Monday, October 8, 2012

Barnstorming: Separating the Freds from the Boys

Happy Columbus Day!  On this very day in history, four score and 1492 years ago, Christopher Columbus launched a successful "Kicking Starter" campaign to find the Pacific Northwest Passage to Portland, OR.  Along the way he met various indigenous peoples, took their land and resources from them at blunderbusspoint, and infected them with smallpox by way of compensation.  Some people still get the day off from work or school on Columbus Day, even though the holiday is increasingly considered to be "politically incorrect."  I, however, am "working"--not because I think the holiday is politically incorrect, but rather because I totally forgot about it until midway through my fourth cup of coffee this morning, by which point I was far too jittery to go back to bed.

In any case, while I'm up, UP, UP!!!, I might as well share with you my experiences at yesterday's Bicycling Fall Classic, which was front page sporting news in this morning's The Morning Call, the Lehigh Valley's newspaper of record:


On a Sunday morning that portended (but, happily, never really delivered) rain, I rolled out with Ted King of Liquigas-Cannondale and a diverse assortment of jovial Freds for the 90-mile "Gran Fondo" route.  On my wrist was a timing chip that would measure my ascents on various uphill sections of the course, and I would have discreetly fastened it to Ted King's bike if I hadn't arrived at the starting line about four seconds before the start of the ride.  I certainly had little interest in learning my own time, as I'm an abysmal climber and all-around poor cyclist, and the Power Meter In My Mind tells me everything I need to know:



Apart from the above image, which pulses meditatively in my inner eye at all times, I ride with an uncluttered cockpit and completely data-free.  This is because I feel about numbers the same way Frank Costanza does about tinsel.  I also generally don't take photographs while engaged in the act of purely recreational bicycle cycling, because unlike many of my fellow Freds I actually ride bikes for fun, and I find that taking pictures takes me "out of the moment."  (Plus, I'm not very good at the biking, so there's a better-than-average chance that I'll fall down and take a bunch of my Fellow freds with me, causing them to like me even less than they already do.) 

Having partooken in one of those Rapha Gentlemen's Thingies in this very hilly region two years ago I knew the day would be difficult for me.  Sure, that ride was like 30% longer, but there's at least 30% more of me now then there was two years ago, plus underneath all that extra me I'm a good 20% weaker and have done 99% less racing.  There are also a lot of hills, and I don't go up hills very well in any condition, though I do go down them a lot faster now due to my enhanced corpulence.  I suppose this makes up for the decreased fitness somewhat, but I'd need someone like Allen Lim to tell me exactly how much, and unfortunately there's no way I could listen to someone like Allen Lim talk for more than 20 seconds without falling asleep.

Still, I'm pleased to report that I did stay with the Ted King group though the first timed climb, though I'm not sure my time was recorded since you're supposed to roll over some timing trigger thingy which is marked by DayGlo cones.  However, as an urban cyclist I just assumed the cones indicated some kind of road hazard and so I steered well clear of them.  Afterwards, things settled down for a bit, and I was doing okay, but then the pace went from "conversational" to "chatty" and I began to find myself in distress.  Then the Ted King group attacked me by failing to match my vicious deceleration, and I was all alone by the midpoint of the ride, where I stopped briefly to take on fuel (actual gasoline, it's an old Eastern Bloc trick, I hear Vino still drinks it), and also took this picture:


I'm sure the pagoda standing nobly in the etherial mist has some kind of story, but I was more interested in the porta-potty:


I'm something of a porta-potty business name enthusiast, and my favorite are the ones that are puns ("Johnny-On-The-Spot" and "Call-A-Head" are local enterprises that spring immediately to mind).  This one was pretty good too though, and it was at that moment I resolved to start a porta-potty rental business that offers porta-potties shaped like pagodas for a more contemplative voiding experience:


I'm still working on the name, but it would probably be something like "Pa-GO-da" or "Bootydharma."  

