Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This Just In Part II: I Rode A Bike For A Short Time And Lived To Tell About It!

I file this dispatch from a café north of New York City:

Where I am enjoying a light lunch and sipping a coffee that is bigger than your head:

(See how it dwarfs the Orangina?)

As I hinted this morning, I undertook an exploratory mission of the sort only the most intrepid cyclists would dare attempt.  Four score and seven years ago, in 1492, Henry Hudson and his comic sidekick Ferdinand Magellan set out from Scotland to discover the Northwest Passage, and in the Process they discovered Canada.  Or something.

My own mission was no less daunting, and the implications just as far-reaching.  My quest?  To pioneer a short cut to the mountain bike trails through the mall.

Now that spring has sprung, so has my metaphorical "boner" for bike riding, and a foray this past weekend proved that which I had begun to suspect: the mountain bike trails are finally dry.  I am fortunate to live in a part of New York City that allows me to access mountain bike trails by bicycle in under an hour.  Ordinarily, I ride to these trails using one of two (2) routes:

1) The route that is approximately 75% dirt and 85% motorized traffic-free;

2) The slightly faster route that is approximately 10% dirt and 90% motorized traffic-free.

Both of these routes involve riding north and then east to the northernmost portion of the park, where there's a parking lot and a trailhead.

However, I have long suspected that by cutting through the giant mall that sits like a boil of commerce on the park's southwestern end, I could cut out a few miles and begin my baronial all-terrain bicycling adventures that much sooner, thus facilitating increased numbers of mid-week "hookie" rides that might otherwise be spent astride the Fredcycle.

Brimming with optimism and Froot Loops, I selected a suitable expedition bicycle, and off I went:

(When you're sneaking off for a mid-week ride, you don't have time to do stupid stuff like match your water bottles.)

I also mounted the Fly6 camera so that, in the event of my demise, future generations could learn from my exploits when they discovered my corpse.

The mall in question is an outdoor one that's supposed to look like an actual town, and it sits on a high ridge between two major highways.  It was built not too long ago by the developer who also did the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and it was in the press quite a bit because it owes its existence to the worst sort of bribery and corruption.  It will not surprise you to learn it's also 150% car-centric, and that it's a temple to the most vapid sort of American and imported consumerism, containing as it does an Apple Store, a Lego Land, a Uniqlo, lots of fake-fancy restaurants with waiters that recite their dialogue from scripts, and even a Whole Foods.

We shop there all the time.

The question at hand now though was whether I'd make it through alive on a bicycle, and leaving the bike path early I climbed the giant, shoulder-less road to the top of Mt. Commerce:

Despite the token bike racks here and there I can assure you one feels highly out of place on a bicycle here:

By the way, that green thing is a Bose speaker piping in popular music.  (I think it was playing 21st century U2 at that moment.)  It plays throughout the complex to silence your thoughts, mute your soul, and remind you you're living a completely ersatz existence.

As I turned onto the "main street," I noticed police activity and EMTs pushing a stretcher:

Someone must have shopped 'til they dropped.

The "main street:"

Depressingly, not only can you shop here, but you can also live here:

Just imagine how inspiring it would be to live in a shopping mall and take all your evening meals at the Cheesecake Factory:

Here's a Fly6 still of this serene lunar retailscape:

Just a Mercedes, a dork on a mountain bike, and tumbleweeds made from fast food wrappers and money.

At the northern end of the mall is a gate which opens out into the park containing the mountain bike trails, the only way to access this giant park from this giant mall:

It happens to be right behind an REI, so I went inside to buy an inner tube, because you can never have too many inner tubes:

My heart dropped.  Five miles to the bike shop???

Thank goodness it was just a clever merchandising display, and I leaned my bike on a Thule display and selected the appropriate tube for my bicycle:

Smugly, I asked the kid who took my money whether I could access the mountain bike trails from here, assuming he'd have no idea there was singletrack right on the other side of the parking lot.

