Similarly, we cyclists have a more sophisticated relationship with everybody's favorite throwable form of precipitation. In particular, we know when the snow's rideable and when it isn't. If you're a seasoned cyclist, a quick glance out the window is enough to tell you whether you should head out into the whiteness or stay inside and fire up your digi-Fred avatard on Zwift:
Such was the case on Friday when we received a few inches of the sort of fluffy, crunchy, sticky snow that makes for ideal riding. So I headed onto the Marin Pine Mountain 1 and into the virginal whiteness:
All was quiet save for the odd amateur nature photographer or snow runner, and emerging from beneath the snowless overpasses into the pristine wilderness felt positively Narnian:
The snow was deep and crunchy enough to provide protection for the trail and traction for me, and the temperature was warm enough that there was no ice hiding beneath to make the going treacherous:
After awhile the footprints disappeared and the trail was a blank page upon which I would write Tales of Mountain Fredness with my knobby tires:
By the way, due to its weighty clinginess, ideal riding snow is also ideal carcake snow, and I did take a break from my ride to do some carcake-spotting:
The best carcakes are the "goatee" kind that extend onto the hood:
If you're lucky you get to see one of these goatees make liftoff when the driver hits 40mph, at which point it will fly up in the air and land in an explosion of snow on the vehicle behind it.
If you're unlucky the operator of the vehicle behind it will be you.
After contemplating the carcakes I resumed my trek and crunched my way up one of my secret deer-ridden climbs, affording me a view of the Hudson and the Palisades beyond:
Although all of this probably would have been manageable on a "regular" mountain bike the "plus"-sized Marin was ideal, and at this point the whole "fat-but-not-FAT-fat" thing has pretty much won me over as it really is an ideal "just grab it and do whatever" bike:
(It's NOT a fat bike.)
I suppose I should return it to them but you really can't evaluate a bike properly until you've ridden it for an entire calendar year, and even then you really should keep it for at least another year or two to account for any variables, not to mention annual fluctuations in precipitation due to climate change, etc.
In other words Marin can expect it back by 2020 at the earliest, by which point I'm sure we'll all have moved onto another wheel size.
Meanwhile, the Etixx-QuickStep professional bicycle racing team has been omitted from this year's Tour of Qatar owing to "discipline" problems:
What kind of discipline problems? Well, apparently it takes them too long to change their shoes before podium ceremonies:
Al-Thani cited a lack of respect for the requirements of live television coverage as the principal reason not to invite Etixx-QuickStep, complaining that the team’s stage-winning riders had delayed too long before reporting for podium ceremonies.
“For the podium, we asked them not to do interviews [immediately after the finish] because we have limited time for the podium, we are live on air. But they take too much time to change their shoes,”
Oh, silly Al-Thani. They're not changing their shoes. They're swapping blood and urine samples to evade the drug testers!
Hey, it takes time to set up a Whizzinator:
As for the women's team, according to Al-Thani, they're just lazy:
Al-Thani said. “At the Ladies Tour of Qatar, they don’t change their shoes, but QuickStep wanted to take a chair, they wanted to change their shoes, lie down and after that do an inteview. We told them for a couple of years not to do it but they still did it.
Plus, they're not even nice to the special hurry-up lady!
“Last year we sent a special lady to hurry them up and they talked to her not in a very nice way and they would wave her off like that. That is not good, you know.
Wow, the nerve of those women, wanting to relax in a chair after racing across the freaking desert. Frankly I find it shocking that a country with Qatar's impeccable women's rights record wouldn't be more accommodating:
Provisions of Law No. 22 of 2006, Qatar’s first codified law to address issues of family and personal status, discriminates against women. Under Article 36, a marriage contract is valid when a woman’s male guardian concludes the contract and two male witnesses are present. Article 57 forbids husbands from hurting their wives physically or morally, but article 58 states that it is a wife’s responsibility to look after the household and to obey her husband. Marital rape is not a crime.
Still, I guess Ettix-QuickStep is lucky they don't get treated like the typical migrant worker over there:
Workers typically pay exorbitant recruitment fees and employers regularly take control of their passports when they arrive in Qatar. Many migrant workers complain that their employers fail to pay their wages on time, if at all. Migrant workers are prohibited from unionizing or engaging in strikes, although they make up 99 percent of the private sector workforce. Many migrant workers are obliged to live in cramped, unsanitary conditions, especially those working without documentation.
Speaking of exploiting workers, Uber is "disrupting" the bike messenger industry by not providing benefits:
Uber does not pay workers' compensation insurance because it classifies its couriers as independent contractors, who are considered to be in business for themselves and are not covered by state and federal labor laws. (For basically all of its New York drivers, Uber pays workers' comp through the Black Car Fund, which was established years ago for the hired-car industry.) Traditional courier companies, by contrast, are required to hire messengers as employees and to pay workers' comp, unemployment insurance and other fees.
Furthermore, by classifying their couriers as contractors, neither Uber nor other on-demand companies have to pay minimum wage—a potential issue for foot messengers, who don't necessarily make enough deliveries in an hour to earn $9 in commissions.
I'm not sure why a company with over a billion in revenue needs to take over a quaint industry like bicycle delivery, but I guess that's how Silicon Valley does sandbagging.