Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Reverse Cat 6!

The Rapha-ication of cycling has resulted in a proliferation of self-styled semi-ironic bike racing teams who launch multi-media Internet reports of all-day (or multi-day) mixed-terrain adventures, which might lead you to believe that the vast majority of cyclists have nothing else to do besides design kits for themselves, customize their handmade bicycles, and fuck off for rides.  The reality however is that most of us have responsibilities--I mean I don't, but you probably do.  (Sucker!)  Therefore, we must take our riding opportunities as they come, and somehow extract the baronial from the mundane, which is what I did yesterday.

It was a beautiful day, and what I really wanted to do was ride.  However, I first had to get my kid to the Apple factory (I depend on the $.40 an hour they pay him to attach touch screens to iPhones with toxic adhesives), and then I had pressing business in Brooklyn which would take me all day to complete.  (Gotta finish that Last Supper tattoo back piece!)  So I loaded up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and off we went:


(The Wagon Queen Family Truckster)

After dropping him off I had a brilliant idea: "Instead of going back home and switching bikes or catching a train, why not just keep riding this thing all the way to Brooklyn?"  Sure, the last time I did that it was a bit of a disaster, but that was because it was like 20 degrees American and I got trapped on a greenway that was completely covered in brie:


(Tell me that doesn't look exactly like brie.)

It took me 36 hours and 1,500 boxes of Carr's Table Water Crackers to eat my way out.

This time though I knew it would be different.  It was one of those perfect spring days, the sort that makes you want to spread a blanket out in the park and eat a reasonable amount of brie.  So I pointed the smugness flotilla downtown and off I went:


By the way, have you noticed that G__gle Maps shows elevation in their cycling directions now?  This allows you to see the sorts of formidable climbs I contend with on a regular basis.   Not only do I live in the shadow of the highest natural peak in my own borough, but this particular ride also takes me near the highest natural point in Manhattan, which stands at over 265 feet above sea level and requires both a sherpa and an oxygen tank to ascend.  You've probably heard the old adage, "Live high, train low."  Or is it "Live low, train high?"  I forget, which is why I suggest you live high and train high just to be safe.  (Following my own advice could explain my forgetfulness.)

Anyway, it may not be the Dolomites, but I maintain that almost 20 miles each way on a bike that weighs as much as a subway car qualifies as a baronial commute--especially because I didn't even bother to take the WideLoaders off:


(WideLoaders)

This added a thrilling element of danger, because weaving through Manhattan traffic on a bike this wide can be tricky, and also because I kept expecting to nail jaywalking pedestrians in the Achilles tendon.

Then, on my way back home that evening, I saw a wondrous sight when someone came screaming down the Manhattan Bridge on a brakeless BMX (freewheel, of course), tried to slow himself with his feet, wiped out on the sweeping curve, and slid right into a concrete wall.

Sadly I have no photographic evidence of this, but it was the best thing I've seen since 2010, when I was present as a brakeless fixie rider's rear tire exploded as he attempted to slow himself coming off the Williamsburg Bridge.  (Never has the sound of scraping aluminum sounded so sweet.)  I didn't get a picture of that either, but I did manage a shot of the rider carrying his bike afterwards:


(Circa 2010)

Speaking of the Manhattan Bridge, it actually experiences a bicycle rush hour now.  Moreover, I was heading into Manhattan when everyone else was headed out of it, and thus I was able to witness Cat 6 racing in reverse, which is the best way to watch it since it allows you to sort of reverse-engineer the action.  Here are some action shots of riders descending the span after the KOM:


Nothing but pure speed:


Can you say "aero?"


If not take your fist out of your mouth and try it again.

Also, most New York City bike commuters these days are wearing big clunky helments that are invariably poorly fitted and slightly askew, though some still forego the helment, and there are even those who forego both the helment and the shirt:


Pro tip: a high viscosity tanning oil can prevent road rash, though it can also cause you to slide for blocks before finally coming to a stop.

Here's the middle of the span where the peloton comes back together again after the climb, and where riders stuff copies of La Gazzetta dello Sport into their jerseys before beginning the descent:


Here's an attack towards the top of the slope:


The rider on the Citi Bike is clearly a pro, because the best way to compensate for the high weight and rolling resistance of a bike share bike is to nestle yourself in the huge slipstream of a bike with a kiddie seat.  It's the next best thing to motorpacing.

