Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Owning It

Artisanal blog curation is essentially a service industry, and as such it is occasionally recumbent upon me to address customer feedback.  For example, recently I wrote a column for Outside about how self-driving cars freak me out, and in amongst the usual litany of comments on their Facebook page about how cyclists deserve to die I found this thoughtful critique of my work:


Christian Cutshaw The running columnist and the bike snob are both annoying, whiny, talent-less hipsters, who shouldn't be writing for Outside. Their articles are less about actual content, and more about having an enormous public audience to whom they can vent their frustrations, which are often excessive, pedantic, and hostile.

Does it make me a total hipster that I regard with bemusement and contempt anyone so out of it that they think I'm a hipster?  Seriously, what a rube.  For that matter, I feel bad for pretty much anybody who's still using the term "hipster" in 2018, since everybody knows the hipster sensibility went mainstream years ago and I think we're pretty solidly in the post-normcore era now.  (Though I can't say for sure, I'm pretty out of it, despite my trendy lifestyle and the fact I live in a neighborhood were "hip" means you wear a knit yarmulke.)

Then again, just hours after reading the above comment, I found myself riding a singlespeed bicycle:


To Brooklyn:


Where I ate lunch in the Whole Foods on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.

Oh my god, I really am a hipster if it was ten years ago.

Here's another indignant comment I found right here on this very blog:

Anonymous said...

...now you're defending that corny artisanal boutique wood framed monstrosity. You know darned well that most any 'normal' frame would perform just as well with those components. I challenge you to race that bike & then switch frames and see which one is 'better' !!! Maybe do a time trial somewhere... and use a surly pacer or something similar as the replacement

APRIL 2, 2018 AT 9:43 PM

You know, eleven years into this blog I shouldn't have to hold your hand anymore, and certainly it's a given that any well-built frame that puts your components and body parts in the right places relative to each other is going to perform about as well as any other.  Furthermore, at no point did I claim that the "corny artisanal boutique wood framed monstrosity" performed any better than any other frame might have.  In fact, I said it performed worse, since its only water bottle mount is on the downtube and I've got to reach between my legs for it like I'm cleaning my scranus.

Indeed, now that I've been racing again I found myself wondering what bike I'd buy if I weren't a middle-aged Fred and semi-professional bike blogger with more bikes than I can ride in a week, and to that end I've found myself browsing the websites of the mainstream bike brands to stay in touch with the commoners who don't receive $10,000 bikes in the mail.  (Losers!)  Were I starting the whole bike racing thing from scratch today, I'd probably go with something like this:

Or this:


Or this:


All of which are relatively inexpensive by new bike standards and would leave you wanting for absolutely nothing if your focus is go-fast riding.  Indeed, for all my ridicule of expensive bikes over the years, it seems to me that if you ignore the ultra-high end bikes you get a lot more Fred sled for your money now than you did back when I started racing.

Of course, the fact is I don't need to buy a new bicycle, praise be to Lob.  I've also paid my dues over the years, both in riding bikes and in blogging, and as such I've got no compunctions about relishing the fact that when I get an occasional break from parenting I get to ride around on a "corny artisanal boutique wood framed monstrosity" that costs more than all three of those bikes combined while offering essentially the same level of performance.  It's not about going faster; it's about reaching a point in life where you enjoy the satisfaction that a team of Portland beardos had to toil away for hours for the sake of your leisure time.  (I have no idea if the people who work at Renovo actually have beards, but between the Portland and the bikes and the wood it would be incredible if they didn't.)  And sure, if the bike rode like crap I'd certainly say so, but the fact is it rides great despite its quirks, chief among those being the bottle cage.  Sorry to disappoint you.

Hey, I told you this was a service industry--it's just that the customer I'm serving is myself.

(And don't worry, once the Renovo insists on getting their bike back you'll find me astride a more humble velocipede.)

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

podiating yo.

Atherton said...

Podioso!