Oh, also, there was a view from where the pagoda was:


I viewed it, I photographed it, and I continued on--mostly alone.  Then I started to sense a softness in my rear tire, though I did not stop to inspect it, for I have often stopped to inspect a softening tire only to find that it is in fact fully inflated and I feel like I'm riding on pudding because I'm getting tired and I suck.  So I kept going, and then another group caught me, and I rode with them for awhile, but the tire kept getting undeniably softer, and then the rim started to bottom out occasionally.  Eventually it reached the point where descending on it was getting hazardous, and as determined as I was to wheelsuck off this group for as long as possible, I finally faced the fact that I would have to stop and fix it:


Naturally the object that had penetrated my tire was a tiny little piece of wire that barely protruded through the casing and must have been worrying at the tube for many miles.  It was also nearly impossible to remove without tweezers.  As I struggled with it I could hear the sound of gunshots from what turned out to be a nearby rifle range, and when I looked around all I saw was this:


And this:


At one point a man in a pickup truck stopped to ask me if I needed any help.  I briefly considered asking him if he had any tweezers, but then it occurred to me that asking a guy in a hunting hat for tweezers while dressed in form-fitting Lycra might not be a good idea in rural Pennsylvania.  Finally, I succeeded in extracting the stupid shitty little piece of metal from the tire with the tip of my roof rack key, and on I went:


After that I spent the last hour and a half of the ride riding in a leisurely fashion (my "leisurely" is most people's "lethargic") and enjoying the scenery, which really is beautiful, though by the end of the ride I was pretty tired and decided that if I saw another quaint farm or lovely stone house I was going to puke.  There were also lots of horses and buggies being driven by Amish or Mennonites or whatever they are. (I like to think of them as Hassidim with better equestrian skills.)  Finally, I reached the velodrome, turned in my timing chip, and helped myself to food and beer.  I also barely managed to restrain myself from pilfering from the garbage, which contained at least $150 in tires:


An enterprising cyclist could probably keep a bicycle rolling for free indefinitely just picking through the trash at Gran Fondos.  (Fredganism is the new Freeganism, and so forth.)

Penultimately, it's been a little over a year since I took delivery of my Ritte Von Finkelstein drop bar-style bicycle, and I only grow more pleased with it as time goes on:


Though I totally would have won the ride if I had been on an all-crabon bicycle with electronical shifting.

Lastly, I have a strict policy about not including photos of myself on this blog, though policies were meant to be disregarded occasionally, and this inspirational message as rendered by "BKJimmy" happens one of those occasions:


I may suck at life, and at riding bicycles, but I very much enjoyed the ride, and I thank the good people at Bicycling for inviting me.  It's a great route and it's very well organized, and I recommend it highly, especially if you're way into climbing and barns.  Best of all, you'll get to use all those elementary skills you've read about in Bicycling over the years, including: how to prepare for that big ride; how to fix a flat; and, most importantly, how to overtake a horse and buggy.

Happy Columbus Day,


--Wildcat Rock Machine

117 comments:

Anonymous said...

podium

Anonymous said...

Wheeeeeeeeee!!!!

singlespeedwaster said...

Podium - or die trying!

McFly said...

Columbus!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Early post.

McFly said...

Euro-Trash

wishiwasmerckx said...

Top ten.

Anonymous said...

I once seen a guy take his portapooper nooner witha glossy girlhood porn mag anda bottle of rum.

GOOD LIFE

Anonymous said...

topten ?

Anonymous said...

Top 10!

JB said...

Top 11?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice fondo report. Glad to hear the Finklestein is serving you well.

Scranus.

Anonymous said...

Uff-da!

McFly said...

You are reminiscent of that baby's head on the Teletubbies with your big cranium in the sky. Just when I thought it could not any creepier.

streepo said...

Seems I've sailed into the top twenty. I'll start exploring for some native peoples to infect with diseases.

babble on said...

Happy holiday-ish?
I have your face pulsing in my inner eye telling me I suck, but I know for a fact that I blow.

Oh! I know! You can call your new business 'king of thrones...'

