Monday, August 29, 2011

From Suck to Blow: The Storm Before the Calm

First of all, I'd like to thank the many people who sent well-wishings and messages of support over the weekend as hurricane Irene ambled towards New York City at speeds of up to 14mph, like a cyclo-tourist with panniers full of destruction. However, as much as I'd like to thank everybody, I can't, because I didn't receive any well-wishings or messages of support at all. Instead, I was forced to stock up on a week's worth of cheese steaks with the sad knowledge that my fate meant little to anybody:

(Translation: "Hot, from having recently been grilled, steaks in the Philadelphia cheeseway.")

Fortunately, New York City didn't receive nearly as much damage as was anticipated, and I extend my sympathies to those who elsewhere who were affected far more adversely than we were. Nevertheless, I find myself dismayed by what seems to be a growing "You New Yorkers are 'woosies' when it comes natural disasters" sentiment. I noticed it first when Californians scoffed at our little earthquake last Wednesday, and it seemed to continue when we shut down the entire city and evacuated a bunch of people who, for the most part, probably could have just stayed at home eating "hot" cheese steaks.

If you're one of these people (a "New Yorkers are weather 'woosies'" person, not a "sitting at home eating 'hot' cheese steaks" person), I humbly request that you keep two (2) things in mind:

1) Life is much harder in New York City than it is in the rest of Canada's pannier, and on a daily basis we're subject to a degree of difficulty and indignity that most people will never have to experience. If you've never shared a crowded subway car with a homeless person who has recently soiled himself, been kicked in the face by an errant street performer, or shopped at Fairway supermarket on a Sunday (three people were recently trampled to death at the free olive oil sampling station), then you have no right to criticize us. We pay thousands of dollars a month to live in apartments that are worse than your crappiest storm shelters, and laying any sort of "weather event" on top of all this this creates the sort of hardship that would have even the most hardy natural disaster veteran crying to FEMA.

2) Our national image has become somewhat tarnished, so as a "real" city New York is one of very few things that keep this country from devolving into a complete laughingstock to the rest of the world. It's bad enough that our status as one of the world's great cities is already being undermined by designer beard-wearing curators of artisanal handicrafts, so therefore any additional threats to our status and well-being (or at least our distorted concept of what qualifies as well-being) should be taken very seriously. Without New York City, the United States is Los Angeles, Chicago, and a bunch of smaller towns that may or may not have a Cheesecake Factory in them. If this doesn't worry you, it should, because if New York City is washed away then America will simply become that place Canadians visit to do their bargain shopping.

This is not to say that people in other parts of the country are not culturally enlightened or well-versed in the art of creative expression. Consider Virginia Beach, where a man exposed his "pants yabbies" during the Weather Channel's hurricane coverage:

In an America Without New York, the country would effectively become a giant college town, and you'd be likely to see this sort of behavior constantly, even during the State of the Union address.

Speaking of the hurricane, most New Yorkers spent the days preceding it stocking up on provisions, which could explain why one woman in Williamsburg was "portaging" a bunch of wooden logs:

The girl on the bike with wooden logs on her back - m4w - 30 (Bedford Ave/Williamsburg)
Date: 2011-08-26, 10:53AM EDT
Reply to:

You - the sweet girl in burgundy dress with such major connfidence,

Me - the Jewish guy in car,

You looked at me and said such a lovely HEY!

I wanna see you again and say a lovely HI!


I'm not sure if she planned to burn the logs for fuel, or if she was anticipating having to "curate" a log cabin shelter by hand using her artisanal axe, but either way I find this budding cross-cultural romance tremendously inspiring, especially given the strained relations between the "hilpsters" and the Hasidim in this area.

Somewhat less inspiring is this indication that incidents of "smugness baiting" may be on the rise:

"I'm annoyed by your smugness" - m4w - 28 (dean st.)
Date: 2011-08-25, 1:31AM EDT
Reply to:

What I yelled back was, "You're so cute, I was sorry I passed". Want to have coffee or a bike ride?

As a smug cyclist myself, I urge you to refrain from hurling anti-smugness epithets such as the one above when we are out "portaging." After all, hath not a smug cyclist two wheels? Hath not a smug cyclist a load of organic groceries? If you tip us, do we not topple? If you ridicule us, do we not become unduly sensitive? If you ask us about our bicycles, do we not unfurl soporific discourses on the relative merits of frontal versus rearward weight distribution? Hath not David Byrne, the Patron Saint of Smugness, a car?

Well, actually, no, I guess he hathn't.


Evidently, the most influential cycling blog is Copenhagen Cycle Chic:


I certainly have no issues with being "dethroned" from the top spot on a meaningless list, nor do I have any illusions that I have any influence at all, though I was puzzled by their explanation:

At least 11 of the Top 50 cycling bloggers here are women. Cycling Chic Copenhagen has started a global movement — we can see many links pointing to her. This sub-community is rocking the blogosphere, or shall say women are rocking it! Women bloggers are a definite force to be reckoned with in the cycling world.

Now, I love to see women "rocking it!" and all, but I'm also pretty sure Copenhagen Cycle Chic is not a "her," since it was started by Mikael Colville-Andersen:



(Oh no, he's talking about helments! Seek shelter immediately!!!)

And while he may bear at least a stunt double's resemblance to Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, he is clearly not a woman. Yes, I do believe the site has some female contributors, but according to the site's own FAQ it all started when Colville-Andersen took a picture of a woman from behind:

HOW DID THE BLOG START?

The photos came first. One photo in particular started it all off. Mikael has been involved in street photography for some time and one day he snapped a fellow cyclist in the morning rush hour. All at once a theme, a visual style and a subject was born.

