Sunday, February 25, 2018

Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?

First things firstly, here's a new Outside column in which I solve all society's problems yet again:


If only kids spent more time on bikes then maybe they'd finally give up pernicious pursuits such as listening to rock music, disrespecting their elders, and wearing sneakers and dungarees.

I mean really, calling politicians on their bullshit in the wake of the Parkland shooting after governmental lack of action has led directly to the deaths of their friends and family members?  Such impudence!

Speaking of which, last week I mentioned that some of cycling's best-known brands are owned by an ammunition maker:


As it happens, at the moment I own two (2) bicycling helmets (helments).  One is a Giro Atmos, and one is an inexpensive Bell I purchased as a "gap helmet" to use until I got around to replacing the broken "Roc Loc" thingy on the aforementioned Giro (and in the process realized there's virtually no difference in comfort between a cheap helmet and an expensive one).  This puts me in a bind.  On one hand, I don't like guns, so I prefer not to display either logo given the current climate.  On the other hand, I don't like helmets, so I don't want to support the Foam Hat Industrial Complex by purchasing a new one.

Oh sure, the answer might seem simple: "Just don't wear a helmet, done and done."  Well, it's not that simple.  See, while I spend plenty of my riding time exposing my balding pate to the melanoma-giving rays of the sun, I'm also a recovering Fred in the throes of a midlife Fred crisis, as well as a world-famous semi-professional cycling scribe.  This means there are certain times when I have to wear a helmet.  Consider, for example, that last summer I took part in the Brompton World Championships:


Foam hats were compulsory for the event, and who am I to argue?  Bike racing is inherently stupid, and a crucial part of that stupidity is unquestioning adherence to rules, whatever they may be.  So whether the rules say to wear a helmet, or to don a blazer, or even to be conformingly irreverent (as is the case with the various singlespeed world championships), you just do it, no questions asked.

The point is, I reserve the right to participate in organized cycling events, and when I do I have no problem wearing the required headgear.  At the same time, I refuse to "upgrade" my helmetry at this point simply to avoid displaying a tainted brand, since discarding a hunk of non-biodegradable foam at fixed intervals and purchasing a new one seems not only wasteful but ridiculous.

So clearly there's only one option for me, and that's to fashion a helmet out of a coconut:


Khum Wongsaeng, 73, a Chiang Mai resident is taking part and has modified a coconut shell as a bicycle helmet. He has ridden from Chiang Mai to Bangkok more than four times and said that he is still fit. A foreigner wanted to buy his coconut shell helmet for 5,000 baht but he refused as the coconut shell helmet had saved his life once before.

It's a scientific fact that if you survive any sort of incident your survival is entirely due to whatever you happened to be wearing on your head at the time.

Anyway, I certainly could have found plenty of coconuts while on vacation last week.  So where was I, you ask?  All I know is that one day I was riding through Central Park:


And the next day I was walking on the beach:


I'm pleased to report I refrained from riding my bicycle on the beach like the gentleman pictured above--and not because I didn't have the appropriate beach bike:


And my options weren't limited to beach riding.  I also happened to be right on the local Fred route.  However, it seems to me that instead of squandering my leisure time on some flat out-and-back road riding along a route I've already ridden plenty of times on previous visits it made a lot more sense to spend it all on the beach and by the pool.

Hey, if we were staying by Mt. Lemmon or something it might be a different story, but we weren't and I regret nothing.

Finally, this year's NAHBS took place the weekend before last a mere century ride from my home, but alas I did not attend--partially because I was going away and partially because Don Walker hates me, but mostly because I really wasn't paying attention because I get all my custom bike drooling done at the Philly Bike Expo.  Nevertheless, of course I perused James Huang's coverage, since he's without a doubt the go-to chronicler of that event.  And while in 2018 nobody can shut up about the performance benefits of disc brakes and fat tires, it was almost a relief to see people are still making clearance porn:


Seems almost quaint now, doesn't it?

49 comments:

Dane Watt said...

Podium?


Nice

Dane Watt said...

Podium?


Nice

Some guy from upstate said...

Podium? Welcome back, Snob.

Skidmark said...

Avoiding display of a tainted brand is politically polite, while displaying a branded taint is impolitely political.

ken e. said...

that's some fair weather something, something... envy is a terrible thing.

bad boy of the south said...

Ah,the philly bike expo.good times.good times.welcome back to the real world.

Guy Y said...

Clearance porn is actually the opposite of real porn: tight equals bad, loose equals good.

Anonymous said...

We have some Bell products, too. We have decided to put a big red "not" line over the name to signal our displeasure, but to continue to use the damned helmets, since they work OK and we don't feel the need to replace a perfectly good helmet.

Chris said...

Latest Outside piece is excellent.

JLRB said...

Marketing opportunity - sell BSNYC Seal of Disapproval stickers to cover up the Bell etc logos

Nothing worse than free advice

bad boy of the south said...

