("Calgon" was 1980s slang for "Valium.")
That's why I feel it's important to treat myself to some mid-week recreational bicycle-cycling from time to time. In particular, it had been awhile since I'd ridden a rugged all-terrain-style bicycle--so long in fact that the shin scabs from the last time I'd done so had already fallen off. So this morning I resolved to remedy the situation.
Because I deserve it.
(Oh, also, Hurricane Joaquin may hit us next week, and if that happens there may be no mountain bike trails left.)
Normally I ride from my mansion to the mountain bicycling trails, but these days I'm on borrowed time, and the interest rates are usurious. Therefore, after some deliberation, I decided "Fuck It" and used THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK.
("I'm not even gonna open my mouth, my eyes say it all.")
Hey, it's just shy of an hour to ride there but it's only like a ten minute drive, so when you do the math it's like the car is a time machine I'm actually gaining time by driving to the trail.
Plus, I will always be "bridge and tunnel" at heart, so even though I spend much of my time on a smug-cycle and blogging about how much motorists suck, every so often I'm overcome by an overwhelming urge to drive around in a car while listening to Howard Stern.
So I threw some clothes in a bag, tossed a bike onto the roof rack, and drove responsibly to the trailhead:
As I pulled up I really hoped nobody was there. The truth is that over the past few years I've become unbearably smug about riding to the trailhead, and when I do I enjoy nothing more than passing all the mountain Freds in the parking lot milling about their SUVs in various states of undress, messing with their shocks and fretting over their tire pressure. Generally what I do is ride around in circles for awhile until someone notices that I arrived on a singlespeed and without a car. Then, when they ask where I rode from I just say "city"--which is true only in the most literal sense in that I do technically live in New York City. However, for the purposes of regional colloquial speech and casual parking lot conversation it's an out-and-out lie.
Then I scamper into the woods with the speed and agility of a cottontail and do my best to wait until I'm out of view before succumbing to the inevitable crash.
Sadly, this time someone would see me get out of a car, because to my surprise I encountered this:
(Note tire tracks, I assume morons come here at night and do donuts.)
It turns out Giant Bicycles were setting up for some sort of dealer demo day, which meant I'd better make this ride a quick one before the Shop Freds showed up. Nevertheless, as I rolled by I did take some spy shots of the Liv bikes:
And the Giants:
I briefly considered revealing myself as the greatest semi-professional bike blogger this side of the Spuyten Duyvil and asking if I could try some of that sweet, sweet crabon myself. However, I decided not to, because if experience is any guide it means either they'd have no idea who I am, or else they'd want to punch me in the mouth--or, most likely, both.
Apparently though the unwashed masses can demo the bikes here on Sunday, and you can find more information on that here and here.
So if you're in the New York City area maybe you can find the Fred Sled or Bouncy Mountain Chariot of your dreams.
Another reason I had been hoping nobody would be there was because, in my haste, I had assembled sort of a strange outfit which I tied together with these woolen retro-style Brooks half-shorts:
(No, I'm not peeing in this picture...you should tell yourself if it makes you feel better.)
The shorts were a last-second choice because I hadn't worn them since L'Eroica one year ago, and when I realized the ride was this weekend I immediately became nostalgic because it remains possibly the most fun ride I've ever done. So I dug them out of the ol' bike clothes drawer, figuring maybe they'd help allay my sadness over missing this year's event. And while I happen to think the shorts are pretty cool, the problem is they're a bit small on me, which meant I'd have to take great care to hide my posterior:
Heaven knows I didn't want all the Shop Freds to see my "coin slot," and so I stopped from time to time for a "butt selfie" to make sure I remained modest:
(No, I don't have a "tramp stamp" of the Brooks logo...you should tell yourself if it makes you feel better.)
Anyway, fall is now in the air, and there's no better time to ride a mountain-style bicycle:
Mostly because the goddamn bugs that like to hover around your face while you ride in the summer are mostly gone:
As for the bike, I rode my Engin, which I still congratulate myself for having purchased:
A bespoke custom-curated artisanal rigid singlespeed may seem a bit over-indulgent at first glance, and of course it is, but to me it makes sense because no matter how much or little you spend on a bouncy bike with gears and shocks it's going to be obsolete in short order, whereas a rigid bike with one speed is a rigid bike with one speed.
Really, the only thing that's going to become obsolete is me, and I suppose there will come a time when I can no longer handle the thing, but so far the enjoyment I get from riding it is undiminished, even by age and lack of fitness.
Of course I've also added some pretentious artisanal touches, such as the hand-chamfered leather saddle:
And the custom-etched WiseCracker I've probably used once, because I don't lead one of those awesome lifestyles that involves hanging out for hours drinking beer after the ride:
Oh, it even says "BSNYC" on the other side if you look closely:
I do keep it humble however by using 36-spoke wheels I built entirely from cheap mail order parts:
I do have a fancier pair of tubeless wheels, but because I don't lead one of those awesome lifestyles that involves hanging out and drinking beer for hours after rides, I also haven't had time to mount new tires and reseal them. Instead, I've just been using these--and despite being made from budget stuff they work great, go figure.
I did splurge on the name-brand front hub though:
By the way, speaking of front wheels and dick breaks, have you heard about the recall?
A group of bicycle companies, in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA), is engaged in a safety recall involving quick-release devices which, when improperly adjusted or left open while riding, may potentially come in contact with the front disc brake rotor. Watch this video to see if your bicycle is affected.
No shit, that's why you do this:
Anyway, things were going wonderfully until my rear wheel broke loose on some rocks and I fell over, creating some new scabs and taking a shot to the knee, which is always worrisome since every blow to the kneecap takes you that much closer to not being able to ride one-speed bicycles anymore:
I'd like to blame the cheap, worn tires, but the truth is that I suck.
So I took this as a sign I should wind the ride down, and finished off with a little loop on the easy terrain:
I did scuff the Brooks too:
But I'm sure it will buff right out.