Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Golden Rule: Every Fred For Himself

Yesterday afternoon it started snowing.  Since I don't believe in riding indoors, whenever it starts snowing I immediately drop what I'm doing and go for a ride.  This is because you never know how much accumulation there will be, so I always make sure to squeeze in a "last ride" just in case we're snowed in for days.

I mean sure, I could also just check the weather forecast, but who has time for that?

Anyway, I dropped my knitting, grabbed my winter bike, and off I went:

See those diagonal lines?  It was really snowing, and I was really riding in it!


By the way, there's a persistent myth that aluminum frames are somehow "disposable," but if anything this frame only gets better with age--mostly because it is not afflicted with a press-fit bottom bracket or dick breaks or any of that other nonsense.  The frame was already pretty old when I bought it used like eight years ago, and since then it's been a race bike, a travel bike, and currently the dedicated winter bike that sees me through the darkest months of the year.  Indeed, given its years of service, I'm thinking of rewarding it by having it gold plated like this £250,000 Giant:

Here's how the company that created it describes it:

“Striking to look at, the bike is even more beautiful when in fluid motion, as the spinning spokes catch the sunlight and ripples along the golden frame."

Oh, I don't doubt it.

And here's the bike that lies underneath all that gold plating:

Brought to you by the world’s leading aluminum frame engineers, Defy redefines the performance possibilities of an entry-level road bike.

Scoff if you will, but even billionaires need entry-level bicycles--theirs are just covered in gold, that's all.  This bike should look perfect hanging from the gold-plated trunk rack of your gold-plated Hyundai Santa Fe.  Just imagine it in "fluid motion, as the spinning spokes catch the sunlight," and as the rider's £20,000 diamond-encrusted half-shorts scintillate like a disco ball.

In fact, there's such a demand for "budget" bicycle equipment for billionaires that Nashbar is introducing a special edition of its catalog specifically for them.  It's called "Nashbar Gold:"

(Free shipping!  Simply enter discount code "OLIGARCH" at time of purchase.)

It's exactly the same as their regular catalog, only every single item in it has been gold plated, right down to the house-branded singlespeed conversion kits.

In other news, this week we've been taking an in-depth look at why Australia is the worst country on the planet for cyclists (I smell a Pulitzer!), and in keeping with the theme various people have forwarded me this thought-provoking essay about why cyclists are transforming Australian roads into a "hell on Earth:"

This is a top-notch piece of trollery, right down to the graphic illustrating how motorists are suddenly and inexplicably incapable of changing lanes safely if there's a bicyclist nearby:

And how they're completely unable to gauge speed and distance of oncoming objects for some reason:


I’m turning out of a side street, patiently waiting until the traffic is clear.

Finally I get my chance. But wait. There’s a lone cyclist pedalling at 15km/h about 20m up the road.

Should I pull out? Maybe I’ll hit them. But, they’re going very slowly, I guess ... Well, now it’s too late.

My traffic window has been ruined and now I face another wait.

You’re slow, so don’t pretend you’re a car.

And you’re not Cadel Evans either.

I couldn't get too worked up over the article since it's textbook clickbait, however it is worth noting that the person who wrote it has some very serious spatial reasoning issues.  Cars and bikes really have nothing to do with it.  This person really needs to see a neurologist.

Meanwhile, in Melbourne, the fabric of society is disintegrating thanks to carriage-on-bike violence:

Basically, a cyclist and a horse-drawn carriage driver got in a fight, and it's all on video:

The incident was filmed using a helmet-mounted camera by a cyclist named Brett as he headed north along St Kilda Rd on Saturday afternoon.

"Brett," really?  Are they sure it wasn't "Bret" with only one "t"?

Either way, here's what happened:

In the three-minute video, the horse-drawn carriage appears to run a number of red lights and cut off the cyclist near Flinders St Station.

At one stage the cyclist asks the driver of the carriage for his name and he appears to reply by saying, "Yeah, it's called piss off dick head".

And here's the dramatic video:

This was the most pathetic altercation I've seen in a long time.  Firstly, the carriage wasn't even in the bike lane, the problem was the bus:

Secondly, you don't ride alongside a slow-moving primitive vehicle, arguing with the operator to a charmingly rustic "clip-clop, clip-clop" soundtrack.  It's embarrassing.  What you do is unhitch the horses, give them a good slap on the rump, bellow "Hyah!" or some other similar form of equine encouragement, and then give the driver the finger as they gallop away.