That style? Surreptitiously taking photos of hot Danish chicks:

Now, don't get me wrong--I have nothing but respect for Mikael Colville-Andersen and his "Cycle Chic" empire, and he is clearly the Hugh Hefner of bicycle advocacy. However, maybe the people that made this list should take the time to look at the actual blogs, because if Colville-Andersen is a woman blogger then I should get some acknowledgement for being one of the rare cycling bloggers with an indigenous Australian background.

Speaking of doing stuff from behind, a reader tells me a writer for British newsing paper The Guardian named Peter Walker is actually questioning whether or not Cat 6 commuter wheelsucking is acceptable:


How is this even the subject of debate? Of course it is not acceptable, for the same reasons you shouldn't draft people when you're driving to work in your car. (Unless you're David Byrne, in which case you don't have one.) How come we never see articles in the automotive sections of newspapers that ask, "Where do you stand on tailgating?" Yet, shockingly, the writer not only supports commuter drafting, but also performs domestique duties for his wheelsuckers:

My position's pretty clear: I'm happy to either draft or be drafted. With the former I don't go ludicrously close to another bike's rear wheel and I'm vigilant in case my temporary helper has to brake or swerve to avoid something. And if we reach a red light I'll often try to set off quickly so as to offer a reciprocal helping hand. When in front I indicate well in advance, and point a helpful finger towards upcoming potholes and the like.

Wow, do they also get a "happy ending" with all that? Even more amazingly, he's surprised when he drafts people and they don't like it:

These malcontents react in different ways: some turn round and scowl; others begin weaving round the lane, slowing down or speeding up. One young man's facial expression was so laughably aggrieved – you'd have thought I'd propositioned his mother – that when we stopped at a red traffic light I felt obliged to ask him, politely, why he so objected to being drafted. "Look," he hissed, "we're individuals, we're not in this together. We're cycling alone. Don't you get that?" Even by London's famously misanthropic standards this was strong stuff.

I couldn't agree more with this so-called "malcontent." You are not automatically at someone's disposal just because you are both on bikes--the normal rules of society apply. Is it OK to follow someone at a distance of two inches when you're walking just because you're both wearing sneakers? No it isn't. In reading this article it became increasingly clear to me that Peter Walker must be the most irritating cyclist in London, and it must be incredibly disconcerting not being able to ride around the city without constantly turning around and seeing this:

("Would you mind terribly if I had sex with your mother?")

It should go without saying, then, that Peter Walker's solution to all of this is completely insane:

There is, of course, an obvious answer: if someone clearly doesn't like being drafted then don't do it.

Yes, this is a great approach. Just imagine if we extended this to every other manner of rude and unacceptable human interaction, too. After all, as I always say, "If a stranger clearly doesn't like it when you fondle their buttocks on public transportation then don't do it." The only people who are allowed to just do stuff to other people until they're told to stop aren't people at all; they're dogs. Sure, a dog can get away with sticking his muzzle in your crotch or humping your leg until you register your objection, but if people start acting the same way then human society becomes little more than a dog pack and the next thing you know your dinner guests are drinking from your toilet and urinating on your carpet.

Though I do acknowledge that, in certain social circles, these are indications that the dinner party was a huge success.

Nevertheless--or perhaps because of it--I remain a firm believer in keeping your distance.

157 comments:

Anonymous said...

whatev.

Anonymous said...

and suck it, wishiwasmerckx!

Anonymous said...

Yes!

And all the people said "a-meh!"

Kenny said...

...and that's how a bill becomes a law!

theEel said...

topteneel!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ta-da! Top 10.

Nebraska bike commuter (non-DWI edition) said...

top ten?

Nebraska bike commuter (non-DWI edition) said...

Now to read!

Anonymous said...

Top 10!

Anonymous said...

top 10 again

cycle

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

get off my wheel

Anonymous said...

Nibali 2:23 back

Anonymous said...

jes feck it.

Anonymous said...

All You Haters Suck My Wheel!
Love,
Peter Walker

Nebraska bike commuter (non-DWI edition) said...

On my non-epic commute, (which I am taking a two week break from) there are no wheels to suck.

Mike Hunt said...

Well, doesn't the Danish government subsidize vaginoplasty?

Marcel Da Chump said...

Byrne your draft card.

TheTye said...

Not sure about the whole No-Wheelsucking thing...

What about on biketrails? and the person in front of you is in Spandex and going about 22mph? If you sit 8ft off his/her back wheel is that really the same as fondling his/her buttcheeks???

GhostOfTyrone said...

"Look," he hissed, "we're individuals, we're not in this together. We're cycling alone. Don't you get that?" With that, he deployed caltrops and sped off, leaving Bond to begin weaving round the lane, slowing down and speeding up until he regained control of his bike.

Bond slowly pulled his Ritte to the side of the road as Snake Eyes disappeared into traffic. "Nasty temper," he thought, and descended to the tube.

- Excerpt from "Enough is Never Once Again", by Peter Walker

Colin said...

I was drafted the other day while riding to work on my crappy ss commuter. It was quite annoying. I was riding along, probably going no faster than 14 mph. I hear the buzzing of a coasting road bike gliding up behind me and then just stay with me. RIGHT with me. After a minute I turned and gave a glare. The roadie looked upset and pedaled off.

C'mon. Drafting at 14mph? That's just pathetic.

Anonymous said...

bsnyc, you bike-teasing slipstream prude.

your analogies suck goat balls, two at a time: you wouldn't tailgate when driving (no benefit, dangerous to draftee) or walking (why would you?).

when cycling, however, you create a wonderful, valuable public good - your slipstream. it costs you nothing if someone else uses it, goes to waste otherwise, and may be very useful to a fellow cyclist. why let it go waste? who are you saving it for? do you hate efficiency?

it's the space behnd your ass, for chrissakes. who gives a f*ck?

don't be such a sourpuss puritan. allow yourself the thrill of unknown, cat 6 masses having the full and uninhibited use of your callipygian draft.

me, i would always ask first. but if someone hops on my wheel, great. i'm glad to be of use to someone. if i don't want them there, i'll let them know.

