Monday, May 4, 2015

Bike Expo Part I: I Expo'd Myself!

I am pleased to announce I survived Bike Expo New York.  For a normal person this would be no big deal.  However, I am a solitary creature, so attending a bike expo for two (2) whole days is nothing short of a social maelstrom.

It all started on Friday, when I contemplated a seductively blue sky and considered how I would get down to the Expo.  See, the show was way down on the end of Manhattan's wingtip, whereas I live all the way up in Manhattan's fedora.  That's a distance of roughly 20 miles.

Inasmuch as I'm a semi-professional bike blogger it seemed exceedingly lame to take the subway to the show, yet as a full-time lazy person who was saving up all his energy to CRUSH IT!!! on the sub-epic ride the next morning I simply didn't feel like riding the whole way.  Fortunately, I am currently testing out a Brompton, so I figured I'd do the whole genteel multi-modal thing and ride to the Metro North.

Lest you think this makes me some kind of a "woosie," keep in mind that riding to the nearest Metro North station to my home involves summiting the highest natural point in the Bronx and indeed the second-highest peak in all of New York City, a town famous for its mountains:

(Ascending the Cima Coppi.  Can you believe there's no snow up here?)

Let's also remember I was riding a bike with only two (2) speeds.  Fortunately, as the 183rd-fastest singlespeeder IN THE WORLD according to my SSWC '08 keychain, I crested the ridge without too much difficulty and then hit the screaming descent to the river:

(Note porta-potty for those about to soil themselves in fear.)

Please note I refrained from taking any photos past this point, because while the Brompton is a joy to ride it is still a folding bike, which means the front end is more susceptible to rider input than a "normal" bike--which in turn means if you're riding down a hill one-handed at 20+ mph and you hit a bump you'll leave a big red streak with your face all the way down to the bottom.

However, the Brompton will go down just fine as long as you keep both hands on the bars and look out for giant holes (oh my god that sounded filthy), and because I did both I arrived at the station unscathed:

Even though I wasn't wearing a helme(n)t, for the simple reason that wearing a helment on a folding bike is pathetic.

You're goddamn right it's about looks.

Sartorially speaking, wearing a helment while riding a folding bike is like wearing safety goggles to light a menorah.

As I waited for the train I gazed upriver and basked in the idyll of a beautiful spring day:

In fact it was so idyllic that these picturesque waterfowl paddled by:

Not all swans mate for life, but it is true that they're the only Anatidae who enter into prenuptial agreements.

From there I rode the Metro North to Grand Central, and from Grand Central I headed down to the Expo.  I had time to spare, and so I wasn't even remotely stressed when I got stuck behind a Citi Bike redistribution flotilla:

Now that looks like hard work.

Upon my arrival at the Expo I folded the Brompton (I've gotten the fold completely down, though I'm not quite at competition level) and walked right past the bike valet parking, but--IRONY!--they wouldn't let me in with it:

Yep, that's right, they wouldn't let me take a folding bike into a bike show.

So I simply lied and explained that I was an exhibitor and the bike was part of my display, and in we went.

Apparently to own a Brompton you've got to be a good liar, which is why you should never trust a Bromptoneer--to wit:

(Roberto Heras: doper and Brompton enthusiast.)

Anyway, I knew I was in the right place because where else in Manhattan are you going to find Freds on Stilts?

Since I was early, I took a little time to browse the Expo.  My first stop was the photo booth, where I undercut the professionals by taking my own souvenir photos and offering to text them to people for half price:

See that?  It's like they're right there!

Next, I checked out this Taiwanese folding bike display:

As I did so, the Brompton harrumphed indignantly, like a gentleman in a bowler hat who's just been served a sandwich with a mouse tail sticking out of it.

There was also a poorly-attended flat repair class:

A pair of preternaturally oscillating aero bars:


People rubbing other people with sticks:

And apparatus for portaging children on bicycles:

I own two children and I own a singlespeed On-One bicycle, but never in a million years would I consider combining those two things, because there's no way I'd get that over a hill without falling over.

Then I walked by the packet pickup area for the Five Boro Bike Tour:

If you're unfamiliar with the Five Boro Bike Tour, it's the reason your non-cycling coworker thinks a bicycle race is 30,000 people wearing pinnies and riding slowly on hybrids.

