Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Taste the Wednesday!

Saturday, September 10th is the New York City Century:

And the good people at Transportation Alternatives who organize it would like you to know that the price goes up on Friday at midnight so you should register NOW:

Price increase alert!

There are only 3 more days to sign up ​for the NYC Century Bike Tour before registration prices go up, up, up. Secure your spot by midnight on Friday, August 26th to ​save big on registration for the best bike tour in New York City.

Now of course "midnight on Friday" is confusing because if it's Thursday night and the clock strikes midnight then it's technically now Friday at midnight, which would mean the price increase kicks in, yet most people probably think that "midnight on Friday" means when it's already Friday and then it turns midnight, even though that's technically Saturday at midnight.

So which is it?!?

Wel, I have no idea, and so you probably shouldn't take any chances and instead register on Wednesday at like 4pm-ish.

And don't forget that you get $5 off if you register with the discount code "2016BIKESNOB," as per the ad over there in the right-hand margin.

As for the ride itself, I recommend it, and I'm even thinking of joining this year.  (Last year you'll recall I merely settled for doing a "preview ride.")  The Century is generally billed as an "opportunity to ride 100 miles without leaving NYC," and while that may sound like a Flying Dutchman-esque nightmare it's easy to forget this is one big-ass city.  Therefore, this ride is a good opportunity to check out certain corners of town you might not otherwise visit.  Indeed, as per the email it's also going to take in some new terrain:

Take in NYC’s Most Epic Sights

For the first time ever on the NYC Century, you will get to experience riding...
Through seaside City Island
Over the new Bronx Connector from Randall’s Island 
Around the scenic Reservoir in Highland Park

I can vouch for City Island as an eminently worthwhile destination, though I'm ashamed to admit I haven't checked out the Randall's Island Bronx Connector yet, and I don't think I've ever checked out Highland Park, which lies deep in the no-Fred's-land between Brooklyn and Queens.

Oh, the ride also goes right through what is almost-but-not-quite literally my backyard, since I consider Van Cortlandt Park my backyard even though technically it's not:

Van Cortlandt Park: Did you know you can hike in New York? This park is the place, but you’ll get to take the Old Putnam Trail on two wheels.

For the low, low price of $50 I'm happy to furnish you with a detailed guide to what tire pressure you should run for this portion of the ride based on your physical dimensions and equipment details.

Best of all, you might even see a whale:

And of course, you’ll get to pedal through perennial favorite Floyd Bennett Field. See what “wide, open spaces” really means while you ride the open airstrips in New York’s first municipal airport (now decommissioned for you to explore) -- and Ft. Tilden / Jacob Riis Beaches, where thanks to cleaner ocean waters, whales and dolphins are now regularly spotted!

Regularly spotted, really?  I spent basically the first 40 years of my life in the general vicinity of this stretch of coastland and have never, ever seen either a whale or a dolphin, so either they've cleaned the shit out of it recently or this is simply not true.

That's not to take anything away from the area, which is one of my very most favoritest in the whole city, but just don't get your hopes up for seeing Flipper is all I'm saying.

So there.

Speaking of #whatpressureyourunning, I happened to read an article on the bikey Internets recently about a new cyclocross/gravel bike, which people keep insisting are two different things:

Otso™ Cycles officially launched today, lifting its media embargo after many months of planning and product development. The Minnesota-based Otso Cycles is a new bicycle company from the engineers at Wolf Tooth Components, and today the new company unveiled two innovative bikes in the form of its stainless steel, drop bar Warakin, and a carbon fat/plus bike in the form of its new Voytek hard tail. Naturally, we’re focusing most of our attention on the Warakin, and will be giving you a full test on the new bike in the near future.

Now I should start out by saying I wish Otso™ Cycles nothing but success with their new bike.  However, it's worth noting that we've officially reached a point where the gradations between different styles of drop-bar bikes are now smaller than those between different types of tires.  And this bike takes it to another level:

Otso’s description of the Warakin sounds exactly like like a Lycanthrope, but Warakin certainly rolls off the tongue easier. Regardless of the name, the shapeshifting bike can go from wolf to sheep with a quick change at the dropouts, allowing the bike to be optimized to carve up your hairpin-laden cyclocross course, and then your float through your gravel gran fondo the next day.

Sure, you could just change tires, but why stop there when you can also make imperceptibly subtle changes to your bike's geometry?

