Monday, March 27, 2017

The Unbearable Lightness of Crabon

Did you know what if you buy a frame or bike from Rivendell you get a copy of my book?


It's true!

And not just because they jammed the spine to ascertain your pubic bone height and can't in good conscience sell it to anybody else:


It's that right, pubic bone height guy?
Sure it is.

No, it's because Grant Petersen knows quality when he sees it.  (Even though his book is better than mine.)  Well, that and Rivendell probably has a bunch of copies left over from my visit back in June of last year:


Which remains one of the highlights of my blogular career:


That ride was fantastic, and would have been even better if only I'd been wearing a VeloVisor:



Between the brilliance of the East Bay sunset and the radiant smugness emanating from the Rivendell crew it was enough to make one squint.

Indeed, as a recovering Fred who's already crested the summit of life and is currently stuffing his jersey full of newspaper for the rapid descent towards the grave it's becoming increasingly clear to me that I could probably eliminate at least two or three bikes from my livery by curating one sensibly-appointed and age-appropriate Rivendell.

Alas, as the father of various human children plus the proprietor of seventeen (17) blogs and the author of so many books I've lost count I can barely maintain the bikes I already have, much less edit and update my fleet.  Consider this bike, which incurred a flat tire recently:


It was one of those overcast but warm-ish early spring days, and so I pulled up a chair and set to work like I was carving a corn cob pipe on the front porch.  Of course, whenever you start tinkering with anything mechanical in public any male antennae within a one-mile radius start quivering, and before long a gentleman sauntered over to oversee my progress and offer his unsolicited commentary.

"I see you've done this before," he noted in admiration of my surgical deftness.

A seasoned New Yorker, I did my very best to avoid eye contact.

"You know, you should never patch a tube, it's not worth it," he admonished me in an accent that might have been either British or Antipodean, I could not muster the requisite energy or interest to attempt to parse it.

I was not, for the record, repairing the tube.  As far as patching goes, here's my protocol: if the puncture is readily apparent, I patch it on the spot.  If it's not, I replace the tube, take it home, and put it in the "to be repaired" pile.  This tube fell into the latter category.  Nonetheless, his comment prejudiced me against him, as not bothering to repair an otherwise perfectly good tube (or at least tell yourself you're going to do it later) has always struck me as being rather wasteful and the sort of thing people who wear white shoes and quote the Velominati are wont to do.

My observer then began a lengthy anecdote about a bad patch and a bike tour that was so tedious I nearly punctured my own eardrums with a tire lever, and once he'd finished he then turned his attention from my labor to my trusty Surly travel bike, which was propped up on a planter just as you see it above.

"What, no disc brakes?"

I figured he was joking.

"No, and yet somehow I manage to stop," I replied.

As it turned out he was not joking.  He then told me he'd been bike shopping recently, and not only had he learned about the superiority of disc bikes, but he also discovered that carbon bicycles are much lighter than metal ones.  The implication was that I should get one.

At this point I finally turned to my new companion and took the measure of him.  He was an older gentleman, and fairly ample.  And while it's not necessarily wise to judge people at first glance, it was almost impossible to picture him astride a carbon road bike in the same way it's tough to imagine Winston Churchill dropping into a halfpipe.  What I mean to say is this was by no means the sort of person you'd place upon a carbon bicycle--unless of course you were in the business of selling as many carbon bicycles as possible to anybody and everybody with a wallet regardless of how ill-suited they were to such a machine.

"And that means what?," I countered in response to his comment about carbon's lightness.

"Well that makes it much easier to ride, and at my age I need that," he explained.

I was tempted to explain to him that given his demographic a comfortable bike would improve his performance infinitely more than a slight gram reduction, and to that end I was about to direct him to Rivendell.  But then I figured he may just be one of those people who merely looks like he should be riding a recumbent but once he clips in he's suddenly transformed by the magic of crabon into some sort of watt-churning uber-Fred.

More importantly though, I couldn't be bothered.

Finally I finished fixing the bike and returned home.  Then, the next time I went to ride it, I found the bottom bracket completely seized due to the messy streets I've been riding in over the past few weeks, which underscores my point about how I can't find the time to maintain my own bicycles.

So I moved onto the Milwaukee, only to find the right pedal spindle completely seized on that bike too.

Between the facts that: 1) I can't seem to keep any of my bikes running; and B) People nearly twice my age are telling me my equipment is obsolete, it's becoming increasingly clear to me I should  quit bikes.

Lastly, here's an inspirational tale:

It's always good to see people gain enlightenment from cycling, and eventually if she keeps riding she may even work out that Christianity is a myth.

God willing.