JLRB,great idea.snob....?

Wrench Monkey? said...

Where are you on the Fred curve when you're smug about NOT riding your bike?

N/A said...

Nice article in the Outside. It seems that it's much more common for little 'uns to have motorized plastic versions of their parents' keeping-up-with-the-Jones'es fancy Hyundais. Not so much by way of an actual bike that they pedal and get dirty and fall and scrape knees and so forth.
Getting kids on bikes is a long-standing pet project of mine.
(cue the long-assed post:)

As a bikecyclist who has been riding, fixing, flipping, collecting, etc. for a reasonably long time, I've had many small (sub 20") bikes go through my hands over the years. Not wanting to throw away what were often nearly-unused bikes, I'd clean and inspect them and walk them down to the Boy's and Girl's Club down the street from my house (my daughters went there when I first started this practice, I'm not just a weirdo that hangs out there.) and ask the manager to discretely give the bike to a kid in need. I found this to be a fairly rewarding practice, and I always enjoy seeing a little kid tootling around the neighborhood on a bike.

You'd be surprised how many people have kids' bikes hanging in their garages, in basements, sheds, etc. that haven't been touched in ages. With some asking around, you can have an avalanche of the things being thrown at you. 9 times out of 10, the only thing that they need is cleaned and pump up the tires. Every now and then, I'll replace a tube or a chain, or put new grips on the bars, but it's usually not needed. Quite a shame, really. My bike when I was a kid was in tatters by the time I outgrew it.

Those of you that have the means/availability/inclination should try giving a kid a bike that you "rescued". Clean it, fix it, give it. If for no other reason than to improve the odds that it will create one more person in our world that doesn't see riding a bike as a weird activity. Perhaps, down the road, the kid that got a bike will turn into an adult that doesn't try to run us down, out on the road.




As for Wildcat's helments, I like the idea of covering them with the Seal of Disapproval stickers. Or maybe spraypaint them in some festive colors? Hot pink would be very festive.

George Krpan said...

Thank you for your comment on the Parkland shooting. That needs to be said.

Anonymous said...

Anyone on a Renovo absolutely should have a Khum Wongsaeng signature helmet,

dnk said...

I grew up in the midwest riding a bike just about every day with nice weather (and for a couple of years, in all weather ---- paper route, baby! ---- before accepting my trophy from the academy I must pause to give all props to God and to his only son Jesus for making me the man that I am, and to the Mt. Vernon Register News for making me the paperboy that I was).

The day I turned 16, it was good-bye bike and hello drivers license! I didn't have my own car, and my parents weren't too into letting me take theirs. They did let me have a television in my own room though.

It was all downhill from there.

Wasn't until I was 30yrs old when I rediscovered the bike. Now when I'm rushing on my run I feel just like Jesus' son.

Chazu said...

Hope you and Mrs. Snob left enough frozen pizza in the freezer for the seventeen kids prior to departing for vacation.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff Snobby. Whatever it takes to get kids back on bicycles. For almost everyone my age (60+), the bike was their first taste of freedom.

Former Esteemed Colleague said...

Hey, Preacher!
Leave those kids alone!

I may agree with you that the children are the future (And why should we have all the fun?), teach them well and let them lay some skids.
But at the same time, leave them alone.
Parasailing is good, though, as long as it is behind a powerboat or something with an engine.

Anonymous said...

I too have a a broken "Roc Loc," on my Giro helmet. On the rare occasion I don the helmet to appeal to some park authority or sanctioning body, nobody knows the difference.

Reportedly Vista only purchased the cycling brands in 2016 (if reports are correct.) While I can't imagine a struggling LBS to pull them, I had different feelings walking through REI this weekend and seeing a literal wall of Giro and Bell products.

Finally, having lived in Thailand in the 80s, at least at that time, I never saw so many people killed on the roads. Almost weekly I would personally see somebody smushed, crushed, cut open or otherwise fatally flung... motorcyclists, drivers, pedestrians, monks walking around for alms, tricycles of motored and un-motored flavors and many other conveyances. The only people who seemed really safe were those on elephants (no joke.) Recently watched a video on their new highspeed rail and how it's to be integrated into communities. I haven't been there in years, but it sounds like vast improvements have been made (maybe somebody with more recent experience can chime in?)

Anonymous said...

Had to look up Don Walker;so how is it insulting to call a fat person fat? They told us in law school that when it comes to slander/lible the truth is an absolute defense. And sweaty seems like a reasonable inference to me! Actually looking at his picture I'm guessing morbidly obese or as I like to say "killer fat".

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

I am psychically scarred from many things.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:00pm,

Never called him fat or sweaty nor would I. The link to my original post is in the exchange.

--Wildcat Etc.

Seattle lone wolf said...

I too like the BSNYC sticker idea. But until they are available put gaffers tape over the logos, like they do on tv and movie sets.

hellbelly said...

