Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I'm back, now time for a recovery ride!

(Gaiole in Chianti, the Retro-Fred Capital of the World, and also they make wine or something.)

Well, I'm back from L'Eroica!  You may now commence rejoicing:

Ordinarily I would arrive home after an international flight gutted and laid bare, flensed of my humanity by delays and security checks and cramped cabins and jetlag and the painful abdominal bloat that always seems to accompany air travel.  So transcendent was L'Eroica, however, that even something like 20 hours in transit could barely dim my mood.  In fact, had a customs agent at JFK seen fit to administer a body cavity search, he would have been blinded by rays of Tuscan sunshine, which even now continue to emanate from my posterior.

Given the vast thematic and emotional scope of L'Eroica, which might very well have been one of the most enjoyable cycling experiences of my life, it will take me some time to cull the thousands of shitty smartphone photos I took and formulate some sort of narrative.  So for that you will have to wait--though I can assure you a more thorough accounting is in the offing.  In the meantime, I can tell you that gearing was in short supply:

Yet there was a surfeit of Italian dinner speeches, some of which no doubt continue even as I type this:

There were also thousands of retro-Freds (or, more accurately, retro-Frédériques) clamoring for water from picturesque fountains in medieval hilltop towns:

Riders of tall bikes equipped with wine bottle holders:

Nonplussed vendors of vintage bicycle componentry:

More classic bicycles than you can shake a stick at:

And other classic bicycles that arguably should be beaten with a stick:

Which is to say nothing of besotted Old Testament prophets with arks:

Or six-time Tour de France green jersey winners with shopping carts:

And I even affixed the Fly6 integrated tail light/camera to my bike in order to capture some of the hijinx on the fabled strade bianche:

So stay tuned for a more fuller report.

Meanwhile, even though I'm still floating on a L'Eroica-induced cloud, I expect New York City's considerable gravity to begin grinding my face into terra firma at any moment.  There are few things quite as jarring as spending a few days in a country where they eat salami for breakfast and then returning to New York and catching up on the news.  For example, while I was gone it looks like a cyclist creamed a police officer on the Brooklyn Bridge:

The cyclist remained on the scene.

Police believe there was no criminality.

Wait a minute.  A cyclist hit a cop and they don't suspect any criminality?  If you get hit by a car while riding a bike here the police will safety-pin a summons to your body bag.  Did I return to the right city or did my flight get diverted to Portland?

And if this is in fact New York City, all I can say is the NYPD must really hate that cop.  He's clearly some kind of modern-day Serpico.  I'm guessing a few hours before the collision he was hanging around the precinct saying stuff like, "Maybe we should lay off the cyclists and concentrate on dangerous drivers instead.  Waddya say, guys?"

"Well, this oughtta learn him," his colleagues are no doubt gloating.

I'm also surprised the Post didn't name the cyclist, though given the circumstances I'm assuming it's Barabbas.

The Gear

Mr. Wine spent around $6,000 on his Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4 road bike. His Santa Cruz Tallboy mountain bike cost about $5,000. He spent $3,500 on his Ridley X-Fire cyclocross bike. His Sidi Genius road bike shoes cost about $380.

For mountain biking and cyclocross, he wears Mavic Chasm shoes, which cost about $240.

He had custom bike jersey and shorts made with the Juniper Books logo for $85 a piece. He usually wears a Bell Gage helmet, which costs $175.

Mr. Wine tracks his rides with a Garmin 510 and uploads the data to strava.com, which allows him to compare his performance with others who have ridden the same route.

Mr. Wine spends $140 a month on rolfing sessions, which is a form of soft tissue massage work, and $45 a week on chiropractor visits.

I was totally going to make fun of this guy until I realized I'm pretty much exactly the same as he is, except most of my bikes are made of metal and instead of riding with a Garmin and uploading my data to Strava I just ride with a smartphone and upload every single one of my useless brain farts to my stupid bike blog.

Also, I don't do the "rolfing sessions" (I always just assumed that was some sort of artisanal bulimia club), though I'm sure I spend at least as much every month on watching shitty iTunes movies while supping on bad wine and takeout--and nothing inspires a good "rolfing session" like discovering a cockroach in your sesame chicken while watching the latest rom-com.

Penultimately, in the interest of being more professional and/or corporate, I've decided while typing this in a jetlag-induced haze that I want to implement more regular features on this blog, so I'm hereby introducing a new pro cycling department called:


Ready?  Here goes:

Uh, yeah, I thought he already did.

