1) Go to bike shop;
2) Choose bike;
3) Remove bike from bike shop;
Also, etiquette tip: Don't kick the door open. It's just rude.
Alas, if only all of life were so simple. For example, here in New York City, where shitty drivers keep killing people, our mayor, Bill de Something-Or-Other, has finally unveiled his long-anticipated "Vision Zero" plan:
One aspect of this involves lowering the city speed limit to 25 mph, which of course means it's time for someone from the Wall Street Journal to say something stupid:
NYC's mayor wants to lower the city's 'default' speed limit to 25 mph. Would that apply to bikers?Does it really matter, Jacob? I think that, when it comes to bicycles, the laws of physics are adequate here. Not too many cyclists are cruising around New York City at 25 mph, and that includes the food delivery guy on the electric bike salmoning right at you with the cigarette dangling from his mouth and the plastic bags hanging off his handlebars. While you're at it you might as well wonder if the 25 mph limit will apply to pedestrians, too.
— Jacob Gershman (@jacobgershman) February 18, 2014
Of course, the police will ticket you for going over 15 mph on your bike, but they'll have to apologize to you afterwards:
But on Tuesday morning, the NYPD took it to a new level, setting up a speed trap, radar gun and all, at the bottom of a Central Park hill, where they gave ten tickets to cyclists traveling over 15 mph. (The speed limit is actually 25 mph, says Central Park's official website.) By Tuesday night, police were already backtracking.
"We have taken a proactive approach to ensure that people improperly issued a summons will be notified," said a Police Department spokesperson.
Another component of the "Vision Zero" plan involves slowing down taxi drivers, who seem to think they're performing a public service on par with fighting fires and driving ambulances, when mostly they're just providing drunk people with a warm place to paw at each other on the way home from the bar:
Mr. de Blasio released a 63-point action plan, titled "Vision Zero," that outlines his administration's strategy to reduce traffic-related deaths. The measures include beefing up the enforcement of speeding, redesigning streets and exploring new technology that would reduce taxi fares when the drivers speed.
Which the drivers say is "insane Big Brother:"
The workers alliance said: "To shut off the meter in the middle of a fare is not only insane Big Brother, it's severe, cruel, and simply unhelpful."
Wow, a Big Brother reference regarding a safety feature? Hey, what's that I hear? Oh, it's a typewriter! Oh, wow, George Orwell is typing you a message from beyond the grave!
Let's see what it says:
Well there you go.
Speaking of progress, BikeRadar tehnical editor James Huang thinks we should abandon quick release skewers wholesale and move on to thru-axles on road bikes:
Tullio Campagnolo invented the quick-release skewer more than 80 years ago, and for all intents and purposes, the basic internal-cam design he pioneered has changed little since then. If anything, many modern skewers have actually gotten worse and it wasn't long ago that I called for all of the crappy ones to be banished from existence. Today, however, I think the time is fast approaching that we should consider getting rid of quick-release skewers entirely.
Why? Because we can, and Tullio Campagnolo is dead, and something something 29ers:
Yes, tradition is a powerful motivator and it's great that there are so many years' worth of compatible products out there. Truth be told, though, the bikes we're riding now are pretty far removed from what Eddy Merckx used back in the day. Recent years have demonstrated that the cycling industry won't hesitate to toss traditional equipment standards out the window if there's an engineering (or marketing) argument for something better.
Heck, 26-inch wheels have been the de facto standard in the mountain bike world since the Repack days but in just a couple of years they've been practically erased from the landscape.
Wait a minute. Did he just say "the bikes we're riding now are pretty far removed from what Eddy Merckx used back in the day?" Is he kidding? Here's the bike Eddy Merckx used "back in the day" (with him on it):
And here's the top-of-the-line Eddy Merckx bicycle today:
Now if this is what the pros were riding in the Grand Tours, then maybe James Huang would have a point:
Sadly, however, it is not.
Really, you could make a pretty good argument that the only significant change in professional bicycle racing technology over the past 100 years is in the pharmacology, which has obviously improved tremendously, to wit:
(Now. Or at least recently. We still don't know what Sky is taking.)
Ah, Amgen, makers of both EPO and the Tour of California. I wonder if strychnine manufacturers also sponsored races "back in the day."
Anyway, apart from the fact that thru-axles exist, are a slight improvement for certain kinds of off-road bicycles that you ride at high speed down rocky mountain faces (but not for your dainty little cross-country bike, just get over yourself, will you?), and would require you to "upgrade" your equipment, James Huang puts forth no other reason for thru-axles on road bikes, apart from the fact that they're getting slightly less inconvenient:
Thru-axles as they stand now are generally slower to operate than quick-release skewers but even that's changing. Focus recently introduced a novel thru-axle design called RAT (Rapid Axle Technology) that could legitimately turn the tides. The system requires just a flick of the lever and a quarter turn to engage and disengage. Even better, the system retains its adjustment with repeated use so at least in theory, it's roughly on par with a lawyer tab-equipped quick-release system in terms of speed while also offering the benefits of more repeatable wheel position and increased stiffness and security.
Look, I realize the UCI now requires riders to keep the "lawyer tabs" on their forks, but I file those fuckers right off, and there is nothing faster, more pleasing, or more satisfying than flicking that quick release and watching your wheel fall out of the fork like an undersized butt plug out of Tom Barraga.
("Moved on up to the 'thru-axle,' this baby ain't going nowhere.")
And yes, I could forget to fasten my quick release properly, but I could also forget to flush the toilet for five months and die of hepatitis. Anyway, I always wear a helment while I'm on the terlet, so it's a risk I'm willing to take.
So, to summarize the pro-thru-axle argument for road bikes:
1) They're almost as convenient as a quick release on a fork with lawyer tabs;
2) They're heavier than a quick release, but soon they won't be, because they'll make lighter road bike ones that obviate the theoretical "stiffness benefits" that don't mean shit anyway;
3) There are a lot of shitty quick release skewers on the market, but this is the bike industry, and you can be sure no one will build a shitty thru-axle;
3.5) Mountain bikes and 29ers are things that exist;
4) YOU GET TO BUY NEW STUFF!
Well, I'm sold. I plan to upgrade all my front ends immediately, even though I'll need to get new hubs. And new forks. And new frames, because the new fork will have a different steer tube diameter. And new everything else, because the new frame will be electronic-and-disc specific.
Actually, maybe the bikes we ride now are totally different from what Eddy Merckx rode "back in the day."
No. No, they're not. They're almost exactly the same, apart from the fact that manufacturers have managed to make all the new stuff completely incompatible with the old stuff.
And they're plastic.
Lastly, a reader in London reports that this is the extent to which "Cat 6" racing is engrained in the London bicycle commuting culture:
the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet TridorkBret to me--though he'd be faster with a thru-axle.