Monday, January 6, 2014

Trimming The Fat: It's Snowing, Deal With It

Here in New York we're in the middle of the winter wash cycle.  The powdered detergent has been added in the form of a shitload of snow, and now we're in "rinse" as a steady rain washes it away.  Then tomorrow comes the spin cycle, when we're supposed to feel the effects of the "polar vortex" (which sounds like some sort of crank-based power meter), which ideally will freeze the ground back into some semblance of rideability.

Of course, like any bike dork, when there's 10 inches of snow on the ground (that's 25.4 centimeters, or roughly 50 Cipollini phalluses), I find myself wondering if I should get a so-called "fat bike" so that I can continue to ride uninterrupted.  The fat bike, as I'm sure you're aware, has already reached complete "fixification," inasmuch as it passes the Bike Trend Litmus Test by satisfying the following criteria:

People With Fat Bikes Won't Shut Up About It

They just won't.  If I could invent an app that gave you an electrical shock every time you tweeted about your goddamn fat bike you can be sure I would.

The Wall Street Journal Has Written About It

Bikes have long been called "the new golf," and if so then the fat bike must be the new Big Bertha, because check this out:


They even included the requisite automotive metaphors for the hedge fund set:

"Fat bikes," as this class of cycle is commonly called, are the Hummers of the two-wheeler world. 

What they failed to mention, however, is that you can fit an entire Dorothy Rabinowitz inside the tire of a fat bike.  As I read this, I had a vivid fantasy of Ms. Rabinowitz "accidentally" winding up inside one of the tires of a Wall Street Journal test bike and only being discovered after the tester removed it to repair a flat after a particularly rocky descent.  (Inside a fat bike tire, nobody can hear you scream.)  It would be sort of like when they open those shipping containers and find a bunch of suffocated stowaways, except you wouldn't feel particularly bad for the victim.

(I'm just kidding about the above, of course.  Obviously it's completely unrealistic since there's no way a Wall Street Journal employee could possibly repair a flat tire.)

Walmart Will Sell You A Cheap One

Yup, they most certainly will:


(Shipped direct from China, please check your tires for stowaways before riding.)

Oh, and on top of all that there's at least one fat bike world championships, so there you go.

Despite all this, as soon as I find myself pondering fat bike ownership, I stop myself and scream "NO!," which my fellow subway passengers pretend not to notice. It would be one thing if I lived in one of those places with really severe winters, where having a fat bike and not having one is the difference between riding and not riding for like six months.  However, I live in New York City, and while our winters are pretty tough compared to, say, Portland's, there are really only a couple weeks a year when the snow actually keeps you from riding a "normal" bicycle.  Even after a blizzard it's rarely more than a few days before you can at least ride around in circles in the park to keep yourself from going crazy, and as much as I hate to admit it all our car traffic means most streets are usually passable in short order.

More than this, though, is that at this point in my life I recognize the importance of actually listening to the weather when it says "don't ride."  I mean seriously, give it a rest once in awhile and get a life.  As the owner of a human child I take great pleasure in creating the memories he will cherish later in life.  That's why when it snows I want him to remember us doing stuff like sledding, and building snowmen, and chucking snowballs at cars and old people.  What I don't want him to remember is his father pedaling away into a blizzard on a stupid fat bike like an idiot, disappearing for five hours at a time to ride like three miles.


(One day your child will have a tattoo of this bike that says, "Daddy didn't love me.")

I mean, sure, if he wants to ride a fat bike when he gets older we can do that together, but to be perfectly honest I'd rather him spend his snowstorms taking out old people with snowballs until he's at least 20.

So yeah, while I begrudge no bike dork his fat bike, I'm fine with having way too many bikes and being able to ride like 99% of the time instead of 100% of the time.

At the same time, I also realize that the rides I do take need to count.  Physically speaking I've crested the climb and am now zipping up for the final descent.  From here on in I only get fatter, balder, slower, smellier, and sicker.  Really, the best I can hope for is a few decades of false flat before I really start to plummet.  Therefore, I've got to pick my rides with care.  Why sit there gasping at the back of the pack in a race (and pay to do so no less!) when I can ride alone, enjoy the view, and stop whenever I want to indulge my increasingly frequent need to urinate?  Why abandon my family during a snowstorm to ride when I can instead abandon them on a beautiful day?

