Monday, May 7, 2018

The Title Of This Post Will Be Made To Measure And Ready In 8-10 Weeks

You'll no doubt be delighted to learn that it was a highly successful weekend of bicycle cycling-related exploits for both me and my assorted progeny.  First I grabbed the Renovo:

And polished it with some Bona:

Okay, fine, that's a lie.  I didn't polish it with the Bona, I merely took a photo of the bottle of Bona at target the other day because it sounds like "boner" and I'm about as mature as a kid who's preparing for his Bar Mitzvah.  At the time I figured I'd use the photo to make some jokes about putting my Bona on my bike, but after few days passed I thought better of it and decided not to.  However, by telling you all of this I've effectively made the joke anyway, but by framing it as a confession I don't have to deal with the responsibility, so ultimately I've managed to polish two bikes with one Bona.

Well done me.

Anyway, on Saturday while anybody sane was still asleep I partook in a bicycle cycling race in Prospect Park, and incredibly I managed to finish on the same lap as the winner and slightly ahead of the last-placed rider:

Then on Sunday the whole family headed out to the Orchard Beach Crit, and while I spared them all the embarrassment of racing myself I did have two horses in the kids' races, and here's one of them:

As you can see, when it comes to on-the-bike fashion his sartorial inspiration is Grant Petersen with a dash of Marvel.  As for the race, he got off to a blistering start, but somewhere around the halfway point he forgot he was racing and began straying off course, at which point his priorities shifted from winning to pointing and laughing at some seagull poop.  So in other words he's a chip off the old wooden bike.

However, judging from the opening, he really doesn't:

Twenty years ago, riding a bike through New York City was seen as crazy — a radical act reserved for bike messengers, die-hard commuters and former Talking Heads frontmen.

Today, the city is covered in green lanes filled with tourists on Citi Bikes, lawless delivery men on electric bikes and hipsters coasting on Dutch utility bikes or brakeless fixies. But one type of bicycle that is rarely seen is a mountain bike — its knobby tires too cumbersome in Midtown traffic, its handlebars too wide to squeeze between taxi cabs.

Wow, talk about pissing all over New York City cycling.  At the very least you should spend years as a failed bike racer and start a bike blog before you do that.   Also, in what alternate reality is a mountain bike "rarely seen" in New York City?  The goddamn things are everywhere, and even in the age of the ebike they're still extremely popular among food delivery riders:

Oh, wait, sorry, that's Ol' Piney.  (Don't worry, it's reverted back to normal.)  Here's a typical New York City food delivery bike:

As for the bars being too wide to cut through traffic, apparently he hasn't noticed that the fixie set are all using super wide bars now, even in New York:

(Pic from here.)

Yes, they can still ignore brakes but they can't ignore the principles of leverage.  Plus, chopping your bars is so 2009:

Anyway, none of this is to disparage Horse Cycles, about whom I know little, but who seem to be making a pretty cool bike:

Mr. Callahan, 38, is a lifelong bike fanatic and the owner of Horse Cycles, a custom bicycle company based in Williamsburg that he founded in 2007. Known mainly for gorgeous steel-framed urban bikes, Mr. Callahan recently turned his attention to building what he described as “the ultimate East Coast trail bike.”

“The trails around here are really technical, so you don’t get many smooth, easy climbs,” Mr. Callahan said. “I want to make something that gives me more stability and strength when climbing, but also will allow me to start riding more challenging, bigger, steeper terrain.”

It's just that after reading a bunch of stuff like this I still don't know anything about it:

Instead of trying to compete with top-of-the-line, full suspension bikes from big brands like Cannondale and Trek — these have a giant, shock-absorbing spring or piston built into the frame — the Hell Cat is a throwback to the first generation of mountain bikes. It is what’s known as a hardtail — a rigid, high-grade steel frame, with only a front suspension fork.

I mean, I realize this article isn't written for experts, but it could at least mention what size wheels the thing uses.

Also, this bothered me:

Mountain biking is not a cheap sport — a top-of-the-line Cannondale can cost more than $7,000 — and for those hoping to get a Hell Cat of their own, it will take some money as well as patience. The Hell Cat frame alone costs $2,200, and a fully customized bike, tailored to a rider’s geometry and with a personalized paint job, takes about eight weeks, start to finish.

