I realize that as a semi-professional cycling blogger I'm supposed to know stuff about bikes, but the truth is there's a lot of things I don't understand. For example, consider this bike:
It belongs to Peter Sagan, who's currently the World Champion at the discipline of doped road bicycle riding, and the brakes are all tucked into the frame and stuff:
I realize this is done for aerodynamics, but if being aero is so important than why does he ruin the effect by having all that hair on his face and head?
Or is the idea that the aero brake setup and the hair simply cancel each other out?
Though I suppose slicking it back does lower the drag coefficient considerably:
That's the best musical star turn for a pro cyclist since Bradley Wiggins did "Wonderwall:"
Which isn't saying a lot.
Speaking of pure, unadulterated speed, the world's most popular Strava segment is apparently a hill in a London park:
So where was the world’s most popular segment? That would be Full Sawyers Uphill in London’s Richmond Park, with 33,226 individuals attempting the climb in 2015. Surrey’s Box Hill was also very popular though, with 32,485 attempts in 2015.
Having visited London on a number of occasions I certainly realized that they take their Cat 6-ing very seriously indeed:
Though I was surprised that their city is even more heavily Strava-ed that hives of Fred-dom such as New York City, where legions of delusional cyclists ritualistically straddle their crabon Fred sleds and do hill repeats that, in their rhythmic self-serving repetition, evoke the very act of wanking.
Anyway, here's the Strava segment in question:
So if this is the most popular Strava segment in the world, then we can conclude that current leaders "Gabriel E." and "Mathilde P." are the best cyclists in the world.
Put that in your hair and slick it back, Peter Sagan.
Meanwhile, as London tightens its grip on the title of Cat 6 Capital of the World, Germany may be looking to succeed Denmark and the Netherlands as Europe's premier bike-commuting utopia:
Irony of the term "bike autobahn" notwithstanding, I think we all know better than to deny the scale and ambition of any German plan, but thanks for the warning.
Also, Duisburg and Hamm sounds delicious.
The completed tracks are four meters (13 feet) wide, providing enough space for lanes set aside for overtaking. They’re fully segregated from cars (the Duisburg to Hamm route will run partly on disused railway tracks) and use bridges and overpasses to create a safer, smoother ride. While excellent cycle infrastructure like this is increasingly being constructed in Northern Europe’s cities, these highways should one day cover the whole country, ultimately joining up to form an alternative national network.
Wow. I just added Germany to the short list of countries to which I will flee in the event of a Donald Trump presidency.
As for countries that hate cycling, nobody's going to get near Australia anytime soon. In fact, at this point the state of New South Wales is a bike throw from banning cycling altogether, having now legislated mandatory IDs and increased helmet fines for cyclists:
There will be a grace period of 12 months for cyclists caught without photo identifications. However, a penalty of $106 will be introduced from March 2017 – the same as applies to drivers caught without a licence.
Penalties will increase dramatically for cyclists caught breaking road rules. While most offences currently attract a $71 fine, cyclists caught riding without a helmet will be a slugged $319.
Running a red light will incur a $425 fine, riding dangerously a $425 fine, holding onto a moving vehicle a fine of $319 and not stopping at a pedestrian crossing a fine of $425.
Holy shit. That means a typical Lucas Brunelle ride would cost you at least two grand, even with the plastic hat:
As for the ID requirement, we know kids don't ride bikes anymore, but this really puts an end to it once and for all, because how many of them bother to carry IDs?
In exchange, cyclists get this:
Drivers will also be required to leave a one-metre buffer when overtaking cyclists, and at least 1.5 metres when travelling faster than 60km/h, or face losing two demerit points and a $319 fine.
Okay, so the bullshit helmet law is an easy thing for the police to enforce, since you're an easy target noodling around on your bicycle with your bare head exposed to the Antipodean sun. Then they slap another fine on you if you don't happen to have ID on you. Meanwhile, the odds of the police swooping in on the driver who buzzed you during the fraction of a second they're committing the infraction are virtually nil.
Sounds like a pretty shitty deal to me.
Yet incredibly the New South Wales bicycle advocacy group is behind it:
Bicycle NSW chief executive Ray Rice said he was pleased with the package of changes, particularly the introduction of the minimum passing distance.
The increased fines and requirement for identification, Mr Rice said, would not have a huge affect on cyclists as 90 per cent already carried identification and 70 per cent already wore helmets.
"We don't think it's necessary and therefore why legislate for something that people are already doing ... most riders obey the law already," Mr Rice said.
Wow, what a sellout.
The photos on the website are pretty depressing too:
Helmets? Insurance? Fuck it, I'm leasing a Hyundai:
And how about this happy family?
How can they even afford the membership? They're already into the NSW government for like a grand for not wearing helmets while touching a bicycle!
Lastly, speaking of anti-cycling sentiments, here's a pithy response to pretty much every anti-cycling newspaper screed you've ever read:
I like to ponder what other extremely disparate groups with only one, minor thing in common are so herded together these days. “Vegetarians are behaving in ways that pedestrians cannot predict or understand.” Or (to part-borrow again from Grant): “The percentage of arsehole great aunts may be a minority, but it’s a minority large enough to make going to tea parties an exercise in guesswork.”
Dorothy Rabinowitz and Delia Ephron do not appreciate the great aunt dig.