Anonymous said...

PORT APOT

Anonymous said...

Did you see any hex barns? If so, that may explain the flat.

I hear shoo-fly pie is good recovery food.

Easton Heights Blogger said...

glad to see you enjoyed yourself out here in the wilds of PA. if I wasn't so fat slow and old I would have done that ride too.

Muur_de_Underpants said...

Good stuff there snobby.

You are riding a Russ Denny. He does excellent work given he's stayed in business since before your teenage years hustling in Times Square.

Those Ritte duudes? It's waayyyy better than buying Serotta because they don't get their hands dirty, you know, making stuff.

Illustrator skillz and Dutch references is the new killing it in Canada's nether region.

ken e. said...

celebrating tubing, turkeys and festivus! who doesn't love scenic rides?

Marcel Da Chump said...

No classic fred falls in the pictures.

Dr. SigmuNd FriEd said...

Be sure to attend my illuminating lecture 'Can you dmoke to much sope'

uuuhh!!!! ...

what?!

dR. sIGMUND fRIED said...

Oh yeah! It's at this big hall with a stage ...

Sometime next Sunday ...

or Monday ...

crosspalms said...

Kahlil Gibran's lawyers say they will be in touch with you about that face-in-the-sky image.

Rollie said...

Big LOLs on the first port-a-potty/pagoda shot for some reason.

J. E coli Spicoli said...

Grasshoppers

The video meaning of life ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-7pgeD__qU

Anonymous said...

That's gots to be the longest, most drawn out excuse I have evar read in my so-called life.

Anonymous said...

The Pennsylvania countryside is a great place to ride, Snobby. I agree about the "kill myself if I see about barn" thing though. You'd think they'd put a crack den or house fire out there to vary the scenery a bit.

cycle

Anonymous said...

The post makes me want to escape my urban environs and go on a large bike ride.


I was trying to check out what line of cranks/shifters you have.

Sarah said...

Nice writeup Wildcat. I myself carry tweezers in my flat kit, otherwise i would have to give up removing that goddamn bit of wire and throw the tire in the trash.

Anonymous said...

BTW - the fifth annual tweed ride is in Philly on November 17th. I know you'll want to come and show your knickers.

cycle

sfb said...

Best port-o-pot name by far = Drop Zone.

mikeweb said...

Hasidim with better equestrian skillz. Thou art droll!

I think 'The Rest Ring' would be a suitably presidential name for you porta-john business.

I also noticed on the Strafing site that Ted King finished the ride in about 4 and a half hours at an average speed of 20MPH. Shame he couldn't match your thigh shattering lethargy.

leroy said...

"My dog wants to potty all the time, potty all the time."

He hates when I sing that.

He says he's going to report me to the Ministry of Sound.

JB said...

31 comments. Who had the over?

Paul Bowen said...

I rode Dulwich Paragon's Ride of the Falling Leaves yesterday. Love ly day, even if my time was too humiliating to share.

Love Pa-GO-da and all these other names for portaloo companies!

Anonymous said...

"Fredchelon"

Anonymous said...

the Ritte is a handsome ride. I'm surprised something was able to penetrate the gatorskins. I have those on my commuter and they have proven nearly bulletproof.

How about "Lord of the Ring Worms" for your porta potty company.

Anonymous said...

Ritte Rode

db said...

RE: Port-a-potty bidness:

Little Deuce Coop

Cipo said...

eating pussy

Anonymous said...

Noice poist!

So many good words today - it were like a Where's Waldo for good words!

And some technical phraseology included too! Awesomeness.

And that bike... You are truly a Fred, Snob!

But there's one thing I am ataloss understanding. Did you change that tube or just pull out the wire and roll on? You got magic self healing tubes?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:48

Gatorskins have a thick tread but their sidewalls are thin and fragile. I imagine this is to save a bit of weight.
I've had the sidewalls go a few times. Frustrating...

Anonymous said...

Columbus day?
Sorry Italians, Columbus has been superseded by Hernán Cortés.