Turdis Miller said...

Boo-yah!

Billy said...

I am continually saddened by how many people respond to the suggestion that maybe the more powerful vehicles should bear commensurate responsibility with knee jerk hostility with a dash of classism.

On the other hand, I vicariously enjoy your cycling exploits, whether it's a multimodal cross town Brompton jaunt, a dirt trail spin on your freakish Ol Piney, or the resumption of Fredly mid-pack activities.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of wood, any ya'll NYC folk have anything nice to say about Inwood? Or maybe not nice? Upstate MTBeardo moving down for a job.

bad boy of the south said...

rubbing the sleep from my eyes.an early post fersure.how does that revovo react to changing temperatures? is it more compliant in warmer weather and is it like riding an old Louisville slugger in the colder air? just wondering...

Ben H said...

Since it's a wood frame can't you just screw your bottle cages on wherever you want?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 9:41am,

Inwood is great. And you can ride to MTB trails!

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

i'd like to make an "actual" comment, not something fake for the sake of publicity, only to show how i lack the hipster talent i've been searching for. hoping for a podium position even if the top 3 spots have been taken...please moderate.

leroy said...

This morning on Park Avenue South, a black SUV parked in the middle of the street to wait for a passenger to run an errand.

I went around, then the SUV came up behind me and honked.

I turned around, smiled goofily, waved, pointed to the red light ahead, and stayed in the middle of the lane.

The guy rolled down his window and told me I should be in the bike lane because it would be his fault if I got hurt.

Well of course there's no bike lane on Park Avenue South and of course he could run me over and the NYPD would tell the NY Post I teleported from another dimension in front of the SUV bumper with no warning.

I explained to the SUV driver that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Those meditation classes my dog leads are really starting to pay off.

He's so hip. Pricey, but hip.

bad boy of the south said...

Oops! renovo....

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Top 20?

Now that you rode the single speed bike is the New Year's resolution dead?

You're too good for Outside, I hope they are paying you more than adequately.

Were do I report typos?

ken e. said...

what billy said, with profanity.

blunchbelly said...

Could have made the podium but had to check if free $10,000 bike was in mail. No bike and no podium, I’m a double looser.

bad boy of the south said...

it's incumbent about recumbent

hermit crab said...

"the bike snob" - reminds me of "The Batman".

Thanks for keeping on keeping on. The Stockholm Syndrome runs deep. Some of those commenters have to be taking the piss though - "Brad Wigg", really?

N/A said...

Christian Cutshaw is a feckless little man. Like most tough guys behind a keyboard, I'd suspect the closest he gets to actually being "outside" is when his mom takes him to the store to pick up his supply of Bawls.
Having read BSNYC for a pile of years, the only time I see Wildcat getting pedantic or hostile or venting a frustration is when he's advocating for all of our safety when those of us who actually go outside don't want to get killed or whatever. I'm OK with somebody being "excessively" worried about peoples not getting run over by a car and killed, that's cool with me. There used to be some funny fixie stuff, too, but RIP I guess.

So, Christian Cutshaw, this part of Bike Snob's enormous audience would like to suggest you pull your head out of your ass.




"lunch in the Whole Foods on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg."
Did you get avocado toast and coffee made from artisanally-roasted beans while your ax was getting sharpened next door?

Anonymous said...

You mention the single bottle cage twice today. That brings the total complaints about it to 20 or so. Guy gets a 10K bike to ride around in exchange for writing about it all he does is complain about the one bottle cage for weeks on end. Please Renovo ... make it stop!

dave b said...

A quick perusal of the Renovo website shows that the employees appear to be on average less bearded than a random sampling of Portland residents.
https://renovobikes.com/pages/craft
https://renovobikes.com/pages/about-us-1

dancesonpedals said...

I have a feeling that the more you mention the RENOVO!, the longer they'll let you keep it.

Posting pictures & having us mention it certainly can't hurt.

