Monday, May 1, 2017

I Came, I Saw, I Went Home

As you no doubt recall, Friday was the day Italy's second-most unctuous export after olive oil, Mario Cipollini, was due to visit Brooklyn:

And given the outsized role he's played on this blog over the past ten years I knew I'd be remiss were I to forego this rare opportunity to pay my respects and take his measure in person:


("You gonna need a very big ruler.")

According to the Red Hook Crit website the ride was set to take place in Prospect park at 9:30am.  Back when I lived in Brooklyn, 15 minutes and a few strokes of the pedal would have been all that it took to deliver me to the start.  However, now that I reside in the northwest Bronx, a trip to Prospect Park is a good 20 mile ride.  All of this is to say that I had every intention of being punctual, but by the time I crossed under the fog-enshrouded George Washington Bridge I was running something like an hour behind schedule:


Alas, if only I'd had an ebike like this guy I might have made up the time easily:


The brand of the above bike was "Juiced," and I'm assuming that's the "CrossCurrent" model that sells for $1,499:

Hey, whatever works for you, but if there's one thing I've noticed about ebikes it's that they encourage their riders to circle at red lights even more than fixies do.

Once I'd ridden nearly the length of Manhattan I merged onto the new Chrystie Street bike lane:


And mounted the Manhattan Bridge, where even at this late morning hour riders were still streaming towards Manhattan in considerable numbers:


Either New York City's got an actual bicycle rush hour now, or else they were simply fleeing the Cipollini.

Upon alighting in Brooklyn I made straight for Grand Army Plaza:


Where a group I took to be the Brooklyn chapter of the Mario Cipollini Appreciation Society in fact turned out to be park volunteers:


I'm assuming the Prospect Park Alliance heard Mario Cipollini would be visiting, and so they brought a wheelbarrow full of sawdust to soak up any oil slicks and keep the roadway safe for the park users.

Anyway, I'd long missed the rollout, but it wasn't long before I heard a flurry of Fredly activity nearby:


And moments later I was among them:


The main group was well ahead of me, and presumably these were the riders who'd become overwhelmed by Cipollini's pheromones and dropped back to breathe some unadulterated air for awhile.  Obviously many of these riders were in town to compete in the Red Hook Crit, and as you can imagine it was thrilling to be among the crème de la crème of international fixiedom.  Every few moments I'd hear the unmistakable whoosh of crabon wheels and the rattle of over-tensioned chains, only to be passed by yet another rider with tattoos and a mustache:


(Sagan?  More like Sag-ain't.)

Indeed, when it comes to sheer fastidiousness in the realm of appearance, fixie-crit riders have overtaken roadies like that guy on the Juiced bike overtook me:


Given the sheer volume of runners, dog walkers, and Orthodox Jewish power-walkers, Prospect Park at mid-morning is not exactly the ideal venue for a huge group ride, so rather than attempt to make my way to the front I instead dropped back, took the cutoff, and waited for them at the park entrance.  Before long they came back around, and while it was hard to pick him out at first:


I soon spotted the unmistakable profile of Cipollini himself:


And once the ride ended I watched as he graciously posed for photos with his many admirers:


I'd briefly considered bringing something along for Cipollini to sign.  Indeed, at the risk of sounding too arrogant, I'm something of a sensation in Italy myself.  Not only have my books been translated into Italian, but I was also the guest of honor at "Full Bike Day," which was without a doubt one of the fullest bike days the region of Puglia has ever seen:

Therefore, I figured I'd do Cipollini the honor of presenting him a copy of the Italian edition of my book, asking him to sign it, and then taking it back and keeping it for myself...though as I was preparing to leave I realized that rummaging around in boxes looking for a copy of the Italian edition of my book would have made me even later, so ultimately I just said "Fuck it."

