Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Is America Too Stupid For Bikes?

Watch out everybody, because here come the E-Freds!

Yep, same Fredly bikes you're used to, only with the added benefit of having to ravage the earth for lithium:

Yamaha evidently "soft-launched" these at Interbike:

“In some ways from a Yamaha global perspective, the U.S. market is sort of the place for outdoor recreation,” Trester said.

Engelmann said Yamaha will sell through IBDs and e-IBDs. 

“There is a reawakening of bicycling in the U.S. right now. I would hesitate to say that it’s because of e-bikes; however, there are more non-common consumers coming into bicycle retail looking for power-assist bicycles now than ever before,” Engelmann said. “E-bikes are now giving the retailer the opportunity to win the test ride again.” 

And while I'm becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of ebikes, I'm simultaneously becoming even more skeptical that Americans are capable of making intelligent decisions, especially where vehicles with wheels are concerned.  That's why I wonder if bikes like these will in fact help give that "reawakening of bicycling in the U.S." a little tailwind, or if they'll wind up entombed in basements and garages just like their 10 speed forbears did.

We shall see.

Of course, it is worth noting that plenty of those old 10 speeds were subsequently exhumed by the owners' children, who then shlepped them from the suburbs into the city and turned them into fixies:

So perhaps in 20 years the e-fixie will emerge as the hot new urban bicycle and life will have come full circle.

Oh, and in other Interbike news, the co-founder of Speedplay certainly knows how to handle a bike:
Also, he's not using Speedplays:


Anyway, speaking of how dumb Americans are, remember those sport-o rape-bros I mentioned last Monday who want cyclists to die?  Well here's their most recent salvo:
It really makes you angry too:

Until you take a closer look and realize how fucking stupid it is:

Yeah, that's a picture of bicyclist safely passing an opening car door without incident, only with the word "Don't" scrawled on it.  As far as antagonizing images go it's even more impotent than they are after shotgunning a case of Bud Light.


I'd love to come across someone wearing one of these t-shirts though, because needling them in public would be immensely satisfying.  Sadly I don't think you'll ever see them in the wild, because the sorts of people who would wear a shirt like this would no doubt hide them under something else until they get together in their "safe space" for a "limp biscuit" party.

I think I may finally be ready to admit that America is too stupid for bikes.  Even people who ride bikes have been so deeply mind-fucked by the Automotive Industrial Complex there's little hope for them.  Consider this comment on Outside's Facebook page in response to my brilliant and insightful column about how driving to rides blows:

I dunno, seems like you could buy an even sweeter bike if you didn't have to make those Hyundai payments.  And yes, it's true, without cars there would be no roads.  Everybody knows the road was invented around the same time as the Model T, and before that people just slashed their way through the forest with machetes:

(Typical 19th century pedestrian)

And what the fuck does he think the Appian Way was, a form of Italian martial arts?

But yes, sarcasm aside, cars are certainly responsible for paved roads, right?

Absolutely wrong:

The hard, flat road surfaces we take for granted are relatively new. Asphalt surfaces weren't widespread until the 1930s. So, are motorists to thank for this smoothness?

No. The improvement of roads was first lobbied for – and paid for – by cycling organisations.

In the UK and the US, cyclists lobbied for better road surfaces for a full 30 years before motoring organisations did the same. Cyclists were ahead of their time.

Yep, the roads were already being macadamized by the late 19th century because of our earliest Fredly ancestors and you'd better believe we were all over that shit:


And do you think the car made things better or worse?  Well, when was the last time you heard Jersey described this way?

I mean sure, there's still some fine riding in New Jersey, but come on.

But yeah, by all means, if roads weren't optimized for cars there wouldn't be any more good riding, which is why the cycling in Tuscany is so terrible:

What a friggin' dipshit.

