Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Post-Mortem: My, Meself, and Moi.

May is National Bike Month (and Asthma Awareness Month, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Awareness Month, and National Smile Month (UK), and National Masturbation Month), which means America's mainstream publications need to publish their glut of bike-related articles before the end of the month, like Nashbar blowing out half-shorts for the autumn.  This, of course, is how I made it into the New York Times this past weekend:

Response to the piece was overwhelmingly positive, and my announcement of it prompted supportive comments such as this one:

Judas said...

Watered down tripe for the masses and not the usual vitriol that we've come to know and love. Looking forward to your upcoming feature in Teen Beat on how to avoid 'helmet head' on a bicycle involved 1st date. Ahh... The things we do for money.

May 24, 2014 at 3:42 PM

You want vitriol?  I got your vitriol right here:

"Save it, dickwad."
--Wildcat Rock Machine

That vitriolic enough for you?  Of course it's for the masses.  It's a freaking newspaper!  Would I have enjoyed publishing something like this in the New York Times?

Sure.  However, that's not the sort of thing the Times publishes, so expecting to find it in there is about as reasonable as buying a copy of Juggs magazine for its piercing literary insight:

(Ezra Pound indeed.)

See, you don't get to just write your blog in a newspaper--and why would you even want to?  ("You" is obnoxious for "me.")  When you're a literary guest in someone's home you have respect their rules, or else you shouldn't bother coming over.  If they want you to take your shoes off you take them off, you don't insist on keeping them on and then do a little dirty-foot dance on their sofa.  Sure, I could have denied the invitation in the first place, but then I would never have gotten to see what their bathroom looked like.  Plus, while I can write whatever I want whenever I want on my blog, the Times is constrained by "facts," which results in thrilling graphs like this:

Yep, that's right, people get old and die.

Now you know.

Perhaps equally obvious is this report that bikes are useful for getting around, which appeared in the same august newspaper (August is Cataract Awareness Month, by the way) at about the same time as my piece, presumably as a part of the same bike content purge:

“Your housing options change when you buy a bike and use it,” said Lyon Porter, a sales and leasing director of Town Residential, who relied heavily on a fixed-gear Dutch cruiser when living in Williamsburg several years ago and continues to cycle frequently around the city. “People get so much more for their money in this tight, compressed market,” when freed from the need to be near a train line, he said. “Your definable boundaries are different on a bike.” Without one, he said, “your map changes.”

Here we see in action the Times's rigorous adherence to facts, to wit:

FACT: Bikes help you go places.

FACT: Real estate is cheaper when it's not near the subway.

FACT: Using a bike can potentially obviate the inconvenience of being far from the subway, thus allowing you live someplace less expensive.

As for Lyon Porter's claims that he got around town on a "fixed-gear Dutch cruiser," however, I find this highly spurious, as it sounds like just the sort of boast someone who lives in Williamsburg would make, i.e. "I was riding fixed-gear Dutch bikes before they were cool."  (Which, I might add, they never were, and hopefully never will be.)  My best guess is that: a) someone who knows nothing about bikes confused "one speed" with "fixed-gear," or 2) Lyon is lyin'--though I would like to think that someone from the paper personally inspected Porter's Dutch cruiser before the story went to print.

This photo also raised my suspicions:

That's some serious high-vis, even by London standards.  (FACT: They love their high-vis over there.)*  Therefore, judging from his attire, I'm fairly certain he is not gut-renovating his Red Hook townhouse, and is in fact in the process of constructing a DIY subway line.

*[On my blog, if I say it's a fact, then it's a fact.  My imagination is my fact-checking department.]

However, bike commuting does come with its own set of challenges.  For example, if you're going to ride in the winter, you'll need some "gloves coated in beeswax:"

Pedaling along the Hudson on a breezy spring day is one thing. Relying on a bike as your main mode of transportation is another. There is a resoluteness required to ride in the sticky summer heat, in the wet months of spring and as temperatures drop below freezing in winter. Gear — whether it be fleece-lined bicycling tights or gloves coated with beeswax to make them water-resistant — is important. So is a place to change once you get to work.

Uh, what?  Is this the New York Times or the Rivendell Reader?

Fortunately for today's army of bicycle-borne gentrifiers, Brooklyn is literally buzzing with artisanal apiaries.