It's sort of sad that the cyclocross/gravel/whatever set has officially eclipsed roadies, mountain bikers, and even triathletes in anal retentiveness, and that your next off-road ramble will probably involve someone in your group saying, "Wait up everybody, I have to optimize my rear end!"

Though the fact of the matter is that nobody who buys one of these will ever adjust the dropouts because they'll soon discover it's hardly worth the effort, and indeed they'll completely forget about this feature until something starts creaking.

And never mind that this used to be a standard feature on road bikes that nobody misses unless they're looking to do a fixie coversion:

Meanwhile, in other news, an Uber driver beat up a cyclist and the NYPD couldn't be bothered to do anything about it:

There was nowhere to go, because the gutter was clogged with double-parked cars near Mr. PiƱa. The guy honked and I looked over my shoulder like, "Yo." At that time, I had no idea, but I left a slight [handlebar] residue on his window, which happens maybe one out of 25 times: I touch a car when I go between them. I think that's why he hopped out of the car, I think, but I'm not sure. He went wild on me.

Okay, I admit I don't know what "handlebar residue" is.  (Maybe she's running those new Cipollini bar ends?)  Nevertheless, I have no problem believing the driver flew into a rage because she touched his car, because nothing brings out people's inner psychotic like when you make contact with their precious motor vehicles.  It's the height of insanity that people believe they can operate and store giant multi-ton machines on public streets in the biggest city in America without somebody inadvertently touching them or--GASP!--scuffing them.  You're more likely to get away with touching a stranger's child than with touching their car.  (Though, and I can't stress this enough, please do not go touching people's children.)  Furthermore, I also have absolutely no problem believing that the cops discouraged her from filing a report:

James recounted that the cops acknowledged seeing the attack, and though pedestrians and the hack's two fares offered to serve as witnesses, the officers discouraged her from filing a police report.

After getting both side's stories, the cops purportedly told her that her schedule is probably too busy for her to attend the necessary court dates, and that prosecutors would be likely to drop an assault charge to harassment anyway. One privately tried to explain away the cabbie's behavior, saying, "The guy had a bad day," and adding that his father was a cab driver who "used to beat people up all the time."

Unfortunately the article does not identify the cops by name, but given the personal details one of them revealed I'd start by asking around for an Officer Bickle.

(Dear Ol' Dad)

Lastly, Heath Evans's Wikipedia page has proven to be as mercurial as an abusive taxi driver, for yesterday it looked like this:

But alas today it looks like this:

I was sorry to see the bit about running over cyclists was removed, but you'll notice it also no longer mentions his Christianity.  From this I can only conclude he's now renounced his faith, and arguably that's an even bigger victory than teaching him to respect cyclists.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Today's post will be short but sweet, or at least short.

First of all, I'm sorry to report I performed dismally on the New York Times's "Do you speak Australian?" quiz:

In my defense, not only were there no helmet-related questions, but also every single phrase sounded like either a sex act or a slang term for the genitals:

I mean come on.

Secondly, meet Shoka:

Shoka is not an Australian slang term for the genitals.  Soka is of course the world's first handlebar-mounted smart cheese grater:

Or maybe it's a bell, I can't be sure.

Either way, like every other "smart" device for bicycles (smart helmets, smart locks, smart lights, etc., yada yada, and so forth), it has lots of functions in addition to the one (1) you actually need it to perform.  Furthermore, in addition to all of these auxiliary features being highly unnecessary, it's extremely unlikely that any of them will actually work:

(Disclaimer: I may have added some of these features.)

Indeed, even the bell function doesn't work, because instead of emitting the pleasant metallic chime recognizable the world over as the sound of an oncoming cyclist, it instead makes your bicycle sound like R2-D2 for some reason:

These aren't the Freds you're looking for.

Anyway, I have no doubt this ingeniously ambiguous gizmo is going to make its inventor, about whose name there is nothing even remotely funny or suggestive, so you shouldn't laugh at it, an extremely rich man:

By the way, check out Daniel Falus's huge lock:

Hey, it's a really big lock, that's all I'm saying.

Lastly, further to yesterday's post, the San Diego PD clearly knows a good social media opportunity when they see one:
And for one glorious yet fleeting moment, Heath Evans's Wikipedia entry was delightfully accurate:

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Monday, August 22, 2016

I'm back, and as usual everything went to hell while I was gone.

Imagine a world without sports.

