Thursday, February 9, 2017

Snow Day!

Greetings from New York City, where were under siege by our annual Snow-pocalyptic Apoca-lanche of Death!
Evidently someone told the DOT to grow a pair and they eagerly obliged.

So serious is the snow expected to be that many of the city's once-great institutions have crumbled.  Citi Bike is offline:
Schools are closed (which is why today's post will be a short one):
And the Jewish Museum has permanently relocated to Miami Beach:


It's funny because Jewish people love Florida.

Anyway, as it happens, yesterday I took delivery of some new tires for my it's-not-a-fat-bike:


So I figured I'd use that as an excuse to go for a snow ride today:


(It's not a fat bike!)

Even though the tires are only rated for "summer fatbiking:"


Alas, with the schools closed, I must parent instead of ride, and thus the snow ride will have to wait for another day.

I'll never put in a 10,000 mile year at this rate!

Speaking of tires, I chose these for a highly scientific reason, which is that they were the cheapest ones I could find.  Here's a tip: see all that specific stuff about "conditions" and "usage" on the package?  It's mostly BS.  Oh, sure, there's a difference between big, widely-spaced knobs [gigglechortle] and little, closely-spaced ones, but that's about it.  Nevertheless, tire companies persist in offering a near-infinite array of tread patterns for incredibly specific conditions, and Mountain Freds will blather on about how one tire "hooks up" better than another just as interminably as Road Freds do about lateral rigidity and vertical compliance.

And no, I don't need studded tires for the six hours a year I'd actually have any use for them.

I live in New York City, not the surface of the moon Europa:


In any case, I did manage to get a ride in yesterday, albeit an entirely urban one.  There's nothing quite like working your way through Midtown Manhattan in the middle of a weekday when the entire spectrum of city cycling is on display:


It's easy to judge, but the truth is there's no right or wrong way to ride a bicycle.  Whether you prefer riding bolt upright with a basket on your handlebars like the Wicked Witch of the West, or head down/ass up like you're going for the hour record, it really doesn't matter.  Whatever gets you across town.

As for me, these days I'm somewhere in between, as the Ironic Orange Julius Bike sort of marries both approaches by having upright bars yet an absence of multiple gear ratios that becomes increasingly vexing as the years go by:


Anyway, once I got home I went full Wicked Witch by trading the IOJB for the WorkCycles:


And heading out for the school pick-up.

Usually I pedal the kid home on my bike, but he keeps getting bigger and I keep getting older, and there's also a big hill between the school and my home, so yesterday I decided I'd take his bike with me and he could pedal himself home, goddamn it:


It wasn't the most elegant of portaging setups but it got the job done.

If you've got any suggestions about how I can fabricate a proper bike rack for the WorkCycles and about what tire width and pressure I should be running while using it please type them up in a Word document, print them out, and deposit them here:


That happens to be the same file where I keep detailed analyses of mountain bike tire tread patterns.


83 comments:

Ted K. said...

209. The reason why technology has seemed always to progress is that, until perhaps a century or two before the Industrial Revolution, most technology was small-scale technology. But most of the technology developed since the Industrial Revolution is organization-dependent technology. Take the refrigerator for example. Without factory-made parts or the facilities of a post-industrial machine shop it would be virtually impossible for a handful of local craftsmen to build a refrigerator. If by some miracle they did succeed in building one it would be useless to them without a reliable source of electric power. So they would have to dam a stream and build a generator. Generators require large amounts of copper wire. Imagine trying to make that wire without modern machinery. And where would they get a gas suitable for refrigeration? It would be much easier to build an icehouse or preserve food by drying or picking, as was done before the invention of the refrigerator.

Ground Control said...

FIRST PODIUM EVER?

dancesonpedals said...

fred out

Anonymous said...

turd!

dancesonpedals said...

Encroaching nanny state

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

6th Scrani reporting in!

Chazu said...

Top X.

Yerallabunchapussies said...

Never gotten the NYC snow shutdown in advance bullshit. If there is any city in the world that is most able to operate under a foot of snow, it is NYC. Go to MSP with a foot of snow. There is a city that no longer functions. Is it because the city becomes ungovernable because all the cops can't be trusted to make it in from SI? Bet even that doesn't make sense.... they stopped policing for a month after Obama told them they couldn't shoot whoever they wanted and the city was just fine.

Don't get it....

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

So what happens if one has a Citibike checked out when they shut the system down? Will a docking station accept the return or do you have to keep it until they open the system up again? What if there are no empty spots at the station nearest your destination?

Chazu said...

