Monday, November 14, 2011

Location Location Location: Looking for a Softer Ride

A few days or weeks or years ago or whatever it was, I mentioned an article about how young people no longer move to New York City and instead move to adorable pocket-sized theme cities like Austin and Portland. This makes sense. Given that the average American now graduates from college with something like $500,000 in student loans, why add to all that stress by moving to a "real" city when instead you can live someplace where the most difficult decision you need to face is which craft ale to order or whether you should have the burrito or the fish tacos?

Anyway, after reading the aforementioned article I figured I just needed to come to terms with the fact that New York is officially "over"--until this past Friday, when I came across another article saying that more people are moving to New York than are moving away from it:


I was confused by this until I realized that the people they're talking about aren't the young people, they're just, well, people, like Dr. Ira Leviton:

“I was lucky enough to be born in New York City,” said Dr. Ira Leviton, 52, who lives on the Upper West Side, “and I’ve stayed because it’s the most fascinating place in the world, the easiest to get around thanks to its public transportation, and there’s more to do — and more things to do — than any place else.”

So basically, what's happening is that young people aren't moving here, but older professionals who have already "succeeded" in more boring places are. Plus, the older professionals who were here already aren't taking their money and moving someplace nicer. Instead, they're staying put. This would indicate that the city is entering into a period of "social calcification," which is a polite way of saying it's getting "old and boring." I mean, I'm sure Dr. Ira Leviton is a lovely person and a top-notch ear, nose, and throat man or whatever his specialty is, but at the same time a city full of Dr. Ira Levitons does not exactly make for a terribly dynamic city. What it does make for is a city full of banks and expensive restaurants and luxury housing. That's pretty much what most of Manhattan is at this point, and Brooklyn is rapidly following.

Of course, I don't exclude myself from the "social calcification" process, and I recognize that I'm very much a "calcifier" in that I contribute absolutely nothing to the cultural fabric of this great metropolis. At least Dr. Ira Leviton savors the city and finds it fascinating. I find it irritating and spend all my free time either riding my bike away from it or just watching TV. Sure, I could leave, but I'm not even creative enough to figure out where to go and how to reinvent myself, which basically just makes me an urban yokel. Even the purveyor of artisanal mayonnaise contributes something to the cultural fabric, even if that something mostly just amounts to some overpriced schmutz.

Of course, the other problem with "social calcification" is that, if the city loses its youthful dynamism, what does that mean for cycling as transportation? In many ways the shift towards a bicycle infrastructure was powered by all those young "transplants," so without them we could become a town full of John Cassidys and dentists riding their Serottas in circles around Central Park. In other words, New York City "bike culture" will be reduced to riders of crabon bikes and the people who steal from them--as in this recent news story in which a crabon thief was trailed and filmed by a concerned citizen:

Apparently the concerned citizen knew the bike was stolen because it had no pedals and the price tags were still on it, but to me it was the drive-side "portage" that was the real giveaway:



Did you know that in Portland you can receive a summons for "portaging" or otherwise transporting your bicycle from the drive side? Well, it's true. In any case, the drive-side "portage" is a clear indication that the person knows very little about the proper operation of a bicycle, so it's logical from this to conclude that he's either a thief or a triathlete. And in either case, the course of action is the same: separate the suspected thief or triathlete from the bicycle immediately.

So the concerned citizen called the police, who did just that, and in the process managed to clip a cyclist with the car mirror:

I got a ride in an unmarked car to the taqueria where the bike was sold. On the drive over, we came within inches of hitting another car, and actually did hit a bicyclist with the car mirror. The bicyclist didn’t fall off or get hurt, so we left her swearing and making faces at us as we drove off.

I suppose it's inappropriate for the police to do something unequivocally good for the cycling community such as recovering a stolen bicycle. Therefore in this case they made sure to at least hurt somebody during the recovery process, and it's oddly comforting to see that they take such great pains to keep the karmic balance intact.

Speaking of triathletes, a reader has forwarded me a veritable treasure trove ("veritable treasure trove" is pretentious for "shitload") of "Softride porn:"

So where's the saddle? Well, thanks to the plush crabon suspension properties of the Softride bar you don't need a saddle. Anyway, the above image is just one that accompanies this ad on Craigslist:

I acquired this bike some time ago and find it sitting in my closet, taking up space, and collecting dust.
I called Softride customer service and spoke with some old sales reps that could give me some information on the the Softride bicycles, since they ended production in 2001. They could not give me much information on this specific model. It is definately the classic power v carbon frame, but there were so few of the "Ironman" models made that they had no clue about it. He recommended I hang it on a wall as it is extremely rare.
I have inspected the bike for carbon damage and it appears to be completely fine. I have posted about 50 pictures of the bike, several of which show close ups of the small paint defects.

This bike needs pedals and a seat in order to be ridden, the tires/tubes and brake pads are like new.

Size: Adjustable The seat can be moved up, down, forwards, backwards, and can be tilted to achieve a wide range of positions. This bike would accommodate a wide height range of riders.

