Monday, August 15, 2011

Life on the Open Road: Buzzkills and Vibration Damping

Before we begin, it is recumbent upon me to make two (2) important announcements:

1) Today's post will be something of a departure for me, focussing mostly on my newfound hobby of artisanal urban pickling;

and

2) On this past Friday's quiz, dated August 12th, 2011, the shoddy overseas testing service I use made a mistake on question three (3). In case you missed the quiz because you skipped school that day and were getting high while throwing bottles at passing trains instead, this was the question:

3) After happening upon a marijuana patch while out on a Wednesday ride, a California cyclist immediately:


The correct answer was "Called the police." However, the testing service originally inserted the wrong link (it's since been fixed), and had you clicked on the right answer what you should have seen this:

The irony that this "epic" instance of "narcing" took place on a Wednesday aside, I think it's a shame that the whistle-blowing cyclist is the subject of derision. Instead, he should be commended for alerting the authorities to the presence of a controlled substance. What if, instead of an adult cyclist, a group of kindergardeners had happened upon this marijuana patch and inadvertently consumed the substance with their Fisher Price bongs? Imagine the disaster that would have ensued: Fruit Roll-Up binges; incessant giggling; three hour conversations about the homoerotic subtexts of the "Barney & Friends" TV show... Their precious little brains could be warped forever, and everybody knows that children should be eating McDonald's and not thinking too deeply about stuff. It's for their own good. So instead of calling the cyclist "Señor Buzzkill," they should call him "Generalissimo Awesome," for he's truly an American hero--just like our brave and selfless day traders.

Anyway, given the error, please add one million bonus points to your quiz grade for Friday--or, if you prefer, I'll send you a jar of my very own homemade artisanally pickled Fruit Roll-Ups instead. They're totally delicious. Like, a bunch of us meet up every weekend in a bar in Park Slope (many of us with our children, who all have long hair and last names for first names) and share pickling tips and recipes. Our urban pickling club is even going to be profiled in one of those annoying New York Times trend pieces. Plus, we even have a few members who live in tiny houses, and who pickle individual corn kernels inside of tiny vials. Either way, whether you choose the bonus points or the edible handicrafts, please have your parents sign your quiz and then mail it to the following address:

BSNYC Educational Learning Systems, Inc.
c/0 Teach-O-Mat Conformity Factory
6rd Floor #2, Bannerghatta Road Bangalore-560029
INDIA

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Speaking of the New York Times, I wonder if Bruce Weber has found any marijuana patches so far during his cross-country cycling trip:

If he has, he's not saying. Either way, I briefly mentioned Mr. Weber's trip about a month or so ago and it seems as though he's since managed to put some distance between himself and the Pacific Ocean--though not without experiencing what Paul Sherwen would call the occasional "spot of bother." In any case, a number of readers brought this article to my attention, and in reading it I came to the realization that I could never, ever ride across the United States. For one thing, my geography's pretty hazy, but I don't think it would be possible to design a route that allowed me to avoid every single state except California and New York. (Other states scare me, especially the ones in the middle part.) For another, there's no way I could stand the barrage of Fredly "advice" from people who think they know better. Here's just a bit of what Bruce Weber has had to put up with so far:

Those Shorts!

Ditch those baggy shorts (you’re not going surfing) and buy some good padded biking shorts. You’ll feel much more comfortable and less prone to chafing. Didn’t your mother teach you anything?

B. S .B., Princeton, N.J.

Didn't your mother teach you to mind your own business? I'm sure he's got some cycling shorts underneath his baggy shorts, and I'd also imagine he's got his reasons for wearing them. Maybe he's insecure. Maybe he wants the extra pockets. Maybe when he clomps into some weird desert gas station he doesn't want to offend the locals with the visible outline of his penis. Or maybe he just finds the "whoosh, whoosh" sounds soothing. Anyway, not everybody is a paradigm of roadie style, like this guy:


Here's some more unsolicited advice:

Rethink Those Handlebars ...

