Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Sun Can't Burn Your Wings When It's 7 Degrees

Today I headed out for a little spin on Ol' Foodie, which what I'm now calling Ol' Piney when it's in "road mode," since it looks like a food delivery bike:

Certainly not the most attractive bike, but lack of a front fender aside it was absolutely perfect for a post-blizzard ride:

I wonder if the bike would be any less ugly with proper fenders on it:

Maybe a tiny bit.

I'd certainly be a lot cleaner, that's for sure.

Anyway, speaking of post-blizzard rides, this past Saturday I invoked my Citi Bike exemption and rode one of their azure bank-branded beasts all the way from Astoria, Queens to Brooklyn Heights, which is a distance of something like eight (8) miles.  If you're wondering why this is remarkable, it's because not only was the blizzard a mere two days old, but also because it was like 15 American Degrees out:

("So it was really hot out is what you're saying.")

The reason for the ride, as I mentioned Monday, is that this guy I know who used to be a pro bike racer had invited me to a screening of this documentary:

Here's that ex-bike racer, by the way:

He invited me on Saturday morning and the screening was that very evening, indicating to me that I had been an afterthought.  On one hand, I considered this an affront to my status as the world's greatest bicycle blogger.  On the other hand, I had to admit that even the people I consider my closest friends only invite me to stuff as an afterthought, so what's the big deal?

Plus, shouldn't I be grateful?  After all, imagine a life so glamorous that Lance Armstrong--a two-time Tour de France stage winner no less--invites you to film screenings.  Then imagine you've got to ride this bike for a year:

As you can see, it all cancels itself out.

Most importantly, my wife and I had already been planning to leave the kids with my mother for a bit that day and go have a drink or something, and the screening meant we'd have an excuse to do that at the douchey Brooklyn hotel where the screening was being held instead of at our usual spot down the street from her place in Queens:

And so I graciously accepted.

As for the documentary itself, I didn't really know anything about it prior to receiving the invitation, but basically it's about the Russian state-sponsored doping program, and apparently Armstrong was doing this screening-followed-by-a-panel-discussion thing because he can "relate:"

You know, because of the drugs.

Anyway, the plan was that I'd bring the kids over to my mother's while my wife went into Manhattan to ride a bike inside, then we'd meet in Brooklyn for the screening.  Some things in life never change, and one of those things is lying to your mother about how you're going to get someplace.  See, there's a Citi Bike station right on her corner now, but if I'd told her that's how I planned to get from her place to Brooklyn when it was 15 degrees outside she'd rightfully attack me with a wooden spoon.  So instead I told her I was taking an Uber, but as soon as I got outside I made for the Citi Bike dock like a teenager sneaking a cigarette and set out into the frigid post-blizzard wasteland.

About 50 frigid minutes later (Citi Bikes handle pretty well in the snow I must say) I arrived in Brooklyn and rendezvoused with my wife, and after thawing my insides out with a Jameson we headed over to the hotel and ensconced ourselves in the screening room:

Judging from the conversations and the wardrobes these were mostly film industry people, none of whom I recognized, though there was no mistaking the countenance of Neil deGrasse Tyson when he walked in:

Sadly he didn't do the "I'm going to blow your mind!" hand gesture as depicted above, but his presence sent a ripple through the audience regardless.

As for the movie itself, here's a summary:
  • Fred (the director, Bryan Fogel) rides the Haute Route
  • Fred decides he's going to dope for the next edition, ostensibly to prove how easy it is to circumvent WADA protocols, but you can't help suspecting it's because deep down he just wants to
  • In seeking a consultant, Fred winds up working with Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, head of Russia's anti-doping lab and instrumental figure in their doping program--just as the house of cards is collapsing
  • Fred brings Rodchenkov to the US and winds up getting a front-row seat to the ensuing shitshow as the doping program is exposed to the world
The story of Rodchenkov and the doping program is fascinating.  However, the transition from "Fred's gonna try doping" to "international intrigue" is a bit jarring.  Also, Fred could have done a bit more to coax out some of the subplots.  Or at least that's what my wife and I thought, and we're genuine New York intellectuals whose opinions on these sorts of things matter.  I'm sure I'd have been more into it if I'd have watched it at home, but I'd be lying if I said it's the sort of thing you want to watch in a theater on a Saturday night.

Oh yeah, Fred also totally blows his doped attempt at Haute Route when his Di2 system runs out of batteries, so quibbles aside it's probably worth streaming the movie for that moment alone.

Anyway, after the movie we were softened up with some complementary wine, and then we were shown to a conference room where you'd think someone was kicking off a presidential campaign:

Ironically though the person to whom Armstrong confessed his doping may have done just that the following night:

If you had told me 30 years ago that one day Oprah Winfrey would be running against incumbent Donald Trump I'd have said, "Yeah, that sounds about right," and then cranked up the Dayglo Abortions again.

Anyway, inasmuch as my wife and I were enjoying a rare night away from our seventeen (17) children we were disinclined to stay for the entirety of the Q and A, even if we were thrillingly close to the back of Neil deGrasse Tyson's head:

I will point out though that Armstrong has now reached the point where, when he makes sly references to his own doping, the crowd laughs knowingly and appreciatively, like when aging rock stars winkingly mention their debaucherous pasts.

In other words, while there's still all sorts of lingering resentment among bike dorks, it's fair to say the mainstream culture has pretty much forgiven him.

In any case, we eventually slipped out and made for the bar:

And when it finally came time to leave and collect the children I made good on my earlier promise and called an Uber because, you know, seven degrees:

Which is too hot for cycling, obviously:


bad boy of the south said...

i stand corrected..

DB said...

I’ve seen the documentary twice on Netflix.
Good film.

Jake said...