Componentry:
- Shimano 600 Group
--Derraileurs
-- Shifters
-- Hubs
-- Headset
-- Crank
-- Bottom Bracket
-- Brakes
-- Levers
Scott aero bars (one of the first models)
Syntace TT/Tri base bar (one of the first models)
3TTT Stem
Mavic CXP 21 rims

Bike condition is 9/10, if not better.

As a New Yorker, I was amazed that some people's closets are so big that they can fit entire Softrides in them. I'd also agree that the seller should hang this bike on a wall--not because it's "extremely rare," but because this bike is the rolling equivalent of a pair of clown shoes, and anything that keeps somebody from riding it is probably a good idea. That is one salacious "beam shot" though:

Revealing "beam shots" are to Softrides as gratuitous chainline shots are to singlespeeds and "fixies."

But while you may or may not find Softride "beam shots" exciting, pretty much everybody gets excited about Jens Voigt. Yes, people love pro cycling's affable Germanic masochist, and Freds practically wet their chamoises with every one of his pain-themed utterances. Oddly, though, while Voigt has no problem doling out punishment on the bike, his cat is apparently not allowed to kill mice:

That's just bizarre. Killing a mouse is the only thing of value a cat will ever do for you. Moreover, it's also a totally "sustainable" method of pest control. Saving a mouse from a cat is a useless act disguised as charity--sort of like donating money to junior development when you renew your USA Cycling license.

Of course, we all have our peculiarities. I get touchy about cats and mice, while others get touchy about sub-par falafel:

I think you could probably get shot fairly easily in the Middle East even without the falafel.

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

shazam

SmugInPdx said...

First!

JB said...

weee!

Name said...

Top!!!

Nogocyclist said...

Last?

Jasper said...

Early doors -ish

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

No Comment.

Anonymous said...

Top tennnnnnn!

Anonymous said...

ten?
frye

Anonymous said...

falafel

Anonymous said...

FALA
FEL

Quilled and Lugged said...

From Jens Voigt to falafel in one easy swoop - now that's a soft ride.
But seriously, how can you suddenly find a bike sitting in your closet?

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah!

and all the people said "a-meh"!

Marcel Da Chump said...

falafel off my bike

Esteemed Commentor DaddoOne said...

Softride hasn't produced a bike in 10 years but they have customer service people waiting for your call?

What wha? Wha?

streepo said...

I really falafel about the sorry state of falafel in Canada's skidmarked underwear.

Buffalo Bill said...

How can you tell a thief from a triathlete? Thieves don't usually wear mankinis.

Lanterne rouge?

The Icycle Thief said...

Since that "Ironman" bike does not have pedals, should we assume it is stolen?

Anonymous said...

falafel balls.

Anonymous Coward said...

Sneakin in the top twenty

Anonymous said...

You made me LOL with this one: "...the person knows very little about the proper operation of a bicycle, so it's logical from this to conclude that he's either a thief or a triathlete"

Anonymous said...

asslap ejector seat...what an oddesy

midpack

mr.pissta

Anonymous said...

I have 2 bikes in my closet, I must be some kind successful person

Kenny said...

TURKEY REUBENS 4 LYFE!!

Paul Bowen said...

People in Yemen don't like The Flintstones but people in Abu Dhabi do.

Buy-cycle said...

'Bike condition is 9/10, if not better'... 10 then?
Top 30?

Grump said...

Yes, a Softride bike scores an 8 on the "clown scale", but you can't beat a Trek Y-Foil, for a "perfect 10".

These Portlands Are Racist said...

Though he's on the 'news' side, Sam Roberts of Times fealty is to Big Real Estate.

Remember when the fucking Times was hyping Bushwick every six months, as if it wasn't then-- and remains-- overwhelmingly Latino, no matter how many "fixies" get carried into "awesome" "loft" "spaces."

But if the kids are buying that bullshit less, leave it to Sam Roberts to call in the coots.

crosspalms said...

@paul bowen
+1

xyxax said...

Speaking of:

This weekend's Prospect park duathlon was a good example of what happens when poor organization meets poor bike handling skills.

On the upside, only one person left in an ambulance.

CommieCanuck said...

Dear Jens Voigt,

We do not give a fuck about your cat.

Sincerely,

the twitterati.

Anonymous said...

@ PaulBowen
I almost skipped the comments today. If I had done so I wouldn't have floor dust all over myself from rolling there.
Let me know when you post again!

Anonymous said...

I saw a bicycle locked up outside the library with a U-lock for a seat. It was duct taped to the top of the seat tube, with the lock cyclander and the "seat".

IF YOU CAN'T DUCT IT FUCK IT

Anonymous said...

In NYC, success is defined by ambition, degrees, titles, and above all $$$$.

Smaller cities like Austin, PDX,etc etc, no one gives a shit about that material shit. It's all about slaying bitches, pounding PBRs and doing sweet wheelies.

EVIL KIWI said...

Jens Voigt, the Shakespeare In The Park of the peloton.

mikeweb said...

