While I'm boasting, I should also add that I recently treated myself to a new foam bicycling hat, which is the one you see dangling from the cockpit in the above photo. As a recovering Fred I always wore the more expensive higher-end helmets for pretty much the same reason I shaved my legs. (In other words, no good reason at all). But this time I said "Fuck it" and bought the $40 special instead.
And guess what?
They're pretty much exactly the same--equally light, equally comfortable, and equally useless.
What a shock.
Indeed, between the cheap beer cooler on my head and the cheap all terrain bicycle under my scranus (a hair under $1,000 is cheap for our purposes) I dealt a potentially fatal blow to my own Fredness, though sadly it was deflected by my Fred-tastic stretchy shorts which kept my Fred factor in the black.
Then yesterday I bookended the weekend with a little Memorial Day morning jaunt over the Chris Christie Bridge:
These days I tend to avoid the bridge since it's usually teeming with triathletes and other undesirables, but if the weather's even remotely inclement it's generally safe to proceed. This is because if atmospheric conditions are not absolutely perfect those kinds of people stay home and play Zwift instead:
I'm pretty sure he just said "fitness entertainment," and while I realize he means it in the context of Zwift it's actually the perfect term for any pretty much any type of riding that involves wearing stretchy shorts.
Speaking of people who ride for "fitness entertainment," what few Fred types I did see were pretty much all wearing Gran Fondo New York jerseys. Furthermore, at least one of those Fondo Freds also still had the number on his bike despite the fact that the ride took place over three weeks ago. This led me to consider the following possible explanations:
--It's the Fred equivalent of keeping the lift ticket on your ski jacket;
--He did not pay the extra $75 for the official Gran Fondo New York rider number removal kit;
--He was still out on the course.
Anyway, it was an enjoyable little ride, though there were the usual reminders from "society" that as a cyclist I don't belong on the road, such as signs treating me like an idiot and a nuisance for wanting to use a park:
More signs treating me like an idiot and a nuisance, as well as barriers preventing me from even entering the park in the first place (though obviously I did anyway):
And of course the constant specter of death:
Fortunately, thanks to the signs telling me to wear a "protective helmet" (as opposed to a decorative one) and to watch the road surface (which had never occurred to me, I usually just read the newspaper while I'm riding), and to use only a tiny sliver of that road surface so the kinds of assholes who drive through beautiful parks always have plenty of room for their SUVs, I made it back to the bridge intact. By then the mist had cleared and the flag was visible in all its glory:
Memorial Day notwithstanding and no disrespect intended, given the current political landscape it's hard not to react to the flag the same way I do to those "Share The Road" signs, by which I mean scoffing and muttering, "Yeah, right."
Meanwhile, the Giro d'Italia is over almost before I realized it had begun, and instead of going to Disney World winner Vincenzo Nibali is going to Torture Town, otherwise known as Bahrain:
Astana manager Alexander Vinokourov told Cyclingnews he was still hopeful that Nibali could decide to stay at Astana, but it seems that not even a substantial increase in Astana's offer will stop Nibali from opting to move on and becoming the absolute team leader at the Bahrain Cycling Team.
As we've already addressed, the human rights record of the guy who's starting this team is as spotty as Mario Cipollini's underpants, and it says a lot about the sorry state of pro cycling that sticking with blood doper and race-fixer Alexander Vinokourov would have been the more scrupulous thing to do.
And I shouldn't even have to tell you that this Prince Nasser guy is a triathlete:
Nibali's relationship with Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa began back in February 2015 when he and Alex Carera were invited to Bahrain by the prince before riding the Dubai Tour. Nibali and the prince rode together, and the prince also attended the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris. He is a keen triathlete and has completed several Ironman events, and represented Bahrain internationally. He created the Bahrain Endurance 13 team, signing some of the biggest names in the sport including Caroline Steffen, Terenzo Bozzone, Brent McMahon and Ben Hoffman.
Evil is as evil does.
Speaking of evildoers, VanMoof plans to thwart the ones who steal bikes with this "smart bike," which they're calling the SmartBike, now available for preorder:
So what makes it a "smart" bike? Well, if it gets stolen, VanMoof's crack team of bike detectives will spend two weeks tracking it down:
Ships with total peace of mind.
With the VanMoof peace of mind service, your SmartBike will always come back to you. If it gets stolen, our team will spend two weeks tracking down your bike, and if we can't find it, we'll replace it.
This is promising (assuming it works), though after two years you've got to pay a monthly fee for the service, so in a way it's just the bike equivalent of an extended warranty, i.e. a slightly more benign Ponzi scheme.
The bike also promises to keep you dry somehow--and as it turns out, this is how:
Arrive dry, every time.
The Smartbike will make sure you never arrive anywhere soaking wet, because it'll scan the forecast and notify you via the smartphone app when you should leave to avoid the rain.
Is there anybody in the 21st century who doesn't already check the weather on a smartphone before leaving the house? Why on earth would I need my bike to do this for me? Also, what am I supposed to do when I'm leaving the house for an appointment and my bike tells me not to go? Better to show up wet than not to show up at all. After all, my toenails aren't going to pedicure themselves.
Most importantly, the bike comes with keyless entry, just like all those smart locks on Kickstarter nobody in the world is using:
Terrifying to thieves.
The SmartBike comes with anti-theft parts and a keyless lock built inside the frame where a thief can't get to it. It's also equipped with GSM and Bluetooth tracking so if a thief gets their hands on it, you'll get it back.
Hey, it looks like a nifty bike and everything, but I maintain that the only "smart bike" when it comes to urban commuting is an inexpensive one with a big-ass lock. I was also hoping that the "Arrive dry, every time" meant it would be equipped with one of these:
Look, it's crabon!
Here's how it works:
Unfortunately, at these speeds a windscreen isn't going to do anything, so the only use for it that I can see is as a sail.
Lastly, remember that fake analog artisanal bike computer? Well here's the real deal:
I'd take that over the Omata any day.