Speaking of current events, here's a headline for you:


Yep, it's true, I fact-checked it and everything.  Check out this photo of the bike in question, right in front of a waterfall:**

**["Waterfall" is roughly 70% sewage and urine.]

In light of this monumental event, it seems as good a time as any to update you on my relationship with the Brooks Cambium, of which I took delivery back in October.  As you can see, it still looks like new, even though I've been rubbing my scranus all over it for over half a year now:


Of course, you should keep in mind that as a bike blogger, cycling enthusiast, and internationally published bike share apologist, I have many bikes, and that I don't ride this one exclusively since frankly it would be indecorous to do so.  This means that, in my case, scranular wear is spread out over multiple ass pedestals, so half a year isn't really all that long.  Nevertheless, this bicycle does see its fair share of use, so that should count for something.  I also still find the saddle to be very comfortable, especially on irregular surfaces (I'm referring to the road surface, not my scranus), which is when I tend to use this bicycle.  (It's also still quiet since I figured out where that tiny creak was coming from.)

It also cuts a dashing figure from behind:

Which nobody sees ever, since I am resolutely and eternally "off the back" at all times.

Lastly, the NYPD is unleashing one of its much-needed bicycle crackdowns:

Presumably this will put an end to the murderous rampage cyclists continue to inflict upon the city's streets.


Anonymous said...

Cima Coppi!

JLRB said...


Invisible Man said...

Thank you, Snob, for pointing out to the readers the difference between writing for a newspaper and writing for a blog.

As someone who spends more time writing for a newspaper than for my blog, I am constantly having to explain to readers the various constraints I face, such as, "No, I can't get the piece for which I interviewed you published, because the editors hated it." People really don't have a good grasp of this stuff.

As for the bicycle scofflaw stuff, I had, as it happens, a fascinating encounter with someone who at least claimed to be an NYPD officer on Friday night on the subject of whether he should be parked in a two-way bike lane. I wrote it up for my blog, where I didn't have to do the rigorous (and probably impossible fact-checking) I'd have had to do in my day job: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2014/05/an-angry-off-duty-police-man-rainy.html

Anonymous said...

Hot as balls

Anonymous said...

I read it all.

Podium-schmodium, Immodium.

Anonymous said...

Damn, so close. Again!

JLRB said...

Police and Thieves

CommieCanuck said...

It's about time they nailed those scofflaws, ruffians and n'erdowells in Manhattan...meanwhile some guy on Wall Street just fucked over your grandma's life savings to buy a slighter bigger Mercedes SUV, all legal-like.

dancesonpedals said...


Anonymous said...

Bret really gets around.

minim said...

Top 50! Scranium

Anonymous said...

Jasper was his name.

balls™ said...

I hired a personal trainer to help me get ready for National Masturbation Month. The NYT was not interested in doing a personal interest piece featuring my training log. Losers.

dancesonpedals said...

Hey Commie:

the percentage you're paying is too high a price and you're living beyond all your means

and the man in the suit just bought a new car from the profits that he made on your dreams

babble on said...

Wowza! You're on the ball this morning, snobbers... must be a great day to ride a bike in NYC.

Er, and what?! Are you sure we're all going to die? I'd really rather not, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Earliness . . .

Easy robot numba 69


Buffalo Bill said...

This just in: cyclists still not murdering anyone.

Fact check that will ya?

Anonymous said...

Giro rulez

Talking Scranus said...

Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don't do what I want them to
Facts just twist the truth around
Facts are living turned inside out
Facts are getting the best of them
Facts are nothing on the face of things
Facts don't stain the furniture
Facts go out and slam the door
Facts are written all over your face
Facts continue to change their shape

Euro Spondee said...

Nevertheless, hi-vis and folding bikes are indeed big news in London

ubercurmudgeon said...

Those Times editors have incorrectly changed the spelling of the word "helmentless."

CommieCanuck said...

and the man in the suit just bought a new car from the profits that he made on your dreams

who knew Peta Todd, peanut butter and a crotchless clown suit were so profitable?

Anonymous said...

One quibble: The Times is not constrained by facts.

CommieCanuck said...

We're all gonna die, might as well ride to work on a fucking, jet-powered, fucking street luge, fuck ya.

Olle Nilsson said...

