Thursday, January 31, 2013

You Know, Back When I Was Your Age...

("That's one small step for man...")

I have a confession to make:


("I'm all ears," Oprah yawns.)

Remember when I said I was afraid of doing an accidental triathlon?  Well, I've already done one.  Actually, more than one.  See, back when I lived in Brooklyn, sometimes I'd ride to the beach, then when I'd get there I'd run a little bit, and then I'd jump in the ocean to cool down, and then I'd ride home again.

I feel so dirty--and a little sandy in the scranal region, too.

Anyway, if anybody wants to form some sort of truth and reconciliation committee I'll be the first one through the door, though I'll probably fall down on the way there, because that's what triathletes do.

Speaking of triathlons, a number of readers inform me that Bret finally made Triathlete magazine:

I'm not sure Bret is the best person to be giving advice on interval training, since he travels through time, and his typical workout consists of five sets of eighteen years, and his lactate threshold is eternity.  Here is GoPro footage of a Bret interval, shot from his handlebars:



The camera is left behind because he is faster than light.

(It probably won't surprise you to learn that I went to a state university, where I majored in English, and the only physics class I ever took there came on a small piece of blotter paper.)

But while Bret may flit through time like a cosmic space butterfly to a Hawkwind soundtrack, some people prefer to life eternally in the past.  Once such person is Pete Hamill's brother, who hates those darned bike lanes:


I can remember a time when anti-bike lane screeds were torpid with vitriol, but now they're just limp and perfunctory, like a drunk attempting coitus.  This particular one seems especially phoned in--and on one of those old-timey phones, no less:


When I was a kid, I built my first bike from assorted discarded parts mined from the wood bins of our tenement in Brooklyn.  It looked like Bozo the Clown’s bike. But I taught myself to ride in Prospect Park, taking several hard falls long before bike helmets were even made, never mind made mandatory.

I don't believe for a second that Pete Hamill's brother built a bike from crap he found in the basement.  However, I do believe he inhaled too much paint thinner down there and galloped around the neighborhood astride a broom, and that he thought he had built a bike.  I suppose in that sense he can be forgiven for the fib.  In any case, the paint thinner and the helmentless falls would go a long way towards explaining the rest of the article.


Soon I was hired as a butcher’s delivery boy, and I pushed an industrial bike with a basket sometimes filled with more than 100 pounds of meat to homes from Flatbush Ave. to Green-Wood Cemetery.

I discovered a lifelong work ethic on that bike. I fought for my place in my city in the clanking, horn-blaring urban traffic. We didn’t need no stinking bicycle lanes. We blazed our own trails.

Firstly, Mario Cipollini owns the phrase "One Hundred Pounds Of Meat," and Pete Hamill's brother can expect to hear from his lawyers any day now.  Secondly, did any of these "epic" meat runs happen to occur during blizzards--those same blizzards through which he had to walk 14 miles to school every day while carrying the entire Encyclopedia Britannica?  I'm guessing so.  Of course, it is worth noting that part of the reason he didn't need any stinking bike lanes is that people were more considerate in those days, there were fewer cars, and it's simply not as deadly to get hit by a Model T or a horse and buggy.


Anyway, I was driving my car recently along Prospect Park West, once a majestic three-lane, mile-long esplanade from one war memorial to the other. Now it’s like squeezing yourself through a crinkled tube of toothpaste.

No it isn't.  I think he's confused and is actually describing how it feels when he tries to urinate.  I would suggest Flomax.

The yuppie-ki-yay bike lane, where kids dressed like hockey goalies pedal in a danger-free fantasy lane, has literally painted car traffic into two lanes.

Dressed like hockey goalies?  What the hell is he talking about?!?  In Brooklyn, they're dressed like Audrey Hepburn--unless he just happened to see some kids who were actually riding to a hockey game, which is entirely possible.


If you hit the lottery and see 10 feet of free space in the parking lane, you can no longer use the curb to guide your parallel parking. No, the curb is reserved as a barrier reef for the Hipster Highway for Richie Rich on his $1,500 Lance Armstrong Doperacer.