He gave me detailed directions to the gate without missing a beat.

So I rode across the parking lot:

Wheeled my bike through the gate:

And immediately I was on the trail, the mall retreating into the background:

Never has it felt so good to feel mother nature's rocky bosom beneath my Internet mail order discount closeout tires:

I am not one of those tread weenies.  My criteria for selecting mountain bike tires is that they're vertically round and laterally on sale.  If they're wide and have some bumps on them they'll probably do fine.

By the way, if you're an American when you're in the shopping mall, what are you when you're in the woods behind the shopping mall?

You're a-peein'!

I'm the first person ever in the world to make that joke.

By the way, it's really creepy watching these videos, because it totally looks like surveillance camera footage of a murder suspect:

Anyway, I'm pleased to report I made it through all my "trouble spots" without having to touch Sidi to soil.  None of these sections look especially difficult, mostly because they aren't.  For example, I made it through the slightly-off-camber rocky section:

The rocky switchback section:

(You have to take that one wide:)

The extremely daunting "passing other riders heading downhill" section:

(Just kidding, they were both friendly and considerate.)

And even the "big" (for me) climb:

On top of which I collapsed onto the nearest logpile:

Where I sat panting and staring at my feets:

(I wear socks from cool people because I wish I was.)

Then the murderer returned to his bike, the slight fisheye effect of the Fly6 emphasizing his portly physique:

After recovering I enjoyed a few spirited rock-humping whoop-dee-doos:

Then I showed the Fly6 my nose hairs and turned it off:

After which I headed down to the café, which I'll leave just as soon as I finish this giant coffee in six hours.


Yeah Cleveland! said...

All caught up.

1904 Cadardi said...

2nd again?!?!

Anonymous said...


Astroluc (Find me on Tumblr and Instagram @Astroluc) said...

top 5!

crosspalms said...

That Fly6 is made of strong stuff.

Anonymous said...

Which CAT blog? 6?

McFly said...

Top 10 Stage 1B.

ken e. said...


babble on said...

Woooot! And now we're deep in the anals of suburban cycling lore!

McFly said...

That was worth waiting for. I lol'd multiple times.

Anonymous said...

Camera you use?? GoPro or something else??

Anonymous said...


Blog Drafter said...

Whoa, fun ride, enjoyed it. Too many witticisms to mention, aka Chuckles. (stuck at work, myself)

db said...

Nice to know we share the same MTB tire philosophy.

dancesonpedals said...

good to see your horizons expanding beyond untermyer park

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Dude man! you should upload some of that gonzo gnarl to your youtube channel bro.

Anonymous said...

Sprain Ridge? Good times, good times.

babble on said...

Sweeet! Nice ride. What a paradox,though, from mall to trail. It's almost an instant sort of thing, isn't it?

Mmm... remember reading boners... brimming with optimism and froot-loops and you know I love brimming boners. Heh heh... and you're the brightest sort of tread wienie.
Fuck yer funny! You're on a sizzling hot streak this week, snobberdooders. :D

You inspired me to mount a camera to my bike. Well, you and the city driver who cut me off a couple of weeks ago. I mounted mine face forward, though.

Anonymous said...

How come you didn't bust any Kung fu moves before urinating this time?

And what sort of terrain and technique would you recommend for urinating? I note, for instance, that you appear to be using a fallen tree (log) to act as barrier to protect your socks from splashback today.

I know you probably have to be a pro to execute that sort of move, but your tutorials are very inspirational and give us ordinary folk something to aspire to.

Flyover BC said...

That looks like the same Mount Commerce that has a "Homie D" on the left side of the road. No?

I also assume that the path that is 75% dirt refers to the colonscopy.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of when the Tour had two stages a day. I like this. Two chances to make the podium a day.

RANTWICK said...

Tough to read at work. Leafy trail goodness just mocking me.