McFly said...

2:17,
Gatorskins are reptilian compared to the Scwalbe Durano's sidewalls. Which are PAPER thin but super-supple. All tires that have air in them will go flat. It's science.

McFly said...

Also, you can use your roach-clip to get those wires out. Pot-Holder was already taken.

Anonymous said...

Snob! Was that your real & genuine picture?! Now, who is all "angelic" and "saintly?!" Did you actually repair your tube on the ride? You don't carry an extra tube in that tiny/whimpy seat bag? What is the polite limit for questions on a blog comment?

Anonymous said...

Ha! I'm with anon@12:49, but was wondering what kind of brakes you're running, and why no computer...

leroy said...

So that's why my dog has a roach clip in his seat bag.

Martain Anus said...

octaspondee n. Eight metrical feets consisting of sixteen long or stressed syllables.

thegock said...

BCHN WHIP

g-roc said...

Never really understood why Canadian Thanksgiving was earlier than yours, but I guess we're thankful for Columbus discovering the Northwest Passage.

Still waiting for the BSNYC power meter to show up on Kickstarter. Want.

Dave Gahan said...

Depeche Commode

Frozen Walt Disney said...

Unzip-ah-Dee Doo-Doo

Liam Neeson said...

Taking a 2

babble on said...

This just in... on good authority... I suck AND I blow!

Guess I'm just gifted. :)

Anonymous said...

Glory-Hole a-go-go?



balls™

streepo said...

re:potta-porty

Bookmobile

crosspalms said...

For Leroy's dog: Potty Animal

Dooth said...

Potty at the fondo!

Frank not Fred said...

My favourite porta-potty company name is Honey Bucket. It tricks you into thinking that it'll be a pleasant experience. But it isn't.

Leif Ericson said...

Claiming tomorrow's podium right now...

McFly said...

I did a Piccolo Fondo (we had to cut it short because a "Bloody Sheila" with us was really suffering on the hills, where is Babble when you need her?) this weekend and they had the nicest Porta-Potties I have even seen.

These were especially cool because they had these real neato 'lil hand sinks over on the left so you could wash up when you were done with the business. There was no faucet. Which was odd. It did not stop me, though.

leroy said...

Paul Bowen --

I was in Dulwich a couple of years ago, but forgot to bring my bike. Too bad, it looked like a good place to ride.

Visited friends and Dulwich College. Had to tell my dog he shouldn't bother applying. Admissions committee said something about canines of a certain age and their general inability to learn new tricks.

I think they were just being polite and couldn't picture him in the school uniform.

crosspalms said...

And here's a slogan: "Need a potty? Urine luck!"

echuck said...

You should get yourself a pair of King Cage's for your Ritte to keep that Specialized water bottle nice and clean...

PORT POTT

STNK BOMB

mikeweb said...

My favorite slogan has always been "Your number 2 is our number 1"

Followed by "Your number 2 is our bread and butter".

BikeSnobNYC said...

Echuck,

That's what's on there. Clean on the inside is all that matters.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

"potty mouth" septic inc.

crosspalms said...

mikeweb,
There's a disposal company in New Orleans whose slogan is "Our business stinks but it's picking up."

Anonymous said...

I always carry a pair of "Uncle Bill's Silver Tweezers" in my seat bag: http://www.slivergripper.com/

I think the Beatles even sang about these things.

wishiwasmerckx said...

A Las Vegas plumbing company's trucks say "A flush beats a full house"

Jimboner said...

Brown Sabbath

Anonymous said...

I rode the fall classic route friday morning and totally cat sixed some amish guy on a recumbent

Anonymous said...

Hey McFly, be sure to eat the big breath mint that they keep in the bottom of the sink next time.

babble on said...

re: Canadian gobble gobble day...

We're further north and thus harvest happens earlier. I feel sorry for you guys down there, though, cause the decorating is all backwards. We get to start with our harvest celebrations, with scarecrows to keep the fields secure, and squash galore. Then in a couple of weeks, when the carving has been done, we add spooky webs and skeletons and stuff and presto! It's all hallow's eve.