OK, so far he's referenced Bozo the Clown and Richie Rich, and his most up-to-date reference is Lance Armstrong.  Plus, if he can't park his car without a curb, he's cleary one of those drivers who parallel parks like a drunk attempting coitus (yes, I recycle my similies, it's better for the environment).  We've all watched in amusement as people like this approach a space at a wild angle, pinch the tire on the curb, try it again, grind their rim, and keep repeating the process until they eventually give up and drive away.  It's pretty obvious at this point that Pete Hamill's brother should have moved to Florida ten years ago, where he can impress the retirees with his fresh pop cultural references and tall tales of meat delivery.


News flash: Life ain’t a smooth sail, kiddos! There’s a big crash just waiting at the end of every bike lane.

I don't know who is more annoying: the New Brooklynites who are making the place ridiculously expensive with their precious tastes, or the Old Brooklynites who who won't shut up about how people don't play stickball anymore.  Either way, this certainly falls under the latter category, and it's worth noting that Pete Hamill's brother wrote the movie "Turk 182."

Way to ruin Timothy Hutton's career.

He also wrote "Critical Condition:"


I think that speaks for itself, and the ultimate irony is that after reading Pete Hamill's article, hundreds of  precious New Brooklynites are going to start shopping for vintage meat bikes.

Speaking of Brooklyn, awhile back I mentioned a bike corral that has become a heated symbol of gentrification, and it continues to make news, assuming you call the "Brooklyn Paper" news:



Little Zelda started a counter-petition of its own to support the racks, posting it both in the store and online, and has more than 230 signatures online so far. But while Nugent-Miller collected her signatures among local residents and businesses, the pro-corral online petition includes supporters from places like Romania, Turkey, Netherlands and the Czech Republic — none of which are in biking distance of Crown Heights.

The hell they're not.  Pete Hamill's brother could ride from Romania to Crown Heights on his meat bike while carrying 100 pounds of USDA prime rib roast.  That's because he's got gumption.

Lastly, here's a disturbing PSA:


Damn shame about that sandwich.


And that apple really should have been wearing a helment.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"You Got Your Peanut Butter On My Wednesday!" "You Got Your Wednesday In My Peanut Butter!"

Yesterday I mentioned that cycling can render you physically useless once you're off the bike.  At least that's been my experience, and as a self-indulgent blogger naturally I impose my own experiences on the rest of the world.  The uselessness effect wasn't as pronounced when I was younger, but now that I'm whatever age I am I grow increasingly awkward and crablike when I don't have a pair of wheels under my crotch, and as soon as I clip out and dismount I find myself scuttling about in a stiff, contorted, and sideways fashion.*

*[This is where you tell me to get a recumbent, causing me to vomit.]

Scarier still is that the pernicious effects of years of cycling don't stop with the body, and it can also atrophy the brain.  Remember the cyclist in "Triplets of Belleville," a pair of quads with an extraneous Gumbylike body attached?


Well, the same thing can happen to your mind, and I'm here to tell you it's happened to me.  I've been a messenger.  I've been a racer.  I've been a commuter.  I know how to get around the city on a bike.  Take that bike away though and I'm a rube, as hapless as a tourist.  This is because my bikeless decision-making skills have withered through years of disuse, which I finally faced yesterday when I had an appointment in Manhattan, ventured there without a bike, and kept getting hit with the "stupid tax."

While my new mansion is quite convenient to the subway, once in awhile I like to "class it up" by taking a shower and riding the Metro North commuter train.  Unfortunately, it turns out that when you take me off a bike and put me on rails I turn into an idiot.  Arriving in Grand Central, I thought "I should pick up a Metro North bike permit," which I did.  After purchasing it, I discovered that the Long Island Rail Road bike permit I already had is good for the Metro North too, and indeed they're the exact same permit, and in fact my LIRR permit says "Metro North" on it in really big letters, which I noticed when I put my new Metro North pass in my wallet and there was one exactly like it already there.  So essentially, I paid a stupid tax of five dollars.

Stupid Tax #1: $5

[I'm actually into the MTA for at least $15 in bike passes at this point, since I ripped up my last LIRR bike permit and threw it in a fit of pique when a conductor tossed me off the train somewhere around Hampton Bays for bringing a bicycle on a peak train.  I was too angry to think about it at the time, but it was obviously my fault for boarding the wrong train, and as I showered the train car with confetti I probably looked like a more Fredly Rip Taylor.  However, that loss happened in a different fiscal year so it doesn't count.]

