Monday, October 24, 2016

Wait, what day is it again...?

Bicycle accessory innovation today is a cavalcade of inanity.  Smart helmets, flatulent bike locks, more smart helmets...basically the same stuff you've been using forever but incorporating some gimmick which almost certainly won't work. However, every so often a new invention comes along that seems like it might actually be pretty nifty, and here's one of them:



Basically, it's a device that lets you convert your cable-actuated drivetrain to a wireless electronic one, and the inventor is launching a Kickstarter for it on November 1st.

I know what you're thinking: "Why is this even necessary?  My mechanical shifters work great."  Well of course they do.  Mechanical shifting is awesome.  This isn't even remotely necessary; as I said, it's nifty.  After all, what bike dork doesn't like a good kludge?  And just think of all the kludges you could pull off with all the crap you've got in your parts bin and a remote control shifter!

For example, consider my artisanal singlespeed all-terrain bicycle:


Now as far as I can tell all I'd need to do is switch the drive-side Paragon rocker dropout for one with a derailleur hanger, get one of these XShifter thingies, and I could palp it with gears!

So why take a designer singlespeed and do this when you've got two other perfectly good multi-speed bicycles?  (Well, one, until I finish fixing this one.)

Because I can!

I have pretty much no interest in electronic shifting, but there's just something beautifully kludgy and delightfully obnoxious to me about the idea of riding around on a handmade custom electronic multi-speed conversion.  Indeed, I'd ridicule anybody else who did such a thing, which is exactly how I know I'm onto something.  And sure, I could probably pull off the same conversion with judicious use of zip ties, but the electronic shifting is what would make it not just a regular kludge, but an infuriatingly elegant one.

It just seems like a fun accessory to experiment with is what I'm saying, and hopefully I can convince them to send me one to try out.

Maybe then I can also build the all-wheel drive fat bike of my dreams:



I have no idea how helpful all-wheel drive would be on a bike (if at all), but I have no doubt Kate Leeming will succeed in cycling across Antarctica because she looks incredibly serious about it:


She's also cycled across Greenland:



And is a high-ranking professional tennis player:


Whereas you, on the other hand, suck.

Moving on to more everyday heroics, the New York Times did a nice little story about New York City kids:


Which I only mention because one of the kids takes a Citi Bike to school:


While technically against the rules (he's 13, the minimum age for using Citi Bike is 16) this pleased me immensely, as I love the idea that one day this sort of thing could become normal.  Sadly, in the meantime, we get this shit instead:


And a mayor who's so disinvested in Vision Zero that he makes seven-mile trips by helicopter:

The grass of a baseball field in Prospect Park shuddered under the blades of a New York Police Department helicopter on Friday afternoon. Dust flew in the air. Soon, Mayor Bill de Blasio clambered aboard.

In a car, it might have taken 30 minutes or longer for him to make the roughly seven-mile drive from his old Brooklyn stamping grounds to an event in Queens.

And of course bus drivers who run over people and drag them for "several blocks."  (The bus driver was actually charged with failure to yield, despite the best efforts of the Transit Workers' Union.)

Even the UN says we need more bike infrastructure:


BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Governments should invest at least 20 percent of their transport budgets in infrastructure that promotes walking and cycling, to save lives, curb pollution and cut climate-changing emissions from vehicles, the United Nations' environment agency said.

Almost half of the 1.3 million people who die each year from traffic accidents are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) noted in a report.

Though when President Trump takes office I assume we're going to boot the UN out of town and turn the building into a parking garage.

I was, however, treated to an oddly inspirational sight yesterday as I headed out for an afternoon road ride.  (I generally ride early as I find it unseemly to be in Lycra after noon, but a riding window presented itself and I took it.)  As it happened, the Tour de Bronx was rolling through my neighborhood, and so I got caught up in a gaggle of Freds.  (My aversion getting mixed up in rides like this is yet another reason I generally ride early.)

Anyway, we were making our way through the somewhat treacherous back roads in my neighborhood when we passed a police car.  I figured they were going to ticket everybody for excessive Fredness, but instead they were using their loudspeaker to warn the riders that there was gravel ahead.  I thought this was very considerate of them, especially as they would have been well within their rights to arrest everybody for not riding industry-approved gravel bikes.

I was also pleased to see a Cipollini bicycle make a cameo in the subsequent news coverage:


Yes, nothing explores unseen nooks and crannies like a Cipollini.

72 comments:

Cameron Murphy said...

1st!!??

Bagnall said...

It's definately Monday.

weasel said...

furst

N/A said...

Kate Leeming has the face of somebody that just tried to break into a skunk lock.

N/A said...

The Cipollini bike is self-lubricating.