Oddly, here in New York City the carriage drivers and the cyclists are probably the only two groups of road users who aren't at each other's throats.  See, carriage drivers pose little or no threat to any other road user--which is why they're the only group the mayor is trying to actively ban.  Should he succeed, perhaps the carriage drivers should relocate to Melbourne, where apparently they can operate with their trademark brand of sluggish, non-threatening impunity.

Lastly, the UCI has given Astana have a WorldTour license:

But don't worry, they're on "probation:"

UCI president Brian Cookson stated, “The case of the Astana Pro Team ... remains a very serious situation for our sport given the number of doping cases. We shall be following the situation very closely and are awaiting to review the results of the audit. Meanwhile, the team will have to comply with the two requirements imposed by the Licence Commission. The combined effect of this is that the Astana Pro Team can be considered very much to be on probation. "

This is a refreshing acknowledgement from the UCI that professional cycling does, has and always will include drugs.


cervicalgia said...

Podium! Didn't will.

dcdouglas said...


dop said...


Gordon said...

Top 10

special ed. said...

Snob, how did you miss this golden opportunity to mock both Specialized and dick breaks today? I hope you pick up that Bike Radar article tomorrow.

dop said...

btw-the winter bike is just begging for a brooks.

Anonymous said...

Where's the snow?
I was expecting to see Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel in your back yard.

Charlie said...

Interesting how the "winter" bike is nowhere near actual winter. Where are the studded tires and pogies?

If you are making the claim that a little dampness is "winter" it's a lot like putting showy $49 rims on the Hyundai you don't fully own and saying "you can't really tell the difference between the Genesis and a 911."

dnk said...

Speaking of riding in the wintry stuff, this morning the W-burg Bridge was slipperier than Dick Cheney's conscience and slicker than Bill Cosby's mix drink-making skills.

Almost makes me pine for the days of the Hon. Michael R. Bloomberg. Despite the fact that he was willing to trade a bike lane for a few Hasidic votes, he was usually good for a coating of salt when the bridges froze.

Anyone take any of the other East River bridges?

BikeSnobNYC said...


Easy there, Nanook.

Also, those two things are nothing alike.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

Two claws up!

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

My son just sent me his Xmas list.
A Band of Outsiders shirt at $325.
I ordered some BSNYC gear for him instead.

Anonymous said...

UCI ruling on Astana (Imagine me guffawing on floor uncontrollably, or maybe not)
Reminds me of Dean Wormer's threat to the Deltas
Dean Wormer: You've done it this time, buster! No more Delta! I'm calling the national office! I'm going to revoke your charter! And if you wiseguys do one more thing, one more, I'm going to kick you out of college! NO MORE FUN OF ANY KIND!!

With emphasis on the ONE MORE THING

BTW I've always like the winter bike, fwiw.


Anonymous said...

vsk said . . .

toppus fifteenthiss ??


babble on said...

Mmmm Gold...
Actually, the go-fast bike I really want might just as well be gold plated, it's that far out of my budget. I wish I were a world famous bike blogger like you, Oh Snobi Wan, so that the bike companies would fall all over themselves giving their products to me to scorn.

McFly said...

"Should I pull out? Maybe I’ll hit them. But, they’re going very slowly, I guess ... Well, now it’s too late."

We call that Friday night with no kids around these parts.

Simon & Garfunkel said...

I could have been a contender.

Olle Nilsson said...

Aluminium makes awesome winter bike material. It oxidizes white, just like snow and salt. Not like stupid steel that oxidizes reddish-brown. What does reddish-brown coordinate with? Well, unless you live in Australia.

Ho Ho Ho said...


"My son just sent me his Xmas list.
A Band of Outsiders shirt at $325.
I ordered some BSNYC gear for him instead."

I highly recommend you not be home when he opens his presents.

Flyover BC said...

Maybe Astana should be considered very much on double secret probation.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...


P. Bateman said...

darn it - i always get so excited when i see Melbourne featured in the news, but its always that stupid southern hemisphere Melbourne and never the good Florida Melbourne.

i guess its because this is a sleepy beach town and we don't have cool accents.

the only big news out of this Melbourne is that i think i've fallen in love. i've been giddy all week like a 10 year old girl or Snobs at a Bieber concert.

i'm supposed to be a stone cold player. damn it. slipping in my old age.

grog said...

