Thursday, June 23, 2016

BSNYC Road Jernel Part II: Seattle!

The pre-eminent group ride in the New York City area is of course the BSNYC Gran Fondon't, but if you can't wait until next year there's always the New York City Century, which is happening on September 10th:


(Beard groomers needed!  Volunteer now!)

You may recall that last year I wrote up a little preview post in which I scouted one of the more succulent sections of the course.  Well, this year Transportation Alternatives is offering a $5 discount to readers of this blog, and all you have to do to get it is enter the following code when you register:


Here's that code again, in case it wasn't clear:

2016BIKESNOB

Hey, I wanted to use "SCRANTACULAR," but they wouldn't let me, go figure--though incidentally if you use that code over at Nashbar they'll add an extra 25% to the price of your order.

Anyway, don't say I never gave you anything, because I pretty much just handed you five bucks.  Better still, you get the discount even if you're not a TransAlt member, though you might as well become one because they do good work.

So there.

I should also add that this year the Century starts and finishes at Pier 97 on the West Side off the Hudson River Greenway, so as I understand it there will be pre-and post-ride activities and stuff like that.  And here are the routes:



Though only the 100-miler takes in the mighty peaks of the Northwest Bronx:

100 mile -- The Imperial Century

The full 100 mile tour is for experienced cyclists only. 100 mile riders continue on into eastern Queens, along the waterfront on Little Neck Bay and under the Throgs Neck Bridge, before looping back to Astoria Park and continuing into the Bronx. This part of the ride is hilly and the most challenging. The route then winds down into northern Manhattan and historic Harlem. The route begins at Pier 97 at 6 am. You should expect to finish between 12 pm and 6 pm.

See that?  I live where it's hilly and the most challenging!  That's why I moved up here to the New York City Alps, so I could train at altitude.  (Well, that and I was evicted from my previous home in Brooklyn to make way for an artisanal pickling operation.)

Moving on, as a blogger I have a pathological need to share with you the excruciating minutiae of every leg of my recent book-flogging trip, and when I left you yesterday we were at Union Station in Portland, Oregon, USA and bound for Seattle:


I think the first time I traveled between Portland and Seattle I took a plane, and then someone in a grubby cycling cap explained to me how silly that was when I could just take a train instead.  He was absolutely right.  While the flight itself is short you've got to get yourself to and from the airport on either end, not to mention suffer the many indignities of air travel, plus pack and unpack your bike if you've got one.  Meanwhile, not only is the Amtrak Cascades train convenient, but it also offers roll-on bike service:


And after rolling my bike onto the train I rolled myself onto it as well:


Where I settled into my sumptuous seat:


Until hunger set in and I shuffled on over to the café car, which is where I was, eating disgusting microwaved train food, when we rolled into Kelso:


Now if you were at one of my recent talks you've already heard this anecdote, but if you weren't I'll tell you that as we pulled into the station I noticed a man on the platform carrying a large plastic sack in his teeth.  He then set the sack down and began sharpening an axe:


You'll notice he was also equipped with a saw for some reason.

All of this struck me as odd, but I was reluctant to apply my urbane sensibilities to the local populace.   After all, this was the Pacific Northwest, and perhaps sharpening an axe on a stair railing is as normal as sitting down for a shoe shine in Grand Central.  However, I highly doubted that throwing an axe was typical, and that's precisely what he did next:


He also appeared to be somewhat addled, which concerned me because: a) people were now getting off the train; and b) while he had already hurled the axe he was still armed with the saw:


At this point I figured I'd seen something so I should now say something, so I told the conductor there was a guy outside with an axe.  She sort of gasped in horror, and then simply walked away.

Satisfied that I'd now discharged my responsibilities, I left the man with his plastic bag full of dirty laundry and/or body parts and returned to my seat for the rest of the ride.  Then, upon arriving in Seattle, I headed straight for the ferry to Bainbridge Island to visit the good people at Classic Cycle:


Rest assured I'm going to tell you all about my trip to Classic Cycle.

Just not today.

After my visit, I re-boated and headed back into Seattle:


See my bike case?  I should point out that it has backpack straps, so I threw my regular luggage in there and carried everything on the bike that way, which may sound convenient but is in fact incredibly awkward and painful.

By the time I arrived back in Seattle the local bike commuters were queuing up for the ferry trip home:


Whereas I took to the downtown bike lanes because I had an appointment to keep:


Before heading to Seattle I'd received an email from someone at a tech company asking me if I'd come speak at their offices before my signing at the University Book Store.  Here's a paraphrased version of our exchange:

TECH COMPANY PERSON: Hey, I see you're coming to Seattle.  Any interest in coming to our office to speak to us first?