When the agenda of the new Sec of Ed, Betsey Devos, kicks in, you may want to have your "school pickup" process optimized for a one-way commute outta the school zone.

Anonymous said...

Europa's da'bomb. I'm going to name my next kid Europa Da'Bomb. There's life there!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Yerallabunchapussies,

Transit is running, it's just the schools. (Well and Citi Bike. Kind of silly to use Citi Bike on a day like today.)

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm coming to the conclusion that Snob likes riding, but perhaps doesn't actually like bikes - or is at least indifferent to their aesthetic qualities. Is that unfair, or am I just detecting that general trend towards universal abomination that comes with age?

Dave said...

Sorry to hear about your impending demise. The obit will read - "He recklessly used summer-rate fat tires in the winter. No criminality suspected. No suicide note found."

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 10:42am,

It certainly gets harder and harder to give a shit what a bike looks like or give the slightest thought to minutiae. A solid bike that does what it needs to do is all I really care about these days. Maybe when the kids get older and I find myself with more leisure time this could change, but right now a couple hours of solid riding time is worth about a thousand silly "upgrades."

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little surprised to see that the offspring rides a Specialized . . .

Dave said...

Anon 10:42 -
Could be sort of love/hate thing. I love riding and the aesthetics of bikes, but then (like yesterday) I'm ten miles from home and a random part inexplicably snaps in half, and suddenly I hate all bikes. It goes back to my childhood (let me just stretch out on the couch here) when I loved my first little bike above all things, and then one day a pedal just snapped off, and I felt horribly betrayed. I had to walk a whole half-mile home!

Donald Duck said...

I'm the 3,000,000th comment today, but the Electoral College puts me on top of the podium. Or as they say in Latin Veni Vidi Vici quod Scrantus!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 10:48am,

I like the shop where I bought it and it's a good bike, doesn't matter to me whose name is on it.

--Wildcat Etc.

dnk said...

Dear BSNYC,

For transporting your child's bike I suggest not a rack, but a trailer, which you can hand fabricate out of a giant Fabergé egg and attach wheels.

You're welcome.

scarlet ohara said...

I swear, by the dick breaks on my fat bike, I'll never go hungry again..

We Don't Need No Edumacation said...

Sec of Ed, Betsy DeVos, is going to propose grants for parents who home school. Could be the end of blogging though.

B. D's. favorite song, Pink Floyd's "The Wall".

Jack Frost said...

Can the NYC cops give you a ticket for using Summer Tires in the Winter?

BikeSnobNYC said...

dnk,

I think for my specific situation the inconvenience of storing a trailer would outweigh the convenience of using it. I have pretty much every type of bike, a car the bank owns until I finish paying them back, and access to the most extensive public transit system in the country. I have tk draw the line somewhere.

(Though when the second kid starts riding...now you got me thinking.)

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

Second kid starts riding????? The other fifteen were crammed in during a four years spawning frenzy? You salmon you!

Anonymous said...

"Never gotten the NYC snow shutdown in advance...

As Mr. Snob says the transit system runs in all sorts for weather. When it get's real bad the buses may stop running for a while, but the rail system (used) to run 24 hours a day, every day, regardless of weather. Even ran through the blizzard of '78

Key word: used to.

I understand the last big snow storm the city closed the rail transit system. EVEN THE UNDERGROUND PART. And they closed the above ground parts of the rail system to passengers but KEPT THE TRAINS RUNNING NON-STOP BECAUSE THAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CLEAR THE SNOW FROM THE TRACKS.

They paid the staff to drive the trains and to kept the system running but did not let anyone use it.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 11:34am,

I think that was Cuomo flexing his muscles in front of De Blasio by ordering the system to be shut down. (It's a state agency.) They are constantly feuding. Everyone was pretty baffled by the decision.

--Wildcat Etc.

janinedm said...

The subways are pretty impervious to weather, though the outer-borough above ground rails can have trouble with ice and the closer to the surface but still underground lines (I'm thinking the 1 train) can get flooded during the more historic rainfalls. http://gothamist.com/2006/08/11/rain_makes_curt.php

Freddy Murcks said...

If you dare to use a summer fatriding tire for winter fatriding after you have been warned, then you must accept the consequences. Death or dismemberment is sure to ensue. Snob, I could conceivably understand your calve-a-leer attitude if it was just you, but do you really want to risk leaving your seventeen (17) children fatherless over such a stupid risk?

N/A said...

Damnit Wildcat I like you and dread the thought of your untimely demise on account of your flagrant disregard for the seasonality of the tires on your husky bike.

