First of all, now that we're normalizing relations with Cuba, I'd like to welcome all you cubanos to the blog. Our cycling cultures have much we can learn from each other. For example, you can teach us about DIY recumbent building:
While we can teach you about being overprivileged douchebags who wear cyclocross-specific shoes:
I never thought I'd get to the point where cyclocross annoyed the fuck out of me, but I'm sorry to report that cyclocross now annoys the fuck out of me.
It's hard to say whether it's because cyclocross is getting too douchey or because I'm just getting old, but it's probably about 5% due to the former and 95% due to the latter.
All I know is that if I hear one more American in shants refer to french fries as "frites" I'm gonna puke in his aïoli. I'll bet you if I bought a shitload of McDonald's fries, went to all the cyclocross races, and served them wrapped in some Belgian newspaper at $15 a pop I'd be rich enough to retire within a year. In fact, I may very well do that at Cyclocross Nationals in Austin this coming January:
Though I do realize the competition will be stiff, because Austin is Food Truck Hell, which I know from personal experience:
Speaking of that trip to Austin, I got in a little bit of trouble afterwards because I wrote this about Don Walker:
How come everybody seems to hate show organizer Don Walker, yet somehow he remains in power, like Muammar Gaddafi?
Alas, I never would have made that quip today--not because I regret it, but because given this whole Sony mishigas comparing him to Kim Jong-un would have been way more topical.
By the way, did you know North Korea is a hotbed of women's cycling? And when I say "hotbed," I mean they can do it now do it without being punished:
Scoff if you will, but this makes them more progressive than the UCI.
Meanwhile, yesterday I posted a video of someone falling off his rollers, and an astute reader noticed the rider was wearing a Gran Fondo New York jersey:
Whenever I am a victim of some sort of Fredly faux-pas it always seems as though the perpetrator is wearing a Gran Fondo New York jersey. Whether it's that wheelsucker lurking behind me on the bike path, that unprepared pump-grubber, or the aero-dork who thinks he's a customer and every other cyclist is a bike shop employee, they always seem to share this jersey in common. The best advice I can give you is to always give Gran Gondo New York jersey wearers a wide berth--unless they also have some form of aerobar on their bike, in which case you should save yourself the trouble, steer your bike into a ditch, and crash yourself:
It's not a question whether the rider with Gran Fondo New York jersey and aerobars will crash. Rather, it's merely a question of how hard he's going to crash into you--or, barring the presence of anybody else, his ottoman:
This is not to say I'm any better at riding rollers. In fact, I confess I've never ridden on rollers. Furthermore, odds are I never will ride on rollers, because unless humankind is forced to relocate to Mars and I can never go outside again I can't imagine a scenario in which I would be tempted to "ride" a bicycle indoors.
Also, I can certainly understand people wanting to "Be A Pro For A Day:"
Though I think the full slogan should be "Be a Pro For A Day, Be A Fred For A Lifetime."
Speaking of Freds, Bicycling magazine (also known as Time for Freds) has published an article about proto-Freds Orville and Wilbur Wright:
Like most Americans I knew the Wright Brothers had a bike shop, but I never realized they invented the whole reverse-threaded left pedal thing:
According to Engler and other Wright historians, the brothers used their ingenuity to contribute to the improvement of the bicycle. First was the "self-oiling hub," which sealed the bearings with felt washers to keep a reservoir of oil inside. Then, in 1900, the Wrights introduced an innovation we still use today: the bicycle pedal that doesn't come unscrewed. On earlier bicycles, both pedals screwed into the crankarms with standard threads (clockwise to tighten, counterclockwise to loosen). The motion of the cranks spinning would tighten the right-side pedal against the crankarm, but loosen the left. Wilbur and Orville realized that if the left pedal screwed in with reverse, or left-handed, threads, the spinning of the cranks would tighten it against the arm as well, thus giving us secure pedals (but to this day confounding home mechanics who don't know which way to turn their pedal wrenches).
Overall, I found this article very interesting, though I took issue with this paragraph:
A hundred years later, aviation has repaid the bicycle, with interest. As bike technology has advanced from Wilbur and Orville's self-oiling hubs to cold-worked titanium frames and all-carbon rims, aerospace has contributed many of the most important concepts.
"Aviation has repaid the bicycle, with interest"? Are you freaking kidding me? Have you flown with a bicycle lately? Those bike charges are insane! If anything it seems like we're paying them a royalty for some reason.
Also, as far as technology, titanium frames and crabon rims barely count as technological advancements, especially when you look at how far the airplane has come since the Wright Brothers's original flying recumbent glider thingy. I mean really--look at a Wright Brothers bike and tell me there's been any mind-blowing bicycle innovation since then:
Looks like a typical fixie to me. If you dropped the Wright Brothers onto the Williamsburg Bridge today they wouldn't miss a beat.
In fact, if some Fred in a Gran Fondo jersey asked Wilbur to change his tire, I'm sure he'd be able to do it in a heartbeat.
The times they aren't a-changin'.