Anonymous said...

"After a minute I turned and gave a glare."

passive-aggressive weenie. "Just ask, man."

ant1 said...

ant1st!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:32pm,

There's no benefit from drafting in a car? Tell that to NASCAR...

--Wildcat Rock Machine

hillbilly said...

WEEL SUCK

hillbilly said...

no Prolly in the top 50?

Grump said...

As for the woman that was portaging wooden logs........Could this women be the long lost "Log Lady" ????
.
As for drafting, I had better know you, or you better be some hot chick. Otherwise, you'll first get "the stare", and then "bad things" will happen.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Sometimes the jokes just write themselves:

"You"re so cute, I was sorry I passed gas."

henry gibson said...

a poem

if your doodle is flabby

dont flaunt your pants yabby

thank you

Anonymous said...

As a Californian who has both experienced major quakes AND traveled to lots of places where earthquakes are rare, I can only say that if I were in NYC during a 5.ANYTHING quake I would totally shit myself.

The only reason a 5.6 is no biggie out here is because we are architecturally and infratructurally prepared for them. After travelling to Brasil, sitting in my aunt's 16th floor apartment in a cinderblock and rebar building, and having her tell me about seeing the light-fixtures moving during the Argentina quake a few months prior, my husband and I made a solemn pact never to discuss earthquake possibilities while traveling. 600 yr old sagging stone houses in England, 5th floor of a totally non-level ancient hotel in Paris, cave hotels in Cappadocia, and brownstones in NYC, are ALL places I would hate to be during an earthquake. And EVERYWHERE has the possibility of having earthquake sometime.

So there. New Yorkers have my permission to be freaked out. Not that they care what I think.
Pink Lobster

wishiwasmerckx said...

I have so little time to train that I almost always ride at pace, and unwanted squirrely-ass draftees with no bike-handling skillz are not just an annoyance; they pose an actual danger. Go learn your craft elsewhere, then we'll work together.

roomservicetaco said...

"Without New York City, the United States is Los Angeles, Chicago, and a bunch of smaller towns that may or may not have a Cheesecake Factory in them."

Indeed, including Kansas City and Las Vegas: http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/newyorker2.JPG

Nebraska bike commuter (non-DWI edition) said...

My experience with (four wheeled) drafting.

Once, while driving an old GMC minivan towing a pop-up trailer at a cruise controlled 75 mph on I-80 in my state, I was passed by a semi going 80. The semi driver tucked in just 20-25 feet ahead of me and immediately I started gaining on him; so quickly that I had to give my brakes a quick stab. One of my biggest driving peeves is people who pass and slow down, so I was pretty pissed until I looked at my speedometer and saw that I was now going 80.

Anonymous said...

Actually wheelsuckers on commutes can cost you something. For example, when they run straight into you, bending your rear wheel and trashing your derailleur, and costing you your "efficient" means of transportation until it gets fixed.

Anonymous said...

nascar? you spend a lot of time driving at race car speed in nyc, huh? the extremely high likelihood of crashing into the car in front of you is worth not having to push 1cm more on your gas pedal?

your analogy continues double-barreling goat balls and just threw in a shocker for good measure.

but i understand why you don't want someone drafting you now, given that you've got your head firmly up your ass.

this ain't rocket science. if you want to draft, yes - be polite and ask. but if you can help a sister out by letting her draft, what's the harm? it's a selfish and penile move to refuse. "give it away, give it away, give it away now."

Anonymous said...

I don't think sitting 8 feet off someone's back wheel counts as drafting. Also, I think you're not really getting the benefits back there. Try 8 inches. Or slightly overlapped wheels. Works best behind a loaded tandem.

And if in front, rather than turning and glaring, just blow a snot rocket. Not much of an issue for me because my languid pace doesn't invite wheelsuckers but manages to stay ahead of those three wheeled pieces of shit old people ride.

Anonymous said...

riding "at pace" and you still have "unwanted squirrely-ass draftees with no bike-handling skillz" in tow? pull yourself.

Anonymous said...

what the hell is wrong with you people? how did i become the sane one here?

why are you glaring, staring, threatening, & blowing snot rockets? why don't you just ask nicely?

"ma'am, i'm a vortex virgin and prefer that you do not avail yourself of my draft. thanks in advance."

Anonymous said...

"Would you mind if I had terrible sex with your mother"

Wow !

crosspalms said...

And I thought the helment discussions were lively. Draft? Thanks, pour me one.

crosspalms said...

And pour two for Hungy Panda

crosspalms said...

uh, Hungry. sorry...

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:56pm,

You're right, I think total strangers should feel free to ride inches behind me while I'm running errands in flip-flops on my Scattante at 11mph because of the enormous energy savings this will result in for them. So what if they crash into me when I stop at a red light?

--Wildcat Rock Machine

wishiwasmerckx said...

Anon 2:03:

Yeah, when you pass them, they get up out of the saddle and "turn themselves inside out" to catch your back wheel, weaving all over the road. In fact, that's kinda how you judge them. A decent rider cam simply lift his cadence to smoothly bridge and slip into your slipstream instead of wrestling with his machine in order to close the gap, them braking in order to match your speed.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know why Anonymous 1:32pm is obsessed with Goat Balls let me explain: he's from North Carolina.

