Wednesday, February 19, 2014

He ain't heavy, he's my Big Brother.

How to steal a bike in four easy steps:

1) Go to bike shop;
2) Choose bike;
3) Remove bike from bike shop;
4) Ride!

Also, etiquette tip: Don't kick the door open.  It's just rude.

Alas, if only all of life were so simple.  For example, here in New York City, where shitty drivers keep killing people, our mayor, Bill de Something-Or-Other, has finally unveiled his long-anticipated "Vision Zero" plan:

One aspect of this involves lowering the city speed limit to 25 mph, which of course means it's time for someone from the Wall Street Journal to say something stupid:
Does it really matter, Jacob?  I think that, when it comes to bicycles, the laws of physics are adequate here.  Not too many cyclists are cruising around New York City at 25 mph, and that includes the food delivery guy on the electric bike salmoning right at you with the cigarette dangling from his mouth and the plastic bags hanging off his handlebars.  While you're at it you might as well wonder if the 25 mph limit will apply to pedestrians, too.

Of course, the police will ticket you for going over 15 mph on your bike, but they'll have to apologize to you afterwards:

But on Tuesday morning, the NYPD took it to a new level, setting up a speed trap, radar gun and all, at the bottom of a Central Park hill, where they gave ten tickets to cyclists traveling over 15 mph. (The speed limit is actually 25 mph, says Central Park's official website.) By Tuesday night, police were already backtracking.

"We have taken a proactive approach to ensure that people improperly issued a summons will be notified," said a Police Department spokesperson.

Another component of the "Vision Zero" plan involves slowing down taxi drivers, who seem to think they're performing a public service on par with fighting fires and driving ambulances, when mostly they're just providing drunk people with a warm place to paw at each other on the way home from the bar:

Mr. de Blasio released a 63-point action plan, titled "Vision Zero," that outlines his administration's strategy to reduce traffic-related deaths. The measures include beefing up the enforcement of speeding, redesigning streets and exploring new technology that would reduce taxi fares when the drivers speed.

Which the drivers say is "insane Big Brother:"

The workers alliance said: "To shut off the meter in the middle of a fare is not only insane Big Brother, it's severe, cruel, and simply unhelpful."

Wow, a Big Brother reference regarding a safety feature?  Hey, what's that I hear?  Oh, it's a typewriter!  Oh, wow, George Orwell is typing you a message from beyond the grave!

Let's see what it says:

Well there you go.

Speaking of progress, BikeRadar tehnical editor James Huang thinks we should abandon quick release skewers wholesale and move on to thru-axles on road bikes:

Tullio Campagnolo invented the quick-release skewer more than 80 years ago, and for all intents and purposes, the basic internal-cam design he pioneered has changed little since then. If anything, many modern skewers have actually gotten worse and it wasn't long ago that I called for all of the crappy ones to be banished from existence. Today, however, I think the time is fast approaching that we should consider getting rid of quick-release skewers entirely.

Why?  Because we can, and Tullio Campagnolo is dead, and something something 29ers:

Yes, tradition is a powerful motivator and it's great that there are so many years' worth of compatible products out there. Truth be told, though, the bikes we're riding now are pretty far removed from what Eddy Merckx used back in the day. Recent years have demonstrated that the cycling industry won't hesitate to toss traditional equipment standards out the window if there's an engineering (or marketing) argument for something better.

Heck, 26-inch wheels have been the de facto standard in the mountain bike world since the Repack days but in just a couple of years they've been practically erased from the landscape.

Wait a minute.  Did he just say "the bikes we're riding now are pretty far removed from what Eddy Merckx used back in the day?"  Is he kidding?  Here's the bike Eddy Merckx used "back in the day" (with him on it):

And here's the top-of-the-line Eddy Merckx bicycle today:

This is far removed?  It's a diamond frame with two wheels.  The shifters are more conveniently located, you don't need straps to keep your feet on the pedals (well, actually, this bike doesn't even have pedals buy you know what I mean), and it's probably slightly lighter than what Merckx rode during his career, but that's pretty much it.  Otherwise, the concept is almost entirely unchanged.

Now if this is what the pros were riding in the Grand Tours, then maybe James Huang would have a point:

Sadly, however, it is not.