I also briefly considered taking a picture with Cipollini myself as a souvenir, but given the earnestness of the occasion I felt like injecting irony into the proceedings would be kind of a douchey thing to do, so instead I just took pictures of other people taking pictures:


I have no idea why the riders in the background are shielding their eyes, and I can only assume they can't bear to look directly at a skinsuited Cipollini from behind, much in the same way you can't look directly at the Ark of the Covenant or else your face will melt:


Once Cipollini had graced everyone with handshakes and pixels I headed down to R&A bike shop, where according to the Red Hook Crit website a "Q&A" was to take place:


However, when I asked someone at R&A where the Q&A was taking place they looked at me like I was an idiot and said they didn't know anything about any Q&A but that Cipollini was inside:


I can only assume that since everyone had gotten what they came for the whole Q&A idea must have fallen by the wayside, and once again I was disinclined to bother a guy who clearly wanted to tap at his phone uninterrupted after having given generously of his time.  So I paid my respects to the Red Hook Crit organizer and made my way back to the Bronx.  The cherry blossoms were in bloom:


The bridge was now free from the fog in which it had been imprisoned:


And as I contemplated the cycle of life and these symbols of rebirth it occurred to me for the first time that I might be pregnant.

I should have shielded my eyes.

Oh, and if you're wondering what happened at the Red Hook Crit, I have no idea, but I did see this on the Twitter:

A post shared by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Design,Fixie,Bmx,Moto (@rustedjalopy_) on


So there you go.

57 comments:

Spokey said...

wow podi

Spokey said...


can't believe i yellowed with all my recent slacking

Serial Retrogrouch said...

rounding it out

Spokey said...


yah, i'm a glutton, i'll take all three

Spokey said...


dang, all thumb typing slowed me down

JuanOffhue said...

Read the whole thing and still in the top 10 or five

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...I just tested positive for pregnancy after seeing all those unadulterated photos of the cipo in skinsuit... it must be a proximity thing. I gotta move to Italy now.

McFly said...

You were like a giddy little school girl with heady intentions of addressing your crush but ultimately wallflowered yourself to obscurity.

dnk said...

Cipo-Mania!

Ringo who?

Anonymous said...

Is Cipo running di2?
How did the fixie snobs handle that?

Anonymous said...

I don't run red lights, but I am more inclined to full stop at stop signs on my ebike than regular bike. Re-accelerating takes so much less effort.

dnk said...

when I asked someone at R&A where the Q&A was taking place they looked at me like I was an idiot

I've gotten that look from R&A staff a couple of times. I'm sure I am an idiot. That said, it's a pretty douchey place.

ken e. said...

my favourite number!

Cat 404 e-Racer said...

Not being douchey was nice, unless he plans to run for a serious public office.


And yes, stopping at lights and signs with my e-FatBike is cool cause I get to do burnouts to start rolling again.

The Geneva Convention said...

What PSI does Cipo exhaust pheromones at?

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Was looking to go to Wolcott Street in Red Hook for a great Moon + Statue of Liberty picture, but clouds fogged it all up.
Saw all the critical Crit stuff still set up.

vsk

More Cowbell said...

The Manhattan ticker tape parade honoring the Cipo begins in an hour. Woody Allen is attending dressed as a sperm.

leroy said...

Well I have no idea what happened at the Red Hook Crit either.

My dog has been writing a piece on spec for the Times' Style Section for the past year and I thought I had a lead for him.

Didn't pan out.

I too have gotten the idiot look from R&A on occasion. My dog wishes to point out that in my case, however, it's warranted.

JLRB said...

I think you made the right call - I always feel awkward about getting autographs from people of fame.

Thanks for the crit crash video - a little schadenfreude to lighten my "case of the mondays"

cheers

Anonymous said...

April showers = May flowers ...

N/A said...

I heard that Nonplussed Bibshorts Guy went out for pitchers of beer with Cipo.

Alex Marshall said...

