Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nice Assist: Worth its Weight in Milk

While professional cyclists are still in the midst of the "Classics" season, rest assured that the "Grand Tour" contenders have not been idle. This is especially true of Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, also known as the "Epistlero" due to his penchant for letter writing. Contador is leaving no potential advantage not-taken-advantage-of, which is why in addition to training he's staying abreast of cutting-edge technology. In fact, he's even experimenting with electric bicycles, as you can see in this video which was forwarded to me by a reader:

Here, Contador is helping to present a futuristic crabon fribé mountain-going bicycle complete with electrical assist. As you can also see, he is reacting in the manner all humans do when they're confronted with some complicated and expensive piece of technology that they don't understand, which is to examine some incidental part of the machine in a cursory fashion--in this case, he's squeezing the seat, which is the cycling equivalent of absent-mindedly kicking the tires of the $20,000 car you're about to buy without looking under the hood. I suspect that one day, some company will invent a time machine, and at the press conference they'll enlist some personage like the President of the United States, or Bono, or the world's greatest flugelhorn player (flugelhorns will be incredibly popular in the future, just you wait) to present it, at which point he'll simply look it up and down, go "Huh," and flick the parking lights on and off. (Obviously time machines will have parking lights.)

Here's Contador explaining that this electrically-assisted mountain bicycle will be great for the sorts of weak and ineffectual wussbags who can't pedal a real bicycle up a hill:

What he's not saying, though, is that he will probably use this bicycle on the third stage of this year's Tour de France--which, as you may know, will cover some of the cobbled roads of the Classics. Many people have noted that Contador has not participated in any of the Classics this season and as such will enter the Tour without any savoir pavé, so it could be that he plans to tackle them with the aid of this essentially idiot-proof bike. Also noteworthy is the fact that, even though he's won the Tour de France twice, the Spanish media still need to explain that Contador is a "ciclista." Despite his success, I suppose he has not yet managed to eclipse that other famous Alberto Contador, who is a flugelhorn player of some note.

Anyway, whether it's the future presentation of a time machine, or the present-day presentation of a partially-motorized mountain bike, naturally there will always be a concomitant press conference. The "press conference" is a bizarre ritual in which people stand around filming something and asking questions about it. While you'd think it would have disappeared long ago along with the "traditional" media and its relevance, the truth is that the "press conference" shows no signs of surrendering its clip-on credentials and retiring. Even in 2117, when a 157 year-old Bono (he will be kept alive by chemicals, self-righteousness, and smarm) is presenting that time machine, there will be bewildered photojournalists wearing vests with lots of pockets who have been to so many of these things they aren't ever quite sure where they are or what they're looking at:

If I were ever to attend a time machine press conference, I know right away what I would ask: "How many cup holders does it have?" And, had I been present at the press conference for the electric mountain bike, I would have asked the question on everybody's (and most of all Thor Hushovd's) mind: "So is it lighter than milk?"

Thanks to that Cervelo video, when it comes to new bicycles this is now the question on everybody's lips like a big white milk mustache. However, given the suspension and the motor, I very much doubt that Contador's new pavé-slayer is equipped with "LTM Technology." It's much more likely that you'd have to measure its weight in babies, like with that BMW bike from awhile back:

It may not be lighter than a bunch of babies, but hopefully it can at least roll over their heads.

Speaking of milk, according to BikeRadar (who also interviewed me recently, which is not surprising given their interest in cycling-related gimmickry), not only is it the benchmark for performance bicycle weight, but it's also apparently a "cycling super-drink:"

Amateur racing cyclists embrace fitness fads like my helper monkey Vito embraces the bare legs of my visitors (by which I mean tenaciously and with a small burst of "goo"), so what this means is that you may now return to the parking lot after big regional road race only to be confronted with the sickening sight of a bunch of Cat 3s guzzling cartons of lukewarm whole milk that have been sitting in the hatchbacks of their Subarus. Expect it to look something like this:

It may be a good choice for recovery, but it's a bad choice for those who have trouble keeping track of expiration dates.

