Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bikes: There Goes the Neighborhood

Futher to yesterday's post, a number of readers pointed out that I may have incorrectly identified the nationway of the Mankini Castaway's flag:



To wit:

Anonymous said...


Rookie error by BikeSnob NYC there, confusing the Aussie Flag with what is actually the New Zealand flag...its a New Zealand flag, ergo, the guy on the roof was a sheep rooter/defiler....


our Kiwi cousins often pretend to be Aussies because they are so ashamed of their minnow status in everything...


July 30, 2012 9:48 PM

I'm not even sure it's possible to positively identify the flag given the extremely poor quality of the picture, which I took with professional quality photo equipment from the cockpit of a helicopter, and not with a Cheetos dust-smudged smartphone from my couch.  In fact, I'm not even sure it's possible to positively identify that flag if you're standing right in front of it, since the Australian flag looks like this:


And the New Zealand flag looks like this:


Or maybe the Australian flag looks like this:


And the New Zealand flag looks like this:



Honestly I have no idea.  All I know is that if these two so-called "countries" want people to be able to tell them apart they should at least have different flags.  It can also be difficult to differentiate Canadians from actual Americans, but you can't say our flags aren't distinctive.  Here's Canada's:
(That's a maple leaf, and not a silhouette of two turkeys humping.)

And here's America's:


(America: Guns, Trucks, and Money)

Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag back in 1492 (that's "sewed" in the American sense, meaning that she drew it on paper and then had it made in China), and you can see why we don't stitch that onto our backpacks like the Canadians do.  Instead, we just stitch Canadian flags on there so people will be nice to us and not take us hostage.

(By the way, if you ever want to be sure the person you're dealing with is an actual Canadian, just ask him or her to name the US Secretary of State.  If he answers correctly, then he's a Canadian.)

Meanwhile, here in Brooklyn, bike thefts in Williamsburg have apparently quadrupled:


I'm no criminalologist, but there are three (17) likely explanations for this:

1) More people are cycling in Williamsburg;
2) Criminals have realized that more people are cycling in Williamsburg and have decided to start taking their bicycles from them;
5) Given the constant influx of transplants from other parts of the United States, the typical Williamsburger is now roughly four times more likely to be utterly clueless, which makes taking bikes from them extremely easy;
D) A fine dessert cheese can complement any meal.

I told you I wasn't a criminalologist.

So what can you do to protect your bike?  Well, obviously you should put a lock on it, and it also helps if your city bike is an easily replaceable piece of crap and not a $5,000 rolling artisanal handjob:

Hey, it's a very nice bike, but this is Brooklyn and not Portland.  Sure, it's almost impossible to tell the two places apart now, but the resemblance is still largely superficial.

Also, according to a bike messenger quoted in the above article, you should also personalize your bike and have lots of friends:

Ciminera, 29, said she didn't go to the police when her bike was stolen months ago, but that other members of the bike messenger community spotted it 15 minutes after she sent a mass text message to make people watch out for the personalized two-wheeler, whose stickers and decorations made it recognizable.


"They went on a high-speed chase and got it back," recalled Ciminera. "It's good to personalize your bike, not just to ride around a factory Schwinn."

I drive more people away from me every year so the friend thing is not an option, but the personalization tip is a particularly good one, so I took her advice by putting distinctive $2,000 crabon racing wheels on my Scattante and then hanging a bunch of $600 electronic rear derailleurs from the top tube.  Sure, all that cost me more than a Beloved, but if the bike gets stolen while I'm in a bar getting drunk with a bunch of Portland transplants it will be instantly recognizable.

Ironically though, while everyone seems to want to steal bikes in Brooklyn, nobody in Brooklyn seems to want bikes around.  Consider the $40 million velodrome a wealthy benefactor wants to gift to the city, and which the neighborhood residents don't want:


So what could possibly be so bad about putting a velodrome on the Brooklyn waterfront?  Well, here's the mind-bendingly paradoxical reasoning behind the opposition:


Leaders of the major community groups in the neighborhoods abutting the park, including Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo, have questions about the track. They say they worry about the building’s size (with a footprint of up to 70,000 square feet, it is larger than a football field) and the traffic it might draw to the cobbled streets of Brooklyn Heights, while pointing out the relatively obscure nature of track cycling, in which riders on fixed-gear bicycles without brakes travel at terrific speeds around curves banked at 45-degree angles.

