Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Yes, all of this is going to be on the test.

In the interest of updating you on the status and performance of my vast fleet of bicycles, I'd like to talk to you about my WorkCycles:


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:

My main reasons for doing so were:

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:


(#whatbabyyourunning)

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:


I can promise there's virtually no chance her tiny house will get ticketed or towed, but if she's still worried about it she could always put a New York City Transit safety vest in the window, since that always does the trick with SUVs.

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.


Meta.

Or at least meh-ta, anyway.

81 comments:

Spokey said...

1

Spokey said...

see bama

should have gotten yer sleepies

Spokey said...


would it be ted like to go for 3?

Synonymous said...

Hey Ted! Read this manifesto!

Ted K. said...

Note 22. (Paragraph 137) Here we are considering only the conflict of values within the mainstream. For the sake of simplicity we leave out of the picture “outsider” values like the idea that wild nature is more important than human economic welfare.

Dave - everywhere said...

Podee oh doh!

Anonymous said...

Toppus X

Anonymous said...

Verry funny

McFly said...

Tiny Homes? I acquired a 24' Prowler bumper pull camper just yesterday. The kids were in it with the door wide open before I could even get it backed into the driveway.

They wanted to start breaking shit right away.

zippy8 said...

Great. So now all I can think of is how much I want a vertically compliant ice cream. Thanks a lot.

N/A said...

Before my children were properly vertically-compliant, I just duct-taped them shits into their seats.

DB said...

Snob:
Have you considered how to keep participants of the Fondon't from shorting the course and cheating?
Asking for a friend.

Anonymous said...

Gelato is more compliant than ice cream due to the air to cream ratio. Don't even get me started on artisanal vs store bought.

ken e. said...

mmm, artisnal gelato!

N/A said...

$5000 will buy you a shit-ton of steel fixies w/ bullhorns, bro.

N/A said...

I've seen no less than fifty(50) different announcements about that stupid Speedvagen bike, and I just can't see how it's worth that fat stack of fun tickets. I mean, I'm sure it's wicked nice, but when you start getting that spendy, I expect to be able to make some choices, you know? Also, matte green and matte purple are "iconic" colorways?

Side grievance: Why are bikes so hard to find in big sizes?

BamaPhred said...

Dayum. Woke up, read the blogulation, and barely made top 20. Memorizing for this weeks' test. I wanna join the Milwaukee bike club, but I gotta unload this crabon fred sled first. It's gonna be a job.
Oh, and Mr Snob, I didn't need to see your tattoo. Lol

Yuan or Lonnie, Take Your Pick said...

Babble needs to check this out. Uber wealthy Chinese are buying up Vancouver, snapping up Lamborghini's at the Vancouver dealership. Babe in red has nice legs, can't hold a candle to Ms. Babble's, but none the less nothing to sneeze at either.

"at least 37,000 Chinese millionaires took advantage of a now-defunct immigrant investor program to become permanent residents of British Columbia, the province that includes Vancouver."

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/world/americas/canada-vancouver-chinese-immigrant-wealth.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Hee Haw the Barista said...

Vancouver realtors never met a Chinese oligarch they didn't liked.

Coffee Black, No Cream, No Sugar, No Nothin Else said...

Read today's War and Peace length post before heading to comments (aka the Dept of Z Humor); might have pod'd if I had been thinking, but without coffee the cells no a work.

leroy said...

Well, I for one, quite enjoy the steel bike from the company for which Mr. BSNYC might be accused of shilling.

And it looks like I might owe my dog an apology. For a moment this weekend, I thought he was taking advantage of my trusting nature by picking a route where he assured me we could go railing into corners.

(As for Mr. Strickland, he gets a free pass if he wants to write about how much he enjoys riding a bike. When you think about it, how many ways can you really say you like a bike?)

Anonymous said...

I've ridden bikes while I was laterally gassy and i've ridden over glass but I just don't understand what the reviewer was saying.

BamaPhred said...

So the elitist types finally found a term, tiny house, for what we have been living in all these years, mobile home. So you can call the trailer park Tiny House Estates. I guffawed when I saw all the mobile home dealers featuring "tiny houses" on their lots, and camper sales have campers designed as tiny houses. It has officially jumped the shark

crosspalms said...

