Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ain't No Mountain Smug Enough

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:

As a parent, I am obligated to pretend the brakes don't work on that downhill.

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?

(Nice staging.)

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!

I'm surprised she's smiling, because most office workers prefer their packages delivered in filthy messenger bags covered with obscene patches and carried by people who openly despise their bourgeois lifestyle yet depend on them for a living.

It'll never catch on.


Unknown said...

Note 18. (Paragraph 119) “Today, in technologically advanced lands, men live very similar lives in spite of geographical, religious, and political differences. The daily lives of a Christian bank clerk in Chicago, a Buddhist bank clerk in Tokyo, and a Communist bank clerk in Moscow are far more alike than the life of any one of them is like that of any single man who lived a thousand years ago. These similarities are the result of a common technology....” L. Sprague de Camp, “The Ancient Engineers,” Ballantine edition, page 17.
The lives of the three bank clerks are not IDENTICAL. Ideology does have SOME effect. But all technological societies, in order to survive, must evolve along APPROXIMATELY the same trajectory.

ricochet said...

Bike Scum Will Remain

cdinvb said...

Helium fill my water bottle bracket! Whoadude. Top ten??

Anonymous said...

First bitches!

wle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
N/A said...

A "Brommy" is a term for a person that is part "Brony" and part "Commie".

Anonymous said...

Top 10!

wle said...

summary: smug subway mustache bromptoned bakfiets, frog!



McFly said...

Tom Simpson is rolling over in his grave.

N/A said...

With all that climbing, Wildcat must have legs like a damn Greek statue!

P. Bateman said...

yes! fists in the air and up the scranuses of you all!!!

dancesonpedals said...

Hill profiles for your routes? Snob, you're 2 steps away from going strava.

Regular guy said...

It's not the rarefied mountain air. It's Thursday and you are obviously still imbibing the Wednesday weed.

Anonymous said...


P. Bateman said...

what sort of appointment would that women on her stroller bike possibly need to hurry to?

big bake sale?
meeting with the other moms at starbucks to discuss nonsense?
People's court at 4?

82medici said...

Based on the numbers reported for you round trip between home and school, you have a net gain of 4 feet per round trip. So, after only 1150 such trips, you have done the equivalent of climbing Mt. Washington! (and I had to identify mountains to prove that I am not a robot)

Anonymous said...

fun thing to do in boulder: on wednesdays, walk down pearl street around lunch time wearing a Trump 2016 shirt, watch heads explode.

oh yeah, the other big amenity there is the wednesday shops.

crosspalms said...

If you snap your fingers while you ride, you can be a Bromptohemian.

Anonymous said...

"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."

Way out here in Oregon's chamois juice drip pan, $2800/mo for a single family dwelling with the connected open space might seem a bargain. Amenities a tech worker might enjoy in Boulder in contrast to Brooklyn, Dayton, Farmington or Harrisburg could include the lovely Rocky Mountains and associated legalized recreational crannibis high. WCRM, today's info-graphic pics are greatly appreciated.

Unknown said...

vsk said ...

In da Tweens !!


Bryan said...

So what do you call yourself when you are upon your folding steed? I would opt for Bromtonaut, myself.

I'm glad the duder climbing Mt. Washington answered the question that was on everyone's mind...what pressure you running, bro?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

I like Bromtard best.

Why are they called amphibian bikes if they never go in water?

When Tim Johnson took his urination break on Mt. Washington, was it so cold his urine formed a solid icicle from his urethra meatus to the snow on the ground?

grog said...

Riding in Bohemia humming my Rhapsody.
Scaramouche Scaramouche will you do the fandango?

Anonymous said...

Did your small human do the graphs? Those numbers just do not add up...


Roille Figners said...

I'm more of a Dahonky.

derF said...

There is a bike "race" up the Mount Washington auto road every year. (There used to be second one, but apparently uphill Freds are a dying breed.

I say "race" because even though people in front were trying to go a fast as they can, me and the other folks in the back enjoyed an uphill ride through some amazing country with fantastic views.

Dooth said...

Well, the Mt. Ventoux climber is a Brompty goat.

Now I'm in the mood to climb them darn there hills around me.

dcee604 said...

You are KOM on those routes! Just watch out for that mysterious J P..

N/A said...

Yo' momma' is a brompty goat!

clyde said...

The gentrification of the suburbs has begun - PBS said so!

Mr. Money dabbles in frugality said...

Biking, walking, and carrying stuff. Like all bikes. Even more so the Walmart and $10 beaters the homeless use. So what is the difference between a homeless bum and a touring bicyclist? Gore-Tex... Oh wait a lot of the homeless have old Gore-Tex kickdowns nowadays.......

Dorothy Rabinowitz said...

Well for the record it's Dot, and for the street it's villain

And strapped with a gat, it's more like Matt Dillon.

Yummy yummy Matt Dillon.

Comment deleted said...

I'm not sure I'd be willing to draft a crack cyclist like that.

Anonymous said...

Third Biggest Porn Website in the World xHamster Sponsors Italian Mountain Bike Team Promosport Racing

650+ coming to road bikes

Unknown said...

vsk said ...

650b ?

Nah, will never catch on ...


Seattle lone wolf said...

49 kilograms??? That can't be right.

