Monday, December 9, 2019

I've Just Been Handed An Urgent And Horrifying News Story...

Further to Friday's post about winter bikes, for off-season road riding that's not quite sloppy enough to warrant full wheelbrows, I've been riding the Tresca, shown here in the exact spot where I fell headlong into my own urine back in 2009:

How many bike bloggers have as rich and storied a history as me?

Not too many.

By the way, you'll be pleased to know that this time around I relieved myself without falling down, of which I am very proud.

Anyway, the Tresca is ideal for this time of year, mostly because its silver and black color scheme disappears into the melancholy winter backdrop almost completely:

Also, you may remember two things about the Tresca:

1) It is a prototype with an incorrectly placed brake bridge, resulting in MetroCard-thin rear tire clearance;

B) I exploded the rear tire recently after riding over something sharp in Yonkers.

Well, I've since replaced the severed tire with a 25mm Continental Gatorskin I found in my tire pile.  (Anyone who's been riding for more than a few years has both a tire pile and a punctured inner tube pile.)  Not only was this frugal inasmuch as I didn't have to pay for a new tire, but I actually made money since I finally got the dollar back that I used to boot the old one.  Now that's how you monetize a bike blog.  Also, even though the destroyed tire was also a Continental, and also ostensibly 25mm wide, the Gatorskin turned out to be quite a bit narrower, which upgraded the clearance from one (1) MetroCard to two (2) Discover cards:

Yeah, it's still pretty tight, but now I don't actually hear grit hitting the brake bridge when I ride through puddles.

So you can put that problem in the "solved" folder, and then drag and drop that file right in the trash because you probably didn't care anyway.

Moving on, there's been a bit of bike world blowback regarding a recent story in which a pair of bro-bags set a cross-country Cannonball Run record in a douched-out Mercedes.  I first heard about it from Peter Flax's Twitter:
Then Joe Lindsey wrote about it in Bicyling:

His point being, basically, this:

While I do agree with both of them in spirit I can't quite manage to get worked up about this stunt or the fact that people think it's cool--and not just because I used to love the 1981 movie of the same name:

I haven't seen it since I was like 10 years old, and can only imagine that in 2019 it's completely awful in every way.

No, the reason I can't get worked up over it is that I don't actually think a couple of car freaks driving across the country as fast as possible is "everything that's wrong with the car culture."  On the contrary, I think the millions of inattentive people who make short trips in giant SUVs on a daily basis are everything that's wrong with car culture.  Or, to put it more succinctly, here's everything that's wrong with car culture:
Basically, "car culture" is a heady melange of grotesque entitlement and complete and utter obliviousness.  For all the douche-tastic hijinx of the Cannonball Run stunt, at least it requires some degree of focus and precludes squandering a bunch of time on tormenting cyclists.  Again, I'm not disagreeing with either Peter Flax or Joe Lindsey exactly, but I just think it doesn't make sense to frame the Cannonball Run as an indictment of car culture in the same way it doesn't make sense to use Lucas Brunelle to frame your argument against cyclists:

Sure, I can't stand the antics of Lucas Brunelle, who to me is not so much an athlete or a daredevil as he is a purveyor of vehicular cycling porn.  At the same time, his brand of niche douchery is fairly self-contained--well, most of the time, anyway--and, ultimately, meaningless.  Similarly, if you're a cyclist, it's probably not people driving around in WRXes with "shocker" decals who are causing you consternation.  If anything, whatever your chosen stunt vehicle, at least identifying as an "outlaw" precludes the sort of entitlement the woman in the pickup feels, since you can't really feel like you "own the road" when your whole schtick is basically that you're stealing it.

So yeah, I'm not worried about the drivers making a Cannonball Run once a year so much as I'm worried about the ones making the school run on a daily basis.

Finally, with the holidays right around the corner, here's a gratuitous reminder that a tool roll makes a great gift:

There, I just finished your holiday shopping for you.


Serial Retrogrouch said...


huskerdont said...

"(Anyone who's been riding for more than a few years has both a tire pile and a punctured inner tube pile.)"

No because people just throw them out? But tires, lob yes, don't know what I will ever do with them all.

Your pee story reminds me of this one time? When I was skiing in Vermont? Went to relieve myself by the side of the trail, dropped my ski poles and gloves, and slid down the embankment with it still hanging out. Thought I might never make it back up to the trail.

Also, I am so glad I will never visit Texas.

Uptight Luddite said...

If you patch tubes you are likely to also learn to identify the initial cause of the leak. Some goodly percentage of which are preventable, believe it or not.