Recently there was a trial in North Carolina where a man was accused of having sex with a goat. When the main witness said he saw the defendant having sex with a goat the defendant's attorney objected, saying that a more detailed description must be provided. The witness then went into more detail:

“Well, I saw the defendant having sex with the goat, and when he was finished, the goat turned around and began licking the defendant’s ballz”.

One of the jurors leaned over to another one and whispered, “A good goat will do that”.

wishiwasmerckx said...

As they say in NASCAR, I like to get up behind 'em, get 'em loose, and send 'em into the wall.

Anonymous said...

We're talking about a 5-10% difference in effort here. You want to risk my safety so you can save 5-10% of effort? Or practice your skills learning how to do so? Save me the trouble and sign up for a LAB Group Cycling skills class. At least if you crash someone while practicing, it was an expected potential outcome. And if you want to keep current at the skill, there's lots of group rides out there; so go find one!

JB said...

My idiot buddy drafts me on rocky mtn bike single-track. That's fun.

mikeweb said...

I don't particularly mind wheelsuckers and I'll ride a few feet off someone else's wheel when commuting for the purpose of waiting to pass them when it's safe to do so. Though I have to say if a sucker bumps me or overlaps wheels at speed they will be threatened with deconstructive facial surgery. But yeah, following someone going 17 mph or less is pretty pathetic. Then it actually is tailgating.

PhilboydStunge said...

I read that crap about you not being the greatest bicycleway blogger in the world ever, at some lesser blog last week. I didn't believe it though.

mike said...

mmmm... Hot danish

CommieCanuck said...

wwm.. they also say in NASCAR: "rubbin' is racin'", which translates into New York as "Foffing off is bike commuting".
They also say, "git me another 3 chili dogs, a gallon of Mountain Dew, and ma insulin shot."

Anonymous said...

WRM, i didn't say it wasn't ludricrous, did I? i said you shouldn't care, and shouldn't be so stingy to your fellow brethren. have some empathy, brosephina. it's a free, efficient public good, let 'em use it. i do. i'm glad i can hook someone up, free of charge. costs me nothing and makes someone happy. great.

hell, i've been drafted by a gaggle of rollerbladers AND an asphalt faux-nordic skier. (i am completely paranoid one of those guys is going to Cinzano me one day - much safer to have them draft.) not one of them has ever caused me any harm. have you ever had anyone crash into you when slowing from 11mph at a light? if youre that concerned then signal that you're slowing or just let 'em know. not that hard. let the cat six-erati enjoy their small pleasures.

crosspalms said...

The Philadelphia Cheeseway should be a bike path somewhere. Wisconsin?

Ricky Bobby said...

"Hi, I'm Ricky Bobby. If you don't chew Big Red, then fuck you."

Guadzilla said...

Snobby puh-leez! A "steak and cheese" is the Best-Made version of cheesesteaks. No self-respecting connoisseur of cheesesteaks would be caught dead eating one. Why, Pat's will actually refuse to serve you if you go in an order a "steak and cheese". Damn New Yorkers.

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936 said...

"America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed."

Marcel Da Chump said...

Draft beer, not bikes.

Ricky bobby said...

"Hey. I'm Ricky Bobby. When you're workin' on your mysterious lady parts and stuff, you should have the right tools too. That's why you should use... MayPax. The official tampon of NASCAR. "

television_writer said...

someone explain to me how drafting is dangerous/threatening to the person on the front. I'd like to work this very unlikely scenario into my reality tv show, 'Artisanal Bike Life.'

You want to huff my back wheel, you are welcome to it. The unlikely wheel overlap crash at 18kph will suck for you. Not me.

Ricky bobby said...

[running around on the track in his underwear] Help me Jesus! Help me Jewish God! Help me Allah! AAAAAHHH! Help me Tom Cruise! Tom Cruise, use your witchcraft on me to get the fire off me!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I eat a lot of whole grain pasta. You can ride back there if you want.

I am a tired of advocacy engine said...

"I have nothing but respect for Mikael Colville-Andersen and his "Cycle Chic" empire,"


"The rank is based on blogs influence, not twitter or facebook follow. It still makes for a interesting comparison."

How did they determine "influence", what makes "advocacy"?

Pictures of people riding bikes is advocacy, I think not.

wishiwasmerckx said...

CommieCanuck: I've never rubbed one out at 180 mph. Might be fun!

CommieCanuck said...

I'll answer a quote with a quote:

"someone explain to me how drafting is dangerous/threatening to the person on the front. "

"the only thing you have to fear, is fear itself, ...and forced sodomy".

wishiwasmerckx said...

Rickybobby, I just scored tickets to the MayPax 500 this weekend. It was already sold out, so I had to pull some strings...

wishiwasmerckx said...

Only dangerous to the trailing rider? Haven't you ever seen the leading rider get his rear wheel swept out from under him or the overlapping rider's QR skewer become tangled in the leading rider's rear spokes?

Rocky Mountain Chuck said...

I had a guy about 2 feet off my wheel for about 4 miles in this morning. Didn't bother me a bit.

It would definitely suck if some guy does run into you, but then that's separate issue, isn't it? I mean, a pigeon might crap on my helment, but that doesn't mean I get out the shotgun and take out all the birds in town "just in case".

JB said...

Affix one of these (with the claws flipped around) on the back of the Big Dummy. Viola! No more wheel suckers.

Anonymous said...

dangerous? you think a cat 6 wheelsucking at two feet as opposed to 10 feet is really a bigger danger/concern for you? commuting by bike probably isn't for you then. (logic might not be, either.)

GhostOfTyrone said...

'Artisanal Bike Life, Episode 5'

Duder 1: "So tell me again why he stopped?"

Duder 2: "Have you ever eaten organic whey protein nuggets?"

Duder 1: "Are they fair trade?"

