Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Brief Wednesday Dispatch

I know this is real tin foil helmet stuff, but I suspect there may be a relationship between irresponsible motor vehicle operation:

And hurting people with your car:

This occurred yesterday, and you can read all about it on the Bike Forecast.

Disasters aside, yesterday was a lovely day to be on a bicycle:

So I headed downtown, where the NYPD had my customary reserved parking space waiting for me:

I then went about my business secure in the knowledge that these apiarists would dispatch a swarm of bees to sting any would-be bike thieves:

Presumably this was a presentation by the New York City Beekeepers Association:

But I didn't bother to watch because I've got enough going on in my life without having to grapple with the concept of Bee Freds.

Indeed, the deplorable state of my bicycles reflects just how busy I am.  Consider the bicycle I was riding yesterday--the iconic Ironic Orange Julius Bike--whose rear hub currently looks like this:

This is probably because: 1) I have not used the fixie side of the hub since like 2008; and B) prior to yesterday I hadn't ridden the bike since my "epic" post-snowstorm citywide bike lane survey back in March, after which I put the bike away without so much as a cursory wipe-down:

Indeed, the bike was in such a sorry state yesterday morning that instead of lubing the chain I simply threw it away and installed a new one--and by "new" I mean I went to my drawer full of chains and picked one more or less at random.  What's mildly concerning about this Drawer of Mystery is that I can no longer remember why I relegated most of those chains to it in the first place, so who knows what manner of defects they may be hiding.  Similarly daunting is Tube Mountain, which is made of tubes I've set aside for patching, and which at this point would require at least five years in solitary confinement to repair completely.

I suspect if said it before but I will say it again: while some dream of exotic bike vacations, I would give almost anything for a week of uninterrupted bike maintenance during which I could perform badly-needed overhauls on all of my bicycles.

Pending that, I only service or replace parts when they stop working, which means riding the Ironic Orange Julius Bike in particular keeps me in a thrilling state of suspense.

Moving on, yesterday I touched upon the sorry state of American professional men's cycling, and as we head into the Tour de France this VeloNews story underscores just how sorry it is:

Two rookies and a GC hunter is the threadbare American presence in the 2017 Tour de France.

Matching a two-decade low from two years ago, only three American riders will race in cycling’s marquee event. It’s even worse for Canada, with zero representation.

In your face, Canada!

All three — Taylor Phinney, Nathan Brown, and Andrew Talansky — wear Cannondale-Drapac colors.

But only one of them wears headphones that zorch his brain.

Alas, if we're to be totally honest, who among us does not long for the heady days of America's doped-up supersquad?

I mean these riders are still doping anyway, so why the hell shouldn't America be the best at it?

Yes, apart from the fact that Alberto Contador is still being supported by a team of EPO-addled domestiques it truly is a new clean era in professional cycling.

Honestly the only thing surprising about any of this is that the Tour de France is only three days away.

It snuck up on me like that rusty drivetrain.

At this point I'm really going to have to scramble not to pay attention to it.


Unknown said...


BamaPhred said...

First Loser

dancesonpedals said...

That dude had 2 moving violations caught on camera in 2 many off camera?

dancesonpedals said...

as for orange Julius....snob was a fan of johnny carson's "great carnac"

what color toga should I wear to the orgy tonight

cdinvb said...

I keep the little bits of chain that I don't use. But I throw away worn out jockey wheels. I'm a weenie, I know.

Hee Haw the Barista's 3rd cousin twice removed Twyla went down the BS Explanation rabbit hole said...


McFly said...


dnk said...

Shit that sucks. Best wishes to the cyclist.

And fondest hopes that NYPD issues a citation to the driver.

I got caught in a "right hook" this morning --- driver made a late/quick veer onto Graham Ave while going down Broadway (in Brooklyn) and almost clipped me. Luckily my brakes saved the day and I was unscathed.

Meanwhile the driver didn't even seem to notice, even though the window was open and I shouted ("NO!" was all I could manage.)

Unknown said...

vsk said ...

First, take my place in the Tennus...


bad boy of the sooth said...

Why do I hear Aretha Franklin's"chain of fools"?

Die free said...

Dam, the fine it's higher for obstructing street cleaning then running read lights or driving the wrong way on a oneway...

Keep them streets clean NYC.

Unknown said...

vsk said ...

Second, and I'll need some cheese to go with this whine ...

I wanted to take the 7:43 East River ferry from 34th and the FDR yesterday.
I'm at 40th + 5th. Check the Citibike App and all neighboring stations say 0 bikes available. No biggy. 5 bikes in the 40th and 5th station, 1 w flat, the rest look fine, all red lights in the indicators. Put my electronic key in, baaaah. No bike fo you. Give them a tug anyway, just in case someone docked in haste. Do these stations shut down after 6 or 7 ? I mean the bikes looked ok.
I sashay down to Grand Central on 41st St and Park where there's usually at least a few in the 200 station area. A few with red lights in crappy shape or whatever. I watch someone approach with a returning bike and then hear a voice... There's a fucking 8 person deep LINE of people waiting for returning bikes. I thought it was a line for a Fung Wa bus or something.

