Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Rolling In With The Autobus

Just as water takes the shape of the vessel into which it is poured, so does cycling adapt to your current lifestyle.  For example, before my days were consumed by child-curation, I used to spend hours and hours swaddled in Lycra and racing about on bicycles of crabon.  Now, if I'm lucky, I can maybe squeeze in a half-hour of Category 6 Citi Biking to get my competitive cycling fix:

(One of my rivals doing intervals on the stationary trainer.)

While I may eschew Strava, wattage meters, and the like, I do check my Citi Bike times, for in the Cat 6 universe this the only metric that matters.  And while my quasi-career as a semi-professional bike blogger has taken me as far as Jersey City on those bikes of blue, my personal fitness testbed is the York and Jay to MacDougal and Prince segment.  So after last night's run I logged in and was pleasd to find that my form is coming along right on schedule:

(Other trips blurred because my whereabouts are a matter of national security.)

The most recent trip is on top, and you'll notice that with each ride I'm shaving at least a minute off my previous time.  Clearly I've got good legs after the Brompton World Championships, and I only wish there were some other goofy novelty race coming up because I'm clearly peaking.  Alas, in the absence of formalized competitionI may just have to ride back and forth over one of the East River bridges asking other riders, "Do you want any of this?," at least until such time as I'm arrested.

Of course, when you're talking about competitive cycling you can't ignore the importance of equipment, and it helps that last night I arrived at the station just as they were unloading some fresh bikes:

This meant that:

1) I had my pick of the litter;
2) The bikes had been freshly tuned;
3) Presumably they'd been disinfected as well, making it slightly less likely I'd contract some sort of illness or horrific Froome-like parasite that could put paid to my entire racing season.

Anyway, when you're out of the saddle on a Citi Bike and it isn't creaking like wet rattan or slipping out of gear then you know you've chosen well:

At this rate I expect sub-18 minute times by September.

In the meantime, by way of a recovery ride I pointed my bike towards some dirt this morning, only to be greeted by a brace of tick-ridden sentinels:

Both of whom regarded me with vacant, expressionless faces:

Which, it's worth noting, is pretty much the same look you get from a typical roadie:

When I first started riding up this way I found the deer sort of beguiling, but now I realize they're common as squirrels, and I guess they're so pervasive because they have no natural predators apart from people who drive pickup trucks with TRUMP stickers on them.

Anyway, even my recreational cycling is conforming to the somewhat confining vessel which is my life, because I'm currently doing what was once unthinkable, which is riding with flat pedals:

I put them on a few weeks back for a leisurely afternoon eating-and-drinking tour of Brooklyn my wife and I did a few weeks back, and since then I can't really think of a good reason to take them off again.  While I certainly don't intend to dispense with clicky shoes altogether, I've also come to realize that they're mostly pointless a fair amount of the time, and only now am I beginning to truly embrace the joy of cycling in "regular" clothes--though it goes without saying that I plan to upgrade to titanium pedals immediately:

Then I'll need a pair of those $995 sneakers, and of course a special gravel-specific frame protector:


Frame protection is for "woosies."

Speaking of Kickstarters, here's one for a tool kit that goes in your steer tube:

I'm partial to tool rolls these days myself, but if you don't want to spoil the clean lines of your ugly-ass mountain bike (yes, all mountain bikes are ugly) this might be for you.

And sorry, Freds, it doesn't work with crabon:

The Dialed Cap is compatible with any metal 1-1/8'' Steer tube. Currently NOT compatible with carbon steer tubes.

Lastly, as a parent of a balance-biking toddler, I was simultaneously amazed and horrified by this video which was forwarded by a reader:

It's like watching a bunch of zoo seals at feeding time.


Dead White Men said...

We the People of the United States...

Anonymous said...

First? That kid went down hard in the vid.

wle said...

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Synonymous said...


Grump said...

That Run Bike Race was great. (Was that a Cat 4 race?) I would guess that the kid in the white helmet will be moved up to Cat 3 before the end of the year. (He made his move at the right time, after sitting in for the first 3/4 of the race)

Unknown said...

vsk said...

Sexy Sixes !


BamaPhred said...