When that guy eventually pleas down to petty larceny with a punishment of probation plus time served, can I get him to steal me a one of these for about $100?

cyclotourist said...

SOFT RIDE

BEAM SHOT

CommieCanuck said...

Don't buy that Softride, it clearly has Peyronie's Disease.

BENT BEAM

Anonymous said...

Dear Jens Voigt,

Would you mind if I fucked about your cat.

Kenny Banya said...

MAUS FREI

wishiwasmerckx said...

Softride? Out of the closet? The jokes just write themselves...

Q:What is the hardest part of being a triathlete?

A:Telling your parents that you are gay.

Anonymous said...

Steve Tilford made from-scratch pumpkin pie and tapioca pudding this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Commie Canuck --

BENT DICK

I tell ya, it's no fun.

grog said...

I've checked my closet twelve dozen times. Still no bike. Guess I better get a new closet.

Bob Kidd said...

'social calcification' perfect.

mikeweb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikeweb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikeweb said...

My ex-girlfriend's cat used to catch mice that I would also get away from it. Then I would throw the mice out her 6th story window.

Anonymous said...

49th!

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

Our champeen mouse catcher died about 8 months ago at a fairly advanced (for a cat) age. She hadn't been interested in mousing for at least 7 or 8 years, but the mice seemed to know she was there. Now they seem to know she's gone, and I have to put traps all around.

g-roc said...

Jens doesn't let his cat kill mice because he likes to save them for his army. They get quite jealous of the cat.

No decision required, fish taco, every time.

Anonymous said...

I am a non traditionalist as my gal friend used to ride the captain seat of the standard tandem. We call that vessel 'doggie-style'.
Now that we have moved onto a tandem recumbent she insists on the captain role. Should we name this vessel 'reverse cowgirl'?

Recumbent Lord

Anonymous said...

screw the soft ride
i want a hard sloppy ride

Anonymous said...

Softride collecting dust in the closet?
What in the wide wide world of sports are you doing in that closet?

ant1 said...

ant1st!

ant1 said...

snobby - have you used the term artis-anal yet?

gsport george said...

"the mouse and i carried her into freedom..."

Such a beautiful image, man and mouse working in harmony to free a cat from its oppressive owner... but it does beg the questions;
1. Really, how much was the mouse actually contributing to the portaging of the cat?
2. Wasn't Jens both the liberator AND the captor in this scenario?

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!

Ben Levy said...

"I think you could probably get shot fairly easily in the Middle East even without the falafel."

So true

Earl said...

60th, BITHCHES!!!!

Anonymous said...

Talking about social calcification gives me a boner.

Anonymous said...

I tried a soft ride back in the day and it totally ruined my ass. The carbon shaft is hard smooth and sexy until it instantaintously blows up and makes you wish that you picked up that hot tranny that was asking for a clean pillow and a milk bath.
....buyer beware

Anonymous said...

I tried a soft ride back in the day and it totally ruined my ass. The carbon shaft is hard smooth and sexy until it instantaintously blows up and makes you wish that you picked up that hot tranny that was asking for a clean pillow and a milk bath.
....buyer beware

Anonymous said...

to anon 9:15

I tried to ride your soft back in the day and it totally ruined my thought of ass. The shaft back tat is hardly smooth and sexy and once I came on your back I felt like I picked up that hot tranny that was asking for a clean pillow and a milk bath.
....baller and nair

rEmiXed

leroy said...

My dog agrees that cats do little of value to earn their keep.

I think he's still miffed about the poor paceline skills of the feline racing team he organized.

It was just like trying to herd cats.

stefanoSTRONG said...

i'm a triatlhete but that bike really sucks...no wait, really fucking sucks!

greetings from Rome!

I am a snarky engine said...

The sartorliast needs your help:

"I love going out on my bike shooting. Over the last year I’ve spent more and more time in every city (Milan, Paris, New York, Florence…) using one to get around.

Unfortunately, spending 4-5 hours on a bike most days is beginning to mess up my shoulders. I need to find a new bike on which I’m able to sit more upright to take the stress off my shoulders. What do you guys suggest?"

This is your chance to tell him what you think about bikes.

Anonymous said...

falafel balls are all over the middle east.

Dave said...

How can anyone forget about the low quality tomatoes?

Anonymous said...

Drive-side portage - Kevin Pauwels
http://img.vandaag.be/tmp/450/350/r/articles/201011201600-1_kevin-pauwels-triomfeert-in-hasselt.jpg

cabbie said...

The uberhood and Hot Pants

aabner58 said...

Certain parts of a cruiser will rust if left out in wet conditions, especially the chain, and if the chain rusts you cruiser will not ride as smooth as it should.
kids bikes

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OMR said...

Lovely shoes ! It's perfect for the summer

http://www.xtraorbit.com/1366.html

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Fixie Bikes said...

This is an unfortunate shift, the city is too expensive for you people to move here, and it gets more expensive because of all the older professionals moving in which causes more young people to move out. This really reflects the general mood of the economy in our nation; but of old folks having loads of dough and the young'uns having none of it.