That self-satisfied Minnesotan is everything.

Notsosanta Klaus said...


Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Late but still Podio?

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if de grasse is related to Andre de Grasse who would have easily beaten you when sprinting for the exit.

Anonymous said...


Hee Haw the barista said...



Anonymous said...

Podio!! And it’s late.. where y’all at?!!!

Unknown said...

I could have been a contender.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. Dayglow Abortions, Lance, Oprah, what you and your wife are up to, a movie review and your mom's endearing concern all in one post. With all this there is no way I will be able to fall asleep tonight.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. Dayglow Abortions, Lance, Oprah, what you and your wife are up to, a movie review and your mom's endearing concern all in one post. With all this there is no way I will be able to fall asleep tonight.

Some guy from upstate said...

I can only conclude that your mom doesn't read this blog but follows you on Strava.

Persia said...

2 things:

1. I refuse to believe that people can live in cities where it's -13C. Those snow-in-city photos are all faked, like the Moon landings.

2. What a turd that Armstrong is - you'd think that someone who cheated 7 other riders out of all the fame and glory of winning the TDF would just piss off out of the public eye and quietly grow dope, or something.

Unknown said...

I could have been a contender!

Lisa Hyundai said...

Winfrey/Armstrong 2020

Anonymous said...

you were very sympathetic to Bryan Fogel who is basically a middle aged bike nerd with so much stupid money that he pays other people to film him biking. This is like "30 days of Rapha" stuff, but he stumbles into the russian doping scandal, which miraculously makes it somewhat watchable.

cyclejerk said...

tenff? Fut The Wuk?

N/A said...

Well look at Mr. Name Dropper.

Good call on ditching the Q/A. Lance strikes me as pretty interesting, but for the rest of 'em, the intersection of "Fred" and "Independent/documentary Film Maker" has to be dry as the Sahara. Cocktails with the missus is def a better choice.

dop said...

Nonetheless, my safe word is still scranus

Charlie said...

A Neil de Grasse Tyson encounter and a Dayglo Abortions reference, all comple(i)mented by classic BSNYC "photography". In my books, the post of 2018!

tobeistobex said...

Wait, seriously, dayglo? that seems more like a Conflict moment!

tobeistobex said...

Wait, Dayglo? That seems more like a Conflict moment!

bad boy of the south said...

Neil wasn't wearing his universe vest again,was he?

Snob's Mom said...

"Some things in life never change, and one of those things is lying to your mother about how you're going to get someplace."

I know what you are doing an you are only hurting your self. Just like those cigarettes when you were 15.

And find some better friend to hang out with.

Anonymous said...

Geez Snobby, you coulda watched the thing on Netflix in your jammies and avoided BigTex entirely. Why was he screening this thing? Seems like little more than another round in his continuing "But Mom, the other kids cheated too!" bullshit world tour.
Fuck that guy and anyone who associates with him in anything to do with cycling.

HDEB said...

Pierhouse illegally impinges on the protected view-plane from the Promenade.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 8:46pm,

Sure, watching the poorly edited documentary at home would have been way more interesting.

--Wildcat Etc.

Olle Nilsson said...

So, wait, this is already on Netflix and they're just screening it now?

Good call on leaving early. Listening to any bike racer talk? No thanks. I relate to bike racing like a cat relates to a laser pointer. Sure, it's fun to watch; no need to overthink it.

Anonymous said...

Icarus is a perfect name for this documentary as it captures the self-mythologizing of all the amateur cyclists that think their former Cat 2 glory was somehow related to Lance Armstrong and doping in pro cycling. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard some variation of, "If it wasn't for that damn Armstrong I'd have probably been called up to a pro team as I was/am a very serious rider," I'd be riding a titanium bike right now.

Fredder said...

Excellent post.

leroy said...

So that's where my dog was Saturday night.

I guess I owe him an apology for questioning his request to borrow $30 for Sno-Caps and popcorn.

I guess this also means he'll be disappearing if he gets any random out-of-competition test visits this week.

(I've told him it's a poor workman who blames his tools or the Raisinets, but of course he doesn't listen to me.)

Unknown said...

vsk said ...

You should have taken the CityFerry which stops right there and goes to close to where you gotta go.
Ice dodging and sand bars aside.

That area is so amazing now, it's so gentrified, it's too gentrified to get protests about gentrification.


Drock said...

People in st small don’t ride bike, he must have traveled over the rice to mini apple nutz, true cycling there, like our euro friends.

Anonymous said...

These ex-cycling pros all seem to put on a few pounds and then just look wimpy for lack of upper body strength. Lance should start lifting, then maybe he could have a come back in a clean sport like body building.

Mr Lobstermash said...

Podio scranus for first next-day comment on yesterday's blog

McFly said...

You're prolly subconsciously avoiding the front fender from the endo/finger incident.

It would be quite the feat to send that tank ass over tea kettle, though.

Anonymous said...

Good post, but 50 minutes to go 8 miles?

JLRB said...

What pressure is this guy running?


Film Noir said...

Cinematography by Carlos Danger.

JLRB said...

Apologies for my link in my post at 11:52 AM

First, it does not go to the picture I saw while checking the weather, which was a guy portaging his bike across mud (picture 116 in the slideshow - see also #'s 74 and 81).

Second, as I have had tunnel visions for a few days I had no clue there was loss of life and massive damage in So Cal the last couple of days until after I posted.

I may be an ass-hat but not that big of an ass-hat.

Unknown said...

Doppelganger: Twin Cities humblebrag commuter and nonplussed bib-short Fred.

Skidmark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

To Persia, who said: I refuse to believe that people can live in cities where it's -13C.

It's going to -22C tonight and was -28C New Years Eve. -13C would be a relief.

-Twin Cities cyclist