If you need to know why I'll be absent tomorrow, it's because my Halloween costume is a guy who doesn't have a blog.
Well, either that or Kim Jong-un, I haven't decided:
But either way, you can't blog in North Korea, so no matter which costume I pick I'm going to have to refrain from posting.
Secondly, let it not be said that this blog isn't a great repository of technical wisdom, for further to yesterday's post the commenter known as "Recumbent Conspiracy Theorist" posted this:
"A Comprehensive Comment About How To Remove And Install Your Valve Caps"
1. Insure that your bicycle is placed on a flat clean area preferably a paved surface. It may be necessary to support your bicycle by its kickstand or suitable workstand if available. Performing valve cap maintenance while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may result in injury. Always wear safety glasses when working around compressed air.
2. Locate the valve stem.
Beginning at either the front or rear wheel of the bicycle locate the valve stem. It may be necessary to rotate the wheel slightly to gain access to the valve stem. If at first the wheel appears to not have a valve stem do not panic. continue to rotate until the valve becomes visible. It is often obscured by the chainstay or seatstay tubes in the rear or the fork legs in front.
3. Remove Valve Cap.
Valve stems are configured in one of two ways. Department store and children's bicycles most often use larger diameter Schrader valves. Performance oriented bicylces such as road racing, touring and competition mountain bikes commonly employ narrower Presta valves. As far as the scope of this comment is concerned it should be noted that the operation of the valve cap is the same regardless of stem type. Valve caps may be colored plastic; most often black but other colors such as red, pink and gray may be encountered. Caps may be anodized aluminum or other metals even dice caps can be seen in a variety of colors. Again the shape, color or material of a valve cap makes no difference in its operation. The valve cap is located at the top of the valve stem closest to the hub.
Note: Commit this simple rhyme to memory so you can always be sure as to which direction to rotate a valve cap: "Lefty-Loosey Righty-Tighty"
Grasp the valve cap between the thumb and index finger and gently twist counter-clockwise to loosen. Continue to rotate the cap until it is removed from the stem.
At this point any stem or tire maintenance such as thread polishing, tube or tire change or inflation/ deflation can be carried out. Repeat the above procedure for the remaining wheel(s).
4. Install Valve Cap.
Note: If using Presta valves be sure thumbscrew is tightened down firmly against the end of the stem body. Failure to seat the thumbscrew fully can result in loss of air pressure and prevent the valve cap from fully engaging the threads of the stem body. Schrader valves are spring loaded and no additional steps are required for cap installation on these types of valves.
To install valve caps simply follow the procedure outlined in step 3 in reverse order. Again remember "Lefty-Loosey Righty-Tighty" and installation of your valve caps will be trouble free. Gently rotate the cap onto the valve stem and twist in a clockwise direction. Continue to turn the cap down until resistance is felt. Tighten the cap finger tight only. The soft plastic threads of the common valve cap can be easily stripped from excessive force. Metal valve caps may be tightened to higher torque values.
October 29, 2013 at 1:48 PM
Suck on that, Lennard Zinn.
By the way, I'm pleased to report that I followed these instructions and they do indeed work. Now I have the confidence to perform this daunting maintenance task myself, which is going to save me hundreds of dollars a year, since until now I've been bringing my bike into the shop for this.*
Granted, I'll still need them to put air in the tire for me, but once I've truly mastered the valve cap thing I may attempt actual inflation next.
*Also, it turns out most of my bikes actually don't have valve caps, which means I've been riding without them, which means I'm very lucky to be alive.
In other news, yesterday my bicycle commute took me through three (3) of New York City's boroughs, after which I came to the following conclusion:
People are fucking idiots.
I mean really, just total fucking morons. It's tempting to try to say one particular group is dumber than another (for the sake of argument, let's just say drivers), and it's also tempting to say one particular type of driver is dumber than another (I'm looking at you, Presbyterians), but all of that is ultimately counterproductive, and it makes much more sense to lump every single road user into one of two groups:
1) People who are trying to kill themselves;
2) People who are trying to kill someone else.
