Friday, November 20, 2015

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz And I'm Outta Here, Suckers!

This coming Thursday, November 26th, is American Thanksgiving:

(Religious fanaticism and genocide is fun for the whole family!)

"So what is this having to do with me?," you ask from some socialist utopia that isn't America while a doctor tends to your wounds for free.

Well, what it means is that I'll be sticking my face into a turkey immediately following this post, and I won't be taking it out again until Monday, November 30th, at which point I will resume regular updates.

Yep, I'm taking the week off, and I advise you do the same.

You can thank me later when you're lying on the beach drinking oversized novelty cocktails, or else even later than that when the money runs out and you're destitute.

Meanwhile, if you ride a bike in New York City, you may be surprised to learn that the greatest danger you face is from other cyclists:

Though you're right to be surprised, because it's a load of fucking bullshit.

Apparently the headline refers to a bit of advice the author received from this guy:

For this trip, I went with my friend Joseph Phelan, a progressive media activist who was once a bike messenger in the city. Joseph has the cuffed pants, full sleeve tattoos and skinny tires of a real bike commuter.  He is my biking spirit animal. But the real challenge in the ride came later, when I biked back on my own.

Yeah, I think that's pretty much the opposite of a real bike commuter, especially the "skinny tires" part.

Anyway, in addition to telling the author that cyclists are more dangerous than motorists, he also gives here the world's shittiest cobblestone advice:

Basically from Christopher to 14th, whatever route we were taking seemed 70 percent cobblestone. Joseph said something about standing up, biking with my ass off my seat. 

“You get more control that way and it’s easier on your body,” he explained. I tried it and almost fell over. Again, not a real “bike commuter.”


Who the hell is this Joseph Phelan?  Skinny tires?  Standing while riding over cobblestones?!?  Of course she almost fell over!

This guy may hate salmon, but his advice is completely backwards.

He's basically salmoning logistically.

No wonder this city's in such a state, it's the cuffed-panted and tattooed leading the blind out there.

Speaking of the actual greatest danger to cyclists (and pedestrians, and themselves) in New York City, here's what it takes to get in trouble for killing someone with your car here:

UPPER WEST SIDE — The driver who fatally struck a local mother last year on West End Avenue had hit and injured three other pedestrians earlier in the year in separate incidents — including a hit-and-run involving a 13-year-old boy in Queens, authorities said.

Yes, incredibly this idiot was still on the road after already hitting three other people that same year--though apparently the Assistant DA thinks it's reasonable to assume an idiot of this magnitude would stop driving out of a sense of enlightened civic responsibility:

Those crashes "prove that he knows (or should know) that he is a bad driver," according to a trial motion submitted by Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Michael Pasinkoff, who prosecuted Mercado.

.Shouldn't the DMV know this guy's a bad driver and take away his goddamn license?!?

What a fucking disaster.

It's enough to drive you into the woods, though it's dangerous there too.  For example, remember this guy?  You know, the fearless Yonkers deer who practically dared me to get closer to him or else?

Well, I couldn't help thinking of that horse video I wrote about the other day--and specifically about how we're apparently supposed to kiss their giant timid easily-startled asses if we come across them while mountain biking:

("Hallo!  Please, I beseech you to proceed, for you are astride the noble equine, and I am merely a lowly fat biker.")

Well, next it occurred to me that if these horses are so goddamn anxious, and Yonkers deer have nerves of steel and are all like, "You want some of this?  I'll give your ass a twist of Lyme, bike boy," then maybe cross-breeding the two would at least make the horses less skittish:

By the way, I am deeply freaked out by that horse's different-color David Bowie eyes.

See?  One's all like this:

And the other one's all like this:


Lastly, the only thing Americans have more contempt for than bikes are the poor people who live under our highway system, which is why the only time bikes are used to represent truth and justice is in news reports like this:

I guess we're supposed to feel vindicated, but I mostly just felt depressed.

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 you'll whinny and neigh, and if you're wrong you'll see some sweet stunt riding.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and keep your voice down because you don't want to SCARE THE HORSES!!!

See you back here on Monday, November 30th.


--Wildcat Rock Machine

1) At the opening of London's first bicycle superhighway, mayor Boris Johnson was given:

--A Team Sky Pinarello
--A lesson in how to put on a helme(n)t
--A major award
--The finger

2) Which is not one of the Citi Bike rules?