Something like the sensation of tautness, yet not exactly the sensation of tautness, or even actual tautness itself, no, it was something else, something similar but ineffably just a bit different, as different from tautness as the sensation of tautness, and more different than something like the sensation of tautness but actually something completely at odds with tautness, something more like the sensation of slackness, or the sensation of ice cream melting in the cone and running down my hands while I try to describe the sensation. Or something.

Spokey said...


as usual the NYT is late to the game. i guess so is brooks-land.

the tiny house fad peeked about too years agos. mcmansions are roaring back although i have yet to see any on trailers. speaking of peeking, where's uma?

Spokey said...


cp

congrats

i couldn't even read that let alone understand it.

Glengerry Glen Ross said...

160 sf doesn't even meet the minimum zoning requirements for a dog house in Montauk.

BamaPhred said...

But the tiny houses featured on the TV shows are pretty cool.

N/A said...

The "Tiny House Movement" is all an evil plot by Ikea to sell more flat-pack furniture. Sure, the promise of tiny allen wrenches and stacks of those little pencils draws you in, but eventually you need to move that bookcase from one spot to another, AND THEN YOU'RE FUCKED!

N/A said...

I like the lingonberry soda mixed with Sierra Mist when I go to Ikea. It's a mixture I curated myself. Sometimes, when I'm being dragged there by the better half, I like to bring a flask of something strong to mix with the lingonberry soda, in order to bolster my nerves.

William Carlos Williams said...

And there is no tautness so taut as the memory of tautness lost

dancesonpedals said...

All I ask is that I get laid before we look at furniture.

Grump said...

That Milwaukee is a pretty nice bike. Almost the same as the Gunnar Sport, except you get a free fork with yours. Waterford makes some good bikes, in all price ranges.

Anonymous said...

Did I hear correctly that Specialized is suing Led Zepplin for copyright infringement? It appears that Specialized actually wrote "Stairway to Heaven."

David Olson said...

Matte Army and Matte Lavender, but no Matte Lauer. Meh.

janinedm said...

See, my Workcycle was my first good adult bike. There was an earlier purchase but, like guitars, no matter how much research you put in your first purchase will be wrong. But the Workcycle is what made me fall in love with biking in the city and I'm not even schlepping children. All that heavy steel and the huge tires just sort of suck up vibration, so between that and my Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, I just roll over everything with zero fucks given. I later got into stretchy clothes and swoop bars, but it's the Tank that gave me monster quads and a resting pulse in the low to mid 50s and it's still my favorite ride in a lot of ways.

Anonymous said...

keywords: steel, ice cream, glassy

McFly said...

Shouldn't they have dropped the bomb-proof Speedvagen before the Belgian Classics?

Too soon?

Joe said...

Notice how all reviews refer to the theoretical negative pitfalls of those "other" bikes ("unlike similar bikes at this price point, this bike doesn't lag a second when you accelerate...), yet a bike with any of those qualities never seems to have been reviewed, despite every single bike on the market having a review. Just for the sake of face, shouldn't bike reviewers have to pick at least one bike a year to just savage so it at least seems like all their other reviews aren't a shameless mutual admiration society?

MilwaukeeBikeLust said...

I finally learned to just go to the furniture store and just agree.
Does this couch fit in the living room?
"Yes."
I don't think it will.
"You are probably right, on second thought. But it is a nice color."
This color will never work.
"Of course"

Translation for all quotes, IDGAF

Bryan said...

lol...the speedvagen is "affordable" according to the website. of course, if I made 6 figures, had almost no debt and all of my worldly possessions could be pared down to a broom closet, mattress and 4 totes, I could get me that $5k would be a drop in the scranular bucket. Though if I were going tiny house, I would probably do a Brompton instead. But what do I know

Anonymous said...

The whole tiny house thing cracks me up. I would love to see how many of these nutty buyers end up bailing out and selling them for 1/2 the price after they discover that no storage, sewage issues, and rental fees on the land or RV park where they are parked amount to a huge fucking hot mess.

Dorothy Rabinowitz said...

... with a balanced feel from front to back, giving something like the sensation of tautness during the wildest moments of a ride.


who want to jump in my saddle?

Dooth said...

I was stoned and feeling hungry for some ice cream, so I got on my bike and rode over to Ben & Jerry's. A delicious ride.

ReadMyLastBikeReview. said...

