Thursday, June 14, 2018

If Cooler Heads Prevail, Then I'm Balding My Way To Victory

First things firstly, I've got a new Outside column about how bike share is a big deal and how the concept of the "litter bike" is an oxymoron:


It's true, I can't think of any bike-related tech that's emerged during my lifetime that is even remotely as revolutionary as bike share.

Well, okay, maybe the CoolHead:


Hey, that's fine if he wants to sell the idea of pouring water in your helmet, but how the FUCK do you do something like this and not use the tagline "Cooler Heads Prevail"?!?

Sorry, for the strong language, but that's some fucking bullshit.

Speaking of my lifetime, I've spent 11 years of it curating this blog.  Yep, that's right, yesterday was the 11th anniversary of this blog:


I'd planned to write a big post about this milestone full of all sorts of introspection and reflection, but since Outside had just published my Eroica story I instead dedicated yesterday's post to that trip.  Here, by the way, are the Mead and the Marin side-by-side:


How far we have or haven't come.

So instead I decided to curate the reflectrospection post today, but as it happens I recently took delivery of a badass new test bike:


If it spent one more day in the box my eager test pilot was going to kill me, so I spent the morning getting it together.  Islabikes sent both road and cyclocross tires and to start we went with the roadies.  They also sent fenders, a spare tube, and a set of hex keys for assembly (the BSNYC-branded grease is mine):


And if that weren't enough they also threw in some tires for me to try:


Plus these totally pro name transfers:


I assume one was for me but he insisted on using both:


And who am I to say no?


I figure I've got a few more years at best before he refuses to be associated with me in any way so I might as well enjoy it.

Anyway, it's a shockingly nice kid's bike and I almost resent him for it, even though I did have some sweet Skyway Tuff Wheel II mags when I was his age.  We've only done a brief shakedown ride so far, and I must say he's taken to the drop bars very quickly, which makes me concerned he may be a roadie:


And before you point out the obvious:

  • Yes, he's not wearing a helmet to ride his new bike around the freaking block.  Do you wear a helmet for short test rides?  (Actually, if you're the kind of person who is inclined to point out such things you probably do.)
  • Yes, I left the pie plate on.  In this house you earn the right to lose your pie plate, goddamn it!  And how do you earn it?  Either by out-sprinting the old man or else by figuring out how to use a chain whip and doing it yourself.  (Also I didn't feel like it, but maybe I'll take it off when we upgrade to a titanium cassette.)

Rest assured we'll report back after we've put in some proper saddle time.

In any case, the bike is now together, but alas the 11th anniversary blog post remains unwritten, and I suspect it always will.  What is there to say really?  When I started this blog I had a real job, a flip phone and no kids, and now here I am watching my progeny discover the joys of descending in the drops.  If I could do it all over again I wouldn't do a single thing differently, except maybe for making fun of David Byrne less (hey, he didn't have to go out of his way to promote cycling, he could have just sat back and counted his "Psycho Killer" royalties).  Also, I'd probably have skipped calling myself "Bike Snob NYC" and gone with "Wildcat Rock Machine" from the get-go.  But if this blog and its original name hadn't netted me a trip to Gothenburg, Sweden I'd never have spotted the fabled Rock Machine in the first place so there you go:



In closing, let's all take a moment and reflect on my outsized contribution to the world of cycling.  Oh sure, I may update this blog a bit less assiduously than I did in its heyday, but I've also created a vast media empire, including a weekly column for Outside, a daily blog for Transportation Alternatives, and, well, that's it really.  But hey, I outlasted Michael Ball and Rock Racing, and isn't that what really counts?


You're goddamn right.

56 comments:

leroy said...

My dog notes that when we started following your blog, I didn't qualify for AARP membership.

I told him that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Thanks for all the words and stuff!

Blog Drafter said...

Geez, it feels like eleven upside down years!

Anonymous said...

How can one not make fun of David Byrne.

Anonymous said...

"And before you point out the obvious..."

Plus the seat is too low.

(Digging the 70's hair cut the Wild Kitten is sporting, looks lot the vintage photos of his Old Man we have seen posted here.)

wishiwasmerckx said...