Holy cow Wildcat, no offense but that was cat-gutless.
I've watched you ride on cipo's coat-tails for a decade, and this one chance for him to respond(open handed slap/fisticuffs/duel?) and you play Mr. Incognito?
Not how we would do it in Canada.

Cheers,
Alex

BikeSnobNYC said...

Alex Marshall,

The fact that he doesn't know or care who I am ultimately renders any interaction moot.

--Wildcat Etc.

Alls well that ends well said...

I agree with JLRB "I think you made the right call."

Way back in the day it turned out Lance had a sense of humor about your infinite jests, and even became "friends" (or frenemy?) Cipo, who may or may not know you, may have no sense of humor, much like Brunelle who does know of you, but also has no sense of humor about your jests. Could have been kinda ugly.

Funnelwebmaster?!? said...

Mr Snob, no matter how you try to spin it, you failed. chickened out. crumped. Out of modesty, fear or timidity- I know not which. What a wasted opportunity. I am sad.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Funnelwebmaster?!?,

I am sorry that I, a father of two in my 40s, did not hijack someone else's event and publicly humiliate myself in the interest of a running joke.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Sorry for even caring a little said...

There are several reports of the "All Too Important" (not) Red Hook Crit. Talk about way too much information about a crit race:

https://cyclingtips.com/2017/05/schafer-gulick-take-victories-at-red-hook-crit-series-opener-in-brooklyn/

The photos also confirm your observation of "sheer fastidiousness in the realm of appearance". They are all such clones it is like The Borg has has taken up fixie riding.

Spokey said...


dang

father of two in my 40s

i'd swear you been saying you're middle aged.

when you really slide in to middle age, you'll not mind public humiliation. Not to mention, generally not even notice it.

Don't explain the punchline said...

Maybe thosewho think that this blog, and Cipo's returning caricature appearances, require that WCRM antagonize the real Cippolini by saying, "HiI'm a famous bike blogger- ever read my running jokes about your persona?", should consider their motivation for doing so, outside a need to feast on an affirmation of Cipo's caricature, and some kind of negative interaction. What possible good could come from it, other than selfish need to either destroy Cipo or WCRM?

Smelly-ass Cipo said...

The guy in the Kissena Club jersey looks more like he is holding his nose than blocking his vision.

N/A said...

I've crossed paths with "famous" peoples before, and it never occurs to me to ask for an autograph. They just don't mean anything to me. I was once asked "do you want me to sign something for you?" and I replied, "no, do you want my autograph?" (he answered "no" by the way.)

The "pose-and-photo line up" is almost even weirder to me. I mean, Cipo is a fount of oily humor for us all, but he's still just a dude.


Despite all that, humiliating yourself for a long-running joke is totally worth it.

leroy said...

Cipo, Red Hook, who cares?

I just realized Mr. BSNYC's picture of the new Chrystie Street bike lane on Friday morning is exactly where I flatted on Thursday night.

I'm honored to have used my tire to scoop up debris, thereby securing safe passage for those who followed in my footsteps (footsteps because at that point I was hoofing it to the curb).

You're welcome.

My dog wishes to note that the new Chrystie Street bike lane location is not too far from where he once informed the new Christy Minstrels they were flat.

I told him that's not the same thing. But I'm sure someone was grateful.

Hair Furor said...

Cool that you attended the PP ride. I heard there was a bad collision, Bike+Pedestrian style. Hope all were OK.

RHC was fun, but that may have been the free beer talking.

On weekends, I've started to only ride the Old Putnam trails hoping to catch a SnobSighting.

Dooth said...

The Red Hook Crit is the comic relief of cycling races. The Spring Classics, the Tour de France--all business, but the Red Hook Crit...gold!

Chromatonic said...

Christ, he's YUGE!

Your detractors are arm-chair hecklers said...

Thanx for the interesting report of a different aspect of bike riding. I thought you were more than brave enough just going to the Prospect Park ride. Though it was a public event, it was Mario's party and some of his NYC fans you might recognize you, might not appreciate your presence. Your detractors today seem to have wanted you to pick a fight of something, just weird.

