Monday, June 5, 2017

Just when you think Fred can't get any Fredlier...

I'm pleased to report that this past weekend I enjoyed an all-terrain bicycle ride on Ol' Piney:

And if you're one of the people who tweeted, emailed, or commented, YES I KNOW ABOUT THE FORK RECALL:

Not only do I know about it, but I've already received and installed the replacement fork, so there.

And what is it with the smug, gleeful, "I told you so!" tone people adopt when they're alerting you to recalls, anyway?  The company identified a possible issue and they took care of it.  It's not like GM failing to acknowledge a faulty ignition switch for 10 years.

By the way, in case you're wondering, it does seem like maybe the new fork is a bit less flexy than the old one, but then again I may totally be imagining it.

Anyway, lately I've been riding an all-terrain bicycle with only a single gear ratio, so it was a refreshing change to get on one with multiple gear ratios and voluminous tires--especially since I'm finally using said tires in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions:

Well almost anyway, since it's still only spring, but as far as I know nobody's selling a spring-specific tire yet.

This isn't to say I like one style of all-terrain bicycling better than the other, it's just that I like to alternate between shifty and non-shifty bikes, like running back and forth from the swimming pool to the hot tub.  There's also a misconception that riding a bike that doesn't shift is some form of punishment, which I wholly disagree with.  Really it's only punishment if you're doing it wrong.  And how do you do it wrong?  By riding someplace where it isn't fun to be on a bike that doesn't shift, which I never do.

No, when it comes to punishment you've got to look to the roadie set, who are constantly looking for new contraptions that take the joy out of cycling.  For example, remember PowerCranks?

I haven't seen these lately, but I don't know if it's because: 1) They're out of style; or B) I mostly avoid the Fred routes these days and scamper around on the dirt trails of suburbia.

Either way, I thought the PowerCrank was as sad as it got, but if one thing is true it's that you can never overestimate Fred's willingness to spend lots of money to make cycling less enjoyable.  To this end, meet the AIRhub, an expensive device that simulates the effect of binding bearings and/or brake rub:

The AIRhub is a road bike wheel with a resistance unit built into the front hub. The self-powered (no batteries or charging required) electromagnetic brake can can add up to 100 watts of resistance. A smartphone app controls the resistance. In addition to a manual resistance mode, the AIRhub will, when paired with a heart rate monitor or power meter, vary resistance to keep the rider in a set training zone.

Yep, you're reading that right.  It's a hub designed to slow you down.

So why would you want this?  Well, you wouldn't, unless you're a terminal Fred suffering from late-stage Weenie-itis:

Weird? Maybe. But it can be challenging to find rides tailored to your workout, especially if you live in an area lacking in challenging climbs. Or it could be a solution for riders that want to follow a training plan but still go out on casual group rides with friends. You could be putting out 300W while your friend rides along next to you at 200W.  You could even use it to turn your daily commute into an intense workout.

Oh please.  If you're that much of a weenie you don't have any friends.

So how much does Fred have to pay for some aftermarket retarding force?  Well, it's a bargain at just under $1,500:

Installing the AIRhub is as quick and easy as any front wheel: all you need is a tube and a tire. It's not cheap: the AIRhub sells for $1950 AUD (about $1460 USD.)

Though the real bargain is the FAQ on the company's website, which is both free and priceless:


I find inner city commuting too short for training, the AIRhub works me so I'm sweaty when I get to work. Short, intense morning & evening sessions through the neighbourhood keeps me fit and healthy. Without the AIRhub, speeds would be unsafe or the intensity too low.

Usually people who commute by bike are trying to figure out how to arrive at work without being sweaty, which makes the AIRhub the equivalent of a device that allows you to shower without inadvertently washing your ass and crotch.  Also, if you don't race why the hell are you trying to turn your commute into a training session?  You suck, you'll always suck, and you need to get a grip before you do something you'll really regret, like actually taking up racing.