Duder 2: "Dunno, bro. Anyway, I guess he said a red light or something?"

Duder 1: "A wha....? High five, bro, that's like, ten points, easy."

Duder 2: "Totally ripped my shirt, though. Not too pumped about that. Dude was all yelling at me."

Duder 1: "That's pretty harsh. Oh, check it out, Arrested Development is on Netflix now."

Duder 2: "Um, dude, 2005 is calling for you."

Duder 1: "No, dude, it's coming back."

Duder 2: "Meh."

Hungry Panda said...

Obviously you would e much more important and "funnier" if We could all friend you and follow you on facebook. Pleeeze, extanz needs to get a life out of a cubicle.

No Bamboo bicycle blogs for me to read while dumping that excess ruffage?

Anonymous said...

"Haven't you ever seen the leading rider get his rear wheel swept out from under him or the overlapping rider's QR skewer become tangled in the leading rider's rear spokes?"

outside group rides or races? no. never.

Anonymous said...

So, yes, in other words.

yogisurf said...

The elastic is stretching...I'm going off the back again (as usual) of the Cat 6 train on Meade Ave.

ringcycles said...

I'm with RCT, except I had kimchi for dinner last night, and a big bowl of high fiber cereal for breakfast. If I "fire up the turbo" any daft drafter is going to give me 3 feet, probably more.

yogisurf said...

Actually, there is no commuter stop-light shoring nor CAT6 drafting in San Diego....there are no other bike commuters.

thomas said...

So you know they were trying to piss on your rug--

Anonymous said...

I always feel awkward when I have to slow down for riders on a narrow, winding recreational path. I stay about 10-20 feet back until I can safely pass. For me, it's not about the "danger of drafting" but that I don't FEEL close to them so I don't want to BE close to them. Drafting a stranger is like walking up next to someone at a urinal and then peeing on the same spot("sorry dude, it's more efficient this way").

Anonymous said...

That Peter Walker fella looks awfully like you, Snob.

And yes you can have sex with my mother, so long as you leave $50 on the bed like everyone else.

someday I'll wear... plaid pyjamas in the daytime

The Dude said...

Those fucking wheelsuckers pissed on my rug, Man!

Anonymous said...

When some cat6 gets on my cat1 tail for a draft, I rather delight in ramping up my speed gradually to 55+ kph and see them get ridden right off my wheel.

Anonymous said...

When some cat6 gets on my cat1 tail for a draft, I rather delight in ramping up my speed gradually to 55+ kph and see them get ridden right off my wheel.

#1 draft pick said...

Do I know you?

Anonymous said...

Fudge that noise. Mr Snob, without your blog most people would still see this thing I've been doing every year since Kindergarden as a Nu-Bushwick inspired fashion accessory. The Times would still be trying to sell us Real Estate instead of titanium. The Lone Wolf's of the commuting world would still be seen as "that one guy".

Most influential cycling bloggers? HA. Try one of the most influential writers who isn't dead yet.

Sorry about the sap

bikesgonewild said...

...anon/goat balls sure spends a lotta time n' energy defending the practice of unwanted drafting...

...if i'm out pedaling, whether i'm all kitted up & focused on a ride or i'm out toodling around, i stop at stop signs...

...why ???...well because despite how greatly inconvenienced some of you feel about having to obey traffic laws, it's not only a safety issue (for me), it serves as a positive sign to the general public that we, as cyclists, are not all self serving, inconsiderate fucking morons...

...& as a result, i've almost been slammed into from behind numerous times & one of these days, if that happens, some cocksucker is gonna get a serious fucking surprise & he's gonna think it's a way 'over the top' reaction to his personal little 'energy saving plan'...

...but hey...he'll just be learning a lesson about how 'dangerous' it is to run stop signs...

Anonymous said...

Good gravy. One thing about riding bikes in a group larger than one: The expectation that you know what you are doing. If you slide up where I can't see you, and start riding with me, that's one strike against you that you don't know what you are doing. Sorry, I don't ride with folks I don't trust at least at some level...or half wheel me.

OBA said...

Wasn't the freedom to wheelsuck what the American revolution was all about? This country was founded on the right of the individual to ride a close as they want to the bicycle in front of them, and if you don't like it, go back to Russia! American Wheelsucking - love it or leave it!

Anonymous said...

i gotta say, the ricky bobby quotes are the best thing about today's backblog...Tom Cruise, use your witchcraft on me to get the fire off me!

fred said...

i was racing in a big nu_fred cat6 bicycle cycling event 2 weeks ago, cruising along at a fredly 18mph, when from behind me someone says 'on your wheel'.

what is the proper response ?

testicoli di capra, apparently said...

"it serves as a positive sign to the general public that we, as cyclists, are not all self serving, inconsiderate fucking morons..."

amen.

i don't like being on the other side of BG dubs, but i've had 0 issues with people running into me - i just stick out my hand to signal im stopping. seems to work. same thing for moving around in traffic. and i seem to have minimal bad car interactions. i don't think these things are coincidences.

letting someone draft carefree is simply my "positive sign" that we're all not anal a-holes. two sides of the same coin my friend. "... just sayin'..."

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is obvious, but I think they confused "Cycle Chic" with "Cycle Chick".

Anonymous said...

"what is the proper response?"

on your north. (works equally well for any inane "on your X" comment.)

bikesgonewild said...

...btw...top podium finishers & this weeks friday quiz-ickle 'get it righters' will all be receiving cans of soup from the 'big blow that wasn't such a big blow' bsnyc/rtms/wcrm surplus soup supply...

...that big dummy hauled a lotta soup home (hey, hey, the bike, you incorrigible fucks) in preparation & mrs snob would once again like use of the bathtub...

ptfe said...