Spokey said...

top teeniest by dumber luck

cdinvb said...

Hey! Wait a minute. I put on the wrong shoes for these pedals.

Freddy Murcks said...

Cipo often takes his little cipo on a tour of the city's seldom seen crooks and nannies.

Spokey said...


someone call the fda for false and misleading advertising. i went to that xshifter.com site and there is no full video that i can find. just a repeat of the 1 min one on youalltube.

i want my money back

bad boy of the north said...

Darn! missed the tour de Bronx,again.rassafrat!

dancesonpedals said...

Unusual tennis that Kate is playing. It's "Real Tennis" aka court tennis, as opposed to "lawn tennis", which is what everyone else plays, (it's lawn tennis even if even if you're on clay or asphalt).

That's what I want to be when I grow up. Number 2 in the world in a sport no ones heard of.

Freddy Murcks said...

Apparently, Kate Leeming competed in the "braless" division in her professional tennis matches. She also preferred vintage wooden rackets.

I, for one, feel like I now know a bit more about Kate Leeming than I wanted to know.

John said...

dancesonpedals - then Keirin is calling your name!

Anonymous said...

two years from now xshifters rotting in the landfill, leaching toxic metals into the water table

Spokey said...

and a ? for snobbie

wadda gonna do when you convert all yer bieks to xshifter, the zombie alpaca-lips comes and your shifter batteries die?

they'll bee-line towards you my fred. you may think they'll go for all the freddies first but i have it on good authority (my cousin in park swope is a zombie) that zombies bypass freds because the amount of brain per fred doesn't make it worth while.

my 3x9 bieks may clicky click from time to time but i won't be trying to get up those penn hills stuck in a 120 gear while the zombie herd closes in.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

16th? My Scranus was gapped!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Spokey,

Under no circumstances would I convert all my bikes. Just want to try it on my singlespeed.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

Did the NYC Bike MS yesterday. I know charity rides are dorky, but the ride raised over $2mm for a great cause. A fun time. I did the short loop this year which a casual flat 30 mile traffic free ride around Manhattan, which in and of itself is a good reason to do the ride. I would highly recommend it. If you need to "crush it" every time you get on a bike this probably isn't for you.

Anonymous said...

Elegant kludge is an oxymoron, no?

JLRB said...

Revenge - I actually got to wheel suck behind an e-assist bike on this morning's commute - hypocritical yes, but fugh it is Monday and I was sleepy

JLRB said...

And at first I thought you were joking about converting a single speed to eshift since there is no shifting .... But alas you have succumbed

Anonymous said...

I'm skeptical of the AWD bike in Antartica. Running several drive shafts along a frame is a recipe for having it seize up in freezing weather, so you go from AWD to 0 WD. Yeah, Greenland's cold, but Antartica is way way colder: in the warmest summer month the average high temperature is -18 degrees F.

As for cold, check out Maryland police Capt Didone. http://www.thewashcycle.com/
After a cyclist on a popular trial is killed at a marked crossing, where 9 of the 10 most recent accidents were driver error, he announces a news conference to remind people not to get hit by a car. I suppose he was just off his usual rape counselling beat, complaining that women wearing short skirts are just asking for it.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:55pm,

Exactly.

--Wildcat Etc.

Kludge You Say said...

Geeks are always sliding up to babes in bars and saying "want to come over to my place and see my collection of kludges?"

V. Putin said...

See that iphone in the hand of the inventor. You install his elegant system; my boys hack the software, my boys hit a button and off comes your chain.

N/A said...

These sorts of elegant kludges are the type of hard-hitting journalisms that we all come to the internets for!

N/A said...

I'm going to make a motorized bell ringer that is app-controlled. All I'll have to do is push a button on my phone, and it'll ring my bell!

dancesonpedals said...

Convert my bikes? I didn't know they were Jewish!

Matt said...

I think you'd do better to talk about converting your SS to electronic shifting on your Apr 1st post...hey look...my SS E-shifters NEVER miss a shift! EVER!! And also, they don't EVER need to be recharged! Only costs $3950 per bike to convert! Jump on the kickstarter NOW folks!!

Anonymous said...

When Donald Trump is president, the first thing he's gonna do is make it illegal to make fun of his hair cut.
If you make fun of his hair, there will be hell toupee

Mike in Dallas said...

WCRM, uh, isn't your attraction to the electronic kludge kind of a steam-punk argument? I couldn't help but imagine the Star Wars Episode 1 Anakin Skywalker pod-racing helmet on your head while riding your electronic shifting kludge conversion bike...

N/A said...

I'm going to take all the gears off of my bikes, and just push them shits with my feet. Like those cool bikes they got for toddlers now.

CommieCanuck said...