I agree with those who’ve questioned the straight handlebar. I also think this is a mistake. A straight bar gives you only one position for your hands and, as others have pointed out, offers no option to drop down when you’re pedaling into the wind. A turned down handlebar gives a variety of hand positions, and some of the new ones, like the Cinelli Neo Morphe, add flat spots and bumps so you get even more hand positions.

Nicole Hamilton, Redmond, Wash.

I too think the flat bar is an odd choice, but the writer has ridden across the country before, and if he likes his flat bars then he likes his flat bars. (Plus, they do go well with his baggy shorts.) Either way, of all the drop bars to recommend to someone who's on a cross-country tour, would you really choose the overpriced lumpy crabon Cinelli "Neo Morphe?"


I knew these bars looked familiar. At first I thought it was because it looks like the sort of thing that might fall off your baby stroller and that you'd just throw away, since you have no idea how to put it back or in fact where it even came from, and anyway the stroller seems to work just fine without it. But then I realized I had actually written a fake review of this bar back in 2007--it's the one that has labels for the "Power Zone," the "3 Finger Zone," and so forth. (As it happens, Mario Cipollini has similar labeling on his "Little Mario.") Actually, maybe Rivendell should get into the crabon touring bar movement. Their bar could have a "Handlebar Bag Zone," and a "Friction Bar End Shifter Zone," and a "Bell Zone," and even an "Ornery Zone" for when you pass someone whose stem is insufficiently lofty.

Anyway, there's a point at which ergonomics give way to contortions, and with its vast array of superfluous bends and indentations the embodiment of this point is the Cinelli Neo Morphe. If you want to spend a bunch of money to steer your bike with something misshapen you might as well just wrap some sort of ultra-modern desk lamp and bolt it to your stem.

Plus, I'm sure if Mr. Weber was unhappy with his bars he'd change them, just like he did his gearing:

And most notably, after experiencing some of the hills between the Oregon coast and the Columbia River Gorge (O.K., I had to dismount and walk a few times, damn it), I stopped in Hood River, Ore., where the mechanics at Mountain View Cycles replaced the rear cassette on my gearing unit, giving me larger chain rings that allow for easier pedaling uphill.

I doubt larger chain rings would be a good idea for easier pedaling uphill, but then again maybe it doesn't matter if you use Neo Morphs and you put your hands in the "Power Zone."

The greatest piece of advice though was this one:

...Along With Your Bike

I ride a lot. My best road bike cost $14,000 (custom full-carbon). I think you’re underserved by a steel bike. But then, I’m old (75), though I do log 5,000 miles per year cycling, in the U.S. and Europe.

jbailiff, Stevens Point, Wis.

For a brief moment I thought for sure this was written by Larry Olmsted, but then I saw the name. (Also, Larry's a titanium guy.) I agree that Bruce Weber is underserved by a steel bike, and he really should have gone with a crabon racing bike that, while being wildly unsuited ot the task at hand, would nevertheless be a better fit with his Cinelli Neo Morphe bars. Really, it's too bad there wasn't someone around to punch him before he strayed from the Crabon Weave Road.

We're off to see the Fred
The Wonderful Fred of Crabon
Because, because, because, because, because
Because he's laterally stiff and vertically compliant
We're off to see the Fred
The Wonderful Fred of Crabon!

The only thing missing from the article is someone writing in and calling Bruce Weber an idiot for not doing his cross-country tour on a tall bike, like these riders to whom I was alerted by a reader:

Though I do find it ironic that, after going through all the trouble of welding two bikes together, he still needs a foot of spacers and a nearly vertical stem:

Clearly he should have listened to Larry Olmsted and gotten a custom tall Seven.

