Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Gravel Is Out, Linoleum Is In

Remember when all the cool people were riding on gravel?  Well, it looks like riding drop-bar bicycles over tiny pebbles is over.  According to Strava, your living room is the new gravel:

Indeed, in January of this year over 15% of Strava dorks uploaded indoor rides:

While this may sound like a lot to you, as a Strava user myself it seems incredibly low to me, because I haven't seen anyone log an actual outdoor ride since at least October.  No, it's all Zwift rides now.  "Wow, I wonder what so-and-so is up to," you think, and then you check the route map of their latest ride and see that like 90% of it is underwater:

Alas, following people on Strava now is basically like eating grated parmesan: you think you're getting the real thing, but a distressing percentage of it is just artificial filler.

Of course, just as I've become a total Strava wanker, I'd no doubt be Zwifting too if only it weren't for my living arrangement, which is probably the only thing keeping me honest.  See, space is at a premium here in the Tenovo household, and I'm not about to drag a trainer into the mix.  I'm sure if I lived in the suburbs I'd be Zwifting my life away in the basement on a daily basis, partially because I'd have the space, and partially because when you move out of New York City you're not allowed to take your pride beyond the city limits.  (I do have a little pride left, though the space required to store it is yet another reason I can't fit a trainer in my home.)  As of now, however, I simply pretend I'm taking a bold ethical stance.

Then again, it's not too hard to ride outside all winter long here.  Single-digit temperature days are fairly rare, and in the event of snow the city salts the streets like a pretzel and plows them more or less immediately.  This means that at the very least I can at least manage a ride down to Central Park, which is what I did today:

We'd gotten some light snow this morning, but prior to that it had been warm and rainy, meaning the trails would be far too soggy.  So I set out on the Milwaukee for an urban ride instead:

As you may recall, the rear hub on the Milwaukee is rather draggy.  So before setting out I solved the problem by ditching those wheels and putting on different ones:

In fact, they're the very same ones the bike arrived with in the first place--Shimano RS21s, a cheap pair of wheels they don't seem to make anymore:

I've abused them on various bikes since then and they've given me nothing to complain about.

I also replaced the brake pads, since I just happened to have two fresh pairs I must have bought some time ago in an uncharacteristic fit of preparedness.  The upshot of all this labor is that the bike stops, the chain doesn't sag, and as of now I can even access more or less all my gear combinations!

I'm ready for winter.


Anonymous said...

Fuck a damned Pelican stationary bike. And the woke joke blokes are boycotting then for the commercial because SEXXXXISSSST!!! Which almost tempted me to look into getting one.

But there's the whole business of some disembodied voice exhorting you to dig deep and give it your personal best or some meaningless claptrap. Well screw that, I'm 68 years old and got back issues. And the only thing that DOESN'T hurt is biking. Even the Gawdawful stationary bikes in physical therapy. It's like a prayer wheel when I'm turning a crank.

Nah, if I wanted to ride indoors there's the wife's Schwinn Airdale. Just kill me and be done with it. Or even better, one of my fixed gears and a set of rollers. And no damned consumerism. Sweartolob, those damned Pelican bikes are the Chevy Avalanche of cycling.

Dirk Montero said...

Here's to cheap, reliable parts, which, in general, they, whoever they are, don't seem to make anymore.


BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:21pm,

It's...just a piece of workout equipment absolutely nobody is making you buy.

--Tan Tenovo

BikeSnobNYC said...

Dirk Montero,

I don't think it has ever been easier to get cheap, reliable bike parts.

--Tan Tenovo

Edwin Headwin said...

Oh, great. Strava + Peloton. The takeover is complete.

JLRB said...

To paraphrase Yogi Berra

riding indoors is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical

ps - I hate riding indoors

Billinrockhill said...

One of the reasons I ride is to get outside and see what things are like on that day's ride. The outside is much the same each time, but always different too. I don't get the same kick out of riding rollers and watching football or hockey on TV. So hot indoors. In the winter I can unzip stuff if I'm too warm outside.

Anonymous said...

Damn! I can't wrap my tiny New England brain around the proportions of these new Dubai towers of midtown.