Furthermore, after last Thursday's post, I realized I have to change my approach to helping my fellow cyclists while I'm out riding.  Until now I've always stopped and offered help to any cyclist standing on the side of the road, and while I'm always irritated when they actually accept it I always do whatever I can, even if I scowl while I do it and then mock them later on the Internet.  Going forward though I think I'm going to have to limit these time-consuming interactions, since I'm becoming increasingly aware of the fact that every ride could be my last.

Of course, when you see some Fred standing there helplessly, most of the time the problem is a flat tire, and I've decided that I will not help you with your puncture if you are guilty of any of the following:

You Do Not Have A Pump

A lot of Freds now seem to think they can carry a CO2 inflator instead of a pump, and I know this because of all the times I've stopped for somebody who's got a long story about how he put in a new tube and then his CO2 accidentally discharged like a premature ejaculator at a strip club so now he has no way to put air in his tire.  Why would you ever set out on a ride without a bottomless source of air?  If you like to limit your fun to the contents of a gas canister then take up SCUBA.

You Do Not Have A Spare Tube

Now that's just stupid.  What are you thinking?

You Do Not Have A Spare Tube Because You've Gone To "Road Tubeless," The System Which Has Made Flats A Thing Of The Past, Except Now You Have One And You Have No Way To Fix It And You Can't Even Get The Tire Off The Rim Because The Bead Is Too Tight

Ha, ha!  See ya!

You Do Not Have Patches

So you have a pump, and you have a spare tube, and then you install the spare tube and get a flat again because you didn't get the piece of whatever out of the tire.  Congratulations.  Only having one tube and no patches is no better than only having a CO2 inflator.

So not only will I not help you, but I will also take one of the patches from my unsightly saddle bag and eat it right in front of you before riding away.

Anyway, I think this is a pretty good start, and given that this describes most of the flat tire scenarios I encounter I may very well may never have to stop again.

120 comments:

Santa said...

boosh!
hi y'all!
XOXOXOXOXXO

babble on said...

Woooot! Good day!

Vernal Magina said...

holy phuck, podium.

Anonymous said...

Whoosh!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

It's too cold today. I drove the car I own.

Pablo Fleece said...

I thought Patches was a clown?

babble on said...

You're still a licensed racer in your heart of hearts if never stopping again is your aim.

Anonymous said...

tops

babble on said...

And this year, my aim is to honor my inner dirty girl.
No bike messenger shit.

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yeah Cleveland! said...

Hmmm... Yummy patches.
I thought Robin Williams was Patches was a clown.

JLRB said...

All of the above reasons for not helping a stranded cyclist do not apply if said cyclist is a hottie.

Oink and Have a nice Day!

streepo said...

scranus

ubercurmudgeon said...

I thought Rip Torn was Patches

McFly said...

I taught my boy and his buds how to play nickel poker this weekend. We really do enjoy the quality time and "WILL YOU PUT THAT DANG PHONE DOWN AND LOOK AT YOUR CARDS PLEASE?" aside it really is fun.

streepo said...

If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball

RoadQueen said...

Present.

Happy Snot-cicles Monday. Another start of the week that's about as much fun as a pile of bikemessenger shit.

RoadQueen said...

Oh, and Top Twenty. At least that's something.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

top 19

Marcel Da Chump said...

Roll a fattie.

Anonymous said...

And you should never stop to help someone fix a flat if they have a fat bike. Those things take 30 minutes to pump up to 5psi. I can only imagine how long it would take to get up to 116.

Anonymous said...

piss stop

Anonymous said...


"Never hit anyone in anger, unless you're absolutely sure you can get away with it."

mikeweb said...

Sorry I'm late. Having a Dottie inside your tire is bad for rolling resistance.

RemedialMathBot9000 said...

“…there are really only a couple weeks a year when the snow actually keeps you from riding a "normal" bicycle….I'm fine with having way too many bikes and being able to ride like 99% of the time instead of 100% of the time.”