If you put "Cycle Chick" into Google, you get Cycle Chic, then a bunch of info on the life cycle of a chicken. Influential is when your name shows up closer to the top than the Chickscope page (which is way less exciting than it sounded).

Test Tickle said...

i'm with Snobbie on this one.

all you wheel suckers ... lick a turd. i don't want you panting behind me unless i know you, real well.

balls.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Snob-

Remember the bike blogger that was trying to get the Rock and Republic guy to make Kierin cut jeans? She's doing really ell these days, and is an Olympic hopeful or something:
http://www.altweeklies.com/aan/the-road-less-traveled/Story?oid=4761854

Still yours-
Anon 1:37

doof said...

those of us who commute on four inch tires rarely have to worry about being drafted

mikeweb said...

@anon 4:12

on your north. (works equally well for any inane "on your X" comment.)

I thought the proper response was 'on your mother', no?

wishiwasmerckx said...

100th, bitches!

shkenblke said...

If New York disappeared then people would finally see that Philly is far superior of a city and we would define the country. P.S. the reality of it all is, NYC doesn't define our country, being Canada's hairy sack does...

bikesgonewild said...

...@testicoli de capra, apparently...

...whether one considers 'unwanted commuter drafting' ethical or not, whilst approaching a stop sign, you should not need to hand signal that you are about to STOP...

...the assumption by the trailing rider should ALWAYS be that the lead rider is about to stop...& why is that ???...(i know you're with me on this point at least) - because that is the correct procedure...

...if the trailing rider is so inexperienced or clueless that their intent is on a free tow & not paying attention to their surroundings, how do they know i'm not only stopping for the stop sign but that there might not be a little ol' lady or a kid in the crosswalk ???...

...witness the woman in sf who subsequently died as a result of the injuries she sustained after being hit by a 'red light running' cyclist...

...this has been a pet peeve of mine for the last few years after numerous occasions of hearing skidding brakes behind me, only to have some fucking clown almost spear me on the left or even the right with handle bars or brake levers...

...glad to be civil with you - as long as you're not following me closely & assuming i'm gonna run that upcoming stop sign...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Snob

Also, while I'm here; in a bike lane my experience is that in a headwind you will still get some of the benefits of drafting if you keep a respectful 3 to five feet back. This isn't the same as a paceline at speed obviously.

It bothers me more if I'm out on a recreational ride and someone hops on my wheel without letting me know he's back there.

I think it analogous to reading over someone's should on a bus. No real harm down, but decidedly creepy.

Yours again-
Anon 1:37

Anonymous said...

Oops-

*shoulder
*done

apologies

Breslin said...

The reality is that our sworn enemies want NYC to disappear...not Philly.

Everyone wants a piece of #1

We're the idol
the highest title

Pace Line said...

If you don't want someone drafting you, just flick an albow. If they don't respond, ramp up the speed and leave them behind.

mikeweb said...

Perhaps a good way to deal with unwanted 'suckers is to do what I do to slow drivers lingering in the fast lane (a.k.a. the PASSING lane) when I want a little amusement. Get in front of the person - obviously in our cycling example you already are - and then ever so slowly reduce your speed little by little. Eventually they get frustrated and go around you. In the driving example, when they finally get into the middle/ right lane where they really belong, to go around, I give them a round of applause and go back to my regular speed. I'm gambling that the usual left lane creeper doesn't have a Glock in their "walnut glovebox".

mikeweb said...

I suppose this could be followed up by getting on their wheel then muttering things like, "You call that a PULL", "How 'bout a little WORK", etc. until they open up their 'suitcase of courage' and can be easily dropped.

Anonymous said...

I tried politely waving someone off my wheel in Prospect Park a while back. No response, so shook him off. A couple miles later, he's back! Waved him off again and he rides up beside me and wants to talk about it! I'm riding solo and WEARING EARBUDS!!! What are these losers thinking?

I have no problem if they want to go up to a stranger and say 'wanna ride together?', but sucking up, then barnacling... who does that?!?

crosspalms said...

bgw,
I was stopped at a red light the other day with my right arm out signaling a turn. Another cyclist rode past on my right, ducked under my arm and rode into traffic in the intersection. He was still alive last I saw, but certainly qualifies as an inconsiderate fucking moron.

Anonymous said...

To The Tye, from Sacramento. I'm one of the ones on the Sacramento River Trail riding 22 mph in Spandex. You ask whether its O.K. to hang back 8 feet. No, damnit. Come December, January, I'll be out there 3,4,5 hours at a time. My nerves are frayed, and I want to be alone. Stay the fukc off my wheel. I've lost two good rear wheels on account Freds sticking their front wheel skewers into my rear wheel spokes. And, do not shadow me, either, damnit. It's annoying. I don't want to hear anyone behind. Ride on your own. I'm not your friend. I'm not your riding partner. I don't know you. Stay away from me.

David Henderson said...

Drafting to save energy while commuting?

Here's how it's done son.

Without a question it's rude. The lead rider is now not only responsible for his/her own safety, but the drafting rider as well (their visibility is obscured by ass.)

Permission should be requested before latching on and a reach around should be offered as a courtesy.

leroy said...

Note to self: Must speak with dog about dinner party etiquette.

dth9269 said...

"We pay thousands of dollars a month to live in apartments that are worse than your crappiest storm shelters..."

Now that you've touched on the NYC real estate market, I'm curious to know if you could explain just how big the bikes are in the Big Apple?

"We can’t afford a 3,000-square-foot apartment, sadly, and a bike takes up a lot of room."

Eurodude said...

interesting conversation here...