Best part though:

"Someone must have shopped 'til they dropped".


CommentatorBot9000 said...

The REI Sales Kid knew where the gate is, and so does Google Street View:

dancesonpedals said...

the homie d is on the other side of I 87....and sits with stew leonards & a costco...if you look at the fly 6 footage, you can see the dick's next to the rei
(we're all about dicks, dykes & bj's)

a great day to 6 am it was in the 30's...I wussed out on a ride in & all day it's been beautiful...I'll ride in tomorrow sans fly6

Olle Nilsson said...

1. There's a parking lot at the trailhead? Why not just drive your Hyundai there?

2. Gold, Snobby, Gold! I'll leave it to you to decide which parts, because I've already ... ooh look a castle!

3. Wait, the Cheesecake Factory is a real place? I always assumed it was a made up place from a TV show.

4. Oh and I could be all obnoxious and say you could ride those trails on a road bike, but I won't. Wait, was that my outside voice?

BikeSnobNYC said...


I've ridden them on a cyclocross-style bicycle with really wide tires. It wasn't much fun.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Comment deleted said...

Man, now I'm craving a couple of Oranginae.

Anonymous said...

Nice mall, although the REI must come on handy.

Anonymous said...

Looks like another rough day at the office for Mr Mom.

BikeSnobNYC said...


I come for the apple cider donuts, and I stay for the animatronic farm animals.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

babble on said...

Lol! Someone just text me to say that she googled spokeNscene and it has another woman's name and face on it!

ge+ :D so funny!
Strangely, I went offroad for a little detour this morning and winced as I wondered what some creative marketer at Specialized would have me on. I'll put the video on youtube in a bit.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 4:19pm,

No kidding, this mom's gonna need some white wine tonight!

--Wildcat Rock Machine

balls™ said...

Lunar rectalscape?

Way to sneak in the dick pics from the fly6 there, WCRM.

Orestes Munn said...

That was an epic epic.

Love the Budweiser socks.

CommieCanuck said...

Jörs, if you are going to persist with upnose porn, at least shave your nostrils. Shaved upnose porn is better.

CommieCanuck said...

Love the Budweiser socks.

They are practical, if you strain fresh urine through those socks, you get a beverage that tastes exactly like Budweiser "beer".

McFly said...

I think they are Blackweisers.

Olle Nilsson said...

Oh, and extra cred for the black coffee. No douchey lattes for the snob.

Tal F said...

Totally spot-on commentary on the mall. I've been there, by car, on the way to the nearby Costco, and it is definitely a soul-less, deadening, life-sucking imitation of a town center. I had no idea Forest City Ratner was behind it. What a disappointment. I can't imagine anyone would actually want to live in those condos, perched above a highway and within walking access of nothing but a poor imitation of a town.

Anonymous said...

Those are All Hail the Black Market socks.

Wild cat has shown props to the following competing bicycle bloggers:
Fat Cyclist
Dave Moulton
James Huang


RoadQueen said...

Wow, those shants and socks are hideous! :D You should wear that outfit when you ride the Son of Scattante!!! (although, I think some hideous HOT PINK socks would be even bolder = better)

Thanks for the out of doors footage, from those of us stuck in the doors, working for The Man. *sigh*

Glad you had an awesome ride!

Anonymous said...

One of the streets in that mall thing: Rebel Dr.

Yeah right.

Anyway, hi.

JLRB said...

Malls still exist? I thought (hoped) the Internet killed them all - like video and the oh nevermind

Anonymous said...

We thought you was a toad!

Delmar said...

Shit. Messed that one up. Must be time for my meds.

LookatmeLookatmeLookatme said...

I like that you are giving us much more blatant which outline the trails that you use. Yet, still requiring us to investigate by researching said clues at the mid manhattan research library and other receptacles of paper, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. However, I just used google and google street maps.

LookatmeLookatmeLookatme said...

dammit i checked for spelling and grammer three times!!! "blatant [clues]". I try hard...