Most people take themselves way too seriously as Don Walker apparently did. The faster that someone is offended by anything the lower their IQ.

leroy said...

Well this is odd.

My dog read Mr. BSNYC's post and observed "Chicks dig me because I rarely wear helmets, but when I do it's usually something unusual."

He's so obscure sometimes.

Streaming Live From Plant Tridork said...

Bret Sighting, now in Ultra 4K!
https://www.roku.com/4k-ultra-hd

blunchbelly said...

How did you break that rachety thing, did being the world’s greatest semi-pro bike blogger give you a big head?

Joe said...

I just checked out the Facebook comments for the Outside column. I'm very sad now.

1904 Cadardi said...

The Giro stickers on my healment are already about halfway gone through no effort of mine. Hooray for poor adhesive!

From your Outside article: "we’ve pretty much killed the idea of riding to school and to visit friends"
When I was a kid, there was a large padock for bicycles at both my elementary amd junior high schools with room for more than 50 bikes. They were full almost every day until the snow started flying. The elementary school near my house has a bike rack for 10 bikes and it's never full, but the line of cars out front every morning is two blocks long.

Anonymous said...

Snobby, Not sure if you really need to worry about the masses overrunning your secret holiday spot even though you are a high profile celebrity blogger.

Getting kids to ride bikes? I find that it's not really the kids that the problem, it's Society! Is it safe for them to ride? (Even with helmets) Hardly! The problem is we hand out drivers Licenses to any idiot who can pass a test that hasn't changed in 50 years. There's a sense of entitlement in our society that every person regardless of IQ, should be able to operate a motor vehicle. People regularly Blast down the street by my house with a 30mph limit @ 50 or 60! Residential area? Safety? What's that? It's infectious too, because if everybody else is driving 50MPH pretty soon you find yourself doing it!?

My wife doesn't like the idea of our kids riding around the neighborhood, because she's paranoid, but not totally without reason; we seem to have more and more depraved individuals floating around society these days; she worries more about creeps, perverts & weirdo's then she does suicide jockeys behind the wheel of rolling meat wagons. - Mas

Hee Haw the barista said...

Khum Wongsaeng

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDqsgbtpDLk

BamaPhred said...

Every once in a while I see a child actually trying to ride a bike to school. After a few days of dealing with the traffic, they’re like fuck this, “Mom, take me to school in the the ostensible leased Hyundai.”

bad boy of the south said...

Yeah,holy crap,batman.the line of cars/suvs on a mon/fri given day down here in this part of the triangle.it would give a certain part of da bronx,a run for its' money.

Anonymous said...

Two Minutes

Anonymous said...

but really. what about the new year's resolution. how much running have you done. on the beach or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

RE HELMENTS:

1. remove the logo sticker
2. buy a Testors spray bomb and wipe out the logo

Reason is that they had your money a long time ago so you already have figurative blood on your hands. Now go wash your hands and fret no more. Just don't do it no more - got it?

Al said...

If the gunz don’t get you, the cars will.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:51pm,

What resolution? Someone made a resolution?

--Wildcat Etc.

Skidmark said...

5000 baht? let’s see- that’s only 159.99 merican fun tickets. That’ll getcha a Giro @ REI.

JLRB said...

N/A @ 9:45 - Good on you for repurposing the idle bicycles. One of my pet local charities takes donated bikes of all types and teaches kids to work on them- they can earn a bike for themselves by working at the shop Phoenix Bikes

I've donated a few bikes and boxes of accumulated parts to them - it helps kids and beats dealing with Craig's list ads.

N/A said...

My current resolution is 1920 x 1080 (x 2).

Rightfully Nostalgic said...

1972 - 1975; Middle School in New Jersey. Rows and rows of bike racks, and all of them full of Schwinns, Raleighs (those were sweet), and others practically everyday. Nothing better than taking the long way home riding next to my belle at age 12 and 13.

I feel sorry for today's kids.

Jeffrey Abelson said...

It's not about guns it's about regulation... If the brands you mention are fighting reasonable gun control that might be an issue. But if they make standard guns and ammo, what's the prob...

BikeSnobNYC said...

Jeffrey Abelson,

The company that owns them supports the NRA who are fighting reasonable gun control.

(It's almost like companies that sell guns and ammo have an interest in people stockpiling guns and using lots of ammo...)

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Arizona hillbilly said...

I was there a few years back,rode and camped all over. Friendliest traffic ever...

Bill said...

Still disappoined you're not a fan of the shooting sports. Shooting and cycling share much. Oh well, I still love your blog.

John Michael Swartz said...

Guy Y, your comment on porn is as weirdly specific as your picture of Ata Kak. Obaa Sima, friend.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Bill,

I have no problem with shooting sports per se and certainly appreciate why it's enjoyable. I do have a problem with our country's embarassing and tragic approach to guns.

--Wildcat Etc.