Friday, May 1st and Saturday, May 2nd I'll be at the Walz booth from 12-2pm. The first 12 visitors on each day will receive a free limited edition cap.
Also, on Saturday, if you want to join me for a ride down to the Expo let's meet at Indian Road Cafe in Inwood at 10am. (That's the Inwood in Manhattan, not the other one.) I'll have some free caps there as well. You buy your own coffee, cheapskates.
Finally, I also plan to squeeze in an early stretchy-clothes ride on Saturday morning, so if you're up for a couple of hours north of the city just email me at bikesnobnyc [at] yahoo [dot] com with the subject line "I WANT TO GO ON THE SUPER-SECRET EARLY MORNING RIDE!!!" and I'll give you the details. Of course, bike dorks need a lot of hand-holding, and I realize you need to know everything about a ride, right down to what tire size and pressure is appropriate. Therefore, this should give you a sense of what I've got in mind:
START TIME: Probably 7:30am, no later than 8:00am;
MEETING PLACE: Uptown. Way uptown;
DURATION: 2-ish hours;
TERRAIN: Mostly pavement, possibly some dirt, nothing a competent rider can't handle on a road bike but feel free to rush-order that custom gravel bike if you want;
PACE: Middle-aged bike blogger with a new baby at home and probably wearing a backpack with free Walz caps and a change of clothes in it;
ELEVATION: It's possible we may encounter a short climb or two, but you have to promise to wait for me at the top;
ENDING PLACE: Indian Road Cafe, where anyone who wants to can continue on down to the Expo with me, or not, up to you.
I've gotten a small handful of RSVPs so far and would happily welcome more. Lastly, don't be shy, I have no intention of taking a bunch of pictures on these rides and then making fun of people on the Internet. Seriously. In fact, if anything I encourage you to take pictures and mock me on the Internet.
And if we see any goofy-looking strangers we can mock them together.
In other news, recently I found myself perusing New York City's motor vehicle crash statistics. As far as I can tell, the data contained therein goes back to July of 2012. Now, over the past three years, can you guess how many motor vehicle collisions were ostensibly caused by defective accelerators?
Well, if you guessed 259 then you're correct!
(You win nothing, get over it.)
Now, is it just me, or is that fucking crazy? It seems to me either a whole lot of people are lying, or else we should expect some sort of massive recall in the immediate future. (Hint: it's the first thing, people are full of shit.) In fact, if there are this many defective accelerators in New York City alone then we're well beyond recalls and there should be mandatory accelerator inspection checkpoints every 100 yards everywhere in the United States (a.k.a. Canada's defective accelerator pedal).
I'm fairly certain though that "Accelerator Defective" is merely NYPD shorthand for when the motorist says, "I mistook the gas for the brake," which is an acceptable excuse for crashing your car in virtually any circumstance--though if you crash your car into another human being you might want to go with "The [pedestrian/cyclist/child/elderly person/Cub Scout troop/parade float/one man band on Rollerblades] came out of nowhere" instead, just to be on the safe side.
Oh, by the way, the number of motor vehicle collisions caused by "Aggressive Driving/Road Rage" during the same period appears to be 1,745.
One thousand seven hundred forty-five!
How the fuck is driving even still legal in New York City? At the very least in order to hold a drivers license you should be subjected to mandatory psychological counseling every six months. AAA, the auto industry, and the oil companies can pay for it.
Just kidding, the only reasonable response to motor vehicular violence is to make children wear helments:
("That's right, go to sleep, little girl, go to sleep...")
Then, when they grow up, if they insist on continuing to ride bikes, ticket the fuck outta them.
But let's move on to happier matters--well, happier for me, anyway. Awhile back I mentioned I met with the good people at Brompton (did you know that to work for Brompton you need to be able to fold yourself into thirds, just like the bikes?), and that they promised me a loaner. Well, yesterday they made good on that promise, and so I went to Red Beard Bikes in Brooklyn to pick it up:
(Brooklyn: always with the beards.)
Upon my arrival, I gazed upon their formidable Wailing Wall of Bikes:
And found myself inexorably drawn to the Lynskeys, what with their titanium tubes, standard headsets, and threaded bottom bracket shells:
If I hadn't just taken delivery of a new bicycle I might have gotten myself into some trouble.
In addition to a titillating array of go-fast bikes Red Beard also carries wares from Brooks and Brompton, and before long the proprietor, Ilya, emerged with my loaner bike, which he patiently taught me how to furl and unfurl.
Unlike this person, it didn't take me long at all to get the hang of it:
Indeed the first thing I learned about Bromptons is that if someone shows you how they work they're ingeniously simple and very easy to use, but if someone just handed you one and walked away you'd never figure it out in a million years. This is because there's some Hogwarts shit going on at the Brompton factory. How else do you explain why the bike won't fold if you touch the handlebars?
Anyway, I didn't take pictures of any of that because I didn't know how Ilya would feel about my sticking a smartphone in his face while he explained the bike to me, but here it is later that night as I headed home:
Note that Ilya also outfitted me with this smart matching Brompton (by Ortlieb) bag, which snaps right onto a bracket on the headtube, and which I moronically photographed in front of a black background:
However, here's what the bag would look like if I were a good photographer, I'd taken the photo during the day, and the bike were under a fashionably-attired rider instead of leaning against a brick wall under the BQE:
Regardless, I had my bike and my bag and it was time to get home.
Shit was about to get multi-modal.
It seemed to me that the most fitting way to travel home with the Brompton was via Metro North, since folding bikes and commuter trains go together like mountain bikes and Subarus, or like NJS track bikes and the wall because their owners never ride them and they're out of style anyway. Plus, the ride from Brooklyn to Grand Central would afford me plenty of time to test the bike in city traffic. So I headed over the Manhattan Bridge, where I refrained from Cat 6 action photography but did take this static photo with the Empire State Building in the background:
This particular bike is equipped with a two-speed shifter, and the gears are basically "bridge incline" and "everything else"--which, as it happens, is ideal New York City gearing. Indeed, the bike immediately proved itself to be a quick and nimble traffic-dodger, and before I knew it I'd reached Grand Central:
Where I nodded at one of my fellow "clownies:"
And where the lighting allowed me to photograph the bike's finish in more detail. Here's the Obligatory Bottom Bracket Shot (which also includes most of the rest of the bike because it's tiny):
Here's the headtube where the bag attaches (the bag is independent of the handlebars so it doesn't affect the handling):
And here's the two-speed shifter, which I'm kind of in love with, because changing gears is like throwing a light switch:
Next I headed onto the main concourse, where I encountered your typical suburban commuters:
And then I headed down to the dining concourse for a late supper before my train's departure:
As I ate, the Brompton waited patiently at my side like an obedient terrier*:
*(Just kidding, terriers aren't obedient.)
Having folded the bike a few times by now I'd come to appreciate just how much better the design is than that of the 20-inch folding bike I'd previously been using. Not only does the Brompton reduce itself to a very manageable size, but once it's folded it's folded, and then you just grab it by the saddle nose and go. The 20-inch bike on the other hand depended on some rubber strap to stay shut, and if I wasn't careful it would pop open and thwack me in the shins.
Finally, once I'd finished gorging myself on station food I boarded my train where the Brompton rode unobtrusively beside me, which was a good thing because it turns out it was "bobblehead night" at Yankee Stadium and the train got pretty crowded:
Indeed, pedaling home from the station it occurred to me that I too probably looked like a bobblehead on my tiny bicycle, but I was enjoying it way too much to care.