Friday, September 19, 2014

Sorry, we have important things to discuss. #nostrava

So I'm flipping through my Twitter yesterday evening when I see this:


And it was only after having a brief exchange with the "tweeter" that I realized he's an NYPD detective:


So basically, someone's on death's door and this guy's first reaction is to take to Twitter and goad a wiseass bike blogger and a safe streets advocate.

Classy.

This is why we're the Number One Bike City in America.

As for the article Detective Mennen was kind enough to send me, it was the first I'd heard of the incident, and predictably it was up to the New York Post's usual high levels of journalistic excellence.  For example, it goes out of its way to specify how much the bicycle costs:

A cyclist pedaling a $4,000 racing bike at high speed through Central Park slammed into a suburban mom in town shopping for her daughter’s birthday present — leaving the woman brain-dead, sources said.

You know, just like they do when a car hits somebody.

It also makes it sound like the cyclist was riding without brakes;

Fenton’s pal Tom Longman said Marshall was hunched over the brakeless, triathlon-style “aerobars” attached to the handlebars of his high-performance, yellow and black ride.

The article's been edited by the Post's keen editorial staff since I first read it, but the original version also included their usual misspelling of "brakes" as "breaks," and was generally more cringeworthy.

So if you want to read a summary of what happened, I'd recommend this instead:



As for the incident itself, naturally I'm disgusted, so learning about it first from an NYPD detective who felt like breaking my balls was particularly vexing.  Sure, motorists do this and worse pretty much every single day, but that that doesn't diminish my disgust one bit.  The very worst Freds and Tridorks--in fact the very worsts cyclists period--are the ones using the parks to launch their personal hour record attempts, and if this is the same Jason Marshall's Strava account (which I'm fairly sure it is) then it looks like he makes a habit of it:


In fact he appears to have set the above "achievements" yesterday, perhaps with visions of Jens Voigt dancing in his head, which is the same day he plowed into that poor woman.

That is seriously fucked up.

I'm loath to implicate Strava in any of this.  Yes, I have a strong dislike for Strava and all it represents (in particular this sort of riding) that goes past simple annoyance and borders on a moral objection.   But it certainly did not invent the sort of selfish, moronic, abjectly fuck-tarted weenie-ism that compels cyclists to speed through the city's most heavily-used neighborhood green spaces and tourist attractions in the middle of the day, in beautiful weather, at exactly the time people head to the park.  Instead, it simply capitalizes on it, and fairly shamelessly.

To blame Strava at all is to take responsibility from the riders.  There's no reason to be doing hot laps in the middle of the goddamn city.  There are miles of open road just over the George Washington Bridge.   There are also actual races in either Central or Prospect Parks pretty much every weekend--sanctioned ones, with marshals and everything.  Even then, people have died.  Remember "Tiger Williams," famous backer of Tailwind Sports and US Postal?

In a race in August, Williams accidentally hit a pedestrian who ignored marshals' whistles and walked onto the Central Park course. The man, who police say was homeless and hasn't been identified, died later that day in the hospital. Williams says he suffered two compression fractures in his back and doesn't expect to be riding outdoors again until next year.

I'm fairly certain that race was an ITT, too, so both of these instances share aerobars in common.

In fact, it's exceedingly rare that anybody is killed by a bicycle in New York City, but when it does happen it seems to happen in Central Park:


This is not the Central Park of 20 years ago.  It is full of people pretty much all the time.  If you need to get a workout on a bike while you'e in there, go hard up the hill where you can make a maximum effort without gathering much speed.  And if you have time to ride your bike in the middle of a weekday afternoon you have time to head out for a "real" ride in an appropriate setting.