The whole point started with an article about London, UK, where some guy didn´t want to be drafted because he was in a solitary thing, which is ok.
It gets interesting with BGW´s "if the trailing rider is so inexperienced or clueless", which seems to be your - your as in in the US - main concern.
Let me explain: i live in a city where everybody - average of 2 bicycles/inhabitant- cycles (Munich, Germany), that is where there actually is some "bike culture", meaning that people are aware of the potential dangers. It is here VERY rare to draft or to get drafted, because most people just know it can end badly. So basically, if a drafting situation occurs (again, it is very rare), the riders involved are experienced, and they do collaborate, quite willingly shall I say, especially on the few available "high speed" lanes. I´ve never ever witnessed any anger in such situation. In fact, since it´s so rare, and the riders are experienced, it is pretty cool to do some drafting in town. I just know the guy drafting me can do it - and a quick glance checking his riding confirms it-, and vice versa. Again, on the very few occasions when it happened, there´s been zero risk. Oh, and people here stop at signs.

My 2 cents from Europe.

ps: am very glad NY didn´t get too much damage

Eurodude said...

I forgot: there are obviously people in Munich who ride like complete imbeciles - the ones who take their bikes 3-4 times a year, in summer. And those people don´t draft, they´re just too slow.

Anonymous said...

Since most bikers in NYC look like Rip Torn in shants from the behindway I would guess that NYC Chic ain't gonna fly.

Anonymous said...

I'm fast and I'm always dragging somebody along in my draft. At least for a few second or a minute. No ones hanging back there unless they've got the goods - you know what I'm saying. Oh and I don't commute. I train. Understand? I'm from Boulder but I live in Longmont. ( Locals get that joke!) 'nough said about that.

BUT the thing that busts my carbon fiber clinchers are the guys that have to ask permission to draft after hanging back there for who-knows-how-long and scare the crap out of me! WTF! Where did you come from? Get back there where I can forget you exist.

You know how hard it is to be redlined AND get that huge adrenaline rush when your Loudly asked if you are on a team? I was minding my own business staring at the numbers on my 500 and you barely half wheel me and yell? wtf? really?

Anonymous said...

Log on

bikesgonewild said...

...hey there, eurodude...part of the problem with the cycling phenomena here in america, as i see it, is that right now, there are so many new cyclist's coming from other sports & while strong, they have no experience with handling skills or for that matter, the social aspects of serious cycling...

...both require development through saddle time...

...i'm always positive (like you, i'm sure) in encouraging people to take up the activity of cycling to whatever level they might find their competency rising to, but oft times the accidents i see or hear about are cases of athletes obviously riding 'above their heads' in that they're not prepared for the dangers one encounters on the road or trail...

...all muscle, no forethought...

...from a social aspect, i love riding alone...it's for the head & the legs & in bringing it all together, there is a zen peacefulness i find nowhere else...

...when i care to ride with someone, i'm fortunate enough to have a number of competent riding friends wherein we can be comfortable in the kind of close proximity out on the road that would undoubtedly cause a problem (ie: a crash) with a new rider...

...to the new guys n' girls, i'd suggest 'ride, please, but use your head'...

Eurodude said...

@ BGW

am 100% with you. And 1000% with 'ride, please, but use your head'.

Anonymous said...

Rule #1: C'mon, don't wheelsuck someone you don't know. It's distracting at best or worse, dangerous. Anyone with some experience on a bike knows this firsthand or has seen it happen to a buddy. It's just the way it is.

Rule #2: (This is so obvious, it hurts to have to type it, yet so many commenters need a clue). Never sneak onto someone's wheel. At least speak up or make some eye contact. This is self-evident and non-negotiable.

Smugsley Addams said...

Colin 1:31 PM

"C'mon. Drafting at 14mph? That's just pathetic."

Perchance drafter was checking out draftees colon Colin?

Travis Bickle said...

Suck on this!


Philly lover...you talkin' to me?

Far superior? Ha ha ha ha ha...

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I thought I read "wooden legs" and not logs. Sounded interesting.

Anonymous said...

Drafting is a trust issue. If you don't know the person, you don't know their skill level. It makes it unnerving for the person in front, and therefore, rude. It's like using a computer and having somebody you don't know hover over your shoulder - annoying as hell.

Maroon Lobster

Rupert Murdoch said...

I only draft "Chic"s with "hot" artisanaly crafted "cheese steak" in spandex. Ohhhhhhh yeeeeeeeah.

JDH said...

@crosspalms-tell me about it. I signaled a left turn 75 feet from an intersection, after looking over my shoulder at the car 75 feet behind me, and the prick overtook me at the intersection! Then the two cars following him did the same. I had to come to a complete stop and wait for them to speed past. Inconsiderate morons? At best. Even worse when cyclist do it.

Anonymous said...

http://www.elliottbaybicycles.com/

Tri dork spotted in seattle. Hope im not late to the game.

Anonymous said...

I draft every uptight roadie I can find, just for the sudden braking and dirty looks. Really? It's that bad? It's not like I'm going to come around you like Cancellara dropping Boonen on the Muur. Or even if I do, it's not like you are going to lose the Tour of Flanders (aka Ronde van Vlaanderen for those who watch smoking, pot-bellied Belgians rant on Belgian public access for their race coverage). Lighten up.

bikesgonewild said...

...crosspalms...& if that clown was confronted about the situation, it would all be someone else fault...

...'you' were in the way...'you' were going too slow...'you' weren't riding properly...

...i'm a pretty accepting type but on this subject i'm opinionated almost to the point of my own detriment because i feel so strongly about how we as cyclists project ourselves...ultimately it could mean our own lives out on the road...

...we demand our rights vociferously but how many of us are willing to actually offer anything in return...

...so many cyclist's see themselves from this insular little place of being victimized (somewhat understandably) by the motoring public but aren't willing to understand or change their place in the big picture, out on the road...