86 comments:

Ted K. said...

226. Thus the fact that many individual leftists are personally mild and fairly tolerant people by no means prevents leftism as a whole form having a totalitarian tendency.

Sam said...

Podium! My first!

George Krpan said...

"Indeed, as a recovering Fred who's already crested the summit of life and is currently stuffing his jersey full of newspaper for the rapid descent towards the grave..."

Bravo, another quitty little whip.

Bryan Bracy said...

don't count ted, podium!

Anonymous said...

Good to have you back

martin mackelt said...

Good bloggin snob

boys on the hoods said...

top 10. Welcome back Snobby.

James said...

Still top 10!

Older Then You said...

"...who's already crested the summit of life and is currently stuffing his jersey full of newspaper for the rapid descent towards the grave..."

Its funny because its true. It is also funny because it stings a little.

Hugh C said...

I take a dump before every ride on my steel bike. Weight savings is about the same, it's cheaper, and I feel better.

Just to be clear, I don't actually dump on my bike.

thegock said...

SNOB BACK

Anonymous said...

Man, that Royal typewriter loaded with yellow paper takes me back.

Rivendell’s new Appaloosa would probably be a good choice for someone of your age and disposition. Sell two bikes that you don’t use (or that don’t work) and buy one!

Schisthead said...

The damn robots!

Select all pictures with cars...

NHcycler said...

>>Anonymous 10:53 AM said "Sell two bikes that you don’t use (or that don’t work) and buy one!"

Bikes lose their value very quickly, especially when used properly, like WCRM uses his. He'd probably net only a couple hundred; a new Riv costs, well...

Grump said...

Rookie mistake. After riding in the rain or slop. hang the damn bike so that water drains out from those little holes in your chain stays......(Do carbon bikes have those same holes?.....probably not)........Maybe I'll need to get one of those Carbon bikes when I'm 90, so that I can keep up with the 25 year olds.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

The genuine article...


vsk

Anonymous said...

No, not welcome back Snobby. He's always here; it's his site. Welcome back us, the visitors.

Anonymous said...

I think that if you made the effort to raise your FTP you'd feel more like the ├╝berfred, of which you write, and less like you are on the descent to the grave. Check out Trainer Road's podcast. I think you'll get jazzed.

Nice blog today. I think I understand the disc brake agnosticism a little better.

Feldwegvergn├╝gen!

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...I thought we were going to a schedule for the BSNYC bike auction at the end of this post.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...going to GET a schedule.

N/A said...

Your restraint at not dropping, "yeah, I'll mention that thing about dick breaks in my NEXT book about bikes" is admirable, Wildcat.

Also, spend your money and time where you care to, but not patching tubes is too wasteful for me to get on board with. It's just so easy, and if you're even moderately competent, it's very easy to get a patch that is totally reliable. Of course if you only have one bike, and you ride it once a year, then the ol' pitch-and-replace isn't really that big of a deal.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Scranus 22!

Bears Repeating said...

"...if the puncture is readily apparent, I patch it on the spot. If it's not, I replace the tube, take it home, and put it in the "to be repaired" pile."

Grizzlies at the Range with Henry Rifles said...

Also, good one today Wildcat.

Pist Off said...

I am in the same middle part of life and also can't maintain my stable of bieks. Just can't decide which Riv I want. The Clem Smith honestly looks like the most sensible bike one could have. The Cheviot looks nice but doesn't have the canti brakes which I prefer. The roadier models take big tires but not as big as I like in the snow months. But all of them take 1" quill stems that are guaranteed to piss off your pro-carbon internet bike experts. That makes me happy inside.

Anonymous said...

Your photography is getting a lot better. Looks like you thought about my suggestion to get closer and fill the frame with your subject. But you have other ideas about photography that work too. I especially admired your photo of the suspension bridge, where you got close but also used trees in the foreground to frame it. You're learning!

Buffalo Bill said...

Despite all the rivendell humping in the prose, they seem to be underrepresented in the tally of bikes that the snob has purchased with his own money.

Hee Haw the Barista said...

You're bitter.

N/A said...

@Bears Repeating 12:25

I was speaking in general. Commenting on one of Snobbie's points, and agreeing with him. You know, conversing on the subject at hand.

Bears Repeating said...

@N/A at 12:19 PM:

Did not see your comment, was trying to agree with the Wildcat comment in the Blog. I got me a big "to be repaired" pile too.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

-the "to be repaired" pile

I have one of those too but call it the "pile of long strips of rubber material that have a multitude of other uses around the home and farm"

Nice to see you decided after all to keep this bloggular enterprise up and running.



Anonymous said...