There seems to be some disagreement as to whether this latest cyclist had the light.  However, that doesn't matter.  It's a park.  You know people are going to cross against the light, and if you choose to ignore that inevitability the blame should fall on you.  The worst kind of cycling arrogance is the notion that the world is going to conform to your sense of what it should and shouldn't do, and then to base your decisions and behavior on that assumption.  Forget pedestrians--I know someone who shattered a hip in Central Park when a raccoon ran out in front of him, and this is someone I wouldn't hesitate to call an expert cyclist.  Shit happens, especially in parks, where there are all kinds of variables.  So why would someone riding a bike with aerobars--specifically designed to ride in a straight line with your head down--expect a more favorable outcome?

Anyway, the upshot of all of this is bound to involve the police coming down hard on cyclists, in a way that is simultaneously justified and infuriating.  There's long been a movement to ban cars from Central Park, but I'm willing to bet that before that ever happens they'll ban bikes first.

So please fellow Freds of New York City and beyond, let's get our shit together and keep it that way, OK?

Lastly, I'd like to make a sincere plea.  I do not use Strava, but I know many of you do.  I also know I'll never, ever convince you to stop being the gigantic dorks you all are.  However, as a way to show the world that we're not all just a bunch of Lycra-clad weenies with our heads up our asses, I'd like you to join me in a pledge to turn off Strava for the entire weekend.  Yes, I don't know what "turn it off" means because I don't use it, but log out, shut it down, whatever, starting RIGHT NOW until this coming Monday.  You can do all your normal "epics," all your cyclocross races, all your Sunday group rides.  Just (gasp) do it without gathering data which Strava then sells to regional transportation departments.

I'm totally serious, just this weekend, as a gesture of respect to the victim's family.


(Come on.  One fucking weekend.  You can do it!)

Thanks very much for reading.  I love you.  Ride safe this weekend.


--Wildcat Rock Machine



PS: Next week, the best 200 word essay about what you learned from switching off your Strava for the weekend wins a BSNYC hat.  Strava junkies preferred, email to "bikesnobnyc [at] yahoo [dot] com."  Use subject line #NOSTRAVA.  All other entries will be discarded.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Impossible Hour...Of Music!

Further to yesterday's post regarding my debut Brooks Blog guest post (and yes, your chamfered comments have now appeared), the so-called "Recumbent Conspiracy Theorist" posed the following question:

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice!

So are you doing the full monty 209 km or one of the lesser wuss-bag routes?

September 17, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Okay, I know I tend to make self-deprecating remarks concerning my cycling ability or lack thereof, but let's cast modesty aside for just a moment and take a look at my "carrickyoulumb vee-tay:"

--Experienced former mid-category amateur road, mountain, and cyclocross racer who never won a race;
--183rd fastest single speed mountain biker IN THE WORLD according to my SSWC '08 commemorative bottle opener which was handed to me at the finish line by a drunk person;
--Three-time Rapha Gentlemen's Race veteran (teammates described me as their "anchor," probably because they had to drag me the whole time);
--New York City cyclist who messengered for six whole months--in the winter mind you!--before there were cellphones even (or at least before normal people had cellphones) and before there was such a thing as designer urban cycling apparel and accessories.  (It was pretty much Manhattan Portage or nothing.)

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT I'll be doing one of the "lesser wuss-bag routes."  Come on, clearly I've done it all!  How many people could boast that list of cycling accomplishments in a single lifetime?  What more do I have to prove?  Also, I'll be in Italy all of like three days, and if I did the 209km course I'd have maybe five minutes left to go visit Mario Cipollini.  (I plan to slap him with a paternity suit as I'm fairly sure I'm his illegitimate son.  If you do the math it makes total sense, since he would have been 7 years old at the time and it's medically documented that he hit puberty at 3, there's a whole article about it in the Lancet.)

