See this seal?
See how he's wearing a hat?
I know. Hilarious, right?
Well, thanks to the good people at Walz bicycle cycling head-capping hats, you too can own exactly the same one as this comical bloated pinniped!
So please order eight today, because you'll want one for each day of the week, and you'll also want an extra one so you can cut off the brim and use it as a yarmulke.
Speaking of relentless self-promotion, on Saturday, November 9th I'll be talking at the Philadelphia Bike Expo:
You don't want to miss this, if only because I'm this close [indicates tiny distance with fingers] to going Full Recluse, and this could be your last chance ever to watch me make a complete schmuck of myself.
Also, I'll try to bring some free stuff to give away.
I'm proud to say that I've spoken at every single Philly Bike Expo since Ben Franklin founded it in 1782, but I'm ashamed to say that I haven't traveled down to Philadelphia by bicycle for any of them. I'd love to say that this year will be different, and that I'll finally get it together to ride there, but knowing myself as well as I do I'd say there's a 99.999% chance I'll just say "fuck it" and drive down in The Car That I Own.
Anyway, I hear there's some gravel between here and Philly, and I don't own a dedicated gravel bike so...
In other news, last Friday I mentioned my Rapha pants have incurred a puncture in the scrotanular region:
Though in so doing they still lasted longer than my Levi's "cycling jeans," which failed right around the "pants yabbies:"
In defense of both garments, I did wear them a lot--though I wear my other non-"cycling specific" clothes a lot too, and the same thing eventually happens within approximately the same time frame, so the alleged merits of fancy bike pants are spurious at best. However, in defense of the Rapha pants, while they eventually did fail like all other pants do, my long-suffering spouse was actually disappointed when it happened because she thought they looked "good" on me. In fact, she liked them so much she suggested I attempt to repair them, but despite repeated attempts I just couldn't get my Park Tool Pre-Glued Super Patches to stick.
Even so, a garment that can remain attractive despite having my unfortunate physique stuffed into it deserves credit for that reason alone, so I figured it was worth mentioning.
In any case, it's entertaining to see how many rival fancy-pants companies have it in for Rapha, since no sooner did I mention the crotch hole than a whole slew of them (well, two) came rushing in to gloat and tout their own ostensibly superior leg-covering devices. One of these was "Osloh," an upstart clothing brand now soliciting for fundage on the Kicking Starter:
I admit I was mesmerized by the Thigh-Rubbage Cam™:
As well as the chamois with proprietary purple crotch-caressing technology:
But what the designers of Osloh jeans fail to understand is that I'm a person who's given up on life. I've given up on trying to look fashionable, I've given up on wearing special jeans for special things, and I've especially given up on operating complicated clothing with highly specific snaps and closures:
Seriously, I'm lucky if I manage to get my fly closed in the morning.
The other company that checked in was "Swrve," because leaving vowels out of your name to save weight is what all the cool clothing companies are doing now:
@bikesnobnyc Sad to see you're now riding around pants-less. We'd be honored to ensconce your booty in ours long lasting Cordua jeans.How fucked up is it that anybody wants to give an ornery, schlubby curmudgeon like me pants when there are probably people with painstakingly oiled beards who would give one of their many star tattoos for jeans like this:
— swrve (@swrve) October 15, 2013
Anyway, thanks but no thanks, everybody can keep their bikey jean-pants. I'm going back to Utilikilts and that's that:
(Thanks to Utilikilts, men no longer have to remove their pants while giving birth. Just spread 'n drop!)
Moving on to equipment, Lennard Zinn is here to tell you why you need electronic shifting for cyclocross now:
I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I miss the days (and they weren't too long ago) when cyclocross was still a "just show up with whatever and have fun" kind of thing. On the other hand, one of my favorite forms of cycling prose is the you-have-to-have-this-one-incredibly-expensive-piece-of-equipment-because-it-could-theoretically-be-advantageous-in-one-highly-specific-scenario genre:
A couple of weekends ago, we had a race here at the nearby Flatirons Mall on a grassy hillside above the Denver-Boulder Turnpike. One corner was an uphill buttonhook around a tree after dropping off of a downhill sidewalk and descending along the sidehill. I noticed most riders in my category repeatedly pumping their lever to shift from their smallest cog to their largest in anticipation of the buttonhook that required coming to a near stop and then turning sharply left uphill. They couldn’t pedal hard down toward the corner due to the decreasing gear as well as all of the hard effort from their right arm. I, on the other hand, could pedal most of the way to the corner in a high gear, and just as I started applying my brakes, I could just hold down the right downshift lever and keep turning my feet. It doesn’t require nearly the force, concentration, or time to make the shift all of the way from one end of the cogset to the other, and I closed some gaps on that downhill that way.
So yeah, you'll want to drop the five grand on that electronic Campy group just in case you ever find yourself on the "uphill buttonhook around a tree" near the Flatirons Mall in Wherever, CO.
Only problem is that sometimes when it rains it completely stops working:
With one exception, riding in rain or wet mud has also not been a problem. In a huge mountain rainstorm, my electronic system once failed and I was told by a Campagnolo representative that it would be a warranty item because the housing on the Power Unit that contains the battery must have a crack in it that allowed water in.
So yeah, rain can be a problem, but you'll make mincemeat of those "buttonhooks." Because your forearm won't be tired from all that shifting.*
*(Hint: if operating mechanical shifters is too exhausting for you, you're not wanking enough.)
Lastly, while looking for someplace to invest my most recent million I came across the Fubi:
The Fubi purports to be the world's most compact full-size folding bike, and it was invented by a Finn who has known nothing but sorrow and pain, partially because his bikes keep getting stolen, but mostly because he lives in Finland:
But instead of drowning his misery in vodka he invents Fubi, the folding bike you can fit in a tennis racket bag:
Except for the wheels, of course, but at no point in his presentation does he ever address the question of where you're supposed to put the wheels:
He does, however, show you that the bike is ideal for riding on a lovely Finnish summer day;
There's also a Fubi for Freds:
And you can even take it "offroad in the forest:"
However, the Fubi is not certified for riding on gravel surfaces, because the Fubi inventor has not yet licensed the proprietary gravel bike technology from Specialized you'll soon need in order to do so.
Anyway, one of the selling points of the Fubi is that it eliminates the embarrassment of riding on a bike with tiny wheels, though unfortunately it replaces that with the shame of riding on something that looks like it was built surreptitiously by a prisoner in his cell:
As far as the problem-which-dare-not-speak-its-name (that being "What the fuck am I supposed to do with the wheels?"), presumably someone will invent a pair of cycling pants with special wheel-carrying straps so you can just wear them around town.