Thanks for 11 years of free entertainment, almost all of it top-drawer.

BTW, does 11 qualify as a palindrome?

Maria said...

Congrats on eleven years of awesomeness!
Your points on Outside about bikeshare mainstreaming the bicycle are right on.

bad boy of the south said...

eleventeen years!imagine that.

Gene said...

You don't just use a pair of scissors to remove the pie plate? So much easier than taking the cassette off.

dop said...

My copy of Emily Post says that 11 is the Scranus Anniversary.

Anonymous said...

BABY SHARK JUMP! cherished every minute. Well done, sir.

Jan! said...

I only started reading your blog in 2009 after seeing it mentioned on the venerable [touring-l] bike touring mailing list. (Mailing lists were like Twitter in that you could mouth off to anyone, but without the character limit. And less memes.)

… But I did go back and read every single entry, so I suppose that makes me –well– nothing, really.

Dad Fred said...

"I figure I've got a few more years at best before he refuses to be associated with me in any way so I might as well enjoy it."

This refuse-to-be-associated effect is far greater with girls. Right up until they want you to pay for cars, college, weddings, etc....

(Also, thanks and congrats for 11 years, hoping for many more.)

gatorjoe said...

Congrats Mr. Bike Snob. Well done.
I've been a fan from the beginning. I've even got some of those decals you had available with the "bike snob seal" in 'em. And, I met you and your lovely wife at Landry's bike shop in Boston just after your son was born; it was your first book tour and you autographed my copy of your first book. Then I went to Roger Williams Park in Providence the next day to watch you race cyclocross.
So its been a long trip for us out here, as well. An enjoyable one I must say.
Keep up the good work, and good luck going forward.

Chazu said...

I'm sorta kinda thinking of buying a new road bike to replace the one I've had for about 20 years. It is a Merckx Ti Majestic, made by Litespeed when Eddy owned Merckx and outsourced titanium fabrication to Litespeed, which was owned at the time by the founders of Litespeed: the Lynskey family. (Eddy has since sold Merckx, and the Lynskey's have since sold Litespeed.)

I'm really not liking what I'm seeing on the market: sloped top tubes for all frame sizes. I ride a 60cm road frame, and the sloped top tube on such a frame is hideous to me. That's probably just because I'm getting old. (I started reading this blog when my wife and the mother of my children was simply my "girlfriend" and she rode a Bianchi Eros.... which has a sloped top tube.)

The slope looks right for Snob Jr.'s test bike, and it looks ok for a smaller woman's frame, but the top tubes on the Mead and the Marin are what top tubes are supposed to be on larger frames: HORIZONTAL.

The Majestic frame has a pump peg, and you're goddamn right I use it to carry my Zefal HPX frame pump. Has anyone ever laid eyes on a sloping frame with a pump peg? Does anyone know what a frame pump is any more?

Bike Snob is the perfect fucking name for your blog. You're an inspiration, if not for riding, then for swearing. Thanks.


JLRB said...

Dang that human style offspring is getting all growed up!

I have yet to place drop bars under my offspring - but he has grown to the point of taking over my spare mountain bike - which I mock complain about but truly love his enjoyment of the bike cycle

I think I started following this blog shortly before or after crossing paths with your first book (you left the books out of your media empire).

Here’s to 11 more (at which point there will be 22 speed cassettes)

Chazu said...

P.S. Someone said it earlier this week, but this is a snobby bike blog, so it bears repeating: The paint job on the Marin is reminiscent of a Klein.

Klein was bought out by Trek. Blech.

Along for the ride said...

Oh Lob forgive me but …..I must say it....

It goes to 11!

Thanks for making my lunch hours so much better.

Muricun said...

Islam bike?!?!?!?!?

N/A said...

Happy Blogiversary Wildcat. I really enjoy the media juggernaut that you present to us all. Well done.



Has your son started worrying about tire pressure yet? It's never too early, you know.

HDEB said...

Eleven Years of BSNYC -- Thank you for all the effort you've put into this blog, it really has improved my life, reading it is something I always look forward to. Onward...