This is the best holiday of em all. I like to do it twice, so I make tons of pumpkin pies this time around!

gobble gobble!

annonymoose said...

Day-umm, babble, yer given' me wood. Beechwood. Bent.

Anonymous said...

I have gatorskins and man they flat all the time.

Little shards of glass go through them quite easily, so on recycling days, the trick is to stay away from the line of the recycling trucks.

Last week, two flats.

The Specialized Armadillos were better.

rudy jenkins said...

Have a I told you lately that I love you?

Anonymous said...

scranarrhoids

Anonymous said...

A local porta potty company in Portland: Willie Make It?!

McFly said...

Turds, Terds, Tirds, Inc.
We Spell It, You Smell it.

Anonymous said...

Pasties and boobies stick together like wildcat rock machine and positive affirmation.

No, the boobies are much better at affirmation.

More babe.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

"Bootydharma"

hahahaha I am fucking dying!

McFly said...

1) I suck AND I blow!

2) I feel sorry for you guys down there,

3) I like to do it twice


I love taking sections of Babbles comments out of context.

Stan Wiggins said...

I had a flat tire once, but it was only flat at the bottom so i kept on riding.

EATM OREP USSY

e-scaper said...

stupid shitty little piece of metal thru ur gatorskin? ya gotta ride lighter Snob!

Anonymous said...

Nice! Minimal controversy. Semi-solid reporting. Even made Fred-dom sound almost appealing.

Anonymous said...

Swiss Army knives come with tweezers.

Anonymous said...

Shimano Ultegra, I believe.

Yes, I do suck at life.

bk jimmy said...

Anon 1:16,

You may suck at most of life, but not at identifying components.

Anonymous said...

santa cruz;

"We're #1in the #2 buisiness"

EPIC BRTO

babble on said...

Happy thankingness day

McFly... if a girl tells you she both sucks and blows, there's not much you can do to take her words out of context.

Oh help. Why am I singing "My dog wants to zippity doo doo...?"

note to self: do not post when drinking

note from self: meh

Anonymous said...

Ritte = the Mast brothers of cycling.

Anonymous said...

WARM SEAT

GOOD &BAD

WHOD IDIT

ce said...

Touching Cloth

Anonymous said...

Steve Tilford has a video up with some hot neighborhood childhood MILF in it. She has mushroom hair but still is pretty bangable on a slow day.

Ray Sexlight said...

Our local portapotty company calls them Thunder Mugs.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

100th. yay! i finally got passed that buggy.

Anonymous said...

I took the 101.

J. Fred Thundermuggs said...

Breaking (Away) Amish.

Ghost of F. Z. said...

Heavy-Duty Zircon-encrusted tweezers.

JB said...

Snobby, why don't you just ask Park for a set of their road tweezers?

JB said...

I like how when one clicks on a photo on Tilford's blog, the result is a smaller version of said photo. Carry on.

Bill Nye said...

It's because he is 7' 9" and wants to downplay his leverage advavtage.

Anonymous said...

Hey homo what did you do go to Pennisylvania to let Jerry Sandusky ream that butthole out one last time before they send his ass down the river?

Anonymous said...

Hey homo? Really?

bsPHL said...

BSNYC IN MY HOMETOWN!!
1. Pagoda built by industrialist douchebag to draw attention away from unsightly quarry on mount penn in early 1900's
2. Lancaster county is where the amish are. this is Berks County.
3. proof that bsnyc is actually a living contemporary of mine and has been to my hometown!? Mastercard.

Anonymous said...

Hunny Bucket.

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http://www.december212012.com/

Let's hear about some end of the world action, Buddy.

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Anonymous said...

LINK>>>>>
http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2012/10/barnstorming-separating-freds-from-boys.html

Tom Watson said...

A Las Vegas plumbing company's trucks say "A flush beats a full house" plumber in claremont

Harga Printer said...

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