Really, you could make a pretty good argument that the only significant change in professional bicycle racing technology over the past 100 years is in the pharmacology, which has obviously improved tremendously, to wit:


(Now.  Or at least recently.  We still don't know what Sky is taking.)

Ah, Amgen, makers of both EPO and the Tour of California.  I wonder if strychnine manufacturers also sponsored races "back in the day."

Anyway, apart from the fact that thru-axles exist, are a slight improvement for certain kinds of off-road bicycles that you ride at high speed down rocky mountain faces (but not for your dainty little cross-country bike, just get over yourself, will you?), and would require you to "upgrade" your equipment, James Huang puts forth no other reason for thru-axles on road bikes, apart from the fact that they're getting slightly less inconvenient:

Thru-axles as they stand now are generally slower to operate than quick-release skewers but even that's changing. Focus recently introduced a novel thru-axle design called RAT (Rapid Axle Technology) that could legitimately turn the tides. The system requires just a flick of the lever and a quarter turn to engage and disengage. Even better, the system retains its adjustment with repeated use so at least in theory, it's roughly on par with a lawyer tab-equipped quick-release system in terms of speed while also offering the benefits of more repeatable wheel position and increased stiffness and security.

Look, I realize the UCI now requires riders to keep the "lawyer tabs" on their forks, but I file those fuckers right off, and there is nothing faster, more pleasing, or more satisfying than flicking that quick release and watching your wheel fall out of the fork like an undersized butt plug out of Tom Barraga.

("Moved on up to the 'thru-axle,' this baby ain't going nowhere.")

And yes, I could forget to fasten my quick release properly, but I could also forget to flush the toilet for five months and die of hepatitis.  Anyway, I always wear a helment while I'm on the terlet, so it's a risk I'm willing to take.

So, to summarize the pro-thru-axle argument for road bikes:

1) They're almost as convenient as a quick release on a fork with lawyer tabs;
2) They're heavier than a quick release, but soon they won't be, because they'll make lighter road bike ones that obviate the theoretical "stiffness benefits" that don't mean shit anyway;
3) There are a lot of shitty quick release skewers on the market, but this is the bike industry, and you can be sure no one will build a shitty thru-axle;
3.5) Mountain bikes and 29ers are things that exist;

Well, I'm sold.  I plan to upgrade all my front ends immediately, even though I'll need to get new hubs.  And new forks.  And new frames, because the new fork will have a different steer tube diameter.  And new everything else, because the new frame will be electronic-and-disc specific.

Actually, maybe the bikes we ride now are totally different from what Eddy Merckx rode "back in the day."

No.  No, they're not.  They're almost exactly the same, apart from the fact that manufacturers have managed to make all the new stuff completely incompatible with the old stuff.

And they're plastic.

Lastly, a reader in London reports that this is the extent to which "Cat 6" racing is engrained in the London bicycle commuting culture:

Looks like
the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet TridorkBret to me--though he'd be faster with a thru-axle.


dcee604 said...


dcee604 said...

Top something?

Spokey said...

woo-hoo! ole yeller!
I knew that Martell's Creation Grand ExtraAll would do the trick. Thanks sis.

yeah Cleveland! said...

Yeah Cleveland

wishiwasmerckx said...

Second first in a week?

Anonymous said...


dcee604 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spokey said...

damn guess I should drink a little less of that cognac

Anonymous said...

Somewhere up in front!!


wishiwasmerckx said...

Wow! screwed up the illegible captcha and dropped from first to fifth. This is a tough crowd!

le Correcteur said...

I thought my life was pitiful, hitting refresh over and over; but 8, I say 8 people are more pitiful, and drug users to boot. Urine tests, the lot of you!

Effin numbers: 3588828 952

le Correcteur said...

And with all my complaining, not even top ten! Pitiful and slow; what a winning combination!

32894858 51

Jon said...

That horizontal bike had me rolling on the floor :D

Spokey said...


fess up. we saw you trying to nail all three only to get number 8 on that third one

robot sex henry agedhs but not really. henry is just a satirist. or maybe a satyrist.

ken e. said...

i love that prone bike thing! just look through the mirror!

theEel said...


le Correcteur said...