That means it’s working. It's normal for a light tapping to be felt when resistance is applied.

Yeah, no shit.  You just paid $1,500 for a broken wheel simulator, remember?


The AIRhub will work even better for Triathletes. More training in less time. It allows high quality training in the Aero position to become safe and easily achievable. No need to travel for miles to find safe roads. Long high intensity sessions can be done on a bike path.

Okay, stop and meditate on this for awhile: triathletes who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on aero gear are now purchasing $1,500 hubs that simulate the effects of riding bicycles with more drag.  Also, "travel(ing) for miles" is what most non-triathletes call "riding," an activity which has the effect of making you a better and stronger rider.

But sure, by all means ride the aero bike you can barely control through virtual molasses on the bike path and inconvenience normal people instead.

Of course, a much cheaper option would be to train on one of these:

The 700c GMC Denali Men's Road Bike is built around a lightweight aluminum road bike frame. You'll stop on a dime with the alloy calipers and brake levers, and the high-profile alloy Vitesse racing rims look as good as they perform. Shimano Revo shifters allow you to shift without taking your hands off the handlebars, providing safety and confidence. A Shimano derailleur completes the drive train for quick and smooth gear changes. Lastly, this road bike will help you stay hydrated with the included alloy water bottle cage.

But I suppose it doesn't have the same cachet.

Lastly, bike-baiting is back in style here in New York City, and you can read all about it on the Bike Forecast:

Now to do some resistance training by riding a loaded WorkCycles.


Watch and Camera Guy said...


Anonymous said...

Numero deux?

dnk said...

May Steve Cuozzo be propelled by the steam of his own farts.

And the force be with you.

ken e. said...

junk miles paying off!

Johnny Maddog said...

The airhub is about the price of a mid-range FATBIKE, which is also slow but much more fun.

DPG said...

So.... It's a generator hub that you cannot connect to a light?

cdinvb said...

Whew! Glad you are back. I've been struggling with whether helium infused water is going to give me the weight edge I need.

Catfish on Ice equals Sushi to Me said...

"Catfish" (no ed on the end).

8th, when will I learn not to read the post before the comments...merde

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Top Tetanus Scranus without exerting myself! Welcome Back Snob!

Chazu said...

Friction caused my tardiness.

I'm sweating profusely.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Steve Cuozzo, human paraquat. So it is time that he be buried?

par·a·quat /ˈperəˌkwät/ noun: paraquat

a toxic, fast-acting herbicide that becomes deactivated in the soil.


1960s: from para-1 (sense 2) + quaternary (it is a quaternary ammonium salt containing pyridine rings linked at the para-position).

Anonymous said...

I have the AIRhub with Teflon impregnated ceramic bearings so it will slow me down faster.

janinedm said...

I try not to get to mad about biking because it's supposed to be fun and is fun, but living on a route that is often used to reach Central Park, I find myself dealing with Fred-induced revulsion all the time. I try to tamp it down, because they're not hurting anyone but there's something about the meticulously matched kits worn to go ride in circles or up and down the same hill that fills me with existential dread. It's like a parody reenactment of what dressed teens think life it really like man. Why can't they go somewhere, like even up the 9W where they can see some trees and water and eventually be near some baked goods? Dear god, why circles?

janinedm said...

...depressed teens

Unknown said...

AIRhub? $1500$ For that price you could buy a decent "heavy" road bike you could train on. What's the saying? "Train heavy, race light?"

N/A said...

Most Tridorks I know don't need any artificial means of slowing themselves down. Just tell them not to go to the bike shop anymore. None of 'em know how to lube their own drivetrain or service their own hubs, so that'll grind things to a halt.
Or, even easier, just take away their CO2. It's well known that Tridorks can only barely refill their tires after extensive training with CO2 carts. Using a real pump is simply too complex, and they'll be riding sub-optimal PSI in no time. Sluggish!

Freddy Murcks said...