Since it was still early on Friday the Expo was not yet crowded, so not only was it an ideal time to pick up your Bike Tour packet, but it was also a perfect opportunity to have the beer garden to yourself:

I could have easily parked myself there for a few hours, but instead I presented myself at the Walz booth, where I was touched to find they had made a sign for me and everything:

Gamely, I assumed the position:

Over the next two days I was honored to receive various visitors at my table.  For example, a representative of Chia Squeeze stopped by and presented me with some samples of their wares:

I have no idea if chia is one of those water-intensive crops that is helping drain California dry even though nobody even really wants to eat it.  However, I did ask her if it was chia like the pet.  I then observed, "I bet everyone makes that reference, right?"  She assured me they did not, and that's when I realized that people who know what a Chia Pet is are old.

I was also pleased to meet Yvonne Bambrick, author of the Urban Cycling Survival Guide:

If you're keen on both riding bikes in cities and surviving then you'd be stupid not to check it out.

I even got to meet Leroy's dog's owner, who gave me this moving card:

I appreciated the gesture, and the card will go well with the turd he left in the back seat.

Some other old friends stopped by as well, but by that point I think I may have been suffering from exhibition hall-induced delirium:

And so I unfurled the Brompton and headed back towards Grand Central, a journey which took me past the Manhattan-side landing of the Williamsburg Bridge bike path, where the Channel 11 News Team was hanging around and trolling for cyclists:

Specifically, they wanted to know if anyone was planning to ride the Five Boro Bike Tour.  Had they gotten an affirmative response from anyone I assume they would have proceeded to stick a microphone in the cyclist's face and ask stupid questions:

("Will you stop at red lights?  Do you wear a helment?")

Naturally I ignored him, then the light changed, and I was halfway down the block when I realized I should have answered yes and explained that my name was Lawrence Orbach and I was totally going to destroy the ride again this year.

I really blew it there, that's for sure.

Then it was the usual assortment of bike lane obstructions, like this douchebag from Jersey who was hunting and pecking at his smartphone:

As well as the NYPD, who go nuclear when it comes to bike lane blockage:

See that?

I assume they were hanging out there because of protest activity in nearby Union Square, and I didn't dare get any closer to take a picture because you never know when the police are feeling "arresty."

I'm sorry to say some of my fellow cyclists also behaved in a vexing manner, and I was very nearly sideswiped on at least two occasions by this overzealous "bro:"

Notice the schmutz on my jacket:

In case you're wondering what it is, there's a 50/50 chance it's either seasonal allergy mucus or baby puke.

Finally, I made it to Grand Central, where I cowered with the rest of the "foldies:"

As you can see, we're an iconoclastic breed, but those of us who ride Bromptons do tend to keep shod:

And yes, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.  My shoes certainly do match the bike.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Expo, and if you want to know what happened on Saturday's rides stay tuned for "Bike Expo II: The Search for Fred."


Ted K. said...


6. Almost everyone will agree that we live in a deeply troubled society. One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism, so a discussion of the psychology of leftism can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems of modern society in general.

JB said...


Freddy Murcks said...

I might be perfectly happy following Yvonne Bambrick to the gates of hell. Hubba, hubba!

babble on said...

Good Monday, peeps! Proof! You say you expo'd yourself, but I don't see you in a single photo, Snobi-Wan. That may or may not be your baby puke, after all...

Anonymous said...

Je suis dans le premier dix.

DB said...

That was great.
You are very lucky to have received a card from Leroy's Dog.

Dave said...

At breakfast this morning I did not wear my helment. Discuss.

grog said...

Great report, and thanks for the turd in the back seat.

Anonymous said...


Spokey said...

10 podi

Fred Salmon said...

Will you ever bring back the cockpit of the year award? I recently saw a Bike Friday with aero bars.

Spokey said...

and i thought ridewithgps was reliable. but it says 218th st to battery park isn't even 15 miles.

ah, got it. not miles, euro commie kilometers.

erikbe said...

Please tell me "Bro" was doing a "track stand".

BikeSnobNYC said...


I am well north of that.

--Wildcat Etc.

JB said...

Highlights of the photos:
9. strangely attracted to stilt-woman
13. Most people who would attend a "bike expo" type event would know how to fix a flat. No?
16. 5-boro packet pick-up lady looks like she's about to stop texting and scratch that dude's eyeballs out for touching her arm. I'm not saying it's not deserved.
19. Strange belly shirt alert.
21. Does she have a fondon't?
27. Is that Gracie Mansion?
28. You did notice the 5-boro bike tour banner above the blocked-by-the-cops bike lane, right?
31. Shoe removal on the train? Fantastic.