James Huang is an idiot, now that I've finally read it. But you beat me to that judgment, WRM.

263 4486449

wishiwasmerckx said...

7 comments in the first minute! You have to have fast-twitch muscles to stand any prayer of success around here.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Ahhh recumbabe. A sight for sore eyes.

babble on said...

Thank you, snobberdoodledoo, for saying you wear a healment on the toilet, too, even if it isn't entirely true.

I hate being a lone twatwaddle.

Anonymous said...

Toop tweeny. Didn't read but looking forward to getting pissed at James Huang all over again.

streepo said...

Hmm, a quick-release butt plug. now there's a good idea!


Bryan said... that a butt plug attached to that h-zontal velocipede?

wishiwasmerckx said...

I'm actually excited about the h-zontal because it appears to combine my two favorite things - biking and humping. Now I can freely switch from riding my bike to riding my wife with only a nearly-imperceptible change of scenery.

babble on said...

wow! Nice podium today, gentlemen. XX

What kind of drugs did you use? Remember it's nice to share....

Comment deleted said...

Re: the Orwell "quote": I love it when you get all literary and shit, Snob.

leroy said...

Well this is odd.

My dog and Mr. Orwell have the same typewriter.

And sign off with the same postscript.

JB said...

Your pedals are visible.

Anonymous said...

OK I'm back. Huang badly needs a non-cycling-related hobby. I just feel sorry for the mofo.

Also if you file off your lawyer-lips you are GONIG TO DIE, SEE YOU IN TEH GRAVEYARD LOOSER

And would you look at the front aerospoke on that "no cycling" sign.

McFly said...

I said "terlet" 3 times then started laughing controllably.

PS: Blow me.

(You would be surprised how often that work in stationary situations)

Bob Costas' infected eye said...

ahh, the industry needs to fix something that isn't broken. Couldn't see that coming.

JB said...

Love how the H-bike video shows that French(?) guy dock with the bike from 2 angles. Hot.

Spokey said...


come on. use your head. snob's obviously lying to us. There's no way his laziness would put forth the effort to actually file off those lips.

I caught robot omolatl and. The bible tells me robot will go blind for doing that.

Anonymous said...

That was a very good post today, The Snob.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Old Man Barraga
Nice tits, Recumbabe
Rabinowitz lusts

My haiku

Simeon Creese said...

You want some real liability? How about when someone reads this and files the lips off a real lawyer?That'll make your lost wheel look like bupkis.

Vernal Magina said...

If anyone knows the Metro bike shop on like 15th and 6th in Manhattan, I went in once last summer for a simple something or other.

Went back an hour later to pick it up. Before I could even ask for them to get it out of the back, I just see it see it right up in the front leaning against a bunch of their other bikes (or anyone's other bikes). Just kinda sitting there.

I really let them have it too, how they could just leave it there -- to say nothing of anyone walking out with it, which would've been pretty easy, getting knocked around with the other bikes or by anyone thinking it was a shop bike... Not just any clunker, either.

Really hideous for a shop to do that.

balls™ said...

How many Tom Barraga / butt-plug references will it take before he has a Santorum-like google problem?


BikeSnobNYC said...

Vernal Magina,

Wait. Your bike was right there, you didn't have to wait for them to
go find it, and this made you angry instead of pleased?

--Wildcat Rock Machine

jay said...

skewer up beoches!

Vernal Magina said...

Well for convenience's sake, I might've been pleased -- to simply scoot right outta the door with it myself w/o even having to pay for the miniscule repair, like the dude in that video.

But it was right near the door, had obviously been sitting there a while, and it kinda occurred to me anyone else could've done the same -- scoot right outta the door with it, like the dude in that video. But with my bike.

Freddy Murcks said...

Chronic masturbators like Tom Barraga are quick relief spewers.

physical winfla

JB said...


You seem to think that your bike is more important that the other bikes in the shop?


RoadQueen said...

Yeah, I'm not digging the upside down recumbent.

There's something pleasing to the eye about watching a man work while on his back. Plus, you can't properly see 'the bulge' with which to form inappropriate fantasies on the face-down set up.


Olle Nilsson said...

