Thursday, September 19, 2019

New Outside Column!

Firstly, here's my lastest Outside column, which is about why I love riding a bicycle in the city:

Every so often I complain about this particular city and someone comments that I'm an idiot for living here--and while that is undeniably true, perhaps this missive will offer you some insight into my delusion.

Secondly, further to yesterday's post, a number of commenters questioned the pricing and overall viability of the Tresca I'm currently testing:

These questions are certainly valid.  I've since delved even deeper into the retail landscape and though more about it and yes, why order a Tresca over the Internet when you can spend the same (or less) money and buy a Cannondale in person?  As good as the bike may be, they don't seem to be offering the same no-brainer pricing as other Internet-based bike sellers like Canyon, which is ultimately what tempts people to take the leap of faith that buying a bicycle online requires.  (Also, the Trescas aren't even shipping yet, which means you can't have one anyway.)

All of this is to say that Tresca certainly have their work cut out for them.  In the meantime I will continue to ride and enjoy the bike and provide my honest feedback, but the rest is up to them.  And hey, there are companies that emerged during the fixie boom I never thought would survive, but some of them have since become well-established and continued to thrive.  (I mean I assume they're thriving; they've got a website, don't they?)

Finally, I invite you to ponder this baffling image, which I came across awhile back while researching bike pricing:


Willie Voltaire said...

"I’d keep riding even if all the bike lanes disappeared tomorrow." Hear, hear! Urban riding constitutes almost 100% of my cycling, and I love the cycling infrastructure improvements my city has made. But it was sometimes even more fun before them -- all those years of navigating the back alleys, parking lots, and little-known cut-throughs helped me to learn the intricacies of my town better than almost anyone I know.

Al said...

I loved the Outside article, Mr Bikesnob. I especially loved the side video of Bike Kill 2017. What a creepy show of urban cycling anarchy that would cause all the NIMBY motorist to locked up their daughters and hide in their houses lest that horde of cyclist from the evil bike lanes infest their neighborhood. We are coming for YOU!!

Anonymous said...

Well, here's to a country transformed! We need that!

Mark said...

I'm not gonna log into the Twitter, so I'll say it here- they wrapped the bars like that so that they can easily change the levers to Ultegra or Tiagra for the next photo shoot.

JLRB said...

The levers placed over the bar tape is clearly the work of nonplussed bibshort guy

HDEB said...

One of the best things about bicyling in NYC is the many delicious food options -- yum!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the canyon alu road bike with 105 is $1700... except it comes with hydro discs, too.

For $2k, you get this bad boy, CRABON, HYDRO DiCK BRAKES, the whole nine.

Fresca needs to get a smooth talking Grant Petersen type to hard sell vintage technology at premium pricing. Second career for the bikesnob?

Steve Barner said...

Forget the cable hookup issues; I can't even begin to figure out how one could get the brake lever clamp to slide over padded tape, or any kind of tape for that matter, without ripping the bejeezis out of it. The clamp barely fits over a bare bar.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 8:36pm,

The aluminum Canon has "endurance" geometry so if someone's specifically looking for an aggressive aluminum race bike it's not the best comparison.

That aside, yeah, looks like a rim-brake crabon Canyon ("Crabon Canyon" sounds like an exurban subdivision) with 105 is a few hundred cheaper than the Tresca. Obviously that's going to be a much more attractive position to John Q. Fred.

--Tan Tenovo

Beck the biker said...

The outside article had a lot of depth across all varieties of roadscape, and that BikeKill video quite refreshing from my current bike culture wilderness. Riding through which you also nailed in the article! Limited routes, so true. Even farm country presents multiples of interesting alternatives. Some of the best gravel is laid out in square mile grids across entire swaths of the Midwest, some of it near pockets of college town culture for retreat and microbrews after eating grit and sniffing CAFOs out in God's green acres. In the wilderness it's hoot owls, logging trucks, f****** maps and G****** GPS errors, washed out bridges, miles of trees and the occasional cougar to keep rides lively. What i wouldn't give for a street grid, some congestion, and McSorely's within biking distance. The article was remarkably broad in scope yet concise, well-rounded, lighthearted, serious, and sincere, with a great finish. Tan Tenovo, you got the writing chops. That was a very satisfying ramble across the bicyclist terrior.

Anonymous said...

Don't think the clamp is covering any bar tape. The handlebar appears to be black as does the clamp, so the shitty taping job just appears to have been done before the clamp/lever was installed. The bike biz used to ship bikes with far less assembly so the pimply-faced teenager getting minimum wage and all-he-could-steal at the bike shop could f--k this up, now it's f--ked up in China instead by people who make even less. Progress! MAGA! Fresca? No thanks, I'll have a TAB instead....just like Homer S.

huskerdont said...