See how that works?

Anyway, here's more on his "retirement:"

Schleck has been out of action since stage three of the Tour de France when he crashed in the London finale and injured his knee.

Right.  Arguably he's been out of action since all that "anger" in his stomach turned out to be cotton candy.

Not only have they pitted me against "Pedaling Professionaly: tips for dressing for your commute + your office (by women, for women)," but that is also the exact same subject of my seminar, so it promises to be a real sartorial cage match.  

Anyway, I'll try to round up some hats and stuff to give away, so hopefully I'll see you there.

And now I'm off to wash my woolen L'Eroica jersey in Woolite®.


Anonymous said...

YEA.... got it!


McFly said...


samh said...

Welcome home. Back to rolfing now.

Bryan said...

Welcome back! Looks like I just missed the sprint

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Top ten...

mikeweb said...

Praise Lob! Cipo didn't find our beloved Snobber.

Anonymous said...

Dorky antics!

Karen Carpenter said...

Rolfing makes me feel so close to you.

Anonymous said...

je suis dans le premier dix

dop said...

Karen-a bit too soon for that

wild cat...more eroica

grog said...

Welcome home. Get on your bike and ride.

Anonymous said...

Nice to have you back. The blog went to hell without you.


streepo said...


ken e. said...

welcome back!

Anonymous said...

More Fly6 and the Italian equivalent of dirndls, please.

K-Bo said...


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Some castle porn please.

trama said...

Salivating at all those old crusty parts. I was hassled once for having chainrings in my carry on baggage. Mind you, this was well before 9/11. more cool stories later


Freddy Murcks said...

Welcome back, Snob. Obvious phallus jokes aside, I must say that the salami in Italy is one of the best reasons for visiting the Boot. I didn't think I liked Salami until I visited Italy and my wife and I sat in front of our friend's refrigerator at 3:00 am in a jet-lag induced spell of wakefulness eating all the salami his refrigerator had to offer. It's beautiful stuff. And the capucci are pretty good too.

James said...

I'll ask.... Was either the cop or the cyclist wearing a healment?

Guido the BadStereotype Bicycle Mechanic said...

E quando biciclette d'epoca avevano meccanica (mechanicals?), stavano riparati con strumenti d'epoca? (O sono state tentate riparazioni con tale?)

dnk said...

Love the banana peel in the photo of the Colnago (the classic bike for sale that "arguably should be beaten with a stick").

The banana peel is poised to fall into the clear mountain stream of Tuscany directly below.

As for the bike, if my euros-to-dollars conversion is correct, that's almost $1150. Ouch.

P. Bateman said...

hopefully you brought back a sack of vintage campy bits to give away??

i need some C-record parts if its not too much to ask.

Comment deleted said...

Excellent New Testament literary allusion. So glad to have you back, Il Snob.

Buffalo Bill said...

Welcome back, your photo skills have really improved.

It appears Zeus has turned his back on old Noah in that one shot. Those teddy bears better make sure there's a lightning rod on the ark.

Bryan said...

Oh my, that WSJ..."article," nothing I like more than reading about people's expensive shit with ultra douchy names like Thatcher Wine. Maybe he is a nice guy and it isn't his fault someone wanted to write about him and the unfortunate name bestowed upon him by his parents. Then again, maybe he sought out to brag about his expensive shit.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Good thinking to incorporate that brown jacket of yours into a vintage soldier outfit. Dang! you rode a single speed too even? Wow. I take back my wussie comments about you only riding the medium tour. You're an animal Wildcat.

Regular guy said...

I'm glad you came away from your retro-fredly experience with nothing but good things to say, I feared a b@tch-fest after which I would have had to go all Rolly Fingers on you.

That shot of your retro-rear wheel looked like my wheel and gearing when I was a 15 year old USCF Junior Fred. Those were the good old days.

I'd rather have a bike expository than a bicycle suppository. But then, if you are giving a seminar on wearing women's clothes for commuting+work, I suspect you'd be all for the latter.

Nordo said...

Hey my first post for the snob..I am in medieval Europe time in Spain so got ahead of everyone else. Missed your general snarkiness the last few days..

the2002saga said...

Is that Zabel or Greipel?

Joe K. said...