Next, I went somewhere to do some stuff before my appointment, and then I got caught up in that stuff and realized I was going to be late for my appointment, and because I was running late and I'm a member of the 1% I said "fuck it" and hailed a taxicab, and then I got in the taxicab and told the driver where to go, and then I got wrapped up in a phone call like a douchebag, and then we got to my destination, I got out, and the driver pulled away, at which point I realized I had given him the wrong intersection and was now over four crosstown blocks away from where I needed to be--nearly as far, in fact, as I had been when I hailed the taxicab in the first place, rendering the entire ride moot.

Stupid Tax #2: $7

By the way, I realize what that sounds like, but my appointment was not at a questionable massage parlor.

After my appointment, I bought lunch, and only after opening and drinking from my Snapple did I realize I had bought the diet by accident.  Disgusting.  I don't even know how much the Snapple cost because I'm a member of the 1% and don't pay attention to that stuff, but it was midtown so let's just say it was $1.75--and I'm not the kind of person who tops a Snapple back up with water, pretends never to have opened it, and asks to exchange it.

Stupid Tax #3: $1.75

Sure, you might argue I'd have paid that stupid tax whether I rode or I didn't, but I suspect the reason for the error was that I'd already been rattled by my previous errors and that my judgment was impaired.

TOTAL STUPID TAX: $13.75

Sure, that may not sound like a lot, but over time it starts to add up.  Also, that doesn't even factor in train fare, or all the other stupid taxes I pay without even realizing it because I'm too stupid to notice.  Essentially, it cost me at least $26 not to ride my bike yesterday, and I'm deeply unsettled by the fact that without a bicycle I'm merely a moronic crab that constantly leaks small amounts of money.

Then again, when I was younger I paid stupid tax even for riding a bicycle.  For example, I actually bought a pair of Ksyriums when they first came out.  They cost me pretty much all the money I had, and I think they lasted about a year.  Plus, I'm saving a huge amount of stupid tax by no longer living in Brooklyn, where the marginal stupid tax rate is something like 75%.  (Coming soon: luxury condos on the Gowanus!  Watch dolphins die from your Juliet balcony!)  So I guess stupid tax is all relative.  In any case, as a card-carrying member of the 1% (my card is a million dollar bill), I blame Obama.

Speaking of shakedowns, various non-ironic cyclocross world championship races are taking place in Louisville through the weekend, and apparently USA Cycling is requiring pit volunteers for the masters racers to buy $60 racing licenses:


I'm not really up on the rules so I have no idea if this the way it's always been.  I did check both the USA Cycling and UCI rulebooks, and I didn't find anything on the subject in the 45 seconds before I fell asleep.  Nevertheless, I'm not sure why you need a USA Cycling license to hand somebody a bike, though maybe the plan is to subject the pit crew to doping tests, which would probably result in a lot of suspensions.  I did find this in the USA Cycling rulebook, though:


1E3.  Road Downgrades
(a) A rider who wishes to downgrade may request a 
downgrade online. Such requests will be evaluated 
individually. 
(b) In no case will a rider be allowed to downgrade to 
category 5.

That is really going to put a damper on my racing plans for 2014, which I've already dubbed "Operation Sandbag."  I guess my only alternative at this point is to establish another identity complete with social security number, passport, and so forth, and use that to get a Cat 5 license.  Then again, there's always the ultimate downgrade, which is Cat 6 racing, and USA Cycling doesn't require a license for that...yet.

Actually, if you think about it, USA Cycling has a lot in common with the Hasidic Modesty Squads of Brooklyn, in that both shake down insular groups of people who wear strange clothes:


The Brooklyn shopkeeper was already home for the night when her phone rang: a man who said he was from a neighborhood “modesty committee” was concerned that the mannequins in her store’s window, used to display women’s clothing, might inadvertently arouse passing men and boys.

I don't have to tell you what a turn-on mannequins clad in long, drab clothing can be, which is why you'll often find large groups of men and boys pleasuring themselves in front of these sorts of storefronts.  Yes, things can get pretty steamy in the Hasidic part of town:

But many Hasidim say they have seen or heard how a shadowy group of men seeks to pressure parents to rein in children who wear dresses too short or stockings too thin, or who chat on cellphones with friends of the opposite sex. One family reported being harassed because the wife had stepped outdoors with a robelike housecoat rather than a long dress.