Bryan said...

Looks like a good time. Boris certainly seemed to be enjoying himself.

I admit, the Bromp is pretty neat. Still not sure I would ever want to own one, but if I found one living in a dumpster I would take it home.

wishiwasmerckx said...

I'm not sure I'd ever want to date a homeless lady, but if I found one living in a dumpster I would take it home.

BamaPhred said...

Turd in the back seat. HHMM. Given the humor of Leroy, The Dog, (not sure who owns whom),and WCRM,I was left feeling and looking like Bib Shorts Guy. What's that smell anyway?
Love the post, I feel like I went to the Expo, without actually having to go to the Expo.

Anonymous said...

Tried a brompton down the block and back over the weekend from a bike shop. Nice bike. Felt very "normal" until I steered, then very twitchy with those 16 inch wheels. Not cheap, and for an extra $1000 you can get one with titanium tubes. In any case, you get what you pay for. I guess if all your other bikes are Titanium, you get the Ti Brompton.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:08pm,

The 20-inch folder I was using has the same twitchiness, I think it's more the lack of stem than the wheel size.

--Wildcat Etc.

Dr Green said...

Yvonne Bambrick could be the new Julie. Your photo wasn't great as the book is in the way. Any other pics?

babble on said...

Snobbers @ 1:14 - agreed. The came from a kinder egg Strida is quite twitchy, too. Um, and I recently found a guy who matched his kicks to his ride, too, though that particular trike makes event the Venge look inexpensive by comparison.

Oh, and May the Fourth Be With You. Lob knows we're gonna need it.

crosspalms said...

I'm in Paris for the week (not McFly's Paris, the other one), and of the tons of cyclists seen so far, only 4 wore helmets -- and 2 of them were total Freds. Saw one woman on an old mixte with panniers full of groceries in traffic heavy enough that she slid forward off the seat at one point and hopped the bike through cars till she had enough room to get back on. Braver than me!

babble on said...

Yes. Agreed. The lovely Ms Bambrick makes an excellent roll model.

babble on said...

Crosspalms - I am green jelly. Have fun, and try not to eat too much!

Anonymous said...

I want to Bam Yvonne with my Brick.

Regular guy said...

My shoes also match my bike.

Because, you're goddamn right it's about looks.

bad boy of the north said...

ms.babble.i can vouch snobi-wan was there.or was it his doppelganger I met..hmmmm.?

Bryan said...

@Crossplams....enjoy!!! I noticed the same thing when we were there in November. Meanwhile, on my very uncrowded streets I had a coworker pull up behind me in her minivan and asked me where my helment was. I mean, really? #people

Tommy Chongalicious said...

So Mr. Snob. Are you 'high' on life all the time or do you take a break once in awhile?

PotbellyJoe said...

One of the posts on my company's community page is that May is Allergy Awareness Month.

And I sat there and thought to myself. This is like beer awareness. I feel like it's universal. AND, if it's not universal, those people who aren't aware of allergies will shortly be introduced to them thanks to the copious amount of golden dust that will soon cover everything they leave outside.

I am not a robot. Robots are unaware of allergies.

babble on said...

Yeah, but enquiring minds want to know: did he really expo'd himself?

bieks said...

Looked like fun. Trying to console myself that Bret wasn't there either. And he can time travel.

Dick Caveat said...

Hear about the Brompton rider who went to Vegas? He folded after only 3 hours.

The Reverend Max Cady said...

Snob. Is that the gizzum of Satan on your tee shirt.

Bryan said...

@Potbelly....May is National Bike Month! Allergy awareness...pssh. If you have allergies, you are aware. If you don't have allergies, you are still aware by everyone who does.,

Grump said...

You missed the chance to tell the Channel 11 News Team that you don't ride with the Hoi Palloi. The only time you ride with strangers is when participating in $10,000 "Training camps" run by ex-professional cyclists who received a 6 month ban for a lifetime of doping.

NYCHighwheeler said...

#1 In the highly competitive P-Far Category!!!
Not a bad 5BBT... "Security" was a little more low-key then last year, and I was able to do the whole ride with a number I found on the ground (Saved ~$195!). The checkpoints were either abandoned or easy to get through by the time I got to them. Only about an hour wait for the ferry. Sadly the most freakish bike I was was one of the stand up and step step models, but at least the crowd was fairly diverse.

