People don't know how to use quick-release skewers:
The company said that the issue is not a manufacturing defect on the QR but due to improper use or adjustment. Riders who leave the QR in the open position can potentially have the lever caught in the front disc brake while riding.
Therefore, Trek is recalling like a million bikes in North America alone. To put this in perspective, when motor vehicle operators kill themselves or others through user error we call that an "accident"--and when they kill themselves or others due to a manufacturing defect the company simply changes its name from "G.M." to "New G.M." and avoids responsibility:
A federal bankruptcy judge on Wednesday blocked most lawsuits against General Motors over a defective ignition switch that is tied to at least 84 deaths, sparing the automaker billions in claims and handing it a momentous victory as it tries to move past its gravest safety crisis.
Judge Robert E. Gerber of the United State Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan ruled that the liability shield included in the 2009 agreement that lifted G.M. from bankruptcy should be allowed to remain in place, even though the company has acknowledged that many employees knew about the defective switch at the time but failed to alert owners of the cars that they might have a potential claim against the company.
Meanwhile, some politician somewhere will manage to squeeze a mandatory bicycle helme(n)t law out of this quick release thing, I guarantee it.
Also, here's an update on Bike Expo New York:
I'll be at the Walz booth on Friday, May 1st and Saturday May 2nd, from 12-2pm, where I will hear your concerns, heal your minor ailments with a laying on of hands, and autograph any memorabilia you place before me provided it is reasonably sanitary. There will be free hats for the first arrivals, as well as some special discounts, because people love discounts. Also, on Saturday morning, we'll meet up for a ride and there will be some free hats there too. As for what that ride will entail, maybe some of us can meet uptown early and go over the bridge or something, and then others of us can meet a little later somewhere convenient in Manhattan and then ride to the Expo together, making hand signals, obeying traffic signals, and generally being model cyclists every inch of the way.
I'll cement all these plans with Tubasti in the next couple of days, and I'm open to feedback as far as a Saturday ride goes, which you can leave downstairs there in the comments.
Speaking of riding over the bridge, the one I am referring to is the George Washington Bridge, which spans the Hudson River and connects New York City with, unfortunately, New Jersey. Together the George Washington Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge form America's Bookends of Fred-dom, as they are the by far most heavily Fred-ridden water crossings in these United States:
(Freds Across America)
As a New York City Fred I've made innumerable trips across the GWB over the years, flogging myself on all the customary climbs and feeding at all the usual cafés. However, in recent years I've largely avoided it for two reason:
1) Since moving north it's much easier for me to stay on my side of the river;
2) The GWB and environs are teeming--nay, festering--with Freds and Tridorks.
It's true. Either the sheer volume of Lycra-clad weenies has increased exponentially in recent years, or else I've just gotten less patient in my old age--or, most likely, both. Regardless, I just can't take it anymore. For example, the GWB and points north is one of the few regions in America where you will encounter up to 20 Tridorks at a time riding "together" (they can't get too close to each other or else they crash) outside of a "race" setting, and it's even more horrifying than it sounds--especially if you get stuck behind them at the hairpin turn on the bridge bike path where each one has to unclip and tippy-toe his or her way through one inept bike-handler at a time. It's easily as bad as being stuck in Christie-induced car traffic.
It is, however, safe-ish to venture over the bridge on weekdays, when employment culls the Fredly herds to manageable size. Yesterday the weather was beautiful, and it occurred to me that I hadn't been over the bridge for many months, and so I resolved to take in some of the tried-and-true Fred routes--only to find that the goddamn south path was closed:
Every Fred and Frederica in New York City knows how profoundly irritating this is, because it means you have to use the north path, which entails climbing and descending a shitload of slippery metal stairs:
Fortunately I'm using mountain bike pedals on my new bike, but I've clomped up and down these stairs in road shoes more times than I care to count.
If you're using your bike properly you'll encounter at least one (1) metaphor for your life on each ride, and here was mine. Looking south from the span you take in New York City's mighty skyline:
And looking north you survey the relatively bucolic Hudson Valley:
This succinctly describes my current situation: my life is inexorably intertwined with the city, yet I increasingly feel the pull of the "country," and in the meantime I'm caught in between in sort of a no-man's land and schlepping a goddamn bicycle up and down flights of stairs.
Anyway, here's another cyclist who is able to slip away for a ride in the afternoon:
In New York City there are generally two (2) types of people who can do this:
1) Older well-to-do types on spiffy bicycles;
2) Lazy freeloaders who contribute very little to society (your racers, your coaches, your bike bloggers) and avoid office settings at all costs so they can spend inordinate amounts of time riding bicycles.
I'm going to go ahead and assume he's a part of the first group, while I'm obviously a card-carrying member of the second.
Hey, look, more steps!
These stairs are really fun when you're wearing road shoes. Fortunately I wasn't, but you can also see right through the grate to the roadway below, and I suffer from mild vertigo so it sucked anyway:
(Despite all my rage I am still just a Fred in a cage.)
Though I did pause to contemplate the beauty of Fort Lee through the chain-link fence:
(Whenever I visit Fort Lee I always hear Danny Rose saying, "Lou, the directions were good, it was a Gulf station...")
Finally, after making my way through the rat cage, I was finished with the stairs.
Goddamn fucking stairs.