ME: I really don't see why you can't lift your asses out of your ergonomic chairs and just come to my signing instead.

TECH COMPANY PERSON: Well, we plan to order some books.

ME: So what time should I be there?

It was a short ride from the ferry to the tech company's downtown offices, where I took advantage of the building's bike parking:


The company was called Avvo, and when I asked what they did it turned out they're sort of like Uber but for lawyers, so I explained to them that their name sounded too much like Aviato and that they should change it to Luber.

They seemed nonplussed, in the informal sense of the word:


Indeed, between the conductor and the techies it would appear that the entire region was united in its complete indifference to anything I had to say.

Nevertheless, once that was out of the way they lowered a big screen from the ceiling and I fired up my PowerPoint and launched into my book-selling spiel.  Many of the people assembled had no idea who I was, so I explained I was the greatest living cycling writer in the world, because it would have been disingenuous of me to lie.  Everyone seemed to have a good time, though admittedly the bar for entertainment is pretty low in an office setting when it's between listening to some bike doofus while drinking beer and actually doing some work.

Once that was finished and they signed over the stock options I'd insisted upon, I head north and over the bridge to the University District:


I should point out that my helmet was buried deep inside my luggage and there was no way I was going to bother digging it out, which meant I traversed much of the city in flagrant violation of its draconian bicycle helmet laws.

Fortunately I was not cited, so in your face, suckers.

After dumping my unwieldy bike case full of crap at the hotel I headed over to the University Book Store for my signing, though I kind of wished I had done it at Edge of the Circle Books instead:


I would gladly summon the dark power of nature and spirits in order to make my book a commercial success.  I'd even sell my soul to Satan himself, seen here in the window:


Come on, tell me that's not Satan:


Anyway, the signing went quite well, even without Satan's help (unless he did help after all and I'm now in his service forevermore), though I admit as an adult on the wrong side of 40 I was less than enchanted with the neighborhood.  See, after giving so freely of myself I like to unwind with a nice meal and a cocktail in an atmospheric restaurant and then stick the publisher with the bill.  However, this being the University District, it was all cheap eats for students and freaks playing harps:


So after wandering around in the rain for awhile until I was famished I settled on some Thai joint and burned the crap out of my mouth on some chicken satay.

It still hurts.

Stay tuned for the dramatic conclusion of my trip, which will feature more quills than the Constitutional Convention:


And before I go, here's a video for your forensic analysis:


I'm not sure if that's a clipless pedal mishap or some other kind of drivetrain malfunction, but maybe it had something to do with the driver's musical tastes.

72 comments:

Ted K. said...

Note 25. (Paragraph 143) We don’t mean to suggest that the efficiency or the potential for survival of a society has always been inversely proportional to the amount of pressure or discomfort to which the society subjects people. That certainly is not the case. There is good reason to believe that many primitive societies subjected people to less pressure than European society did, but European society proved far more efficient than any primitive society and always won out in conflicts with such societies because of the advantages conferred by technology.

GreySpoke said...

Wheeeeeeee

Kenny Banya said...

Kenny F***ing Banya!

Gold.

Two Claws said...

Two Claws Up!

ken e. said...

looks like impending rain.

Two Claws said...

"I think the first time I traveled between Portland and Seattle I took a plane" - just like D. B. Cooper!

Matt said...

Did your ax guy use Best Made axes?

CSI Special Bicycle Unit said...

"...here's a video for your forensic analysis..."

Ordinarily I would say alcohol was involved, but staying upright whilst hanging off the side of the bike (until reaching the curb) and clearly stating "Yeah, I'm all right" with out slurring nor cussing, would indicate a sober accident.

BamaPhred said...

The lawyers weren't impressed? I'm shocked.
Speaking of attorneys, I had an interesting encounter with a copperhead snake yesterday.
No harm, but those suckers do strike if you buzz them close enough.
Silly me, I really thought it would slither off the road before I got there.
Just glad it wasn't Croatalus Horridus.

Blog Drafter said...

When I was "gearing up" my stable I ordered so much stuff from Nashbar that I wound up with, like, a ten year subscription to Outside magazine because they were giving a years subscription for anything you ordered. They just kept adding on a year for every order. I hate Outside magazine, the twee press that it is. I've been trying to cancel for years now.

Great post, I thoroughly lol'd.

Anonymous said...

"See my bike case? I should point out that it has backpack straps, so I threw my regular luggage in there and carried everything on the bike that way, which may sound convenient but is in fact incredibly awkward and painful."

