.

By the way, what ever actually happened to Ironic Intern Spencer Madsen and that Wal-Mart "fixed-speed"?

And lastly, I agree: Boones Farm really does go well with everything and makes a fine "yabbie rinse" after a long hot metric decade.

crosspalms said...

I like the stuffed tiger that comes with the helicopter cockpit, but are those thumb-operated brakes?

Bad Lawyer said...

A local restauranter was once offered a job (circa 1990) with Olive Garden corporate upon his graduation from the Culinary Institute of America. OG wanted him to develop a new menu without garlic.

Like a TdF bike with flat bars.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Fuggedaboutit! :-)

Lugged, friction tout le temps.

Anonymous said...

Is that the David Byrne who is lead singer in the band The Talking Heads?

Stiveau said...

It's not easy to make that commercial more hilarious than it was as it aired, but you succeeded. Nice to laugh on a Monday!

Anonymous said...

Self deprecate all you want Snobby, but at least J Hoogerland doesn't have 33 stitches in his legs due to your journalistic talents... THOSE folks need to be deprecating like mad; to the point that they don't come back next year. Them, ASO should un-invite. You, ASO should put down in the front row like they did with Robin Williams...

notkennybanya said...

So, can two Luxembourgian brothers who between them weigh about a half a Cadel transform themselves into time trial winners in the space of a year? Tune into NBC’s new reality show, “Great Schleckspectations,” to find out.

Gold, Snobster, Gold!

Anonymous said...

One thing about the commercial that is really wrong though.. The San Gregorio store doesn't allow clipless bike shoes to be worn inside. You have to remove your shoes before you enter and neither of these guys did that. Nothing quite says fred as showing your tube socks with the holes at the toes.

Grump said...

You mention that "Drop Bar Fred" has an "old school" computer, but you didn't mention that it is a "wired" old school computer. If you look carefully, you can see that somebody did a bang up job of coiling the computer wire around the brake housing. This accomplishment moves "Drop Bar Fred" into the realm of being a semi-fred.

Anonymous said...

"Their inability to go around corners at speed is the Schleck's primary problem" - Magnus Backstedt

hillbilly said...

dammit, the only bright side to the tdf ending was never having to see that commercial again.

also, the sign outside the store asks cyclists to remove their shoes. the freds do not.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Cadel is, of course, sponsored by bike manufacturer BMC, yet he nearly lost the tour with a mechanical on a col in the Alps, then had to abandon his spiffy yellow number on the way into Paris.

Hardly a ringing endorsement of his title sponsor. Can you imagine his sponsor's humiliation if he had not been able to rejoin on the descent after his bike change and had lost the tour resultantly?

wishiwasmerckx said...

I was glad to see that yesterday on the Champs Elyesee, the demonstration threatened by the People's Front for the Liberation of Landis failed to materialize.

Anonymous said...

wiwm -- Indeed.

But imagine being the damage control officer at SRAM after chaingate last year ..

Anonymous said...

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Where womenglowanmanplunda
Can'tyouhear can'tyouheardatunda
You bettarun you bettatakecova-a

Anonymous said...

@ I wish I was an aussie engine...

Yeah preferably a bike meter with artificial intelligence that could deliver creative and searing insults, nagging demands and reminders (from stored data) of past failures. It's just too easy to ignore the fact that I suck at cycling.

The Tashkent Error said...

Yokota Fritz: taking Hwy 1 from Half Moon Bay, then Stage Road to San Gregorio, exactly 8 miles. although he would be definitely sweating from the climb up Stage Road..

maybe he was just going downhill from Skyline via La Honda (or Tunitas Creek) and forgot to press "Start" until later. :)

Anonymous said...

Cadeldammerung? The twilight of the Freds, possibly.

hey nonny mouse

ringcycles said...

anon 2:22 if the computer would also blow a combination of car exhaust/cigarette smoke in your face it would be a virtual flemish director sportif

mikeweb said...

I thought it was the Cadelocalypse?

17 seemed to be a magic number in today's post. Perhaps that's the new Number of the Beastie...

mikeweb said...

