Wednesday, May 2, 2018

"There's No Place I'd Rather Be," I Keep Telling Myself

Well, it's Bike Month, and you'll be pleased, nonplussed, or indifferent to learn that I've stopped sulking about not living in California.  I knew that would happen, because I've been through that before, and I generally find it takes about two weeks to go from "Why the hell do I live here again?" to "New York's the best and people who live in other places are stupid."  It also helps that the weather has finally turned, and yesterday was the first day of the year that I'd officially categorize as "glorious:"

However, as the sort of over-torqued neurotic who enjoys living in New York I was unable to enjoy the day fully.  Yes, the weather was perfect, and yes, my ride was delightful, but as I glided effortlessly past all those buttercups on state-of-the-art gravel tires inflated to exactly [redacted] PSI I lamented the fact that all this glory was fleeting and in short order the buttercups would wilt, the sun would grow more oppressive, the air would become thick with humidity and insects, and before I know it we'll be into the dog days of summer.  Then from there you're only a meager handful of delightfully crisp autumn riding days away from winter, and the whole cycle of hopelessness and death begins anew.

So yeah, the fact that this is what's going on in my head on a beautiful spring day is why I'll never be one of these people:

"One of my favorite things about LA is having a lot more space, and being able to really start my day with intention, ritual and time. I naturally wake up earlier on the West Coast, and I love being able to walk into the living room, open all the shutters, let the light stream in (and the quality of the light here is just different: better, warmer), meditate for ten minutes, make a cup of coffee and enjoy it for a full half hour before I start doing work or looking at work email," explains Gandhi.

It's not that I don't wake up early, it's just that for me starting the day with "intention, ritual and time" means waking up in the dark, watching something bleak on TV while I wait for the caffeine to kick in, and then heading down to Central Park where I compete for recreational space with a bunch of Type A fitness freaks.  Indeed I did just that this morning, though when I puttered into the living room to look for something depressing to watch I noticed the cat hadn't followed me as she usually does:

It soon dawned on me that she must have slipped out into the hall sometime yesterday evening, and so I headed out into the stairwell and up to the top floor landing where I usually find her after such escape attempts.  This time however upon hearing me she scurried down the stairs and into my arms.  Then she dug her claws deep into my neck, half-feral with fear after having spent the past eight hours in exile out in the hall.  In the morning hours when you've only recently emerged from sleep everything takes on added significance, so as I returned her to the apartment and attempted to extract her claws from my shirt so I could put her the fuck down I couldn't help thinking that this terrified cat who had been "lost" a mere 20 feet from her home was a fuzzy metaphor for us all.  Aren't we all sort of lost?  And as we scan the horizon for the mast of the thing that will make our lives better isn't it true that real happiness is all around us and eternally within our reach, just as long as we're willing to reach for it?  What happened to this boy, so full of hope and joy?

Life, that's what happened:

Actually I doubt I was full of hope and joy in that photo.  Indeed I don't remember it ever being taken, so I can only assume the photographer somehow frightened me into plastering that strained smile across my face and I've blocked the trauma from my memory.

All of this is to assure you that, even though I brazenly fucked off for a bicycle ride on a beautiful Tuesday morning while the truly unlucky were stuck at work, I was still wallowing in existential angst.  Okay, that's a lie.  Not only I was enjoying the hell out of myself, but knowing everyone else was at work only made it better.  There was one small blemish, however, which was that when I got to my favorite artisanal lunch spot:

It was closed:

I'd been fantasizing about that lunch the whole way up, so that was a bummer.  Still I pressed on:

Pausing only briefly to consider the irony that people are freaking out about "bike litter" yet there are car parts all over the place:

And then I headed back southward, congratulating myself the entire way for not doing anything productive:

I regret nothing.

Speaking of bikes and the riding of them, I am still ostensibly engaged in the long-term testing of the Renovo Aerowood, photographed poorly by me early this morning upon my return from Central Park:

I also cleaned it by vacuuming it the other day, something it has never occurred to me to do before, probably because none of my other bicycles resembles an end table.