Something else I saw on BikeRadar was a little item that underscored just how tragic George Hincapie's relatively poor showing at Paris-Roubaix was. Indeed, so well did his team prepare him for the race (both in terms of equipment and morale) that they even included this custom stars-and-stripes chain watcher on his bike:

Imagine a doting mother preparing her young child for his first day of school. Picture her making him a tasty sandwich and lovingly wrapping it in cellophane, and packing it up along with a delicious juice box. She's also including his favorite treat, along with a note that says, "Mommy loves you!" Next, she's combing his hair, straightening out his clothes, giving him a kiss, and sending him on his way. Then, as soon as the kid gets to the school, a couple of bullies kick him in the nuts and steal his lunchbox. Well, that's how I felt when I saw this--the kid was Hincapie, the chain watcher was the special treat, and Paris-Roubaix was the kick in the "pants yabbies."

Speaking of milk and pathos, one rider who does not elicit pathos but who does evoke nutritional metaphors (or at least similies) is Mark "The Man Missile" Cavendish, as you can read in this Guardian interview which was forwarded to me by another reader:

Besides exuding an air of general supervillainy (complete with von Stroheimian lower jaw issues) he also apparently deals with his competition in the same way he treats the ingredients for a Salade Niçoise:

"One guy said I had OCD [obsessive compulsive disorder], but I'm just meticulous. It's like when I'm cooking I cut everything up, prepare it all in bowls – you know like how they do in TV? Well that's minimising the risk of failure, I'm not going to burn something because I'm cutting something up. If you can put all your ingredients in bowls beforehand you're not going to fuck up. That's what I'm like when I'm competing."

Given his fondness for elaborate victory salutes, expect handlebar-mounted chopping blocks, top tube-mounted cutlery magnets, and full culinary demonstrations when Cavendish crosses the line first in 2010. And while the article mentions Cavendish possibly joining Team Sky, I would not be surprised if he instead moves to Williams-Sonoma for 2011 in order to receive better support in his bid for the coveted "green apron."

Really, a combination professional cycling-and-cooking team seems like a great fit for Williams-Sonoma, since they're in the business of selling kitchenware, and nothing sells real estate like fancy kitchens and on-site bike shops (at least in Portland, as another reader has informed me):

I wonder if the on-site bike shop includes a clerk with a liberal arts degree who assures you there's no longer any such thing as a 9-speed chain and that you'll need to "upgrade" your entire drivetrain.

Surely having a bicycle work space at hand would be convenient, but I'm not sure this should serve as the basis for your decision to purchase an expensive home. Buying a house because it has an on-site bike shop is as short-sighted as basing a romantic relationship entirely on someone's armpits:

Girl riding her Bike around 715pm - m4w - 33 (Greenpoint)
Date: 2010-04-12, 8:51PM EDT

While I was driving my car looking for a parking spot, you were riding your bike on greenpoint ave around 715pm. You were a brunette wearing a tank top and shorts. Also, your armpits were totally unshaven. I find that attractive. I hope you are single and see this post. Email me if you want to chat further.

I'm sure the woman on the bicycle is eager to reply to the guy who drives around pretending to look for parking while leering at hairy underarms. Eventually, he's going to wind up hitting somebody:

It can only end badly.


Mike said...


Mr Frugal said...


Mr Frugal said...


Anonymous said...

top ten!

JTK said...


Anonymous said...

Its the "Manx Missile" snob. Its what they call the inbreds from the Isle of Man.

José Hiram Soltren said...

top n for n=?

José Hiram Soltren said...

n=7. meh.

Concerned 2.0 said...

top 10?

ervgopwr said...

Top 10, time to read

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 12:36pm,

I know, I just like calling him the "Man Missile" because I have a juvenile sense of humor.


Anonymous said...

snob. what kind of bike did you use to jump the shark?

hillbilly said...

i think the man missile is wasting a lot of time cutting and separating.

dignan said...

top ramen

Tin Hat said...

man i gotta learn to ride a bike one of these days

Frank Eeckman said...

baby heads or better children's heads (kinderkoppen) is the Flemish (Dutch) word for cobblestones such as those found in de Ronde and Paris-Roubaix, so I think your metaphor is very apt.

le constructeur said...

top 20? At least?

ervgopwr said...


seattle_mike said...

You didn't say (intentionally?) that the last photo is from Paris (orange 75) ... where is the original from?

Buffalo Bill said...