Anyway, I'm just happy Snobby has agreed to ride a P-Far on next years tour! (Although I'm going to have to thoroughly inspect it for an electric assist! - he is a notorious cheater after all...)

bad boy of the north said...

babble.....I don't wanna know.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, the dreaded 250th St. and Fieldston Rd. mountaintop finish. U had to do that climb everyday on my way home from school.

Anonymous said...

"I" had to...whoops.

Anonymous said...

Swung by the expo on Saturday afternoon for a quick gawk at the snob, at like 1:58PM. You looked like you were ready to get the fuck out of there. A dazed look on your face accompanied and a thousand yard stare. Needless to say I did not approach.

wishiwasmerckx said...

I didn't make Fred woo-hoo speed this weekend, but I did make the Kessel run in 12 parsecs, so I have that going for me.

Anonymous said...

Rebuttal - the Velofest at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. It was a beautiful day at the Lehigh Valley velofest on Saturdday. Not every dealer showed up though. There was some space on the infield track and I swear Trek was absent (perhaps embarrassed about their recall). But, there were tons of deals to be had and acres of rusty bikes to oogle. I spied a '72 Raleigh Gran Sport in very good condition in my size. If I could still ride road bikes I'd have snatched it up but alas my old back can't do the curvy handlebar bikes anymore.
I did dicker with vendors and got some great deals on t-shirts and a multitool.
Overall, a great time was had by all.

Anonymous said...

I'd always been baffled by the Brompton fold until I saw this.

Anonymous said...

vsk said ...

Brompton - 'goofy lack of tiller effect'.


leroy said...

Dear Mr. BSNYC --

Please accept my sincerest apologies for my dog's poor manners.

I asked him how he liked driving the Hyundai and mistakenly assumed he was impersonating Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly's brogue when he replied.

I thought he said "I left it in third."

Fred Clydesdale said...

"...a big red streak with your face all the way down to the bottom."

if it goes all the way down to the bottom, wouldn't it at some point transition into a brown streak?

Freddy Murcks said...

Yvonne Bambrick seems to get hotter every time I look at that pic.

Anonymous said...

It appears you were signing your books with a dildo?

Jobz Boner said...

I was always confused about the Brompton fold until I saw this:

Jobz Boner said...

Let's try that again.

I was always confused about the Brompton fold until I saw this.

bad boy of the north said...


Ted K Critic said...

In this passage Ted K begins to demonstrate a certain quaintness by proceeding with the apparent assumption that our society actually has a "left" or any "leftists" in charge of anything or capable of having any substantive effect whatsoever. Decades of propaganda and fear-mongering have already made this all but impossible, though of course in the early 1990s this may not have been altogether clear.

1983 David Byrne + Yvonne 4-evah said...


Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Snobbie, baby puke, nah..

Birdie Birdie flying high,
why'd you do that in my eye?
Boy, am I glad cows don't fly!

Doktor Sigmund Fried said...

The test results are in. That stain on BSNYC's jacket is a Cipo DNA match. The lab report lists splooge backsplatter as the source.

Steven Right said...

My sources who attended Bike Expo NYC ali swear that the person representing BSNYC at the Expo was in fact an exact duplicate. How do I know? He spelt crabon carbon and helment helmet. Nice try Korporate Amerika.

meltyman said...

There's a Channel 11? Oh wait, I live in Jersey.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

What a grueling schedule. Kudos to you sir! You make semi-professional bike blogging seem almost easy.

Ryan Kelley said...

Why are you a solitary creature Bike Snob? According to the PBS Special, Locked Up in America, people go crazy in solitary confinement...

...I think it is all making sense now "You are a nut... you are a solitary creature..."

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

J.R.R. said...

I wouldn't let the Bompt out of my sight at the Rivendell Station, any one of the Took Clan would be gone with it in an instant.

Jacques Anquetil said...

A turd in the back seat of a Hyundai? I guess Leroy's dog is a firm believer in redundancy. Don't get all of the fuss over Mme. Bambrick. Without those librarian specs she's just another attractive brunette who's into biking. There are already way too many of them to count."Chia Skweeze"...BWAAHAHAHAHA

JLRB said...

psssst - Walz Caps - uh, you know you disapproval sealed yourself there, right? (pic18)

Anonymous said...

McFly said...

Yvonne is so sexy that she gave her own left index finger a boner.

Anonymous said...

wonder if Yvonne shaves her chia pet?

Anonymous said...

Somehow, I pictured Leroy's dog as more of a basset hound.

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