As I've mentioned before, I've recently lowered the stem, indicating that I've transitioned from "totally unfit" to "not completely unfit:"

As for the unsightly section of steer tube above the stem, I have no immediate plans to remove it because:

1) I don't feel like it;
2) I don't feel like paying anyone else to do it;
3) It's not my bike;
4) I'll no doubt revert back to "totally unfit" and need to raise the stem at some point anyway.

By the way, with regard to Reason #3, while it's not my bike it sure feels like it is, and I mean that as a compliment to the bike.  Apart from the only-one-bottle thing I've mentioned ad nauseam I must say I've really grown to love the thing.  It really does ride beautifully, and at some point I'll probably replace the 23mm tires with 25s because I think it'll ride even better--exactly two millimeters better, obviously.  I'm only sorry that one day I'll have to return it and go back to being one of those regular schmucks who don't get to ride an exotic wood bicycle.

But hey, at least I don't have to go to work.

Finally, as you've no doubt heard, Vista Outdoor is getting out of the bike racket:

Vista Outdoor, the Utah-based company that owns prominent cycling gear brands like Giro and Bell, is also one of the country’s biggest gun manufacturers. This—along with the company’s support of the NRA—came as news to many in the cycling community after the February mass shooting that left 17 dead in Parkland, Florida. The revelation sparked a boycott of Vista-owned products, which both independent bike shops as well as massive retailers like REI would eventually join.

Now, Vista is getting out of bikes and guns. The company announced on Tuesday that it will stop selling firearms and refocus on its “core” products such as ammunition, hunting and shooting accessories, water bottles, and outdoor cookware. It also plans to “explore strategic options”—that is, look for buyers—for some of its Sports Protection brands, including Giro, Bell, and Blackburn.

Watch them get bought by an oil company.


JLRB said...

Wow that is some depressing shit to bring down a beautiful Spring ride. Sadly my mind has gone through a similar "cycle" of cycling seasons game while pedaling along - you capture it perfectly.

If I can taste pollen after my ride does that mean trees are fucking in my nostrils?

Watch and Camera Guy said...


N/A said...

Yesterday was glorious here, too. Only I'm one of the schmucks that had to go to work. Then when I got home I had to mow the yard. But driving in circles, drinking beers, and enjoying the sun was still pretty sweet. It's nice to be able to wear shorts again, pants are for suckers.

Are there mower Freds?

Anonymous said...

take me to the river

ken e. said...

boom! mystery pode!

Hee Haw the Barista said...


Anonymous said...

Nocommments yet?!?

Unknown said...

Top ten for the win!

Polymer said...

I was reading a mostly positive review about Renovo's mountain bike. I was surprised to learn that the Renovo is in fact a carbon fiber frame with a wood veneer (or exoskeleton if you will), something I don't recall being mentioned here.

For comparison, have you ever ridden a bamboo/epoxy bike (Calfee?) or maybe something solidly wood and light on epoxy (like a Skuut balance bike?)

Anonymous said...

Nice post today. I was missing you. Thought perhaps you had abandoned us, at least for a while. Now I see it was post-California paralysis: oh, shit do I really live [wherever you are from when you get back from California.] Welcome back.

HDEB said...

This inane comment was sent by an over-torqued neurotic douchebag that enjoys living in NY and who is currently in an SUV in Manhattan -- I suck!

Anonymous said...

After months of careful evaluation I know what PSI snob runs. Its [redacted] but only when he anticipates riding those 23mm on dirt then its [redacted].

Pist Off said...

Polymer, you got a source for that misleading misinformation? Renovo’s bike show booths have a cutaway frame showing how it’s basically all laminated wood, with some carbon reinforcement at the head tube. These are wood frames. I have come to appreciate them as pretty damn cool.

Uptight Luddite said...

According to the new&improved dictionary- one can now be plussed and nonplussed at the same time. That is progress.

It'sNotOftenABotanistGetsToSpeakOut said...

" short order the buttercups would wilt..."

After the buttercups in the NYC area start blooming in a month or so, they will in fact wilt after a while.

