Friday, January 25, 2019

It's Friday! Do NOT Read This Post! Go and Ride Your Bike!

Further to yesterday's post, a commenter asked:

Anonymous JLRB said...

The old post you linked to included the following - have you exceeded stage four and returned to stage 1?

1) Fresh

This is when you're an utter dork who's like totally super-stoked on bikes and you fall all over yourself because Shimano figured out how to squeeze another cog onto a wheel and you do stupid stuff like wake up at 4:30am to do hill repeats so you can crash out of a Cat 4 race;

2) Refined

This is when you're like totally too cool for school and you're keyed in to what the current proper sock height is and you think you're the opposite of a Fred when in fact you're just a Fred who has figured out that the key to roadie-dom is color coordination and acting like you have a frame pump up your ass;

3) Exhausted

This is when you're totally cynical about bikes and think the epitome of marketing gimmickry is Shimano figuring out how to squeeze yet another cog onto a wheel;

4) Dork

This is where you come full circle and return to dorkdom, but now you covet Rivendells and think Grant Petersen makes a lot of sense when he says it's totally fine to ride in underpants.

JANUARY 25, 2019 AT 12:52 PM

Indeed I have--although I haven't so much circled back to Stage 1 as I have broken through to a new stage of Fredness in which I occupy all four stages at the same time and have gone Beyond the Infinite:

The upshot is that I can enjoy a stretchy-clothes ride splayed out on a crabon road bike as much as I can an underpants-and-jorts ride sitting bolt-upright on the Jones.  As for the bikes themselves, I'm simultaneously enamored with and indifferent to them: most of the time I'm fine with whatever, but then circumstances conspire to put me on a new bike and I'm like, "Holy crap this bike is amazing!"  It's funny how that works.  When I was riding that Drysdale I kept thinking, "This is incredible, 70 years ago and we basically had it all figured out, what more do you need really?"

Then I try a handmade wooden bike with Di2 or a crabon Fred chariot with the latest Dura Ace or something and am agog over how good it is...and then I rent an aluminum bike with Tiagra on a trip to Portland and am impressed at how good that is too.

I suppose this is why I could never be a real bike reviewer: I just like riding bikes too much.  The truth is most bikes are excellent, and it takes a lot of work to fuck them up--though plenty have managed over the years:

Wow that bike sucked.

Along those lines, this comment also caught my attention:

Anonymous said...

Seems the Snob's been kidnapped again and some industry shill is tapping out this shit until the ransom is paid. Free the Snob!!!

January 25, 2019 at 8:49 AM

I'm not bothered in the least by these sorts of digs.  After all, I've been accused of "selling out" or "jumping the shark" since probably around my second blog post.  Still, I suppose there's some truth to this particular comment, inasmuch as as a middle-aged Fred who has come full circle it's kind of hard to be mad at the bike industry, and I want pretty much everyone involved in it to sell lots of stuff and be happy.  When you really think about it, they've done pretty well by us: the sheer variety of bicycles and parts available is stunning, and for every ridiculous five-figure douche wagon there's an affordable "entry level" bike more capable and refined than most people will ever need.  Sure, they're always foisting new standards and new spacings on us and blah blah blah, but at the same time I'd wager there are good quality, affordable replacement parts available for pretty much any bike you happen to be riding.  (No, I don't want to hear about your French-threaded porteur bike.)  And when you look beyond the bike industry and take inventory of the sheer fuckery going on in the world today, you realize that the worst thing pretty much any bike company is guilty of is, you know, trying to sell you a bike.  It's not like any of them are committing crimes against humanity...the company who made this excluded:

What a fucking abomination.


Anonymous said...

Where is everyone? Virtual racing on Zwift?

HDEB said...

As I approach forty the idea of selling out to the man seems more appealing. I could see that eventually struggling to pay my basic obligations and riding around on clattering old POS's might get old. For now, I'll stick with the philosophy of you can't help but get older but you can stay immature forever : )

William said...

But what about the Brompton??????

Steven Dorst said...

Is it ok to read this post if I've already done my daily ride? Or do I have to do another ride first?