In any case, maybe when they all finally reach the east coast they can move into this "cycling co-op," of which I was informed by another reader:

Cycling Co-op (Cambridge or Brighton)
Date: 2011-08-12, 5:44PM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

I decided that I wanted to get involved in something different and unique, so the idea came along to get a housing co-op based around cycling. Pretty much I am looking for a group of cycling enthusiasts to share a place with. The idea is to find anything from a 5 bed to a 8 bed averaging around 500-600 a person + utilities. All types welcome, from bmx to fixed to road to touring. All can apply. The biggest thing would be focusing on the community aspect of the house, so in an ideal world we would tool share and cycle together. (if possible, setting up a small shop in the basement for our use.) If you are interested give me an email and we can see whats up.


I'm not sure if he's trying to found a utopian society or a reality TV show, but either way he should just save himself a lot of time and energy and move to Portland, since that's exactly what he's described in his post.

96 comments:

Anonymous said...

tada!

Anonymous said...

Finally.

Anonymous said...

boohyah!

Anonymous said...

Seattle in 3rd place. 8 days without rain......

Anonymous said...

Top Ten-ish

Anonymous said...

top 5 for huggy?

wishiwasmerckx said...

Top Ten!

Anonymous said...

Ladies!

studioe said...

ta da

streepo said...

balls

petrus said...

Top 10+1!

streepo said...

coffee spitting on monitor winner of the day:
As it happens, Mario Cipollini has similar labeling on his "Little Mario.

hillbilly said...

word to ya motha

Anonymous said...

Anybody else want to sign up for some tool sharing? Please include references. I don't share my tool with just anybody these days.

Anonymous said...

(As it happens, Mario Cipollini has similar labeling on his "Little Mario.")

this tidbit nearly made me choke on my sandwich. thanks, snob

Anonymous said...

Hey Ladies!!!!!!!!!!!!

crosspalms said...

I was surprised at the comments on Bruce Weber's piece too. Crabon bike? And the guy who said if you've done this before why are you doing it again? Thanks for caring, folks. Hats off to Weber, I say. And to these guys who just finished a cross-country trip. They may look like hilpsters, but 60 days on the road, mostly camping -- thumbs up!

studioe said...

Unless your Fred Flintstone, you ride a car and drive a bike.

Chris said...

So long Byeksnob!

I too started pickling... lemon zest into limoncello...

I have to find a way to get through winter, after all.

ken e. said...

carbotanium!

Anonymous said...

"I doubt larger chain rings would be a good idea for easier pedaling uphill . . . ."

Oh? Since the advice was about the rear cassette, I think a larger chain ring would help. Perhaps a refresher is in order for our writer. Here's how one person suggested simplifying what is counter-intuitive to some: "Try to visualize gear shifting in terms of where the chain is, rather than by rote memorization of positions of the shift controls. The sprockets that are closer to the middle of the bike (small front, large rear) give the lower gears. The outer sprockets (large front, small rear) give higher gears." (sheldonbrown.com/gears.html)

Good luck. (You might get a personal best in your next race!)

Marcus Welby said...

You might want to see a Doctor about that "spot of bother"

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 1:24

Cassettes don't have chainrings. Nice try, though.

Amy said...

I shifted to an 84x53 chainring/cassette combo for my next epic tour. Should make the bike pedal itself, practically. If it doesn't end up sawing a groove into the pavement.

Anonymous said...

lol at anon 1:24pm. Cast no stones unless you are without sin... And don't correct someone unless you know what you are talking about!

Anonymous said...

"I think you’re underserved by a steel bike".

Ha, ha, ha... idiot...

If I'm not mistaken, Weber is riding a none-too-shabby custom IF Independence frame. A pretty nice touring bike if you've got the scratch to spend...

Anonymous said...

Cambridge = Portland East

"...all the hot girls wear glasses"

Anonymous said...

@Amy, how long does that chain have to be? Recumbent or merely tandem length?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 1:24 . . . am properly humbled. Thank goodness for anonymity.

