"No two salads are alike."
Like Pete Seeger, I live in a log cabin by the Hudson River. Every morning, I wake up, split a bunch of logs with my Rivendell axe, and then I head down to the riverbank and practice my banjo or banjo-like thing:
My favorite part of that song is the gentle sound of falling rain.
I mean blood. Because it's raining blood.
Once I've completed my morning chores, I head upriver for some bicycle cycling. Sometimes, if you stop and look at the city from the river's edge, you can imagine what it will look like in a thousand years when it's dead and empty--a crusty, brittle cold sore on the toxic mouth of the poisonous Hudson:
And yesterday was actually a "nice" day, with temperatures soaring way up into the mid-30s in American degrees:
Further upriver, I stopped to empty my bladder atop a steep slope, my back facing the icy waters below. As I urinated, I imagined my Sidis losing their purchase upon the frozen soil, and I could clearly picture myself spraying urine wildly in all directions like a Willie Water Bug as I tumbled.
Then my eyes alighted upon my bicycling cycle, and as I voided myself I composed an epistle to it:
Dear Generic Blue Bicycle,
I bought your frame some years ago, used and very cheaply--cheaper in fact than your crabon fork, to which I "upgraded" for no good reason other than you're supposed to upgrade to a crabon fork and this one was on sale.
You have, in the time I've owned you, paid for yourself (including all your components) at least twice over, since I told an insurance company you were "totaled" after a woman drove into me from behind on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn on the pretense that she "didn't see me," and I over-estimated your value by at least a factor of ten.
Every time I ride you, I think of the fact that you are the only bicycle I've ever owned that actually made me money. Even when I actually rode a bicycle for money as a messenger my bicycle never actually made me money, because it got stolen, and I'm fairly certain it was worth more than I ever earned in that occupation.
Also when I ride you, I think about what a ridiculous, bro-tacular, fap-fap-fapping, mutually circular wankfest bicycle marketing and reviewing is. First of all, you're made of aluminum, which means you're supposed to be "harsh," and "not durable," and other stuff like that--yet you probably ride more "smoothly" than any other bicycle I own, and you remain in fine fettle even after having multiple owners and flying around the country in a soft case and getting hit by a car.
You're also supposed to have a "flattened top tube for easier portaging," though somehow in years of cyclocross racing you never managed to sever my arm from my body while I was carrying you. You don't have disc brakes, yet somehow you still manage to stop effectively in all weather. You're supposed to be made of crabon, yet somehow you're still more or less as light as my bicycle made from crabon. And you're supposed to have a "beefy" BB30 bottom bracket shell and an integrated headset--though the threaded bottom bracket shell and standard 1 1/8" headtube is, as far as I'm concerned, the very pinnacle of sporting bicycle frame "standards."
I have ridden you on pavement, I have ridden you on dirt, and I bet I could even ride you on gravel, if only I were foolhardy enough to ride on gravel surfaces without first purchasing a dedicated $7,000 gravel bike with an extra set of bottle bosses and a plastic accessory for carrying the CO2 I don't use anyway because they're stupid.
Most of all, you remind me of what a weenie I am, because there are at least three bikes I could sell and not miss because I have you, yet I persist on keeping them anyway because I'm lazy.
--Wildcat Rock Machine
Yes, I wrote all of that with pee-pee in the snow, and if you hurry northward you still may be able to read my yellow words before spring arrives and they melt into the thirsty soil.
Oh, I just remembered another thing my cheap aluminum bicycle does (or, more accurately, doesn't do), and that's the "high-speed shimmy:"
Maybe if I had a more expensive bicycle I'd get to enjoy riding a bicycle that starts oscillating wildly once it hits Fred "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo" speed, and then I'd have an excuse to buy some wheels that have been built using a Japan Robotics wheel analyzer complete with 3-axis accelerometer:
We use a Japan Robotics wheel analyzer in our building process to determine the rotational balance of the wheel. It has a 3-axis accelerometer and provides a simple, digital graph output similar to an oscilloscope. The period of rotation may be changed as well as the scale of amplitude. Furthermore, the wheel position is noted in 0.1-degree increments, so we can ‘see’ where the periodic energy is affected (nulled, or maxed).
I'm just about the world's shittiest wheelbuilder, and I use a crappy plastic stand that looks like part of a children's toy, yet whenever I've put these wheels on my cheap aluminum bicycle and approached Fred "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo" speed I've never experienced shimmy. In fact, the only time I've ever experienced it was when I was younger and stupider and way too caught up in bike racing, and I was using tubulars ostensibly for the performance benefits but really as an affectation. Anyway, I did experience speed wobble with my tubular wheels once, but I'm pretty sure it's because the tires were lumpy and I mounted them all crooked like an idiot.
Speaking of the inverse relationship between cost and performance, I just saw this on Twitter:
I talked to [redacted] and [redacted] in regards to this Shiv. The way our warranty policy is written a break resulting from trainer use would be considered an outside force. With that said it is not explicitly written in the warranty policy and there are no trainer warnings on the bike.
We all know how horrible this news is to deliver to a customer. [Redacted] will get you rolling with a goodwill frame replacement. Can you let us know what trainer the customer was using so we can relay that to our Quality Control team?
So, to recap:
Specialized Shiv, "the ultimate Tri weapon," retails for up to $11,000:
Yet evidently you shouldn't use it on a trainer, because that's an "outside force."
My guess is soon we'll see a new proprietary $1,500 Shiv-specific trainer from Specialized that will be the only one that doesn't void your warranty.
However, in fairness to Specialized, it looks like they did replace the frame anyway. I'm also amazed they offer any warranty at all on a bicycle that's ridden by triathletes, considering their renowned bike-handling skills, as evidenced by this video which I'm re-posting because I feel like it:
It looks as though the driver may not have signaled the turn, but either way, come on.