In other words, they say that arena will draw too much traffic, yet at the same time track cycling is "obscure," which means nobody is going to come see it.  I suppose the project is also too big yet too small, and too cheap yet too expensive, and too crazy yet too sane, and up is down, and 2+2+5.


On top of all this, I wonder if it ever occurred to any of the brilliant amateur urban planners who comprise these "community groups" that a lot of these bike racing fans might actually ride their fucking bikes to the velodrome, and that you could fit about a hundred bikes in the space two of these "community group" members take up with their cars.

I was also intrigued by the article's description of track racing:

"...riders on fixed-gear bicycles without brakes travel at terrific speeds around curves banked at 45-degree angles."

Is it even necessary to explain the concept of bikes racing around an indoor track?  I remember when journalists used to explain the fixed-gear trend by saying they're like the bikes track racers use.  Now they explain track racing by saying they're like the bikes fixed-gear riders use.  It makes track racing sound like some kind of newfangled indoor alleycat, and as though track racing followed the fixed-gear trend and not the other way around.

But the most convincing anti-velodrome argument was this completely irrelevant zebra metaphor:

“You can paint stripes on a horse, but that doesn’t make it a zebra,” said Peter Flemming, co-chairman of the independent Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Council and a resident of Brooklyn Heights. “Nor can calling this a ‘field house’ make it anything other than an Olympic-class track-cyling velodrome.”

You can call a velodrome cockblocker the co-chairman of the independent Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Council, but that doesn't make him not a velodrome cockblocker.

Oh, also, someone named Candace is afraid velodrome-bound cars could "overwhelm the neighborhood:"

Candace Lombardi, a Brooklyn Heights resident of 17 years, said she worried that the cars that would most likely descend on the velodrome could overwhelm the neighborhood. (There is no parking in the plan.) “This is a little 19th-century street with cobblestones,” she said, pointing to the foot of Joralemon Street, which is near the proposed site. “I’m just thinking about all the spectators and the traffic this will bring.”

Between this and the complaints about bike share stations, people in Brooklyn Heights must have the most bloated sense of entitlement on this side of the Willamette.  Brooklyn Heights is right on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, and adjacent to downtown Brooklyn, which is full of courthouses and municipal buildings and colleges and office buildings--yet somehow the velodrome is going to be the thing that "overwhelms the neighborhood."  I'd suggest to Candace Lombardi that if she's looking for tranquility she made a bad choice by moving to Brooklyn Heights, and if she wants a peaceful upscale enclave dripping with charm and cachet and within reasonable commuting distance to Manhattan she may want to look into a picturesque little neighborhood called Connecticut.

As for the pro-velodrome people, they've found themselves a handy scapegoat in the form of beach volleyball players:

As for critics who have dismissed track cycling as elitist, obscure or simply weird, Mr. Reiners countered that Brooklyn Bridge Park recently opened three regulation-size sand volleyball courts on Pier 6. “If that’s the criteria for building facilities in this park, that it has to be very well known and popular, then that seems like a facetious argument,” he said. “Beach volleyball is fairly obscure itself.”

Actually, the solution is obvious, and I think the perfect compromise would be to use the space not as a velodrome but as an indoor cyclocross park where the riders compete in bikinis.  This should please everybody.  Plus, everybody knows cyclocross is the new track racing anyway.  Buying an expensive track bike, saying you're going to take it to the velodrome, and never actually doing it is so five years ago.  Now it's all about buying an expensive cyclocross bike, saying you're going to race cyclocross, never actually doing it, but justifying the bike by riding it on a short gravel path every once in awhile and taking lots of photos of it.

As for the people who actually do race track bikes, the "simply weird" criticism isn't entirely unwarranted.  Consider this article which was forwarded to me by a reader:


Are you wondering what the Olympic athletes are doing to pass the time before they compete in competitions they've trained their entire lives for?


If you're part of the German men's cycling team, then you pass the time by pulling down your pants and having a good old fashioned "quad off."

As well as the accompanying Tweet:



Actually, there's nothing weird about that, it's just Hans and Franz hanging out with in the Olympic Village's Castro district with no pants on.

Between the beach volleyball and the "quad-offs" the Brooklyn waterfront is going to be the new Muscle Beach.