Sure, without sports we wouldn't have watery beer, stadium boondoggles, or sweatpants as casual wear.  Then again, we might also have fewer media outlets for people like this guy, who wants to hit cyclists with his car:
Bicycle riders you do not own the road! Respectfully, Heath (I wanna hit you w/ my car) Evans.


As a dedicated non-fan of the NFL and ball sports in general (pocket pool excluded) I didn't know who Heath Evans was, so I looked him up on a popular user-edited online encyclopedia:

Evans is well known for his Christianity...


I also checked his Twitter bio:

10 Yr NFL Veteran & Analyst for @NFLNETWORK Don't dish it if you can't take it! 

Alas, I guess he dished it out but he couldn't take it, because he subsequently deleted his tweet and issued something that bears the same relationship to an apology as his shriveled 'roid nuts do to actual testicles:

Oh please.  You didn't mean to offend anybody when you said you wanted to hit them with your car the same way I don't want you to experience any pain when someone dressed as Jesus shoves a football up your ass.

Speaking of Jesus, what indignity could possibly have prompted his murderous outburst?  Yep, you guessed it, he had to slow down for some cyclists while driving once:

I'm not a Bible scholar so perhaps noted Christian heath Evans can remind me: Which is the gospel where Jesus gets really angry because some slow-moving lepers are holding up his donkey ride into Jerusalem?

It also shouldn't surprise you to learn that between his initial tweet and his retraction he explained that he thought that cyclists belong on the sidewalk:

You know, because it's safer for EVERYONE:

I realize this guy's probably taken many blows to the head over the years, but does he really think that would work out well for pedestrians?

Actually, it looks like he lives in Florida, so he's probably never even seen a pedestrian.

Speaking of "sports analysts," check out this she-bro driving in the bike lane:

She really should just drive on the sidewalk, that would be safer for EVERYONE.

By the way, this is someone who writes for Sports Illustrated.  SPORTS FUCKING ILLUSTRATED!  How does that even still exist in 2016?  The entire enterprise is entirely subsidized by an annual softcore porn issue for the rapidly diminishing number of horny teenagers and old men who still don't have Internet access:

But sure, why shouldn't she get to drive in the bike lane so she can crank out the filler they publish the rest of the year?

Lastly, for my fellow New Yorkers, here's your regular reminder that you're on your own:

Thanks to a civil suit filed by the family, information surfaced that NYPD never collected in its crash investigation. In her deposition, Venedam said she had gotten off the highway to call a friend and check her location on Google Maps, which remained open in her passenger seat as she merged back onto the highway.

The lawyer for Brenner’s estate, Daniel Flanzig, told DNA that this information was critical to Judge Regina Rinaldi’s decision and blasted NYPD for its “completely insufficient” investigation.

It's great to be back.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

This Just In: I'll See Ya When I See Ya!

Before we go any further, let's gather around the conference table and do some scheduling:

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016: I'm out, no post!
Thursday, August 18th, 2016: I'm out, no post!
Friday, August 19th, 2016: I'm out, no post!
Saturday, August 20th, 2016: It's the weekend, get a life!
Sunday, August 21st, 2016: (See Saturday, Augusts 20th)
Monday, August 22nd, 2016: I'm back, post!

So there you have it.

You can also expect me to vanish again sometime before Labo(u)r Day, but we'll bridge that cross when we come to it.

Meeting adjourned.

Moving on, some guy running for Supervisor in San Francisco wants mandatory bicycle licensing, and he's written the world's dumbest editorial to explain why:

(This person has a Subaru and a dumbass hybrid, so he deserves to be taken seriously.)

Bicyclists in San Francisco should have to register their bike, obtain a license and carry a minimum amount of liability insurance — the same requirements for driving a car.

Sure, that makes sense.  Bicycles weigh thousands of pounds and cause tremendous wear and tear on our infrastructure and environment.  They also travel at speeds well in excess of 50mph and are often used to carry multiple passengers, so naturally riders should receive standardized training and carry liability insurance.  And of course bicycle crashes result in over 30,000 deaths every year in the United States alone, not to mention large-scale property damage like this:

Oh, wait, sorry.  I was thinking about cars.  Bikes are the innocuous human-powered machines that are completely benign, right?  It's so easy to get confused.

