I'd have thanked you all there but apparently you have to register, and what kind of sucker registers to leave a comment on the Bicycling website?
Also, at least one person left what appears to be a legitimate comment, and because I'm not the kind of sucker who registers to leave Internet comments on other websites I'll address it on my own blog instead:
Erik the Ded Tue, 2014-02-04 20:43
Sorry Snob, but most people cannot be trusted to build a complete bicycle effectively unless their living depends on it. I've made most of my living repairing damage done by home mechanics. The 3 times a year that a you may tune your own bikes can never build the same skill and knowledge that comes from completing a thousand or so repairs per year (while being held responsible for the results). A paid meticulous mechanic is better at their job than you are. Much like a recreational blogger who posts once a month doesn't quite measure up against the guy who posts daily, rote three books, and is published on Bicycling.com with some regularity . . . . . . That being said, it would be great if reviews were based on long-term useability of industry products. I really like to see bikes go out my front door with a minimum of proprietary parts. I have a bike in for a replacement BB that no longer exists, and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to tell my customer that he has to buy a whole new crank. And don't get me started on wheels . . . Let's just say that the wheels that came with your bike (regardless of the price) probably suck, and they really shouldn't.
I have nothing but respect for professional bicycle mechanics, but I respectfully disagree with the above. If you've committed to maintaining a "stable" (ugh, I hate that expression) of bicycles yourself and have been doing so for a number of years you most certainly can be trusted to build a complete bicycle. In fact, oftentimes you can do a better job than a professional mechanic for the simple reason that you can dedicate yourself wholly to that single bicycle for the time it takes you to build and repair it, whereas even the best professional mechanic has other things to do--which is in no way a criticism of professional mechanics. It's just the truth. If you have a persistent and difficult-to-diagnose creak and you keep going back to the shop, sooner or later even the greatest mechanic on earth is eventually going to tell you to fuck off and get a life, whereas you can build yourself a cabin in the woods and dedicate the rest of your life to eliminating the offensive sound if you so choose.
And as for a "recreational blogger" not being as good as a guy who posts daily and wrote three books, obviously that's ridiculous, because this blog was awesome back when I was a recreational blogger. Then I went "pro," and I don't have to tell you that this blog has been sucking for years.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't be afraid to work on your own bikes, because the best way to learn is by screwing up.
While I'm on the subject of learning and character-building and stuff, a 15 year-old kid has asked me to share his Kickstarter with you, and here it is:
Fourteen thousand dollars to ride his bike from Portland to New York? This kid's got chutzpah.
Anyway, I was compelled to share this because I'm a parent, and I could very easily be the parent of a 15 year-old if only I hadn't frittered away my 20s and most of my 30s due to being emotionally and professionally retarded. So naturally I ask myself, "What would I do if my 15 year-old kid wanted to ride his bike across the country?"
One one hand, I'd be tempted to shut him down. "You want 14 grand to fly to Portland and ride home? Screw that. Here's 20 bucks, see if you can make it to Nyack."
On the other hand, I think about what I was doing around that age, and basically I was a total loser:
(Your humble blogger at 14 years of age, most of his potential already squandered.)
Hey, I realize what I'm doing in this photo is now taboo, and my only excuse is that we didn't know any better at the time. (I'm of course referring to wearing a Swatch, which is the timepiece adorning my left wrist. I make no apologies for either the smoking, or for the mullet with blond highlights. See, the smoking made me look mature, and the mullet with the blond highlights is simply fabulous.)
Not only was I a total loser, but I'm actually traveling across the country in this very photograph--not by bicycle on a tour I planned myself, but in a bus with a bunch of other little snotbags from the New York City metropolitan area on something called a "teen tour." And how did we spend our time on this "teen tour?" Well, when we weren't looking for places to hide and smoke cigarettes, we were laughing at the locals, because when you're that age and from our part of the world everybody west of Montclair, NJ is freaking hilarious.
Moreover, while this kid may have the audacity to be asking a bunch of strangers for $14,000, I didn't pay my own way on that "teen tour" either, and had I been caught smoking they would have kicked me off the tour and sent me home. Yet if you look in my beady little eyes you can see I don't give a shit. So what's worse? Asking strangers for $14,000 to undertake plans you made yourself, or throwing your family's generosity right in their faces while wearing a Swatch and a mullet?
So I guess what I'm saying is that, as one spoiled brat* to another, I wish this kid the best of luck--though if anyone's going to pay for this mishigas it should be his family, because I ain't giving him a dime.
*[In my own defense, I wasn't that spoiled, and I spent my summers after that working in a hardware store and being verbally abused. Nobody makes you feel stupider than contractors, not even arrogant bicycle mechanics.]
I only hope my own seventeen (17) children don't want to ride across the country one day, because 1) I want to shelter them from the pernicious influences of the rest of the United States for as long as possible; and B) I don't want bikes ruining their lives as they have mine.
Alas, it's too late for me, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this study proving New York City cycling is becoming more polite:
Here are a few of the findings that Tuckel and Milczarski gleaned from their research:
- The proportion of women pedaling on the city’s streets is still low, just 21.1 percent. But compared to the 2009 study, the proportion of female riders to male has doubled. Women made up 31.1 percent of Citi Bike riders observed.
- Women tend to be much more law-abiding than men in every way, but male bike-share riders stop fully at red lights at a rate significantly higher than male general cyclists or male delivery cyclists.
- In the recent study, 34 percent of riders were observed going through red lights without pausing or stopping, down about 10 percentage points from 2009.
- Just 4.2 percent of cyclists were observed riding against traffic in the street and 3.2 percent were riding against traffic in the bike lane, for a combined total of 7.4 percent – well below the 13.2 percent recorded in 2009.
- Helmet use rose from 29.9 percent to 49.8 percent, with much of that being driven by an increase in use by male commercial cyclists (the city passed a law in 2007 that requires businesses to provide their delivery riders with helmets), who wore them at a rate of 72.7 percent. Among general male cyclists, helmet use also went up dramatically, from 32.2 percent to 47.8 percent.
- Citi Bike riders in general are more compliant with traffic laws and ride in bike lanes at a higher rate than other riders. As for helmets, 31.1 percent of male Citi Bike riders and 36.2 percent of female Citi Bike riders were wearing them.
I can't believe we're turning into a bunch of docile sycophants. There goes my last link to rebelliousness.
Guess I'm going to have to grow that mullet back...