Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Wednesday" Is A Bit Unwieldy, But The New Foldable Version Lets You Break It Down To "Way" For Easier Portaging

Well wouldja you look at who made the pages of Time, or at least its blogular Internet presence:

No, it’s just that in much of America, spring is when all the fair-weather cyclists emerge from their hidey-holes after cowering inside all winter. This means that before Bike to Work Week even begins, the bike paths and greenways are already clogged with overzealous, wobbly-legged cyclists splayed out over their aerobars like baby giraffes. In order for cycling to “take,” it’s most important that these Bike to Work Week commuters enjoy themselves, and injecting them into this frothy mix of wonky speed weenies is a recipe for frustration.

Oh, that Biek Snub...he's so gosh-darn irreverent!

It's true though, the bike path situation is decidedly "flambullient" at this time of year.  In fact, on the way home from this ride I used the Hudson River Greenway:

Where the competition was fierce:

And where I was assailed by all manner of riders, some of whom were armed with "butt rockets:"

("And butt rockets' Fred glare, the Gu bursting in air...")

Of course, I realize I made an attractive target of opportunity, given I was riding a Brompton--shown here between my legs on the Long Island Rail Road just a few hours before:

(Yes, I'm wearing cutoffs.  The Brompton was so disgusted it folded itself in shame.)

I've had the Brompton on loan for a few weeks now, and I readily admit to loving it.  As I've mentioned before, I already have a non-Brompton clown bike, and it never quite succeeded in making me want to "join the circus" and use it regularly, mostly because it's a bit of a hassle to schlep on and off trains.

The Brompton on the other hand folds up into a tidy little bundle, tight and compact as the ball of stress in a London stockbroker's gut.  This makes it far more convenient--plus you can put it in hand truck mode and wheel it around if you've got a longer way to go:

Also, it may surprise you to learn that I keep no bicycles inside my actual home, which is no small feat given I have a lot of bikes and I live in New York City.  I prefer it this way, given that my living space is precious and I need plenty of room for yoga, tai chi, and meditation.  Plus, if my bikes are within reach at all times I'm liable to start tinkering with them.  This really cuts into my TV time.

The Brompton, however, is so unobtrusively small that I just keep it by the coat rack next to the stroller.

Nevertheless, as easy as the Brompton is to fold and portage, I admit that when I stopped at the Harlem Fairway on the aforementioned greenway jaunt I simply locked it to the bike rack out of sheer laziness:

Had I stumbled upon this scene I'd have taken photos and Tweeted gleefully about the irony.

Of course, what the truly seasoned Bromptonauts do (I prefer "Bromptonauts" to "Bromptoneers") is fold the bike and stick it in the shopping cart like a toddler, which is just what this person was doing as I was locking up my own:

I only needed a few things though (sushi rolls for the cat), and I was afraid that if I brought a shopping cart in with me I'd end up filling it up just because it was there, and then I'd find myself emerging with eight bags of groceries I'd have to figure out how to carry home on a fucking Brompton.

By the way, at the Harlem Fairway at any given time at least 75% of the customers are either wearing or carrying helme(n)ts:

For a minute I thought the above shopper was Elden "Fat Cyclist" Nelson:

But after he autographed my receipt I realized it was just Stanley Tucci so I crumpled it up and threw it in the trash.

Speaking of multi-modal transport, Citi Bike is expanding--and this time around, instead of screaming about how bike share stations are a sure sign of the End of Days, people actually seem happy about it:

When DOT reps last night unveiled the proposed locations of 39 new racks to be installed on the Upper West Side, residents reacted not with rage or fury, but with something else completely. Something that looked a lot like...enthusiasm.

Wow.  Where's Dorothy Rabinowitz when you need her?

(Pulitzer prize-winning conservative journalist and bike-bashing enthusiast Dorothy Rabinowitz)

At the embalmer's for a top-up most likely.

In other exciting bike share news (especially for dentists), Klaus from Alps and Andes informs me that, as part of Citi Bike's new ownership and expansion, the fleet's getting upgraded to Serottas!

Though sadly they'll be more like this one:

Here's the story:

When the current Motivate management team took over last fall, they inherited two big problems. Most of their systems ran on flawed software that crippled reliability and frustrated riders, and the manufacturer of their bikes had gone bankrupt.

Now both issues have been addressed: Replacement software from 8D Technologies installed this spring has a proven track record in other cities, and the new bikes — designed by Ben Serotta — clear up how the company’s fleets will be expanded and replenished.