Snob, you missed the point, all wheel drive fat bikes are just one important step closer to us have bikes that can kill auto drivers in future, leveling that playing field. Once they all get carted around in autonomous vehicles, we can expose their soft underbellies.

CommieCanuck said...

UNDR BELY

CommieCanuck said...

SOFT BELY

1904 Cadardi said...

Wildcat,

"Indeed, I'd ridicule anybody else who did such a thing, which is exactly how I know I'm onto something."

Pure genius! I'm looking at your blog in a whole new light. This isn't infotainment. It's market research! You need to start charging these kickstarter folks money to be mocked.

Spokey said...


won't work

too many are willing to mock for free. sure. the open-source mockery is not quite up to the standards as the proprietary patented bsnyc mockery. but then if we wanted quality, we'd be nibbling on small organic grass fed filets rather than stuffing billions of big macs, whoppers, etc down our faux gras gullets.

dancesonpedals said...

My wife took a while to warm up to E shifting. (She has twist grips on her trek 7100). When we rented bikes in South Carolina, they said no hybrids, everybody rides roadbikes, and fitted her Trek Domain with extra spacers and a funky high-rise stem

When the shop guy explained that the bottom paddle on left upshifts, while the bottom one on the right downshifts, and vice versa for the top paddles, she yelled at him. "Who would invent something so stupid!"

After a couple of days, she thought Di2 was great, but would never pay that kind of money in a million years.

Anonymous said...

I've been following tennis for years and never heard of Kate Leeming. So on the interweb I see that according to her web page, is a "real tennis professional", meaning she's a professional *real* tennis player, not a tennis player. So whatever the heck "real tennis" is, she's your gal.

Also, not to de-legitimize her any more, but her #1 achievement according to her web page, is "Honorary Doctorate of Education (The University of Western Australia)".

The summary is she is playing real tennis with a fake doctorate.

Bluezurich said...

Let me take you back in my Time Machine. "Meh"

The word of 2013.

bad boy of the north said...

I'm guessing tennis is her racket

wishiwasmerckx said...

10sne1?

JLRB said...

DOP - Rental bikes with Di2? Reaallly?

Prince Charles said...

Real tennis is not for you plebes.

Sniff.

Frickus Rungus said...

Ooooh. I'm going to invent a wireless thingy too! When you push the up lever, it adds 0.1 psi to your tire. When you push the down lever it reduces your tire pressure by 0.1 psi. Pushing either level extra far will add or remove 1.0 psi. You can have one controller for each tire, or one that controls both tires. That way you can vary your tire pressure endlessly according to terrain, speed, whims, mood swings, etc.
There will be an upgrade kit that allows you to switch between tire pressure and shock/fork pressure control...

New hashtag: #whatpressurearentyourunning?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:03 PM,

As an internet abstraction your misspelling of "Antarctica" as "Antartica" is of no real consequence, but the same mistake is made in the video of the all wheel drive bike.

Nihilists among you may argue that the video misspelling is of no real consequence either, except when you're placing your life in the hands of the manufacturers of an exotic bicycle meant to carry you to the most inhospitable place and only true wilderness left on earth... then, you'd wanna hope they pay attention to the finest detail.

That AntarCtic adventurer? She's doomed.

1904 Cadardi said...

@spokey,

Of course you're right. To the sophisticated discerning consumers of Snob's artisinally handcrafted and curated ridicule, present company obviously included, it seems like a no-brainer that companies would line up for that feedback. But no doubt it wouldn't work when you consider the number of off-shore call centers full of eager young workers willing to mock for little or nothing. I was just hoping Wildcat could make a little extra coin and pass the savings on to us.

dem_bieks! said...

Shimano going to make it rain intellectual property litigation on poor electro-shift converter dude. I give Shimano 2 or three days to encourage him to find another project, in another sport where Shimano does not have a worldwide monopoly.

Meanwhile, Campag will send him a gentle sonnet encouraging him to pay the undisclosed license fee related to intellectual property. A visit with their USA-ian lawyers, Dewie, Cheatem will set kickstart bro back six figures for nothing. You'd think the negotiated fee would include Super Mario Cipo hair gel, but that's extra.

Some guy from upstate said...

Electronic shifting on a singlespeed? Someone beat you to it:
http://spacx.blogspot.com/2012/09/gear-re-vu-shimanos-diwhy.html?m=1

leroy said...

My dog grumbled that de Blasio is just trying to get in good with the bus drivers' union.

He says it won't work.

But I think my dog is just jealous because the union blocks his tweets over a silly little misunderstanding.

Oh well, we'll always have the de Blasio spoke card to comfort us.

Bogusboy said...