Monday, July 30, 2012

SOS: Distress Calls and Warning Signs

There we were, high above the London streets, when we spotted a lone man on a rooftop clad only in a mankini:


Don't let the NBC logo fool you.  When I took this photo I was observing the Olympic road race not from my couch but from the Brooks England Ltd. corporate chopper, which was being flown by none other than Eric "The Chamferer" Murray.  Eric pilots a helicopter the same way he chamfers a saddle, which is to say expertly, and with occasional breaks to put a knife to your throat as he snarls the words "Stop your fucking crying" through clenched teeth.

As for why we were following the race, I had been hired to cover it by a Latvian newspaper called Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze, and I cut a deal with Eric wherein I'd split my considerable fee with him if he'd "borrow" the Brooks helicopter and fly me around in it.  And since my standard fee in Latvia is now up to LVL30, this meant we'd be clearing over fifteen Great British Pounds Sterling per man, which isn't exactly chump change. (It's actually a lot less than chump change.)

Anyway, back to the guy on the rooftop, who by now was lying next to an Australian flag waving his arms in what appeared to be distress:


(Nearly naked Australian may have been stranded on the roof of a London building for days without Fosters or Vegemite.)

Eric executed a deft banking maneuver (by which I mean he stole my fifteen "quid" and banked it safely in the pocket of his overalls), landed the chopper on an adjacent building, and leaped from the cockpit.  I was sure he was going to rescue the castaway, but instead Eric chastised him for disrespecting the dignity and spirit of the Games, all the while using his chamfering knife for emphasis.  Finally, Eric put a boot in the man's immodestly-clad groin as a closing punctuation mark.  Moments later we were airborne again, the irreverent Australian writhing in the hot tar of the rooftop down below, and a snot bubble the size of a snow globe in my nostril.

As for the race itself, everybody knows by now that the gold medal went to Alexander Vinokourov.  Here he is making the race-winning move:


And here he is giving the old "Kasakh handshake" to the guy who ultimately took silver:


Vinokourov buys himself wins like Mark Cavendish buys himself sports cars.

Another memorable moment in the race was when Fabian Cancellara rode straight into the barrier:


I took this photograph as Eric strafed the chasing peloton for laughs, and while this could have contributed to the crash (at least that's what the police claimed afterwards), I suspect what really happened was that Cancellara forgot to throttle back on his Gruber Assist when he came into the turn.  (Though I suppose the strafing theory isn't completely without merit, since later that day I did see Vinokourov hand Eric a hundred and fifty bucks.)

By the way, if you're an aircraft enthusiast and you're wondering what kind of helicopter we were using, it probably won't surprise you to learn that Brooks is somewhat "retrogrouchy" when it comes to  flying equipment:


The Brooks B-17 helicopter is as at home in the skies as it is on your local "Tweed Ride," and I can assure you those wheels have been properly tensioned and stress-relieved as per Jobst Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel."

Speaking of hapless Swiss people on bikes, this past weekend I received the following email:

Hey cyclist,

I made a new fxdgr video in Switzerland. Maybe post on your blog?

enjoy


Along with a link to that video:


Toni In The Woods from Severin Landolt on Vimeo.

It opens with a lone figure wearing dungaree jean pants and a tanking top shirt:


Who is evidently a member of the dreaded "Crabcycles" posse:


So named because of the tiny creatures that inhabit their jean pants.

After surveying the landscape, the lone figure tightens his gimmicky Fred flippers:


Crests a small rise:


And then commences with the pointless skidding:


Which results in the inevitable flat tire:


Then there's some more skidding:


And, as the cineastes say, "Fin:"


I'm not afraid to say that this short video changed my entire view of the bicycle.  I used to think of the bike as an elegant vehicle that can carry a rider efficiently over a variety of terrain, but I now understand it's merely a tool meant to destroy tires, kind of like a really big nutcracker.  I now plan to upgrade all of my tire-destroying devices by removing the brakes and derailleurs and correcting the malfunctioning rear hubs that fail to engage when I cease pedaling.

But what if going through stacks of $50 tires like a bowl of pistachio nuts is not expensive enough for you?  Well, there's always amateur bike racing, and it was only a matter of time before Gran Fondo Doping Fred made the New York Times:


Apparently, Gran Fondo Doping Fred used EPO for the same reason PSAs claim kids pilfer beer and smoke "Wednesday weed:'

Anthony said he used drugs to maintain his social standing within the local racing scene and on his BH-Comedy Central amateur team.