So there you go--though it seems to me if they're going with a green and yellow color scheme they could at least use some old Sierra Nevada team bikes:

All we need now is a Brompton vending machine that takes MetroCards and we'll really be in business.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Ted K. said...

12. Those who are most sensitive about “politically incorrect” terminology are not the average black ghetto- dweller, Asian immigrant, abused woman or disabled person, but a minority of activists, many of whom do not even belong to any “oppressed” group but come from privileged strata of society. Political correctness has its stronghold among university professors, who have secure employment with comfortable salaries, and the majority of whom are heterosexual white males from middle- to upper-middle-class families.

What just happened? said...


Anonymous said...

Keep riding the train and eventually all your bikes will be folding bikes.

PotbellyJoe said...

Trace your own roots.

BamaPhred said...

Coulda Podio'd, but I was off wanking at the Brooks site.

groanhammer said...


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Front grouppo.

babble on said...

Way cool!

ken e. said...


ken e. said...

strangely synchronized up here in the pnw.

Flyover BC said...

top ten

grog said...


PotbellyJoe said...

So the Bixi Citis will live on like the Checker cabs while the new Serotta Caprices start to hit the streets.

Sounds typical.

GreySpoke said...


Oh the humanity!

James said...

Missed the sprint. Woke up late after a long night. Couldn't pass up a special invite to spent the night at Old Man Brooks' daughter's thatch roofed cottage.

Anonymous said...

I think Ted K. has been spending a little too much time at the Fairway in Harlem without his Ritalin.

FR8 said...

The thing with a Brompton is that you fold it up and take it inside when you want to and leave it outside when you can't or don't want to. I think Americans call it optionality.

crosspalms said...

Today a Bromptonaut, tomorrow a Bromptoholic. It's a dangerous road, Mr. Wildcat...

Anonymous said...

Hope all of you are safe and weren't on a train in Philadelphia or getting hammered at Penn Station.

Well done, Snob. Enjoyed the Time article.

Dorothy, no limo, just a broomstick. said...

"At the embalmer's for a top-up most likely."

Great one, and probably true too.

PotbellyJoe said...

I was on that train last week coming back from DC.

Had a very quiet moment sitting with my wife last night sitting on the couch when the news broke.


America Runs on Dunkin said...

Cops shoot hammer wielding man at 8th & 37th. And the NY Times article contains this sentence, all by itself.

"The shooting occurred in front of a Dunkin’ Donuts."

Ted K. said...

"...been spending a little too much time at the Fairway..."

I've been spending time in a 12' x 7' “space” , except 5 times a week I get out for an hour of “recreation.”

Envious Bromptonaut said...

Did someone say 'Brompton vending machine'? We already have them at 24 railway stations in the UK. Take a look at 'Brompton bike hire' on YouTube.

Bryan said...

all of you are figments of my I claim first!

Snob...any desire to buy yourself a Brompton? If so, have you gone on their website yet and "curated" your own? I did that, it came out to around $4k...yikes!

Anonymous said...

"it might make a few people into more considerate drivers"

Is "considerate" the right word here? Feels too polite when it's not about manners, it's about careless or reckless driving.

Anonymous said...

Here are some Brompton Vending Machines.

They don't take metro cards but there is a smart phone app...

BamaPhred said...

Don't be shy WCRM, we know you were going to Cat 6 the hell out of those guys on the greenway with the Brompton in your jorts.
Butt Rockets indeed.

RANTWICK said...

Time? Wow! Betcha never thunk you would swim in the mainstream, right? I think it's great to get a voice like yours into more popular media... somebody needs to balance out all the smugness and battle the helment police!

Just never ever stop writing here, OK? Mass-consumption snob is good for reasons above, but uncensored snob is much more vital to my selfish time-wasting needs.

Anonymous said...


Mikey S. said...

I recently purchased a Specialized AWOL. It's sort of like the SUV of road bikes, but I have to say I'm liking it. You can hate on Specialized but they put a lot of butts on seats at reasonable prices and that my friend is a good thing.

BikeSnobNYC said...


I would like to buy myself a Brompton one day, I really do love it.

I just went over to the site and built what seems to be basically what I'm riding but without the titanium and fancy raw finish. If I'm doing it right the price comes to about $1,600.

Doesn't strike me as too crazy.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

leroy said...