My eldest progeny can now comfortably ride my 20" wheel Powerlite BMX, I'd feel proud if pride weren't one of the seven deadly sins.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all those years of As The Toto Turns (or was that was those other guys?).

DB said...

Thanks for your time and effort.
I’ve been following since the Great Hipster Silk Route days and have read everyday.

Lisa Hyundai said...

Thank you for making me laugh really fucking hard so many times and for being so goddamn right about cycling issues.

Anonymous said...

Your writing is my inner tube in the creek of life.
Thank you

Phildefer said...

I started reading your blog after my wife gave me your first book. I've had so much fun reading your blog over the years. I think my favorite post is still the one from September 2014 when you asked for a no Strava weekend as symbolic moment of silence. The comments on that post were hysterical.

I still very much enjoy reading your blog and your Outside columns are excellent.

Keep up the good work.

Bill said...

Love reading your writing Snobbie. Go, Snob, Go!

crosspalms said...

Cheers for the 11 years, and thanks for the highly enjoyable Eroica posts (and Outside article) and the extreme self-control you showed by not mentioning Beethoven even once.

Mark S. Lafite said...

Congratulations on the august 11th anniversary falling in June.
What's eleven in Fred-years? Will Non-plussed Bibshorts Guy appear across your media empire or is he limited to the blog due to legal concerns? Where IS NPBG, for that matter? Is he...Ultra Romance??

Pist Off said...

Onety-one years, it’s a pretty good chunk of time. I got hooked with the Craigslist abominations, the world’s only honest bike reviews, and the fixie snark. Bikes are fun, people are stupid, WCRM is good.

Olle Nilsson said...

Congrats on the sticktoitiveness. Not going to do something dorky like get a new bike with an 11 speed cassette? I stopped caring after 9 spd came out so maybe the Renovo already has 11 and I'm oblivious. I'm probably still 8 months off 10 year reading anniversary - that's serious sticktoitiveness for me. Full 11 after years worth of reading old posts crammed into 9 1/2.

apophasis said...

"If I could do it all over again I wouldn't do a single thing differently, except maybe for making fun of David Byrne less"

But did you know that he doesn't own a car?

wishiwasmerckx said...

Regular commenters come, and regular commentators go.

I am embarrassed to admit that I first learned of this blog from a quote from it in "cough, cough...uh" Bicycling Magazine. I went back to the beginning, read my way forward, and just never stopped.

To the best of my knowledge, I have read every post ever published on this blog.

Roll call -- who else claims to have done so?

Billinrockhill said...

Thank you for writing. I enjoy reading your stuff. You have provided me insight into bike cycling issues I didn't even know were issues. I first ran into your stuff in Bicycling Magazine and yours was by far the best and most interesting writing in that endlessly repetitive rag. No wonder they stopped carrying you. Your views are way too subversive and realistic for that kind of industry supported publication. I am glad I found you on the internet and that has proven a workable outlet for your thoughts. And your regular comment writers add immeasurably to the fun. Thanks to all of you as well.

Anonymous said...

AYHSMB!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"the BSNYC-branded grease is mine"

Can't be as good as Cipollini's.

Jason T. Nunemaker said...

Regarding the cooling helmet, back in the ‘80s, I had a Rhode Gear helmet (anybody remember them?) with a hole in the top designed to fit the spout of a water bottle so you could (theoretically) spray your noggin mid-ride to cool off. In practice, it was an incredibly effective way to rinse head sweat directly into your eyes.

Anonymous said...

What, no disk brakes?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of David, did you hear about this on NPR. https://www.npr.org/2018/05/31/615243331/first-listen-angelique-kidjo-remain-in-light

Anonymous said...

You're a better man than I. I take pie plates off with a screwdriver and a hammer usually.

Anonymous said...

TV dinner

biorider said...

RTMS has faded from your scene, WCRM. Let's hope it stays a fun ride.

Some guy from upstate said...