On the lower portion of the slope the attacks come fast and furious:


And the helments come oversized:


This Citi Bike rider has the group strung out at the base of the climb, the chainlink fence creating the effect of a no-holds-barred Cat 6 cage match:


And here I arrive at the Manhattan side as riders continue to stream onto the bridge:


What awaits them on the other side of the span?  Glory, happy hours atop bars of reclaimed wood, and a fitful night's sleep before tomorrow's stage back into Manhattan, where they will continue be the number one menace to pedestrians in this city.  Just kidding!  No, that would be the drivers:


I'm confident the police will catch the driver and he'll be quickly exonerated to the fullest extent of the law.

Speaking of shitty drivers, Jan Ullrich is one, but only when he's drunk.  Some years back he drove his Porsche into a bike rack, and this time he's managed to overturn a Citroën:


Swiss police gave him an alcohol test at the scene, which is said to have given a result of 1.4 pro mille, or 1.4%, which is above the Swiss limit of 0.05%. He was then given blood and urine tests, and his driver's licence was taken away.

According to Blick.ch, Ullrich approached an intersection Monday evening at about 8 pm., with a car stopped at a stop sign. He was unable to brake in time and hit the car, a Citroen, which rolled over and landed again on its tires in a field. Ullrich also hit an Alfa Romeo, which stayed on the road. Ullrich was not injured.

This is quite a feat, since it takes at least 20,000 Diminutive Frenchman Units (DFUs) to overturn a Citroën:


From which we can conclude that 20,000 DFU is equal to one (1) Drunken Jan Ullrich (DJU):


(20,000 DFU = 1 DJU)

Anyway, Ullrich has apologized, so everything's fine now:

Ullrich apologized for the accident. “I am sorry. Thank God there were no deaths. I was in stress, coming back from a meeting and wanted to get home as quickly as possible. My God, that can happen to anyone.”

Though there are a few holes in his story, such as:

--What could Ullrich possibly be having a meeting about?  The guy hasn't worked in seven years;

--If Ullrich was actually the sort of person who worked and had meetings, he'd know that you rush to get to the meeting on time, not to get home from the meeting afterwards;

--What can "happen to anyone" exactly?  Getting drunk and crashing into people, or minding your own business and getting rammed by a trashed Jan Ullrich?

--If Ullrich had been able to translate stress into blinding speed during his career he might have won a few more Tours de France.

Next time Ullrich might want to employ the old drinker's rule of thumb: If your beer stein is bigger than your face, then you're probably drunk.

87 comments:

Jasper said...

Early doors

cervicalgia said...

scranium!

cervicalgia said...

scranium?

cervicalgia said...

man that robot stuff is killing me. Scranium!

Anonymous said...

po po podium

dancesonpedals said...

top ten baby

Henri Cartier-Bresson said...

Wow, some of those pictures were even in focus.

A.J. said...

The riders' faces behind the Citi Bike are delightful swatches of impatience. Especially you, narrow bars.

DB said...

That was great, Snob.
Thanks for the grins.

Mick Belker said...

Not taking the Wide Loaders off is just lazy not baronial. When you're not hauling surf boards or coolers they just get in the way.

Anonymous said...

Top 10 ...

Now to read.

Out of breath from the Cat 7 Blogoton.

vsk

RoadQueen said...

Dang, Snob. You spiking those fruit loops with chili pepper these days?

The Langsett said...

"...nestle yourself in the huge slipstream of a bike with a kiddie seat. It's the next best thing to motorpacing." Absolutely brilliant. I've been feeling a bit down about riding with the little 'un's throne on the back, but I feel a load better now I know I am potentially facilitating an attempt on the bicycle land speed record.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

That Cat 6 action is the bomb bikesnot! Is there any place for spectating there on the Manhattan Bridge? I know what I'm doing if I ever come to New York City. I'm gonna get pissed drunk and run along shouting Allez Allez! at the top of my lungs. Hell I even put together a devil costume.

On second thought maybe that's not such a good idea. Probably get tazed by the cops.

RoadQueen said...

"Pro tip: a high viscosity tanning oil can prevent road rash, though it can also cause you to slide for blocks before finally coming to a stop."

^^^^^
This was my favorite part of the post today. So freaking funny - Thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

16th I'll take it

cycle

McFly said...

Got dog-bited yesterday. Told my buddy "Ah this fuckers been barking at me for 3 years...he don't ever [insert bite scene] come at ya."

