Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Has Sprung, And I Think It Sprained Something

It's spring, which means the Human-Powered Daddy Shuttle (a.k.a. the "Smugness Flotilla"--or, according to the company that sells it, a "Surly Big Dummy") is running more frequently now:


I believe I took delivery of this bicycle sometime around March or April of 2010, which makes the bike five (5) years old this spring.  This is well beyond what most of the cycling media considers an appropriate period for a "long-term review."  In fact, I don't even think the cycling media considers it acceptable to own a bicycle for five years.  For the rest of us, however, five years means a bike is just getting broken in, so please allow me to update you.

This is a bike blog, we're gonna talk about bikes for a little bit, OK?

Here's what the bike looked like in the spring of 2010:


I added the pedals and the camping chair, but otherwise that's exactly how it came out of the box.

Since then, I have the following component changes or additions:


The bike would really benefit from a center stand but I've been to cheap and lazy to acquire and install one.

Oh, I also used one of these kiddie seats until my kid grew out of it:


And I have the Xtracycle WideLoaders for when shit gets real:


They are hugely helpful for carrying lots of stuff, but they have nailed me in the Achilles too many times:


The bike has been incredibly useful.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's been liberating, in the sense that you can pick up pretty much whatever you want when you're out and about without wearing a bag or giving any thought about how you're going to get it home.  (Within reason, of course.  I still take THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK to Ikea.  I have nothing to prove in that regard.)  Also, my kid can hop on the back and I can easily bring both him and his bike to the park--at least until he switches to the 20", which should be any day now.

As for maintenance, I do the absolute minimum, and considering the bike spends half the year outside and has exposed derailleurs and all the rest of it it's held up very well.  Since 2010, I have only replaced a shift cable, a bottom bracket, and the brake pads.  Ideally I should replace all the cables and housing, as the shifting is at about 80% right now, but it's not yet past my own personal laziness/action threshold for this particular bicycle.  (The chain and cassette should probably also be replaced, but I don't feel like doing that either.)  Also, incredibly, these are the original tires--though I should probably replace them this season as they're pretty worn, and I'm sure now that I've said something one of them is going to explode.

Otherwise, apart from the Mr. Whirly crank, which I personally find to be a bit fussy, the bike has given me nothing to think about.

Also, you need a place to keep it, which can be a challenge if you live in a city.  Mine lives outside until winter, at which point I keep it in the basement.  If I lived on a busy street in a 5th floor walk-up without a bike room then Big Dummy ownership might not be tenable.  (Or at least I'd need four or five locks and a motorcycle cover--which, as a former motorcycle owner, I can assure you is yet another thing people steal in this town.)

So now you're up to date.

In any case, in the spirit of doing only essential maintenance, yesterday I replaced the brake pads again, as the rear pads were shot and the front pads had maybe 10 wet downhill stops left on them:


Rest assured that, in the spirit of thriftiness, I replaced them with used pads I removed from my mountain bike after changing to a different pad compound.

It's good to once again be confident in the Smugness Flotilla's stopping capacity, because all around are signs of springs.  For one thing, the trash cans are blossoming:


In New York City, this is the universal sign for "pothole or sinkhole," and it's an exceedingly common sight this time of year.

Also, just this morning I was parking my bike:


When I spotted something in the distance:


SKUNK!!!


What's more, that's not just any skunk.  That's clearly cartoon star Pepé Le Pew stalking his paramour:


("Permit me to introduce myself. I am Pepé Le Pew, your lover.")

As Dave Chapelle has famously pointed out, that really was a disturbing cartoon in retrospect.  They should have just called it "Pepe the Rape Skunk:


Anyway, like a spurned lover, Pepé ultimately retreated to his bachelor pad to watch skunk porn, and I retreated to my own abode to make the bike blog:


Admit it.  You clicked on the skunk porn.