25 MPH speed limit doesn't apply to bikes if you're yelling "WooHoo!!!" while exceeding it. Go 47 tho, and you're going to jail.

Freddy Murcks said...

I think James Huang may need to abandon his quick release skewers and become a quick relief spewer because HE WOULD GET TO BUY NEW STUFF. Abandon the pretense of being a well-respected cycling journalist, which is really just a form of chronic mental masturbation, and become a chronic masturbator instead. If he gets a butt plug too he would GET TO BUY NEW STUFF and get stuffed at the same time. It's a win-win for Mr. Huang.

tamdst studied

Expensive with Cheap Doors said...

$5,000 bike, in a shop that doesn't have automatic doors. The decline of this society continues.

Capcha "emounten" does tat suggest sex with the wife 10 times?

Vernal Magina said...

Well, it is. But that's beside the point.

I don't mean to shit on a particular LBS (maybe I shouldn't've mentioned it specifically), but it's not like the ppl working there were really attentive to begin with (I don't mean with me, I just mean in general). And it is kind of a bustling shop/area.

I could just imagine going to pick it up, and it not being there -- and the aloof staffers people being all like, well we left it right there... And then some dude comes back having taken it for a test spin or some shit.


Spy Vs. Spy said...

NYT yesterday: NSA spied on an American law firm representing Indonesia in a trade dispute with the US. Didn't take long for the gov to start abusing the NSA data.

Anonymous said...

Bring your stuff

commentatorbot_09374 said...

AngryAsian (AA) is helping keep his own job around by shilling for the bike industry.

Why? Because the bike brands know that road-type bikeen product should have thru-axles if the road bikeen product is going to really switch entirely to disc breaks on the road products.

FWIW, You guys with the disk breaks and QR, on roadie-type forks should keep those lawyer tabs on. The way the caliper is mounted to the fork makes a rotational force that loosens and twists the wheel out of traditional fork dropout when using the front brake.

Don't get clever and "invent" a left-hand threaded front QR. It could tighten to failure!

So, thru-axles is fixing the problem the right way. Now, they need a fork maker to sell a complete fork and a roadie thru axle hub. And AngryAsian is trying his best to make it happen!

All? NO ALL!

Dooth said...

Gershman of the WSJ needs to get on a bike and ride up to 25mph and sustain it for a minute...we're sure to read about it in his obit the next day.

Anonymous said...

Assuming Road Queen's a girl, she clearly can't appreciate the upside down recumbent's appeal to the menfolk.

For too long now the prospect of incidentally pleasuring yourself while cycling has been a delectation only the womenfolk could enjoy. The H-zontal redressess that imbalance.

Until some technique whereby men and woman can pleasure each other is invented, we should all just ride and let ride.

balls™ said...

Why not mount the dick-break caliper on the other side of the fork?

I'm holding out for the horizontal bike tandem. For obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

Re: through axles on road bicycle cycles.

A friend of mine was preparing to load his bike on a roof rack (on the car that he owns). After opening the quick release and removing the wheel he grabbed the fork only to have one of the fork legs snap off at the crown.

Apparently the crown had not been correctly brazed to the steerer tube and the only thing holding the left fork leg in place was the tiny piece of metal around the brake bolt, that AND THE QUICK RELEASE! This was the day after exceeding fred whoo-hoo speed.

So it would seem the the humble, lowly, Tullio Campagnolo quick release is up to the job.

For bouncy forks like on a mountaining bicycle sure. But with rigid road forks, meh.

Now get off my lawn!

Frank said...

Road Queen,

When you can inspect the bulge do your fantasies include a "face-down set up?"

trama said...

Hmmn, yeah bikes suuuure have come along:
Peter Post rode the fastest ever Paris-Ro0obaix in 1964. That bike is probably still on the road somewhere.

Incidentally, most Paris-Roobaixxes average about 25mph.

1904 Cadardi said...


Forward facing fork tips will also prevent premature and unwanted wheel ejection with dick breaks.

Anonymous said...

Spy Vs. Spy,

Why do you hate 'merika. Congress and the Executive branch defend the NSA activities. They know it is going on.

The NSA never told you that would never happen. They made lots of public claims and none of them are totally true. But they never said directly that it would never happen to that group, at that time.