And no publicity is bad publicity...somewhere a dentist is telling himself, "I must be sure to get the optional downtube bottle cage."

Joe said...

Anon 9:41,

Inwood is a true gem. The apartments are big (relatively) and affordable (relatively) and you have quick access to NYC's best riding options.

McFly said...

..................excessive, pedantic, and hostile.

That's my ChristianMingle profile bio.

Bikeboy said...

But... can ALL of us agree that the guy who writes about RUNNING is a talentless hipster? (I can't speak with authority... I'd rather RUN than READ about running, and I don't care for either.)

crankyfred said...

Normcore? Is that a real word or did you just make it up? Asking for a friend. Of a friend. Okay,it's me

Anonymous said...

FUCK ZUCK
!AYH SMB!

Chazu said...

Anyone reading this blog for eleven (11) years knows that you aren't a Hipster.

You're an Urban Lumberjack. Duh.

Dennis Benneti said...

I think you should appreciate any opportunity to ride a "corny artisanal boutique wooden framed monstrosity". Bike lovers can appreciate the old and the new. You pretty find any kind of bike on the internet, without any shame if you have VPN services. And since you're a parent, you can do whatever you want, you deserve it.

Anon 9:41 said...

Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback. Can you expand on "NYC's best riding options" from the perspective of proximity to Inwood? I've been hearing really great things about the neighborhood. Heading down on Thursday for a visit.

JLRB said...

suffering fools

janinedm said...

I live in Washington Heights, just south of Inwood. I second everyone here saying its a great neighborhood. Just don't be a woozy about hills. These are the highest points in Manhattan and the social expectation is that you climb them without making a big deal. I don't know about the mountain biking, but it's near to good places to ride to (I prefer transportation cycling and have a sweet spot for itineraries where the bike makes it easier so I feel like I'm getting something over on somebody). For example, you can take a day and visit all the breweries in the Bronx: Bronx Brewery, Gun Hill, and the Chelsea Craft Brewing Company. You could swing over to Arthur Avenue, but don't eat too much. The first time I visited Arthur Ave, I was bad enough at navigating the area that I picked the hilliest route on a belly full of cannolis and sopprasetta. Would not recommend.

Also, we're post- post-normcore. It's gorp-core now. Ironically, gorp-core is all about outdoor utility so the hipsters are wearing Patagonia, North Face, and Columbia. So he's the hipster.

janinedm said...

Anon 9:41, there's the 9W, which people get sick of but starts out as fun and you should do it. There's all of the rides that BSNY outlines, which are going to start close to Inwood. (The Fondon't starts in Inwood.) There's mountain biking. I just recently moved and one of my only requirements was I have to be above 170th at least.

dancesonpedals said...

Anon-

For MTB, there's Highbridge Park in Manhattan, Sprain Ridge Park a few miles up the south County Trailway in Westchester, and the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail all the way from the Bronx to the Croton Reservoir.

For Fred Biking, ride across the GWB to New Jersey & join the hordes, or take the aforementioned South County Trailway from Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to points north (Westchester River Towns, Central Westchester Hill Fests & over to Connecticut)

dnk said...

@Leroy 11:09 -- if you can keep your cool in a situation like that, and manage a goofy smile to boot, then your dog's meditation lessons are indeed worth all of the pricey hip dog food that you buy him....

HDEB said...

Inwood has yummy Dominican food! Hipster is always an accusation, never a declaration. Hipsters do not enter Amazon/Whole Foods as the store is a style-less Corporate monstrosity that puts local grocers out of business. Please support locally-owned business!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anon 9:41,

Not to repeat what others have said, but I'm gonna:

--5 minutes to Highbridge Park, only legal MTB trails in Manhattan. It's small and it's rough around the edges, but being able to rip around on your mountain bike for an hour after work on a summer evening is a real luxury;

--10-15 minutes from the GWB where you can pick up all the most popular road riding routes (and trails too);

--Reasonable riding distance to Sprain Ridge Park (maybe 10 or so miles), one of the better mountain bike spots in the area, as well as lots of other good road and dirt options in Westchester;

--Metro North station close by (Marble Hill) which means you could train it up to Blue Mountain, which is arguably the best mountain biking in the area;

----You can pick up the Hudson River Greenway at Dyckman Street and ride the entire west side of Manhattan down to the Battery free from car traffic;

--Harlem River Greenway at the other end of Dyckman will take you down the east side of Manhattan to 155th with no car traffic.

