Friday, January 19, 2018

Sawdust in the Wind

As you know, I'm a conssie connoiss  guy who knows a lot about wooden bikes, so I watched this with interest:



Just a tip for those of you looking to join me on the timber express, whichever bike you choose just make sure it's hand-blown:


See, a lot of builders cut corners by vacuuming the sawdust:


You may think it's all the same, but I can assure you the difference in ride quality between hand-blown and auto-sucked is readily discernible to the wood aficianado officianado expert.  If you're really looking for that soulful feel that only wood can give, there's really no substitute for a frame that's been lovingly exhaled upon by a builder whose breath carries the faint scent of single malt scotch and salami.  It works its way into the woodgrain and results in something I can only call magic.

Speaking of wood bikes, you're of course familiar by now with the Renovo--or, as I call it, the Loophole Bike, since it allows me to skirt my onerous one-bike resolution:


Well, the Renovo is equipped with Di2 electronic shifting, about which I have mixed feelings.  On one foot, there's no denying this stuff feels really nice.  On the other, I can't help feeling a bit of range anxiety as, unlike your phone, there's no battery life indicator.  (Yes, you can press the shifter and an indicator light will sort of tell you the battery life in Morse code, but it's not the same as an actual picture of a battery.)  Plus, as a Di2 novice, I have yet to use up my first charge, and therefore I have no idea how many miles to expect out of it.  In a way it's like riding a motorcycle without a fuel gauge, in that it takes you a few tanks to get a feel for how many miles you'll get out of a fill-up.  And, in another way it's like the miracle of Hanukkah in that I haven't charged the bike since I received it yet the battery indicator still says it's full.  (Though of course between blizzards and eliminating the source of that pesky creak I've only got a couple hundred miles on it.)

Then there's the actual charging.  See, I live in an apartment building, yet unlike most New Yorkers I refuse to keep my bikes inside my actual apartment.  (With the exception of the Brompton which lives by the coat rack.)  Fortunately we have a bike room in the basement, where I am able to house my stable in conditions that, while somewhat squalid, still beat tripping over the damn things.  Alas, there is no power outlet in the bike room, meaning that in order to charge the bike I'd have to bring it upstairs.  This is a problem, because not only is it annoying, but also once the bike is exposed to the luxurious conditions in my home it may never want to back to its subterranean hole.


(Me lowering supplies to my bikes.  Unlike most Freds I do not coddle them.)

Anyway, when it comes time to juice up the hand-blown Fred Sled (more of a wooden toboggan, really) I may have a solution:


It's a little portable powerbank thingy my kid got at Five Below.  I figure if I just plug the Shimano charger into the USB port I should be all set.  Of course, if there's a reason I shouldn't do this and the wooden bike will burst into flames, feel free to let me know.  Otherwise, not only am I going to use this to charge the Loophole Bike, but I'm also going to back to Five Below, buy a whole bunch more, and sell them to Freds at a 500% markup.

Moving on, I've not been paying much attention to the controversy over Chris Froome's salbutamol test, but you can be sure that VeloNews have been, and I guess he's been claiming it's the result of kidney failure or something:

In case you missed it, French newspaper L’Equipe reported on Tuesday that Chris Froome and Sky are considering a legal defense that argues his adverse analytical finding for salbutamol was the result of kidney failure.

Yes, kidney failure.

In making such a claim, Froome and Sky are of course engaging in the time-honored cycling tradition of making baroque excuses:

It appears that the British team is prepared to take its anti-doping cases into the realm of what I refer to as the “head-slap zone.” That’s the realm in which the explanations are so unlikely and far-fetched that even casual cycling fans slap their heads in amazement. Yes, this is the realm of Tyler Hamilton’s chimeric vanishing twin, Lance Armstrong’s French conspiracy, Raimondas Rumsas’s “The steroids were for my mother-in-law,” Adrie van der Poel eating juiced pigeons, or Gilberto Simoni taking a cocaine cough drop from Peru. Simply reading those excuses in succession makes me want to slap my head.