Speaking of accomplished cyclists, while Jens Voigt may not have my incredible Palmolives, he's had an okay career, and as everybody knows by now he's about to attempt a cycling feat that could land him in the anals of cycling forever--that is to say he'll make an assault on the hour record while listening to the cheesiest playlist of all time:


Q: @BWSimons: What’s on Jens’ 60-minute playlist?
A: We asked him, and this is what he said:

Warmup:
• REO Speedwagon “Keep on Loving You”
• Brian Adams “Summer of 69″
• Journey “Wheel in the Sky”
• Air Supply “Making Love out of Nothing at All“
• Metallica “Turn the Page”

Hour Record:
• Republica “Ready to Go”
• P.O.D. “Feel So Alive”
• Metallica “One”
• AC/DC “Hells Bells”
• AC/DC “Highway to Hell”
• Farmerboys “Here Comes the Pain”
• Ugly Kid Joe “Goddam Devil”
• AC/DC “Thunderstruck”
• Black Sabbath “Paranoid”
• Metallica “Frayed Ends of Sanity”
• Europe “Final Countdown”

Cooldown:
• Metallica “Nothing Else Matters”
• Cranberries “Zombie”
• Kansas “Dust in the Wind”
• Air Supply “All Out of Love”
• Lita Ford/ Ozzy Osbourne “Close My Eyes Forever”

Wow.  I don't think I could even make it through the warmup without puking.  That's pretty much the musical equivalent of a cannoli-eating contest.

I guess he's always telling his legs to shut up because they keep humming REO Speedwagon tunes.

By the way, a lot of people have been pointing out that Jens Voigt is a man in his 40s who hails from the former East Germany, but while that might explain the massive amounts of drugs he's probably taken over the course of his career I'm not sure how it excuses that playlist since the wall's been down since like 1989 thanks to decades of Cold War wheedling:



Sure, it turns out an already senile Reagan thought he was standing in the White House and giving a contractor instructions regarding a bathroom renovation, but it was a proud moment for America nonetheless.

Also, if you've got a problem with my pointing out that Jens Voigt is probably more drugs than man at this point, get over it.  Everybody knows that Voigt, Jan Ullrich, and Erik Zabel are the accidental by-product of a Soviet experiment to genetically engineer cosmonauts who could survive in outer space without costly space suits or oxygen tanks.  You think the Air Supply on Voigt's playlist is just a coincidence?  I'm sure those Soviet researches played it to them over and over again as they pedaled stationary bicycles in an air-tight chamber, until the head scientist had a brainstorm and said, "Fuck it, let's just put 'em in a bike race."

This isn't to say Jens Voigt isn't one tough bike racer, but let's also remember that he has six kids.  So if anything, it's his wife who's the real badass.

Anyway, you can watch the whole thing here.  (That's the hour record attempt, not the Soviet space experiment.)  I only hope they don't use Voigt's playlist for the soundtrack--and if you're wondering what I would choose if I were in Voigt's place, it would simply be this played over and over:


Which would invariably backfire, since my post-hour record attempt Strava would look like this:


In any case, when you're a cyclist of my caliber it's only natural that makers of high-end performance gear would be falling all over themselves to send you stuff.  Nevertheless, I was surprised and amused when I got this email from "LifeBEAM," who are selling a helment with a heart rate monitor in it or something:


We chose you to be one of the first cyclists who is going to try our new bio-sense helmet! 
You can forget your heart rate monitor strap forever

Can you please advise with shipping address and helmet size?

Sorry, I cannot advise, as I am not in the least bit interested.  I forgot my heart rate monitor strip about fifteen years ago and I haven't looked back.  At this point in my cycling career heart rate data is about as relevant and useful to me as I ride as streaming updates on the price of toilet paper in Serbia.

Also, there's no way they'd let me use it for L'Eroica, though I think technically I'm allowed to wear one of those "Smart Hairnets," which is basically just a regular hairnet with a sundial glued to it.

By the way, I plugged "cycling hairnet" into a popular search engine and it came up with this:


You'll be pleased to know everything in that image is kosher for L'Eroica, right down to the green eyeshade.

Lastly, on a less festive note, remember how the NYPD didn't investigate the hit-and-run of a cyclist that was captured on video because they "didn't have time?"


Well, after much public outcry and an 83rd Precinct community council meeting, I'm pleased to announce that...they still haven't:

Though Canton's attorney sent three letters to the 83rd Precinct imploring officers to investigate her case, they have not questioned the alleged driver. Last night the precinct commander gave an explanation as to why they've ignored Canton's case: she hasn't contacted them.