--Neighborhood has a bike shop (Tread Bikes)

You've also got two subway lines (1 and A) and a great green space (Inwood Hill Park). People who live in Brooklyn (and most of Manhattan for that matter) will think you live on the other end of the earth but that may be a selling point. Have lunch and a drink at Indian Road Cafe when you visit.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

For folks who can’t grow a beard, what is the equivalent Portland personal aesthetic?

leroy said...

Anon 9:41 -

First things first. Go to any NYC bike shop and get the free NYC Bike Map.

1. Road Ride North thru NJ - From Inwood it's a short hop across Dykman Street to the West Side Highway Greenway and down to the George Washington Bridge. From there, head south on Hudson Terrace for about a half mile and make a sweeping U-turn into the Park we all call River Road (official name is Henry Hudson Drive). Take that north for 7 miles through the rolling park with a mile long hill at the end. It rejoins 9W and you can head up to Piermont or Nyack or even Bear Mountain. There are spurs off 9W if you want some hills.

2. Road Ride North through NY - From Dykman Street, pick up the West Highway Greenway and head north along Henry Hudson Bridge (but only for a little while longer, the bike path will be closed during construction for a while)and wander north along Palisade Ave.

Alternatively, go North on Seaman Ave to 218th St, head east a couple of blocks eto Broadway and then north a block or two to the Broadway Bridge into the Bronx (actually it's Marble Hill and still part of Manhattan, but you're now off Manhattan Island).

The Broadway Bridge is the start of BSNYC's Gran Fondon't. Head over to Van Cortland Park (via TIbbet Ave to W. 240th to W. 242nd) and take a look at any of BSNYC's Strava routes for some rides. The South County and North County trails are easy and nice. Tibbets Brook Park off the South County trail is worth exploring.

The Old Croton Aqueduct trail is dirt and scenic and sometimes bumpy, but doable on a road bike. If you see someone's lost dignity along the side of the trail, that would be mine.

3. Road ride around Manhattan - You can head South along the West Side Highway the length of Manhattan. You can also head East on Dykman and pick up the bike path along the Harlem River Drive (where the gentry used to have carriage races). That drops you out around 155th Street and you can either head across town to the West Side Highway or thread your way South to the greenway which picks up again around 120th.

Or you can head down to Central Park.

4. Mountain Biking - BSNYC has written about mountain biking in Highbridge Park. Enter on Fort George Hill a block or two before the East River (right off of Dykman Street; notice how Dykman Street takes you everywhere?)

5. In the fall, register for the free Tour de Bronx. You'll cover the boro from the Grand Concourse to City Island to Orchard Beach to Riverdale and The Botanic Garden.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:40,

Dating a beardo, marrying a beardo, or otherwise partnering with a beardo.

That, and a tattoo of a paper airplane.

David Suto said...

Looks like more wooden bike news and less e-bike kvetching in the future of Bike Snob.

http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/165-18/mayor-de-blasio-new-framework-clarify-legality-pedal-assist-bicycles

Anonymous said...

Jones Bikes has an advertisement in the March 2018 issue of Outside, no doubt targeting fans of artisanal blog curation who strayed into the magazine’s pages.

Beck said...

