As you may recall, back in September of last year I defected from my trusty Surly Big Dummy and transferred my smugness holdings into a WorkCycles Fr8:
1) I wanted a bike that could live outside with minimal maintenance;
2) I wanted a shorter wheelbase to facilitate parking.
As a bonus, my wife already had a WorkCycles, so this would allow for more smugness accessory compatibility between our bicycles. Consider this Rear-Mounted Baby Throne for example, which we can now move from one bike to another in about 30 seconds (though it helps to remove the kid first):
Anyway, I've been delighted with this bicycle. The Big Dummy was a revelation in terms of sheer cycling practicality, but now that I've got a bike with a full chain case and internal gearing and all the rest of it I'm experiencing a whole new level of refined smugness. In fact just yesterday I used it to take one of my many, many children on a trip to the Bronx Zoo.
You might think that family-style riding is somehow less satisfying than stretchy-clothes cycling from a performance perspective, but you'd be wrong. For one thing, if you don't think schlepping two kids up an 8% grade on a 50lb bicycle is "epic" then I've got your Strava KOM right here. For another, component selection when hauling kids is just as crucial as it is in bike racing, especially if you're a Smugness Fred like me.
Of course, the most crucial component is the child, who must be laterally stiff yet vertically compliant. Also, while you can certainly get away with having one all-around kid, a true Smugness Fred has a quiver of children for different rides. For example, an older kid who can countersteer helps you keep your rear wheel planted on those gravel rides, whereas a smaller, more flickable one can be preferable on those urban rides where you're trying to hold Lucas Brunelle's wheel--though when riding a cargo bike Brunelle himself prefers bearded babies in their 30s and 40s, presumably because they know how to operate a camera:
As for me, I was running a 1.25 year-old baby at approximately 1013.25 hectopascals, and as soon as we hit the greenway we dropped the hammer:
Granted, it was one of those kiddie squeaky hammers, but still:
In all, it was a delightful trip, though it was hard not to think of how much more delightful if would have been if New York City took its cycling infrastructure more seriously. For example, I'm in the fortunate position to be able to use a greenway for much of the trip from my home to the zoo, but it's fucking absurd that in 2016 every single large park in New York City is not surrounded by protected bike lanes. (Instead, they're surrounded by highways, or at least wide streets that pretty much serve as highways.)
Then of course you've got our police:
And there's your Vision Zero: just another thing for police who don't live here not to give a shit about.
It's too bad, because we could really have something here. You know, something like lots of people riding bikes to the zoo instead of one smug bike blogger with a designer cargo bike. Or like people not being forced to ride on the sidewalk, which is the still the current situation in much of the city outside the Citi Bike coverage zone.
Speaking of smugness, it doesn't get much more smug than a tiny house:
As with any story of artisanal endeavors in Brooklyn I was waiting for a bicycle to make an appearance, and sure enough there it was:
For the last year, Ms. Mercer, 30, has been building a 160-square-foot house in a cavernous warehouse in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Ms. Mercer works at Birchbox, a start-up in Manhattan that sends people personalized beauty samples, and after work and on weekends, she often bikes to the warehouse on an industrial stretch of Bergen Street, where it is flanked by an auto body shop and a wood shop.
As for the tiny house, the article would have you believe the affordable housing crisis left her with no choice but to build herself a slightly oversized birdhouse:
As she approached 30, and began moving up at Birchbox, where she now runs the skin care division, she wanted to buy. But she found she could not afford anything in the city, although her income had climbed into the low six figures and she had virtually no debt.
Though it's going to cost her $30,000 to build the house:
She estimates her tiny house will cost around $30,000.
And as expensive as New York is I can assure you that with a $30,000 down payment and a six-figure income you can still buy yourself an apartment.
Hey, I understand that some people would rather live in an artisanal woodshed than in an unhip neighborhood, but I wish they'd at least say that instead of claiming they "could not afford anything in the city," since that's an insult to people who actually can't afford anything in the city.
Anyway, when she's done building the house she's planning to drop it somewhere with anappropriate mix of ruggedness and cachet:
This spring she will add the roof and everything inside. Then the search begins for a place to park. She has considered Far Rockaway, Montauk and points north, within biking distance of a commuter train. Though a weekend retreat might be “the more reasonable plan,” she said, “I want to live in it.”
The article doesn't specify whether or not she'll tow it to its final destination by bicycle, but by way of saving her some time I can pretty much guarantee nobody is going to let her drop her tiny house in either Far Rockaway or Montauk.
If anything she's better off just putting the thing in a bike lane, since in New York City blocking the bike lane is actively encouraged:
Meanwhile, in bike weenie news, the big pre-packaged manufactured story currently being served to all the bike blogs is that Speedvagen is now going prêt-à-porter:
Introducing the Speedvagen OG1
The OG1 is our very best workhorse race machine – designed, built and painted right here in The Vanilla Workshop. And you get it now.
Frames are pre-built, painted and ready to order: available in two colors and a range of sizes with a pre-configured set of components.
Speedvagen was born from our desire to keep our bikes accessible to friends and fellow racers. Clearly that caught on, and while we are proud of our continued growth, we wanted to return to our roots with a bike that represents the core of the Speedvagen ethos. The OG1 (our Original Gangster) is a beautiful, minimalist, bomb-proof race machine with a great ride and it is meticulously built right here in the US. Here are the stats:
5 standard sizes ranging from 50cm to 58cm
2 iconic color options – Matte Army & Matte Lavender
OH MY GOD, A $5,000 BIKE YOU CAN HAVE RIGHT AWAY? WHAT A CONCEPT! WHY HAS NOBODY EVER DONE THIS BEFORE?
[Hint: I know someplace else where you can get a road bike made from high end steel that's "meticulously built right here in the US" with no wait time, plus you get more than "2 iconic color options," but if I told you you'd think I was a shill.)
Anyway, you'll no doubt be reading about this on various cycling websites because that's how press releases work, but I don't think you'll find more exhaling prose than this:
I tested my first Speedvagen five years ago, and thought the limited-run steel bike with a twice-a-year ordering window was one of the most interesting rides I’d experienced in my two-plus decades of reviewing. It had a crisp, edgy, and aggressive feel uncommon to steel yet still retained a good amount of that traditional quality of smoothness referred to as “glassy” by another tester who rode the bike.
Translation: laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.
I’ve had one for about a month, and my other tester and I agree the ride is thrilling—quick under command; smooth no matter how much torque you’re putting into it (whether from pedaling, wrenching the bars for a sprint, or railing into corners); and, with a balanced feel from front to back, giving something like the sensation of tautness during the wildest moments of a ride.
Translation: laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.
There’s no hesitation, no indecision, no you-want-me-to-do-what moments. Yet the ride is delicious. It’s as if the world’s best-tasting ice-cream cone were made from steel.
Translation: laterally stiff yet vertically wait ice cream cone what the fuck does that even mean???
You've got to hand it to Bicycling, they keep figuring out how to use different words to keep saying the same thing almost as egregiously as I do.
Or at least meh-ta, anyway.