Non awkward and painless suggestion: make your regular luggage front panniers and get a rear rack and a couple of bungee cords for the bike case.

You could try strapping the regular-luggage-stuffed bike case on a rear rack but you might find poor handling and a tendency for the load to try of fall off.

If you know anyone who has done any bike touring, I'll bet they will tell you the same.

Anonymous said...

Good one, Snob!

Anonymous said...

Lots of axes to grind at your next stop

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Scrantacular jernel entry today.

Anonymous said...

Snobs,

The general indifference in the Seattle area is referred to as the "Seattle Freeze".You can, of course, look it up with your favorite interweb search application.

You're welcome

leroy said...

My dog asked me to confirm that:

1. Yes, that is exactly what Satan looks like.

2. There is no wrong side of 40 if you're immature for your age.

3. I finally got his "Careful With That Axe Eugene" bon mot. (I got it. I'm just giving him a hard time by making him explain it.)

wle said...

that guy that crashed, surely a foot-come-off-pedal mishap
kinda sorta looked like toe straps..

or coulda been a chain break/slip

wle

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

"Satisfied that I'd now discharged my responsibilities, I left the man with his plastic bag full of dirty laundry and/or body parts and returned to my seat for the rest of the ride. Then, upon arriving in Seattle, I headed straight for the ferry to Bainbridge Island to visit the good people at Classic Cycle."

I was so enamored with the addled Axe Guy I was waiting for more, like he was an employee of Avvo or Classic Cycle or you otherwise somehow saw him again in Seattle.

Like maybe his name was Attle, and you were going to say you finally got to see Attle in Seattle.

Thanks for the Gerble entry!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anon. 12:42pm,

Good suggestion! Though I wonder if racks would fit. One day I will sort it out.

--Wildcat Etc.

BikeSnobNYC said...

...fit in the case I mean.

dancesonpedals said...

Incredibly awkward and painful

Sounds like travelling by bike

leroy said...

Dear Mr. Anon 12:42 PM --

Well, I thought your suggestion was earnest and well-meaning, but someone's dog (I'm not saying whose)observed that he was just glad that the reference to something that "may sound convenient but is in fact incredibly awkward and painful" was not to sex after marriage.

trama said...

That white devil is in fact the ubiquitous, MANEKI NEKO , pretty sure it's illegal to operate a business without one on the Pacific Rim.

Asian Cultural Fact O The Day

BamaPhred said...

There's your Kickstarter. Foldable packable panniers and racks. Crabon, of course. Probably been done to death. You're welcome.

bad boy of the north said...

Nice kernel of a jernel.you have also written of something infernal...it almost cost your life eternal.

mike said...

Use the feffing Brommie,mate!

BikeSnobNYC said...

mike,

Brommie would not have been as much fun in Forest Park.

--Wildcat Etc.

JLRB said...

No way racks will fit in my travel bike bag - I can't fit anything more in my travel case than I already tote. I suppose the racks could go in another piece of luggage ...

Your Publisher said...

No way we are paying for your Thai restaurant bill

Way said...

No way

bad boy of the north said...

that photo of the Amtrak seating looks absolutely scrantacular,if there's such a word.

bad boy of the north said...

yes...yes there is.

Bryan said...

You just need to spend 350 and get those carbon clip on racks. Apart from your dirt riding, your Brompton would serve perfectly. Though, didn't you ride it in dirt with your older child earlier this year and post about it? Plus, it's got suspension!

Bryan said...

Telecommuting means this was perfect poolside reading today. But I am now out of the adult beverage concoction I made before pedaling up to the neighborhood pool. Hmm

babble on said...

Heh heh heh... yep, that was a scrantacular jernel kernel, chockablock with wee nuggets of wisdom. But don't talk to me about Satan. The boy's feline representative from that hot place down under has a nasty habit of offering love bites complete with purrs on my neck and face when she's feeling happy, and ankle bites without the concommittant sound effects when she's hungry. And because of all of dem dere sharp, dirty teeth I always comply with her demands, which makes me 100% her devoted. So WTF?!?! I can't even seem to finish the Great Canadian Novel, much less make it a stunning commercial success. I want to know what's in your Froot Loops, snobberdiddums, and where you found em. Share, share, sugarbear.

I had to ride to the next city over for the EV board meeting on Monday, and I had to carry a backpack, cause Ti Baby won't take pannier racks, and you nailed it. I'd forgotten how much it sucks to have to carry shit on your back. Specially when Ms Google Maps sends you on a wild goose chase. :-/

WIWM? In case you missed it, XXXX for yesterday... from a big dope to a big doper. Since you asked. :)

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Fat Tyre Brommie!!