Speaking of life in America's Most Bike-Friendly City according to "Bicycling" magazine, here's something that happened:


A black man riding his bike in the street swerved to avoid a car that actually hit him — he and his bike fell onto the sidewalk. An officer arrived on the scene and arrested him on the charges of bike on the sidewalk and resisting arrest because the man initially pushed back when the officer put his hand on him from behind and the man did not know it was a cop touching him. The officer cuffed and locked up the man — not bringing him to the hospital though the man complained about a severe pain in his leg. Held overnight in jail, the man refused to agree to a plea when he appeared in court because he had done nothing wrong. Upon his release by the judge — he has a later court date for his trial — the man went immediately to a hospital where doctors diagnosed and began treating his fractured leg. He’s now looking for a lawyer to represent him in the criminal case and another attorney to bring his lawsuit against the city for wrongful arrest among other claims.

Holy shit.

In reading this, I experienced a whole range of unpleasant emotions, none of which was surprise.  Sadly, the moral of the story is two-fold:

1) Be white whenever possible;
2) When a driver hits you while you're riding a bicycle as the law entitles them to do, be careful where you land.

Assuming you can do both these things, then sure, I suppose "Bicycling" was right.

Of course, none of this really matters, because in the future riding outside is going to be obsolete anyway and we're all going to ride virtually instead:



Yes, virtual reality face masks will soon be the new helment:


I wonder if they can make one that works while you're actually riding outside.  That way I could continue to live in New York, but my face mask would trick me into thinking I was in Portland.

Then, when a car sends me flying onto the sidewalk and the police arrest me, my virtual reality mask will make me think I'm being taken to a holistic day spa.

Lastly, here's something that's kind of clever:


Shock absorber handlebar BAM City from BARAMIND-BIKE on Vimeo.

See that?  It flexes!

Hey, if the thing is actually durable then I say they're onto something.  Maybe next they'll make a whole bike out of it.  They can call it the Gumby.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

Je suis le premier

Fatboy666 said...

Podium

BamaPhred said...

Podiodio

cyclotourist said...

Robots for the podium!

cyclotourist said...

Stupid sprained robot springs...

Buffalo Bill said...

skonk!

dop said...

7

BamaPhred said...

Skunk porn, good grief.
How did my cat get to NYC?
Sadly, these broken window horror stories are becoming all so common in Murka, Land of the "Free". I suppose that means free for the cops to do as they damn well please.

le Correcteur said...

Top ten; and I read it. But I did not look at the skunk porn!

Serial Retrogrouch said...

10? at least

Stings the nostrils said...

That was a mouffette a trois

crosspalms said...

I've had a virtual reality helmet since I was a kid. It's called daydreaming.

bad boy of the north said...

Ahh...the signs of spring.....don't forget garbage cans for holding parking spots on public streets as well.

Freddy Murcks said...

That's kind of like a description of a penis. Flexible when you push down and rigid when you pull up. What will the internet think of next?

PotbellyJoe said...

I have an 18 year-old cat who is 100% deaf. That's not even a metaphor.

I'm sure the black guy now along with a broken leg and court date has no bicycle. I just assume the cop propped it against the store and took this guy to the precinct. It's not like cruisers have bike racks like those Colorado Springs Bambalances do.

He had a few strikes against him as a black cyclist dealing with the NYPD and they showed him his place.

It always astounds me that that shit continues to happen.

If only he had worn his helment.

Anonymous said...

Laterally stiff, yet vertically compliant. What more could you ask for?

Seth said...

I have a Softride stem I'd love to sell the inventors of the gumby bars

grog said...

No,I did not click on the skunk porn.

Anonymous said...

Whole bike made out of Baramind - Jan Heine's wet dream.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...i clicked skunk porn and watched the whole thing.

...i mainly wanted to see if the she-skunk would spray him after she got fed up.

...you should grab that skink and ride around with him on the smugness floatilla. that way anyone who sucks your wheel will get sprayed.

Anonymous said...

Shock absorber handlebar.

Racist Bicycle Advocate said...