Maybe it's the touristy thing to do, but when I visited NYC with my bicycle, I sought out the busiest, thickest clusters of traffic I could find. I greatly enjoyed the midtown afternoon rushhour. Bike of choice was a 7 speed alloy beach cruiser with cantis, which proved nearly ideal for city traffic jamming. I didn't chop the handlebars, though so some of my weaves got a little tight. Tried to pass in a narrowing gap coming off the Manhattan Bridge and took out some guys mirror right in front of a squad car parked in the bikelane. Bastards. The bike was fine. A surprisingly pleasant encounter with NYC's finest and some upstanding Gothamites. They were so solicitous to my just-visiting bumpkin facade I wanted to buy them all a cup of coffee afterwards. As to the traffic, there was at other times surprisingly few cars on your charming streets! I'd frequently find myself the only moving vehicle on the block, advantaged by the light cycles or simply a surprising lack of traffic.What's happening in that town? And the pathways and protected lane network are so extensive! You fair city has a lot to offer riders. Splendid riding conditions just about everywhere a person can pedal.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I don't read your blog because it's about bikes anymore. I read it because it's well written and makes me laugh. Basically, I think you're a good writer.

Comebacks like "You know, eleven years into this blog I shouldn't have to hold your hand anymore..." make my day.

Anonymous said...

This blog gives me wood.

Anonymous said...

It's spelled hilpster. Idiot. Sad.

campbell fdy said...

Don’t know if anyone mentioned it & it’s a gray area as to legality but the Central Park bridle path bow tie is always a fun ride. Ignore the creeps w thier creepy off leash dogs and ride slow. It’s magic on a fall evening

bad boy of the south said...

Don't forget Graham Hills in Pleasantville.a relative short ride from NYC. Metro North has a station not far from there.And P'ville has sone pretty good restaurants as well.

biorider said...

The Renovo could use a handlebar mounted bottle cage. Not one of the modern tri-dork style, more '60s Tour de France style. What was old is new. Wish I still had mine.

MrLobstermash said...

Cyclingtips.com is spruiking the new 105 groupset. Claims it's a significant upgrade from 5800, but can't substantiate why... talk about marginal gains (or non-existent).

der blaue Reiter said...

Normcore, those were the days! When the irony was flying so thick and fast nobody could tell anymore where parody began or ended... is that artisinal pencil sharpener still in business?

Anonymous said...

Prospect point, Stanley Park. Hands down best ride. oops, wrong city. Wrong country.
ride safe.

Anonymous said...

In line with what the prolific bad boy said, it's still nice to see that recumbents made it into your blog, first sentence no less. Must have a Freudian soft spot (in your cranium?) for them....

dop said...

Graham Hill?

or Graham Hills?

Coincidence? I think NOT!

bad boy of the south said...

Anon@1251a,i thought i was prophetic. i stand corrected.i didn't see that coming.
Dop@655a,glad you didn't use Graham Kerr.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

And someday in our lifetime the bike path, err "Shared Use Path" on the new Tappan Zee, I mean Governor Mario M Cuomo, Bridge will open, apparently with some issues. But think of the epic scranular outline you'll be able to Strava while covering the Old Croton Aqueduct, Tappan Zee, 9W, GWB and Highbridge!

Schisthead said...

That was some excessive, pedantic, and hostile frustration from that twitter bro.

JLRB said...

Wtf - do you think people come here to read comments about bikes in NYC?

ken e. said...

the pencil sharpener is david rees, and if you don't know, you should.

"these goddamn numbers aren't adding up!"

Bikeboy said...

Ben H: "Since it's a wood frame can't you just screw your bottle cages on wherever you want?"

Answer the question, Snob!

The same thing occurred to me. Get a packet of 3/4-inch wood screws at Lowes for a buck or so... install a bottle cage wherever you want! And maybe a decorative shelf, or a flower pot holder, while you're at it. Pound a nail in, and hang a calendar on it!

Anonymous said...

ant1st blows goats

Jeff Abelson said...

I don't know about the hipster bullsht, but you are an engaging and talented writer