...cycling - it's a two way street...

Angelina said...

From a rare female blogger who questions cyclechic
http://www.culturecycle.org/on-the-power-of-social-networks-cycling-photo

Les Groper said...

Parents,

Just another small example of the evils lurking on the basic cable channels.

Who's looking out for the children?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't generally consider drafting a stranger because (a) I don't know anything about their bike handling sk1llz and (b) they're usually going 10mph slower than me.

However, it has happened on occasion that I've found myself going spontaneously "bit-and-bit" (as I believe it used to be known in the 50s) with a complete stranger who was obviously a fellow club cyclist... if I flick the elbow and they don't come through however... then all bets are off

My biggest problem is that I'm addicted to drafting cars, vans, buses, and assorted construction traffic. I know it's wrong... but you just can't beat that feeling of going uphill at 25mph (relatively) effortlessly... I know I'm only one emergency stop away from being spread-eagled over the back of a van, but...

petrus said...

@JDH:

In that situation I take the full lane whenever possible/practicable/not too rude. Cyclists have rights too!

Anonymous said...

"I draft every uptight roadie I can find, just for the sudden braking and dirty looks. Really? It's that bad? It's not like I'm going to come around you like Cancellara dropping Boonen on the Muur. Or even if I do, it's not like you are going to lose the Tour of Flanders (aka Ronde van Vlaanderen for those who watch smoking, pot-bellied Belgians rant on Belgian public access for their race coverage). Lighten up."

You my friend are an idiot. It has nothing to do with being uptight. It’s the fact that your lack of bike handling abilities. I have been slammed into from behind by dumb ass commuters. My freshly overhauled bike was trashed and not one mention of "I'll get you some new bar tape and a saddle because i had my head up my ass". stay the hell away from me, I have enough scar tissue and torn connective tissue from twits like you.

CommieCanuck said...

Mike, my suitcase of courage is still going around the carousel at JFK.

Ricky Bobby said...

"This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love fig newtons."

Ricky Bobby said...

"Hey. I'm Ricky Bobby. Christmas is right around the corner. And what better gift to give a loved one,
[pulls out an artisanal camping axe] than the Jackhawk 9000. Avaible at Wal-Mart."

Cal Naughton Jr. said...

"I like to think of Jesus like with giant eagles wings, and singin' lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with like an angel band and I'm in the front row and I'm hammered drunk!"

ce said...

Sometimes, I think it would be quite the novelty to be hassled by wheel suckers on the ride to work. If ever one day I do happen to see another cyclist on my route past the coal mines I'll be like the lonely old geezer in desperate need of company who gladly invites proselytising door to door missionaries into his home. "Yes, by all means, come in! Relax in the ample mass of low pressure air swirling behind my smugness flotilla. I'll fetch you a cup of tea and some biscuits... no I insist, it's no trouble at all, everything is right here in my Xtracycle bags... oh, look what I've found, one of my old photo albums..."

Benny Kanya. said...

Suck it! WIWM!

Suck it! Anon 1:37!

Ev said...

Best post evar!
Do Mikael know he got misrepresented?

ce said...

And I meant to say... I for one welcome our new chic overlord.

Anonymous said...

Slipstreaming/drafting is acceptable in the realm of Silly Commuter Racing. See Bike Radar for details.

Otherwise, it works on the racetrack! I was doing it on Sunday.

hey nonny mouse

Anonymous said...

Artisanal panties!

Anonymous said...

Artisanal panties!

Anonymous said...

http://gothamist.com/2011/08/31/brooklyn_cyclists_beware_flying_bri.php

Not sure if you saw this.

You do a lot fo riding there. Ever encounter stone throwers there or on Sands Street?

Anonymous said...

Best most proven method of getting rid of wheel suckers: launch a few snot rockets.

Solomon said...

Cycling etiquette is necessary. and the proven method for wheel suckers is awesome :)
-natural whey protein

lususa2 said...

Have read your book way down in Tasmania, Australia - may need to Google map it. It is Fantastic and I recommend it to all out there

Francesco Ciombola said...

I tried for the life of me to see if anyone has defined the difference between drafting and wheelsucking, to no avail. So here goes...

Drafting is offered by a stronger rider to another when they feel so inclined by way of acknowledging that sometimes headwinds and gradients aren't all that pleasant. Reciprocation can spawn mutual respect and even new friendships. Experience and skill is a given.

Wheelsucking is taking an advantage unannounced and therefore uninvited, often but not always by people who don't know any better. The name says it all and belongs in the same family as "oxygen thief".

In the case of the former, courtesy such as advanced warning of upcoming obstacles such as glass, potholes and roadkill should be extended. Varying power output is unnecessary and if space-time permits, a social chat beginning with "Great frame, I like the lugs and panto fork crown..." might be in order when the imminent end to the union appears.

Conversely, wheelsuckers will find me adding a few score of Watts to the effort, but otherwise ignoring their presence and hence negating the need to take a hand off the ergo lever to signal "lame moose ahead" whilst aiming my steel frame for rougher sections of road to delight in the superiority of my ferrous friend over the ally or crabon gunk the person I'm ignoring is being bounced around on.

When people take liberties those of us who react indignantly are obliged to do something about it but not to them directly as this is bad karma.

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buy cycling jerseys said...

"Without New York City, the United States is Los Angeles, Chicago, and a bunch of smaller towns that may or may not have a Cheesecake Factory in them"

Oh man that is genius ! lol

Anonymous said...

"Without New York City, the United States is Los Angeles, Chicago, and a bunch of smaller towns that may or may not have a Cheesecake Factory in them."

your metrocentrism smells like silliness. stay where you are please.

Fixie Bikes said...

If you can draft in real racing you should be able to in biking.

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