If “a couple” means 2 then 100 x ( 52 – 2 ) / 52 = 96%, not “like 99%”.

No need to thank me.

Anonymous said...

If you don't carry a pump, you may have to carry a scuba tank to inflate fat bike tires...

McFly said...

Babble your back side is a credit to your gender. I cannot believe you do not have 17 kids as well.

Jake Dean said...

They sell fatbikes here in Portland, but just for the irony.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...of course, if you must help repair a fat bike flat (or FBF), make sure you use a knife to remove the tire... and use a back-n-forth motion to make sure Dottie feels it.

Comment deleted said...

So a bike messenger walks into a bar and the bartender says "Why the long face?"

A day late and a dollar short, as usual.

Not McFly said...

Babble,

Nice self-underkirt shot, too.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, right, we care.

Anonymous said...

If you don't need to comment, you don't need to comment. Thanks for nothing, as usual.

Charles said...

Babs:

Those pics!! By God, those pics!!

JLRB said...

Mikeweb 12:35 - You should try the ceramic coated titanium dottie - spins up 0.03% faster as recorded on Strava

JLRB said...

Babs - No need to carry a tube, patch or pump. The rules don't apply

Anonymous said...

Wow, really? You need to get out more.

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
babble on said...

Thank you!! :D

McFly... Texas Hold-Em? My eldest (the one studying to be a doctor) is a whiz, cause his granny taught him young.

Anonydowner - take a chill pill already

Anonymous said...

OMG! You're such a tool!

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tubasti said...

Now you're getting the idea.

crosspalms said...

The weather told me not to ride today. It also said don't go to work. I listened both times. 10 below (F) right now, which I think is the forecast high for the day. Do those fat bike tires have a lot of BTUs if you burn them?

mikeweb said...

babble, all those miles on the bike-cycles are treating you well.

McFly, I believe the correct term is 'badunkadunk'. Trust me, it's a very good thing.

King Richard said...

I don't need a fat bike 'cause after looking at Babs I can ride a normal bike with a chubby.

Buffalo Bill said...

Is it wrong for me to ride without a pump if my fredly buddy (fuddy?) always has one?

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised that WSJ compared fat bikes to Hummers. After all, everyone, every guy anyway, wants a Hummer.

But then you had to go and mention Dorothy Rabinowitz in the very next sentence. The image was too graphic for my imagination and stomach. Anyway, at that point, you might as well go ahead and add gummer to hummer.

Anonymous said...

YES

Herschel Raney said...

I think fatbike tires get full inflation from a single blast from a modified fire extinguisher charge. Just dangle that scuba-looking bitch off a clip on the back of your seat.

I have not had to assist at a roadside flat. But I have about as much chance of seeing a downed cyclist as being struck by a meteor. But I love my little pump. I try and love it every day.

Buffalo Bill said...

I do feel a bit guilty, although I have never actually had to borrow his pump. For extra grief, my fellow fred doesn't reuse his tubes, so every time I get a flat I pull out one of his old tubes that I have patched.

McFly said...

5 card draw. No wilds cept jokers for now. Keepin it simple. They LOVE bluffin and raisin. They are 7th graders and keep saying stuff like Cut the dick please.

Anonymous said...

Snobby:

1. First you got a folding bike.
2. Then you realized crabon is silly.
3. Now you realize that quality time with the kid is better than riding in bad weather.

Dude you have officially become an old fart.

Welcome to the club.

It ain't a bad thing.

cycle

Yarpo said...

Wow...Santa, Babble, and Vernal Magina on the pode-e-o-dee-o. Congrats!

I stopped last October to help a pump-less, patch kit-less, spare tube-less rider of a Speshulized crabon biek. It turned out that he had just decided to start riding again after an absence of several years and was in the middle of his first ride when he punctured.
Nice guy, even offered to pay me for my tube but I was all Dudley Do-Right and refused. I made him promise to help the next downed/distressed cyclist that he came across and to visit the LBS for the tire repair toys, tubes, and a saddle bag.