Is all of this acting-out a cry for help? Do you need to talk with somebody?

N/A said...

Ahaha, I missed this line before: "It's easy to judge, but the truth is there's no right or wrong way to ride a bicycle."

It's like you've never been to the bike forums!

Grump said...

This winter has been very strange in Chicagoland. We had a little snow before Christmas, but that was it. No snow in January, and nothing so far this month. We had some heavy rain on days when the temps got up into the 40's.
I haven't ridden it in a few years, but my old Stumpjumper has 26" wheels......Will it assplode if I ride it because it doesn't have 27.5, 29, or whatever the hell they put on off road bikes now????

McFly said...

head down/ass up
rewind it back
McFly go the beat to make da booty go smack

janinedm said...

"It's easy to judge, but the truth is there's no right or wrong way to ride a bicycle."

I find stationary bikes and rollers to be perverse. You're doing the work of riding a bike (which is fine, I guess) but depriving yourself of the good part which is the whooshing forward. It seems to me like finding some sort of way to get fat without eating. But I'm what they call a utility cyclist, so.

Seattle lone wolf said...

Snob, could you portage the Brompton for the kid to ride home? Easier to carry, at least.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...I did not ride today.
...where's a damn fat bike when you need one.

nscadu 9 said...

Hi Snob
Love seeing the workcycles in action. Having recently experienced the arrival of my own offspring I'm starting to eye one up. Unfortunately, only from afar, as there are no dealers up here 'merica's exploded foam hat. I have to deal with a similarly big hill on the commute, but storage space is not as much of an issue for me. As the kid gets bigger, is the workcycles still worth the trade-off of gearing and sportingness compared the the big dummy?

Freddy Murcks said...

janinedm - In my experience, riding a stationary trainer is the quickest way to start hating your bike and yourself. A friend recently gave me a set of rollers. I am hoping that they might be better in the sense that they at least require you to pay attention to what's going on, but I doubt it. Rollers do, however, make for youtube comedy gold.

BikeSnobNYC said...

nacadu 9,

It is for me since it's happier living outside than the Big Dummy, plus the length of a longtail can be a little inconvenient for city use at times. Also the chain case, riding position, etc. is better for riding in "regular" clothes. But if I didn't live in the city, had a garage, and did more outdoorsy-type stuff with the kiddies maybe things would tilt more in the Big Dummy's favor.

--Wildcat Etc.

Old timer said...

Anon @ 10:42 “…that general trend towards universal abomination that comes with age.”

Well, I’m 75 now, and very much enjoying riding, and futzing with my (damn fine) bikes. I must still be too young for that “universal abomination” that comes with age? I wonder when it’s going to hit me?

It’s currently 67 DegF here in Monterey, California. And, no snow in sight. I’m going for a ride…

wle said...

seriously how does he do it? "ted k"? i'm not asking ''why"... just "how" does he manage to get there first every day?

Anonymous said...

Whoa, your human child has a Specialized?! Cool! My parents never would have considered getting me such a nice bike!

Anonymous said...

School (errrr, work) closed down up here in NH, too. Nice day to drink beer and screw off at home watching the snow fall.

Funny about tires. The Ritchey 2.35 Z-Max tires I was running in 1993 before science was invented never failed me, whether summer racing or winter snowmobile trail riding. No need to make anything better in my humble opinion.

janinedm said...

@wle, rss alert?

Drock said...

I'm going to call them bigly, referencing stupid of course.

Joe said...

The solution

grog said...

Can you imagine Recumbabe riding in the snow on a bike with Summer Fatriding tires on it? "Hey! My eyes are up here!"

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

40somethingrd? You gotta grab that snow by the pussy!

leroy said...

Well I don't see what the big deal is about the snow. My dog doesn't seem to mind.

In transit tomorrow, so ride safe all for the weekend.

Frickus Rungus said...

As my kids bikes got bigger, I ended up stuffing the front wheel in a pannier and strapping it to the rack when they would get tired. The rear wheel would roll along like a trail-a-bike. Now I just yell at them to suck it up up and ride!

1904 Cadardi said...

It's NOT a fat bike, it's just big tired and has a great personality.

I hate to admit it, but I rode my bike on a trainer this morning. In my albeit pathetic defense, I despise pretty much all forms of exercise other than cycling. If a few minutes spent listening to techno and reading closed captions of the morning news means I can go for a longer ride on the weekends then it's occasionally worth it.

/hangs head in shame/

Anonymous said...