New York City: earning that "Number One Cycling City" ranking one police-sanctioned hit-and-run at a time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Everybody Follow Me: Party At Old Man Brooks's House!

Remember when you were young and some rich kid's parents went away to St. Barths so you all went over to his house to hang out?  Remember how much nicer everything was--the TV with all the cable channels, the en suite bidet, the giant fridge with a door like a meat locker that the butler had to open for you?  Then remember you stole the old man's rare Ferrari and went on an charmingly irreverent coming-of-age tear through Chicago?

Well, I'm going to L'Eroica in a couple of weeks, and guess what?  Brooks let me use their blog and that's where today's post is, so now let's go trash the place!


Not only that, but I'll be returning to the Brooks Blog for regular monthly guest stints--that is until somebody throws their bidet out the window.  But pending that, it's very kind of Brooks to indulge me, and here's a picture showing the very embodiment of their indulgence:


(Eric "The Chamferer" Murray cannot believe stupid I am, yet still he indulges me by not cutting me.)

So enjoy the blog and let's all meet back here tomorrow.

Also, remember: if Brooks wants to know who smeared pâté all over the big-screen TV, we have no idea, because we were at the library studying all day.


--Wildcat Rock Machine


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mangia! An appetizer before Wednesday.

Good day to you!

I regret to inform you that, owing to various obligations and miscellaneous whatnots, today's blogular post will be somewhat truncated.  This also has something to do with it:

 

Yes, I "curated" this cannoli-eating "edit" myself, and its significance will be revealed in the not-too-distant future.

Possibly.

Also, further to yesterday's post, a commenter had this to say:

Lyscii said...

Lol, surprised to see my ad here. I needed a longer seatpost when I built up that Bianchi, and a friend sold me that seatpost super cheap. As soon as the deal was done, he tells me that the post once belonged to Bike Snob NYC. As the story went, both were at a bike polo match, Bike Snob was having issues with a seatpost slipping, my friend happened to have one lying around that was .2mm bigger, and they traded. Sucks that it turns out not to be true, but I guess an effective tactic to sell a bike, as it sold this afternoon.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 AT 12:39 AM

This is patently absurd, and I am shocked and appalled at the implication that I participate in bike polo matches.  I mean sure, fine, I tried bike polo ONE TIME:


But that was only because I was in Portland doing research for an article I was writing:


So does it have to haunt me for the rest of my life?

Apparently so.

Furthermore, the bicycle pictured did not belong to me.  Rather, it was lent to me for the occasion by the bicycle poloists, who to a man were almost disgustingly friendly and good-natured.

It was also on that same trip that I competed in the Single Speed Cyclocross Single Speed World Singlespeed Championships For Singlespeed Bicycles, and I can assure you I was truly unique because I wasn't wearing a costume.


(I'm totally stealing all these photos from my erstwhile Outside editor's photostream.)

When racing bikes in Portland, sincerity is the boldest form of irreverence.

While I'm waxing nostalgic on the Mustache of Time, this was also the race in which Stevil Kinevil of All Hail the Black Market and I faced off for a sprint finish so dramatic that the entire race fell away around us and for a brief moment we were the only two riders at the Portland International Raceway, or indeed on the planet earth.  He'll tell you I won and I'll tell you he won, and the only thing that's certain is that neither of us had any idea what lap we were on--but as far as we were both concerned, the race was over.  And ultimately, who won really doesn't matter, because the only loser that day was dignity.

Speaking of Stevil and cyclocross, if you're following this whole "Beergate" thing (and I can't blame you if you're not), he recently had the definitive word on heckling:

Let me be perfectly clear- I learned from some of the finest hecklers in this region’s history, and have been doing it for far longer than some of the aforementioned dicks have been riding bikes. Rule number one is to never, under any circumstances interfere with the race. You wanna throw beer on somebody? Throw beer on your friends at your local event. Or save it for a guy in an orange jumpsuit. Beyond that, if you don’t know the difference between a creative and funny heckle and a bald faced insult, keep for stupid mouth shut. It’s so painfully simple, yet clearly piles of people don’t get it.