There are a number of things in this world that I am glad I am not, but 'tridork' ranks near the top of the list. I see tridorks riding around on their tridork bikes (aero doesn't make much difference at 3 mph, by the way) and they seem to be a singularly joyless lot.

By the way, welcome back WRCM. Life was singularly joyless without you. Not as joyless as the life of a tridork, but pretty damn sad nonetheless.

wle said...

re the air hub thingy, where i live, we have actual HILLs to go slow on....


wle said...

DENALI won't solve your slowness problems, it only comes on ONE SIZE


N/A said...

I propose that we make the Denali the official bike of the common-taters. It's the water bottle holder (to optimize hydration!) that really puts it at the head of the peloton.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Who will be the first tridork to sue Air BnB Hub after taking a header when that app slows the front wheel too much?

janinedm, dressed teens are depressed teens!

Anonymous said...

Hey, for only $150 (1/10 the cost of an air-hub) plus travel expenses, I'll come and adjust your brakes to get the same effect! - Ed

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, the GMC Denali.
I still don't know why it is legal to sell to consumers.
Why you ask? Well, I'll point to the twist shifters on the road bar handle tops.
One might ask, what is so strange about that?
I'd like to point out that it makes one think how in the world they got them on there with road bars having a significant bend to them?
So how did they get those shifters on there?
The answer is as bad as one would think.
Both sides of the handle bars are separate and aren't even connected!

Anonymous said...

Aren't Fred couples kitted out in each other's likeness just adorable?
I think its about as cute as a MOLA SSES knuckle tattoo.

dancesonpedals said...

If it's any consolation, Masters Swimmers hate us just as much as Freds.

Olle Nilsson said...

Single-speeding is only punishment if you can't coast.

That hub is real punishment. I mean a 100W generator hub and you can't even charge your laptop. Talk about a big eff-you.

1904 Cadardi said...


So you saw that lady Tridork doing laps on the bike path near my house too. If she had a bell you couldn't hear it over the chain squeak.

How soon till there's a kickstarter for billowy clothes as training aids? "Make yourself less aerodynamic when riding in full time trial position!"

1904 Cadardi said...


Welcome back Wildcat!

Grump said...

I can make any front wheel with cup and cone bearings to work like those Aircrap hubs, for only $395.99

Emily Litella said...

Fork recall? I thought they said spork recall.


N/A said...

1904 C., The song of the TriDork is "CREAK CREAK CREAK". Sometimes I'll go get gnar on this MUP by my house, and there are some Freds and Tridorks that like to blister down the narrow path. Fortunately for those of us that aren't Fuck-Os, you can hear them coming from a mile away. $8k bikes, and they can't spare a few cents for some friggin' grease. I'd be embarrassed if any of my bikes sounded half that bad.

Pist Off said...

I lucked into a nearly new 1990 Trek lugged steel mounting biek. Full rigid 3x7 is a lot of fun on the bridle paths they call trails here. Quill stem to keep the Freds and Barneys away, and cantilever brakes on fresh anodized rims suck just as much as I remember.
I think the GMC bikes aren't quite as slow as we like to think, certainly not as badly equipped as department store 10-speeds were 20 years ago. Bicycles are still pretty damn efficient even with rusted chains, low tires, and pitted bearings.

Marin Public Relations said...

Get the fork out of here!

Pist Off said...

@N/A, that tri-dork creaking is likely the stupid pressfit BBs that are on all the dentist bikes now. Pressing bearings into carbon frame shells which have poor tolerances is problematic. Trying to then fix the tolerance problems with plastic sleeves that the bearings ride in is a special kind of stupid. Threaded BBs are proven and reliable for years, so they had to go. They must not have been marketable anymore.

8carlisle said...

the denali and the various assorted names it's given has got to be the worse road bike in the last 30 years. how so much aluminum still ends up with a bike weighing 30 pounds is quite the feat. the handlebar is pretty funky. can't recall if it's an inner tube or outer that holds the two sides together. when new,it does shift well i'll give them that.