I'm so confused.

Mel Blanc said...

”Admit it. You clicked on the skunk porn.”

I admit it. I was hoping to see a Pepe cartoon…

Ryan Kelley said...

Beer!

Anonymous said...

One-way flex handlebar may be cool, but are they safe?! Handlebars are never supposed to break, and there are safety specs for that. That's why you can't get really long handlebars in aluminum alloy. Cool idea, but are these getting tested?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Rusty break boss.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

You and your stoker should get tetanus shots

babble on said...

Un. Fucking. Believable. American police scare the crap out of me. If facism is in fact capitalism in decline, then both the US and Canada are under threat by the very powers that be. And the evidence mounting daily suggests that the police are nothing more than authoritarian enforcers for the wealthiest corporations. Namely the oil and gas industry, which has the most to gain by maintaining the status quo.

The Arab Spring has nothing on the fight headed our way.

Stepping off the soap box...

And on to the bright side of life: the small boy burst in through the door yesterday, his eyes alight with possibility. A friend of his knows someone selling skunk kits, and he wants permission to buy one. My first thought was "NO! You're much too young to want to smoke a joint!" but it was even worse than I first imagined. Baby skunks. He wants to bring home a baby skunk. Who? Does? That?!? And how can it possibly be legal? He figures that it will all be wonderful, because according to his research skunks make great pets once you remove that little stink gland. I am sure that the cat would beg to differ. I saw how she reacted last autumn when I opened the door at stooopid o'clock in the morning to find a skunk on the mat, and the cat a few feet away, wanting to come in. She was all fluffy, and standing sideways to the skunk, trying to appear larger than life, and clearly armed with the knowledge that she shouldn't mess with a skunk.


Anonymous said...

Clicked on Skunk Porn and Cipo's picture came up.

Anonymous said...

I miss Julie too but that is no excuse to put porn up on your site. Pepe is rolling over in his stinky grave.

Julie said...

If it's just a "quicky" I will let Eric have a go at it skunkystyle.

Bryan said...

Hmmm..I'll address the "gumby" first - No. I would rather use a Girvin Flex Stem (nothing is really new in the bicycling world). I would rather a springy stem than a wet noodle of a handlebar.
Pepe le pew...wow. That was a pretty rapey cartoon. Also, can cartoons now a days even say "make love?"
Congrats on your big dummy not falling apart and breaking!!

Personal anecdote from today: there were firemen at an intersection raising money for whatever firemen raise money for. I'm on my plastic fred-cycle (cause I am too lazy to find the damn puncture in my commuter's rear tube), slip them a dollar and the guy said "you are pretty daring riding a bike in morning traffic around the city" - not entirely sure if it was some sort of offhand compliment, or more "you fucking idiot, you are gonna get yourself killed and we are gonna have to scrape your guts off the pavement." Either way, I told him it was a nice morning for it, and plenty of people are just as daring.

Grump said...

Snobby, after looking at that old, old bike, the only word that I think is.....UPGRADE.

Think Deep section crabon wheels with titanium skewers. Don't worry, you can mount those Dura Ace electronic shifters on your flat bars, and use a manly 11-32 cassette on your new wheels.

McFly said...

I had Flexx Bars with elastomer cushions on the Honda CR250R that I owned but neglected to keep them when I sold it. ($175 used for a set) After one trail ride on the KTM 400 that I own I am regretting that decision.

commie said...

Mistake snob, that pic is not of a cycling VR system, it's just a scuba mask for underwater cycling, in the current hipster trend of bike water polo.

JLRB said...

racism sucks

yet another thing as a child I misunderstood as being gone from the world - sort of like pirates and holy wars

I have been shocked by what I ocassionally hear coming out of the mouths of seemingly intelligent white people - well I used to be shocked

JLRB said...

Given a choice between upgrade and more direct masturbation, which do you choose?

CommieCanuck said...