Stevil is living proof that it takes true class to be a dirtbag.

Penultimately, I'd like to remind certain people that YES I'VE SEEN THE NAKED MIDRIFF PICTURE already:


While Stevil Kinevil may be the cycling world's heckling expert, when it comes to Colombia and partial nudity there is no greater authority than Klaus of Cycling Inquisition, who sums up the "controversy" thusly:

Their statement says that the team has been racing with this kit for nine months. It was designed by one of the team's riders, Angie Tatiana Rojas, and (as you might expect) appears more salacious in these photos due to shadows. The statement from the Cycling League of Bogota says, "this uniform was not designed with any malice whatsoever, and there was no intent in trying to objectify our athletes, or use them in such a manner for the sake of exposure for the sponsor." They also say that the kit was vetted and approved by the rider's teammates, though many assumed that the riders were being used, and objectified.

So there you go, and if you're worried about women being objectified then worry about the riders who participated in that Mario Cipollini "training camp:"


That was back in March of 2012, so the illegitimate children from that camp should be almost two years old now!

Time sure does fly.

Lastly, the California "three feet rule" has just gone into effect, so here's some safe passing porn:


You know who also gives three feet?  Here's a hint: he's oily, he's a former professional bike racer, and he's the father of fifteen illegitimate two year-olds.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Title: A Descriptive Or General Heading!

Stand up from your desk, café table, bus seat, or toilet and go to the nearest window.

Go ahead, I'll wait.

Now, open that window, uncover your genitals, and expose them to the outdoors.

So what do you feel?

The faint hint of autumn in the air, that's what!

(Unless you feel a sharp, concentrated burning sensation, in which case a wasp has just stung you on the penis or vulva.)

There was once a time when those first crisp suggestions of fall made me think of only one thing:

Cyclocross!

Sadly, cyclocross has reached "peak frat boy" now, and my patience for it has worn thin, like a pair of 10-year old Nashbar half-shorts.  Instead, I go "full Proust" around this time of year and allow the fall breezes to transport me all the way back to my school days.  It's all I can think about lately.  I remember walking to class wearing a leather motorcycle jacket and an off-brand Walkman, my cigarette and expression both smoldering as I dragged the heels of my 8th Street Doc Martens past the kosher pizzeria.

It feels like it was just yesterday, though in reality it was a full seven years ago, when I took that "How To Be A Bike Blogger" class at the Learning Annex.

Of course, all of that hard work eventually paid off, and I'm now internationally known--which I can prove, because according to my analytics someone in Canada accidentally clicked on my blog last week.  In fact, I'm so successful that I've become a selling point in Craigslist ads, as a Twitterer has informed me:


Here's a closer look (emphasis on the relevant portion mine):



52cm Bianchi Limited Shimano Nexus 3-speed Flat Bar Road Bike - $170 (West Madison)

Up for sale is a Bianchi that I've turned into a 3-speed. Frame is a 1981 (+/- a year or two) Bianchi Limited. 52cm seat tube, 54.5cm top tube, some sort of Tange Cro-moly tubing, Suntour GT dropouts, made in Japan, accepts 47-57mm brakes. 

Wheelset is a Shimano Nexus 3-speed coaster brake rear hub, alloy sealed front hub leaced to a set of nice looking brown rims. 

SR Apex crankset
Sakae TCO 26.8mm seatpost (Apparently belonged to BikesnobNYC at one point)
Selle San Marco Island Saddle
Ergon Grips
Promax Dual Pivot front brake

Bike has been built up by a professional bike mechanic

That's right: just imagine the thrill of owning a bicycle equipped with a seatpost that was once owned by you'rs truley, and knowing that a pair of vanadium seat rails and a centimeter of foam and vinyl were all that lay between it and my scranus.  (Well, except for the time I forgot to tighten the saddle rail clamp, at which point there was nothing lying between it and my scranus.  For two weeks after, I walked like I was wearing road bike shoes, even when I in sneakers.)