Hey RTMS, I enjoy cycling and your writing makes me laugh.

Did I make your day?

debichan1a said...

snob you spelled monkey wrong.

Billy Reid said...

Snob, go get 'em at Battenkill to honor your Bloggerfolloweratti who are unable to be a participatti.

Anonymous said...

cc Anonymous 12:36 (new reader)

It's carbon not crabon. Please spell more proper.

BikeSnobNYC said...


I actually have no idea where the photo came from.

Buffalo Bill,



Anonymous said...

Top 30 schwingggggg

Concerned 2.0 said...

Re-read the post for Thor. That was totally classic cant wait for Cervelos new vids to drop. Maybe they'll make a new bike that will be lighter then skimmed milk.

Good post today too. Why do we amateur cyclists get sucked into every little fad, spending money pros dont even pay for bikes, trying to deny the fact that we are just slow?

Jefe said...

From the Cervelo model to the exposed crotch of the beautiful accident victim, BSNYC is now everyone's first stop for bike-related Internet porn. I expect the illustrations in your book to be equally exciting.

Mr Frugal said...

If the chicky poo in the photo had been riding a proper Dutch bike, she wouldn't have fallen off. They have magic shields around them. Just like the stripes of bike lanes are magic shields that protect you from errant automobiles.

Billy Reid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luciferyellow said...

I had to popular-search-engine the term "cohousing" because I thought it was just a fancy word for "apartment" (apartmenting 2.0), but man was I wrong... From
"In a cohousing community, you know who lives six houses down because you eat common meals with them, decide how to allocate homeowners dues and gratefully accept a ride from them when your car’s in the shop. You begin to trust them enough to leave your 4-year-old with them. You listen to what they have to say, even if you don’t agree with them at first, and you sense that you, too, are being heard. Cohousing residents generally aspire to “improve the world, one neighborhood at a time.”

YATE said...

If those apartments with bike shops don't employ vegans I'm going to file a human rights complaint.

Strayhorn said...

I'm damned if I can figure out where you find all the bike porn, but I figure that helps with your sponsored linkways, so I'm happy to click a few times during the afternoon to, er, see if there's anything new.

The Snob may be interested to know that the Cycle NC spring "classic" was interrupted by a small tornado this past weekend. The air was full of tents, trees, and CSC team jerseys.

Daddo said...


I just KNEW that was Contador making my latte' this morning!

Anonymous said...

Cutting stuff up and putting it bowls so you don't fuck up while cooking is called Mise en Place, which is french for cutting stuff up and putting it bowls so you don't fuck up while cooking.

Billy Reid said...

Re: Anon @ 1:01
cc: all, Anon @ 12:36


Anon @ 12:36,
As a Blog Fred, you need to know that Snob is extremely uninformed about many things and extremely stubborn. He somehow got it in his head that Cav's nickname is Man Missle, that crabon fibre is what makes a bike super sweet, and that fixies do not make you cool. Despite the fact that all of us have repeatedly informed him that he is wrong about all of these things, he just doesn't listen.
Really, the only reason we read is so that we can secretly tally up all of the times he is wrong, and then we have a get-together at the end of the year and the person who spotted the most errors wins.

Dave said...

Snobbie that last picture was almost unsafe for work. Cam we get a little coverage next time? Or a warning? Though it did make me randy.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine what mealtime at the cohouse would be like with these pretentious and overly contrived freaks. would probably involve a lot of beard stroking and nodding.

Notlob said...

It used to be that you cleansed the natives from a neighborhood with art galleries. Now the draw has to be somehow bike related. Brooklyn is no exception. Is this because for some bicycles are known as whips? Why can't a bike just be a bike and not a tool or an instrument?

As an aside, I love their portrayal of the downtown Brooklyn of today. Unfortunately this sterility is exactly what the developers hope to achieve.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, the photos here would be Larry King'd to prevent arousal.

Now, it all about the Pron

BikeSnobNYC said...

Dave and Anonymous 1:48pm,

Sorry about that. I decided not to censor it since she is technically clothed. Plus, she has fallen down, and that's news, not pornography.


ant1 said...


Unknown said...

Feels So Good.

mikeweb said...

A good day for Mikes on the podium.