The small yellow flowers in the first photo are Bidens aristosa, know by many common names (Bearded Beggarticks, Tickseed Sunflower, Bur Marigold), but "butter cup" is not one of them.

wle said...

re: renovo - that convex top tube would bother me every time i looked at it.. WHY WHY WHY!>?

McFly said...

I'm California Dreamin' on a semi-daily basis it seems, that place is probably better in dreams that real life.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Murphy's Oil Soap on the Renovo? They might turn into a lucrative sponsor.

Suwannee Dave said...

Isn't it really another plastic bike that uses wood fiber instead of carbon fiber for the matrix?

BikeSnobNYC said...


Thank you, Flower Fred!

--Wildcat Etc.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Pretty sure I've mentioned there's crabon in the Renovo. However it's definitely a wood frame, not a wooden "veneer." I believe the Aerowood is the only one that has crabon in it but don't quote me on that.

Have not tried any bamboo bikes, but would be interested in doing so.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed our one day of spring yesterday, now it's officially summer. 88 degrees. WTF

paulb said...

Yeah, Stone Barns closed on Tuesdays. I've deeply felt the letdown. Deeply. (Because the sanitary facilities. Which are ultra ultra sanitary.)

If Renovo made you an offer you couldn't refuse would you refuse?

N/A said...

"I believe the Aerowood is the only one that has crabon in it"

- Bike Snob NYC, AKA Wildcat Etc.
May 2, 2018 at 1:57 PM

BikeSnobNYC said...


I was off the record!

--Wildcat Etc.

1904 Cadardi said...


Nope, they aren't fucking in your nostrils at all. That would be gross. They're fucking all around and you're just inhaling tree jizz. Not that that is any better.

True story: robo-quiz said "Select all squares with a vehicle". The picture was someone riding a bike, it wouldn't accept that. Typical.

dancesonpedals said...

Uptight Luddite-

can one be chalant?

Chazu said...

CA might suffer a devastating earthquake at any moment. Best not to move there.

But Yellowstone National Park sits atop a massive volcano, and all of North America might be eradicated by that volcano at any moment. As evidence, I present the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory:

Have a nice day.

leroy said...

My dog did the Google picture thing. He's been insufferable.

grog said...

Glorious ride. If you had been in Caulifornia, you can bet your Bearded Beggarticks that your wooden wonder bike cycle woulda burned up.

Anonymous said...

Failed Organic Chemistry wants to know . . .

Isn't wood essentially carbon?

JLRB said...

Missed my chance to say "Podium Beeches"

Chazu - While visiting Yellowstone on a snowmobile tour I saw a big puff of smoke burp out of the nearby trees - our tour-guide was all excited about the geological activity ... lots of ways to die wandering around Yellowstone - stay on the path (stay off the moors). Apparently there are rocks in Florida from the big Yellowstone eruption


bad boy of the south said...

leroy,i definitely see the resemblance.

Mess with Texas, please. said...

Dallas Texas of all places has supposedly become the Bike Share leader in America. For some reason 4-6 (number depends on varying reports) different Dockless Bike Share companies are fighting to become the Bike Share Company of Dallas. Why? The transportation infrastructure is generally a tribute to a Robert Moses Dream of Car Supremacy; and the bike modal share is like 0.2%. So now there are >20,000 bikes "littering" Dallas. I don't think they are littering Dallas anymore than SUVs or Big Hair, but that is how it is being reported. They are also being vandalized and called "roadkill". I think it is nice that someone is trying to get Dallas-Texans to ride more bikes, but I am kind of bewildered that a bunch of companies are fighting over Dallas.

Anonymous said...

Google-Pukwana, South Dakota. They host mower races. Hurry, Season is about to start.

bad boy of the south said...

Durham is getting "littered" by many litters of dockless bikes as well.

Uptight Luddite said...

DOP @ 3:31pm— it requires remaining Cool, confused, and collected.

Anonymous said...

Where's the EROICA CA report? Was this one different since they let modern bikes on the course the same day?

Anonymous said...

You vacuumed your Aerowood?
Did that temporarily relieve your New Yorker's "existential dread"?

(If not, you could try dusting or polishing it next time....)