A Chinese gob-job, robo-weld frame with an incredibly dumb, Rube Goldberg cludge that answers yet another question that nobody asked.

Hooray.

Anonymous said...

Phew. Who cut the lock?

Hazmat Man said...

As I was riding to work one day I saw an mtn bike leaning up against a fence, on my return trip I was amazed to see it was still there and had not been stolen. The next morning I was even more amazed to see it was STILL there, so on that day's return trip I stopped and checked it out. The bike was old school with a nice, light frame and higher end components but was also covered in a white mold-like slime.

Dave said...

I want the brain-scanning helmet that signals the gearshift when I think the number of the gear. And while I'm at it the helmet should have an overdrive zapper that shocks my quads into spasmic superhuman effort when I think the word overdrive. But let's not forget safety. When I plunge over the railing and off the cliff, twitching like an electrocuted murderer, the helmet will surround my body with a giant blob of soothing, protective gel and activate a parachute. Kickstart me!

Unknown said...

Snob: your de Blasio link is broken. You might want to correct it to this: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/18/nyregion/helicopter-trip-becomes-another-stumble-for-mayor-de-blasio.html

Anonymous said...

Electric scranus

Blanc Secreation said...

Hazmat, are you suggesting that I should smear my bike with a white mold-like slime as a theft prevention measure?

Stuart said...

I first found out here that "real tennis" is actually a real sport. I thought that racket looked a little strange. At any rate, from her homepage, it looks like the wearing of bras in real tennis is not allowed. Not complaining. Always learn something new here.

dancesonpedals said...

JLRB- Yes, the rental bikes had Di2. We stayed for 2 nights at Fred Heaven in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There's a painting of The Owner in the bar.

N/A said...

Fun rental bikes, DOP.

At Hilton Head, I rented a p.o.s. beach cruiser with not-enough-pressure in the tires and a rusty... everything. It was all they had that would fit me. But the basket easily held a sandwich, tons o' boozy stuff, and other necessities, so it all worked out smashingly.

Was all of the commentariat vacationing in the Carolinas? I could swear at least a coupla' others mentioned being down in those parts over the summer.

bad boy of the north said...

dancesonpedals,that looks so inviting.wifey and I have been to SC before,but only near the coast,like N/A.we're planning to move a little southward from where we are currently...(mid-hud).how was the area?

bad boy of the north said...

N/A... we were there in Beaufort SC at the end of July.three h weather for sure.

JLRB said...

DOP - Congrats on convincing your wife to vacation there! The painting looks familiar - I am surprised but glad they have not confiscated the property ...

dancesonpedals said...

bad boy up north:

This hotel was about 20 miles north of Greenville, site of urban amusements (food/shopping) if desired. The countryside was beautiful, but the main industry seemed to be churches. Someone on this blog linked to this report of someone pulling a gun on GH.
(not the same someones)

JLRB-My wife found it online. She decided that if riding is going to be part of our vacation, it should include good food, a lot of wine and a nice place to stay.




McFly said...

Geez I can't believe Kate Leeming's nipples didn't break off on that arctic adventure.

bad boy of the north said...

danceson pedals,thanks for the summary and thanks for the reminder.

Spokey said...

dop

and if riding was not to be part of your vacation would she still decide it includes good food, lots of wine, and a nice place to stay?

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Left that dangerous cycling mecca in NYC for another dangerous cycling place ...
Water so clear you can see to the bottom
Hundred thousand dolla cars everybody gottem...
Welcome to Miami !

In the downtown, there seems to be plenty of cyclage going on but low and behold ... a Citibike rack! yes, the blue bikes are messing with real estate values here too! The bikes are thinner tubed and some grey and blue. I will put my citibike key to it and see if it works, otherwise I'll just spin their wheels and make all the lights light up. Though you wouldn't notice here. There's so much bright lights here anywayze. I'll be back too soon.

See you later. You out shovelin yet?

vsk

JLRB said...

DOP - I like the way your wife thinks! And you still get credit for training her that vacations involve bicycles.

VSK - Did Miami sink yet?

dancesonpedals said...

Spokey- Yes.

VSK- Sounds like a move related to your boat habit

bad boy of the north said...

vsk...not shoveling yet....80 'merican degrees last week heading to 30's or less and no more than 40's or 50's this week,but snow will be here before we know it.

scoth owen said...


Hello people of the world, life is so easy when you i enjoy the benefit of the earth,people choose to suffer on this earth, because they are ignorance of what is happening in the world today,this is an opportunity given to you who wants to put a stop your difficulties in life,Are you in need of power,fame and riches,here is the key to your success.contact us to become a member of us the illuminate via illuminatisociety@hotmail.com. Note: with all seriousness and great determination noting will stop you from achieving your dreams in life.