CommieCanuck said...

Anon 1:01pm,
If you do a Google search, you will see that it is in fact spelled "CRABON". Also, if you don't get it... why read a blog? Stick to "Two Men and a Baby" re-runs.

Frankly, if I had my choice, I'd rather be called Man-missile than Manx-Missile, as the later implies a lopped of vestigial tail, while the former implies a massive schlong, hated by the Romans, but adored in A.D.

As for the fallen's only porn if she falls on something pointy.

Anonymous said...

flugelhorns will be incredibly popular in the future
Chuck Mangione will be thrilled.

Fingerbang Assistant said...

Did she pee when she hit the pavement?

Anonymous said...


Could you please point me towards the newspapers you read, because I would like to see more photos of technically clothed women with their skirts raised?

Paul Bowen said...

Although in general I tend to prefer ladies of the fuller girthway, the skinny bird fallen off her bike is just bonerous.

Anon @ 1.29: lol!

First rate work Snobbers, thanks.

Strayhorn said...

Jeeze, just noticed that Hincapie was riding a Campy crank. That's the problem. If the chain guard had been painted in the Italian Tricolor, he would have been OK.

Daddo said...


Lost my job looking at last picture. I'm expecting therefore to profit share in the bookstore sales.

(so what it was the 10the time I looked at that picture - it only takes one time for the CEO to be standing behind you!)

Paul Bowen said...

@ Fingerbang Assistant - I thought that too!

Unknown said...

great post, Snob!

Interesting how Cav defines being outsmarted as being "robbed". This may be an interesting bit of Manx Lexicon that I don't understand. Either they should do away with those pesky mid-stage sprint points in the TDF, or the missile might want to pay more attention to his rig's LTM ratio. Thor obviously did.

and unlike some things, this one DID end well. Yum!

ant1 said...

i think he was referring to getting relegated in a stage.

acquiesce808 said...

you know how people have annoying motivational quotes added to the end of their e-mails as part of their "signature"? my new one will be "'Speaking of milk and pathos...' -BSNYC/RTMS"

George Not Hincapie said...

That girl did not fall. She's offering a parking space for that bike.

Paul Bowen said...

Graham: you cross the line first, then watch as a mixture of dubiously aligned barriers and commissaral partiality gives your closest rival the stage. This costs you the green jersey. How have you been outsmarted?

H.G. Wells said...

I predict time machines will have neither chain watchers nor cup holders.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Cav sort look like the young Merckx? Is he dong botox to get that look?

J-Bird said...

Note to self: shave underarms. Upgrade drivetrain.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the girl who wrote the Cav article look like the girl who fell off her bike?

I am the engine said...

An old real estate guy said a co-op is just a more expensive condo with more nosy, prying, uppity neighbors.
"Co-housing" is just upping the ante one more notch, due to the usage of "bicycle culture".

Thanks north Portland.

Meet your new neighbor.

Anonymous said...

There's a very practical reason why milk is not a good drink while cycling- it produces a lot of phlegm.

ant1 said...

no stop in ATL snobby? i feel cheated.

Salty and Sore said...

I'm sensing a disturbance in the force.

That, or the Portland "Co-op-with-a-non-New-York-y-name" is deceiving prospective buyers.

In the Northwest, 60 bike parking spaces accommodates only 6 cat 3 racers. They need:

1) Winter Bike - material of your choosing.
2) Commuter bike (Carbon Fiber)
3) Road Race Bike (Carbon Fiber)
4) Mountain Bike (Aluminum or Carbon Fiber--though, likely, both)
5) Cyclocross Bike (Aluminum)
6) Track Bike (Carbon Fiber preferred)
7) Grocery Getter Bike (Aluminum or steel)
8) Hand-built Steel Frame Bike (not rideable - some parts are always, still on order)
9) Single-Speed Mountain or Cross Bike
10) Wife's bike.

The bike not included in this list is, of course, the Time Trial Bike. Also known as the "Art Bike", it is hanging in the home's entry, as a totem to future success.

Hopefully, the designers have taken this into account.

TJ Eckleburg said...

Poor ole George!

Salty and Sore said...


Dong Botox?

My world is shattered.

grog said...

Snobbers, I dedicate my flugelhorn solo to you this weekend.