“It wasn’t for money, and it wasn’t for winning,” said Anthony, a three-time winner of the Tour of the Battenkill race in upstate New York. “It was about being relevant in the group, which was pretty addicting.”

Wow.  Winning I can understand, but he actually did it for social standing?  If you're addicted to being relevant in a group of people who wake up at 4:30am to ride circles in Central Park and then go straight back home again then having a Costco membership must feel like belonging to the Harvard Club.  Also, he spent "several thousands of dollars each month" and slept in a $4,000 tent:

Anthony, who began racing in 2009, said he had recently upgraded to the amateur category 2 — one step below the highest amateur category. A former cigarette smoker, he said bicycle racing quickly took over his life. He trained 16 to 20 hours a week and spent several thousand dollars each month on race entry fees and transportation to events. He also slept in a $4,000 hypoxic altitude tent, which pro cyclists commonly use to legally increase the production of red blood cells.


“The sport is all-consuming; it’s not like weekend softball,” he said. “I was only involved in it for four years, and it took over most of my energy.”

So basically, he spent a fortune toys and drugs just so people would like him.  In other words, the only difference between him and a cocaine addict is that the cocaine addict actually gets to have sex before his life falls apart, whereas a $4,000 altitude tent will probably drive potential sexual partners from your house faster than a bedroom full of Star Wars memorabilia and a rocking chair containing a desiccated corpse of your mother à la "Psycho."  Plus, recreational drug addicts have a decent shot at redemption, whereas in cycling it's become a lot harder since Rock Racing went bankrupt:


Now those were some sweet dungaree pants.

Friday, July 27, 2012

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

When you think of cycling in New York City, you think of David Byrne (who doesn't own a car), and valet bike parking at Wilco concerts in Prospect Park, and left-leaning young people with crooked Bern helmets and "muffin tops" riding Urban Outfitters bikes to jobs in graphic design.  Meanwhile, when you think of cycling in the American South, you think of getting run off the road by people in pick-up trucks, getting attacked by beagles on dirt roads, and being chased away from moonshine stills by blunderbuss-wielding bootleggers.

Well, stereotypes are dangerous, because nothing could be further from the truth.  Firstly, artisanal bootlegging is currently the hottest thing going in Brooklyn, pickup trucks are the new fixie, and blunderbusses are the new iPhone.  Secondly, meet William "Billy" Carrington, Kentucky's foremost bicycle advocate:



I fell asleep about a minute and a half in, but I gather he wants you to ride a bike.  Also, would it kill you to pick up the phone and call someone once in awhile?



I'll spare you his talk on the Olympics, but it may not surprise you to learn he's rooting for the USA.

Speaking of misconceptions, there are people who dismiss Rapha as a purveyor of overpriced cycling accessories, but the fact is they have many satisfied customers, such as this one who took the time to email me recently:


youre always ragging on Rapha chamois cream...i got some and now my nuts smell amazing

Presumably he either found someone willing to smell his "pants yabbies" for him, or else he's extremely flexible.  Either way, I'll take his word for it.


And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right you'll crow like the Dorking cockerel, and if you're wrong you'll see Belgians.


Thanks very much for reading, ride safe this weekend, and for Lob's sake would you just take the time to pick up the phone and call someone?  Sheesh.




--Wildcat Rock Machine







1) According to Yahoo!, the 2012 Tour de France was won by Stanley Wiggins.

--True
--False






2) The 2012 Olympic road course does not visit which of the following?

--Box Hill
--Leatherhead
--Dorking
--Gropecunt Lane








("Do these glasses make me look smart?")

3) Mark Cavendish says his "biggest extravagance" is:

--His six cars
--His forty-seven motorcycles
--His billiard room decorated by fashion designer Paul Smith
--Peta Todd's upper half







(Cycling commentator Phil Liggett selects a baby kangaroo for roasting.)