There, I just slapped myself.

Ultimately, there are only two conclusions to draw from all of this:

1) If even half the claims Froome has made during his career are true then he is by far the sickest athlete on the planet.  Asthma?  Dodgy kidneys?  Blood-borne parasites?  At this point I'm just waiting for Sky to claim he's clinically dead--which seems fairly plausible actually since the guy looks positively vampiric:


2) Anybody who still has the mental energy to expend on all of this stuff (specifically cycling fans and people who write for publications like VeloNews) should probably seek treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Or, you know, at least take up birdwatching or something.  Why these people want to basically shrink themselves down and live in these riders' bodies is beyond me.


Speaking of doping, Lance Armstrong says it costs him $100 million to confess his doping to president-elect Oprah Winfrey:


USA Today quoted Armstrong as saying via email that the confession had cost him "in excess of 100 mil". In the days after his confession, long-term sponsors such as Oakley, Trek and others suddenly dropped their huge endorsements and sponsorship, massively reducing his income.

But, you know, he did get a podcast out of it, so there you go.

As Jesus said, "Let the Fred who's ever had $100 million to lose cast the first stone:"


Ah-meh and Holy Luau.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

mehderation in effect.

MC Escher said...

I think it was the doping rather than the confession that cost him the money he made from doping.

Jake said...

Keeping us guessing as to when the posts drop, eh?

BikeSnobNYC said...

MC Escher,

If anything it was probably the comeback that cost him.

--Wildcat Etc.

ken e. said...

a diminutive man of a paler stripe!

Anonymous said...

strongarm gets to keep the podium position from 2009...for the record.

McFly said...

Ope's got some big ass tit-tays

Anonymous said...

The nuance of the wood bike review becomes more and more outstanding.

I noticed the following in the Thursday Bike Forecast for NYC:
Bike lanes, first laid out in a Sacramento suburb, now span 45 miles across Gotham, which added a record 18 miles in 2016 to serve the 778,000 New Yorkers who bike regularly—nearly 50% more than just five years ago.
“I'd love to know what suburb we're imitating with our vast bike network so that I can consider moving there.”

The suburb mentioned probably is Davis, California, a city not far west of Sacramento and surrounded by farm fields. The first bike lane was put on road in July, 1967. Now there’s 70 miles of bike pathways, 50 miles of bike lanes, etc. http://cityofdavis.org/city-hall/public-works/mayor-s-challenge

I guess I could have posted this at the Forecast but as a west coast interloper it would seem impolite to clog the comment lanes of busy New Yorkers.

HDEB said...

Nothing like Kidney failure and Athsma to make a cyclist fast ; )

leroy said...

Holy Luau?

Well that explains the beach volley ball net, all the sand, the rum drinks, and $10 cover charge in my living room the other evening.

I asked him about my dog what was going on, but all he said was he was sorry I can't dream big.

I guess I should consider myself lucky he's not pitching a tent, talking in tongues with snakes, and passing around our Tupperware for collections.

Dirk Montero said...

I know absolutely nothing about Di2, but I thought the batteries were removable/swappable. I was sure I'd seen a charging block for race mechanics to charge multiple Di2 batteries at the same time on Bike Humor, I mean Bike Rumor.

If anyone wants to loan me a Di2-equipped bike for evaluation purposes, I will be happy to become better versed in these matters.

Dirk

BikeSnobNYC said...

Dirk Montero,

The charging port is in the bar end and the battery is in the seatpost. So I can remove the battery but I can't charge it when it's removed.

--Wildcat Etc.

Dirk Montero said...

Wildcat,

Ah, I see. That makes about as much sense as making a bike frame out of wood and rims from carbon fiber. The only way I could imagine running Di2 would be if it were charged by a dynohub. But Di2 is for RACING and when you're RACING you can't have the extra drag and weight, bro!