I'll never forget the day Mrs. Margolis stepped outside in her robelike housecoat.  It was easily the most erotic experience of my life.  Just thinking about what lay beneath that housecoat (specifically, a body that had squeezed out eleven children) still makes my payos stand on end.

By the way, like the Hasidim, I also deny that I am part of this so-called "squad of enforcers:"

But Hasidim interviewed said squads of enforcers did exist in wildcat form.

Though I do think Modesty Squad would be a good name for one of those '80s-style ska/hardcore bands.  They could open for Operation Sandbag.  I'd imagine more people would go see that show than will watch the Tour de France this year.  Really, given all the controversy I'm surprised the organizers haven't just given up at this point.  It's clear from the promotional materials that they're just phoning it in anyway:


Sadly they've been forced to resort to stock photography since there's not a single Tour de France rider who hasn't been implicated in a drug scandal.

Lastly, yesterday I was also talking about the apocalypse, and I'm pleased to report I recently received a promotional email from a company that's already betting we're going to revert to the barter system:

I’m thrilled to be letting you know we're actually launching TIMEREPUBLIK, the first online, non-monetary based community where people exchange services, each offering his or her own skills in exchange for time you can use to get something else done.

Before the Internet, that was called "family and friends."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Run Away! Instinct of Survival

Recently I was reading the Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company's bicycle permit regulations, and  here is how they define a bicycle:

Definition: A bicycle is a single-seat, human powered, two wheeled vehicel with a wheel diameter not in excess of 27 inches.  No mopeds, mini-bikes, motorbikes or motor scooters.

I was particularly incensed by the draconian wheel diameter limitation, to which I have the following reply:



Also, what's that crap about a bicycle only having one seat?  Are they trying to tell me I can't ride the train with my "retambent?"


That's some bullshit right there.  I'd threaten to take by business elsewhere, but the Long Island Railroad's rules are even worse:

Types of Bicycles: Single rider bicycles only; No tandem, motorized, or three wheeled bikes; no protrusions which could cause injury or damage.  Maximum bicycle dimensions are 80" long x 48" high.  Bikes must be clean and free of excessive dirt and grease at all times.  Cyclist mus have a suitable elastic cord to secure the bike on the train.

That "free of excessive dirt and grease at all times" thing is a total dealbreaker, because each and every one of my bicycles is filthy at all times.  Never trust anybody with a clean bicycle.  It means they're hiding something and most likely suffer from Lady Macbeth syndrome.  Who has the cleanest bicycles?  Roadies.  And they're all on drugs.  Think about it.  Also, the "no protrusions which could cause injury or damage" thing is kind of ridiculous, since pretty much every part of a bicycle is a protrusion which can cause injury or damage, and I have the scabs on my shins to prove it.  If you remove every dangerous protrusion from a bicycle, you wind up with this:


No thank you.

By the way, yesterday I mentioned bicycles and the apocalypse, and a reader was kind enough to forward the following article:



I'm reading some after-the-electromagnetic pulse disaster novels where the electric grid has collapsed. Lots of people walking home or fleeing home on foot. In the vast majority of these novels there is no mention of any means of human transportation between a car and walking. So some guy has to walk home hundreds or thousands of miles across a post-apocalyptic landscape to get back to his family. Every person he comes across either is on foot or has some Mad Max truck fuel. What's with that?

In my opinion, the answer to this is very simple: Most Americans would rather perish than ride a bicycle.  It's a fate worse than death.  Therefore, if you're going for realism in your post-apocalyptic fiction naturally you're going to omit them.  Maybe--maybe--you have a scene in which someone's getting attacked by some post-nuclear zombies, and he looks at a bicycle, then he looks at the zombies, then he looks back at the bicycle, and finally instead of fleeing on it he surrenders himself to the zombies and lets them eat him alive.  Even in real-life disasters people only ride bicycles for as long as they have to and not a second more.  Sure, after Supercane Hurristorm Sandy there was a temporary uptick in bike commuters in New York City, but vastly more people chose to wait on line for gas for 12 hours instead.  I'd wager that most Sandy bike commuters pretend it never happened, like some ill-advised drunken liaison or that one time they ate horse in Belgium.