4) Phil Liggett believes that including mountain biking and BMX in the Olympics is:

--"Smart"
--"Fun"
--"A welcome opportunity for a new generation of athletes"
--"Absolutely disgraceful"






5) According to Nashbar, the Opera Super Leonardo will have you:

--"jumping for joy"
--"giggling like a schoolgirl"
--"singing in a falsetto"
--"cradling your 'pants yabbies' in agony"








6) The long-awaited New York City bike share system will debut:

--Next week
--Next month
--Next year
--???








7) An Australian cyclist who was arrested for drunk cycling because he was "swerving along Bower Rd and struggling to maintain control of his bike" turned out simply to be a sober triathlete on a training ride.

--True
--False



***Special USA-Themed Bonus Question***

(Team USA will leave the competition in their helmet mirrors at this year's Olympic Games.)

In celebration of American Fred-dom, the USA men's Olympic cycling team will wear the above jersey with a pair of half-shorts.

--True
--False



Thursday, July 26, 2012

When Hobbies Attack: Testing 1,2,3

Yesterday was a beautiful day in New York City, so I decided to head down to the Union Square Greenmarket to buy some fresh locally-grown herbs since I enjoy nothing more than preparing lavish meals in the chef's kitchen of my loft apartment.  Leashing up Lassie, I picked up some heirloom tomatoes and some cilantro.  On the way back home, the sidewalk was a bit crowded, but fortunately the city has recently installed these big wide "auxiliary sidewalks" just for people like me:


(Lassie and me on the way home from the Greenmarket, as photographed by one of those two-wheeled menaces.)

Sockless and happy, I bounded along in my loafers, savoring all that extra elbow room.  Unfortunately, these entitled cyclists seem to think the "auxiliary sidewalks" are "bike lanes," just because they have pictures of bicycles painted on them and have big signs that say "bike lane" right next to them at every corner.  Still, I refuse to cede an inch.  Instead, I just keep walking and stare the cyclists down from behind my Ray-Bans, and then vent my frustration by leaving angry comments on cycling-related articles in the New York Times.

Speaking of New York City cyclists and their inflated sense of self-importance, the fallout from "Fondogate" continues, and mere days after a 45-year-old amateur was caught cheating at Fred riding the local racing club is now implementing a real-live drug testing program:



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Champion System p/b Stan’s NoTubes cycling team helps CRCA fund new testing program. Call for others to help fight doping too.

New York City, NY (FPRC), July 25th , 2012 – Following the news of positive drug tests at the 2012 Gran Fondo New York, the Champion System p/b Stan’s NoTubes cycling team has pledged a $5,000 donation to the CRCA with the stipulation that the money be used to fund a testing program.

 “The cost of testing is very expensive, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for inaction. We would like to see testing at CRCA events and we’re ready to help fund this,” said managing director Igor Volshteyn. “While we are disappointed by the recent news, we believe the stark reality highlighted by these positive tests is exactly what we need to finally mobilize our community and take firm and decisive action against doping together… something we frankly should have done a long time ago.”


New York City's amateur bike racers have long been on the forefront of taking themselves seriously and so this is the logical next step.  Sure, testing a bunch of hobbyists for performance-enhancing drugs is a lot like calling the IRS to audit your Monopoly games, but when you've already got the equipment and the uniforms and the coaching programs and the high-definition finish line camera for the race where you win a turkey and you've upgraded every single component it's possible to upgrade then buying yourself a comprehensive drug testing program is really all that's left.  In any case, to my knowledge this is the furthest any amateur racing club has inserted its helmet up its own posterior, which puts them deep in uncharted "waters"--though it should all be worth it when the person who places third in the "B" race tests positive for THC.

Of course, if you don't want to join a bicycle riding club that requires you to pee-pee in a cup and notify them when you leave town for vacation, you can always take part in rides like the "Bicycle Blitz Through Staten Island"--which I'd never even heard from until I received an email that it had been cancelled due to exhaustion:


SORRY GANG. We just dont have the energy to pull this one off. Stay tuned for the next free tour coming up in august - the Bike the Boro Border Bike Ride! 

Not enough energy, huh?  They really ought to try performance-enhancing drugs.

But while it's one thing to make light of doping amateurs, there are other aspects of cycling that deserve more serious treatment, and to underscore that seriousness I ask that you please listen to the theme song from the 1983 film "Terms of Endearment:"



Damn that Flap, he didn't know what he had until it was gone!