After his brief a career in film as serial feline rapist Pepe LePew, the actor went on to a political career in France under his actual name, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The Warner Brothers character consultant for Pepe LePew in the 1960s was Bill Cosby.

1904 Cadardi said...

Sadly, the best or possibly only way to ensure a driver that hits a cyclist is prosecuted is if the cyclist is a cop. To be fair, the bicycle officer was severely injured and is facing a life of rehabilitation. But to continue being fair, I haven't heard of the police investigating any other Car-v-ped/bike accident quite so thoroughly.

Driver charged with felony after hitting bicycle cop

Glory said...

Sick burn, CommieCanuck. C'est funny pourquoi c'est so possible.

bieks said...

The Arab Spring has nothing on the fight headed our way.

Oh my. Is that some new variation on Godwin's Law?

I've always liked the concept of a flex stem, Girvin or otherwise, but this would potentially provide better performance for the smaller bumps/vibrations, given the additional leverage. Be interesting to do a comparison of the two systems. Still, would take some getting used to.

Just need some Ergons to go with it - Snob-approved ya know.

babble on said...

Yeah, my apologies. It's just that between our leader and your police, the future looks dim. But at least there's still my bike. That always cheers me up.

J. Dahmer said...

So Snobbie. The Big Dummy panniers. Can they fit a complete human torso sans legs & arms?

Bryan said...

@babs...The future's so bright I gotta wear shades

Anonymous said...

I want a virtual reality mask that allows me ride through a field of wild flowers with Evan the Blue Bell helmet guy.

DB said...

Hey, New Yorkers:
Hope you weren't biking by St. Marks' Place an hour ago.

Spokey said...

babs @ 1:46

not from capitalism. boner up on mussolini. he found socialism wasn't working for him so he tweaked it in to fascism. best i can tell of the practices though it's what we currently call crony-capitalism. don't know what happening in mericers hairnet but crony-capitalism is all we gots left down here. kids can't even shovel snow or sell lemonade without bribing some city official.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. "Babble On" blames fascism on capitalism, then implies that owning a skunk should be illegal. HA! You're in New York, one of the bluest states in existence, and your cops are constantly assaulting innocent bicycle riders. That is NOT a coincidence.

Spokey said...

anon @4:29

You don't have to be blue to hate cyclists. states of all colours wear that ribbon with pride.

putting logging trucks and 300 yard monster RVs aside, i've found the west to be the best regardless of red or blue (or white).

here in the east we take our life in our hands every time we go out. even here where the last dem was elect to the local committee well over a decade ago. and the police think nothing of parking in those places with the white cycle silhouette.

james said...

@Babs 1:46 I have wanted a baby skunk since I saw one waddle across the counter at a pet store 25 years ago. SO CUTE! unfortunately, even after removing the scent gland, they still have that lingering smell. So I leave them to nature.

PotbellyJoe said...

@Spokey, you unfortunately spit the truth.

I know you live near me, and it was my HS district that the kids were from who got in trouble with advertising shoveling services.

They were turned in by a guy with a big shovel on the front of his truck.

Color of politics means about as much at the color of your frame. Some admire it, other see it for what it really is, basically the same as the other frame despite the color.

I trust politicians to treat me the same way their first wife treats them. Go back to counsel and ask for more money, have no idea or control over how it is spent and then every once in a while we'll see each other in mixed company and we'll have to act civil.

There's no honesty about it, if I'm honest.

James said...

I should do a long term review on my still primary commuter 1986 Schwinn Passage that I bought new when I graduated high school. I could wax poetic "steel is real" and other retrogrouchy stuff.

Spokey said...

joe

watch what you say about my frame. i paid extra to get a silver to blue fade when i got that thing. aside from some scratches still looks nice. but a bitch to get touch-up paint for except at the ends where it is completely one of the two colours.

and i'm probably just an ingrate. i think i know where you are (actually if i'm right i was in that hs district before the old man decided he had to have a boat and moved to the shore) and i can't remember any narrow lanes with cyclist silhouettes in your burg. i should just saddup and weave around the cars or hed-for-da-damm-deetch.