Hey! He pointed his horse at me. Did you see that?
Always nice to see the babe. Or part of the babe.
Now show me a fixie with a snowplow attached.

Grump said...

Probation?....Ha!, Not even Double secret probation. What a joke....Round up the usual suspect....(someone named Lance).
PS I hope you have a "real" headset on that bike, and not one of those sissy ones.
PSS I still think that it's silly to ride by your self in weather like that. A group...fine. At least then, you can give each other some guff about who wants to turn in their man card first.

Anonymous said...

Flyover: you beat me to it. Double-Secret Probation!
Ho Ho: he'll get the shirt, but I may throw a cap in to make it an extra special present.

Joe K. said...

My wife watches Fox 5 in the morning and for two days straight they played a clip of one of the politicians fighting to end the Horse carriages saying that no living beings should be in the middle of NYC streets that weren't inside of a car.

I am amazed at the lack of "You're an idiot" from everyone on his little speech.

I actually had to stop, pull out my smartpocketcomputer and see where the GPS told me I was because I thought I was in Australia for a second.

But then I remembered I was in the greatest bicycling city in America, according to Pennsylvania.

257 talking heads can't be wrong.

Spokey said...


Knew I shouldn't have been writing out my 2014 Lobmas cards during the witching hour

Flyover BC said...

I posted before reading the comments. Then I thought that Anonymous@12:04 (or was it Bama Fred) beat me to it.

Vernal Magina said...

hey b1Ke$nO0B,

Curious to know more about the specs of yr dedicated winter bike, plz.

Now that we already know the intricate details and history of the Aluminium frame, kinda wondering about all the components and whatnot how it's scrabbled together for the wintry sleigh slogging?

Honestly though, just sorta curious how it's built up, for some winter city riding...

Anonymous said...

Simon & Garfunkel said...
I could have been a contender.
December 11, 2014 at 12:18 PM

oh i see what u did there, 'cause they's have a song calleds "the Boxer"


ubercurmudgeon said...

I had to check to see whether that "the UCI has given Astana have a WorldTour license" link was to the Just Kidding photo. Incredible. What has Vino got to do to get himself banned for life? Clearly that is his aim, and probably the only way the oil-and-yak-dung billionaires that are behind Astana will let him retire. You know, the kind of people who scoff at merely gold *plated* bikes as too low class to hang on the backs of their *solid* gold humvees.

Joe K. said...

‘Drunk driver’ plows into Christmas shoppers in Midtown

First, I apologize for posting the P*st. Secondly, thankfully this driver was drunk so they can prosecute her.

Of course she will only get a DUI since she's not a Kennedy.

Comment deleted said...

Snob, I'm with you in appreciation of sandwich-grade aluminum for biek frames. It doesn't rust, it's light, cheap, and almost never fails catastrophically.

Hee Haw the Barista said...

3+ minutes is a bit much for a horse vs bicycle video ... I like to imagine it ended in a meth fueled garbage can lid ski pole jousting incident.

Angry Beaver in Miramichi said...

Babble at 12:13

"I wish I were a world famous bike blogger like you, Oh Snobi Wan, so that the bike companies would fall all over themselves giving their products to me to scorn."

In addition to bike stuff, with your legs, WW2 Vets would be falling over themselves to give you stockings.

Downtown Hotel said...

My traffic window has been ruined and now I face another wait.

You’re slow, so don’t pretend you’re a car.

And you’re not Cadel Evans either.

And you're not Mario Andretti, either.

Your point, exactly?

JB said...

No one saw the word problem in the Australian should-I-pull-out scenario?

Cyclist 20m away traveling at 15km/hour. The answer is that it will take the cyclist 4.8 seconds to reach the motorist's position. If you can't pull out with a 5-second window (count it out: it's a long time), then you should be eating the cafeteria dinner special at 4pm. By the time the cyclist reaches the motorist's position, the motorist should be at least 100m down the road.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Vernal Magina,

Is anything not apparent from the picture of the entire bicycle? Happy to answer any questions.

--Wildcat And So Forth

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

The potato vodka sticker is pretty rad.

Freddy Murcks said...

I think that NYC may be banning the horse drawn carriages not because they are a hazard to other road users but because they are a hazard to the horses themselves. This has been the case in other cities - such as Salt Lake City, which is the city that I live in.

Pisov Dikhed said...