P. Bateman said...

i really do like my 650bs for the rough and crappy roads around here.

its nice to have a little forgiveness should i peek at my phone or have one hand on the bars hit a pot hole or stick or some other rubbish thats in my way that i dont see. the chubby tires definitely alleviate those oh shit moments vs the skinnies.

Spokey said...

if i remember;

the new rules state that when teddy gets yellow, he and the next 36 posts don't count.


so YELLER PODI ! ! ! ! YEA

Knüt Fredriksson said...

Wildcat - I think you missed a few Bromton-isms:

Bromtonasaurus-rex - equivalent to a mountain biking Clydesdale, but with tiny little wheels...

Bromtophobiac - someone who is frightened by bikes with excessively small wheels.

Bromtonecrophiliac - someone with a collection of old, broken or partially disassembled Bromtons in a secret room in their basement.

NourskSiklist said...

Goshdarnit, that was my 0.15 seconds right there. Now what? Well, I can thank the weblog author for his openness about being a Brompton user. There is no shame in it, though I see otherwise in the eyes of passing big-wheel cyclists. And if Brompton did supply that custom cyan hill-climber, I hope they put a Schlumpf mountain drive on it (or either a Rohloff or Alfine hub) as their regular six-speed helps fuck-all on proper climbs. And why didn't phat biek hero TeeJay take the opportunity to carve a wicked Strava GPS doodle on that mountain side? What a waste.

Domo arigato, Mister Robotto

Bill Crowder said...

You nailed it Bromptard.

Fake Ted sux real Ted... said...

The real Unabomber could not get any of his writings accepted even though he applied to the very low standards of the "anarchist press" (think Zine quality). The only the reason "The Manifesto" (more like vague, contradictory Musings) was ever published was because it was an FBI set-up to catch the crazy, sadistic, mass murderer. So now a few total misanthropic losers think he's some kind of genius. No, his followers are morons; so yeah, compared to drooling morons, Ted is a genius.

wishiwasmerckx said...

As I recall, the publication of the manifesto led to his brother recognizing his writing style and ratting him out to the FBI, which in turn led to his capture.

Anonymous said...


Dooth said...

So I set out on my ride and it began to drizzle rain and when it rains on a ride I sing. Of all the songs in the vast playlist of my mind it had to be Nights on Broadway by the Bee Gees (there's no accounting for taste). I couldn't believe how fast I rode up the hill next to the Yonkers reservoir, given that it was my first day on the road; previously to date I had only done laps in a park on a track bike. I turned back at the Yonkers raceway, facing a stiff headwind. "Well,I had to follow you"

Anonymous said...

i really want stroller bike mom

DB said...

Headed for Madison this weekend to look for a Marin Pine Mountain 1. Interweb says there aren't any available, so I'll look at Surly collection.
What do you think commentariat?

BamaPhred said...

Crack Kills, but that's not even close to the worst ever exposed.

ken e. said...

the joke is on me maybe, but sleemans is beer.

Sharp I said...

WCRM, you really need to check with your sponsors and make sure they keep your ads up to date a little better on the articles you bring to our attention. The article "Cyclist to attempt triple ascent of Mount Ventoux on a Brompton" published on February 24, 2016 contained a Christmas ad for a Tandy 1000 EX. The Tandy 1000 was a computer that came standard with a floppy disk and with less computing power than a kid's toy from the dollar store contains today.

To top that, the ad below that one, the Nalley's Read Seal Potato Chips Ad, was published on May 6, 1962 in the Denver Post. The Tandy ad was old enough, but the Nalley's Chips ad is so old they were probably already stale by the time your parents graduated from high school.

babble on said...

Yep, I'm with dop. A strava segment by any other name... welcome to the digital side of cycling, Snobi Wan.

One particular type A personality I know decided he wanted to climb as many meters as Everest is high, so he climbed Cypress Mountain ten times one day. Started before dawn one morning last summer, and finished after midnight.

Not even on the backside of my bucket list, that one.

David Pearce said...

Hi, Snob & Friends,

I know, Snob, you've seen plenty of these useless bike toys, but this tweeter that Twitter thought I might be interested in caught my attention:

"Bike Pipe ‏@BikePipeUSA 8 Dec 2015
Bike Pipe Bicycle Exhaust System Bike Pipe NOw oon Amazon, the seller you trust!"

Considering the spelling, copied verbatim, I sure trust 'em now.

Now I'll try to see if I remember how to enter an "a" HTML tag. Cross my fingers!

Stupid Bike Pipe on Amazon!.

I noticed they even have one for balance bikes. You never can start the kiddies off too soon, ya know!

Ponyboy said...

I think he was trying to say he's really a Bronie.

S E Hinton said...

That's probably why Wildcat as always felt like an outsider.

S E Hinton said...

Add an 'H' to that 'as', please and thank you.

dancesonpedals said...

You can't spell Brompton without s bro

bad boy of the north said...

dooth,i know that section of road by hillview,or the rezzy,as we called it,that you're mentioning.that's part of my old 'hood from a thousand years ago.

dancesonpedals said...


oh, sorry, too much caffeine...

Stump said...

if that is an amphibian bike, i was really disappointed she didn't steer it into water and it floated and chugged along by pedal power.

Unknown said...

true, i do use skinny ones on a crappy road and there is no forgiveness indeed but im willing to trade it for speed.

Mattsplat said...

Bromptonista works too.

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