And here I thought Rolfing was a piano session with a Muppet, shows what i know.

Good to see you back and back in form.

I assumed the cop in question was from the 83rd precinct and kept reminding his fellow officers to investigate the Dulcie Canton hit and run.

Sorry that you have to go to Philthy to do a talk, is it community service?

Anonymous said...

Of course Mr Wine, even after all that coaching and money spent, --- is a mid-pack Cat 4 CX racer after 3 years in the sport. Hey, listen, so am I, but I'm not dropping $500/month on coaching and massage. Some folks might say he's not getting his money's-worth if he can't get any faster than that.

Anonymous said...

Zabel ask for your autograph?

Anonymous said...

You have to pay to Rolf? Just eat some gas station sandwiches and you can Rolf all the way home for free.

Freddy Murcks said...

I'd bet dollars for donuts that Mr. Thatcher Wine is a fucking trustafarian and that the money that he wastes on his bicycling ineptitude doesn't even begin to dent his monthly allowance. He has all of the hallmarks of a trust fund baby: he lives in Boulder, he spends ridiculous amounts of money on a hobby, he runs a business that cannot possibly support him and whose only asset is access to his parent's rich friends, and he went to motherfucking Dartmouth.

Mr. Fucking Wine said...

Fuck you whiners!

JLRB said...

yes, Thatcher Wine has a coach to manage his 3 mile ride to work...
Lob help us...

Gotta love the comments to the article

"Sounds self centered, narcissistic, and utterly unlikable. He might redeem himself if he did something to promote bike safety in urban areas. I for one am tired of spandex-clad bikers running red lights, riding on the wrong side of the road, mowing down pedestrians."


"Thatcher - Seriously? I guess your routine might sound stupendous and geez-wiz-ish to all the non-riders out there. But to another rider, a weekend warrior (i.e. YOU) divulging all your expenses, nutritional habits and riding habits is kind of "yawner". Get your butt out there and win the Colorado State Roads or State Mtn Bike Championships or State Cyclocross Championships. Until that happens, you might just as well be some pilates student or gym nerd or 5K runner suffering through a mid-life crisis, wishing they had done more in their earlier years. Go get some results pal !"

product Name Placement said...

He often goes to Whole Foods at lunch for a salad or a turkey sandwich on gluten-free bread. He eats dinner at the office most nights. Dinner is often rice and grilled chicken and grilled vegetables from Whole Foods.

JLRB said...

Freddy M - Exactly - A private library curator? Custom book jackets? How is that a business (and why didn't I think of it) - not sure how WSJ left Artisanal out of the description

JB said...

Erik Zabel, says my top-notch googling/Wiki'ing skills.

That tall bike looks more like a totem pole of retro randonneuring Fredliness.

Glad the trip was enjoyed.

K-bo said...

I spend about as much as Thacher Wine does in a month... on weed

Freddy Murcks said...

I would add that Thatcher Wine spends riculous amounts of money on a hobby that he's not even particularly good at.

I knew a guy in college of similar financial means who moved to Boulder to pursue his dream of being a professional triathlete. It came to precisely bupkiss. I saw him in an article in the NYT the other day talking about his family's new 1.5 Billion dollar real estate deal. Mr. wine will be brought into the fold too after his family tires of supporting his pointless hobbies.

Anonymous said...

welcome back wild cat. How the hell was the old country? Looking forward to a more detailed account of l'Eroica, as I might have to add it to my list of crap that I would like to do. I already have an appropriate bike, just need a woolen shirt.

Anonymous said...

Thatcher Wine sounds like a fascinating guy to hang out with.

Anonymous said...

My books are to ugly to show off, Does anyone know what I can do about this?

JB said...

Anon @ 1:56 pm: ...as long he provides the weed/wine.

mikeweb said...

The Philly bike Ex-Poe 'programmer' put Snob up against a seminar that's 'by women and for women'? Actually it seems that they have his audience demographics nailed.

JLRB said...

and welcome back Snob - enjoy the post-vacation bliss - the best of natural highs.

leroy said...

Well, at least now I know why my dog has been singing an altered version of a Commander Cody classic.

"I need to make my mind relax 'cause I think I've had enough ....

"Mr. Wine, Wine, Wine, show your stuff....

My dog says any snark would just be sour grapes.

badcomputerbot_0348 said...

So transcendent was L'Eroica, however, that even something like 20 hours in transit could barely dim my mood.