Romans 5:3

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

N/A said...

My bad, Bears. Your comment being right after mine...

Plutarco said...

The premonition of madness is complicated by the fear of lucidity in madness, the fear of the moments of return and reunion, when the intuition of disaster is so painful that it almost provokes a greater madness.... One would welcome chaos if one were not afraid of lights in it.
--Emil Cioran

justobservinglife said...

I never met Emil Cioran but I did once met an Emily. You don't hear that name too often anymore, come to think of it.

Anonymous said...

N/A--"It's just so easy, and if you're even moderately competent, it's very easy to get a patch that is totally reliable."

Yeah, but you gotta wait for that glue to dry.

I gotta get this new tube in so I can go somewhere that doesn't matter to do something useless and/or buy some crap I'll throw away next week--I am a man who has no time for patching.


Frickus Rungus said...

I wonder if applying tire patches to my arm would help me resist the n+1 bikes urge...

Alcoholic Anonymous said...

"...n+1 bikes urge..."

When you tell your self the next one will be the last, but it isn't, you have a problem you are powerless to control.

Spokey said...


"Well that makes it much easier to ride, and at my age I need that," he explained.

as someone who is way closer to that grave at the bottom of the hill (i figure my youngest kid is probably around snobbie's age), i would note that a heavier steel bike has more momentum so i can keep going having expended my entire energy store in the first 10k of a ride.

Anonymous said...

https://www.instagram.com/p/BSG1C5tBbeT/?taken-by=wolf_tooth_components

There's been a kerfuffle here because of a misogynistic homophobic instergrim post. Anyone got a copy?

Spokey said...


also

if god meant for you to ride a crabon bike, he wouldn't have stuffed all that crabon in #2 pencils

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:05pm,

Intrigued, I searched around and found this.

Not sure what they were thinking there.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

dancesonpedals said...

1)The old codger who watched BSNYC change a flat missed the most important thing...the carefully nonchalant balanced-bike lean against the flowerpot...no components harmed in the changing of the flat

2)That lady pastor in boston took a short cut home with some nuns.

"I've never come this way before", said the pastor.

"It's the cobblestones", said the nuns.

The Candid Cyclist said...

Your tales of bearing seizure are making me worry about riding my rain bike in only crappy weather and putting it away wet - pretty much every time. You're supposed to maintain those things? I do however patch tubes with an 92.6% success rate.

Anonymous said...

can we get some of those trucker mudflap cutouts to put on our hand-hammered Honjo fenders' mudflaps? Wolf dudes you have a call to action.

Drock said...

The people you meet while changing a tube. You never know what you'll get.

1904 Cadardi said...

I too have the "to be repaired" (I never repair a flat on the road unless I have to, i.e the second flat tire of the day) and the "long strips of rubber" piles, but when I reorganized the garage the piles got mixed. Now I have a single large pile of "tubes to be checked to see if they are repairable, and if not rip the valves out so as not to be mistaken for fixable ones."

Also, Ti is just like steel except it doesn't turn to mush if you ride it outside in a NYC winter. It probably fails the Peterson test, but I don't care.

Wesley Bellairs said...

So much to comment on.
Go back and compare the 1950's times of guys who travelled by train and rode steel bikes over horrible roads vs. today's times and you will find 2.4kph difference. Given the road conditions I can argue that a carbon squirrel bike is slower (incapable of going 3ft in a straight line)!

Wesley Bellairs said...

Without Christianity you'd be on a carpet praying six times a day. Myth or not, you need to show some proper respect.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Wesley Bellairs,

1) Sit down, think that one through, and eventually you'll realize why that's wrong;

2) I don't need to do anything.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

correction: you do need to get a carbon bike with dick breaks.

Chazu said...

Without christianity, humanity would have accepted the following facts looong before they actually were accepted as facts:

1) The Earth is round
2) The Earth orbits the sun
3) The Earth is not the center of the universe
4) Etc.

Intelligent people were imprisoned and put to death by the christian church for daring to speak and write about those facts. Just think how much further along we'd be if christianity and other religions didn't try to hide basic facts about the nature of existence.

bad boy heading south said...

Speaking of freds.this past weekend,while visiting in the DC/Arlington area, wifey and i spotted many freds and a few wilmas doing their weekend thing.sometimes five abreast.(yeah,I know.i said abreast).Shocking to me, drivers behind the packs, didn't scream,nor curse,nor showed middle digits,nor cut them off.at least where we were.i would've gone for a leisurely ride myself,but my dear old dad passed while we were here, sorry to say.
There's an old pine mountain waiting for me to ride,but she'll just have to wait.

wishiwasmerckx said...