Ritchey Z-max 2.35 nostalgia- were they the faded, waxy red WCS compound? In summer, I remember these tires wore out in approximately 3 rides. Maybe they were best for winter? And who can forget the cream Panaracer Smoke/Darts?

The wise riders in my area wait a few days after the snow falls for the fat bikers to pack everything down, and are able run whatever tires/mountain bike they happen to own with success (until the sun comes and melts that hard layer into ice). After that, it's only the mountain Fred wonder-bikes with $500 studded tires that have much luck. Studded 29rs do seem to work well if well-used trails are right in your backyard.

There's enough snow, ice, and cold in America's top-hat for me to have justified buying a fatbike, though all the people who stop me to ask about the giant tires figure you need to spend $5000+ to own one. Just pick a lower-priced, but over-performing model like Wildcat's Marin Plus bike. With decent tires (swap out the heavy stock fat tubes for 2.5" "Freeride" tubes), and whatever gears/brakes are bolted on, you'll have a gay-old-time.

All that said, I think I spend too much time having to explain why fat bikes are fun. Not a good sign for any activity...






janinedm said...

I'm not trainer-shaming. i just don't get it. I also don't get recreational berry picking or apple picking. That's for a job people have. What next? Paying $20 for the fun of going to an office and editing a PowerPoint? Some people like that stuff. Cool.

1904 Cadardi said...

janinedm,

Where can you edit a PowerPoint for only $20, the going rate is more like $35 or 40 here. Then there's all the in-app purchases to level up the fonts. It's a pricey hobby for sure!


Seriously though, I ride the trainer for the same reason I do yoga or floss: somehow I think it's good for me. You won't catch me bragging or shaming about any of those things either (but everyone should floss).

Bonhomme Du Neige said...

In my opinion, any so-called "Winter" tire that isn't studded borders on criminal misrepresentation; I chuckle at all the fat bikers I see scrabbling and dabbling on the icy shenanigans at play once their packing efforts have consolidated.
With my studded 29er, it's the closest thing to having super powers.

P.S. Does anyone even make a studded 650B+/27.5+ tire yet?

Anonymous said...

How to be a Winter Mountain Fred

1. Invest in (throw money at) carbon fatbike wheels.
2. Shod them with heavy, slow rolling studded tires
3. Spend 2-6 hours getting them tubeless before conceding tubes are best.
4. Buy ("invest in") winter-specific pedals, winter boots and pants for cycling, etc. etc.
5. Wait for appropriate icy/snowy trail conditions.
6. Ride bike for 2-3 hours.
7. Tell all your non-fat-biking friends how great fat biking is
8. Hang bike in garage - spring is here.

dancesonpedals said...

Thick bike?

Chazu said...

We Don't Need No Edumacation,

Using tax money to indoctrinate children into the ways of Jay-sus is the over-arching concern. At a minimum, that will come in the form of Snob's (and our) tax $ being sent to private christian schools. It could also mean public tax money going to homeschoolers, but there is less concern about homeschoolers because they run the worldview gamut from "anxiously awaiting Armageddon and the rapture" to "atheist humanists" to "I'm a better elementary school teacher for my kids than any government employee". (most of us are)

Oh, and, guns in schools for grizzly bears. That's a real Betsey D. thing.

Bikes. There are nine (9) at my house.

Anonymous said...

Studded for his/her/their pleasure. And size matters when it's particularly deep or loose.

dancesonpedals said...

The utter dregs of the links sent to me by Active Triathlete

Anonymous said...

Snob I think you should ride 200 miles on an indoor trainer, so you can tell all the Freds how you rode an "epic" double century in the middle of winter!

Free Gov. Money, Apply Now said...

The proposed Home School Education Voucher will pay you $10,000 for the first kid, $15,000 for two at once. By the time you get to number 17 you get about $100 bucks plus $25.00 for Vito. It's the law of the diminishing gene pool.

Dooth said...

It's more of a roly-poly bike...

wishiwasmerckx said...

The VERY FIRST line on the Dept. of Education's website:

"Education is primarily a State and local responsibility in the United States."

The States rights/ small government Republicans are SUCH hypocrites, rejecting federal funding except when it is to one of their favored policies, in which principles and scruples go right out the window!

CommieCanuck said...

I like how mountain tire tread patterns are optimized by computer algorithms...yet if that were actually not bullshit they would all look the same.

Jebus Snob, didn't you throw those non disc break wheels in the trash already?

CommieCanuck said...

I like how mountain tire tread patterns are optimized by computer algorithms...yet if that were actually not bullshit they would all look the same.

Jebus Snob, didn't you throw those non disc break wheels in the trash already?