Anyway, the serious cycling subject I'm referring to is the bicycle cycling road cycling bicycle race of the Games of the XXX Olympiad:


("Wiggins Rings," or "Wigg-Os," hand-designed by You-Know-Who.)

Now, I don't believe in policing the comments section of this blog.  However, yesterday I couldn't help noticing some disrespectful references to the parcours, such as this one:


McFly said...


Has anyone taken a glance at the Olympic Route Map? They go through a place called Bushy Park, Dorking, and Box Hill. I predict very high attrition in that race. Major abandonment.


July 25, 2012 1:23 PM


Firstly, off-color sexual references are an affront to the spirit of the Olympic Games, which began over 2,000 years ago when a bunch of muscular Greek men decided to run around naked together.  Secondly, it is wrong to mock the host nation and laugh at its culture, even if their ways are quaint and backwards and seems incredibly silly to us.  The fact is that English culture is dozens of years older than our own, and to laugh at their place names is to reveal your ignorance.  So let's take a little tour around the race route and set a few things straight:



1) "Box Hill" is not British slang for the female mons pubis;
2) "Leatherhead" is not a cruising spot for men who are into "rough trade;"
3) "Headley Heath" has nothing to do with Heath Ledger's character "Brokeback Mountain;"
4) "Dorking" is a place, not a verb, and the "Dorking cockerel" is not in any way lewd.  All it is is a statue of a big, fat cock:


Most importantly, please refrain from making throat-clearing sounds when the announcers refer to the feed zone in Bushy Park, or from laughing when Fofonov "gets off" in Woking to "answer the call of nature."

"XXX Olympiad" indeed.

Anyway, if we keep all of these things in mind, we may just be able to keep a straight face until the very last rider  crosses the line in Vaginae or wherever it is they finish.  After all, nobody's more dignified than the British, which is why Bradley Wiggins only issues forth tasteful Tweets like this:

Even in 2012, it's good to see that cycling remains a wanking working man's sport.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Make Way: The Future's So Green I Gotta Wear Rollerblades

Commuting in a big city can be stressful.  For example, a New York City cyclist might, in the heat of the moment, resort to foul language and complain that his progress is being impeded by some "fat tub of shit from New Jersey."  Well, one might argue that such anger is excessive--regardless of whether or not it is indeed an accurate description of a typical driver from west of the Hudson.  But what happens when that cyclist is quite literally being blocked by a fat tub of shit from New Jersey?


This was the case for me this morning as I traveled along a "protected" bike lane in Manhattan:


I apologize for the foul language, but if you can come up with a better way to describe this vehicle I'd like to hear it.

Speaking of being full of shit, yesterday I mentioned the 45-year-old Fred who got busted for doping at the New York Gran Fondo and who, hilariously, rides for a team organized by a website that is pathologically obsessed with the prosecution of Lance Armstrong.  Well, further to that post, a reader had the following to say:

Anonymous said...
http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/the-common-sense-of-progress/


"If today in the United States or western Europe the relatively poor can have a car or a refriger­ator, an airplane trip or a radio, at the cost of a reasonable part of their income, this was made possible because in the past others with larger incomes were able to spend on what was then a luxury. The path of advance is greatly eased by the fact that it has been trodden before. It is because scouts have found the goal that the road can be built for the less lucky or less energetic. What to­day may seem extravagance or even waste, because it is enjoyed by the few and even undreamed of by the masses, is payment for the experimentation with a style of living that will eventually be available to many."


tl;dr


...unless those rich amateurs keep on buying those carbon race wheels, *we* (the ordinary plebs) won't be able to buy them for $100, 20 years down the line. FACT.

An interesting point to be sure, but progress?  I'm not sure it's fair to compare home refrigeration becoming available to the masses with crabon fiber race wheels getting blown out by Nashbar.  It seems to me that the difference between having refrigeration and not having it is life-changing, whereas the difference between having wheels made out of metal and wheels made out of plastic is negligible.  (Not to mention the fact that the plastic wheel is arguably inferior to the metal wheel for most riders, even amateur racers.  Have you watched one of them try to stop lately?)  Plus, it's the "ordinary plebs" who are buying the crabon wheels now, right alongside the monied masters, so there's no reason for the manufacturers to bring the price down anyway.  That's why crabon bicycles are more expensive than ever despite having been around for decades.  It's also why the bicycle racing marketplace doesn't follow the ordinary laws of economics, and instead remains a bubble of delusion and stupidity.