Slappy said...

riding across the country on an xtra cycle, meh next time i'd take my steel niner and be able to get further off the road, but it was the most pleasurable, peaceful and leisurely bike ride ive ever had. aanywho, it really doesn't matter how you tour, as long as you are comfortable enough you can focus on something other than your discomfort. Full carbon tall xtra cycle in teh works, should be able to take the whole fam. p.s. check out http://www.familyonbikes.org/

Amy said...

@Anon 1:39, don't you know it's not about the inches on your gear, it's about your gear inches? Let's just say it takes four SRAM powerlinks and I carry a chain tool at all times in case I want to change to the granny gear. Oh yeah, I also had to mount three extra jockey wheels on the derailleur.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Good Lord Amy your quads must be as big as tree trunks!

Marcel Da Chump said...

75 year old cyclist on a 14 thousand dollar bike:

way to go, pops!

Ohio said...

You should be scared.

grog said...

No babe.
I'm leaving.

Anonymous said...

My bike has chainrings on all of its cassettes so suck it.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I've got nothing but respect for anyone who willingly chooses to ride a diamond frame across this great country.

Some very wise words by Slappy:

"it really doesn't matter how you tour, as long as you are comfortable enough you can focus on something other than your discomfort."

leroy said...

I had the strangest dream....

I was been pursued by flying monkeys and a voice was cackling about getting me and my little dog too.

Fortunately, we were riding a carbon tandem.

As God is my witness, I'll never eat artisanally pickled fruit roll ups before bedtime again.

Anonymous said...

Boo, someone changed the Wikipedia bib shorts photo today.

I am a comfy and unchaffed engine said...

So thats why they call them "bike shorts", made to be worn when you ride a bike.

Why does every first time tourer have to reinvent the wheel both figuratively and literally?

Burt Reynolds 531 said...

A good friend of mine does those insane unsupported ultra endurance mountain bike races, and does quite well in them. He's on a steel Salsa this year after trying a custom ti bike or two. He and his peers are always getting advice from all manner of Freds who have done as much endurance racing as I have (none). My favorite is a common one, "You guys should be riding cyclocross bikes." I wish those Freds could hear them laugh about the advice they get.

Quite a few of the ultra endurance racers are using aero bars on their flat bars these days. They could give a shit what some schmuck thinks of their setups.

ervgopwr said...

Snob is the Sheldon Brown of snark.

Telling him to reference SB is like telling Cipolini to ask Ron Jeremy for advice. Same sport, but very different styles.

LITL MRIO
BIKE SNOB
RONN JRMY
SHLD BRWN
ERVG OPWR

leroy said...

Anon 1:24 --

Aren't those round doo-hickeys with the pointy spots on the circumference and attached to the foot rest extension thingies in the middle of the bike the chain rings?

Or am I confusing them with onion rings?

Marcel Da Chump said...

Wildcat Rock Machine Pickels will
go nicely with a tongue sandwich.

Texafornia said...

All of the cyclists in that house would get along fine, since they are all cyclists, except the ones that think they are better than the others, which is all of them, since they are all cyclists.

crosspalms said...

Can I get chainring tones for my iPhone if I get an iPhone? I'm thinking a 48, cause when I had a 53 I could only hear it if the wind was behind me.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Trek Lepperd said...

Is it really that hard to figure out that Mr. Weber mistakenly referred to the sprockets (they really are not "cogs") on the cassette as chainrings? It's a common error. His comment makes perfect sense in that context. Swapping the cassette for a more appropriate one is often the easiest and cheapest way to get gearing sorted out.

I live in the Rockies, and it's comical to watch the Freds grunting uphill in their 39:26 or whatever lowest gear. God forbid the wannabees be seen using a triple, or even a mountain cassette in the mountains. Maybe they hope to one day obtain some custom titanium knees.

studioe said...