That's why I was complaining about your decision to spend just a few days there.

The trip even had retro-fredly splendor that is impossible to find in Canada's scranus. Hopefully the food lived up to the high standards promised.

leroy said...

The subdued response to the cyclist / cop collision on the Brooklyn Bridge is easily explained.

While you were gone, law enforcement was outsourced to the Gotham City Police Department.

My dog has been hanging around Boro Hall in a cape all morning.

Olle Nilsson said...


I learned a new word today.

by women, for women? Wow, your trip to Italy also included forgetting your blog is no longer anonymous. Oh wait, confusion setting in.

Whelp, time to got for my flensing appointment.

JLRB said...

I am still puzzled - by custom book covers, is he talking about the ones made out of paper grocery bags we used when I was in elementary school?

Unknown said...

No wi-fi in Italy? Don't do this to us again BikesnobL'Eroica.

Spokey said...


gots to stop going out for a ride during the middle of the day. barely back in time for the century.

James said...

Mike Sinyard has already copyrighted Thatcher and Wine as upcoming models and will be contacting Mr Thatcher Wine to cease and desist using that name or else Special!!ed will sue both Thatcher and his parents for the balance of the trust fund.

He also wants his SWorks back. You're not worthy, Knobgobbler.

Anonymous said...

VSK Said ...

Bi Women For Women And Men.

Glad you had a good time Sr. Snob!
I read more Classic Ron Day Voo just to maintain the mood.
Hopefully there will be some Erotica infused in the Eroica.


Spokey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I hate to drag my own community into the conversation, but compare and contrast Mr Whine to this lady . I have no idea who she is, but we probably are riding the same roads.
I caught my silhouette a few days ago. Egad! I look more like a largemouth bass on a bike than a cyclist.

Anonymous said...

It's like riding a bike in Italy knocked the snark out of WCRM. It must've been a terrific trip.

My wife just got back from Amsterdam. She said the traffic was absolutely terrible, but it was all bikes so that was fine.

Meanwhile, my scranus is still here behind the tobacco curtain.

balls™ said...

A quick google of Mr. Thatcher...

"...he custom-designs book collections to suit his customers' decorating tastes."

That's like designing a bicycle to hang on someone's living room wall instead of being ridden.

David Pearce said...

Dear Snob,

Your blog is not stupid, nor do you have very many brain farts. Don't be hatin' on your own blog! I know you're "extremely critical", but don't be hatin'

Must be the jet lag.

Must be a pretty stupid reporter for the Mr. Wine story. It sure does me little good that the only descriptions for numerous bicycles & shoes are the prices. Maybe the readers of the WSJ column are used to talking about their stuff this way.

Anyway, welcome back. It's good to have you back. In the absence of ME being able to go to L'Eroica or Italy or Europe or anywhere now, it's nice to have a report from a knowledgeable person who had "boots on the ground".

The anti-robot is ridiculous. A very oblique photo of a house (?) number or the corner of a carpet (?) with green foliage against a tan background. In the left center is a very foreshortened 17 in a little box (I think), like maybe an item number attached to a carpet at auction at Christie's East.

JB said...

In defense of the WSJ article, it's under the "What's Your Workout" tag, which is apparently a recurring thing.

That explains some of the writer's tone/angle.

David Pearce said...

That Thatcher Wine guy looks pretty earnest, so I'll give him that, and I like books, so I'll give him that too.

But who knew you could make a living out of making book covers!!

When I went to school I could make THE NICEST book covers out of the heavy duty grocery store paper bags--The heavy stuff we used to see, like an icecream bag (Did'ja know they used to have smaller thick-paper bags to keep your FULL half-gallon carton of icecream from melting before you got it home?!). Complete with the titles written by me on the spine. I did this even in college, and certainly when I was a math teacher, and From Five Fingers to Infinity and Discovering Geometry are still wrapped up that way on my shelf today.

Still and all, to be making illustrated book covers for sets of books, just seems a little effete to me, just a little too twee for me!

Hey! That rhymes!

1904 Cadardi said...

Welcome back Mr. RockMachine,

Glad you had a great time. It appears everyone here is all a quiver waiting for your travelogue including menus, course descriptions, scranal humor and a full fredly description of that Campy equipped retro-beast bikecycle. I know I am. So pop a couple Benedryl, have a beer, crash for 20 hours and start writing please.