The only problem here is that it's completely untrue, and I have never owned this steatpost.  In fact, I have no idea what a "Sakae TCO" even is, though it sounds like something that you might knock back after shouting "Kampai!!!," or maybe a Japanese version of Teddy Pendergrass's "Love TKO."

So caveat emptor.  And remember, you should never, ever purchase a bicycle or component purportedly owned by me unless the seller can furnish you with a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity proving its provenance:


And if you're a seller, please note that I will happily sell you a bogus certificate in order to legitimize your endeavor.  Simply click here to purchase.  It doesn't even have to be for a bike part!  No reason someone wouldn't spend top dollar on a BikeSnobNYC-owned Cuisinart, right?

Right.

Speaking of Cuisinarts, here's one for your crotch that was spotted by a reader outside of a diner in Hondo, TX:


Either this person is expecting some serious trouble, or else that's a handbrake that also castrates you.

Whatever the case, it's no surprise the diner was forced to post this sign: 


After the fourth or fifth time a customer runs into your shop bleeding profusely from the crotch you stop taking legal responsibility.

Though is losing your "pants yabbies" to the knife you store underneath the nose of your saddle really an accident?

I guess that depends in part on whether or not you believe in "God," and when I did an Internet search for "Hondo, TX" here's the first thing it came up with:



This is a perfect example of "Good message, bad underlying concept."  Drive carefully?  Sure I can get behind that.  Do it because this is "God's Country?"  By that reasoning then I can speed up again as soon as I leave town because fuck those shitbags in Uvalde, right?


Though maybe I'm overthinking it--or else I'm underthinking it, which is sort of the same thing.

Another example of the "Good message, bad underlying concept" concept is this article which was forwarded to me by the author:


Basically it says that cars and bikes are different, and therefore it doesn't make sense to apply the same rules to drivers and cyclists.

I couldn't agree more.

However, for no reason at all he's got to add stuff like this:

The car drivers and I have that hatred in common. Just because I am riding a bike doesn’t mean I am nice. I wish I was the only one on the road too; no bikers primping in their skin-tight pants while they do their group rides and block the right lane, and none of those look-at-me bicycling parents with precious junior in that bike trailer they are dragging around. They bug me too, along with cars that buzz by me a foot from my elbow at 45 mph when no one else is on the road.

Speaking as someone who often rides in "skin-tight pants" or with a child (though, it should be noticed, never at the same time), guess what?  I don't want you to look at me.  What kind of nutcase rides around town thinking everyone else on a bike is trying to taunt him with their asses and children?  

The kind who thinks you should have a license to ride a bike, that's what:

Now that we have that out of the way, we can go back to hating one another (and maybe more so). Next we can determine if I should need a license to ride my bicycle on the roads. I’m all for that. But because we base our licenses on weight (more weight causes more road damage, which is why trucks pay more), let’s set a fair market license-for-bikes fee. Based upon me and my bike weighing about 250 pounds total, and a 4,000 pound passenger car charged $34.50 in Ohio per year, I figure my cost should be about $2 a year.

First, I think he's confusing "license" and "registration."  Second, I don't care if a license (or registration, or yellow badge, or whatever they want us to carry) costs two cents a year.  I'll move before I sell out my independence to The Man!


("The Man."  And by "sell out" I mean "give him money.")

But otherwise, yeah, the writer's right on with the red light thing.

Lastly, here's a Craigslist "Missed Connection" that can't fail:

u jogging..while.i bike - m4w - 35 (prospect park..)
age : 35

Seeing ur.georgs nokout...body.and..big..titees... While I bike. .tried to wink..at..u just so shy...u pull me out of bed make want to see u every day......just wish...I can feel u closer. ...love ur..muscle. .and..you're beautiful body. Please. Let's meet. .up

Makes Shakespeare's sonnets look like Ikea instructions.