Then I returned to my fantasy of kicking the shit out of Burrito Rodriguez (don't like Purito as a nickname, so settled on Burrito) in the Giro Di Lombardia with the Oakland hills standing in for Italy.

For some reason, I never come across hapless flat tire victims that look and dress like Babble. Maybe because Babble is anything but hapless, or at least keeps haplessness to a minimum, like her skirt length!

Buona Fortuna!


DB said...

If I get a flat I call the Mrs.to pick me up and we head for the winery to share a bottle. Sometimes i look forward to a flat.
Mikeweb: placed an order with Elma Saturday.

D. Flated said...

A fat bike with a flat and an ipump... the mind boggles.

leroy said...

Citibikes make good snow bikes. You don't have to clean the chain. Getting them back in the rack when there are drifts is a little tricky though.

I ride with a C02 inflator, 3 or four canisters, a spare tube, and a patch kit. Haven't been stranded yet as I head toward life's plummet at the end of the false flat

Of course my dog has a pump. But that's just because of that scene from Breaking Away.

the commentariat said...

DB, Elma Saturday basketball is the best!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elma-Saturday-Basketball/140645232651983

Anonymous said...

PISS LOTS

mikeweb said...

DB,

Yes, she got it. Thanks and enjoy!

Anonymous said...

"So not only will I not help you, but I will also take one of the patches from my unsightly saddle bag and eat it right in front of you before riding away."

TFF!!
A deep bow to Mr. Snob. Top VX, late mid-pack fodder. 57 3885254

Dooth said...

I flatly reject your rejection of fat bikes and Fred flat assistance. I hereby issue a Flatwa on BSNYC.

DB said...

Dooth for the early lead in best comment o' the day.

CommieCanuck said...

Hands up everyone who is tempted to go to Walmart and look at that fat bike.
Be honest.
come on.

I'm looking right at you.

CommieCanuck said...

I'm not surprised that WSJ compared fat bikes to Hummers. After all, everyone, every guy anyway, wants a Hummer.

I want a hummer and yet don;t want a Hummer. This is known as the Hhummer paradox.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's a good one.

CommieCanuck said...

I hereby issue a Flatwa on BSNYC.

Before you issue that flatwa, check that your fat tires are jihard.

Thank you

babble on said...

Yup, Dooth ++ for sure.

Thank you kindly, gentlemen! It's easy to keep spinning when the saddle is your happy place...

Mr Raney - Good! You SHOULD love it at least a little every day.

McFly - hold'em can't be far off. You do know that teaching yer kids to bluff isn't necessarily in your best interests, right? I got off lucky with my eldest, but I sure wouldn't give that kind of information to my little guy. He's too much like me.

Yarpo - Thank you. Yup, I can change a tire, though as often as not there's a somebody around who can do it faster... I like a kevlar tire liner to minimize flats, but I have been seen stuck in heels by the side of the road with a flat. And sadly, when I am wearing heels and riding the Electra I am a little hapless, cause that baby is a bitch to change.

Anonyidiot corrector robot said...

@3:10,

Yeah, I'm a douche.

You're welcome.

Roille Figners said...

What's up niggaz.

I believe it's better to stop and help them, but then take the opportunity to bust their balls for not having pump/patches/etc. Like call them Blanche(*) and stuff.

Can't read the captcha. It's come to this.

(*) "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

JLRB said...

Steeeellllla

I too am having trouble reading the newest batch of captchas, so I hit refresh and get the numbers, but then I get an odd sci-fi feeling that I just published the serial number of the next person to die in a plastic truck accident (reached for the brake, hit the electric pedal by mistake - took out the lemonade stand)

JB said...

Dooth, a fatwa is just a ruling by a religious leader. Us Westerners only hear of fatwas when they are particularly nasty.

What is your ruling?

babble on said...

Hmmmm so can the pope issue a flatwa? And can it be a ruling about anything? Like for example, if a religious leader decided that the biggest trouble with the world today is that there isn't enough wanking, could that leader flatwa that everybody had to wank morning and night, no exceptions?? pleasesayyespleasesayyespleasesayyes

the captcha does suck today... it took two refreshes before I could pass the podio test today.

and now?
oursmoth manghnia

Comment deleted said...