Sure, people get old and they die. I get that. What I found puzzling about that graph is no one in the USA has an age ending in "9". There are no 9 year olds, 19, 29, 39, etc. Does everyone move to Canada for a year every decade or does this have something to do with not adopting the metric system? Or is it something creepier?

Anonymous said...

Liked the op-ed.

By the way, Tilford blogged from the ambulance on the way to the hospital last night with a broken hip and pelvis. You had to take the day off.

Matt Boulanger said...

Dutch bike bar spins are the greatest.

Anonymous said...

Howdy - I also write for publication. It is hard work. You really have to listen to your editor and do what he/she says. You makes compromises. The editor looks at your work from the "what can this piece of junk for us to sell more copies." Somehow high art is missed. I understand what you go thru Snobby. I love seeing my stuff in print. Been writing in my field for 20 years and still get that thrill when I get a copy of my work in print. Never gets old. BUT.......... sometimes they bend you like a pretzel to get what they want. You don't want to be bent? Have you soul sucked out? Don't want criticism from trolls? Don't write. It takes a brave person to sit at a computer and stare at the blank page and create something to be torn apart by someone else. Criticism is cheap.


Comment deleted said...

When I was a kid, I was sure that everybody would have a jet-powered street luge by the time I grew up.

Where's my jet-powered STREET LUGE??

Stealth Rider said...

Awesome Article there from NY1. Was the driver kidding?

"I think it's a really dangerous city for bicyclists. I wonder what the numbers are at the emergency room every day. When I'm driving I almost hit one almost all the time because you can't see them," said one city driver.

Somehow that statement is supposed to make cyclists obey the law? If anything that tells me I should flagrantly disobey it. I'm in stealth mode on a bike, clearly.

Commentorbot9000 said...

Presumably you meant splurge, or was this a joke?

Commentorbot9000 said...

"...presumably as a part of the same bike content purge..."


wow, Low Spark plus Crosseyed&painless - got my earworms for the day set!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:40 - I'm guessing you don't write for an English language publication.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...if no one ever sees your saddle from behind while you're on top of it, i suggest you get a tramp stamp that read: BROOKS

...though you'll have to place it low enough that your crack might split it into BRO OKS

...yeah, bro

CommieCanuck said...

The number of people on the internet without a jet-powered street luge is TOO DAMNED HIGH.

Anonymous said...

Good editorial in the Times this weekend, only a rube would confuse a blog with a newspaper, but it was good to see your serious side.

ken e. said...

sounding a lot like mike liegh in that movie, sampled by the orb...


Anonymous said...

Good editorial in the times this weekend. Only a rube would confuse a blog with a newspaper, but it was good to see your serious side.

Olle Nilsson said...

Oh wait, graph's okay. Counts right, just that big chasm between the decades to represent the mental trauma of getting older. NYT is so clever.

2099? - yes, funny robot, but no one lives that long.

Ed. said...

Anonymous, you put an S on "make," you left out "do," you misspelled "through," you left out "I've" (informal, OK I understand), you left the R off "your," and you is givings the ball cancers to your patient and underpaid editor who probably doesn't have time to bask in the glory of your obvious creative genius because he's too busy fixing little mistakes like this that threaten to undermine the publication's reputation.

JLRB said...


dancesonpedals said...

you had me at crotchless clown pants

babble on said...

Heyyyyyyy! I could definitely go on a murderous rampage if I had a jet powered street luge!

As it stands, I am just trying to play The confidence game, to have the courage to compete.

Orestes Munn said...

Yet another who writes for publication (scientific), where your work is mercilessly trashed by people you don't work for and who basically hate you.

"Low Spark" and "Crosseyed and Painless" are great sail-Fred-sled names, as well as good tunes.

When bicycles are scofflawed, only scofflaws will have bicycles. Think about it.

dancesonpedals said...


Edit said...

Good editorial in the times this weekend. Only a rube would confuse a blog with a newspaper, but it was good to see your serious side.

The voice of your serious side sounds like Mr. Spock's...rather on the soulless side.

Anonymous said...

I would have podiumed, but it's not masturbate month for nothing - and I'm certainly doing my share.

and speaking of flaccid mammaries, does that gal use brooks proof-hide on her saddle?

Anonymous said...

BSNY does fight the good fight. And lets thank him again for doing it. Locally an 18 wheeler ran over a man on a three wheeled bicycle while the cyclist was in a crosswalk. I think he said "oops" and all was forgiven.(Ride, as always, like you are hunted game at the bottom of the pyramid.)