My dog and I got caught in the Cat 6 bike to work week peloton on the Manhattan Bridge this morning.

Of course, he whistled the William Tell Overture the whole time.

Frankly, that's less embarrassing than when he rides behind me calling out "mush."

On a positive note, I stopped at a light near the UN and solicited a commuters' review of Brooks' vegan saddle: "After two weeks, so far, so good." It looked nice too.

Comment deleted said...

It's probably not a great idea to google "frothy mix."

PotbellyJoe said...

Wildcat, Brompton bike headlight
Ridin' the town and doin' it right
In the evenin'
It's pretty pleasin'

Wildcat Snobbie, Velocipedy
Ride the Brompton out in New York City
And they shimmy
And Snobbie's so skinny

And they whirled and they twirled and they tangoed
Singin' and jingin' the jango
Floatin' like the heavens above
It looks like Brompton love

Bryan said...

That's not bad at all, WCRM. I was choosing the "cream of the crop" stuff - adding a SON hub made the price jump quite a bit. Neat little bikes!

Bryan said...

And the accessories...whew! I think the front bag I chose was close on $500 to add on. BUt you have to feel British so may as well go all in

Anonymous said...

We put many, many whole bikes on the train here in CalTrain land:

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Bromptons also tuck away nicely below decks whilst one is island hopping on the yacht.

(not kidding)

BikeSnobNYC said...


Right, forgot about the bag...

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

My advice is to put the 1,600$ in the college account and steal a Brompton.
I've recently paid off two college tuitions and only have 70,000$ left on the third kid.
I wanted them all to go to state colleges but my wife encouraged them all to go to private schools.
Yes. We're still married.

balls™ said...

Man Sneezes Out Toy Dart That Left Him Sniffling for 4 Decades?

That doesn't even look like you. Oh well, a paying gig is a paying gig.

BikeSnobNYC said...


As a SUNY grad (educational equivalent of Surly) I look forward to crushing their dreams of a private education.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

More cowbell.

babble on said...

Hmm... and in non-sequitor news: the tire which I thought was tubeless is actually tubular. WTF is the benefit of a tubular wheel?! It's heavier than a clincher, you've no ability to change the tire on the side of the road, it will cost you a ridiculous price per flat and take three days to change, and YOU CAN'T REPAIR IT when all is said and done!! Well, apparently some dude in Florida will sew it up for you if you ask him nicely, but really. At least with tubeless, you can patch the inside of the tire at home and have a spare on hand.

Woooo hoo.

Mind you, I rode yesterday's criterium on the lovely Lynskey which felt so fast last year, and that plastic Fred chariot (whith its dumbass tires) is definitely faster than my beautiful Ti Baby, so there's that.

leroy said...

Dear Mr. PBJ @2:00 PM --

My dog informs me he just threw up in his mouth a little.

He's not a big Captain & Tennille fan since they announced last year they are divorcing.

I think that shook his faith in the ability of love to keep folks together.

It's like he's gotten cynical all of a sudden.

Anonymous said...

Muskrat Love.

JB said...

Babble, tubulars are for when you have a mechanic following you in an Audi with a spare bike.

Freddy Murcks said...

Having CitiBike in more areas of Brooklyn and above Central Park will be an improvement (as far as I am concerned). Dorothy Rabinowitz probably plotzed in response to the news and Delia Ephron is probably still trying to convince anyone who will listen that the color blue is the worst thing to happen to NYC since the Civil War draft riots (which also, not coincidentally, involved the color blue and which she and Dorothy apparently witnessed firsthand).

Freddy Murcks said...

In other cycling related news: There is apparently a bikecycle race going on in Europe right now. I think it's called Lay Toor Day Eataly (the name doesn't make any sense to me). It's apparently a competition to see who is the best doper and who is best at evading the anti-doping authorities. It's also an opportunity to test out the latest hidden motor technology.

Anonymous said...

That green and yellow colour scheme doesn't strike me as very New Yorkish.

Those are the colours of Australian sports teams, though we call it "green and gold". Well, not me, "they" do.

Anyway, it's not right for NY. Just thought you should know.

PotbellyJoe said...

@Anon 3:41,

They should follow the flag on NYC and do orange, white, and blue. Then the Yankee-adorned SUVs can have an excuse for trying to run them all over.

bieks said...

Getting cat 6'd on a Brompton isn't much different than a bike passing you when you're walking - Me: "Big deal. I'm on a Brompton!"

