("YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT COLD IS!!!!")
Anyway, the smart move on a cold day is to grab a rugged all-terrain bicycle, seek shelter amongst the trees, and engage in some determinedly slow-speed riding. So that's exactly what I did today:
Of course, you can't employ this tactic if you must orient your bicycle towards a specific workplace-type environment and such terrain does not exist between your abode and working hole, in which case that totally sucks for you.
Hey, it's not like I don't work. I am, after all, a semi-professional bike blogger whose artisanally-hewn cycling-themed content delights thousands of bots and at best dozens of actual humans on a daily basis. (Apart from weekends, and holidays, and vacations, and trips for the purposes of self-promotion, and crippling bouts of dehydration--though I did sneak that one in under the wire, so technically I'm not in breach of contract.) And being a semi-professional blogger, it occurred to me as I rode that I was at that very moment using various products simultaneously had that found their way to me because every now and again some unfortunate company or marketing person mistakes me for an "influencer." One of the many, many, many sucky things about the Bikey Internet is that nobody ever seems to follow up after mentioning a product, so I figured this was at least a chance to check in on some stuff I've been using awhile:
Marin Pine Mountain 1
It's the bike you're looking at in the above picture. I really like this bike. I vibe hella and it's my classic peep during Art History. I think the equivalent bike for 2017 is now just called the Pine Mountain and the Pine Mountain 1 has a bouncy fork and some other stuff. Whatever. It's a rigid bike with wide tires and wide gearing and it's become my grab-and-go bike for when I'm not sure exactly what kind of ride I want to do and figure I'll just make it up along the way. I also have a special affinity for cheap-but-good bikes, which this is, and I like it so much that I bought it from them with actual American money. It's only going on its second winter now so I can hardly claim to have put it through its paces, but apart from replacing the bottom bracket due to wear and replacing some other stuff entirely for personal reasons (grips, saddle, the usual) it's been solid. Even the tires still have plenty of life, and they see much more pavement than I'd like.
Outlier Winterweight OG Pant
Before Levi's got into the urban cycling market, Outlier were one of the first companies to do the whole hip on-the-bike, off-the-bike clothing thing. The idea was that the cool Brooklyn proto-alt-bros could ride around on their sweet NJS fixies, do the over-the-leg dismount thing without blowing out their crotch seams, and then sit in front of giant monitors designing minimalist websites. Adorably, the good people at Outlier must have been laboring under the misapprehension that I spoke to this demographic, because they sent me the aforementioned pants for review. (They also sent me shorts, which I slathered in mayo.) Particularly noteworthy is that I assigned this review to Spencer Madsen, my ironic intern at the time, who also tested the then-groundbreaking Mongoose Cachet, which was the world's first department store fixie. Having foolishly figured he'd just "scored," Spencer pretty much made off with both the bike and the pants. He has since become a poet and publishing impresario of some note, for which I of course take full credit. As for the pants, it's been six years now and they've held up quite well. (My pants, that is. No idea what Spencer did with his.) Granted, I don't wear them incredibly often, but they are in fact warm, comfortable, and durable to the point that on a cold day I will ride singletrack in them for an hour or two on the way home from my "office" and not mind them at all. In fact their only real weak spot is that they're overly susceptible to cat claws, and when the cat jumps in your lap and does that back-arching-claw-flexing thing they get stuck in the fabric and are liable to pull a thread or two. The solution to this is not to own a cat, which is something I wish I'd known before I got mine.
Giro New Road Winter Jacket
Back in 2013 Giro went heavy into this whole "new road" concept. Basically, the idea wasn't all that dissimilar from the Outlier concept, except in this case it wasn't aimed at East Cost alt-bros; it was aimed at their West Coast counterparts who do mixed-terrain rides and then bro down in cool hangout spots with epic burritos. Someone representing Giro sent me a whole suit of this stuff, even though I have even less in common with the West Coast bike bros than I do with the East Coast ones.