@ Anon 2:05
nuh uh

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cycling_Bibshorts.jpg

and even funnier


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_talk:Cycling_Bibshorts.jpg

Anonymous said...

At one time, I too threw away something from my kids stroller that looked like that handlebar.

spoken like a true flummuxed parent.

Friendo said...

BUZZ KILL
BANG ALOR
3FNG RZON
ONRY ZONE

henry gibson said...

a poem

i went to the pit
to wit thus
to take a shit
i guess thats it

I am a confused engine said...

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2011/08/12/2011-08-12_letter_of_the_law.html

Not one of you doofuses could find the time to give a pro-bike comment. No wonder they are dying to ride right over us.

leroy said...

I don't know about other folks, but in the mountains, it doesn't matter what cassette I have. The song remains the same.

Anonymous said...

five five

bikesgonewild said...

...just submitted my altered friday quiz score to that address in india...

...was informed my pound of hashish would arrive by next wednesday via express from pakistan......

...i informed them i preferred the afghanie...

...stick THAT in your pipe & smoke it...

Anonymous said...

haha I'm friends with one the tall bike touring dudes. I scratched my head when he told me his plan, but hey more power to him.

JB said...

BGW: So that's what comes in those Just Coffee packages.

Douche' Bigelow said...

Do ASSos bibs come equipped with a velcro rear entrance convience flap or is that feature considered an add-on seperate fee option?

Enquiring sphincters want to know!

JB said...

anon @ 4:29pm:
What's "hey more" power? He's not eating hay is he? Oats are the bee's knees in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Scary here in Minnesota, especially if one sees the latest cover of Newsweek.

bikesgonewild said...

..@jb...shhh!!!...

...just goes to show that not everybody is in the telephone service bizness at gunga din.com...

...still got some 'old schoolers' over there...

kfg said...

It isn't the flatness, it's the straightness. Dude needs to try some porteurs/bullhorns.

All the flat straight you need for the road, plus alternative positions.

Anonymous said...

Does the communal tool sharing include "Little Mario"?

Meatrack said...

The tallbike in the background was built by a representative of the inimitable Firehouse Bicycles in Philadelphia. It is perhaps the most reasonable tallbike ever constructed featuring a full 3x7 drivetrain. The bottom donor bike stayed fully functional, allowing the top bike to be removed should this ill advised experiment in elevated touring fail. Also, the ride is being done for charity (and babe points, Natch.)

tada! said...

"Oh yeah, I also had to mount three extra jockey wheels on the derailleur."

Hardly epic if it's not fixed. And couldn't you streamline it and just run one 42 tooth pully/chainring/thingy?

My only advice would be to install a Zipp Super-9 Disc as a pie plate to generate some "forward lift". Something tells me you're going to need all the help you can get.

Charlie Didrickson said...

Tall bikes are so 2002. I'ma build a Long Bike. I'ma make it outa hickory sticks. I'ma ride it cross county and git me some long shorts for long biking.

So long...

Hungry Panda said...

Did somebody say a tall bike made out of bamboo?

I'll take three.

Martin W said...

@Trek Lepperd:

Is it really that hard to figure out that Mr. Weber mistakenly referred to the sprockets (they really are not "cogs") on the cassette as chainrings?

Yes, only a fool would be picky over which of several common names for a thing to use. Excuse me while I change my cogs.

Somewhere in the Desert said...

Re: Wiki Bib Short Pic Change
I'm just proud to be here to see Our Snob effect major Wikipedia Change! What's Next, Oh Great One?

running_on_ice said...

As a day trading cyclist, I take offense to being lumped in with Senor Buzzkill. I mean we just live and let live, he destroyed a crop that helps sick people. Not cool.

doof said...

chainrings are those things that are really painful to accidentally punch, right?

and it's true, most portlanders have some sort of bikeshop in the basement/garage/livingroom

doof said...

chainrings are those things that are really painful to accidentally punch, right?

and it's true, most portlanders have some sort of bikeshop in the basement/garage/livingroom

Mister Grammar Person said...