What the Actual Fuck?? as those young people say today. So I walk the rest of the way to 35th St and the East River ferry terminal and think about not renewing. Hmmm. If using the citibike service from midtown at commute time with any regularity will be your thing, fuck it and lease a Hyundai, ... or spend a few bucks more and get an Orbea.
Now for the cheese and crackers.
Carry the fuck on.
My Olmo needs new cables and pads, fuck.


Anonymous said...

I totally miss the Lance-era TDF.

Anonymous said...

Damn guy, that Ironic OJ hub makes me realize just how much I take my garden hose for granted after a slush ride.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 12:10pm,

You keep your garden hose on in the winter?

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Spokey said...

you take your hose off?

that's awful ambitious. i leave it on. close the shutoff inside and open the outside valve.

that said, i have no need to clean a bicycle in the winter as i'm a wuss and keep it to the tour de basement. i also don't clean it in the summer as i'm lazy. I do occasionally clean the chain and relube although i'm thinking of buying in to the don't clean, just lube theory.

Chazu said...

Floyd! He grows and sells his own brand of weed in Colorado now. He stands to gain, what, tens of millions in the United States v Armstrong lawsuit this year?

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...I might cross paths with the TdF in a few days.
...and now I forget what you had advised us to throw at the cyclists some years back.
...but since poop is the new EPO, should I be bagging mine to throw at them and help'm out?
...I'm sure my bio-sphere in my intestines is top notch. I drink lots of Kombucha

dnk said...

@vsk -- hey, I got yelled at too a couple weeks back at the Grand Central Citibike rack.

As I walked up there around 5:30 PM there were no bikes available (only a couple of bikes w/seats turned backwards). I saw an incoming guy coasting toward the rack ready to dock, and I said to myself, "Sweet!"

I did not even notice about 15 people lined up on 41st. All of them middle-aged male office drones, just like myself. I got a polite but firm admonition that there was a line. I ended up walking all the way over to Port Authority terminal to get a bike.

dnk said...

re: hose. I do what Spokey does

rural 14 said...

For sure, a week of bike maint. would be far superior to any vacation, with or without 17 children.

N/A said...

I like me a well-lubed chain. A well-lubed anything, really. If you're going to lube something, do it well, I always say.

N/A said...

Also, I have a tub o' chains, too. Where do those Fuck-Os come from? I think they're multiplying on their own.

GreySpoke said...

Hearing about your latest quandary about not having enough time to provide maintenance on your bike-cycle stable has given me an idea.

Since the automobile, there have been places to both purchase, and repair, your horse-less carriage. "Well, why not start a business like that" I said to myself, "but for bike-cycles"!

Not only would there be bike-cycle mechanics who would joyfully repair your bike-cycle, but I could display a few bike-cycles which people could purchase for their own bike-cycling enjoyment. I'd stock a few of these, and a few of those to account for what type of bike-cycle people would want. And after their purchase, they know we're here for them in case anything goes wrong, or perhaps to add a bike-cycle accessory.

Wait a second... I could stock bike-cycle accessories as well! This business plan is really coming together! I'll need some capital to get started, perhaps a GoFundMe or KickStarter account would be necessary. I doubt the banks would be into this sort of new venture.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Yes, but then these "bicycle mechanics" would require payment for their services, which I am reluctant to make.

My own time, however, is worth nothing.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

dancesonpedals said...

With all emphasis on lubrication, please don't neglect timing or lighting.

GreySpoke said...


Fair enough. Look me up when your time is worth something.

Olle Nilsson said...

I clicked into that IOJB link and even though I've probably clicked into that page before, I actually read it this time. I kept thinking, I don't recall Snob ever writing about himself in the 3rd person. And then commenting on your own blog. Oh wait, this isn't your blog. Duh-doi. George doesn't like it!

The IOJB really camouflages well with those barriers. The lock is just secondary protection as your bike is invisible.

BikeSnobNYC said...


More than that, honestly at this point in my life I'd feel weird about having someone else work on my bike for me.

--Wildcat Etc.

leroy said...

Late to work today because it was too nice not to ride a bike and I stopped for a cappuccino on my way in.

The cappuccino was in Piermont, but still, I was on my way in to work.

In case anyone asks, my dog wrote me a note.

Alex said...

Best Canadian Championship in years. No excuses like "all the best folks are riding the tour".
Congrats to Matteo Dal-Cin and Allison Beveridge.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:10pm replying

I keep a four foot whip of a hose on the spigot in winter. The newer valves are longer so that the water in the pipe is stopped on the inside of the structure. A valve lets the rest of the water drain out. The old conventional wisdom need not apply.

GreySpoke said...


Birds of a feather. I've been my own wrench ever since I asked "can I give it a try" when Dad was having trouble changing a flat on my first bike. Good times :)

Old Timer said...

Huh? What?

Pist Off said...

The IOJB should have a permanent rusty fixed cog as a feature. It says "Fixie riding interests me this much."
Useful bikes should be dirty from regular use. It makes them far more interesting than some weekend Fred bike.