Ordered one of those badass looking Smith Optics Helmets. Has not arrived. The ones that are supposed to be 30% more effective at protecting all your stored knowledge from gushing out on the pavement in the event an 18 wheeler runs over you. Or wait, no I don't think they test for that. It is just the knowledge that will end anyway when you get old and die. I worked hard for that shit.

It is not masturbation if your personal trainer is helping.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ed - thank you so much for editing my work. If there is one thing the bloggers on this site are noted for, it is their kindness to one another. I have trouble editing online. I just can't seem to find my mistakes on the screen but in the future will print off and check paper copy. The old ruler method works for me.
Sometimes I have a thought and run with it. I know I should take time and work it through (thru). Give it time and edit better. Well, we all try to grow and learn.

Take care and God bless


charles dickens said...

i dint noe wut a blogr wuz & now i r one

Anonymous said...


JLRB said...

Wank Weak
Wank Strong
Just Wank

grog said...

Nice piece. She said.

flank_steaks said...

Herschel Raney,

The patent on that helment design is owned by POC. I don't know if it is their term or what, but the feature is called MIPS.

I don't want to ever find out if it really is better. If you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Three uses of "scranal" words in today's blog to counteract their omission from the Pulitzer Prize winning piece in the NYT.

Good job, Snobby, but you didn't share with us where "that tiny creak was coming from" and what remediation measures you may have taken.

Also, in the picture of your bike at the sewage treatment plant, is that raw sewage that has been picked up by your rear tyre and deposited on the back side of the downtube? Right behind the bottle cage. Speaking of bottle cages, where are the bottles? Were they being refilled in the "waterfall"?

And isn't that a too low spoke count for heavy duty sewage works riding?

Anon 4:59PM said...

Err, sorry... seat tube, I meant.

JLRB said...

Anon at 4:59

Stupid Rule Number 26

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 4:59pm,

The text where I mention the creak takes you to the post where I tell all about the creak and how I brilliantly solved it.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anon 4:59PM said...

Snobby 5:14,

What, now that you're one of literati's leading lights we have to shuffle through all your academic papers!?

But okay, fair enough. Thanks.



That may explain the mystery of the missing bidons, but Snobby flagrantly (and wilfully, probably) defies every other component of rule 26. Every other one!

Freddy Murcks said...

You want to know what's delicious? Watered tripe, that's what. I usually find tripe to be too dry and chewy, but it's delicious if you add just the right amount of water to it. You can also consider beef broth if you prefer something more savory, or a dairy product like sour cream if you don't keep kosher and you like to desecrate the animals that you eat before you eat them.

septsma active

leroy said...

My ride report from this weekend and beyond wherein I encounter the myriad ways in which BSNYC has altered the cycling universe(and because the world needs self-absorbed commenters too):

1. Saturday 26 miles of loops around Prospect Park, saw police ticketing cyclists twice; another rider said for "salmoning."

2. Sunday, 90 mile longish ride because I got lost in Rockland County Lake District. Knew I was lost when I came to an intersection in Pearl River with a supermarket repurposed as a firing range. I would have remembered that from prior rides. (If you think not asking for directions is just a guy thing, you haven't met my dog.)

3. Sunday night, out to dinner with family in Brooklyn, nodded hello to David Byrne who was out to dinner with his family. (My first reaction: "you know, he doesn't own a car.") Didn't see him carrying a helmet. Should have sent over a bottle of wine; Dutch Courage isn't just for Dutch Cycles.

4. Monday, 28 mile slow ride to Prospect Park and Verrazano Bridge in full Fred regalia (vintage Fat Cyclist kit) because why not.

5. Tuesday, 7 mile Citibike to work in morning to avoid riding home in possible thunder storms ("if it rains take the bus"). Amazingly, I made it to work alive wearing only a BSNYC cycling cap/safety kippa.

(Okay, I also wore shorts and T shirt. My dog reminds me that he's the only one who can go out in public wearing only a cycling cap and elicit the reaction: "Aw, he's so cute." I can't get away with half the stuff he does.)

Wore suit and tie on Citibike later in morning because why take the bus if you don't have to? And besides, a recent op ed piece in the NY Times by a celebrity bike blogger reminded me that Citibikes really are just another form of public transportation. Not every ride has to be epic.