Also on the subject of doping, yesterday I made the following inane comment on Twitter, because I am an inane person, and because Twitter, to paraphrase George Mallory, is just "there," waiting to have stupid words put into it:

I assumed it was obvious that I was joking, but one member of the Twitteroni was filled with indignation:


Which naturally inspired me to continue flogging a joke that really wasn't even funny in the first place:


Which in turn only made the Twitterono even more indignant:


I actually think anybody who supports any Kickstarter campaign should feel outraged and betrayed, but despite this I actually began to think about the fake question I had posed.  Let's say I were to launch a Kickstarter campaign for my cross-country bicycle tour, in which I'd cycle from New York City to Los Angeles while wearing a chicken suit in order to raise awareness for salmonella poisoning.  Would it indeed be wrong to resort to performance-enhancing drugs in order to complete my ride?  It's not like I'm breaking any rules, since as far as I know there are no rules when it comes to riding across country in a chicken suit.  Sure, it lacks dignity, but arguably I dispensed with dignity when I started asking for money on Kickstarter--and I definitely divested myself of it when I donned that chicken suit.  So what's a little EPO in the mix?  It's certainly less dangerous than salmonella.

Anyway, as I pondered all this, the Twitteroni had a moment of sympathy for me and my phony predicament:


So there you have it.  It is actually possible to finish a century ride without drugs.  Who would have imagined?  Let that be a lesson to all the 40+ fondo Freds out there looking to wring all they can from their crabon wheels.  (Though reading it again it's possible she means she finished two centuries and one triathlon back-to-back on the same day, which is actually pretty impressive, especially without drugs.)

Speaking of Kickstarter, some people desperately need your money so they can show movies outside:


The word "visionary" gets thrown around so much that it's now almost completely devoid of meaning, which is why I feel comfortable calling these people visionaries.  Here's their vision:

Last summer, we did some pretty simple math that ended up spawning (in our personal opinion) one of the most fun and memorable days of the summer. Written out, the equation looked something like this: 

Summer + Bikes + 80’s Movie Nostalgia = A damn fine summer evening.  

In July 2011 we teamed up with the Brooklyn-based food blog and supper club Forking Tasty for a unique, modern twist on the classic American Drive-In experience: the Bike-In-Theater. Hundreds of riders sat and watched a movie on the Brooklyn waterfront, while munching on snacks from the Forking Tasty kitchen, including five unique gourmet-flavored popcorns. The free event was designed as a way to celebrate summer and bike month in NYC. 

In 2012 we’re expanding on the success and demand created last year. With the help of the Kickstarter community, we’re attempting a bi-coastal tour that will start this summer in NYC and end in October in San Francisco. Please help us launch the 2012 Bike-In-Theater tour. It’s your passion, enthusiasm and backing that will help us to make this reality.


And here's the video:




I'm not sure it's fair to call showing a bunch of movies that are on cable 14 times a day "curating," but then again the word "curate" has been even more diluted than the word "visionary" so I shouldn't complain.  Also, there were cookies:


("Curating" now means "putting snacks in metal tubs for stoners.")

So why do they need $24,000 to show movies on a brick wall?  Well, in addition to cookie funds, they also need money for chalk:


Also, according to this guy, they need "proper rights for movies:"



Which would make the organizers of "Bike-In-Theater" the only two people on the face of the planet Earth who take those anti-piracy warnings seriously.  Really, they could save us all a lot of money if they'd just screen some bootlegs they bought on the subway.  Anyway, Brooklyn becomes more like San Francisco every year, so it's good to see two entrepreneurs working hard to make them completely indistinguishable.  

In other smugness news, are you one of those people who advocates cycling because it's "good for the environment?"  Well, I've always felt this was a dangerous argument, since it leaves the door wide open for some other more ecologically friendly modes of transport to take away all our hard-fought gains.  For example, I don't know about you, but I don't want to get sandbagged by a bunch of Rollerbladers:


The above Rollerblade advocacy article was forwarded to me by a reader, and of course it includes the requisite pro-Rollerblade infographic:


Sure, Rollerblading may be "greener," but as far as I'm concerned this is the only infographic I need:


That's the Rollerblade equivalent of "cycle chic."