JB said...

If you want flexy bars don't you just get crabon bars?

I'm sure they could make crabon bars downly compliant and uply stiff.

babble on said...

I didn't come up with it. It's a fairly well known expression, that facism is capitalism in decay. I think it was Lenin who said it, though, so we can just blame it on the blasted communists and call it a day.

Sigmund Fried said...

So are Fat Tire Bikes the equivalent of Monster Trucks?

That true would make the Surley Big Dummy equivalent to a Double Tractor Trailer.

Why are men constantly attempting to inflate the relative perceived size of their pee-pees by riding Big Rigs.

This means 'YOU' Hincapie!

and others ...

dop said...

poor little boy skunk wanted sloppy skunk seconds

the commentariat said...

I feel for that skunk. I hate it when I'm tryna bang their mom, and the kids are all around up in your biznatch.

obat asam urat herbal said...

thanks for sharing.

Dooth said...

Sucks about that "broken windows incident", but the NYPD also has a little known policy: "visible underwear"...any person wearing pants low enough to show underwear is suspected of any crime.

Anonymous said...

Tooth decay is what happens if you don't wipe your chain after a rainy ride

BamaPhred said...

James, you too? I knew some kids who got a couple of baby skunk kittens, they were de-scented, and still smelled like skunks. Cute, playful, long lived little stinkers too. But I did learn from them that there is a big difference between a domesticated pet like a dog or cat and a basically wild critter. Skunks gonna be skunks.

Spokey said...

ok babs

good by me. we just blame commie cannuck. that's something everyone can agree on

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

I no want stinky skunk pet so I get me some wild fish pets, too late I find out they smelt.

leroy said...

My dog invited a skunk to his book club. They got stinking drunk.

Police Commisioner I. M. Gonna Kik u ass said...

Be on the lookout for David Byrnista Cult members. They pilot Surley Big Dummies and their infrequent bathing habits result in an odoriferous condition that skunks find sexually attractive.

tubasti said...

Yes, I did look at the skunk porn. And it was good for me.

babble on said...

Lol!! Not my day... but yes, Spokey. Absolutely. It's a great plan. Specially since he isn't here to defend himself.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, get your son an ass pad! We use the Xtracycle Mini Magic Carpet but you can curate one out of anything foam-like.

Secondly: when said child moves to 20", you can just put the front wheel in one of the side bags, strap the front of the bike to the BD, and drag the rear of the bike with the rear wheel on the ground. Works just fine, except in my case I find that my son rides further if I don't bring the BD, as the free ride is too tempting.

Merely Expressing My Glands said...

Babble, get a ferret.
Some of the smell, and a long-domesticated animal.

Avoid pet badgers.

Old-timer said...

Lanterne rouge on the Thursday run-in…

B. L. Z. Bub said...

Hey! That building that burned and sploded in the East Village. Wasn't that the building that was on the Zepp Physical Graffiti album cover? Or was it the building where Rosemary's Baby was born and took over the world?

Arizona Hillbilly said...

NYC really sounds charming. Evil cops,wicked drivers and Yiddish.
I think I'll pass...

ce said...

Holy Lobster excreation! Snobbo, for the love of The Briney, Nippy One, please, please start a bring back Jeremy Clarkson campaign on your blog! He's on... you won't believe... I... I just can't find the words.... and he sounds all thoughtful and caring like... Ahhrrr, my brain, it hurts!

dop said...

FLOPPY BARS

SKuNK SCRANUS

Anonymous said...

You know, there actually might BE something to this. I'm an avid off road dirt bike racer and I've been using a type of handlebar for years called Fasst Flex bars. I've broken wrists in the past and without the flex bars, I wouldn't be able to ride dirtbikes anymore. They have also aleviated me of the dredded "arm pump."

Jone Mark said...

nice post thanks for posting i will read this post another time

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