And yes, I closed my eyes while scrolling down to the comments.

BikeSnobNYC said...


I love the Brommie!

--Tan Tenovo

William said...

But there has been no Brompton love in quite a while. It has been all wood (heh, heh), and carbon, and Jones, and .... By the way I still love and ride mostly my circa 1987 Cannondale fred sled. Almost as light as carbon.

Anonymous said...

They're still selling that bike that sucks. It has a cardon belt drive. I wonder if that's better than crabon.


Base Urban bikes are a new breed, bringing you everything that’s great about a bike but updated and improved with the very latest technology. Unique to the range of Base Urban bikes is the innovative and striking frame design. Featuring a clever split “double-top” tube and slick curved down tube the frame is hand-built in “airplane tubing” Cromolly steel which is both lightweight and solid. Perfect for both speedy urban rides over smooth tarmac and weekend trips on potholed tracks.

The liquid high gloss Black paint finish is simply superb and ultra hardwearing and as the heart of the drive system is a Gates Cardon Belt it’s amazingly maintenance and grease free.

Need to get out said...

I will ride tomorrow gosh darn it.

Matthew Weigel said...

That link to an old post just reminded me that your quizzes were often funny...

BikeSnobNYC said...


I will try to remedy that oversight!

--Tan Tenovo

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...a few things

1. Everytime I see that picture of Dave with HAL reflected in his visor, I start singing the Daisy song... whicy, BTW, did you know mentions a tandem?

"Daisy, Daisy,
Give me your answer do!
I'm half crazy,
All for the love of you!
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage
But you'll look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two."

2. You list that bike as an abomination and a crime against humanity... and not Old Man Bunditz's many crimes against humanity???

C. My "French-threaded porteur bike" is doing well, thankyouverymuch, thanks to all the abundant new and old parts you can buy. You can even buy a new French threaded BB these days.

Anonymous said...

Still no reveal of the new bike?

Are you doing that movie thing of not showing the monster because it's scarier that way or are you just a prick-teaser?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 4:29pm,

It's a Specialized Tarmac SL5 Expert with mechanical Dura Ace and rim brakes but you can't tell anybody.

--Tan Tenovo

Chazu said...

The first and middle initials of our first-born son are E.W. (Which I gleefully pronounce as "Eeeee Dubya!")

Coincidence? Or a subconscious nod to the world's greatest bikey cycling author?

BikeSnobNYC said...


Lob bless you and your family!

--Tan Tenovo

pbateman took a red eye and doesn't suggest doing that said...

did you go with an SL5 Tarmac Expert because of the oh so stiff lateral stiffness and a vertical with more compliance than most mom's after magaritas, or because it was on sale and a good deal?

and dura ace eh...think you're that good eh.

does the colorway match your eyes? that's important.

pbateman blue his bikes said...

also, i hope you got the blue one.

BikeSnobNYC said...


I mean I'd be lying if I said I chose it after conducting a lengthy and thorough analysis of all the road bikes currently on the market, but so far it's awesome.

(And I got the black one of course.)

--Tan Tenovo

Houston said...

I don't know if it is causation or correlation, but cars with missing side mirrors don't park in the bike lane. I also don't know why people think it is a good idea to stop in the bike lane to wash vegetable oil off their windshields. I just don't know what some people are thinking these days.

Kevin Love said...

This blog post bears some resemblance to C.S. Lewis' essay on the four stages of cycling. See:

der blaue Reiter said...

I got a kick out of seeing the world’s deadliest fred in the flashback... talk about selling out!

George Krpan said...

"...the sheer fuckery going on in the world today..."

Darn right.

Jake said...

Any chance of bringing back those Friday quizzes?

JLRB said...


And the throw back link to the occupy Wall Street movement - hard to believe that’s been 8 years ...

Cold ride day ahead!

paulb said...

I feel a little let down by the new crabon bike. I know composites have a place but for bikes... I can't make the adjustment. If I were a world famous bike blogger hanging off the back of races in Central and Prospect parks I would want to be hanging off on one of Grant's Roadeos. Sentiment, it's a horrible thing.

Beck the Biker said...