It is worth mentioning though that there was a shopping cart in Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," and it is pretty easy to graft a bike onto one of those:


Naturally though they didn't, because it would have diluted the effect of the shopping cart as a metaphor for consumerism.

Scranus.

Speaking of survival, I've recently been coming to terms with how ill-suited to it I really am.  In particular, like many cyclists, I am physically completely useless without a bicycle.  Sure, at any given time I can manage a hundred mile ride without too much trouble or preparation, but once you take that bike away I'm utterly helpless.  More to the point, I can't run.  At all.  This is pathetic, since running is our most basic means of danger avoidance.  Sure, maybe if a lunatic came at me the burst of adrenaline might carry me for a block or two, but what about a post-apocalyptic scenario where mutants have already stolen my bicycle and my own two feets are my only remaining mode of transport?  Shouldn't I at least be able to manage a brisk interborough trot in the interest of self-preservation?

Therefore, in a sad burst of stereotypical midlife shame over my body's depressing lack of functionality, I've resorted to running every now and again, during which I listen exclusively to this:



Sure, there were times in the past when I would run every now and again under the delusion that it would help me in cyclocross (it didn't, because when you suck, you suck, and I suck) but now I've been doing it just to do it, and I'm concerned about two things: 1) My knees possibly falling off, because they hurt; and 2) One day accidentally doing a triathlon.  Obviously, it's that second one that's the scariest.  Now don't get me wrong, I certainly don't plan to ever do a triathlon intentionally, but what happens if through no fault of my own or some bad planning I end up riding, swimming, and running all on the same day?  Right now I feel like I'm messing around with two out of three ingredients in a triathlon, and if that third one falls into the mix somehow it will become volatile and I'll perish in an explosion of tri-dorkitude.

Still, the fact is that as the years go by you do all sorts of things you never thought you'd do, like running, or spraypainting your bald spot with barbecue grill paint, or participating a Gran Fondo--which I did last fall to my lasting shame.  Even so, it's very unlikely that I'll do the Gran Fondo New York, though I did just receive a press release informing me that it's now the Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York:



The Gran Fondo New York is of course most famous for the fact that they tested for drugs last year and caught some sad Fred doping.  It also costs $250, and between you and me, for only $175 I'll be happy to take you on the same route.  Sure, you won't have a state-of-the-art timing chip, but there will be numerous "shaming climbs" during which I remind you of how badly you suck.  (Provided I can keep up with you, which I almost assuredly can't.)  Also, while I don't actually have drug testing equipment, you're more than welcome to pee in a cup anyway.  Best of all, each participant in my gran Fondo gets a jersey.  Unfortunately, it's this one, and you'll have to order it from Nashbar and pay for it yourself.

And if I get dropped or simply decide to turn around and go home, there will be no refunds.

Lastly, on the subject of survival, subway deaths have been in the news quite a bit recently, and due to the public outcry there is now talk of installing sliding doors on the platforms:


Before we get to the MTA's plans, let's quickly look at the stats you are most interested in—how often do people actually get hit by the subway. And the answer, in 2012 at least, was 141 times. Of those incidents 51 were people who "contacted a moving train while on the platform," 54 were incidents were a passenger was "stuck on the tracks," 33 were suicides or attempted suicides and three were cases were a customer fell between cars.

Interestingly, the MTA is considering a safety measure that would cost $1 billion.  Meanwhile, 176 cyclists and pedestrians were killed in traffic in New York City during fiscal year 2012.  Practically none of which were suicides, though arguably many of them were homicides, even if the police dismissed them with their standard response of "no criminality."  I suppose to some degree bike lanes and pedestrian plazas are the equivalent of sliding doors in that they are meant to make the roads safer, though I still find it odd there's not a similar public outcry over the dangers of private cars.

I'm surprised nobody has suggested that subway riders should wear helments.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's Not The Size Of The Commute, It's What You Do With It That Counts

(Who's the dorky time-traveling Fred who's a sex machine to all the chicks?  [Bret!]  You're damn right.)