Salty and Sore said...


I'm so glad you clarified the definition of "press conference" today.

These days, I thought the term referred to that situation in public bathrooms where one of the other stalls is engaging in a disembodied cell phone conversation. I believe this also requires engagement of the flush.

john said...

i'm worried about Thaduz - is he still your soinger? is he OK?

Fred said...

Bike snob has a beard! A beard, a beard, a beard! Ha, ha! A beard, a beard! a BEARD!

Hello. This is Fred's wife. He has been running around the house in his Dudley Doright underoos yelling about beards for the last 2 and a half hours, so I have done what I always do when this happens. I have taken away his computer and put him to bed with a bowl of warm granola and his favorite back issues of Bicycle Trader. He'll be back soon.

Unknown said...

Cav was, of course, a bank teller before he was a cyclist.

This July, we'll see the Accountant going for yellow and the Teller going for green, then maybe "the Risk Analyst" (Boasson Hagen? Who else is boring + young + fast?) going for white and "the CTO" for polka dot (Tom Danielson, with the dots as a nod to one of his many mysterious illnesses).

Anonymous said...

Only at The Great Bike Snob NYC Web Log do we get "Mise en place" references from cycling superstars and up-skirt shots in the same posting. No where else folks! And it's all FREE!!!

wishiwasmerckx said...

Bad Lawyer, are "dong botox" and Viagra the same thing?

Anonymous said...

It should have been "El Pistolero" not "Epistlero". I know even know what that means!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why do I feel like a bad person for getting a woodie over an accident victim?

I'm torn; on one hand..... no that's not right, however on the other hand ...... no poor choice also. Crap!

Anonymous said...

Snob, you KNOW I'm the only one of your readers who knows what epistolary means. Stop winking at me, nudging me, calling out to me -- basically, stop stalking me, bitch!

Bisso said...

on another non-shirt related topic, can anyone confirm when the snob's book descends to the LBS (Library or Book Store)?

g said...

If you had a time machine, couldn't you have anyone, from all of existence, do your intro? And, might you at least choose a Bono from before he got all preachy about African debt and shit?

libertyonbikes! said...

I'm an idiot.
Looking for Steevo.
Looking for Doucheblog.
But I never scrolled through for
stupid, stupid, stupid,
gonna dig through a load of photos
from Battenkill now....
saw plenty of Togas.

Epistlero said...

So this duck walks into a bar...

Howard said...

A duck walks into a bar. The bartender looks up and asks, "Is this supposed to be some kind of joke?"

George's Mom said...

My georgie deserves to win. I think those other men are on dope.

Anonymous said...

Dong Botox, it's Chinese Botox for chin extension. Sorta like Chinese drywall, milk additives, etc...totally illegal shit or a misspelling.

Bike Tourer said...

I had no idea that mark cavendish was still crying like a baby about being completely destroyed by Thor last year at the tour. Sure he got himself disqualified but it ended up being irrelevant when Thor dominated him in later stages. He might have won the most stages but Thor earned that green jersey and he will win it again this year.

Never Knows Best said...

I don't usually throw out one of the, "jesus this post was golden" comments, but Jesus was this post a solid slab of kickass with a liberal sprinkling of awesomesauce throughout. I had one clustercoitus of a day, and reading this post was the lube that made it palpable.


Odile Lee said...

Salty Seattle-your wrong about the bike parking.
What are you? Some kind of freak?!!
WHO PARKS THEIR RIDES OUTSIDE?!! Maybe cars..but cycles?:(

My bikes are safe and sound, in the living room.
However, the husbands bike is rusting outside.( Hes not really a cyclist).

ant1 said...

snobby - they don't enforce bans very well in the ATL. come on down during freaknik and the cops will be too busy to pay attention to you.

CommieCanuck said...

Jesus was this post a solid slab of kickass with a liberal sprinkling of awesomesauce throughout. I had one clustercoitus of a day, and reading this post was the lube that made it palpable.

You forgot "Vagazzling".

Unknown said...

No Chicago stop? Waaaaaaaa‽

Salty and Sore said...

Cycle Goddess-


I'm not a Cat 3, though Portland is full of them. I was just wondering if the designers had considered this.

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