Sorry, but mountain biking is an extremely cheap sport.  Just throw on some jorts, hop on a Surly, and go nuts.  Honestly the most expensive thing about it is probably the weed.  I mean sure, you can spend more than $7,000 on a Cannondale, but it should be said that anyone actually does spend $7,000 on a Cannondale is kind of an idiot.  (Unless of course $7,000 simply isn't a lot of money to you, in which case mountain biking still isn't an expensive sport.)  You know what's an expensive sport?  Yachting:

Aluminum hull?!?  Wow, over 66 million Euros and you don't even get crabon....


Anonymous said...

podia Bono!

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that those old school mountain bikes and their use in cities helped give rise to many of today's cargo bikes.

Not to poo on a well meaning craftperson's marketing schtick: trails do vary... but if there's one place I appreciate full-suspension, it's on the rocky, rooty east coast (says somebody who more often than not grabs his fully rigid mountain bike, which is fine in much of the west with its ample fire road climbs, packed clay singletrack and deeply rooted trees gasping for water.)

Pelon said...

My first podium ever!

BamaPhred said...

Fake podiodio, with a woody Bona!

N/A said...

You really need to rub your woody thoroughly to get the Bona to work right.

If you can't stop to laugh at poop, then what's the point of riding a bike at all? I suspect good ol' Grant had an entire chapter about it in one of his books, but his editor, or whatever, probably suggested that he cut it.

bad boy of the south said...

Orchard Beach,eh?i hope the race wasn't anywhere near the crumbling pavilion.

leroy said...

Spotted a Renovo in Brooklyn this morning, getting onto the Brooklyn Bridge. Four years old with Ultegra components, looks like it's holding up nicely and the rider said he likes it a lot.

I would have asked more, but I was headed to the Manhattan Bridge where my dog said he had to see a man about a yacht.

I think he just wanted to see the ferry to Jersey because he snickers like Beavis and Butt Head when he pronounces "Sea Streak."

Anonymous said...

66.5 degree head angle? Yikes.

dnk said...

Buffing the bishop (Bona!)

Knüt Fredriksson said...

In response to today's transalt postage and the people for bikes rankings:
We may not be able to find good halal at 3am, but we do have some good options the rest of the day...
And there's a dispensary right below the restaurant, so you have to factor that in...

Anonymous said...

No Mountain Bikes? I think when your average Times reporter has any idea of what like and bikes are like above 96th Street - I see MBs all over the place -

HDEB said...

I've spent FAR more over my lifetime on weed than all cycling related expenses combined : )

Anonymous said...

"However, by telling you all of this I've effectively made the joke anyway..."
The Greeks had a word for this trick that I wish I could find or remember. Please report back with that word.
Thank you.

JLRB said...

Today, the city is covered in green lanes filled with tourists on Citi Bikes, lawless delivery men on electric bikes and hipsters coasting on Dutch utility bikes or brakeless fixies.

How do hipsters coast on brakeless fixies?

And of course the food delivery workers are all lawless ...


BONA FIDE said...

Oops. Got distracted polishing my bike.

JLRB probably knew that it's my lunchtime chore, and beat me to the punch.

"...hipsters coasting on Dutch utility bikes or brakeless fixies"

Okay... the brakeless fixies are for the lawless, too!

I thought the Dutch utility bikes were for Beautiful Godzillas, no?
Are they a subset of hipsters?

I don't know, I live in a small New England city with Average to Pretty Godzillas.
Usually on day-glo running shoes.

Stiff Fees No More said...

I found a bike polisher to do the job Pro Bona.

Anonymous said...

The Greek term Bryan wants is probably "apophasis."

Who says yotting is expensive. Gotcha crabon boat for 279,000 right on the
"Gisland" .

Anonymous said...

Is this fox news reporter the author?
Facepalm rolleyes article anyway

Dooth said...

Why am I wasting my money on a NY Times digital subscription? I rarely read it and when I do it’s usually because someone famous died.
How clueless an editor must you be to publish a nyc cycling article written by cycling cynic and newbie? Coasting on fixies.

1904 Cadardi said...

$2,200 and 8 weeks for a fully custom mountain bike frame? That's both cheap and fast!

Apparently many Writers are not Bicyclists said...

Yeah, bunch of weird false comments about NYC bikes.

"its (mountain bikes) handlebars too wide to squeeze between taxi cabs."