The thing about the fear of death while cycling is that we have a false sense of security in cars. However, almost 40,000 people die each year in the United States from automobile crashes,* and most of these people are in their cars. Admittedly, that's just a sheer number, not a percentage, but percentages are difficult here because vehicle miles traveled (VMT) does not compare well between a car that can do 70 miles in an hour and a cyclist who can do 20, whereas estimates of time spent in each activity are complicated. (Also, the deaths are more likely at faster speeds than those typical in inner cities.) But the point is, most people get in their cars and don't feel endangered since they have a cage, seat belts, and air bags, but they most certainly are, yet these same people might be afraid to ride a bike. There's a false sense of safety driving that you really don't get riding a bike.**

However, we should be able to expect to go out on a bike ride without being run over, but we can't, and that's a problem.

*The number is way higher internationally, over a million if I remember.

**Maybe a little bit with a helmet. Sometimes when I go back to wearing a helmet I find I ride a bit more cavalierly at first before I acclimate.

George Krpan said...

I have been buying from Bikesdirect for years. I also bought a Traitor when they were sill around, and a Velo Orange. I haven't bought a bike in a bike shop for years, will probably never again. My Motobecane 29+ was $599.

Houston said...

I've lived here a long time and does anybody think Houston has its own beauty? Good work is what holds me here and I have to agree with the outside observations, it is brown and grey. I always enjoy other cites more as far as aesthetics goes.

Anonymous said...

Beck the Biker, I had to look up CAFO. "an animal feeding operation in which over 1000 animal units are confined for over 45 days a year." Are "animal units" anything like "animals"?

Billy said...

"anybody contemplating the purchase of a bicycle might read about the latest tragedy in their town and understandably come to the conclusion that it’s just not worth it"

Nobody ever says this when they lease a Hyundai, despite the daily carnage of twisted metal and mangled bodies on the highway. That's part of the problem. If people actually realized how dangerous driving is, maybe they would do it less.

leroy said...

I had been thinking this week about the tragedies and dark narratives we've cycled through these past few months and thought if that was all you knew about riding in NYC, you'd never attempt it.

But riding in NYC, most days, I actually enjoy my commute. That has got to be the polar opposite of all other commuting experiences.

I can go as fast or as slow as i want, choose my route, I'm not beholden to an arbitrary transit schedule, I'm not getting elbowed or crushed by other folks just trying to get to work or home, I can stop for coffee without having to pay two fares, I can whistle tunelessly and no one notices, I can chat with fellow commuters, and I'm not trapped in a metal box too expensive to abandon in a frozen sea of similar metal boxes none of which are gliding effortlesslythrough the city like those ads on TV.

I mean seriously, when was the last time you heard someone who didn't bike say they enjoy their commute?

And when I need a longer ride, I don't need a car to get out of the city.

So I woke up this mornig thinking we were overdue for an article exactly like your current Outside piece.

Yes, there are dark stories and tragedies, but mostly, cycling is quite good. We had back to back 90,000 citibike ride days and none of those folks were flattened (I think).

There is safety in numbers and I don't want the number of cycists to go down.

And besides,on our ride in this morning, my dog reminded me that NYC is scenic and a little humility is good for the soul.

Ride safe all!

Chris said...

Dear Snob,

Your side banners are advertising "slip on leather loafers". Have I really become a member of that demographic?

mikeweb said...


I agree. I finally got back into the habit of bike commuting again after starting at a new job back in April, and I can honestly say my overall mood/disposition is sunnier.

Another thing I've noticed: I enjoy riding on fresh smooth pavement a lot more than pocked uneven pavement. The only 2 times I've gone over the bars in the last 8 years was due to poor road conditions.

I received an email from the DOT today with a link to a survey about cycling in NYC, and in the 'other' field on the question about what would make me more likely to ride more, I noted better street conditions - less potholes.

Helen Balcony said...

The tresca-vs-cannondale discussion on your blog and the points you raised above are surely part of the useful feedback they are looking for, I'd think?
I have been NOT bike commuting for the best part of a week because I slowed down moderately in a bike lane to give a hard look to a car which was looking as if it might left hook me into a driveway (I'm Australian so everything is upside down and backwards remember). A dickhead, possibly with a phone on his handlebars - I was too shaken up to look at it closely, ran into the back of me at full speed, making an abstract artwork out of my mesh rear bike basket and mashing my ribcage into my headstem. After a cursory "you all right?!" he sped off without waiting for a reply.
So my enjoyment of riding in the city, which was jaded enough already, has taken a massive downturn, so now I'm off to read your article to see if it can restore some of the enthusiasm.
And take a couple more ibuprofen *ow*