When going to the extremely well designed and user friendly Bicycling website with an address bar icon compatible browser, anyone else notice the icon of choice? I think it might be a slight source of confusion for some folks.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Ian McDouche'bagge said...

I just heard the catchiest of tunes.

El Contador Pasa


I believe the title translates to the english loosely as 'NO DOPE -NO MELLOW JOHNNY'


DUDES!

murphstahoe said...

The flat bar fred will lose some smugness when he gets smacked in the head by the proprietor of the San Gregorio Store for being so focused on his iBike that he walked right past the sign saying "CYCLISTS TAKE OFF CLEATS BEFORE ENTERING STORE"

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Saturday I rode 4 decades back to back. I know, I'm an animal.

bikesgonewild said...

...re: cadel & the aussie $17.00 bill...

...when lance becomes governor of texas, he's gonna introduce a $3.00 bill so when detractors say his 7 tour wins supposedly without 'enhancement' are as legitimate as a $3.00 bill, they'll be right...

...just a rumor...

I am a demoralized engine said...

Anon 2:22 and Ring cycles

I solved the technology problem,got rid of my computer, and got a tandem.

Nothing says "YOU Suck, like a real person"

Fran H said...

So what do you think Apple and 3rd party marketers will do on the backend with all that RT Fred performance data streaming back to their servers ?

Woody Woodside said...

Way to bite the hand that feeds, Snob - and tell them to get a better web layout before they hire you again.
As for all these San Gregorio locals, Tashkent Error surely means Pescadero. Because to give Flat-bar Fred at least a modicum of credit, unless he was just riding the stretch to the beach a few times, eight miles to San Gregorio must have involved some hill or other.

Anonymous said...

Would a Fred on a fixie be called Fixie Fred?

Matt said...

I was at the local Apple store waiting around while they tried, without success, to figure out why my iPad crashes when I load photos from the camera connection kit, and was idly looking at wall of iAccessories. I saw the iBike Dash there and thought, cool, a case for the iPhone that must mount on the handlebars. I turned it over and saw it cost $200. What?! I was about to try and discern what wondrous features made this worth two sawbucks when the iGenius came out and told me they reset the iPad back to original settings and just restore it (6 hour sync) and try again. OK.

I didn't see this ad on Versus, having instead opted for the iPad All Access TdF app, with which I was quite pleased, but seeing the 8 mile ride noted on the commercial I wonder if that's about the outer limit of the iPhone battery life?

PS I did sync and try again, Photos on iPad STILL crashes. Oh well.

PPS I personally am waiting for the iBike Dash iPad edition for us older Freds who need the larger print.

Amy said...

Anonymous 4:48 a Fixie Fred is more commonly known as a nu-Fred.

Anonymous said...

Warming up for August...

FREE BERT

my2hands said...

I should of rode on the granite all the way home today. I would of shaved .6 seconds off my commute.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

"Yeah preferably a bike meter with artificial intelligence that could deliver creative and searing insults, nagging demands and reminders (from stored data) of past failures."

so go for a ride with your wife

$10(nee$20)bootguy said...

why does cadel kiss every stuffed lion they give him?

does anyone think frank schleck wanted cadel playing cootchie-cootchie-coo with his daughter?

Eric G said...

Downloaded the iBike app. After setting it up it said I was doing 12 mph...I was sitting still in my arm chair! I guess downloading it alone made me faster!

Anonymous said...

David Byrne helicoptering over one of the most polluted cities in the world (and dangerous-which is why he isnt biking).

And the NYTimes on taking your kid to summer camp, no not in your four door station wagon, but on you private charter jet.

http://gothamist.com/2011/07/25/more_rich_kids_are_flying_private_p.php

And Congress won't pass a budget deal. And Evans wins the TOur.

Unthinkable= thinkable

Paul Bowen said...

Oh my word, have you seen moonsaddle?

http://www.moonsaddle.com/

Anonymous said...

a rolling pumpkin can better 25.9 mph on any of the descents to san gregario from any direction. the more pertinent question is why any cyclist stops at san gregorio store? my powermeter says its less energy to carry an extra snack than take my shoes off.