Anonymous said...

Cc is stuttering

MrLobstermash said...

It's time for bicycle manufacturers to catch on to 'season specific geometry'.

If you want to portage your child's bike, try something like the Trail Gator. You will get lots of people thinking they're hilariously original when they yell 'I think you lost your passenger!' at you, but the system works well. You can even tow the child when they can't be bothered turning their own pedals.

1904 Cadardi said...

dop,

I read three of those, barfed, then closed the tab. Dregs is right.

bad boy of the north said...

i flatted today in the snow.except it was on my pickup that the bank still owns.it's still flat and sitting in the driveway waiting for me to fix the bugger in the frigid temps tomorrow.stay warm my friends.

geoff_tewierik said...

Seconding MrLobstermash @ 6:10pm I'd be going with a Trail Gator for the current situation you face.

Some guy from upstate said...

Frankly, I was shocked when Bicycling said I really only needed two kinds of cyclocross tires, maybe three if I wanted to get super specialized and get some file treads. They came right out and said that.

Also, did you look closely at the mismatched wheel bike? The frame is clearly purpose-built or purposely modified for this application. Look how the chainstay slopes down compared to the top tube. Look how the head tube is still at a reasonable angle. Who does this? Why? Why???

Also also, Anon at 3:00, you don't need to spend $500 on studded tires, especially if you're not going to ride on pavement (then you kind of need tungsten or they will wear out immediately). You just need a bunch of sheetmetal screws, a drill, and some free time (beer probably helps too). Gary Thomann has instructions in his book - but not in the on-line version (http://thomannengineering.com/software/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Adirondackmtnbikeguide.pdf), so you'll have to buy it from Amazon or your local book store, if you still have one.

BikeSnobNYC said...

MrLobstermash and geoff_tewierik,

I actually need nothing since throwing the bike on the front rack on the rare occasions I need to carry it a short distance is not a big deal.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

Nice Job on taking the top step today Ted. I just finished shoveling and only now that I'm resting by the fire can take the time to read the lob and create pointless drivel like this.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder if Ted k.and BSNYC are the same.

JLRB said...

Snowmagedon missed us but its cold and windy and there are no specific tires or frames that make up for being a wuss, so I'm back to motor doping vehicles.

This goes in the recycling bin - I portaged my son in a Burley trailer when he was little, and then hauled his bike around in/on it to bring the bike home after we rode to school together. Someday I hope he is kind enough to portage me around in a bike trailer in my old feeble days, which he would say is next week

The wee bike on front rack set up reminds me of that guy with the big spear/windscreen a couple of years ago - *sipping coffee* - I'd give you a wide berth

Crosspalms said...

Had a chilly ride to an artisanal food store in Chicago yesterday, but got to see my first instance of someone "rolling coal" -- a gold-colored pickup with a double cab roaring and farting black smoke through a downtown intersection. Cop on a nearby corner looked at it in amazement, like "where the hell did you come from?" Doesn't seem like it would be very satisfying to do it on a street where there's a stop light at every corner.

fourhourerection said...

60 deg Fahrenheit Friday. 20 today. Come on, global warming.

Anonymous said...

Work'in on it...

http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/files/2016/06/spiral_2016_large.gif

Anonymous said...

If they were Ted K's reply would be even faster.

Today's reply by Ted took a full 8 minutes from the time BSNYC posted it, a relatively long time. In typical Fred fashion I have been tracking the response time of all of Ted's since he started posting and dominating the leader board on BSNYC. His average response time is 3 minutes, 24.36 seconds. He has been the first responder 97.36% of the time. These are dominating statistics, eclipsing the numbers of Eddy Mercyx, but if BSNYC was responding as Ted K the numbers would surely be even more dominating, assuming the point of responding is to dominate and frustrate fellow posters. Sometimes Ted K does not post, likely because he gets his alert too late and isn't able to respond quickly. If he doesn't think he will win, he will not post. We are dealing with a very competitive person here. Bike Snob is a bit of a retro grouch, but I don't think he would deliver mail bombs. His worst crime is sniffing model glue in public places.

Cinimod said...

You're a Ted Fred?

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

JanineDM,
Since I am very mortal, riding on ice and wet pavement seems to be a good way to test the limits of mortality.

I'd like to get a trainer to at least keep the muscles and tendons etc from getting so so used to using the bus and train !

Of course if I go and buy one, there will be a perpetual heat wave dry spell til April.

vsk

bieks said...

Don't kid yourself Snob, if you use Spring fat bike tires in the Fall, you could die.