Anonymous said...

The douchey attitude of some cycling shops are like that hitting people where they are insecre, as in embarassing them into spending more. There is a shop like that where I like where if you have a bike they do not sell and you want parts for it, they will ask you if you purchased it at REI or some sporting goods store. It is a game that works with some people

Anonymous said...

I bet he knows exactly who you are and had a switchblade tucked in his jersey. As a father of 17 children, you did the responsible thing.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Your detractors are arm-chair hecklers,

Seems unlikely anybody would have minded my presence unless you know something I don't.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

That wasn't fog, that was airborne sperm!

Funnelwebmaster?!? said...

Your detractors are arm-chair hecklers:
My, such assumptions you make. Critique is not heckling (look it up). There's absolutely nothing weird, out-of-place, aggressive or inappropriate about BSNYC simply going up to Cippo, introducing himself and saying "hello," shaking his hand, asking him any question that a retired racer and now famous bike blogger would ask, thanking him and wishing him well. That's not harassment. After all, isn't that what most of the "fans" were doing, along with taking selfies (no need for that, tho). Who knows, maybe an interesting conversation may have arisen. Isn't that what such events are basically designed around? I'll say it again: BSNYC has a long-standing "Cippo The Slime" motif running though his blog, mostly to good effect and clearly (to most of us at least) all in the name of fun and humor. That Cippo or anyone else would resent that or hold Snob accountable seems absurd.

Oh, BTW Snob, I am in my 50s and also a father of two, and would have had no problem whatsoever going up to Re Leone for a quick "hey hiyadoin'?" And I'm not even an ex racer.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Funnelwebmaster?!?,

Sorry, I took your comment that I "chickened out" to mean I should have performed some wacky stunt, like stolen some of his DNA for a paternity test or had him sign a dildo or something, hence my response. Maybe I misinterpreted.

As for saying a quick hi, yes, that's perfectly reasonable, but I simply had no desire to do so.

--Wildcat Etc.

Sigmund Freud said...

Ah, social anxiety is a bitch, no?

EricBikeCO said...

Social anxiety is cured by misanthropy.

Spokey said...

Social anxiety with a dash of vermouth, shaken, not stirred is quite a palate pleaser.

BamaPhred said...

Social Anxiety, is that the condition where you piss your bib shorts when meeting someone famous, or blurt out idiotic shit like Cipo, I am your father, or child, whatever. Yeah, I would have just watched, also.

bieks said...

Yup, you handled it exactly how I would have. Well, except I don't have 17 kids to make me an hour late. Heck, I could barely bring myself to get you to sign your book.

The Idiot Spotter said...

Donald Trump is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

If it wasn't for Snobby I would never have heard of Cipo and all his free-flowing fecund glistening essential oils — I'm just wondering what level of judgemental commentary that entitles me to?

Jeb said...

Hey there Idiot Spotter. It takes one to know one! Right? That means you are an idiot!

hardcoder said...

"If it wasn't for Snobby I would never have heard of Cipo..." - totally the same here. I know very little about cycle racing, I only know of Chris Boardman (because of his awesome work in London) and Armstrong (coz like who hasn't). The mockery is absurd and fun, and I know a bit about this sporting legend because of it. win win :) Great work, WCRM (ps. I asked you to sign my Kindle in Melbourne, which you took seriously even though it was my lame attempt at a joke ahah)

Ezekiel said...

Jeb, you durn fool! Why, when you gone an wrote that it just gone to show that you are too! Aw dang, did I jess write that? Tarnation!

bad boy of the sooth said...

I wonder when the photos of you taking photos of sip-o will surface here?tick,tick,tick...

Anonymous said...

Will the ride occur again next year? I would like to participate. I'm glad you caught up with them, you must still have your race speed.

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