His name is Oreo which is ironic as hell.

rudimentary peni said...

Jan was scheduling a new publicity feature with Rapha, "Atounfall mit Jan." And it's not his fault he exceeded the legal BAC limit to near comatose levels. The ten pounds of brautwurst he had consumed were cooked in beer. I see a similar Contador-esque excuse coming soon.

leroy said...

Pro tip from my dog: Don't eat the yellow brie.

Anonymous said...

Recumbent Conspirator -

Yes, the Manhattan Bridge has 2 little wide spots where people take pictures (facing out at the East River usually), they are also useful for tube changes, getting the chain back on the chainring or other pullover stuff. What usually gets em going is a little Alla Akbar, ... that can clear the bridge.
Once there was a "suspicious package" during the morning "rush". Everyone had to go Brooklyn Bridge or Williamsburg Bridge.

I usually use the Manhattan. I have the same red anodized Knoglight on my bikes. Really is a blinder.

I am NOT a frikkin robot!

vsk

rudimentary peni said...

*Autounfall, not atounfall. Damn.

le Correcteur said...

early and I'm 22nd? More drugs for me, I suppose; or less drugs for you 21 ahead of me!

99324846 275

mr.roboto said...

lower chaintstay/tire sneaker wedging makes for good freestyle brakefeets

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...14 days a month i have the kiddie chair attached while i go up the manhattan bridge. i've carried quite a few freds and douches with my slipstream.

...according to robot, it's good 'practice gianeek'.

Anonymous said...

That doesn't look like brie.

Blog Drafter said...

I come here for the laughs, the captchas, and for my annual bbersal.

JLRB said...

That doesn't look exactly like brie (although I do acknowledge the similarity - but if it looked exactly like brie there would be the little rounded cheese knife)

babble on said...

Gidday!
Another scrantastic post. I dunno how you do it, snobberdood. Yer on FIRE.

Yeah Cleveland! said...

You reached all the way back to 09 for the DFUs. Nice.
A Fred was a "Fred" back then.

Shirtless Guy said...

You got to slick it, before you stick it.

Bender said...

"Swiss police gave him an alcohol test at the scene, which is said to have given a result of 1.4 pro mille, or 1.4%, which is above the Swiss limit of 0.05%."

1.4%?! That's beyond drunk. Beyond shitfaced. That's firmly in the Blotto Zone. The next category is Comatose, fer Chrissakes.

Comment deleted said...

Bander, it's only 28 times the legal limit; give him a break. It could happen to anybody.

Also, "exonerated to the fullest extent of the law": genius.

James said...

Take it from a career alcoholic, Per mille is one part per thousand or 1/10%. Jan had a BAC of .14; .4 would induce coma and higher a good possibility of death. It would take only two of those giant steins of Weissbier for a 14 stone Jan to get to a .14 .

McFly said...

I did not even know they had DUI's in Europe. Figured that was a 'Murkian racket to extort monies from the working folk.

ge said...

Typical New Yorker: Ignores blogger photographing them

Shirtless Guy: Ooh, someone's taking my picture! Ooh, lookit me! Lookit me!

Awesome post Snob. Got an old timey scranularity to it. Like buttah, you're on a roll.

ge said...

James, thanks for the conversion. Kinda figured 1.4% would mean Jan would be dead before he got to the car.

Anonymous said...

That bac had to be a typo. I think most people are dead or comatose by around 0.5 or so. 0.14 would still put him over the legal limit and into slurred speech territory

Anonymous said...

Damn, late as usual

Greg Lemond said...

Well, Der Jan might have been a doper, but he had a real talent. He usually peaked during Oktoberfest, which was why he kept finishing second in the tour.

Andy Danger said...

I'll second James. There's a big difference between .14 and 1.4 BAC. Like when I'm firing some EPO, I like to make sure I'm at least an order of magnitude above the dose recommended by my Italian doctor.

That's how you win in Cat 6.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Hey Greg, Thanks for all your contributions to cycling over the years. My first road biek had your name on the tubes.

The coolest people comment on bsnyc.

babble on said...

ge - I just figured he mounted his camera facing forward...

I figured it did look exactly like brie. The big dummy is the little round cheese knife. But then I am always open to suggestion.

Sorry bout the bite, McFly. That sucks. I get it. My son and my cat are both a bit feral. The cat purrs and bites me in a rather ferocious love bite. (She broke the skin on my thigh the other day!) The boy sticks to hugs n kisses mostly, but in an act of pre-teenaged rebellion he has foresaken his bike in favour of a longboard. Says he feels "SAFER" on it.