Unknown said...

vsk said ...

DNK - Geez ... Grand Central to Port Auth? Might as well have walked the whole way.

I'm getting old ... I wanna speak to da manager!
Get off my lawn, it's too dark in heeya, I got a coupon, ...

I spoke with CitiBike maintenance folks about the no bikes here but a shit ton locked up on 47th and Park. They agreed it was silly but, that's how it is.


Grump said...

I too had a mountain of unpatched tubes.....until I found on Amazon a box of 100 or so Rema Tip Top patches. A tube of glue will patch loads of tubes (if you don't allow it to dry out) I now have a lifetime supple of patched tubes. (usually Michelin's with unthreaded valve stems)

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

May I ask what the business was you were attending to downtown?

Skidmark said...

When that freewheel finally slips into "neutral" or, as I once saw a motorcycle manual translation "point of death", you will smugly flip that iron-ic rear wheel around and boogie on like it's 2008.

Weird Al Yankovic said...

Do your loogies lose there flavor on the bedpost overnight?

Anonymous said...

Ok, I didn't know where else to go with this.

I'd have emailed it to snob directly so he could more effectively deal with this craigslisters request.....but, he's like a movie star and I don't want to bother him.

so, anyway....

dnk said...

Anonymous @3:25, that guy knows how to write ad copy!

I sort of want to write him and ask why he only rode it ONCE around the neighborhood, but I'm afraid that I'll be hurt by his reply of insulting sarcasm...

N/A said...

How do you make a small fortune in the bike shop business? Start with a large fortune, then buy a bike shop.

grog said...

Doesn't rust dust work like lube?

Hill Slayer said...

Made the mistake of heading into Midtown during rush hour. Woah. What's with the left turns? The bike lane isn't demarcated into the intersection, so the cars just cross over it. Almost got pounded a number of times, and then the bike lane just disappeared, and the taxis moved in like a pack of wolves.

Squirt the Lube said...

Spending money on tune ups from mechanics with limited experience is a roll of the dice at many bike shops. Having a professional approach does not mean charging "full tune up" prices for cleaning, a couple of turns on a barrel adjuster and some chain lube- an all-too-common practice. An enthisiasm for bikes does not a good tune-up make. Learn to do a shitty job yourself: at least the labour is free.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Hill Slayer,

I was going to say with regard to your comment yesterday that your commute represents the filet mignon of NYC bike routes and is not typical of a lot of the city. (Which is not to say we haven't gotten a lot of great stuff in recent years, because we have, but you're breathing pretty rarefied air with that route.)

Yes, midtown is a world unto itself in terms of cycling.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Hill Slayer said...

Ah. That makes more sense with what you normally write about. It is definitely filet mignon. I'll have to explore more of the city to get a better sense of the bike scene here.

Will not be attempting the midtown ride again. Still unnerved.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Hill Slayer,

If you want a real survey of the city by bike I recommend the TA NYC Century, you will see a lot.

--Wildcat Etc.

ClevelandYeah said...

I'm riding home today and stop at a red light. A car pulls up behind me and starts honking his horn. I'm used to this behavior so I ignore him. The driver yells "Get out of my way I need to turn." I point to the red light and the no turn on red sign. The driver continues to honk so I give him my standard yell, "Learn the law asshole." He starts swearing and calls me a redneck. Which is odd because Cleveland is definitely north of the Mason Dixon. The light changes and he right hooks me, yelling "I hope you have a heart attack buckeye boy!" That was his best shot? There was a preteen boy in the front seat and New York plates on the car.
What the hell I thought New Yorkers were supposed to be badass with the insults? This guy was so lame.

BikeSnobNYC said...


New York's a pretty big state. In fact there's a pretty good chance he's basically a redneck himself.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

dancesonpedals said...

Hill Slayer-

It's risking your life to stay in the bike path on second avenue past the 59th street bridge. The left lane takes you into a mixing bowl of turns. Most bike riders stay 4 lanes over on the far right to avoid getting hooked/plowed/run over

Hill Slayer said...

I'll be back in Chicago by then (hopefully doing our century ride sometime near that date], but it otherwise sounds great. Thanks for the input, Bike Snob and Dances on Pedals.

Cog Nitive said...

That begrimed picture of your flip flop hub caused my inner tidy person to feel ill.

JLRB said...

You keep reading my soul

Mixed bag of cycling joy and pain - I hope the injured cyclist is OK

I too would love a week of bike maintenance camp as a vacation - when I walked past my bikes and realize half are not rideable I wonder where the time went in my schedule where I used to find time to work on the bikes - now I make time only when it is a must to get a bike to function - maybe I'll find some of that lost time over the dependence day weekend


BamaPhred said...

As a redneck, the cultureable approbation of New Yorkers calling each other rednecks offends me. Lol. I thought the standard greeting was "asshole." Which, to be fair, was used.

Skidmark said...

All biek-cycle photo ops shall depict only show-room fresh and shiny merchandise for consumer perusal.

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