I mean sure, I could also just check the weather forecast, but who has time for that?
Anyway, I dropped my knitting, grabbed my winter bike, and off I went:
See those diagonal lines? It was really snowing, and I was really riding in it!
By the way, there's a persistent myth that aluminum frames are somehow "disposable," but if anything this frame only gets better with age--mostly because it is not afflicted with a press-fit bottom bracket or dick breaks or any of that other nonsense. The frame was already pretty old when I bought it used like eight years ago, and since then it's been a race bike, a travel bike, and currently the dedicated winter bike that sees me through the darkest months of the year. Indeed, given its years of service, I'm thinking of rewarding it by having it gold plated like this £250,000 Giant:
Here's how the company that created it describes it:
“Striking to look at, the bike is even more beautiful when in fluid motion, as the spinning spokes catch the sunlight and ripples along the golden frame."
Oh, I don't doubt it.
And here's the bike that lies underneath all that gold plating:
Brought to you by the world’s leading aluminum frame engineers, Defy redefines the performance possibilities of an entry-level road bike.
Scoff if you will, but even billionaires need entry-level bicycles--theirs are just covered in gold, that's all. This bike should look perfect hanging from the gold-plated trunk rack of your gold-plated Hyundai Santa Fe. Just imagine it in "fluid motion, as the spinning spokes catch the sunlight," and as the rider's £20,000 diamond-encrusted half-shorts scintillate like a disco ball.
In fact, there's such a demand for "budget" bicycle equipment for billionaires that Nashbar is introducing a special edition of its catalog specifically for them. It's called "Nashbar Gold:"
(Free shipping! Simply enter discount code "OLIGARCH" at time of purchase.)
It's exactly the same as their regular catalog, only every single item in it has been gold plated, right down to the house-branded singlespeed conversion kits.
In other news, this week we've been taking an in-depth look at why Australia is the worst country on the planet for cyclists (I smell a Pulitzer!), and in keeping with the theme various people have forwarded me this thought-provoking essay about why cyclists are transforming Australian roads into a "hell on Earth:"
This is a top-notch piece of trollery, right down to the graphic illustrating how motorists are suddenly and inexplicably incapable of changing lanes safely if there's a bicyclist nearby:
And how they're completely unable to gauge speed and distance of oncoming objects for some reason:
5. YOU GO SLOWER THAN CARS SO DON’T PRETEND YOU’RE A CAR
I’m turning out of a side street, patiently waiting until the traffic is clear.
Finally I get my chance. But wait. There’s a lone cyclist pedalling at 15km/h about 20m up the road.
Should I pull out? Maybe I’ll hit them. But, they’re going very slowly, I guess ... Well, now it’s too late.
My traffic window has been ruined and now I face another wait.
You’re slow, so don’t pretend you’re a car.
And you’re not Cadel Evans either.
I couldn't get too worked up over the article since it's textbook clickbait, however it is worth noting that the person who wrote it has some very serious spatial reasoning issues. Cars and bikes really have nothing to do with it. This person really needs to see a neurologist.
Meanwhile, in Melbourne, the fabric of society is disintegrating thanks to carriage-on-bike violence:
Basically, a cyclist and a horse-drawn carriage driver got in a fight, and it's all on video:
The incident was filmed using a helmet-mounted camera by a cyclist named Brett as he headed north along St Kilda Rd on Saturday afternoon.
"Brett," really? Are they sure it wasn't "Bret" with only one "t"?
Either way, here's what happened:
In the three-minute video, the horse-drawn carriage appears to run a number of red lights and cut off the cyclist near Flinders St Station.
At one stage the cyclist asks the driver of the carriage for his name and he appears to reply by saying, "Yeah, it's called piss off dick head".
And here's the dramatic video:
This was the most pathetic altercation I've seen in a long time. Firstly, the carriage wasn't even in the bike lane, the problem was the bus:
Secondly, you don't ride alongside a slow-moving primitive vehicle, arguing with the operator to a charmingly rustic "clip-clop, clip-clop" soundtrack. It's embarrassing. What you do is unhitch the horses, give them a good slap on the rump, bellow "Hyah!" or some other similar form of equine encouragement, and then give the driver the finger as they gallop away.
Oddly, here in New York City the carriage drivers and the cyclists are probably the only two groups of road users who aren't at each other's throats. See, carriage drivers pose little or no threat to any other road user--which is why they're the only group the mayor is trying to actively ban. Should he succeed, perhaps the carriage drivers should relocate to Melbourne, where apparently they can operate with their trademark brand of sluggish, non-threatening impunity.
Lastly, the UCI has given Astana have a WorldTour license:
But don't worry, they're on "probation:"
UCI president Brian Cookson stated, “The case of the Astana Pro Team ... remains a very serious situation for our sport given the number of doping cases. We shall be following the situation very closely and are awaiting to review the results of the audit. Meanwhile, the team will have to comply with the two requirements imposed by the Licence Commission. The combined effect of this is that the Astana Pro Team can be considered very much to be on probation. "
This is a refreshing acknowledgement from the UCI that professional cycling does, has and always will include drugs.