Fer. Fuck. Sake.



babble on said...

ge - I meant the Fly 6 camera

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

LOL!!
OMG and I still can't spell, though foresaken was obviously a freudian slip...

grog said...

Multi baronial day. Looks like you took the elevator around mile 3.
We know you have a rear-facing video camera, so we assume your Manhattan Bridge escapade in reality was you passing "on yer left!" all the slow baronial commuters. Eh?

Do you plan to show us your fabulous baronial last supper tattoo?

ROBO BABE
TAKE ABUS
TATT TOOO

Anonymous said...

I'm getting my kickstarter page up tomorrow. been developing a camera which mounts ON THE FRONT OF THE BIKE!!!!

just send donations to: Catatonic 666. i'll be sure to mention you when I get things into production.

Fred of the Sea said...

I feel compelled to comment on today's post.

trama said...

0.0


Number of news articles I have seen correctly converting BACs, 1/1000 to 1/100 etc.

Debbie Downer said...

Buzzz Kill

Ride of Silence said...

More Buzzz Kill

Flyover BC said...

How about eating a rational amount of Brie, whom or whatever that is?

Bender said...

I shoulda done the math. Shoulda figured the "journalism" was faulty. So Jan was just barely shitfaced. That makes a lot more sense. If he had been dead or even just in a coma, he probably would not have been able to hit a Troon with enough force to roll it.

Thanks for the clarifications!

Anonymous said...

I can't make goggle make those hilly things on the map. What's your secret?

ge said...

Babs, okay that makes sense too. Shirtless guy just likes to glare - "Whachoo lookin at? You LOOKIN at me? You Lookin at ME? You need help makin' that salad dressing? Alls you gots is that balsamic vinegar. Let me help you wit dat".

Spokey said...

Kenny . . .

we're coming for you


oiled the 12 ga variable choke and it's ready to roll. You can name your poison. Bird, buck, or slug?

OR you can get on the board and spill.



robot is denying egmdedo. I'll let the jury decide

Anonymous said...

Brad Wiggins winning Amgen tour. Is that Cuntifornication?

The Jimboner said...

Crat Frucking Srix Fror Lrife!

Albert King said...

If it wasn't for Cat VI,
I wouldn't beat no one at all

JLRB said...

Sometimes I feel like this New Yorker

Fred of the Sea said...

Ha! I'm so old, that guy feels like me.

James said...

Brie? as in Brie Bella? Is there really a rational amount to eat Brie Bella?

captcha say she features rpibile

Roille Figners said...

This blog is just bristling with comedic and critical firepower like a battleship ready for...uh, battle. Verily was I targeted and destroyed by its relentless hail of bombshells.

Dave said...

I'm nearly done with my pre-dinner IPA, and I'm driving this trackball erratically all over the interwebs.

Plenty of numbskulls on the trail today, riding on their heels, with elbows and knees splayed and wobbling like so many drunken sewing machines. Or was I hallucinating?

Anonymous said...

Shit! I blew a .27 & felt just fine. The next day & three years after that were what sucked!

Angry Beaver in Miramichi said...

The ped getting nailed by the flying car video. It sure looks like the car was driving on the sidewalk. Could Alex Baldwin have been behind the wheel?

BamaPhred said...

Heal fast, McFly. Low flying missile dogs are the worst. The second worst are the little yappy ones that are just tall enough to nip the Sidis. I think I'll get my bear spray and go dog trolling this evening. I sure can't outrun them yet.

ge said...

Dave - trackball, nice. Forgot about those. Do a trackstand in your livingroom with your track bike, wearing track pants and operating that trackball to track your kickstarter fund. And the trackpad won out. What gives?

Fred of the Sea said...

McFly, hope it wasn't serious. Those fuckers have some nasty mouth flora.

Bama, wouldn't the bubbas down there bolt a fighting chair to the bed of a truck, take out their deep sea gear and some biscuit lures, and troll for woofers on the back roads?

McFly said...

I like these Brit announcers on the BEIN channel doing the Giro. THEY WILL TALK LOUD and then whisper THEN TALK LOUD then whisper and say things like quite fetching and nullify. No impetuous, though. Paul has that one locked down on royalty.

