(Via the Twitter.)
When last we met, I was sitting on a commuter train with this:
By the following morning, however, I had traded the Brompton for this:
Sorry, I meant this:
As you recall, I'd planned an early morning sub-epic road ride for this past Saturday, to be followed by a mid-morning café rendezvous, after which we'd meander on down to the Bike Expo.
With regard to the sub-epic, when I arrived at the super-secret meeting place at the super-secret appointed time I was pleased to find an assortment of hale cyclists, and after the dispensation of free hats I gave the order and we proceeded to cut a swath through the varied terrain and assorted real estate north of the city. I'm sorry to report that we did lose at least one rider to some loose gravel, presumably because he was not riding a CPSC-approved gravel bike, but I did see him later at the Expo and apart from some road rash it was clear he'd emerged from his ordeal ready to ride another day. Overall, everybody who finished the ride seemed to enjoy it, or if they didn't enjoy it then they pretended to for my benefit. In any case I enjoyed it, and isn't that what's most important?
Yes. Yes it is.
Therefore, given the relative success of that ride (by which I mean I enjoyed it, the rest of you are incidental), I feel semi-confident in confirming that a BSNYC Gran Fondon't will indeed take place on Sunday, May 17th.
As for what the Gran Fodon't will entail, expect to ride a bicycle on different types of surfaces for a few hours and to finish up in a place where they sell beer for consumption.
If doing those things in that order interests you then stay tuned for more instructions, either via this blog or else by skywriter airplane:
From there, the sub-epic morning ride dissolved into the second ride from the café to the Expo--which, given the more leisurely pace, attracted more disparate riders such as this one:
That's a Ross in case you're wondering:
Did you know that Ross used to be headquartered in Rockaway Beach and they made their bikes in Allentown, PA?
I didn't either until fairly recently.
Anyway, I felt a kinship with the above rider for two reasons: 1) I remember Ross bikes just like that one from when I was a child; and 2) If you think about it, riding a bike like that isn't much different from riding a Brompton--except instead of folding his bike before boarding a train he merely secrets it in his voluminous pant leg.
Oh, there was also a fat bike on the ride, and it probably won't surprise you to learn the guy on the child's bike made ample use of the fat bike's porcine slipstream:
(Cyclists: working together regardless of pant size or wheel size.)
Eat it, Portland.
After making our way down Manhattan's spine we arrived at the Expo, which was considerably more crowded than it had been the day before. Here's what the valet bike parking line looked like at one point:
Are you freaking kidding me?!?
There was absolutely no way I was going to wait. Not only was I due at the Walz table at that very moment, but long lines are against my religion as a solipsist, because waiting on them offends my fervent belief that only I exist.
"I mean, if it's only me, then who the hell are all these other assholes?," I wonder to myself as I wait to board an airplane or purchase a burrito from Chipotle, at which point my entire faith crumbles.
So, like any good solipsist, I abandoned my fellow riders to their fates on the valet line and headed straight for the entrance, where for the second day in a row I explained that I was an exhibitor and that I needed to take my bike in with me.
The woman at the door flashed me the universal expression for "I know you're full of shit but I'm too goddamn tired of dealing with you fucking bike dorks all day to argue," and then she waved me through.
Hey, what was I supposed to do, park it here?
Fancy-schmancy bicycle parking structures seem like a great idea until they become receptacles for rusty, long-abandoned children's bikes whose former owners have probably graduated medical school by now.
Anyway, pushing a bicycle through a crowded exhibition hall is about as much fun as you'd imagine, and in fact I bet it's pretty much exactly what "riding" the Five Boro Bike Tour feels like these days.
Upon reaching the Walz table I didn't even have time to change, and so I sat there stewing in my chamois the whole time. Then afterwards I hit the beer tent, and finally I went "full woosie" and took the train home again because I was tired and hungry:
See you at the Gran Fondon't.
Speaking of spirited cycling, Freds love to obsess over freehub engagement, and so some enterprising Australians are attempting to Kickstart a "zero lag" rear hub:
Appropriately enough, the introductory video "locks up" at this very moment:
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "There's already such a thing as a 'zero lag' hub. It's called a 'fixie.'"
Yeah, good one. Well, you know who's not laughing? Australian cycling great Robbie McEwen, that's who:
He may not smile at any point in the video, but he does hold a wimpy, laggy freehub and wiggle it suggestively with his disembodied hand:
While doing so, McEwen explains that this sloppy piece of hardware has a whopping four (4) millimeters of lag!
Four millimeters may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that it can be the difference between winning a race and still winning it anyway, only four meaningless millimeters later.
Nevertheless, McEwen is so disgusted by freehub lag that I kept expecting him to compare the one in his hands to the genitals of an aging prostitute or something equally cringeworthy. Fortunately he doesn't go that far, though he does grab this bicycle and proceed to demean and degrade it:
"That lag! You don't want a whole lot of nothing, you want PEAWAH*!"
*"Peawah" is Australian for "power."
After which he demonstrates the zero lag hub:
"When my foot's at twelve o'clock, I feel like I'm already generating PEAWAH!"
It was at this point I began praying to myself (I'm a solipsist, remember?) for a Mario Cipollini cameo:
("Twelve o'clock? Meednight?!? Dats also when-a da Cipo like-a to lay-a down da powah! We make-a da threesome, eh Robbie?")
Alas, he never came.**
**I mean the cameo never came. Cipollini always comes. Always.
Ultimately, as far as McEwen is concerned, the "zero lag" hub is going to revolutionize cycling:
"Teams talk about going for marginal gains, finding every improvement in performance, nutrition, training, racing. Well, this isn't just a marginal gain right here with the Zero Hero. This is going to revolutionize cycling as far as drivetrains go."
Oh save it you old doper.
Still, the inventors have graphs to prove it:
Not to mention a catchy yet mis-italicized slogan which the inventor delivers like a threat:
(I think you meant to italicize "much.")
Hey, sometimes a little play is good. My wide tolerances are the only reason I don't fall apart completely.