Yes, for some reason people seem to think bikes are un-American, despite the fact that even NASCAR drivers ride them:

"They are like six inches from the shoulder," Earnhardt said. "I can't ride that close to the shoulder. I'm all over the place and I'm wobbling all over the damn road and this guy goes by and flips me off. I guess I kind of ticked him off. Anyways, I was surprised at how rude drivers are on the road."


Well, not all of them:

“I’m not sure about the whole bicycle deal,” he said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ahead of Sunday’s Overton’s 301. “And I don’t quite get those guys and the amount of money they spend on a — whatever it is — 32-ounce bicycle when all they’ve gotta do is just go on Craigslist and get a Schwinn or something like that and pedal half the distance and twice as hard and get a better workout.”

He's kinda got a point.

Also, it's kind of ironic that none of them seem to know what motorpacing is:

“I guess it was probably back Talladega weekend, I offered to get a moped and cut the air for Kenseth and those guys just to kind of give them a little draft, some drafting partners, ya know?” he said. “But they haven’t taken me up on it.

They totally should.


ken e. said...

fred danger mystery podium!

Anonymous said...

Je suis le deuxieme.

Anonymous said...

je suis le deuxieme.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...the answer is yes.

Anonymous said...

That's a diamond mine, not lithium. But I see that picture was mis-represented in at least one other place on-line.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:00pm,

Damn Internet! I've replaced pic.

--Wildcat Etc.

McFly said...

Yamaha? OK I may be on board with this eBike rigamarole.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Top Ten?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I like those white chocolate and macadam cliff bars. They taste really good with coffee while in the car on the way to the trailhead.

Unknown said...

top ten; I hope...

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

In addition to Speedplay being the choice of pedals for the coffee shop lift, they lost me when they continued to claim their pedals were not rebuildable and had their attorneys send cease and desist letters to the people selling rebuild kits and instructions. For you Speedplay users who want to rebuild your pedals, the kits are still available on eBay. The Speedplay guy did have a great story on their website about finding an old original Masi in good condition, and instead of restoring it, he left it as is and had a recreation made.

Grump said...

The secret to getting doored is to aim for the soft spot (the driver halfway out of their car) I, for one, wouldn't mind getting doored. I could probably work it into another $10,000 payout, for just a few scratches.

theEel said...


The King of Park Slope said...

Dale seems downright human.

N/A said...

On a horse-riding blog somewheres, they're making fun of bike-cyclists thinking that the roads are for them.

... are there blogs about walking?

Knüt Fredriksson said...

I'm holding out for the Bultaco brand electric assist mountain bikes...

Knüt Fredriksson said...

I guess I don't have to wait for an electric mountain bike to be made by a defunct Spanish motorcycle brand: The Bultaco Brinco R

Anonymous said...

I've had to quit running already and I think that riding a moped will take away from the recreational and fitness aspects of riding a bicycle, but at some point my arthritic knees will say it's time. It's good to see they're becoming more popular and by the time I really need one, I'll bet they're pretty spiffy.

The King of Park Slope said...

well SNOB ? no hateful comment ? ASS.

Ronnie Mund. said...

T-O-P-L-E-S-S ..... Topless, so when ya comin'up. I need you to get T O P L E S S

1904 Cadardi said...

Is that Lithium mine supposed to be some sort of environmental catastrophe? When compared to a Copper mine , Iron ore mine, or a Cobalt mine with hardworking miners , that cute little Lithium opperation is positively quaint.

Ronnie Mund. said...


Anonymous said...


Ron said...

The difference between kids pulling Dad's Schwinn out of the garage 20 years later and re-purposing it as a fixie and discovering Dad's old eBike in 20 years is that the eBike will have a dead, non-replaceable battery pack, a seized motor and will weigh 40 pounds.

Donald J. Trump said...

I'm going to put those miners back to work!

Freddy Murcks said...

Just yesterday, I purchased an e-cargo bike for commuting, kid schlepping, etc. While I am sure that lithium mine from whence the Li for the battery came from is not the place where dreams are made, I am kinda certain it's less damaging than the oil well from whence the gasoline comes for the car I won't be driving.