Hi!  Welcome to [insert blog name here].  Today's post is pretend-sponsored by Miller's Honey, the world's first all-natural taintally-applied all-in-one energy food and chamois cream!  It's the perfect goop for that "epic" ride--and speaking of epic riding, this past Sunday, the New York Times explored the strange and expensive world of Long Distance Fred Commuting:


If you're excited by lengthy descriptions of Freds sensually donning hundreds of dollars of technical garments then read on:

Having sheathed his legs in NASA-worthy Capo bib shorts — woven from high-tech fibers that compress leg muscles to minimize fatigue — he pulled on a pair of winter cycling tights lined with fleece from the waist to the thighs. Next came over-the-calf Smartwool ski socks under Sidi Genius 5.5 shoes strategically packed with chemical toe warmers. To shield his torso, he wore a wool base layer under an Italian long-sleeve racing jersey, and a windproof vest reinforced in front to block freezing gusts and meshed in the back to vent excess heat. On his head, an Assos Fuguhelm racing cap with vents on top to minimize sweating, and a pair of Oakley Jawbones sunglasses. The final touch: a pair of $19 insulated work gloves, coated with beeswax to make them water resistant.

Fastening his helmet, Mr. Edstrom stepped outside and into early-morning indigo. In a minute he was rolling down the driveway of his snow-covered Cape-style house, his headlights aglow, on a 40-mile journey to his workplace, JPMorgan, at One Chase Manhattan Plaza, a trip he would make entirely on a Zanconato cyclocross bicycle.

That passage was an excerpt from the upcoming erotic novel, "Fifty Shades of Fred," which will be published by Rodale in Spring of this year.

Certainly a 30-mile commute can be a good way to squeeze in those winter base miles, though I'm not sure why you'd elect to do it on a folding bike:

The second query was from Scott Bernstein, an electrophysiologist and assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine, who commutes 30 miles on a collapsible bike from his home in Tarrytown to his office at NYU Langone Medical Center at First Avenue and 34th Street.

“As long as it’s at least 10 degrees, I ride,” Dr. Bernstein said.

I realize that boasting about your temperature threshold is an essential part of Long Distance Fred Commuting, but if I had to commute from Tarrytown to 34th Street and it was 10 degrees outside I'd collapse the shit out of that bike and ride the Metro North instead.  What does he do when it's actually warm outside?  How does he prove himself then?  Does he ride his folding bike while wearing nothing except a Terry bolero like some sort of Naked Matador of Smugness?


(Forwarded to me by a reader.)

Then again, he is a man of science, so he might just mean 10 degrees Celsius, in which case big freaking deal.

Speaking of thresholds, by now you've no doubt seen the "bicycle barometer:"



The bicycle barometer takes data about the weather, the status of the tube lines I use to get to work, and whether my local station is open or shut.

It then reduces all that data down to a single value and displays it on a dial with a bike sign at one end and a tube sign at the other.

Meanwhile, a similarly clever Portland bike commuter has created a "smugness assist" that actually pats you on the back as you ride, and you can see his invention here.  He's also working on a dynamo hub that powers a handlebar-mounted speaker which constantly reminds you of how special you are.  Expect the Kickstarter fundraising campaign soon.

Anyway, I enjoyed the Long Distance Fred Commuting article, and perhaps one day the New York Times will explore an even more ridiculous group of commuters--people who travel to work in Manhattan via car.

Lunatics.

In other New York City-related news, a mass email I received from some guided tour company declares the Brooklyn Bridge to be the 8th most romantic spot in New York City:



If your idea of romance is having "Stay out of the bike lane!" shouted at you by an endless procession of self-important brownstone-dwelling bicycle commuters then by all means, grab the old ball and chain and shuffle on up there.  And if you're wondering what the number one most romantic spot in New York City is, it's apparently the whispering gallery at Grand Central:


As for the most popular romantic utterance in the whispering gallery, it's a tie between "Will you marry me?" and "I have a boner," though if you listen closely you might get to hear Toronto mayors Robs Fords opining about "Orientals:"


The afore-linked article was forwarded to me by a reader, and while I've enjoyed following Fords' exploits over the years I have to admit that I'm totally over them now that Gawker has picked up on them.  In this sense Robs Fords are the fixie bike of shitty mayors, so naturally I will now move on to the cyclocross bike of shitty mayors, whoever that might be.

Of course, any fashion-conscious cyclist knows that cyclocross bikes are also passé.  Indeed, the real bike of the moment is the "fat bike," and here is one that was spotted recently by a reader in Michigan:


Carrying a snow bike on a convertible is like wearing one of those crazy Russian fur hats with a pair of flip flops.  In this case it seems like it would make more sense to use the bike to carry the car.