Once I'd finally reached the mainland I commemorated my new bicycle's first visit to New Jersey with a photograph:
And then we headed straight to Palisades Interstate Park, known to area cyclists as "River Road" and famous for its tempting cache of padlocked traffic cones:
If you live in New York City, River Road is by far your best "bang for the buck" in terms of short-ish road rides, since it's right over the bridge and it's basically just a picturesque and lightly-trafficked park road that climbs up and down the Palisades.
Unfortunately, it was closed:
However, I wasn't too concerned. River Road is often "closed," but I usually just slip in anyway. Plus, the sign said it was closed though February 2015, and it was now April, so I figured if anybody stopped me I could claim I thought it was open by now:
This would be fairly disingenuous of me though, since everybody in New York and New Jersey knows that in Port Authority parlance February 2015 means February 2035.
Still, there were signs that Freds had been here before me, such as this plaintive sign:
As well as this cluster of Fred prints:
And a telltale spent energy packet which confirmed that Freds had grazed here recently:
(Seriously, why the fuck can't Freds hold onto their food wrappers?!?)
Like a tracker, I sniffed the packet, licked the remaining contents to determine its age, and looked piercingly off into the distance as a breeze blew through the vents in my helme(n)t.
I concluded it was safe to proceed.
Here's why River Road is something of an oasis for New York City-area cyclists:
So you can imagine my surprise when just a short while I found they were actually doing work:
In all my years of riding River Road while it was closed I'd never encountered work. Rockslides? Sure. Sheets of ice? Absolutely. Felled trees? You betcha.
But honest-to-goodness work?
This was unprecedented.
I contemplated turning around, then I contemplated asking if they minded if I rode through, and then I disregarded both those ideas and just rolled on by without warning.
Either they didn't see me, or they didn't give a shit.
Finally, after two (2) closures, I had attained the open road:
As it happens, the above spot is pretty much directly across the river from my home, which is right about there:
Stop by anytime.
And here's a gratuitous photo of my new bike in front of a waterfall:
The bike felt even better than it did last Saturday, though that's probably because I've finally got a few road miles in my legs. Whatever the reason, I remain delighted with it and haven't felt the need or inclination to tweak a thing, and in fact the only change I've made is installing a chain stay protector since I noticed there wasn't one--though keep in mind when I say "installing a chain stay protector" I mean "sticking some electrical tape on there."
At some point I'll probably try the bike with some Panaracer Pasela PTs, since they're currently my favorite tires and (on paper anyway) should be lighter and more "supple" than what's on there now (Panaracer RibMos if you're wondering), but as it is the bike is wanting for nothing and I'd mostly be doing it out of Fredly curiosity.
By the way, the scenic overlook with the waterfall also affords you a sweeping view of downtown Yonkers:
If you squint you can see the smokestack for the old Otis elevator factory, though you'll almost certainly have fallen asleep before then.
Here's another gratuitous shot of the bike looking optimistically ahead:
And indeed I did proceed ahead, all the way to Piermont, the quaint Rockland County town where residents are tortured by the sound of cyclists having conversations.
As I mentioned, I do think about moving out of the city, but I know that if I did I too would find insane things to get annoyed about, so I'm probably much better off where I don't notice the little things because I'm too distracted by the big things.
In Piermont I rolled up to the local watering hole and fixed the bike to the ol' hitchin' post:
And by the time I returned it had been surrounded by crabon:
I feel compelled to point out that those crabon wheels probably cost the same as the Milwaukee, yet the Milwaukee is about a thousand times classier.
And I'm not even going to comment on the melted cheese saddle.
On the way back I detoured onto the only bit of gravel New York City Freds ever ride on (apart from their annual pilgrimage to Battenkill of course):
This is because any more than that would require the purchase of a special gravel-specific bicycle.
In all, the riding around here is very pleasant, though as you return to the GWB automotive floodplain the entire area is subsumed by motor vehicles. This is why when you get close to the bridge you leave the main road and take a calmer side street, but to my chagrin that side street was closed for roadwork:
I was disinclined to return to Route 9W, which at this point in its run is highly inhospitable to cyclists, so I figured I'd just slip past the construction by using the sidewalk. Of course in the city I don't ride on the sidewalk, but the dynamic changes considerably when you're in some auto-centric suburban hellhole, there are absolutely no pedestrians around, and indeed nobody has walked on the sidewalk since 1987.
The police, however, were having none of it, and an officer who looked to be just a few months out of the frat house stopped me.
"You're just going to ride by? Don't you see me pointing at you?"
In fact I hadn't seen him pointing at me due to the glare on his windshield. My first impulse was to try to defend myself, but it occurred to me that this officer of the law was probably something like 20 years younger than me, and suddenly it seemed ridiculous to bother. So instead, I dismounted, leaned jauntily on my Brooks Cambium, and looked him right in the eye.
"Did you think you were just going to ride through here?," he continued.
"To be honest that's exactly what I was planning to do," I replied.
It wasn't quite the Jedi mind trick as he he insisted I take the detour anyway, but he faltered enough in the wake of my indifference that I rode away pleased and he returned to his car irritated.
Speaking of cars, here's an amusing sign:
It's meant for the legions of people who park their cars here in order to ride, but I like to think that New Jersey is pioneering the use of bike-specific parking meters.
Finally, I was almost home--save for like eleventy million stairs:
And it wasn't until around Seaman and Cumming that I realized I could have avoided both the confrontation with the police officer and the shitty part of 9W by simply walking the bike past the roadwork.
This is why bicycles are like drugs: you'll do almost anything to stay on them.