Yoda said...

Bad-ass, it is, the helicopter bike cockpit. Much to learn, we have.

Anonymous said...

You really has not arrived unless

you possess the "Full Fred App".

And even then you will not know where or how you got there.

My Labradors have a mud App.
Very cool!

wishiwasmerckx said...

Paul Bowen, Cat Stevens wrote a song about that:

I'm being followed by a moonsaddle, moonsaddle, moonsaddle...

jordan said...

Say what you will about Cadel's win but I am going to miss hearing Phil Liggett talking about him being in the middle of a Schleck sandwich.

Turd Ferguson said...

WRM,

Was it you who went to BikeHugger and kicked sand in their vaginas?

Anonymous said...

duder!

Needmorecowbell said...

I hope the moonsaddle guys offer a promo sticker: "Free Moustache Rides"

Anonymous said...

Ah, the San Gregorio Country Store... best turnaround point for a Fred's Sunday ride from Pescadero (8 miles away).

Pink Lobster

Anonymous said...

Fierce Kitty forever, mate!

lugged steel friction said...

Panties!

leroy said...

Has anyone seen my dog?

He gave me ten to one odds on Lance Armstrong for this year's TdF.

Now I can't find him.

The last time I put up "Lost Dog" posters looking for him, he showed up to claim the reward after a weekend in Atlantic City.

Anonymous said...

Whoever said Pescadero -> San Gregorio is a perfect Fred loop is right! Artichoke bread, followed by dirty cowboys and knickknacks, then back for brie and crackers. Wonderful Sunday afternoon. And a 16 hour, er mile, epic journey through the Stage Mountains.

bikesgonewild said...

...leroy..."The last time I put up "Lost Dog" posters looking for him, he showed up to claim the reward..."...

...undoubtedly singing "amazing grace"...

ce said...

I-wish-I-was-an-Aussie-engine, the bigger and more detailed display of the iPhred Hash actually reads: "YOU SUCK... IN SO, SO MANY WAYS".

The iPhred Hash user can drill down to get more information for specific parameters, a typical user readout would look something like this:

Speed: COMPUTER SAYS NO
Power: COMPUTER SAYS NO
Elevation Gain: COMPUTER SAYS NO
Estimated Time of Arrival: COMPUTER SAYS NO

Anonymous said...

"WISHIWASMERCX"

I believe Cadel switched from the yellow bike to another bike on that last stage, it was because he wanted to finish the race on the bike that he had used to actually win the race...

or something like that...

UrbanRidingTips said...

CADL GASM

yuk

Anonymous said...

I kept track of the tour through your blog, here and at VeloNews. I don't have versus, don't like Eurosport, so watched on Sporza.be (flemish) without commercials. And although you besmirched the process in an earlier blog, it was actually fun to hear the excitement/laughter in their voices to match the camera action, and could understand names and times rather easily.

Anonymous said...

Boone's Farm goes especially well with vomiting in a dumpster. Don't ask me how I know.

I thought of Cadel as being the sugary lard in the Schleck Oreo.

As for his bike issues, those are just Cadelicals. Even Consumer Reports doesn't count those in reliability reports. I don't think BMC has a problem there.

Bobby said...

I called 1-800-dentist and asked if there were any dentists with Serottas in my area. the lady on the line had no idea what I was asking about. My wife, in earshot, broke up laughing, calling me a crazy bastard.

See Snob? I have en enlightened Bike Snob reading wife too, now how cool is that?

Honestly, those Freds will but anything that connects to that huge, kludgy iPhone, won't they?

Last one I dropped, I glanced down at the CatEye to see if he was anywhere near "WooHoo" speed. Too bad we were on level ground, we need a downhill to test this better.

Flash aka J. Gordon said...

The San Gregorio general store does not allow cyclists to wear cleated shoes on their hardwood floors. I think maybe this video was staged.

Anonymous said...

I read your post about stage 4 and I would not say you called an Evans victory at all.

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really dont mind that :)

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