Anonymous said...

The zipper pulls from your gargantuan clamshell makes it look like you have a set of balls hanging down into all the Fly6 pics, and then on the last one it looks like you're ready to LICK YOUR BALLS!

Surly Bastard said...

What soaring prose! Snob you're the Emerson of our time. Or something.

"Never has it felt so good to feel mother nature's rocky bosom beneath my Internet mail order discount closeout tires"

Anonymous said...

Cool ride and a two-fer blogulation day! It's getting warmer Snob so beware the Hives of Spring, lest you forget in the ecstasy of discount mail order knobby tired bliss.

Biking the Live Fantastic said...

To read my Northwest Passage post, use the link below. I'm flattered!

Anonymous said...

Bama Phred for COD.
The phrase Hives of Spring put him over.

Size 9" said...

The place was empty because you scared all the shoppers away with those hideous socks. One look at them and they knew something was a foot.

Biking the Live Fantastic said...

I must say it's surreal to hear over and over again from people here that I shouldn't bike at all, that it's extremely dangerous, and then have you apparently make fun of it. A friend was run off the road not 3 miles from here, survived, still biking. I'm not offended, should I be? This could be geography, if the recent study claiming the South is more dangerous, the Deep South most dangerous to bike in. Maybe it's safe in NYC, never biked there. Cheers!

Rusty Bedsprings said...

Why don't you pee BEFORE you head off on your bike?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Rusty Bedsprings,

I pee before, during, and after. Did you see the size of that coffee?

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Flyover BC said...

It amazes me that ya'll comment on all things pertaining to bike fashions, including the color coordination, or is it colorways, of everything from stem spacers to, well, everything.

It must be a New York thing.

ken e. said...


Rusty Bedsprings said...

Dear God. I shudder to think about the aftermath of a mid-ride epic burrito binge.

Anonymous said...

I hope the white wine is working on Mrs. Wildcat.
Thanks for a fun day.

Anonymous said...

Whoooaaaaa mid-blog transfer. Its like Milan San Remo 2013 all over again. The snob is a pro blogger now

wishiwasmerckx said...

Snob, enjoy your box of wine this evening.

McFly said...

Your saddle looks like a little baby African-American dolphin. They are rare.

All The White People in Yonkers said...

I am obsessed with Ridge Hill. It's so close to home and brings so much new shopping, along with restaurants, a theatre, and now one of the only Legoland Discovery Centers in the US.

On the upshot, it provides unique choices like Francesca's and Uniqlo, even introducing some higher-end brands like Brooks Brothers, Sur La Table, and an Apple Store. BUT there are also stores like Victoria's Secret, Old Navy, and The Gap, which are found 5 minutes away in Cross County. I heard they've had problems filling the space, and therefore, they rented to these stores. Too bad we won't see a J. Crew or Banana Republic although more stores are expected.

The restaurants are all chains from the Yardhouse to the Cheesecake Factory to the newest addition, Bonefish Grill. None of all the choices are stand-outs, but again, some excitement to see some new eateries in the area.

You must pay for parking. Recently, the meters were removed because they were determined to be illegal. The Ridge Hill project has been plagued by political scandal since its inception. Many neighbors have also opposed its development due to traffic problems, and they are right. Not only is RH one-lane, but local streets like Tuckahoe Road and Jackson Avenue are feeling the residual effects. There is a movement in place to remove the toll on the NYS Thruway Ardsley in hopes of alleviating this problem- let's hope Albany pushes it through.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Yonkers will start a bike share program...buaha ha ha! Ha ha!

ktm882 said...