I don't see the problem with the name given to the carriage driver.

CommieCanuck said...

Ok, so they charge $400,000 for a gold-dipped Defy.
At $1200 an ounce, that's 330 ounces of gold, or 20 pounds.
Fuckit, go to Walmart, $159 in aisle three for a bike and $6 for gold paint in aisle 4, and you would still get a lighter bike that a Russian immigrant would love.

Spokey said...

but as an immigrant from brooklyn, it sucks

CommieCanuck said...

So the Astana thing...exactly who are the fucktards who still watch this crap? Do these same people still write letters to Santa and wait up for the Easter Bunny? Are they part of some religious faith that involves running drunk up hill in chicken costumes?

Because if that's a thing, ...sign me up.

Joe K. said...

@Freddy Murcks

That's just it though, the horses by themselves aren't really dangerous and most are kept in very good care. What their a hazard to is cars that want to use their lane.

My issue with his quote isn't that I'm supporting horse-pulled carts, it's the myopic ridiculousness that only cars should be in the road in a major city.

Especially one that is the best biking city The US has to offer*.

*According to Pennsylvanian Magazine Editors

Freddy Murcks said...

Potbelly Joe -

I wasn't saying that the horses were hazardous. I was saying that pulling carriages around is hazardous to the horses. I think I have read allegations in the NYT that the horses pulling the carriages in central park were not well cared for and that there have been allegations of cruelty, but I could be wrong. Here in SLC, a horse died of exhaustion while pulling a carriage around and another died after getting hit by a car. SLC has since banned its horse drawn carriages.

In a modern city, horse drawn carriages are an unnecessary anachronism.

CommieCanuck said...

In a modern city, horse drawn carriages are an unnecessary anachronism.

Google is already testing autonomous robotic horses guided by lasers. The trick is getting them to shit in bike lanes consistently.

Joe K. said...

It's hard to separate fact from agenda on the whole issue of horse-drawn carriages. PETA thinks anything that isn't a grassy field with hourly massages for the horses abusive, politicians pick and choose the facts they want to discuss, as do the people employed in the industry.

Deaths and injuries to these horses are pretty low statistically and it's the anachronism that makes their business.

I just would fear the same argument being made against bikes gaining similar traction.

"A danger to themselves and others" an "unnecessary anachronism" and "Pollution being inhaled by them." could all apply to cyclists if politicians wanted to use broad strokes with their poor logic.

CommieCanuck said...

Funny how PETA doesn't have a problem with homeless people sleeping in frigid weather on the streets, just puppies. Maybe local governments need to dress up the homeless in cute, adorable furry outfits.
How many animals were killed to make Pamela Anderson's boobs? At least 20.

Olle Nilsson said...

Not condoning the former or the latter, but this guy races around the perimeter of Manhattan doesn't actually hit anyone and they want to throw him in jail for a year. He should have mowed down a pedestrian in the process & would have got off with no charges.

Joe K. said...


If PETA were at least honest they would make a stand against killing bedbugs as well as this horse carriage thing.

Anthropomorphism is only worthwhile when you project yourself into cute or noble things I guess.

Olle Nilsson said...

"99% of all living creatures die by being eaten alive." ~M. Smith

It must be true, I read it on Twitter.

Anonymous said...

The carriage driver, his name is Nick Dundee, I recognize the accent and the hat....

dop said...

What if Scarlett Johansen volunteered to blow the horses? The horses could be replaced by all the guys who'd volunteer to pull the carriages in teams

Old-timer said...

Huh? What? ...Mars?

Anonista said...

Well, that didn't last too long.

A mere two days of agreeable plaudits honouring Australia's status as Worst Country in the World for Cycling, and then a backlash on the third day with a video highlighting cyclist idiocy.*

(*One assumes: it too long to watch)

It should be understood Melbourne is a peculiar city populated by petty pointless people. It's like a New Zealand with no scenery and disturbing, rather than endearing quirkiness.

Australia still leads the world in cycling ungoodness and the Melbourne horse and carriage incident should be dismissed for the anachronistic abnormality that it is.

Spokey said...

@commie How many animals were killed to make Pamela Anderson's boobs? At least 20.


can you explain yourself? sey it ain't so.

Good Lob, more to the point, assure that's not the case of all boobs. Specially recumbabe.

Scarlett Johanson said...

Would it be helpful, if I just let them make lady-pillow babies?