(P.S. Dear Mr. BSNYC: very good op ed piece nicely putting bike share in perspective as part of public transportation options alongside numerous subsidized programs.)

leroy said...

My dog is making fun of my typos.

Easy for him to do.

He dictates.

Jam Master Cray said...


Anonymous said...

leroy said...
"(If you think not asking for directions is just a guy thing, you haven't met my dog.)"

Your dog tells me he doesn't need to ask directions because he always knows where he is, where he's going and how to get there.

He also said he was thoroughly sick and tired of blundering humans lacking the refinement and finesse to urinate in carefully calibrated portions at key deposit points.

Then he trotted off and sniffed a lamppost for three and a half minutes.

Anonymous said...

That Ritte looks like a sweet ride. But seeing the chain on the small ring in front ruins the effect. You might as well have had a disembodied hand in there too.

leroy said...

Dear Mr. Anon. 6:34 --

Apparently, you have met my dog.

I hope he didn't borrow money.

Anonymous said...

He didn't have to borrow any money, Leroy, his cuteness compelled me to just hand over the contents of my wallet.

I expect he's practicing forging my credit card signature right now.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 6:36pm,

Shifting into a specific gear just to take a picture is stupid.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

AndyTrafford said...

You missed this one from the Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/23/nyregion/mountain-bike-racing-is-drawing-young-riders.html?hpw&rref=nyregion&_r=0

As one of the coaches of the team, I'm legally obligated to post the link at least three times per day.

Judas said...

Forgive me Wildcat for I have sinned. I shouldn't have crossed you.

Anonymous said...


Judas said...

I crossed this other guy once, he didn't get mad but he got hung up on stuff.

Unknown said...

For All Latest Hot Current Affairs

Anonymous said...

You can buy a Charge Bucket saddle for one third of the price of a Cambium and they are just as good. I know this because I have never used a Cambium. So why don't you spend your own money and buy a Charge Bucket or Spoon and test one?

You can buy one for less than $10


BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 6:03am,

Apart from both being saddles, what does a Selle Italia Turbo knockoff have to do with a Brooks Cambium?

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

OK, fair enough, why don't you send me the Cambium, I'll send you the Charge then we'll compare.

Anonymous said...

Yo I am going to finally going to buy the Brooks Cambium saddle. Only the best for my pus & hole... & it's Vegan that finally listened to me.. n=but

Anonymous said...

All three of my Selle Italia (I brought two used) And given a pink glam'our Selle Italia from my favorite mech![Thanks: K I am so sorry about the darknotevenajoke!!!!!!]
That glamit has saved me from the major saddle sores that the gel saddle which came with my ghost bike. DZ Nuts couldn't fix those awful wreck to myNetherlands.
But I think it is finally time for me to buy A vegan Brooks Saddle..

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

"Is this the New York Times or the Rivendell Reader?"


What I like best about the jet powered street luge is the laid back aerodynamic riding position.

Anonymous said...

house, and is in fact in the process of constructing a DIY subway line.
I fell backwards with laughter. Yo that high vis. is my hook is H..

babble on said...

JLRB- Thank you for the rules! That's great.

Two things: half-wheel and hoods. They say never half-wheel. It's bad form. They also say never sprint from the hoods.

Huh!? Qu'est que le fuck half-wheel and hoods? Hmmm?

Heh heh. It's always good to see you Leroy. :D

Um, and I'm sorry, but isn't every day masturbation day, every week wank week?

McFly said...

I feel like I dodged a bullett with my decision to "like bikes".

babble on said...

LOL! You really nailed those crucifixion jokes, Judas. Nice. :D

Spokey said...

I've had a cambium for just a couple months and the dye is rubbing off. But i did buy the darker colour thinking it would hide the dirt better. Maybe it's a problem with my fat ass.

I do agree that it's comfortable

now there's a number for a captcha. Wow 5983494 115 says it all

Anonymous said...

I think as cyclists we should try to respect the road rules as much as possible. We are after all still trying to work on our image. Just did a bike tour in France, and I tell you, people in cars respect you there! Maybe because of the Tour de France's popularity there, or maybe because there are more bikers. We did a lovely canal du midi bicycle tour with some friends from NYC. Next year we will have to find another destination closer to their home though (we alternate). Great blog by the way!

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