A bike that requires charging is about as practical as a phone that requires pedaling.

Dirk

Anonymous said...

Another way to get around your one bike mission is to have a list of bikes that - if you have the opportunity - you can ride them with no consequences. For example, a Jones Plus or a JP Weigle.

Of course, your bike gets to make a list of riders as well...for example, Cippo....

blunchbelly said...

With such top form in today’s blogulation no one in their right mind would miss a quiz.

82medici said...

Do all those Di2 wires run through the various tubes? Do you hear them slapping around when riding over rough terrain?

I had to identify cars to prove that I am not a robot, then click "verify" when none were left. If only it was that easy.

streepo said...

I am not a Doctor, nor do I play one one on television but my guess is that kidney failure would have a deleterious effect on the ability to bicycle up hills quickly.

scranus.

bad boy of the south said...

Nice shout out to "silence of the freds".

dancesonpedals said...

Single malt is for poseur connoisseurs. Kick it old school and drink gin with salami.

wishiwasmerckx said...

If, indeed, Froome is suffering from kidney failure, they should clear him from the doping charges and ban him for life from racing due to the danger to his health.

Wouldn't do at all to have a four-time TdF winner collapse mid-Alp and die of kidney failure on live TV, now would it?

jno62 said...

Perhaps a light bulb adapter with a plug in it and an extension cord? Or will the Super freak out?

Not teh Dad of a bike racer said...

And to think that now there are little kids who want to grow up to look like Froome.
I mean, I can understand wanting to have the physique of Sagan, but Froome? The horror!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Dirk Montero,

I agree charging a bike is silly and it's not what I'd build a bike with for myself but I'd be lying if I said it isn't very nice. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what it's like to live with it long-term.

Also, as former pack-fill I totally see why it would be good for racing--not for drag and weight (I don't think it's lighter) but simply because when you're really pushing it you're less likely to make a mis-shift.

I realize all of what I wrote above is Fredly and absurd but it is what it is.

--Wildcat Etc.

drxray said...

Do you have a Garmin? If so you can pair it with your Di2 system and it will display a battery life indicator as well as show you what gear you are riding in. I have an Edge 100 and it works great with Di2.

BikeSnobNYC said...

drxray,

I don't but that's good to know!

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Olle Nilsson said...

The motorcycle analogy works even better when you forget to flip the tank switch back off "reserve". Rumour* has it the Di2 goes into "full seize mode" to protect the electronics. Otherwise you could pretend you're riding a single speed bike until you get home to charge it.

*I just started it, but it might actually be true and I made a lucky guess.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Olle Nilsson,

It actually does have sort of a "reserve" mode--FD stops working when battery gets low.

--Wildcat Etc.

Some guy from upstate said...

I always just ride until the engine starts to sputter then switch to reserve and start looking for a gas station.

1904 Cadardi said...

Snob,

That happened to a co-worker on bike to work day a few years ago. His front derailleur stopped working so he was stuck in the small ring which was fine going up hill, but kind of sucked on the flats.

Anonymous said...

You know, it just boggles my mind that the same folks who say the President is unfit to serve because he is ten or fifteen pounds above his ideal weight, want Orca Winfrey to run for the office.

Not that any kind of running wouldn't do her a world of good.

dancesonpedals said...

Froome has kidney failure? I'm not surprised. He lost a lot of urine on that final stage.

wishiwasmerckx said...

FD stops working?

Tell the Fire Department to get back to work.

Skidmark said...

{The only way I could imagine running Di2 would be if it were charged by a dynohub} connected to smartphone via the garmin (and vice versa) with a rheostat computroller paired in series with the dual-legged hi-power peter-meter.

leroy said...

Ride safe all!

Tomorrow looks like a good day for a march.

Joe said...

I believe Shimano has an DI2 app. It lets you adjust shift timing and stuff. I believe it also tells you the battery level.