Friday, September 12, 2014

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

So how psyched are you that it's Friday?

Please enter your response here:_______.

No obscenities please, this is a family blog.

JUST KIDDING!!!

Feel free to answer this way if you're so inclined:


Oh, also, we're well into September, so who's racing cyclocross this weekend?

Show of hands:


Okay, you can put them down now.  Good for you.  Have fun driving three hours, walking around a field for another five hours asking people in shants "Whatpressureyourunning?," riding your bike for 45 minutes, and driving another three hours home.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I like the cyclocross.  But you can't tell me that's not exactly what it is.

And spare me the whole "But there's beer!" routine.  Why is that so exciting?  What, you can't get beer at home?

Oh, so did anybody go to Interbike?  I finally found myself browsing some of the coverage recently, and for me this sums up the sad state of bottom bracket "standards" perfectly:


Tired of the perpetual bottom bracket creak on your PF86/92 or PF30-equipped frame? Wheels Manufacturing showed off a new thread-together bottom bracket design that might finally quiet things down.

The problem with frames using either of those bottom bracket designs is that the manufacturing tolerances are too wide for the press-fit cups to fit consistently tight. And while thread-together adapters such as from Praxis Works have been great for mounting Shimano, SRAM GXP, or FSA 24mm-diameter spindles into an oversized PF/BB30 or BB386EVO shell since they can be installed so securely into the frame, other combinations typically don't leave enough room for tool access.

Okay, so we've been told for years that bottom brackets weren't "beefy" enough:


Apparently, we were losing precious watts to our diminutive bottom bracket shells, and so salvation came in these PF/BB30-whatever things.  However, it turns out they suck, so apparently now the solution is to buy an adapter like the one above (I mean the Wheels Manufacturing thing, not the giant ass) and turn them all back into regular threaded bottom brackets.

Indeed, the PF30 bottom bracket shell is pretty much the only complaint I have about my Ritte von Finkelstein road riding bicycle cycle:


The adapter I've got in there works fine and is quiet, but it's a hassle to install and remove, and as far as I'm concerned the Hollowtech II thread-in bottom bracket cup system represents the highest point in bicycle engineering.

That's enough Fred talk for the day.

And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right that's fantastic, and if you're wrong it's tragic--though you'll be consoled by the deep, abiding love a Fred has for his bike.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and make sure you've got a philosophy.


--Wildcat Rock Machine



1) Order your Flying Rider now and get a free Bike Snob NYC hat!

--True
--False




2) What is this?

--The "CrankPump" hidden tire inflator
--The "Balls Out" bottom bracket bearing extractor
--The "One Hit Wonder" hidden marijuana vaporizer
--The "Ryder Hesjedal" electric motor assist





3) Tire levers are for "woosies."

--True
--False






4) What's the best type of rack system for carrying bikes with a motor vehicle?

--Roof rack
--Trunk rack
--Hitch rack
--ZZZzzz...





5) What is this?







("This say I not father of baby.  You please sign.")

6) Fill in the blank: The new time trial bike from Mario Cipollini is called the ____.

--"Bomb"
--"Nuke"
--"Duke"
--"Douche"





7) Finally!  A shoe that tells you how much you suck!

--True
--False




***Special "Well, There's That Problem Licked, Now Let's Move On To The Middle East"--Themed Bonus Video!***

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hanging In There: Undaunted or In Denial?

Here in New York City it's an overcast day both literally and metaphorically, so let's focus on the positive.

Remember the Flying Rider?



They said it was ridiculous.  They called it a rolling hernia truss.  They said it would never get off the ground.  (The bike, that is, not the rider.  The rider is clearly off the ground, hovering preternaturally like a seagull over a garbage scow.)

And when I say "they," I mean "me."

Well, that didn't stop the inventor, one David M. Schwartz, architect and living embodiment of the American Dream, who next took the Flying Rider project to Kickstarter in search of $28,888:



By the time his campaign was over, he had raised just over three hundred bucks.