--Yield to pedestrians
--Stay off the sidewalk
--Obey traffic lights
--Pull off into the wind

3) The Everysight Raptor cyclist smartglasses are marketed by a company that also makes:

--Fighter jet and rotary wing helmet-mounted display systems
--Integrated circuits as well as displays for smart phones and other consumer electronics
--Visual effects on live action films
--Groucho glasses, X-Ray Specs, and other hilarious novelty items

4) This lock solves which nonexistent problem?

--It shortens the process of locking your bike from two seconds to slightly under two seconds
--It requires a fingerprint for some reason
--It works like one of those arcade claw machines, which are never annoying
--All of the above

5) What is the purported advantage of the Proval chainring?

--It simplifies the process of front derailleur adjustment
--It keeps you from dropping your chain
--It prevents your pant leg from getting caught in your drivetrain
--It takes your load better

6) What's the purpose of Mario Cipollini's plunging neckline?

--It eliminates the problem of food and wine stains
--It allows him to remove his shirt at parties without messing up his hair
--Easier breastfeeding
--All of the above

7) Cat 6-ing a subway train is a great way to make a love connection.


***Special "Radball Is For The Children"--Themed Bonus Video!***

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Test-Cycle Chronicles Part II: The Indignity Of Riding Mountain Bikes While Other People Are Doing Actual Work

As you know, I am currently in possession of a Marin Pine Mountain 1 all terrain-style bicycle:

As a semi-professional bike blogger, I take my semi-vocation semi-seriously, and part of that involves subjecting bicycles to semi-rigorous testing.  For example, last week I rode the Marin Pine Mountain 1 in the woods for a few hours.  Then I drank beer.

A lesser blogger might have left it at that, but I'm ever so slightly better then they are.  I'm also perfectly comfortable ignoring emails with subject lines like "WE NEED THE BIKE BACK NOW," and so yesterday I resumed the testing by riding it again:

Somebody has to do it.

Even though I have the use of a luxurious motor vehicle with both a bike rack and a bank lien on it, I prefer to ride to the trail, which is pretty convenient from my little corner of the city.  There are a few ways to go about this depending on whether or not you want to ride on some dirt along the way, but the fastest route is maybe eight or nine miles, mostly on a paved multi-use path:

Now if you'll forgive me for a moment, I'm going to share a real estate tip, so if you're not a New Yorker you might want to skip this paragraph as it won't mean anything to you.  However, if you love to ride bikes recreationally yet you insist on living in New York City for whatever reason, the Northwest Bronx is probably the best spot you could possibly choose.  You can hit pretty much any type of riding you want inside of an hour, and if you're into that (apparently) oh-so-trendy multimodal thing you've got easy access to the Metro North.  Plus, unlike Brooklyn and increasingly Queens (not to mention the suburbs), you can probably still afford to live here.

Now you know.

Anyway, given my proclivity towards riding to the ride, I like mountain bikes that aren't too onerous on the road.  Before taking delivery of the Marin I was worried that the "plus"-sized tires might suck in this capacity.  And while yes, it does suck to ride 3.0 tires or whatever they are on pavement for multiple miles, it sucks no more than it does on any of my other mountain bikes, so if you have similar concerns then you don't need to avoid the "plus"-size tire thing on that basis.

The trails I usually ride sit on a ridge, which you've first got to climb:

The multi-use path takes you near the trails but not directly to them, which means you've got to put in a final mile or two of road time--and yes I'm riding on the sidewalk, because drivers treat this road like a highway, and you're about as likely to encounter a zebra here as you are a pedestrian, which means you're not bothering anybody.

So fuck that.

Once you're at the top, all that lies between you and the trails is a chainlink fence:

It's tough to see, but there were a bunch of wild turkeys running around in there:

They were about to be joined by one more.

Opening the gate, I let myself in, and then promptly "marked my territory" if you know what I mean:

If you don't know what I mean, what I'm saying is I urinated.

Gotta let those turkeys know who wears the "jorts" around here.

And yes, I was totally wearing jorts:

With almost ten miles of sluggish spinning in my pallid, stubbly legs I was ready to tear up the trails like a city employee tears up a parking ticket:

Then I realized I'm a giant "woosie" on the wrong side of 40, and so instead I rode sensibly and within my modest abilities.

As I mentioned, this part sits on a ridge.  In fact, the geography of the entire area is defined by ridges, which means there are lots of roots and rocky outcroppings, as well as plenty of short, steep climbs:

The reason I wanted to try the Pine Mountain 1 is that I figured a rigid bike with wide gearing and wider tires would work well for this sort of terrain, and of course I was exactly right, because I'm awesome.  It climbs very well, it's got great traction on leaves (of which, as you can see, there are many right now), and and it also rolls right over this sort of thing very easily:

"So what?  I'm an awesome mountain biker who lives in [insert cultural backwater near wilderness area here].  I could ride that on my road bike."