I'm sure port bagagges demontables would do the trick but I don't know how rigid or laterally stiff and vertically not falling off they'd be. But I don't get out much.

Great trip stuff !!

vsk

Freddy Murcks said...

With that ominous, heavy music in the video, I would not have been surprised if the cyclist had died a horrible, grisly death.

N/A said...

I am really enjoying this epic travelogue. It's a real page scroller!

Anonymous said...

Cobble something together to fit on the Tailfin ?

N/A said...

All these suggestions are so pedestrian. Wildcat is a man of a certain level of prestige now. For Lob's sake, he has spoken in front of tech companies and has wrangled quill stems! His publisher should be providing a Sherpa to handle all of these menial tasks like hauling travel cases.

Jack Nicholson said...

The guy with the axe, was it Jack Torrance?

Babble, I'm sure Leroy's Dog is dying to know if the great Canadian Novel will have any Iditarod heroics in it.

Frickus Rungus said...

I think that the jurnel entries should be called de-bra-ings. Kinda like de-briefings. But fredlier.

Frickus Rungus said...

I think that the jurnel entries should be called de-bra-ings. Kinda like de-briefings. But fredlier.

JLRB said...

apropos nutin mind-manifesting

Frickus Rungus said...

De-bra-ings are always tricky. you have to get those little hooks undone...
De-briefing is usually pretty quick and easy.

P. Bateman said...

the fellow listening to the satanic music sure was a polite sumna' bitch, that was unexpected.

Not Quite Seine said...

You should have gone to Pike Place Market.
Why didn't you go to Pike Place Market?
Everybody goes to Pike Place Market.
The men behind the counter toss large raw fish at each other.
How could you visit Seattle and not make the effort to watch men toss large raw fish at each other?
What's wrong with you?

For the Halibut said...

whatfishyoutossing

P. Bateman said...

foldable racks on racks on racks...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5w21_Vphbg

bad boy of the north said...

howzabout,instead of "dirty kanza"....someone puts together "dirty Bronx-za"?anyone?

Debaiter said...

At most fish markets you get to see the days catch.

Fnarf said...

Golly, Snob, if'n I woulda knowed you was lookin' fer places to eat, I coulda showed ya. You don't have to go far off the Ave to get away from the, uh, harpists.

A 10 inch pianist said...

Is that a manual ax?

Anonymous said...

Oi! Snob!

Don't sell your soul to the Devil. She has a 14 day cooling off period, by which time you're pretty much out of alternative destinations. On the brightside she has lots of cinder tracks for pointless racing.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Why do you need to cobble something together to fit over the tefillin?

Wrapping phylactery?

Mr. Snob, you are a much more observant Jew than you are willing to admit around these here parts.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Fnarf,

Didn't seem to be much in the area, and/or places seemed to start closing at the ungodly early hour of 9pm.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

don't start with that crap again

The Axeman said...

I'm watching you

Ed Ames said...

Did he hit the sheriff in the balls with it.

Rub two legs together and fire will start said...

Train station, park benches, out in the woods, you have to get firewood where ever you can find it.

Old timer said...

Huh? What? No Denny's? America's Diner! Open 24/7!

Paul Bunyan said...

If a tree falls in a train station, will anyone hear it?

Dooth said...

Amen to the mighty peaks of the northwest Bronx. Yesterday's two hour ride had my first nice climb on Riverdale Avenue. At my 50 plus years I'm risking a coronary with that 53, 42 crank. The second nasty climb was in Hastings on Hudson--Washington Ave from Warburton to Broadway. That one was an endorphin high. The cycling app tabulated 1,087 feet of ascent. Cleanest high wheels.

Ray said...

The mishap was a broken handle bar, it happened to me, I had a similar crash.

David G said...

招き猫ちゃんは悪じゃないだよ!

babble on said...

Jack - Heh, yeah, that's an idea, and Leroy's dog could be the brave hero who stopped that mass fucking murderer who shot all of his sled dogs in Whistler when his genius little startup wasn't raking in the dosh...

Um... is it true?? Is the UK leaving the EU???!

Bromptonaut said...

Babble @ 12:54

Yes, we're going to be an independent nation again. Got any room left in Canada before Donald gets in downstairs?

bad boy of the north said...

maybe heading to Juarez might be better....it's warmer....and cheaper.just don't mind the bullets....

JLRB said...

Sell sell sell ... The end is near!

JLRB said...

Most impotently - what does Brexit mean for bottom bracket standards?

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