Further to yesterday's post about my new Smugness Flotilla, a commenter had this to say:
Snob talks the talk, and also rides the ride. A fully equipped WorkCycle tops out at a svelte 49 kilograms, so that's a 5-Hr Peloton workout just schlepping the kids to school.
You're gosh-darned right! And let's not forget I live in the New York City highlands, where there are forbidding climbs at every turn. Just look at the insane ride profile from my home to my elder human child's learning institution:
Yep, that's ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE AMERICAN FEET of climbing, which doesn't even include the return trip:
Of course, the truth of the matter is the kid takes the bus to school most of the time and I only have to pick him up like twice a week. Still, that's OVER FIVE MILES AND THREE HUNDRED AMERICAN FEET OF CLIMBING A WEEK on a bike that weighs as much as a refrigerator--and, on the return trip, as much as a refrigerator with a kid sitting on top of it.
I get tired just typing about it.
And if I decide to ride the WorkCycles to the Metro North station instead of taking the subway? Forget about it!
That 236-foot Cima Coppi you're looking at represents the highest topographical point in the Bronx and the second-highest point in all of New York City, so you better believe I'm putting in some serious smugness workouts. That's why I absolutely destroy the competition when I head down to Brooklyn once a week and Cat 6 my way across the Manhattan Bridge on a Citi Bike:
See, when you ride a WorkCycles a Citi Bike feels like a climbing bike, and by living in the Bronx and racing in Brooklyn I'm basically training at altitude. After all, you know what they say: train high, race low. Or is it race high and train low? Or train high and watch TV even higher while eating Mallomars?
I don't even know anymore, I think this rarefied mountain air is getting to me.
Speaking of rarefied mountain air, the other day I mentioned that Mr. Money Mustache guy, and since then I've been trying to learn more about him. While I can certainly relate to his critical views on consumerism and gratuitous driving, he basically seems like an affiliate advertiser who smokes a lot of weed--not that there's anything wrong with that, but it doesn't seem like a particularly lofty moral perch, either. Plus, I also checked out his Twitter, where I saw this:
$2,800 a month? For this?Rent my friend's highly Mustachian walkable place in Boulder (read her descrip). Ideal for Google/Microsoft people! https://t.co/ZSV29jiXAq— Mr. Money Mustache (@mrmoneymustache) February 2, 2016
I thought this guy was all about living lean and frugally and free from bullshit. That's expensive even by New York City standards--and at least here you get a shitload of public transit and a bottomless supply of free culture, whereas Boulder's chief amenities appear to be easy access to outdoor recreation and a population that's nearly 90% white.
Seems to me the typical New Yorker is out-mustaching Mr. Mustache by a good margin without even really thinking about it, but what do I know?*
*[No offense to any Boulderites or Boulderinos or Boulderdashes or whatever you call yourselves, I loved visiting Boulder, you'd be crazy not to--I mean Vecchio's is there for chrissakes, what's not to like?]
Anyway, going back to the subject of climbing, professional bicycle racing person Tim Johnson recently became the first human being in the world to ascend Mount Washington by fat bike or something:
That's one fat bike for man, one giant leap for Fredkind.
It also sounds abjectly horrible:
Factoring in 49 mph wind gusts driving wind chill temperatures as low as -19°F and this climb becomes an even more challenging feat. “I feel like I was fighting being too hot in the beginning because the first pitch out of the parking lot is one of the steepest pitches of the entire climb. You go from standing still to immediately realizing that this is one of the hardest climbs in North America,” said Johnson.
I know how he feels. Did I mention that sometimes when I climb OVER A HUNDRED FEET to pick my kid up at school it's a little bit cold out? Because it is.
But by far the greatest challenge Tim Johnson faced was urinating in the extreme conditions:
What filled the non-moving moments?
Adjusting a camera once, took one urination break and I crashed a couple times! I was having a real hard time getting traction, on the front or the rear. When you don’t have a lot of weight on the studs, we found they don’t grip very well on this type of ice.
I read that to say that he crashed a couple of times while urinating--which is also something I've experienced.
Wow, he and I are alike more than I realized.
Oh, here's a handy infographic comparing Tim Johnson's assault on Mount Washington in the dead of winter with the internationally recognized Fred metric of a single lap around Central Park:
SPOILER ALERT: climbing Mount Washington is harder.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, one (1) man will attempt a triple (triple) ascent of Mont Ventoux on a Brompton in order to fight Parkinson's disease:
In 2014, Matt Richardson rode a Raleigh Chopper to the top of Mont Ventoux, while Rob Holden completed the climb on a Boris Bike the year before. There have certainly been a number of people achieving the feat on a Brompton too. We’re not entirely sure whether anyone has done it three times in a day though – although John Simpson’s account of tackling La Marmotte on a Brompton (link is external) makes reference to his becoming a member of The Confrérie des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux, which seems to imply that it has.
Hmmm. Isn't the Confrérie des Cinglés that illuminati hunting society Justice Scalia hung out with?
Probably not, because I don't see Scalia getting too far on the slopes of Mont Ventoux:
To become a member of said club you must climb and descend Ventoux via the three main roads up from Bédoin, Malaucène, and Sault – all in one day. According to our own Jo Burt, who is himself a member of said club, this demands 136km of cycling and 4,443 metres of cumulative height gain.
I've forwarded the Confrérie des Cinglés the details on my school pick-up ride and I look forward to receiving my membership card.
And for all the folding bike nerds wondering #whatpressureyourunning, here are the details on his setup:
“I’m a passionate “Brommy” and cycle my Brompton bicycle to work every day. So when a personal connection put me in contact with Brompton and suggested I partner with them for Ventoux³ I was delighted. Brompton are now very kindly donating an incredible cyan blue 6-speed Brompton, specially modified for hill-climbing – I hope that includes mountains!
Yes, some people who ride Bromptons call themselves "Brommies," but other acceptable nouns include:
You can also call them "circus clowns," but that will out you as a layperson.
Lastly, meet the Amphibian Bike Series, which is the next frontier in smugness:
Basically it's a bakfiets that turns into a stroller, which is not a bad idea just so long as being a parent has sufficiently stripped you of any remaining sense of dignity or style, which if you're doing it right it almost certainly has:
In particular, I found myself marveling at how clean the streets of whatever European city they're riding in are:
Until I realized it wasn't a European city at all:
And that it appears to be some kind of indoor stadium or mall or both in Ontario, Canada:
I'm not sure you should be allowed to film a bakfiets commercial inside a mall, even if you are Canadian.
Anyway, the way the bike works is you're walking along:
Then you transform the stroller into a bakfiets:
And you burn rubber all the way to the food court:
Oh, there's also a version for messengers, and here's what a Canadian messenger looks like:
"The frog is the courier version in the Amphibian family. It jumps quickly from building to building."
Yes it does. Check out Mr. McFeely making a speedy delivery:
Look how happy everybody is!
It'll never catch on.