Good for you.  You're good at mountain biking, I live in a city that will eat you alive.  If the contest is life then I'm still winning.

As far as the plus-sized tires, I'm obviously new to them, so on my last ride I kept gradually lowering the pressure until I figured out where it needed to be:

Therefore, on this ride I had it more or less exactly right from the beginning, and thus freed from the distraction of the stop-and-futz I was better able to appreciate them:

When I ride a mountain bike that shifts it's this one:

I appreciate the suspension fork until it begins to annoy me, which it invariably does after awhile, because while I appreciate smoothness I am at heart a rigid bike person.  It suits my uptight personality.  So I end up going back and forth between rigid and bouncy by switching the fork from time to time:

It's like when you're in an unheated swimming pool and it feels really good, but then you jump into the hot tub and you're like "Aaahhh...!," but then it's too hot after awhile so you jump back into that cold pool and it's delightfully bracing, but that makes you crave the hot tub again, and so you keep going back and forth until you either pass out or become infertile.

If that makes any sense to you (which if you're sane it almost certainly doesn't) then you know how I feel about suspension forks.

Anyway, it's only been two rides on the Marin so far, but I suspect the plus-sized tire thing may be the perfect alternative to this "problem," since it smooths things out considerably while still riding like a rigid bike.  In other words, I think I like it better than my hardtail.

By the way, if you want me to be more critical of this bike, deal with it:

I've got seventeen (17) kids, limited time, and a basement full of bikes that need to be ridden, so if I thought the bike would suck I wouldn't have bothered with it.  But I didn't, and it doesn't.

Yes, at this point in my cycling life I'm as unflappable as a Yonkers deer:

I always thought deer were supposed to be timid, but these deer display no fear of humans whatsoever:

Anyway, after I'd "shredded" (cut carefully with safety scissors is more like it), I took a little rest:

(Pallid Fredly sat on a wall, Pallid Fredly had a great fall...)

And headed back to the gate, which is a portal into a magical world of unbridled consumerism:


Not only is it already Christmas here:

But it has been for like weeks now.

There was even Christmas music playing over the PA.

Part of me finds it disgusting, but part of me wants to move into the Shrek Holiday Hut and take all my meals at the Cheesecake Factory:

But instead I went to a popular overpriced supermarket chain:

You'd think they'd enhance their smug corporate image with some bike racks, but this is Yonkers so I guess they figured "fuck that:"

Anyway, it's hard to imagine too many people climbing up here in the first place, semi-pro bike bloggers excluded.

Once inside, I purchased baby formula and broccoli, as well as treated myself to an artisanally corporate taco repast:

It's important to buy the fancy baby formula because the other stuff's made from ground-up cat bones.

Hey, the kid's got me as a father, he doesn't need any more strikes against him.

Sadly I'd brought my tiniest backpack, which meant I had to purchase a bag in which to "portage" the formula, meaning the total bill came to around $246:

Though it was worth it for the gratification of explaining to the checker that no, I did NOT need my parking validated, for I did not come here in a car thankyouverymuch:

("Yeah, but you still have one, so...")

Once I'd lunched, getting home was merely a matter of spinning along this for awhile:

Until I reached the New York City line, where the paved path simply ends and you're on your own:

Abandon hope all ye etc. etc.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's Wednesday and we're off to the races!

Are you ready to feel the adrenaline-charged excitement of a searing twilight Cat 6 Citi Bike run across the Manhattan Bridge?


Then let's begin.

Brooklyn side.  Something o'clock.  In the distance the sun is going down on New Jersey like an intern on Chris Christie.  I mount the Manhattan Bridge bike lane and put the Citi Bike's balky shifter into spin mode like I'm firing up a load of laundry:

On my right the lights of the city twinkle.  In the distance are the billionaires of Manhattan, in the foreground are the multi-millionaires of Brooklyn:

Beneath me, the schlubs of Staten Island sit in traffic on the BQE:

And on my left a subway train rumbles by:

The B train isn't the only thing here to rumble though, because so am I!  It's rush hour on the Manhattan Bridge, baby, one of New York City's definitive Cat 6 proving grounds.  See that light in the distance?