Lastly, there's apparently a group of people out there who are more dorky than cyclists, and they're called the "preppers:"

It's tempting to think that cyclists would make good preppers, since few modes of transportation are more efficient or less dependent on a functioning infrastructure than the bicycle.  However while this may be true of the bicycles, it is not true of cyclists, and any attempt at post-apocalyptic survival would be doomed by endless debates about appropriate post-nuclear tire pressure or whether disc brakes or rim brakes are better suited to loaded fleeing.

We are so screwed.


Friday, January 25, 2013

BSNYC Friday Repository of the Sum of All Human Knowledge!

Okay, I don't have a lot of time, and you don't have a lot of time, so let's get right to it.

Just kidding!


(Just kidding.)

I actually have tons of time because I don't really do anything.  Sure, I'll do a little artisanal fathering now and again, and once in awhile I might get it it together to make a sandwich, but that's about it.  Really, the only time my life gets even remotely complicated is when I try to hold a cup of coffee and my smartphone at the same time, which is why I'm very glad these guys are solving my one and only problem by inventing this:


Uppercup - The first cupholder for the iPhone. Order yours now at: indiegogo.com/uppercup from Natwerk on Vimeo.

A reader recently forwarded me this invention, and while it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with bikes, it does have a lot to do with being really stupid, so I figure it's fair game.  Also, I'd be very grateful if someone could explain this guy's pants to me:


They look like a stained glass window recreated in velvet.

The inventors of the Uppercup are Frank and Reuben:


These are the guys who are going to make the ledge and very probably all other flat surfaces on which you might otherwise rest a cup of coffee obsolete, so remember their names.  Just so you don't forget, that's Frank:


And Reuben:


I'm thinking about maybe getting it together to make a sandwich a little later, except all I have in the fridge is caviar and duck fat.

Anyway, be sure to invest in the Uppercut if you're too much of a "woosie" to simply rest your coffee on the hood of somebody's parked car.

Also, in other reader-forwarded news, Mario Cipollini has gone into the ladies' clothing business, with predictable results:


That top is called the "Nippollini."

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 know, and if you're wrong you'll see recumbents on ice.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and watch out for thin ice.


--Wildcat Rock Machine




(The Bloomberg soda ban would put an end to the enormous beverages LeMond enjoyed throughout his career.)

1) Greg LeMond appeared in an advertisement for which fast food chain?

--Taco Bell
--Arby's
--Long John Silver's
--Artie O'Sclerosis and Angie O'Plastie's Irish-American Burger Chalet






(Mario Cipollini's body is fluent in the language of love.)

2) Bicycling recently analyzed the body language Lance Armstrong used during his interview with Oprah Winfrey.  Which of the following behaviors was not included in the analysis?

--"Inappropriate nodding"
--"Teeth-baring"
--"Jaw and neck tension"
--"Involuntary nipple secretions"






3) Suspended pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer recently took part in:

--An alleycat
--An unsanctioned mountain bike ride
--A "Wolfpack Hustle"
--A game of "USADA Reasoned Decision beach volleyball" with fellow suspended riders Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Michael Barry, Christian Vande Velde, and Tom Danielson







("Come on, I'm late for a stock photography shoot!")

4) Drivers cover what percentage of US road spending?

--100%
--75%
--50%
--5%






"Well that's a myth. I never actually raced against Lance Armstrong. In my whole reign [sic] really. I raced once against him in the Criterium International 2004, never at the Tour de France... um yeah so that was the only time really."

5) Bradley Wiggins does not remember racing against Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France.

--True






“That was the thing that upset me the most about 2009 and 2010. I thought, ‘you lying bastard.’ I can still remember going toe-to-toe with him, watching him and his body language. The man I saw at the top of Verbier in 2009 to the man I saw on the top of Ventoux two weeks later, it wasn’t the same bike rider. Watch the videos and see the way the guy was riding. I just don’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth anymore."

6) Not only does Bradley Wiggins remember racing against Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France, but he totally knew he was doping.