Tan Tenovo, so true. Cyclists logging the saddle time all (can) eventually transcend stage four on the full cycle into an alt-bike reality of our own devising. Like the Lone Wolf, one of the rarest breed of scorchers, and who may rightfully set the bar for the fifth stage of the cycling experience. That insouciant, who-gives-a-fuckery Albert Hoffman-HG Wells mashup of trippin' on the hammer and tongs, a man and his flying machine.

Dooth said...

I hope that was a fat tire bike Tan rode on Strava up the NYC TRI 18 Climb 08 and not the French thread bike with 700c x32 tires, plus water bottle, frame pump and saddle bag, bested his time by 2 seconds. The water bottle cage and the saddle bag are by Specialzed...I’m sure that gave me the edge.

Wesley Bellairs said...

Every few years I come across a frame like the one I just got(1960 Olmo) for $100 and attempt to make a working bike out of it with parts I have lying around. This one gets a:
Simplex ders, Suntour dt shifters, Cinelli bar/stem, 600 Levers, Turbo saddle, total cost $100. Try it.

BikeSnobNYC said...


As a world famous bike blogger I think a Roadeo is way too classy for racing in the park. For going around and around in circles while in a state of anatomic distress I like the idea of a plastic or aluminum bike that came out of a box ready to be used for that purpose.

--Tan Tenovo

Unknown said...

Someone should really get out there and shovel all this snow piling up on my sidewalks and driveways.

thegock said...

Didn't ride:

Great Barringer road trip!

Some Guy on the Innernets said...

Looks like the most litigious bike company in the world figured out how to put a stop to being made fun of by Wildcat Rock Machine. What's worse than jumping the shark? Well, not quite jumping the shark, for one. Oh well, it's been fun. Thanks, Tan Tenovo. You made it a long time before selling out to The Man. Next you'll be hanging out with Zap Espinoza, swapping tales from back in the day. I don't think I'll be staying around for that.

Swiss chococheese said...

In our age of extraordinary and of mass mercification (and commodification) of “being alternative” it feels so good to blend in.

Of course, it feels even better to -pretend- to blend in and fail catastrophically: despised by fellow roadies for having the wrong sock-arm warmer combo, despised by the alt-bikers because of crabon instead of a plutonium-oak solar electro frame.

That’s comfort zone for the (an)alt-scranus

BikeSnobNYC said...

Some Guy on the Innernets,

Definitely one of the dumbest comments I've read in awhile.


--Tan Tenovo

pbate is freezing down here in florida. said...

I'm quite pleased you've sold out and jumped sharks. both are pretty bad ass if anyone is being honest.

i'm out here selling myself to your mom and jumping zero sharks 'cause they are teethy and i'm scared. so, go you.

if s'p'lized goes out of business in 2019 we will know the curse is real and you are a not a good brand advocate.

do hope you can find time in 2019 to stick that leftover ultegra group on something neat. be a snob and pick out some neat-o frame from...whatever tickles your fancy. Cippo rode some neat C'dales in the 90s for example. you have craigslist. hell, this is a good one:

full f'in' circle bro.

BikeSnobNYC said...


I guess the offended party is under the mistaken impression that Specialized sent me the bike. Anyway, still waiting for my opportunity to sell out. As for jumping the shark, I let go of the tow line years ago and it's just bouncing along in the boat's wake now.

--Tan Tenovo

der blaue Reiter said...

Hey Snob, if you ever find yourself with an intern it would be fun to see a compilation of all the sold-out and/or jumped-the-shark comments... i guess they must have been coming in almost from the get-go, yeah?

Bromptonaut said...

My secret wish is that the SL5Expert came from a Fred you met in Central Park who needed to move it on for $200 before his wife would lend him the Range Rover to collect his $X,000 internet bargain disk-braked Di2 super-crabon ‘upgrade’ from the UPS depot. If so, keep in touch with him - he’ll need 12-speed Di2 by this time next year!

Looking forward to more Brompton love.

JLRB said...


huskerdont said...

Missed this post b/c I was out riding.

Happy new bike day.

Some Guy on the Innernets said...

Nothing personal. Just business.