Last whatever ago my wife (I know, can you believe it?) became the owner of a WorkCycles city-type utilitarian non-gravel-specific two-wheeled bicycling apparatus.
She is crazy about this bike and says it's the greatest one she's ever owned, which is impressive because her last bike was that gold Colnago they gave to the Pope:
Pro tip: If you call up the Vatican and make up a story about how you caught one of their people touching your kid they'll give you all kinds of shit to keep quiet about it.
Speaking of kids, the human child that I own likes the bike just as much as his mother does--so much in fact that he wants to be on this instead of my Big Dummy now, which means I end up riding the WorkCycles too. You might think I experience a bit of insecurity riding a "girl's bike," but the one good thing about America is that when you're on a bicycle people think you're a "homo" no matter what you're riding. So there are no degrees of shame.
If I had any brains I'd sell some excess bikes now that I'm "retired" from amateur bike racing and get myself a WorkCycles too, but the process of selling bicycles is almost as irritating as selling real estate (I thought I'd never sell my place in Brooklyn until Martin Amis came along and bought it for $2.5 million), and anyway you never know when you're going to suddenly need that singlespeed cyclocross bike. (Hint: you're never going to need it, singlespeed cyclocross bikes are pretty much the definition of superfluous.)
By the way, you may notice a child's helment on the WorkCycles. Obviously it spoils the "smooth Dutch lines" of the bike, but 1) Kids the law blahblahblah; and 2) When you put a helmented kid under your arm while riding they make great battering rams.
Seriously, it's tough to "door" any more cyclists when a preschooler has removed yours with his head.
Oh yeah, and "safety." Because, you know, our biggest safety threat in this city is people on bikes not wearing enough foam on their heads.
Speaking of upright bicycles and trips where speed is not the primary consideration, I'm sort of over Citi Bikes--not over them like I'm against them, just over them in that every time I try to actually use one now I can't. Consider last night, for example. After not having used the system for a few weeks I found myself in Brooklyn yesterday evening and in need of a bike. So I headed to the nearest station and found this:
Two bikes, both displaying the Red Light Of You're Shit Out Of Luck:
So I boarded the heel-toe express and headed to the next station, where there was only one bike with both the Red Light Of You're Shit Out Of Luck and The Reversed Seat Of Shame:
So I said "Fuck it, I'm taking the subway," and that's what I did.
I'm still very much in favor of Citi Bike, and clearly most of my problems using it stem from the fact that it's so popular. At the same time, I'm increasingly disinclined to actually bother trying to use it myself. Instead, I'm considering simply consigning it to the department of stuff Other People Are Willing To Waste Their Time Doing, like forming lines for iPhones, Shake Shack burgers, and "cronuts:"
I don't know exactly when or why New York City suddenly became so willing to embrace "line culture," but I want no part of it. (Not that there are lines for Citi Bike--actually it's pretty much the opposite of a line in that the stations are either too full or too empty without a person in sight--but I'm confident you get my point.)
Still, people who are not me are clearly getting their use out of Citi Bike, so by all means keep it going and expanding, because every time a douchebag loses a free parking space God ejaculates in his pants.
Meanwhile, in the world of going fast on bikes while bent over the handlebars, you're not going to believe this, but some guy who gets paid to go fast on a bike while bent over his handlebars is in trouble for maybe doping. However, at least one person is sure he's clean:
Why? Here's why:
Then Jon told a story that explained a great deal about him to me.
He said, "Before I started sixth form, I did a Duathlon without any training at all…It was a 5km run 20km bike then a 5km run. I just threw on an old pair of spikes for the run, and smashed the first 5k then hit the bike ride pretty hard.”
“I was leading off the bike, but when I got off the bike my feet felt a bit odd and I couldn't get the running spikes back on. So I took my socks off, and a bunch of my toenails fell out of the sock, and I realised my feet weren't doing so well.”
“So instead of putting the spikes back on I just ran barefoot to the finish. Trouble was by then my legs cramped up so much I could barely move and I had to walk to the finish. I think I ended up last."
To which I asked, "Why didn't you just quit?"
"Well, I didn't want to pull out… It’s a bit shit not finishing."
I don't know if Jon Tiernan-Locke is dirty, clean, or somewhere in between, and I don't care either, because I now consign worrying about what pro bike riders are doing to the waiting-on-line-for-cronuts department. However, I'd like to know how running until your fucking toenails fall out is a sign that you're not willing to dope. Seems to me that sticking a needle in your scranus is nothing in comparison to tearing your feet apart. In fact, the writer says it himself:
Jon had ‘it’. He had that unbalanced mentality that you find in those rare people who can push themselves beyond anything the rest of us could imagine:he had the mentality of a real athlete.
Sounds like someone else we know:
Again, I'm not accusing this Tiernan-Locke guy of anything, but calling someone "unbalanced" and saying they are willing "push themselves beyond anything the rest of us could imagine" is not exactly the best way to defend him.
In other news of the heroic and/or stupid (is there a difference, really?) cycling exploits, I've been informed via Twitter that the guy who rode across San Francisco Bay is now going to ride across the Hudson River:
@bikesnobnyc would love to have you come out for ride on Thursday...... pic.twitter.com/dDwTHjACk3Okay, yeah, I'm not going to be there, and here's why:
— Judah Schiller (@judahschiller) October 2, 2013
1) I already said I'm too impatient to deal with lines and empty Citi Bike stations. Do you really think I'm going to go watch a guy spending the morning riding across the surface of the Hudson River on pontoons when there's already a perfectly good bridge? That's like watching someone tunnel his way across the East River with a MetroCard instead of taking the fucking F train.
2) In the time it takes Water Fred to cross the Hudson, 350 New York City Freds will already have crossed the Hudson to New Jersey, done five River Road hill repeats apiece, and crossed back into Manhattan again. If I want to experience utter cycling futility I can just go watch that.
3) I'm supposed to hang around and wait for some guy on a glorified paddle boat in the same place where a scissor-wielding lunatic was just running around stabbing people?
Sure, they may have gotten him, but I still don't feel safe. Do you really think I'm anywhere near as brave as the guy in the picture? Yesterday on the subway a woman yelled at another woman for bumping into her and I hid underneath the seats. In fact, the Water Fred should be pretty worried, too. Just imagine what a scissor-wielding lunatic could do to a pair of pontoons!
Lastly, if you're a landlubber who needs the latest smug frame material, a reader informs me that it's now plywood:
Ruphus is hitting the scene with both alternative materials bikes and accessories. They started out with a few bamboo prototypes, but went in a direction that ended up in failure. That’s ok though, because they learned from their efforts and have moved on to working with plywood. In fact, it’s Canadian Maple, and it’s the same stuff you find in skateboard decks. The bike shown has a two speed coaster brake setup, and the design was inspired by cafe racer motorcycles. This tank just happens to hold booze rather than gas. Admittedly , Ruphus knows they have some work to do still with the layup, as the bike is still a bit to flexy for mass consumption. However, they are hard at work perfecting the model and hope to release a version for sale soon.
Sounds like a real winner.
Or you could just ride a normal bike and wait until you get home to sit at a kiddie table.