By spying on everyone, they are protecting everyone. Except when they are protecting their own legitimacy. Which is often.

Expect to be on the no fly list real soon!

McFly said...

I say this with an unblemished track record of staunch heterosexuality.....

Eddy Merckx was a beautiful man.

That skeleton-luge-bike looks sketchy as fuck.

commentatorbot_92374 said...


The dick break caliper needs to be front-mounted to eliminate the twist force that looses a QR.

That's what I recall anyway. Could be wrong.

Flyover BC said...

I guess that most buttplugs are probably undersized for Councilman Barraga.

Flyover BC said...

I guess that most buttplugs are probably undersized for Councilman Barraga.

RoadQueen said...

Anon @ 2:55 -

You're right. I hadn't thought of it from that angle. I can fully appreciate what you're saying.

So, ride and let ride.

(Although, I'm still going to hope that design doesn't catch on.)

Anonymous said...

Apparently Jaywalking tickets have increased 8 fold from last year (while tickets for moving violations have decreased). Because we all have witnessed the horrifying carnage caused by two jaywalkers colliding. Thank god something is finally being done. Vision Zero Sense.

Freddy Murcks said...

McFly - By "sketchy as fuck" I believe that you mean completely fucking stupid.

JLRB said...

Things learned from today's blog:

1. Don't kick doors while stealing bikecycles.

2. Cops apologized for tickets in 2011.

d. Only women models should be allowed to ride face down on a massage table-cycle

5. James' Wang is fixated with axles that I have never heard of

mikeweb said...


Sorry I'm late. Work has been busy, plus my company decided to take a giant dump on my ability to comment from my work computer. I have to comment now from my max-Ipad which is a slight pain in the scranus.

Let us not forget Orwells warning:

"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Scranus is steel."

Anonymous said...

c-bot - you are correct. Put the caliper forward of the fork and the stopping force will push the axle upward into the dropout. Unless you're going ass-backwards, then all bets are off.

Anonymous said...

No wait a minute: bullshit.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

The only quality remotely redeeming about the H-zontal is the ease of on-the-bike flatulence. No more of that slight lifting off the seat messing with your cadence and spin.

Blog Drafter said...

PS: Blow me. Hahahahaha, Snob

I suppose that butt plug might have a goofy filler effect.

Crabonia has always been at war with Columbusia and Columbusia has always been at war with Crabonia.

Anonymous said...

It would have to be waaay forward of the fork to push the axle upward. But you can at least put it at the top of the arc of the disc so the force is horizontal.

McFly said...

Thats exactly what I meant. Anything sketchy as fuck is stupid. Except psycho girls with the hot lovin'. I will make concessions in the name of romance.

RoadQueen said...

RCT: That's exactly what I was thinking of when balls mentioned the tandem. I think it was supposed to be sexual. But all I could think of was the poor sap in the back getting the butt-draft straight to the face.

JLRB said...

Roiling Papers - if the braking force is pushing the axle up on the dick brake side, what happens on the drive side? Wouldn't the axle twist down?

Maybe someone should invent some kind of skewer that holds the wheel in place, and then leave it the fuck alone. Nah.

Anonymous said...


I think the correct term for the plug is a BUNG, which, of course, fits into the bung hole.

based on the rest of the today's blog, the question arisies,

Are Barraga bungs threaded, quick release, or retained purely by friction or perhaps air pressure friction?

Never mind the last one, it goes without saying that to much pressure on the inside will cause a blow out. .

Anonymous said...

Wait, you telling me this is a THREE-dimensional system? Crap, they only taught us 2D in nerd-school.

Well I THINK the drive side would mostly do the same as the dick side, except there'd be a weird sideways bendy component... shoot this hurts my brain.

Anonymous said...

Through axles and 30" wheels I say. Can't let the mountain bikers win.

ken e. said...

mountain bikers always win,'cause road biker lack skillz, but if we're talking about the size of nerd, all bets are off.


Anonymous said...

If a female companion is operating said butt plug on ol' Tommy B then the correct term is "pegging." You should totally google it.

"You should see Thomas' big ass head rock back and forth when I peg him nice and deep. Ten minutes with me and that fucker will sign any bill I throw at him."