No matter what my plan was when I left on the ride, when I flat on the road, I throw in the spare tube, turn back for home and hope for the best.

I almost never have to patch a tube on the road.

I also seldom flat on the road because I actually look where I am riding and ride around the sorts of things that tend to lead to flats. Back when Critical Mass was a thing, it used to astonish me how oblivious casual riders were to where they were steering to.

Thankfully, almost all of my flats are a slow leak and a soft tire discovered when prepping for the next ride.

P.S. It's kinda cruel of Captcha to make me identify cars as a precondition to leaving a comment on a cycling blog.

Another Down Hill Old Guy said...

All this talk about road grit on your tires causing flats...how long before someone start talking about tire wiping?

(Either by hand, by foot, or those wire gizmos.)

Holy (Spliff) Roller said...

Ever since I let the Lard come into my life, he's been helpfully repairing that pile of tubes I have stacked up in the basement.

He's not very good at it and keeps running out of glue because he forgets to put the cap back on. As a result it is taking him quite a while, which probably explains why there haven't been many miracles lately.

1904 Cadardi said...

@Another Down Hill Old Guy,

I used to brush my tires because that was what everybody else did. At some point a friend told me she quit wiping her tires because she would rather have a hole in a tire than a finger. Did I mention she's smarter than me?

N/A said...

Condolences, Bad Boy.

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

In for a poor 69st. Today's excuse: I have a cold.

Anonymous said...

I am confused, what are seized bearings? My 1970's proper steel framed bike still runs like new and the pedals spin better than any I have found on new bikes at the dealers this side of the millennium. Whatever happened to progress? Cash in pocket if I ever see a decent new bike for sale but looks lie I may never spend it...

Old Timer said...

Huh? What?

Bogusboy said...

The Great Lob bade him to get the fuck out of NYC, but his pride and stubborness bade him stay....

Doc Sarvis said...

Fingers heal fast

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 8:17pm,

Where do you live?

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Holy Roller said...

All you SINNERS like to disparage THE LORD and THE JESUS and sometimes (but not as often) THE HOLY GHOST.
Just remember there is a special place in HELL for you where EVERY bike has a seized bottom bracket.

Anonymous said...

Any maintenance issues on the Kia Sorento you want to complain about too?

Spokey said...

i'm with wiwm

i try to pay attention and sometimes go a couple years without a flat. i buy nashbar tubes on sale for something like 3 for $8.

i carry one or two tubes on most rides. doesn't seem worth patching.

Pist Off said...

Satan's crankshaft spins in a poorly toleranced crabon race frame with a BB30 pressfit bottom bracket. Fredly sinners must fix the mystery creaks by repeatedly replacing bearings until the BB shell is ovaled out, then they must tell Satan he needs a new frame. Over and over and over...

wishiwasmerckx said...

Careful, Anon 8:17. Snob has moved into his "IDGAF" stage of this blog. I believe he intends to come to your house and punch you in the nose.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Spokey, I'm a Jew. I patch my tubes...

Blau ist der Reiter said...

Love how a week away results in a boatload of troll/noob comments, like "try increasing your FTP!" "Respect the Christian God!" "Dude, just buy the Rivendell already!" He here- the part I like best is not knowing if they are written by trolls, by new readers who are oblivious... or by brilliant but subtle comedians whose jokes go right over my head. Hmm.

Anonymous said...

I knew you were listening, Snob! I knew if I just left enough comments complaining about being bored and threatening to quit reading this blog you would HAVE to see reason and come back! You hear that, internet? It was ME! If at first Snob totally smacks you down, just keep posting variations on your first comment so he'll believe there's more than one of you. IT WORKED.

ITWO RKED

Paul McWilliams said...

Here's a photo from 'one of the highlights of WCRM's blogular career.' taken from astride my ill-chosen crabon bicycle, which was rapidly melting in the radiant smugness emanating from the Rivendell crew.

tubasti said...

I think that Milwaukee is cooler than anything Rivendell makes. And if I ever wanted anything plusher, I'd go looking for a 30 year-old Univega Gran Turismo.

leroy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leroy said...

A free book with a Rivendell bike?

I don't mean to brag, but my dog sold me a hat and threw in a free bowl of soup.

bad boy heading south said...

Thanks N/A.like many, besides other things,taught me to ride.

leroy said...

Dear bad boy - my condolences.

bad boy heading south said...

Leroy,much appreciated.tell your dog I said "hi".

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Orange Hatter said...

What I have found riding in Boston is a bunch of assholes in cars . . .

Anonymous said...

I've got a Rivendell Roadeo- the only limitation on that bike is me!

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