Huh. Your 11 year blog anniversary (blogiversary?) is within a couple days of my 11 year bike racing anniversary (I started late). This is completely irrelevant, other than it seems like a long time ago, so thanks for all that wordy stuff for all those years. I am always surprised and a little sad when I talk to another bikey person and find out they are not aware of the wonderful thing that is the ever-expanding BSNYC media empire.

Hopefully the young snobling will put those 'cross tires to use this fall. Public humiliation is a very character-building experience.

Hermit Crab said...

Happy blog-birthday to you, WCRM. I've read every post. Thank you for all of them. May there be many more.

Pistil Pete said...

11 years
Whoa!
Thanks mang

JLRB said...

Did you read the inspector general’s report ... about why the same gatorskins can be so easy to put on one set of wheels, yet a nightmare on others?

McFly said...

Thank you for the thousands upon thousands of words to help eek away the mundane process of the daily grind.

Coolhead? I've just been zip-tying a 10 lb bag of ice to my head in 90+...

Joe McNamara said...

Awesome!

Joe said...

Speaking of Rock Racing, I saw a RR kit hammering through Central Park just a couple of days ago.

Houston said...

I wear a helmet for short rides, but only because no one told me rear view mirrors are more addictive than cigarettes.

Anonymous said...

Wildcat, We have V-bikes, Lime Bikes, OFO's and about 4 other's now; it was only about a year ago we had none! But, they multiply like tribbles! They were a concern initially with street corners full or 30+ bikes, but they migrate; the bike companies know that so they intentionally drop them in a central place and wait for riders to redistribute them. They are currently filtering out into the suburbs. My biggest concern is that people treat them like they are not someone else's property; sure that company has an unreasonable amount of trust in human nature, but technically it is their property, they are providing a valuable service, operate on a slim margin and shouldn't really have to deal with people intentionally mistreating & vandalizing their equipment.

The city is still trying to figure out how to regulate them; we were supposed to get Scooters and Dockless E-bikes, but those sadly have been put on hold until they get their arms around the bikeshares.
Happily, the rental bikes do seem to really be becoming heavily used, where-as for the first 3 or 4 months they just sort of sat there looking standoffish. easily 80% of the bikes I see out on my commute are rentals. Possibly an unintended advantage of using these (even as a Bike owner) is that you don't have to worry about them being stolen or even locking them up! If they just weren't such shitty bikes I might use them!

Anywayz, when people complain about them I just say "give'em a chance; they will either figure it out or go out of business" either way what's the downside?

The local municipalities came down hard on them with rather draconian rules about where and how they can be parked; were going to confiscate bikes and then charge hefty fines for the companies to get them back, but it was all rather toothless since they didn't have the manpower to enforce it and hiring crews to do it would cost more then the fines that they might generate.

My biggest concern right now is the same one I have with the surge in Ebikes and that is the majority of people using them are not cyclist and have no clue about how to safely operate one. I've witnessed some people doing some really boneheaded and dangerous stuff on the Rental bikes. Once a week I see someone riding head on into oncoming traffic on a busy street!!!!

In Dallas

-Mas

Anonymous said...

That Outside bike share article might be the best writing you've ever done. A-meh doesn't even begin to cover my agreement.

BamaPhred said...

Ahh the offspring. At ten you can do no wrong. No later than the 13th birthday you have turned into a cave troll. Not sure it changes until they have to move back in, cause life can be hard.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on upgrading to 11 speed, er, years. On the Jr. bike. Just a heads up, when my jr got his jr bike (iirc 650c 43cm frame), the cranks were 165 which were ridiculously long for him and caused knee pain. Was able to find some Dotek 110 bcd bmx cranks that were shorter and made his life a lot easier.

Have fun and longing forward to when you go 12 speed.

1904 Cadardi said...

Thanks for 11 years of laughs Mr. Rock Machine!

1904 Cadardi said...

@Chazu,

I have a 58cm frame with a gently sloping top tube and a pump peg. The gentlemen who built the frame said it was the first request for a pump peg he'd had in a while. That pump peg is used to hold a Silca Impero Ulitmate frame pump (a gift from my sweetie).

Go ahead and call me a retro grouch. Then get off my lawn!

mander said...

Thanks Mr Machine for all the words!