It grows larger and larger and then PYEAOW! (that's a laser beam sound, not a dying cat), it blasts by me at supersonic speed, so fast it blows back the thinning hair on my flagrantly helme(n)tless head:

I'm settling into a rhythm now, but already the attacks are coming faster than Cipollini at training camp:

I let the attacker go, but another rider is right on his wheel:

And moments later they're both pursued by an ebike:

As we race towards Manhattan, other riders race away from it, and here the action is stopped by a wayward pedestrian:

I pass the bottleneck and assume an aero tuck:

So aggressively low I can practically lick the Citi Bike's cockpit:

So I do, in profound act of communion with my steed.

As I descend I recite the Citi Biker's Creed:

Yield to pedestrians
Stay off the sidewalk
Obey traffic lights
Ride with traffic

As I approach Manhattan I scrub off some speed lest I break the sound barrier:

I'm tempted to high-five a fellow Citi Biker, but at these speeds we're liable to tear our arms right out of each-other's shoulders:

Alighting onto the island of Manhattan is to land on sort of a Cloud City in which everyone is a giant douchebag:

And the Brooklyn-bound salvos are relentless.  In fact there's an attacking rider right in the middle of my lane:

Though I'm on a bike that weighs 50lbs, so I turn my face to the darkening sky and laugh maniacally:

No surprise who won that face-off:

Indeed, the Citi Bike is increasingly the Cat 6 race bike of choice, and this crew appears to have cleared out a whole station:

They're strung out like the last days of Pantani:

Deftly I maneuver the highly flickable Citi Bike through the construction area:

And arrive at the finishing bollards triumphant over absolutely nobody:

Though I do look resplendent in my Inspector Gadget jacket and Rivendell purse:

A lone dork beneath the moonlight:

Say what you will about New York City (I recommend "It's a fucking dump"), but there's no shortage of cycling excitement.  We've even got mountain bike trails, and while they may take awhile to get to, at least we don't usually have to share them with horses--though if you do you might want to watch this helpful video:

Wow, horses sure are a pain in the ass!  If you don't have time to watch the video, allow me to summarize proper protocol when you encounter a horse on the trial:

1) Mail a certified letter to your local stable or equestrian group postmarked at least 10 days prior to the encounter informing them of you ride plans;

2) On the day of the ride, dress appropriately.  Remember: horses are frightened by bright colors, subtle colors, jarring patterns, monochrome, short sleeves, long sleeves, knee socks, ankle socks, and the horrific "whooshing" sound emitted by certain windbreakers.  Therefore, dress as one of the very few things that doesn't frighten horses, such as a tree or feedbag;

3) The equine relies heavily on its sense of smell, and the pungent mélange of armpit and crotch emitted by the typical mountain biker may cause a horse to bolt.  Horse manure can go a long way towards masking your aroma, so be sure to stop and smear yourself with it whenever you encounter a pile on the trail--which should be incredibly often since horses are basically gigantic anxiety-ridden shit dispensers;

4) Give horses plenty of warning when you're approaching--but not too much warning, or else you'll frighten the horse.  Strive instead for insistent trepidation, like a 10-year old waking a hungover parent for a ride to school.

5) Horses are frightened by loud noise and rapid movement, as well as by silence and stillness.  When passing, come to a gradual stop, dismount, lay your bicycle down, and drop your pants.  Spreading your buttocks, rhythmically purse and relax your anus in the universal sign of equine submission.  This will show the horse you mean it no harm.  Continue the gesture until the horse has safely passed.  If horse attempts to mount you instead, remain calm until completion.

6) Share the trail and have fun!

Imagine my surprise when I took the kids to see "Equus."  I just assumed it was an animal-themed musical like "Cats," only with horses instead of felines.  Boy was I wrong.

I mean sure, they loved it, but still.

Also, word to the wise, "Oedipus Rex" is not about dinosaurs.  Don't ask me how I know.

Lastly, the cycling media's fascination with "smartglasses" continues:

Everysight is spun out of a defense technology company in Israel that works with fighter jet and rotary wing helmet-mounted display systems. Utilizing Everysight’s Beam technology, the Raptor’s lenses serve as an augmented display, meaning that computer-generated input or graphics are added to the real-world view through the lenses. This allows you to see the road, cars, and your surroundings clearly, just with some data and digital information also included in your field of vision.

Hey, I admit it, I do love bike stuff made by Israeli defense contractors:

Though judging from the stills it appears they have some work to do:

For one thing, I want a lot more information when I'm out on the trail:

They're like horse blinders for people!