PBateman said...

holy freaking crap that video of the guy being run the heck over is terrifying.

good god what are you people doing up there?

hope they create some very clever torture/death scenario for the driver once he/she is convicted.

Anonymous said...

Why, just last night (or about 14 hours ago, American time) I rode over the Sydney Manhattan bridge.

The only similarities is the overcrowding and the train line running immediately adjacent to the bike path.

The most notable difference is the seeming lack of security on the NY Manhattan Bridge. On the Sydney Manhattan Bridge, there's security guards wearing hi-viz vests ( only two last night, one at either end) and survellience cameras, like, every ten metres (or seven/sixteenths of a fathom American).

So many riders salmon on the Sydney Manhattan Bridge, salmoning has become the norm here! The path is narrower and in a greater state of disrepair. The approaches to the Sydney Manhattan Bridge make the photographed crossing in NY look like Tokyo's Shibuya Station intersection. Here, there's a couple of short sharp steep and awkward ramps at one end and stairs at the other.

As I automatically avert my gaze when confronted with a topless rider, I can't report with any accuracy on the prevalence or otherwise of semi-nude cycling on the Sydney Manhattan Bridge, but I can relay the sad news half the commuters here wear spandex and are fully Freded up.

The preponderance of voluntary wearing of the helment on the NY Manhattan Bridge simply beggars belief! Australia is one of the very few places on earth where the law demands one wears a helment while riding a push bike and to have our civil rights campaign to have this discriminatory and racist law overturned derailed by fey New Yorkers is very disappointing.

In solidarity with the oppressed cyclists of Australia and New Zealand (they're our Canada), I suggest whenever you see a cyclist wearing a helment in America you hit them forcefully so as to precipitate a fall, thus proving the number of resulting head injuries that would have been prevented or lessened by the wearing of a helment would be so low as to discredit the bigoted mandatory helment wearing law ethos.

Thank You.


1 am doobie comment said...

I like the Tour of California - and the Giro. But hell, I ride mtb, so what do I know?

Dave said...

ge - the evening is progressing nicely, and I'm no longer tracking anything but the last of the beer. I was a minor track star, once, though, back when I had young legs.

Dave said...

Here's a vid that should become popular; Dc ain't NYC but we're trying to keep up:

http://www.wtop.com/41/3626211/Bike-commuter-releases-helmet-cam-video-of-crash

actually handlebar-cam but never mind

BamaPhred said...

Yo FOTS, so that's what they are doing!

Anonymous said...

Do african-americans use much tanning oil?

That's for us pale faces.

I'll take offence on his behalf.

Anonymous said...

In the wayback machine we had to take our brakes off because the steel wheels were so jacked up the brakes would rub. You wore Jackson Pollack coal miner boots and dropped a boot expertly pinned between the road and a bracing pedal on your calf. You sort of hoped your foot didn't catch on anything and snap your tibia in half.

McFly said...

Steve Tilford says it's hard to get used to riding in the heat when it isn't hot. That's sound logic that I cannot argue with.

Anonymous said...

Thank Lob for your accounts of the baronial in the midst of the mundane. They make the drek coming from the radavist and Yonder journal seem like thinly disguised industry advert stunts. Keep on fighting the power, WCRM!

Anonymous said...

Fuck you you pick up driving moron - why do you care what I am wearing while riding a bike? I certainly don't care what you are wearing while you drive your big fat pick up to the next fat food drive through window. Jog on.

makethink said...

Mr. Rock Machine,

Not related to post but,

interesting new article on VOX,

http://www.vox.com/2014/5/22/5738626/how-and-why-bicycle-deaths-happen-in-the-us

note Helment pie chart toward end.

Adam Fedock said...

SNOB, I really hope those are video stills from a camera mounted to your bars, and not pictures from a goddamn phone you're waving in front of your face as you're blasting an 80lb bike down the bridge.

Don't you know what would happen if you ever crashed?! It would be like Alec Baldwin times infinity to the power of Dorothy Rabinowitz.

Bikes would be banned. Don't pretend this isn't a possibility!

Roille Figners said...

Bicycles are dying all across the US!

Permanently Confused said...

So Reverse Cat 6 would be Cat 9?

Cat o' nine tails?

Why was six afraid of seven? Because seven ate nine.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Adam Fedock,

The pictures are from a goddamn phone I was waving inf ront of my face as I blasted an 80lb bike down the bridge.

And I was NOT wearing a healmenent!

--Wildcat Rock Machine

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