In case anybody cares, I decided to get a Felt BruHaul. I am kind of excited about it.

bad boy of the south said...

I commented on yesterday's post today in yesterday's comment there.

Anonymous said...

The modern automobile wheel spacing, as well as the spacing of early locomotives was based on the spacing dictated by the widths of the roads when they were built. Most European roads were built by the Romans and the road spacing was based on the track of Roman vehicles; namely Wagons and more importantly Chariots.

So, Modern bikes don't owe anything to the automobile; both they and the automobile owe debt to Roman Chariots. - masmojo

Ben Rothfeld said...

Hey, Essex county ain't so bad for bikes. I learned to ride there!

Joe said...

Jersey has great riding, I just don't think any of it is in Essex or Union counties.

mojo augogo said...

roads are just imaginary suggestions of some maybe useful path to somewhere else...

what the actual fuck is with the check the fucking squares to fucking prove humanity?

fuck off and rot...

wishiwasmerckx said...

Ron, 40 pounds? So you went for the lightweight version?


1904 Cadardi said...

Anon at 4:30p,

Wasn't the width of Roman chariots based on the closest that two horses can comfortably walk side-by-side? So don't we all owe the width of our roads to a horse's ass?

Credit where credit is due said...

C'mon...Goats, sheep, cattle, etc are responsible for the original roads, following their migratory instincts across the natural contours of the land. Sometimes these animals walked single file, side-by-side, or even triple-file, the latter of which inevitably led to humans' invention of the tricycle.

Anonymous said...

Does everyone now see a "Comment pending approval" message when posting? Or have I been red flagged?

Samuel Foss said...

One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail as all calves do.

Since then two hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.

The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bell-wether sheep
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bell-wethers always do.

And from that day, o’er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made;
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged, and turned, and bent about
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ‘twas such a crooked path.
But still they followed — do not laugh —
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked,
Because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane,
That bent, and turned, and turned again;
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.
The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street,
And this, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare;
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed the zigzag calf about;
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way,
And lost one hundred years a day;
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.

A moral lesson this might teach,
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.

But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah! many things this tale might teach —
But I am not ordained to preach.

Dooth said...

I'm just glad those Romans were fit and not a bunch of fat asses.

Anonymous said...

bought an old miyata racing bike someone turned into an electric bike with front wheel 36 volt motor and a nickel metal hydride battery on the rack plus an adapter and a charger, all weighing a good 60lbs. don't try placing that on a flimsy rack behind the car. then i find the battery was dead long ago. do not believe deep cycle battery claims.

leroy said...

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not like totally shred them both on my ah-some e-assist Yammy while, you know, cheesing off the dude in the gnarly Hyundai whose taxes paid for the road built upon like the largesse of the auto fueled engine of like the econovan economy, man.

(Had to post that. Lost a bet with my dog. Thought he was BS'ing me when he explained that a Limp Bisquit party wasn't a band specific karaoke night.)

JLRB said...

There should only be one e in bike, at the end of the word. Those other things should be "ebik" to avoid contusion

Brutus Popeyeus said...

The Appian Way was constructed in many layers of stone gravel and block. More than strong enough to hold Hannibal's War Elephants, aka the first SUV's.

N/A said...

Sometimes these animals walked single file, side-by-side, or even triple-file, the latter of which inevitably led to humans' invention of the tricycle.

... which inevitably let to humans' invention of the phrase, "on your left!"

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure that is true. Which is strange considering that the average Americans ass is substantially wider than a horses ass, let alone the shitbox they are driving in. And still have the gall to complain that i am taking up space on the road.

Crosspalms said...

Heard a new variation today: "On your left! Left side, please, left side, left side!" On a wide bike path, nobody coming toward us, I was already pretty close to the right edge, and there were no turnoffs. I guess he just didn't want to leave anything to chance.