Cog, used to describe a sprocket, is a bastardization that makes things less clear than they were before. Chainring, and the rather more Britisher chainwheel are well established and never were misnomers. So there.

Anonymous said...

Meatrack,

Also, the ride is being done for charity (and babe points, Natch.)

If you passed out meth while riding your tall bike across the country tranny meth freaks would still complain about having been seen near the weirdo on the giant bike.

'Babe points' is so richly deserving of scorn I believe Wildcat Rock Machine should feature your post very, very soon.

Anonymous said...

Larry Olmstead - please don't let up on this complete wanker. I took a look at his gag-inducing column in forbes. You've been way too kind to him.

Hugh Hefner said...

Babe Points?

You must have missed the comments last week that ranks cyclists up there with Star Wars figure collectors on the sex-o-rama scale.

BOBA FETT
TALL BIKE

Free The Kinder Eggs! said...

Kinder gardeners won't call the cops.

But kindergartners might tell their parents about the sticky stinky tall plants.

Snobby, you better catch up with your spelling as you'll be researching and applying to the best private pre-schools and kindergartens within a couple years, preferably sooner if you want to find who to bribe and suck up to for better placement.

JDH said...

Snobby, we middle states cyclers only appear scarey! We won't hurt your sphincter, or make you take meth, or wear leather,(unless you want to).We do have high humidity, so wear bike shorts under your baggies!

Meatrack said...

Anon 6:24

Sorry bro, I thought everyone knew any charity event was at least 50 percent pickup line fodder. I know when I'm riding my Mongoose Rockadile in the aerobar extensions and staring down at my slick 26 inch tires during a charity ride Its all I can do to keep myself from pulling off at every cafe the ride passes to let those crunchy organic honeys just how much I care about MS. Whatever that stands for.

Anonymous said...

what does "tool share" mean?

Uncle Jed said...

One o' these days, I'm gonna hafta have a looooonnngg talk with that boy.

skink said...

Cyclist co-op ? Ahh, yes. Tool sharing. Hey! Where's my crank extracter? Betty's using it.

Anonymous said...

Panties!
500 miles of
Panties!

Anonymous said...

"it looks like the sort of thing that might fall off your baby stroller and that you'd just throw away, since you have no idea how to put it back or in fact where it even came from, and anyway the stroller seems to work just fine without it."

Oh boy did I Clap like a happy seal. Please don't club me with your vehicle,I'm just a playful seal.

Tosser McSplinters said...

Speaking from experience I can state with complete authority that Yes ... David Byrne has a bamboo sphincter.

Anonymous said...

@meatrack yo whatup kareem?????

Anonymous said...

Cassettes are so passé.

My bike's had a minidisc fitted.

hey nonny mouse

GhostOfTyrone said...

Meatrack, Brah,

Don' listen to Anon or Hef - I can totally see you racking up major babe points on a charity ride.

Here's the secret - you've got to display your guns like a Dutch sex worker, so go Full Metal Assos (just bib shorts), or Full Mario (topless, noticeable bulge).

Cha-ching!

Meatrack said...

I found equal success using my wide selection of sleeveless jerseys, cause I live every day like a triathlon. Except I call them gettin' some athalons. You know, cause I don't even have to try bro. I'm always gettin' some ath. Whatever that stands for.

Anonymous said...

Never mind the handlebars, but 8000 $ for this bicycle is a bit over the top. He could've got the same for at least 6000 $ less if he went for a decent bike off the rack with similar specs and a few personal adjustments. Perhaps Bruce Weber is a bikesnob too.

db said...

Bannerghatta-davida, bhabhi...

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lot of bikes are excellent.. Buying used is a great way to hold value when it comes to purchasing a trailer or caravan.
Bikes Sale

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Fixie Bikes said...

"yes we cannabis" lol

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