Billy said...

Yeah I'm super not excited about braving the SUV gauntlet of the daily school run when my kid is old enough for that...

Anonymous said...

Punctured tube pile? No. A punctured inner tube makes the best bungie cord, ever. And try them as a dog leash, its perfect, just tie several together! The rubber makes them hold a simple overhand knot like you wouldn't believe. And they are amazingly strong, I really don't want to admit what large items I've tied down/pulled with them, the Christmas tree on the roof of the car is just the start. Inner tubes are one of those items that are more useful after they've been used for their original purpose.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the bitch in the F-Shitfifty deserves a sound thrashing at minimum. But what's REALLY scary is when that shit goes down on a busy interstate. The potential for carnage increases tenfold.

Chazu said...

I'm glad that you did not abandon your misconceptions about triathletes following your ride with Brad.

reCAPTCHA = Parking Meters

paulb said...

Without the SUV school run there's no tv show Big Little Lies.

Houston said...

I know you guys have limits in New York, but seeing as that clip was from Texas I'll just say that open carry makes everyone more polite.

Some guy from upstate said...

Yeah, it's douche-a-rific, but at least someone driving 100+ mph is paying attention (usually). And if you remember driving long distances in the double-nickel era you can sympathize a little with the spirit of the original Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. Speeding on the interstate is not really an issue cyclists need to worry about much.

Also, my inner tube pile grows until the replacement tube inventory starts to get thin, and then a mass patching event takes place. When patching is no longer possible they go in the Anonymous at 3:31 PM pile of useful rubber toroids. On the other hand, when a road tire comes off the bike, there's nothing left of it to keep. MTB and 'cross tires are a different story, of course.

dop said...

During the filming of Cannonball Run, a spurious rumor developed that Adrienne Barbeau and Farrah Fawcett were thespians. The rumor died out after the movie was released,

Grump said...

Tire pile?....Guilty as charged.....In fact, I've still have some 700x20's that must be 20 years old.
Tube pile?....No sir...….A few years ago, I bought one of those Rema tip top boxes with 100 patches in it....Got rid of my tube pile.

Anonymous said...

I have to confess I speed on the Thruway but never on city streets.

HDEB said...

What's the difference between a Mercedes and a porcupine?

Steve Barner said...

From the Junk Troll, sharp scissors and old innertubes are the ingredients for an endless supply of custom rubber bands. Cut at an angle to adjust the size beyond what your junk tube selection provides. Pull the valves out when they fail to make nifty elastic bands for tying up pretty much anything. Just pass the end of the tube underneath its own wrap and you usually won't need a knot.

What's scary big is my 47 year-old pile of tubulars that are junk, or need patching. These days, if some sealant won't fix it, it's just added to the pile. I once patched six sewups in one day. I don't think I've patched six more in the past 20 years.

der blaue Reiter said...

“Every seat i have is sharp as a razor, so you always play to roll...” I’d love to know if anyone anywhere could possibly have a different favorite Brunelle quote!
Hey, and i liked the split advocacy/fun bsnyc channels while the forecast was running. Of course I am also looking forward to see what you do with more time for the blog here.

Beck the biker said...

Two discover cards clearance? You're golden. Imagine 21c @ 148psi on there could one-up Jobst Brandt's cornering ability. Unless the pavement had residual micturition. On that note - spot on comments all around, Tan! Even down to the coast to coast land-speed record being broken....those guys don't deserve scorn, they should be lauded. Half of american culture is based on motor cars exceeding the speed limit!! Speed is integrated into american heritage, Edwin Cannonball Jones was an American hero in 1914 when he established the motorized cannonball run record on a motorbike. You're so right, it's not the speed freaks driving like a regiment of seasoned autobahn drivers, it is all the short trips in SUVs that are the problem.... and i bet 95% of the critics of the land speed record breakers DRIVE A LOT THEMSELVES. Americans are largely blind to the elephant in the room called motordom. In denial if we can even see it. "what's that, an elephant on Main street? What? It costs HOW MUCH to feed? seriously? And we all get fat? And seniors and kids get trapped in suburbia? You've got to be kidding we've all been paying through the nose for that." NO ONE mentions those things. it's all brushed under the rug, got to drive to the store.... but hey, it's okay to use Lucas B as the reason to not like bicyclists. or, at least, symbolic.

JEMColorado said...

Tie them together and make a great medicine ball!

Some guy from upstate said...


On a porcupine the pricks are on the outside?