Fausto C. said...

Won't mention the San Diego 12 month/year outdoor cycling season (punctuated by craft beer and epic burritos) except to say I'm sure you have reasons for staying in NYC, Snob, and I hope they are good ones. At any rate, it's great that the blog is getting less inattention from you again.

HDEB said...

Pre-grated Parmesan is yucky and I hope to never pedal indoors.

Steve Barner said...

The bike that accumulates the most miles for me each year is a mongrel, 35 year-old Bianchi. For several years now, it has worn a cheap, Taiwan front hub. Every time I see that hub stationary, I think "Lob, that's an ugly thing." But then I when I spin the axle, it's smooth as butter, and that's all that really counts. Who wants tonsteel an ugly wheel? It has survived two rims, and the second is almost as worn as was the first when I swapped it out.

A few years ago, I bought a brand new pair of these hubs on FleaBay for less than 10 bucks, shipped. I had so been looking foward to freeing my faithful commuter from the ugliness that had dogged it for 20,000 miles, but now I have a spare waiting in the wings. I doubt I will ever be free of the thing.

Back in the days of French, Normandy hubs, you could uncover rough, pitted cones on a 30-Day Check. These days, cheap parts can work well pretty much forever. The only thing that functionally separates then from their higher priced bretheren is their ugliness.

Skidmark said...

@Steve Barner 7:47pm, cup/cone front hubs, being lighted loaded, need only to not be adjusted too tight and keep grease in/water out. The rear hub sees a lot heavier work load, don’t go too cheap here.

Beck the biker said...

You just called the biking trend that's been in our faces for the last five years or so, yet still seemed to have snuck up on the average rider.What is it really about? The TRAFFIC, same that fed gravel. Virtual bicycle competiting has dropped full bore. Seduced riders like low-carb foods. All of a sudden, everbodys eating them, everything's tasting like cardboard, and obviously people are cheating on their diets. What's with the silly cassette-on-the-trainer mechanisms anyway - how Rube Goldberg can a trainer get? Indoor-only bikes, fitness bike shoes, and interactive software subscriptions designed by computer programmers to be addictive and DRAW YOU IN are sure to drive outdoor cycling into the shadows. Road bikes are soon to be obsolete frivolences, like the penny farthing is today. As a counterpoise, though, that Christmas Peloton ad might signal early abandonment of indoor fitness bikes as just too much fitness for most americans. Probably not for bike nerds looking to increase their VO2 max over the winter riding intervals in suburban basement rec rooms, dreaming of that first charity ride of 2020. The seductive nature of cyber racing is sure to trickle down into cyber-recreational riding, if it hasn't already. Virtual reality leisure rides, absolutely no traffic, riding across the Brooklyn or San Francisco Bay Bridges with no foot traffic and no fog. Mmmmm, sounds so nice...seductive...

Bod said...

I had the same problem on my King hubs but after cleaning out the old lube and using less lube on the ring drive it was fine.

You mentioned your mudguards too the other day; I have the same ones on a few bikes and I never fit that stupid black cover thing, chuck them out and you’ll be able to adjust the fenders to your heart’s content.

JLRB said...

Unless you telework, you can't commute to work by riding indoors

Anonymous said...

The Boss @ 3:27

True enough. It's just that the SIGHT of any kind of stationary bike triggers memories of physical therapy, the attendant and continuing pain and the boneheadedness of my "superior*" that placed me there in the first place, ending my career.

*Yeah right. Not in his wildest delusion.

huskerdont said...

Eh, I have a trainer, but no interest in Zwifting etc. I use the trainer maybe twice a year, and I like it because you can get a good sweat in the winter and keep your heart rate high instead of intervalling like you do out on the streets. For the most part, however, I prefer to be outdoors.

Unknown said...

*Serious comment here.* I have a 2 and 4 year old. By day I'm parenting them and after 5 I'm delivering pizzas. I only have half a Sunday to ride outside, and sometimes not even that if there's something to fix or some chores undone. Zwift changed my life. I Zwift literally daily and I'm fit as ever. I upload all my indoor "rides" because it makes me feel good to see all that activity logged into one place. No shame in it.

ktache said...