I too went for a lunch ride and found some road kill pliers. They're so bent as to be comical and now decorate my cube.

Mark Follmer said...

Re: the cop hit by cyclist.

Was the cyclist wearing a helmet?

RoadQueen said...

If the precinct didn't beat the shit out of and then taze the cyclist, I'd venture that the cop had been saying much worse things than 'laying off cyclists'.

He probably suggested limiting doughnut consumption to one per week, while requiring all officers in the NYPD consume at least 2 lbs of broccoli per day.

Mel Brooks said...

I was born in Dusseldorf & that is why they call me Rolf

Regular guy said...

Re. Bama Fred's link.

How could someone have never ridden a bike in the dark before?

Regular guy said...

Thatcher Wine continues the noble craft of his ancestor Vini Cooperatoris who was busy designing custom scroll covers for Nero's library while Rome burned.

David Pearce said...

And also wrote:

"Don't be stupid, be a smarty!

Come and join the Nazi Party!


When I had my VW Golf, I wanted to steal the R off of someone's Golf R32, and change the name of my car from Golf to Rolf.

Dooth said...

That strade bianche picture...who's that in the all-black and wearing a cape?! Europe has a BikeGoth?! I'm so fucken there...

tubasti said...

Amazing what a couple days in Tuscany can do for one's outlook.

I should try it sometime. God bless Italy.

Flyover BC said...

So, what's the difference between the blog about Mr. Wine and a typical article in Bicycling?

As best as I can tell, the blog didn't mention how many hundreds or thousands dollars his clothes cost.

GroupPhotoBot9000 said...

Hey, anyone else find the Team Brooks photo featuring the Snob?


Is the a vintage helmet Mr. Snob is sporting?

BikeSnobNYC said...


I'm just wearing a hat so you must be looking at someone else. A couple of people are wearing the vintage-y Carrera/Brooks "collabo" helment.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

GroupPhotoBot9000 said...

Left side of back row, in white cap with red stripe? (behind lady with camera.)

JLRB said...

Does Woolite take Tuscan Sun Skid Marks out of old timey chamois?

Anonymous said...

She never stopped to use the restroom. Thems some stanky shammy.

Scott B. said...

Awesome Barrabas reference. Most Christians probably couldn't explain that analogy, let alone make it. Though I guess it behooves Jewish people to keep close tabs on the part of the Christian Bible where a Jewish mob disses Jesus, if only to spot anti-Semites by their enthusiasm for recounting it.

bad boy of the north said...

welcome home....sorry that it's a little late,but there it is.

WSJ Profile said...

I ride a $5,000 bike, wear $300 shoes, eat grape nuts with broccolini, shit little raisins, and track my bowell movements on Flusher

Anonymous said...

Tell security to keep that fucking little kid that was at your seminar last year the hell out this year.

85 said...


Count of Sprint said...


Count of Sprint said...


Count of Sprint said...


Count of Sprint said...


Count of Sprint said...


Count of Sprint said...


Count of Sprint said...


Count of Sprint said...


Count of Sprint said...


Count of Sprint said...


Count of Sprint said...



Now go get 'em boys

Spokey said...

awful quiet in here

Spokey said...

that dop waiting to pounce?

Spokey said...

that bama in the bushes over there?

Spokey said...


scrani on the wall

McFly said...

Did you get to wear any of those sweet ass Amelia Earhart Goggles?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Hey Bieksnob I been wearing my murdered out wool bsnyc cap every morning this fall on my bikecycling commute. (Well except for when it rains and I drive the car I own) Just enough brim to keep the low angle sunshine out of my eyes and keeps the pate toasty.

JLRB said...

...and you can warm some Pâté on your head too

Orestes Munn said...

Welcome back Mr. Snobi! It got mighty dull here for a few days. As to Mr. Wine:

"Six years ago, chronic back pain nearly led him to give up biking. He realized if he biked more rather than less he felt less pain. “Since then I never let three days go by without going on a bike ride,” says Mr. Wine. The consistency, plus weekly chiropractor sessions and daily stretching have kept his back pain in check."

Yup, that sound sustainable.

Anonymous said...

To the

JB said...

I think that Snob is front row, center, with the older dude's arm around him. The older dude's other arm is around an absolute minx.

JLRB said...

Erik Zabel sings Freedom like a shopping cart

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