Using a Brompton to pass a slow rider always feels like cat 6-ing though. Them:"Seriously? What's that circus bear trying to prove?"

RoadQueen said...

I tried building my own Brompton, but the website wouldn't let me select Pink for the frame color, so piss on it.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Why, will that turn it pink?

--Wildcat Rock Machine

1904 Cadardi said...


A tubular tire may be heavier than a clincher, but the overall wheel/tire combo is lighter. If it's not, you're doing it wrong.

As a recovering racer boy (Hi, my name is Cadardi and it's been 20 race free years since I surrendered my license) you don't ride tubies to go fast in a straight line, you ride them to corner like a fiend. No clincher can touch them. If you think otherwise you've never ridden a good sew-up in a crit. If you train on them, you must be rich, nuts, or some combination thereof.

I still ride clinchers. Kinda heavy ones too.

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
babble on said...

Damned!! Where is the Audi with my spare bike on it?!!?!

So is it possible to put a pair of tubeless tires on a tubular crabon wheelset? I just love the idea of being able to patch that fucker up again when it flats. On the positive side, I found out that one of the youngsters on the Devo team knows how to stitch them up, so there's that.

Sigh. Back to training on the slower bike. I've been spoiled for speed.

PotbellyJoe said...


Do you not have trainer wheels for the plastic bike? Or do the tubie/plastic wheels make that much of a difference over your other sets?

Glory said...

"As a SUNY grad (educational equivalent of Surly)"

So is SUNY Potsdam the Surly Ice Cream Truck? Or the Krampus?

Joseba 'Skid Marx' Beloki said...

I theenk'ah the tubular suck'uh.

Dooth said...

SUNY NEW PALTZ ('85)...the Surly Bong Water.

bad boy of the north said...

whatever rantwick said @ 115p

bad boy of the north said...

Prayers go out to those onboard amtrak 188 and to those in nepal.

Vernal Magina said...

Lolz at the Pink Brompton comments above.

... and what do we call SUNY Purchase? my vote'd be: an Entenmann's delivery truck masquerading as a drug transport vehicle.

Vernal Magina said...

... or, vice versa, I guess.

Vernal Magina said...

... being towed by a pedicab.

Salvatore Denise said...

hey Snob - I ride in daily, all year round on Metro North with a Dahon single speed - folds up quick & small. Also, solid, quick & takes a beating-at 399 US dollars I think it beats a Brompton - plus anything smaller than 20 inch wheels looks too clowny.

babble on said...

Mr PBJoe - I do have a decent set of trainer wheels which I use in the winter on the Lynskey, and there is another set of wheels for the Argon, too, though that pair is really quite heavy. Thing is I have a set of Shimano shoes with the crabon brake pads in them installed on the Argon and Campy shoes with the regular pads in them on the Lynskey, so if I wanted to change the wheels on the Argon, I would have to change the brakes, too, and that's a pain in the arse for a few days of ride time. Besides, the Lynskey with its shiny Shamal wheels is definitely more fun than the Argon sporting training wheels.

Never, ever would I have dreamt that I'd prefer a plastic bike and garish, loud plastic wheels over my sweet, understated Ti Baby. Not in a million years. OMG. Maybe it's a middle age crisis. Y'know, like the dooder who buys a little red convertable sports car and starts dating a girl half his age... :-0

BamaPhred said...

I don't know if pissing on a Brompton will turn it pink, but Zappa had something about watching out where the huskies go and yellow snow. The Dog may be able to illuminate as to the implications.

babble on said...

Mr Cadardi - I didn't do anything, other than order a new Vittoria Corsa to replace the old, outgoing tire.

Um, and yes. Completely, absolutely nutz. Though no longer will I train on them, so expensive is this process.

Borscht Belt Brompton said...

Is that a folded Brompton in your pants? Or are you just happy to see me?*

*rim shot

Cipo said...

Snake Plissken is a small man meat pussy!

David Pearce said...

Dear Wildcat,

I have a Brompton. It is unconscionably expensive, and also an unconscionably great city bicycle.

I would not use it to tour major continents, as "The Path Less Pedaled" did. But it is excellent for shopping for groceries and feeling exceptionally smug while doing so.

You are not getting the full Brompton smugness experience until you use your folded bike as a shopping cart. My Brompton, ordered in, like, April or May 2013, finally swam across the Atlantic Ocean in September of the that year.