Peter Leclaire said...

I get around 1500 miles out of a charge. And I did go for a ride once despite getting a low battery indication. front derailleur stopped working so I cut it short but the rear never stopped shifting. I hear a front shift takes 4x the power.

and yes you can plug the charger into a regular usb port block for a phone or whatever.

Anonymous said...

WTH! The guy in the Kickstarter video isn't even chain smoking… Just look at this dude – he's even braiding his own crabon fiber: https://vimeo.com/238574924

Dooth said...

Would someone, please, invent electronic shifting for internally geared hubs? That's all I want for any new bike tech.

Anonymous said...

Dooth,
Shimano must have been reading the comments because they've been working overnight to invent Alfine Di2.

http://bike.shimano.com/content/sac-bike/en/home/components11/city---comfort/alfine-di21.html

Unknown said...

Shimano has, it's called Alfine Di2

Grump said...

Riding with Di2 is a lot like driving a very early 60's VW bug with no gas gauge. You always had to remember if you left the valve open when filling the tank. (and then close it, so that you had a reserve)

Peter Leclaire said...

Hey Dooth, that's a thing- Shimano Alfine di2.

Anonymous said...

Why have a bike made by a bloke with whisky on his breath when her in Scotland you can get one made from old whisky casks! Oaky...

Dooth said...

Hmmm, thanks y'all...got the wheels turning in my head now.

Anonymous said...

It's not doping...it's dialysis!

DaveD said...

That motor and gadgetry connected inside the bottom bracket is actually my on board kidney dialysis "cycler".

Hee Haw the barista said...

All my motorcycles were old and shitty, so I never had the luxury of a fuel gauge (iirc one of them had a warning light that never worked). Anyhoo, like every other motorcycle rider without a fuel gauge, I would remove the fuel cap and shake the bike a bit to hear how much was sloshing around in the tank.

I suggest you remove the battery cover on your bike and shake it around a bit and listen for how much electricity is sloshing around in the battery.

I'm glad I could help.

NYCHighwheeler said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cycling_infrastructure
History of cycling infrastructure
The history of cycling infrastructure starts from shortly after the bike boom of the 1880s when the first short stretches of dedicated bicycle infrastructure were built, through to the rise of the automobile from the mid-20th century onwards and the concomitant decline of cycling as a means of transport, to cycling's comeback from the 1970s onwards.



In 1896 the first bikeway in the United States was created by splitting the pedestrian way of Ocean Parkway (Brooklyn). Following this successful installation numerous bicycle paths separate from the roadway were constructed by "bicycle path associations".

So something from Brooklyn is an outside suburban influence? This is just baffling to me.

RayG said...

My Ultegra Di2 went into reserve mode today after 1125km. I use a powerbank to charge it because it doesn't fully charge when I plug it into the adaptor I have for the wall plug.

H.L. Mencken said...

Opera, I mean Oprah, might as well interview Trump, the statements would be just about as honest (even less so).

E-bike Zen Master said...

So... electronic shifting on the Renovo is worse than charging an e-bike. Because I can leave my e-bike in the storage room and remove its battery, which I charge inside my apartment. Also, the e-bike has a built-in battery life indicator. Interestingly enough, my e-bike uses plain old manual shifting. How quaint...

BikeSnobNYC said...

E-bike Zen Master,

I think Campy's electronic shifting lets you remove the battery and charge it, though I may be wrong and am too lazy to chec.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

BamaPhred said...

Like so many others noted, nothing says elite endurance athlete quite like asthma, internal parasites, and kidney failure

E-bike Zen Master said...

> Would someone, please, invent electronic shifting for internally geared hubs? That's all I want for any new bike tech.

It already exists, see here:
http://www.roadbikereview.com/reviews/first-look-raleigh-misceo-e-bike-with-shimano-steps-drive-system

Anonymous said...

http://blueridgeracing.blogspot.com/2018/01/strava-ruins-everything.html