--True






(Steampunk Garmin)

7) Cyclists of the future will navigate cities by using:




***Special Bret-Inspired Career Choice-Themed Bonus Question***



Make a difference with a career in:



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wurst Fajita Ever: Freeloaders of the World Unite

In yet another stunning pro cycling revelation, it appears that three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond may have been involved in a Taco Bell commercial during the height of his career:



This was not long after Taco Bell introduced America to the fajita, widely regarded as the EPO of ersatz Mexican food.  "Think of it as a Mexican steak sandwich," Taco Bell explained helpfully in the commercial, leading to widespread fears that the fajita was going to steal jobs from hardworking American steak sandwiches.  Nevertheless, the peloton embraced the fajita, and its use was widespread until 2008, when two Slipstream-Chipotle riders where killed in a tragic Tour of California podium fart-and-fall:


Since then, the UCI's "flatulence passport" has gone a long way towards reducing fajita use in the pro ranks, though a code of "omerta" still reigns, and the prevailing attitude in the peloton is still very much "Whoever smelt it, dealt it."

Speaking of eating, Jan Ullrich still ain't talkin':


(Talk about a rundfahrt!  Nobody put away the fajitas like Ullrich.)

He may break wind, but he's not breaking his silence:


While Armstrong admitted his doping past in an interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey earlier this month, Ullrich refuses to break his silence.

"I will certainly not go Armstrong's way and speak in front of millions of people, even if some of them ask me repeatedly and perhaps expect to hear something," Ullrich told Focus magazine. "I live in the here and now and I am very happy." 

Yeah, right.  I give him two weeks before he's on German Oprah:


(German Oprah is way more fun than American Oprah.)


Or maybe German Ellen:


(German Ellen is way more homoerotic than American Ellen.)

Or maybe even German "The View:"


(German "The View" is much less menopausal than American "The View.")

Ullrich may already be a member of the clean plate club, but it may finally be time for him to join the clean conscience club.


("I'm eating my guilt in wurst form!")

Speaking of gas, you know how some drivers think it's all right to run you off the road since they pay for it and you don't?  Well, that's not exactly how it works:

Unfortunately it's far too difficult to convey all of this information during a roadside altercation in which words are at a premium, so if you're looking for effective shorthand just stick with calling the driver a "freeloading cocksucker."  That should go a long way towards diffusing the situation.

By the way, a few days ago I was DRIVING MY CAR THAT I OWN (unlike David Byrne and exactly like the freeloading cocksucker that I am) and I was waiting at a red light.  In front of me was a woman in a BMW, and in front of her was someone who didn't realize you could make a right turn on red at this particular intersection.  First, the woman in the BMW started beeping like a lunatic.  Then, the light finally turned green and she sped off, nearly hitting a very startled woman in the crosswalk who still had the "walk" signal.  After that, she pursued and deliberately cut off the driver who had "delayed" her for what amounted to maybe nine seconds.  

As it happened, moments later, the woman in the BMW and I ended up parking almost right next to each other.  Sliding out the window of my General Lee replica, I then approached her and politely pointed out that she could have easily killed the woman in the crosswalk.  The bullet points of her defense were as follows:
  • The woman she almost hit should not have been "standing in the middle of the street."
  • She herself was "Not from around here."  (Her license plate said that she was from Connecticut, where presumably it is okay to run down pedestrians in crosswalks.  I recommended she go back where she came from.  She did not like that, even though it was good advice.)
  • Anyway, I should leave her alone because her kids were in the car.  (Apparently they have the emotional fortitude to witness road rage and homicidal driving, but not neighborly concern.)
  • I should "Go to hell."
With that, she slammed her car door and strode angrily into Talbots:



I guess I can't blame her for almost running somebody over, because that's a great fucking deal on some cardigans.

Anyway, if you're also flush with cardigan savings, you may want to take advantage of a unique investment opportunity to which I was recently alerted by the inventors:



Basically, it appears to be a social networking bicycle app designed to transform unwitting victims into vampires.  I was immediately suspicious when I met the head of "business development:"


That guy is so a vampire.  Anybody who wears a bowtie is a vampire.

Next, my suspicions were confirmed when the subject of the video rode down a flight of steps:


And then encountered two figures standing before a mysterious statue:


Who slowly turn, revealing the bloodlust in their eyes;


We don't actually see the attack, but this guy has obviously just been bitten and is now undergoing the process of vampirification:


And this guy's not even trying:


Invest at your own risk.