Babs, go ahead and issue your fapwa, I say.

Dooth said...

JB, I defer the judgement of a ruling to our resident high priestess and Popepular scholar...

Salty and Sore said...

No patch?
No problem!
Let's use that $50 bill in your wallet.

It's called a...

CommieCanuck said...

Babs, go ahead and issue your fapwa, I say.

etc.etc.something, jihard.

Fred Clydesdale said...

Was once passed by a tridork in all his aero splendor without so much as a "passing!" A mile later I came upon him stranded with a flat. He sure noticed me THEN. Luckily he had a spare, an inflator & tire irons AND NO IDEA HOW TO USE THEM. As I pried his overtight tire off the rim, he said "so THAT'S what those are for!"

I'd like to think I taught him something that day, but unfortunately it was probably just "somebody will always stop & help me."

RoadQueen said...

Dooth - You'd better fapwa something interesting, and quick!

Babble's got my vote for the best fapwa of the day so far...

POPE BABL

Roille Figners said...

Not only do I carry a tube, patches, and pump, but I also carry a towel in case I run into a scene like the one I saw on Babble's blog and need to wipe down some stainless steel.

Holy shit Babs!

Dooth said...

Alright my fellow infidels...BSNYC shall be punished by thousand licks from the tongue of Dorothy Rabinowitz...he must then administer a rim job (a butt licking to the uninitiated) to Robs Fords...with Cipo bearing witness.

Roille Figners said...

WCRM on recent fatwah: "Can't you just kill me like Salman Rushdie?"

Anonymous said...

If Babble was broke down on the side of the road I would give her my tube. I dont think I could make it to 116 without an extra cartridge. Hey thats what hand pumps are for. I would get some spit on the rim at some point to check for blowby. Then fix her flat.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...when was rushdie killed?

...where have i been?

...and why does my captcha only give me numerical riddles? 17 98288645

Lumpen Fredetariat said...

Wow, Babs, I hope the positive reaction to your photos makes up for you getting anon-dissed instead of podium-kissed.

The commentariat is on a roll today, keep it up.

RoadQueen said...

Awww....

I was having such a Shit-tastic Monday, I forgot all about Podio. :(

KISSES FOR POPE BABBLE!!!!! XOXOXO

Santa, I think you get lots of kisses from Mrs. Clause, so I'm going to give you a warm and friendly hug.

Vernal - Don't know you all that well. Firm handshake and chocolate assortment?

Roille Figners said...

Rushdie wasn't actually killed, but I believe that was the fatwah. I guess nobody was virtuous enough to carry it out. Cat Stevens would've been all over that shit.

Anonymous said...

How about a warm and friendly tug? I will settle for cold and distant if you have a nice grip and are fluent in the Mushroom Head Recipication........

Anonymous said...

Snob, you should have held this post until tomorrow, then you could have called it Fat Tuesday!

Yusuf Islam said...

Figners@4:42 -

whaddaya mean "would've..."?

Herschel Raney said...

What? If Babble was broke down on the side of the road I would give her my bike. Or offer the long distance one man fireman's carry.

Grump said...

No pump for me. Three CO2 carts, two tubes, levers, and a spoke wrench, all in my jersey pockets, where they belong (no suitcase hanging on my bike)
I only share with distressed cyclists if I deem them worthy.

Anonymous said...

You ALWAYS have a jersey on when do the bikecycling? Are you like The Bandit and only take it off for one reason?

BamaPhred said...

Flatted at the start, AAA just showed up with the tow truck.

Seriously, I use the Leroy method, with plenty of canisters, patches, and tubes.

Psicho said...

I always carry a pump with me. I care not about the inconvenience, better to air on the side of caution.

Anonymous said...

Pump, tube, patches, and levers in my camelhump, always. But then again, I ride on dirt, and snow, you bitches.

babble on said...

Mr Raney I hope you have a very strong back!

Lumpen Fred - nah, it's all gravy today. Little ms anonyhater doesn't bother me beyond being the object of my pity. It's abundantly clear that the poor thing isn't getting any, bless her wintery cold heart. :)

Anonymous said...