Basically the stuff wasn't too far removed from regular Lycra stretchy clothes, but the lynchpin of the whole concept was that you wore baggy shorts over your bibs for no good reason, and your bibs had a fly so it was easier to whip out your dongle:
Now I do wear shorts over my cycling shorts from time to time, specifically when I'm doing a longish ride but also want to carry stuff in my pockets like a normal human. The Giro shorts however had no pocket to speak of, save for a little zippered affair that could hold maybe a u-lock key or a dime bag. (Do they still have dime bags?) In retrospect I guess the idea was you needed the baggy shorts to cover your bib shorts because they now had a stupid-looking fly in them. As for the fly itself, just like the fly on your actual underpants you'd never, ever use the thing. (If you're not equipped with male genitals, believe me when I tell you that nobody uses a fly, because attempting to thread your appendage through a fabric labyrinth is both inconvenient and uncomfortable. Maybe you'd do it if you were wearing a tuxedo and you couldn't open your pants because you were locked out by your cummerbund.) You now know more than you wanted to about dong doors.
Anyway, I have no idea if Giro is still pushing this New Road stuff or if it totally fizzled out. Either way, while the bibs with the fly were pretty stupid, there were also some genuinely nice garments. Once of these garments was a jacket. It indeed works great as an on-the-bike, off-the-bike cold weather jacket. However, I can't find it on their site, and if they no longer offer it well that stands to reason because of course it was one of the few New Road collection pieces that made any sense. So there you go.
Merino Skins Thermal Undershirt Something-Or-Other Thingy
Grant Petersen once sent me this long-sleeve undershirt I'm wearing which is like the warmest, most comfortable undershirt I've ever had. This thing plus a decent sweater plus a jacket and I'm comfortable well into the 20s. Sure, I'd probably need more shirt to hang with Captain Beardcicle up there, but if I'm to be totally honest I don't really want to hang with Captain Beardcicle, so there.
I'm not sure I find it on the clothing section of the Rivendell site but not too many people know more about practical garments so if you're looking for on-the-bike, off-the-bike, do-absolutely-whatever-in-them clothes with absolutely none of the Outlier or Giro pretense (and you think baggy pants with sandals qualifies as "presentable," which is debatable) that's where to get them.
Rapha Winter Hat
In the early days of my blog Rapha actually liked me. They sent me a winter hat in, I dunno, 2008? It fits under a HELMET and it's quite warm, and I wear it to this day, even though the plastic brim is cracked and it's poking through the fabric.
You are now fully up to date on the shit in my closet that people have given me.
In other news probably only of interest to me, I totally found pictures on the Internets that are relevant to my most recent Brooks blog. For example, see this old abutment?
Here it is in the olden days with the train station still on top of it:
The Wheelbarrow Fred has just walked by the spot where the soiled mattress is now.
And see this street?
Here's the train station that stood right where the apartment building is now:
You just can't win.
Speaking of our dystopian future, Pinarello is now developing ABS braking, which slots in right behind an automatic chain lubricator as the last thing you'd ever need or want on your bike:
(Not just magnets. Nano-magnets.)
Basically, it works like the stupid "sport mode" button on your automatic transmission:
The BluBrake also takes into account the conditions in which you are riding. There’s no “cognitive electronic platform” magic happening here though — weather conditions and riding style (you can choose from tourism, racing and custom) are entered via a handlebar mounted control interface.
It also has a "Sixth Sense Haptic Actuator:"
Which sounds like a liver disease.
And it isn't even ABS, really. It just vibrates to warn you when your wheel's about to lock up:
If the idea of placing your safety in the hands of a robot sounds a little bit too HAL9000 for you, fret not as the BluBrake isn’t actually an automated ABS system — unlike the one designed for e-bikes that we reported on earlier in the year, this is just a haptic feedback system that is designed to warn riders, through vibrations in their brake levers, that their wheel may be about lock up.
Because you suck:
And before anyone succumbs to the temptation to make jokes about rich bankers buying flashy Pinarellos and not knowing how to use their brakes, let's withhold judgement until we’ve had a chance to try out the potentially nifty system.
Let's not and say we did.
It's becoming increasingly clear to me that at this point in human history we're working backwards. Disc brakes are too powerful for a 16lb bike, so you need them to warn you not to lock up your wheel because you no longer have the nuanced feedback you'd have gotten from a rim brake. Similarly, our cities are a shitshow since we stopped riding trains and started driving cars, so we're designing self-driving cars in an effort to return to the safety and efficiency of trains. And what about those self-driving cars, anyway? Sounds like they still need some work:
Oh, don't worry, they'll work it out. Tech and auto companies always have our best interests at heart.
Lastly, here are "bicycle racing athletes:"
There are few things more exciting that bicycle racing athletes competing on a multi-terrain course.