Nuttin 2 Sey said...

I feel so unprepared for the quiz. About the only thing I am ready for is the first question. I am banking on that being what kind of vodka does the Snob shill for while riding his winter biek.

dop said...

I once heard it took 50 minks to make a mink stole. Small hands, no thumbs & they're lazy. Really lazy.

McFly said...

All I wanted for my birthday were horses with frickin lazers attached to their heads.......

Equinus Helmentus said...

If we put helments on the horses, Central Park will be safe again.

Vernal Magina said...

Well for instance, I couldn't quite tell the specifics/vintage of the groupo there -- was just curious. But also the type/width of the Gatorskins, that sort of thing...

I just happened to find myself wondering today what anyone does to build up any kinda road bike (formidable steel, for me, currently) against city winter road-bike bicycle cycling -- beyond just treading carefully, pun intended lol

While I typically forgo the fenders and, at least for the time being, a fat bike -- what does any of us do on those pleasantly snowy riding days, besides praying for no sheaths of black ice and cleaning off accumulated slush & grit from the drivetrain etc

Open to anyone, obvs...

Anonymous said...

er, grouppo. sry for the typo

Olle Nilsson said...

Damn lazy minks! Almost as lazy as cats.

No room full of cats could you cajole to tan and sew a lazy-mink stole. Sam, I am.

Anonymous said...

I weep for my country...

Spokey said...

what does any of us do on those pleasantly snowy riding days,

I switch from vodka (usually the potato kind) and diet coke to hot cider and rum.

Like tonight the snow is almost stopped and I don't have any real cider so I'm planning on a k-cup cidery thing with rum. Hopefully I can find plain rum. not sure how well sailor jerry's works with cider. may be forced to find out.

McFly said...

What kind of fender clearance are you rubbing on the potatoway vodka bike?

(Vernal you have not winter road biked until you do the double tire black ice slide)

BikeSnobNYC said...

Vernal Magina,

It's mostly 10 speed Ultegra, and the tires are dainty 23s because that's what was lying around. Basically I like to have full fenders for road rides in winter, and this is the roadliest bike I have that takes them. (MTB pedals are better in winter too.)

--Wildcat Rock Machine

His name was Bruce said...

JB @ 2:18 you are over analysing the situation.

This is how it actually works:-

Driver is waiting at the junction doing some important texting "OMFG did you see Kim K's huge arse?".

Pulls out without looking and kills cyclist in a SMIDSY.

Police confirm "no criminality suspected".

Driver sues cyclist's estate for the panel damage the cyclist caused.

B Rut said...

dop@4:00 COD

Flintstone R Cube said...

We all wept at the beauty of Lance's return to cycling after defeating PED induced cancer. We'll weep again when he signs with Astana and ...

Jeb said...

Billy Bob just puked all over th' trash pile on the front lawn. I done told him that 20 minutes weren't long enough to wait afore sampling that 'Home Brew' beer kit we up an' got ourselves.

Chris said...

I think Bike Snob wants to visit Australia. People are pretty good there but something happens when they get into a car, close the door and turn the engine on.

JLRB said...

While answering the call this morning I checked emails and found one from a Pennsylvania beikcyxlin magaZine announcing an article on winter survival - rev up the drive train cleaning geek out!

JLRB said...

Any regrets on the mellow Johnny's decal (odd placement by the way)

Anonymous said...

no release tabs on your front fender? Are you suicidal? People die from that, bikesnob

BikeSnobNYC said...


I have visited Australia. It's very nice, though a long way to fly only to wind up in a place that feels like America with a slightly different accent.


Not at all. Pretty sure people who work at Mellow Johnny's are happy to be employed and working with bikes. We should all be so lucky. In fact, they're the ones who put the decal on there, they stuck it on while I was doing a book signing.

Anonymous 8:56am,


But at least I'll die relatively dry.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

If anyone is not following Tilford's latest bitch and moan concerning doping in Pro cycling from Wednesday there is a nice 60+ comment discussion going on that's worth a laugh or two.

Anonymous said...

vsk said ...

"And he would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for those meddling kids!!"

Been a long time since Mr. Snob's BMX days.
Or find a pickup truck and get your BMX the fuck in it!!


JLRB said...

BSNYC @ 9:26 -

Makes sense - I'm sure lots of good peeps work at the shop, and I'm not a LA hater anyhow.