Hahaha, nice one Snob. I love they're and have shopped there and Newberg knew there were trails in the back. We might need to hook up. :-) Do you road ride?

dancesonpedals said...

all the pale people in yonkers..that mall was even creepier in august '11, when only the rei & the movie theatre were open...the parking garage felt like a set from alphaville

I wanted to open a shop in ridge hill sell lady's bike saddles that I made from crackers...I was going to call them 'Pudenda on the Ritz"..maybe have the assos girl as my spokesmodel but the rent was too damn high

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 10:34pm,

Way too hilly.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Orestes Munn said...

Yonkers? Good God! Proof that anyplace can be pseudo-gentrified. I'm going back to my nice, grimy 20th Century.

Anonymous said...


[used in a sentence]

"We were in the middle of nowhere MTB'ing and came upon a quaint footbridge and stopped for a moment of respite. The bulge in my Pearl Izumi's caught her eye and next thing you know I am in a impromptu session of trailhead."

Old said...

How much time did you save cutting through the mall?

Also a column suggestion: as an aging cyclist with a boingy bike that also rides at Sprain Ridge and is considering a rigid, your thoughts on what it's like to ride rigid on the (relatively) rocky terrain around NYC? Do you wish you had suspension?

BikeSnobNYC said...


Ultimately I think I saved little to no time cutting through the mall due to the time it takes to climb up there in the first place. I probably would save time cutting through the mall on the way home though, since it's downhill. I think I smell another expedition!

I do have a suspension fork for that bike, but I haven't been using it. I generally prefer rigid bikes for the following reasons:

--I'm used to riding them and find it more comfortable/predictable/familiar;
--The round trip ride to and from the trails is much more enjoyable on a rigid bike;
--I am a dyed-in-the-wool "woosie" who rides conservatively and is not going off any big drops or anything like that.
--A 29er wheel with fat tires smooths things out pretty good for a "woosie" rider like me even without suspension.

When I was doing the odd mountain bike race I really liked the suspension fork because it made a huge difference at the end of a race when I was tired and sloppy. (Huge difference in terms of comfort and not crashing, that is. My results sucked regardless.)

I'm sure I'd really enjoy riding a fancy modern full-suspension bike, but I don't have time to open that whole can of worms.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

1904 Cadardi said...


Just give it a few years and you to, or at least your back, will succumb to the lumbar coddling plushness that is full suspension.

Plus, any remotely modern-ish front or rear shock has a lockout effectively turning full squish into rigid, albeit heavy.

I've got a few years on you so I am speaking from your future. Whoooooo.

paulb said...

A year ago I bought an old Raleigh 3-speed from a LBS for what seemed a very fair price. The owner assured me he'd fully serviced the bike--at least, that's the way I heard it. But, riding in slushy weather in January, the bottom bracket seized. There was no grease inside, nor in the headset, nor in the front axle. I've avoided going back to the store, but I've known the owner for 20 years and have just felt lousy about the entire thing. So today I'm going to stop by and ask him what happened. It's like that dumb country song. My wife ran off with my best friend, and I really miss him.

BikeSnobNYC said...

1904 Cadardi,

I fully understand it's inevitable that in coming years I'll either wind up on a bouncy bike, or else will stick to smoother and smoother terrain until I'm riding on glass.

Yes, my suspension fork has a lockout, which is handy, but it's still not the same as a rigid fork.

(I also really like simple bikes, which is why I still use cable brakes and stuff like that.)

--Wildcat Rock Machine

JLRB said...

The Fly6 adds a cool textured dimension to this inter-space place.

That "Friends" era coffee mug full of hot and steamy would have caused me to leave something hot and steamy besides one of those felled trees...

Nobody cares but it was an awesome morning near the nation's dome covered halls of idiots for photo taking of other people photo taking of imported blossomed fruit trees

grog said...

Well done Wildcat.
I was tired of the cat blog anyway.

Anonymous said...

Howja have time to still do a ride on the same day that you learned how to make those vowels with two dots on top in Jors Truuli?

Ptidesj said...

Rapha Jersey? Seriously?

Rent a bike in Seville said...

The bike is the best vehicle!!!

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