Saturday, March 31, 2018

Friday's Post Today or Monday's Post Two Days Ago, However You Wanna Look At It

For many years, racing in Brooklyn's Prospect Park was the mainstay of my cycling diet.  I'd roll out of bed, line up at dawn, and be home with 40 or 50 miles in my legs before the normal people had worked out where to go to brunch.  But then came kids, and a move to the Bronx, and I more or less left the park behind--except when the odd dignitary visited, of course:

Now however I've rediscovered my Inner Fred (he looks like this), and while I've put in a couple races in Central Park this season, today marked the first time I've raced a bike in Prospect Park since, as far as I can tall, March 2012--which I think may also have been the first time I raced the Ritte Rust Bucket, which looked like this at the time:

What a difference six years make:

Actually, they don't make that much of a difference, it's just a little rustier, just like its owner.

Anyway, my return to Prospect Park was something of a homecoming, and so I arrived in style astride my obnoxious Masters bike:

(The Renovo, but not from the race)

I'm pleased to report I rode a tactically perfect race, by which I mean I never stuck my nose in the wind and basically managed to spend all twelve laps hiding in the pack like a shy toddler behind a parent's legs.  Consequently I delivered a solid pass, which instilled in me a sense of accomplishment that even the promoter's post-race lecture about how slow my field had been riding could not diminish.  (I was in the 40+ field and I guess the 2/3 field, which started right before us, put like eight minutes into us.)  Also undiminished was my deep appreciation of the Renovo as a race bike--except for the damn placement of that single water bottle, which continues to irritate me.  Even so, I must profess my love this exotic and quirky bicycle, and as I rode I fantasized about having Renovo build me the perfect park racing bike.  Basically, it would be the Aerowood but with a second bottle cage mount, as well as a couple of features taking advantage of the unique properties of wood, these being:

  • A little compartment with a hinged door on the top tube for storing spent gel packets (the hinges would be engineered to creak for that rustic feel);
  • A cuckoo clock integrated into the headtube that strikes when I hit my max heart rate.

In the meantime, since I've been enjoying this bike so much I was curious if any other semi- or even full-blown professional bike bloggers had reviewed it, so I recently consulted a popular search engine to find out.  As far as I can tell nobody has, and what few write-ups there were seemed to be based on press releases, such as this one.  Sadly this means I have nobody to compare notes with--except for the commenters of course:

It's quite a lot more relaxed than any of those bikes. It makes a Synapse look like a time trialist's dream. It goes so far beyond not-a-race-bike geo that the set of recreational riders it would suit will mostly consist of the grossly fat and chronically unfit. At that level aero really is a moot point.

I love the idea that a couple millimeters or degrees here or there is all it takes to render a bike completely unraceable.  "Wait, 43mm of fork rake?  That's an endurance bike, you can't race that!"  Certainly having ridden the bike for nearly six months I can confidently say John doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about--though admittedly the "chronically unfit" comment does land pretty close to home.

Finally, as I immerse myself in Fred-dom there's one other thing that's won me over, and it's crabon wheels, but not for the reasons you'd expect.  See, for years my first cue that a crash was imminent would be the unmistakable crunching sound of a Fredly collision, at which point I'd scan the pack for falling bodies and employ evasive tactics.  Now that crabon wheels are pervasive however it's the screeching of brakes and--more importantly--the smell of hot cork pads as some Fred grabs a fistful of brake that alerts me to danger.  By the same logic I'd also suggest that disc brakes are indeed dangerous in mass start road races--not because the rotors might cut your limbs off, but because you can't really smell the damn things.  As it is, between the hair-raising sound and the smoldering stench, clearly crabon wheels with rim brakes act as a crucial early warning system.

I'd say they that USA Cycling should make them mandatory, but marketing has pretty much accomplished that already.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

hats off to top podium finishers.

Anonymous said...

Podio do!

tobeistobex said...

You cant quote Helmet"In the meantime" and not let us know your favorite 1990 HC bands in your area. Was 'Burn' one?

BikeSnobNYC said...


I didn't really follow hardcore into that era.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Grump said...

What's wrong with 43mm of rake, along with a square 73 degree frame??...You don't need more than one bottle for crits. (I never put on my second cage until June).....PS. Try to get some sucker to throw some tubular wheels your way.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Nothing's wrong with it, that was the joke. The placement of the single bottle on the seat tube rather than the downtube is inconvenient for racing. (Plus, these are not crits, and it will be June before we know it.) And why would I want some sucker's tubulars? Buying tubulars is what made them suckers in the first place, I unloaded my own years ago.

--Wildcat Etc.

Billy said...

I love the smell of hot cork pads in the morning. You know, one time we had a mid-pack crash, over 12 riders. When it was all over, I rode past. We didn’t hit one of ‘em, not one stinkin’ fred body. The smell, you know that smoldering smell, the whole pile. Smelled like… schadenfreude. Someday this race’s gonna end…”

Spokey said...

And what's with these saturnalia posts?

I'm sure he'll deny it, but I'd swear this is snobbie hawking for bike nashbar

One water bottle cage? I'm not sure I can get out of my driveway with only one water bottle. I typically use 3 although at the moment, I have sacrificed the one on the underside of the downtube on the bilenky for the frame pump. The topeak attaches nicely to the water bottle bosses and so far isn't getting too dirty.

Spokey said...


Friday's Post Today or Monday's Post Two Days Ago, However You Wanna Look At It

Shouldn't that be Friday's Post Today or Monday's Post Two Days Early, However You Wanna Look At It

Bill said...

Racing wood and crabon! Keep rolling Snobbie, love hearing about your adventures!

ken e. said...

"ponderous man..."

J Wellington Wimpy said...

For a post on Saturday, I will gladly forgo Tuesday.

Drock said...

Get a woodpecker and weight wennie that bike down, that’d get you out front. Snow time

leroy said...

Six years makes you rusty?

<a href=">My dog borrowed my bike to do laps in the Park this weekend and it took forever this morning for him to remember where he parked.</a>

HDEB said...

Wonder why Prospect Park Roadies almost never take the worthwhile detour up Monument Mountain

leroy said...

(Okay, okay, now I'm getting grief from my dog about not remembering how to post a link.)

Six years makes you rusty?

My dog borrowed my bike to do laps in the Park this weekend and it took forever this morning for him to remember where he parked.

Fausto Coppi said...

Next step is inventing a wooden bike made from reclaimed lumber (rural barns, old warehouses, etc). Hipsters will be lined up to buy them, even with suboptimal bottle cages.

Chazu said...

Woulda podio'd had today's entry not been preemptively posted two days early.

So, I passed today's race.

dancesonpedals said...


I've almost done that a few times. If I ride to work from home, I'll stop at the citibike dock. So far I've always come to my senses before docking the fredsled.

JLRB said...

go speed racer

sweatpants cyclist said...

I'm going to plant a walnut seed for my next racing bike. I'll report back in 30 years.

Anonymous said... you're defending that corny artisanal boutique wood framed monstrosity. You know darned well that most any 'normal' frame would perform just as well with those components. I challenge you to race that bike & then switch frames and see which one is 'better' !!! Maybe do a time trial somewhere... and use a surly pacer or something similar as the replacement

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 9:43pm,

No shit.

--Wildcat Etc.

Richard Price said...

another rider's experience with a Renovo