Do these bike reviewers moan and smoke cigarettes after they write their reviews? It's a mechanical device, FFS.

1904 Cadardi said...

$30k for a g̶a̶r̶d̶e̶n̶ ̶s̶h̶e̶d̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶w̶h̶e̶e̶l̶s̶ tiny house? Just buy a used Airstream: bigger, lighter, laterally stiff, vertically compliant and easier to tow when your parents tell you to get the damn thing out of their driveway.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Grump,

Yes, the Milwaukee is basically a slightly "racier" Gunnar Sport from what I can tell.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Francois said...

Did you see that apparently a pro rider was injured by dick breaks in the last Paris-Roubaix?
http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/racing/movistar-reportedly-injured-disc-brake-paris-roubaix-crash-220593?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social#DybKFcu8sX4rjfwZ.99

Matt said...

If you buy a bunch of those tiny houses and put them together like dominoes, it would be sort of like a big ol' house! You could even stack them vertical and make a little Jed Clampett mansion out of them! And just think how safe they would be in an earthquake...a door frame to hide under every 7 feet!

Roille Figners said...

No speed vadgin' for me. I take it sloowwww. But then fast. You gotta hold something back for the final sprint.

dancesonpedals said...

Dorothy Rubinowitz met some nuns in the west village, and invited them to the WSJ offices for tea (no sympathy). Riding downtown on their citibikes, the nuns led her on a shortcut over unfamiliar roads.

Dorothy: I've never come this way before.
Nuns: It's the cobblestones.

bieks said...

1013.25 hectopascals? How much is that in millibars?

Roille Figners said...

I just blew my own mind looking that up. One hectopascal equals one millibar. But what's that in torr?

Pascals_Helper_Monkey said...

So basically Sir Smugness was running sea level air pressure in his tires, or as us less sophisticated folk would say, flats.

Vernal Magina said...

I saw the Steel Ice Cream Cones in concert last month, they were rock-hard.

Frickus Rungus said...

janinedm,

I also palp tires in the marathon plus styleways... I find them to be pneumatically retentive and rotationaly compliant.

bad boy of the north said...

lol.....zero fucks given.priceless......snob,sooo....how was the zoo?parking for said smugness machines?

Kris Siessmayer said...

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.

No, it's a double bonus: It also insults the poor schumucks who are willing to take their 30k and the 'tii-yer-dead financing and make it work out, in some pathetically unartisional and unhip way, in the the city.

Anonymous said...

Spokey,
McMansions do come on wheels sometimes. There are no limits with a modern modular home.
& Wildcat, shill or not, you've been doing this for long enough now and with such sensibility that when I look at my own heap of bicycles I can't tell if you sold me on the various setups or not. Cambium: you sold it. Passellas: runnin em for years. Steel and fenders. They just make sense and always have. Goofy tiller effect stem? No thanks. Dropper post? Our opinions diverge here even though my reverb is blown and needs a rebuild.

Comes with a 16 sf Outhouse said...

Inviting Devon over to my 160sf house, I mean pad, for Pad Thai.

Spokey said...

anon

not the real mc's. we do have sterling houses trucked in here but those million dollar babies are built by artis-anal hand around these parts.

it's kind of funny. 'cross the dirt road is a new set starting at 900K. little do the people know that those 14 acres were wetlands and the builder brought in thousands (though spousy claims only many hundreds) of truckloads of dirt. put the foundation at ground level and then just kept dumping dirt until it reached the front door. can't wait to see how it looks when that dirt finally settles in. they'll have to use ladders to get to the front door.

i do keep wondering if i should wander over some day and let it drop in casual conversation that they dropped almost 1M a hundred yards or so from my $53,000 house.

A Lady who slept with Thor said...

You think you're torr? I'm so torr I can hardly pith

Savino Says said...

Find a Tiny House and get the fuck in it!

Dooth said...

I had a bike ride the other day that tasted just like chicken.

D-Rab said...

Tryna shave my beaver. The dam thing just won't stop wiggling, and those teeth are sharp!

Anonymous said...

KHS, Surly and Gunnar make pretty big stock bikes.