Speechless is Seattle...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J8jULurs5I&feature=player_embedded

wishiwasmerckx said...

Oh, alright...

wishiwasmerckx said...

...if you guys insist...

wishiwasmerckx said...

...I'll take you guys to the 100th comment.

Anonymous said...

Pipped at the line?

Anonymous said...

Can we guess how much you weigh? 139?

Spokey said...

ole fashioned me I guess

I just keep a topeak morph under my top tube and a couple spares in my trunk bag (except on tour when no trunk bag). Usually have a patch kit somewhere.

Don't have much call to help as I'm usually solo. But I always hope my tubes will be too big if I run across someone with a 23 tire and no tube.

2207 39632438

semi serious cyclist said...

BSNYC, you would not believe how contrived this 'fatbike' trend is - i live real close to one of the only 'fat bike trails' in the US, and those punters are like

"Don't ride the trails today, it will cause too deep of grooves" "Only 3.5" tires and wider", and daily admonishments of the 'proper' tire pressures for the day. "3-5 PSI only!" I'm perversely waiting for one of those guys to get frostbite when they get a flat in the woods and have to posthole out.

As to city riding, no one needs a four inch tire to scoot around town in a blizzard. Unless of course, you have a proclivity for talking about your latest bike purchase being 'the best' bike for the conditions.

Anonymous said...

Man no one knows the old way of emergancy flat repair?

Just tie a knot in the tube over the hole and pump it back up. You get along like a limp shopping cart, but you'll get home. Never tried it with Crap-on rims (would probably damage them - but hey what doesn't), but works just fine for steel and alloy rims. Just need levers and a pump. Save the CO2 for the whippits.

By the way it was horrible here in Portland. Slightly breezy and an unbelievealbe 42-45 degrees. Even got a little drizzle for about a 1/2 hour for rush hour. Just one of the many reasons I moved from the Rust belt.

Dave said...

This afternoon I pumped up to 116 and a half and did ten easy miles on the nice dry W&OD. Bitter wind, but not too bad really. The only other two cyclists I saw were wearing face masks; I grow the short but smug beard November through March. So I awarded myself the Ironic Toughest-Cylist of the day award.

Anonymous said...

I thought "post-holing" was when it slipped out in the missionary position and you inadvertently and aggressively went back in the wrong orifice.

BUTT PLOW

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, you dork

Anonymous said...

that was supposed to be for you, Dave, the bearded-one

Comment deleted said...

Thanks for clarifying that, anonypuss.

It's important that you indicate which post you are whinging about, so that our estimation of the targeted poster can be appropriately adjusted.

Anonymous said...

Thanks CD, your input is really valuable, as well.

WPVelo said...

fat tires to flat tyres, LeSnob covers all your cool weather cycling needs. Hey way no flat fat tires. Oh yeah, the part about embedded peeples from the republic. Carry on, is that coffee ready. Cripe

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking about plugging my blog here. That's not a dick move is it? If I don't, no one will ever know that I'm special.

Anonyidiot corrector robot said...

I'm thinking about plugging my blog here. That's not a dick move is it? If I don't, no one will ever know that I'm a douche.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are a douche.

Anonymous said...

DICK MOVE

ge© said...

So, if I forget my tire levers, you'll help? Sweet.

And how exactly is cycling the new golf WSJ? I don't recall ever seeing anyone driving a golf cart to work. I mean, I used to drive a VW Golf, so I suppose for me in particular, my bike is the new Golf, but I'm pretty sure that's not what you meant. Or was it. I'm not as intellectual as you.

McFly said...

When's Lindsey Vonn going to "leak" a homade porn already? Enough with the suspense. Let's kickstart the star-power.

Anonymous said...

With all respect-- you and Stevil Knevil, whatever his name is, should start to look at a yourselves. Posting videos of people suffering from serious addiction is not only not funny; it's hurtful and injurious to you and the people. We're all suffering out here man! Are you part of the solution? Are you just wallowing in your own piss and vinegar and pointing your finger? Think about it. You're a family man?
Where's the love?

Jackie said...

thank you