The handlebars on mountain bikes are not all that wide (especially Horse Cycle bikes), usually not as wide as Citi Bikes which are all over NYC. And Citi Bikes are not just ridden by tourists. If NYC is at all like other Bike Share cities, then most of the rides are by local members. In fact I glanced (any more than I glance at those kind of spreadsheets and graphs give me a headache) at some of their meticulous data and that seems to be the case.

Anonymous said...

My steel bikes last forever, till they get stolen that is.
Napoleon "Taurus" Bonaparte would have loved a wooden bike.

wishiwasmerckx said...

In my little town, all of the pretenders long ago switched over from fixed gear to single speed, so they can indeed coast. It is still visually jarring to see, though.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Dear Mr. BSNYC, would you care to comment on the relentlessly negative press has been giving to the Giro stages in Israel?

Much of what they wrote is simply untrue.

I know because I was there and saw it with my own two eyes.

janinedm said...

Dutch utility bikes are for smug transportation cyclists.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Have not paid attention. Example...?

--Wildcat Etc.

wle said...

ha ha, my own personal kid (1 of 2 boy twins) has that exact same green strider bike..

the other one has something else, also green :)

starts with a K (the most comedic letter)

NYCHighwheeler said...

Just a quick note that the most iconic bike for East Coast technical riding is the Eastern Woods Research. The OWB or Original Woods Bike has been the gold standard for a technical mtb for over 25 years. Jay De Jesus is my spirit animal.

I love me some full suspension, but most of the trails at Blue, Sprain, and Graham were built by people riding rigid, hardtails, or bikes that had to exaggerate to claim 2 inches of travel. Full suspension will always be the darling of the Mountain Bike Action set, but in this area, we love our EWRs, Spookeys, and Beast of the East Cannondales.


PS I fucken SLAYED the 5 Boro yesterday! I pulled into the festival right behind the little girl in the Hello Kitty jacket, and the two veterans on hand-trikes. They must have been doping, because there is no way they could have beaten me otherwise (I've been on an extensive doping regimen in perpetration for the event. This was my first non-highwheel participation in the 5 boro since the 1900's, and well, it really wasn't that different. Seems that bib/number checkpoints have been replaced by bag checkpoints. The really weird thing is that they want you to walk your bike everywhere. Maybe I didn't notice in past years because it was always a relief to rest my ass after riding the highwheel, but it was really ridiculous. Who the hell looked at the 5 Boro Bike Tour, and said, "You know what this needs? More walking!"

wle said...

"starts with a K (the most comedic letter)" - KIXI / razor - higher handlebars

still with a 'flintstones' drive train - direct drive via sneaker soles


Joe said...

Re: Velonews Giro Coverage:

It was something about how the desert wasn't pretty enough and the wind didn't blow in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Solo yacht porn.

Drock said...

Maple brake pads, on walnut rims. That’s smoking friction.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Well, it started with an article about how Israel was "sportswashing" an apartheid regime, and it went downhill from there.

The sprint finish in Eilat was on a garden-variety roadway, flat and level and barricaded. There was nothing even remotely sketchy about it, and there were no crashes, protests or other incidents.

The roads were in near-perfect condition. The Govt had repaved all of the rough areas all the way from the start in Beersheba to Eilat.

The traffic roundabouts in the last 800m had been removed and paved over with smooth asphalt.

Had you read the Velonews articles, you would have the opposite impression about all of the foregoing.

I have seen (on TV) lots sketchier roads and finishes in Italy many, many times.

Jonas100 said...

Agreed that mountain biking doesn't have to be expensive - you can get a pretty awesome 26" wheel mountain bike for chump change on craigslist... but why spend like $80 when you can spend $everal thousand?

STG said...


The Hell Cat is pretty compelling as an east-coast trail bike. It has long and slack geometry which is great for downhill, and tucked hardtails are usually better for climbing. What's east coast about this hardtail is the fact that its long and slack with a high bottom bracket, which is great for our local terrain that is covered in rocks. Most of the trail hard tails are long and slack with a low bottom bracket.


Anonymous said...

Horse, (Thomas Callahan) is pretty great actually. When my steel cross bike had a canti boss break off (stupid manufacturing defect), he welded a new one on and fixed it right up for me.

Since no bike shops can really fix a weld or a braze-on these days, its nice to know a real builder than can do work on non-disposable steel or titanium bikes. His custom bikes look amazing too - if I were in the market for something like that I would definitely check his stuff out.

He also has a pretty friendly shop cat too.