P. Bateman said...

i thoroughly enjoyed today's post.

your photoshopping is really hitting on all cylinders Snob...or, its in the big ring in front and the small sprocket in back rather.

a year to build a house that size? get some power tools you big dummy and get your ass in the big ring in front and small sprocket in back like Snob with photoshop and finish that damn thing.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Taut postings tautologically. Ironic.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Is it just me who has trouble telling the difference betweenWorksCycles and Worksman Cycles? Every time I see WorkCycles I think of a delivery trike from D'Agostinos or a downhill bike ride from Haleakala on a 60 pound bike made from black iron pipe that is neither vertically compliant or laterally stiff, with shitty drum brakes that don't work.

dancesonpedals said...

Don't worry, that guy from specialized will sue

babble on said...

Mr Pick? We had a huge influx of Chinese money right before the Brits gave Hong Kong back to China, and the flow continues to this day. Apparently a fucktonne of houses are actually paid for in cold, hard cash, and then they're as often as not torn down and rebuilt, too. Why? Cause that's the easiest way to launder millions upon millions of Yuan.

But our premiere likes that her modest, old 2000 sq ft house in Point Grey is worth a solid ten million, so she refuses to do anything to stem the tide.

Spokey said...


is something i said? i apologize. take it back mr snobbie.

please put out a wendy's post.

janinedm said...

Frickus Rungus, I would describe the Schwalbe feel as ceramic mug-like with hints of cinnamon. Lt. Obvious, living up in lower Lob's country, like I do, there are hills on almost all of my commutes so I get to go downhill also. I have drum brakes on my Workcycle and have not, to date, died. So, I'd say the brakes work fine. I do have to say that for a heavy bike with drum brakes I find that the default brake lever setting (halfway or whatever) is too loose for a drum brake. If you're going ride a heavy bike with drum brakes, them levers need to be tighter than a 1990s Jean Claude Van Damme's butt. That said, I like all my brake levers tighter than the norm (this may be conditioning from starting with the Workcycle), I like to ride with my hands super loose, I'll even drum my fingers occasionally to make sure I'm not wasting precious watts squeezing my handlebars. And I like to be able to stop with a very subtle movement.

grog said...

All this time, I thought your wife was a Barenaked Canadienne Recumbentist.
GOFI GURE
WHOO GNUU
MORE BABE

BamaPhred said...

Spokey, building houses on wetlands. It's 99% of scummy developers that give the other 1% a bad name.
There was an old overgrown dammed up stock pond just down the street. So a developer filled it in, terraced the site, and plunked down 3 McMansions. Mind you, because of where it is, they don't cost $900K, but still.
Now the owners complain of bad drainage. Gee I wonder why?
I couldn't resist, as I was riding by and observing the pumping and draining going on, to ask if they knew that a large pond had once been where the houses are now.
Waiting for the dust to settle over the lawsuits.

Spokey said...


bama

don't know how it works down there, but in snobbie's scranus, the local town has a lot of say. in many areas the county rules most, but here the county is weak and the town has the most say.

the builders have to get the permits and planning board approval. don't know much about that approval so maybe it was conforming and if so, the PB can't really do much. I do know the acreage is ok. we're only two acre minimum here and they're putting up 4 on 14 acres. unlike other mcmansions down the road that are the real million dollar babies and looks like they're on a 1/4, maybe as much as a 1/3 acre. they look ridiculous.

BamaPhred said...

This is county, the developer had to get a variance from county zoning to do this, over the objection of every person who lives on this road. There were at least 25 of us there. Scranus. These developers must all go to the same scummy developer classes. They're the same all over. These are 1 to 2 acre lots. Where's Snob. Ima gonna miss the podium race again

dancesonpedals said...

As much as I yearn for the quiz, I'd settle for a rhetorical question. Perhaps after a colon in the blog title.

M said...

Do you miss being able to tow child bikes? I was jealous of long tails like the big dummy and put a caddy rack on the back of my front box bike. I got one with a stub for stoker bars and a burley piccolo mount for maximum child options. Does the work cycle have any towing options? (I admit I am unlikely to check these comments, so if you have an answer email would be more effective)

Kerry said...

Oh... Just getting around to commenting on this post.

The Millwacki bikes are nice....really nice...but, for the life of me I can't see any real difference, other then the higher price, then a Surly bike.. I've got a Surly Pacer (I think you coupled bike started life as a pacer also) and love it.. Would I love the Millwacky bike as much?

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