Then there's me. I don't fall into either of these groups, because I am a solipsist. Specifically, I am a metaphysical solipsist:
Based on a philosophy of subjective idealism, metaphysical solipsists maintain that the self is the only existing reality and that all other reality, including the external world and other persons, are representations of that self, and have no independent existence
In layman's terms, this is called "being a New Yorker."
Anyway, I know I'm the only person who really exists because it seems like every other cyclist in the world is so uncertain of his or her own existence that they must constantly confirm it by means of social networking apps such as Strava--although sometimes even that's not enough and you just need a minivan with a cameraman hanging out of it:
I have a feeling someone's about to launch a Kickstarter campaign:
I also have a feeling that the video for this Kickstarter campaign will have me in the background, and that it will consequently fail because I am an albatross. (And a solipsistic one at that.)
Speaking of Kickstarter, for awhile the "cool" thing to do was to invent the perfect bike light. Then it was all about the perineum-saving saddles. Now, the hot new trend is socially-networked electronic smartphone-activated bike locks. Last Wednesday we saw the "Bitlock," and this Wednesday I'm pleased to introduce you to the failed play on words/numbers that is the "Lock8," which I assume is supposed to sound like "lock" and "locate," but is only one "T" away from "lactate:"
You know how it is--you go to the window to gaze lovingly at your bike, only to find it gone:
A clipped lock all you have to remember it by:
So you raise your hands heavenward and cry out:
Yes, again, you putz. Why not just bring the bike inside?
Well, why do that when you can reinvent the bike lock?
"Bicycle locks today are really old-fashioned. They're heavy, poorly-designed, and have terrible value for money."
Bicycle locks are not old-fashioned. They are timeless. It's tying one thing to another thing, and it doesn't get much simpler than that. Saying a good quality bike chain is "poorly-designed" is like saying a drinking cup is poorly designed and then launching a Kickstarter for some form of smartphone-controlled anal rehydration device. Sure, a good lock has some heft, but they're really only as heavy as the rider is weak, and they're only as poorly-designed as the rider is stupid. Yes, sometimes thieves actually get through good locks, but mostly your bike gets stolen because you did something dumb, like locked it to a bamboo stalk or left it unlocked for a second while you ran in for one of those hardboiled eggs they used to sell at the register at the corner deli before gentrification.
But no, it's 2013, and your phone is now the solution to all your problems:
"Imagine John could take out his smartphone and locate his bike while the thief is on the run."
Okay, yeah, let's imagine that. Well, one of two things is going to happen:
1) John will tell a cop, who won't give a shit;
2) John will confront the thief, who will bludgeon him to death with a set of bolt cutters.
Oh yeah. Remember those primitive, poorly-designed locks? Well, at least you can put them around pretty much any part of the bike you want--unlike the Lock8, which lives permanently in this awkward location:
But it does have an alarm:
"When the thief tries to tamper with the lock, it will trigger a painfully loud alarm."
Well, painfully loud alarms have completely eliminated car theft, so there's no reason to think a bike alarm won't be just as effective.
Oh, and of course as the thief steals your bike you'll get a text you can do absolutely nothing about:
Except leap to your feet and take off like a lunatic:
At which point the cafe manager receives a text informing him that some douchebag has just run off without paying, at which point the GPS locator in the biscotti you just ate allows him to track you, and then he catches you and beats the crap out of you--assuming you've managed to survive the bolt-cutter attack:
But wait, there's more! You know your friend, the one who actually has a job?
Well, he'll get a text too!
If I got a text that said "John's bike might be at risk!" I'd immediately reply with the words "Tough shit, John." Incredibly though, this guy is like, "Whuuut?"
And then he gets up and bolts like a lunatic too!
Though unfortunately he forgets to close his browser:
And when he gets back to work he finds out he's fired.
Oh, and what good is an electronically-activated bike lock if you can't share your bike?
See? John likes to share:
(17:22? That's not even a real time!)
His friend is pleased:
And then John sends her another message:
(Hint: it's his penis.)
No biggie, she's cool with it.
So she bends over to unlock the bike:
Though she keeps the phone in position:
And fires off a shot of her own:
All this from the twisted and sick minds of these two individuals:
Appalling. Totally appalling.