JLRB said...

Anon @ 5:45

I think I will pass.

JLRB said...

Riled up Flingers -

It's actually a 4-D system, when you take into account time, so it will work perfectly.

Cuique Suum said...

Let me introduce you all to the technology of MOUSE (Mostly Overpriced and Useless Shit for Exhibitionists) or perhaps instead could I interest you some 15 mm nuts and a fookin' wrench that man first used when he crawled out of the primordial slime and figured out that two wheels mounted on a triangular frame worked just fine and that being a good rider trumps all micro refinements.

Anonymous said...

and double-BOOOOSHHH (Cuique Suum)

Spokey said...


"The only quality remotely redeeming about the H-zontal is the ease of on-the-bike flatulence. No more of that slight lifting off the seat messing with "

You ignore the most important part. Our physics tells us that every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Instead of listing you off your seat thus slowing you down due to increased air resistance, you'll effortlessly reach woo-hoo speed.

Which presents the obvious dilemma. Shoot for woo-hoo speed or present yourself for proper queenie inspection.

robot sez culture amforei. I'd like to know where in this forum it found any culture. amforei or not

Henry Ford said...

I remember that when my headlight burnt out in my car I could just buy a generic one at just about anywhere for a few bucks install it the parking lot and continue on my way. I know the newest ones are brighter and better but who cares when 99% of my time behind the wheel is spent stuck in stop and go traffic or just sitting and idling. Time to get a bike.

uique Suum said...

RF, my comments should be taken cum grano salis or as total bullis shittus.

Everbody said...

I know a place on the upper lower west side that'll file off lawyer lips for ya.

BamaPhred said...

Completely off topic, but loved the Russian Hockey coach's response to media when pressed about his team's loss....Eat me...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Is that the selfsame Goofy Tiller, the namesake of the famous Effect?

Tommy B said...

I am so terrified of the Vancouverite Cananadian bobsledder Kaillie Humphries. Yet....I still want to rub my dong on her tattoos. I hope she doesn't have me......pegged.

McFly said...

Lance called Steve Tilford a little while back.

He found the call to be disturbing and it made him "antsy" so he went on a bike ride.

db said...

Bike thief suspect already in custody. He was still wearing the same shirt.

Please continue. But avoid Brownsville.


McFly said...

Nice investigative work db. Something a simple baseball cap could have prevented.

JB said...

Those comments on the bike thief story...Oof.

"A $5,000 bike? They should arrest the bike shop! LOL."

If only they knew...

commentatorbot_97986 said...

Roille Figners,

I think you are right about the caliper needing to be far forward to eliminate the wrong twist force on the QR.

It's been too long since I've thought about it.

Though, I am positive, somewhere on the Internets is a thorough engineer's analysis of the dick break + QR situation with the whys and wherefores in mind numbing detail, illustrations and maths included.

Robot is moistened today.

Agent 99 said...


Fred Completing Century Ride says said...

Woo Hoo!

Anonymous said...

Getting warmed up for the podium.

RoadQueen said...

102 - Third ain't bad.

Chainwhipped said...

I dunno, Snob. QR's are usually pretty crappy. Even if they WERE awesome every time, far too many people just wing-nut the damn things on, which can be flat-out dangerous.

But at least QR's offer a quick wheel change (for the races you don't do) and function as a fantastic theft aid (for the new bike you don't want to buy).

Anonymous said...

Has nobody seen fit to point out that you don't need a new fork to switch to a thru axle? front qr axles are 9mm. So are 9mm thru axles. So no new fork and new frame, not because of the 9mm thru axle. It's a clever retrofit and can help stiffen things up. Definitely thinking about going this route whenever I build a new mtb wheel. A 10mm thru axle can be used in the rear, also without changing anything but the hub.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I love the new BSNYC retrogrouchery. And the me-too peanut gallery. I don't have any opinion on the bikeradar editorial staff, but thru-axles (or 9mm thru-bolts) offer very perceivable improvement in front-end stiffness. I notice it every time I climb a hill or stand on the pedals. Why wouldn't I choose a thru-axle system? Maybe a little "don't knock it until you've tried it" advice is in order here.