The story might very well have ended there.  David M. Schwartz might have given up.  In search of solace, he might have turned to drink.  He might then have engaged in drunken street corner tirades against the all-powerful saddle and seatpost lobby who, threatened by his brilliant invention, clearly squelched it so that their wares would not immediately become obsolete:


("You make that bike and I'll chamfer you from bollocks to bunghole."--Eric "The Chamferer" Murray)

Well sure, a Canadian might have done all that stuff, but David M. Schwartz is an American, goddamn it!*  That's why I wasn't surprised to learn that he was undaunted by these setbacks.  That's also why, after reading his latest press release, I stood erect (as in on my feet, not the other way) and belted out the National Anthem at the top of my lungs.

*[Disclaimer: I have no idea whether or not David M. Schwartz is actually an American.]


Fair Oaks, CA.  D. M. Schwartz, inventor of the flying Rider bicycle, announced today that a limited edition of 100 carbon fiber bikes is under construction at Dynamic Composites in canada.  Each bicycle in this initial series will be signed by the builder, Al Beyer, and each end user will receive a copy of the patent personally dedicated by Schwartz.  Deliveries to dealers who order at the upcoming Las Vegas Interbike show will begin in September.  Retail prices are:

Complete bike, $4,770.  Frame only, no front fork, $2,462.

The design appeals to speed-oriented riders who will take advantage of increased leverage on the pedals, and riders who can't tolerate a bike seat will take advantage of the suspension frame.

I wonder where David M. Schwartz made his actual announcement, though I suspect he issued it from the toilet while gazing into a shaving mirror, because I know that's where I hold all my own "press conferences."  I was also surprised to learn that Mr. Schwartz had found a builder willing to put his name on that thing.  Most of all though, I was surprised to see this:


Yes, that's right, look a little closer and you'll see the Flying Rider model is wearing the greatest cycling cap ever made:


If you dedicate yourself wholly to your craft, day in and day out, year after year, striving for excellence with no thought of compensation or recompense, one day you might just be lucky enough to experience a single fleeting moment of validation, a cosmic tip-of-the-cap that makes it all seem worthwhile.

For me, this is emphatically not that moment--if anything, it makes me think I should quit right now--yet I blog on undaunted.

Meanwhile, speaking of indomitability, some scumbag in Brooklyn stole a bike with a kiddie seat on it:


And the owners of the bike are worried about him:

"The first thing we thought when it was stolen was, we hope the guy riding it around is all right. The brakes are kinda bad."

Okay, the thief is a complete lowlife and nobody deserves to have a bike stolen, but two things:

1) What the fuck happened to Brooklyn that people who live there now actually think this way?  If the guy who steals your bike crashes because the brakes failed, you just won the cosmic lottery!  I mean come on, that's life at its most beautiful!  Flowers blooming, a mother gazing lovingly at her child, and a thief screaming in terror as he speeds into busy intersection on a bike with no brakes.  These are the moments for which we live!

2) Why the hell are you riding your kid around on a bike with shitty brakes!?!

Also:

"It's the third bike we've had stolen from the exact same spot," Herwig says. "We've had two U-locks cut, and now this cable."

Uh, if someone cuts your lock you're supposed to get a stronger one, not the other way around.  Come on, you guys have a kid!  Haven't you ever read The Three Little Pigs?


Then again, this is Brooklyn, so there's probably a new book called the Three Little Artisans where the pigs start with brick but then move on to reclaimed wood and bamboo before finally joining the "small house movement:"


There's also no Big Bad Wolf in the story, because children shouldn't be exposed to the realities of meat-eating until their sophomore year at Bard.

Anyway, I think I'm going to disable the coaster brake on the State Saturday Deluxe and leave it unlocked on top of the steepest hill in the neighborhood:


I'm then going to write a children's book about it.  It will be called: SPLAT!  The Naughty Weasel Who Stole Bikes.

Lastly, speaking of no brakes, there's this:


Good to see there are people trying to keep the dying flame of dumbass fixery alive.