MY bike has all the bells and whistles: the rear rack, with the EZ-wheels option (although I see they have rebranded this option as Eazy-Wheels. It also has the SON front wheel dynamo, and the front and rear lights to go along with it, with the rear standlight function.

I have to say it: my Brompton build is awesome. You don't know the pleasure of pedaling to the Trader Joe's, folding up your bike, pushing it into the store, and using it as the shopping cart, with the Shopping Basket attached, and rolling on the smooth EZ-wheels, rolling up to the cashier, where he/she takes the purchase out of the basket, rings them up, and puts them right back in the "shopping basket" luggage option. You NEVER forget your shopping bag!

The lights, with the SON front dynamo hub, is excellent, as it the stand light function of the rear lights.

The Brompton is not only a bicycle, it is a "Machine for Living" (my phrase), and despite its cost, I admire its design very much. To be able to go from a bicycle to a grocery cart, and back again, is a excellent reason to invest in a Brompton, despite its high price.

--David Pearce

McFly said...

Speaking of Snake Plisken me and my buddy ran over a rattlesnake this evening. He actually stopped right on top of it. We did the next logical step and poked it with a stick. It was rather anti-climactic.

JLRB said...

Snob - Well done Time piece. Life's events have spared me from being able to commute during beik weak - silver lining to a dark cloud and all that.

Your fair city didn't make the top 9 for biek commuting in the Time blog-bit that follows yours.

JLRB said...

WTF - 100 mph in a 50 mph zone?

If it wasn't in such bad taste I'd ask if there is a Strava app for train conductors.

Ol' Nat said...

I'm just impressed that you used "frothy mix" in a mainstream publication!! Nice going!! (-:

Canadian Hoser said...

Golden shower time for Brompskey. Hey Babs, can I borrow your rubber sheets?

Anonymous said...

You know the Brompton vending machine already, sort of, exists

BamaPhred said...

JLRB There is a speed limiting system installed on many trains and sections of track, apparently not here. I don't remember the details on the accident up near WCRM's neighborhood, but there was some question on the system on that one also.
I think the engineer was asleep at the switch on that one, and yes, I hate to participate in a rush to judgement on this one, but......
I don't see a rational human being barreling through an urban landscape at 100+
My uncles were railroad men in way back machine times and they took a lot of pride in following the rules of the road, so all of this recent train wreck stuff un nerves me in more ways than the obvious

JB said...

David Pearce, I've coined a nickname for you: Folder Fred.

I'm laughing with you, because your Brompton sounds perfect.

JB said...

Bama, I work with railroads pretty often (freight: BNSF, UP, etc.) and those guys take safety to the point of absurdity. These passenger train drives seem to be glorified bus drivers: reading the paper, sleeping, generally foffing off).

babble on said...

It does. And I like the phrase 'a machine for living.'

Heyyyy, turns out Bono and the U2 boyz like to hang here in Vancouver, and they've been here for a while now, practicing for their North American tour. I have never seen the man himself out and about on a biek, but then I haven't been looking... I do wonder how his shoulder is healing up.

babble on said...

It does sound perfect, that is.

And you do have to wonder what the engineer was up to, going so fast on that stretch. The good news is that he is still around to answer to his actions, unlike the mad German pilot who crashed the plane.

PotbellyJoe said...

Part of me wonders if he thought the section from Philly to NYC was speed controlled, instead of Trenton to NYC and just threw the lever forward.

Electronic nannies don't make for better drivers, even if they do make everything safer.

With Di2 and hydraulic brakes, I'm waiting for EBD, ABS and TCS to make it to bicycles.

Karl Hungus said...

In the BSNYC Universe it is still Wednesday.

RoadQueen said...

Wildcat Rock Machine,

If it would, I would!

If I could turn things pink by simply pissing on them......oh boy. This reminds me of the story of Midas, only wetter.

I'd be pissing on everything. :-D

Yeah Cleveland! said...

Talking about private vs public institutes of higher learning: Both of my progeny went to private colleges because private have bigger endowments and gave my kids more money. Gotta love how they shake down their alumni.
Interestingly enough they both ended up in NY, RPI and Ithaca. They couldn't wait to get out of Ohio I guess.

Andy_Vibes said...

I don't think anyone else has mentioned it but I'm digging the Haro Kneesavers on the Serotta Citi Bikes.

I don't think there will be too many opportunities to "get the rad" on one of those but if you do at least you have adequate knee clearance.

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