A Lancetard by any other name.... said...

Being called a "Fred" is probably not insulting enough. A lot of Freds/Fredericas may even use the term endearingly. Fortunately Urban dictionary has a more insulting term:

A 20-60 year old white male who bicycles around decked out in head-to-toe, top of the line cycling gear and spandex like he thinks he's Lance Armstrong. There is no reason for him to be so overly equipped as he is a non-athelete recreational cyclist, he simply has loads of money with which he tries to fill his gaping pit of personal inadequacy. He is typically a very bad cyclist who either doesn't know or simply ignores the rules of the road. Highly narcissistic, he also suffers from poor anger management. A bane to fellow cyclists, pedestrians, and automobiles, Lancetards benefit only the local bike shops who make a mint from their frequent and lavish purchases.

Unconfirmed Sources said...

Breaking news! The Pretzel in Chief just Tweeded that he read on that Groucho will appear without a painted on mustache in the new Marx Brothers movie.

Too goofy for the goofballs said...

The main reason Powercranks went out of style was not that they were ineffective, it was that they looked stupid. Which is hilarious, given how stupid a lot of Fred affectations look to everyone else. Sort of like saying something was too stupid for the Three Stooges to use in their "act".

"It was concluded that within the limitations of this study, experienced
collegiate runners who performed 6 weeks of cross training with the PowerCranks™
independent cycle crank displayed no significant difference in running economy or
VOz max results post training."

Never Quote Urban Dictionary said...

Urban Dictionary is lame.

Old Timer said...

Huh? What?

leroy said...

I don't mean to brag, but my dog read the comments and informed me that according to the Urban Dictionary I'm not a Lancetard.

Of course, he also observed that for similar reasons I'm also not a MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra).

BamaPhred said...

My bike is quiet, my fucko shoe squeaks like a m/f. No idea why, and it's a Sidi.
And now to completely ruin your evening, here's what our not so favorite St Landry Parish Sheriff has been up to;
Sheriff Higgins.

Dooth said...

Female freds are fine. Racing kits were made to hug curves.

Anonymous said...

I call'em drop bar douchebags, or DB Squares

Holy Roller said...

I bought an AIRhub as an alternative to self flagellation.

dancesonpedals said...

Ah, the simple life... a single speed mtb for when one is in the mood for only one speed, a deraileuered not-a-fat bike (a chubby) for terrain that demands gears... a portaging bike for portaging children.. (and 17 children to maintain the bikes) a modified Fred-sled (medium pull brakes & 28's) that goes off pavement ...a plastic Fred sled, a Rusting stainless steel Fred sled, a brompton and a city bike account for when a brompton would be too embarrassing ...and some bieks for the wife & chillin

How do you store them all in an apartment.... even with s bike room

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

I heard on NPR that Massachusetts will put the Dutch Method of opening car doors into its Driver's Manual. Now all they need to do is get people to read it. I thought the guy from The League of American Bicyclists interviewed in the story was borderline victim blaming too.

BikeSnobNYC said...


I no longer have a plastic Fred sled, but you are forgetting the Ironic Orange Julius Bike and my Surly travel bike. The WorkCycles live outside and the rest live downstairs in the bike room. (Except for the Brompton, which I keep inside by the coatrack. It's the only bike I keep in my living quarters.)

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Unknown said...

At the customers request, we are able to ship a Hub only option if they wish to lace the AIRHub into a carbon rim.
This request has been very popular in the uk.
Terrain Dynamics.

McFly said...


Bikes, etc.

dancesonpedals said...

Missed two-haven't been reading closely enough

I think if I left a bike outside it would turn into a science project

Wountainbike said...

Whenever I see the WTB logo my brain automatically says Wountain Bike. I don't know why or how to make it stop. Now you can, too! Thanks

Anonymous said...

WTB; Waiting to blow.

Too bad about the fork recall, nothing compromises the trust in your trusty steed like a recall.