I've been wanting to ask about the deer. Nice.

Bill said...


N/A said...

You could keep the flat pedals on the bike forever, and just wear tap shoes when you want to be super annoying and risk falling on your ass when walking around.

cdinvb said...

I was buying a skewer.

cdinvb said...

Oh yeah. Got rid of clicky pedals and shoes a while ago. Maybe a retro cage. And velcro shoes from Kmart. Works okay. Feels okay. Cuts down urge to think I'm racer boy. Which I'm not.

Unknown said...

vsk said ...

Been so happy w Citibike. HOW WEVA, never any bikes at my 40th + 5th station or close ones between 6 and 8 and probably beyond unless someone brings one back there.
I have seen corraled like some bovine animal a shit ton of them at like 46 or 47th and Park. All chained up, no bike fo you!

A nice commuteway is to grab a Citibike and go to 35th and the East River and hop on the ferry to Brooklyn.
That is of course, if the bikes are there to begin with.
Not to complain, but, maybe some Citibike higher upper with the ability to do something reads this blog thing.

I guess I could just ride my own dang bike. Which is what I did today.


BDC said...

Flat pedals are awesome. Just get rid of those BoBo pedals and get a real BMX pedal. We need all the help we can get!

Comment deleted said...

Good move going to flat pedals. Because the angels want to wear your Fred shoes.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...


Pist Off said...

I tried flat pedals two years ago when one of my kneecaps decided to get worn out in one spot (aka "old".) Well, modern flats grip feet nicely, and my knees love the variety in positioning. I've even learned to bunny hop and jump again. So your average ten year old with a bmx bike knows more than us bike nerds probably.
I was off the grid last week, so happy 10th Snob.

Justtryingtoohardtoday said...

The "kid" with the white motorcycle helment in the Run Bike Race is obviously Quintana.

Click on the squares with street signs.

1904 Cadardi said...

Is there on-track wagering for that kick bike race like there is in Keirin?

Also Old said...

"...when one of my kneecaps decided to get worn out...

I've found those old Bio Pace chain rings help with this. You can get full bikes with them installed off Craig's list pretty easy, or just get the ring from ebay.

McFly said...

Pretty sure any of them little fuckers can peddle a bike.

Sandbaggers, the lot of them.

I lol'd at "Do you want any of this?" but "Do you won't summa this?" just sounds more intimidating.

Seattle lone wolf said...

All my bieks have the pedals with a SPD binding on one side and flat on the other. So I guess I swing both ways.

Freddy Murcks said...

You had me at 'ASCII porn.'

McFly said...


Do you put the SPD on the left or right crank arm?

Seattle lone wolf said...



Stump said...

phlats are phat

Anonymous said...

Flat pedals - with flat pedal specific velcro straps. Any shoes anytime, "regular clothes". It is good, uncomplicated cycling.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 6:11pm,

Never really understood the point of lashing your feet to flat pedals. (Besides stopping a brakeless fixie.)

In the early days of this blog I tried Hold Fast straps in the interest of journalism when they first started making them. They were okay when dry but utterly useless when wet. Not sure if that's changed.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

bad boy of the sooth said...

We stopped at mombat in Statesville NC,today.saw a lot of flat pedals.some really old-timey contraptions,too.

Chris said...

Been reading blog for first time in years. Its kinda in insane where the biking world has gone. I used to get made fun of around 1980 for wearing a bell biker helmet and paying more than $300 for my Ross bicyle. Now I ride bikes that go for under $1,000 and ride helmetless and I get the smirks and unwanted comments from the roadies. Crazy.

Anonymous said...

For about 8 years my cityish bike has BMX flats. My roadish bikes have flat mountain pedals. Have added Zefal toe cages for good enough grip when wet. No straps. Never did the clicky thing. Happy. Thanks for 10 year! !

Anonymous said...

Love the flats as well. Switched over all my bikes. No reason to go back.

Kenny said...

Kid in the white helment obviously has an electric motor in his bike. And some sort of sonic device which he uses twice to take down the run-biker in front of him.

Unknown said...

So amazing when a kid make the same thing. This is miracle.
- twitter search

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