But it's not really about any of that.  It's about cyclists having to "put some skin in the game:"

We have one set of roads long dominated by automobiles. But as a growing number of bicycle commuters assert political power to get their own lanes, they need to put some skin in the game. If cars and bikes are going to share city roads — which is where the future is headed — the responsibility for safe co-existence should also be shared.

Wow.  Them's fighting words.  I'd say cyclists have plenty of skin in the game--you know, the skin we leave on the street when the morons pictured above hit us, you fucking moron.

But like most bicycle licensing advocates his main concern is that we help make the poor, persecuted motorists feel better, because, you know, it's not fair that they should have to go through all the trouble of getting a driver's license when the cyclists don't have to:

Mandatory registration, license and insurance could ease ongoing resentments between cyclists and motorists. Cyclists will get more protection while motorists will be glad they aren’t alone in being held accountable on the road.

Whoa.  Where's this accountability he's talking about?  Licenses and insurance are pretty much designed to eliminate all motorist accountability, and they've done a great job.  After all, as long as you've got a valid license and some insurance and aren't drunk you can pretty much run over and kill anybody you damn well please.  In fact, here in New York City you don't even need the license most of the time.

And what other completely unnecessary inconveniences should cyclists be forced to deal with just because drivers have to do them?  Should we be legally required to buy a certain amount of gasoline a month?  Do we need to start feeding the meters?  How about smog inspections?

Drivers fly into a rage when they have to slow down for even a moment because there's a cyclist ahead, but I'm sure the knowledge that the cyclist is licensed will restore the drivers' patience and end their maniacal sense of entitlement once and for all.

I'll get a bicycle license to make a driver feel better when that driver has to get a pilot's license and be trained to operate a 747.

By the way, if you're waiting for the "Some of my best friends are _____" part, here it is:

Before protesters on bikes jeer at me for suggesting this idea, they should know I’m pro-bike. I even rode my bike 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles for charity. I share a car with my husband but mostly take public transportation and walk — and we live on the westside, in the “suburban” part of town near Stonestown Mall where cars and parking spaces are still abundant.

Okay, that makes sense: you're automatically not anti-something if you once did something for a charity.  So if I make a donation to Dachshund Rescue of North America does that mean I get to fire a wiener dog out of a cannon, is that how it works?

Good to know.

("Get ready to get airborne, Wilhelm!")

And as for the insurance, he's only looking out for our interests:

Currently, bicyclists experience a lot more risk than well-insured car drivers. Seaman recently hit a car door that had opened into a bike lane he was riding in. His injury required 34 sessions of physical therapy. His bike had substantial damage. Yet his auto and home insurance didn’t cover his bike accident (not all policies do). He was on the hook for thousands of dollars in expenses.

Uh, he didn't "hit a car door."  That's not how it works.  The driver hit him with a car door.  Saying a cyclist "hit a car door" is like saying an assault victim walked into a baseball bat.  It's clearly the driver's fault, and and the driver's insurance should pay.  If it didn't, something's fucked up, and it's not that cyclists aren't carrying their own insurance policies.


Anyway, now that you have your bicycling license, are you bewildered by all the different styles of bicycle available to the 21st century consumer?  Are you unsure as to whether you need a cargo bike, or a fat bike, or a folding bike, or an e-bike?  Well, no, of course you're not.  Nevertheless, you no longer have to grapple with this nonexistent dilemma, because you can now buy a bike that is all of those things--and more!  Yes, meet the RadMini electric folding fat bike:

As far as I can tell, the target market for this bicycle is yachting enthusiasts in hilly cities who own small dogs:

So if this describes you then you'll want to give this bicycle a serious look.

This could also be the ideal bicycle for the Olympic Games mountain bike course, which appears to have caught fire:

"The UCI is aware that there was a fire this afternoon in the vicinity of the Rio 2016 mountain bike course," it said in a statement. "It is understood the fire is now under control. Assessment of any potential impact on the mountain bike course will be made [on Tuesday]."

Why is this even a problem?  Why not make it a course feature?  It seems to me this is just the sort of excitement the Olympic mountain bike race needs:

I know I'd watch.

And with that, I'm gone.  I'll see you back here on Monday, August 22nd, and in the meantime I'm sure we'll all be working on your bicycle licensing test.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sharing is Caring, Driving is Conniving

So there I was on Friday afternoon, clawing my way out of a ditch in the punishing heat:

Well okay, it wasn't exactly a ditch, but it felt like it.  Anyway, I made it up and over, and before long I attained the reservoir.  The spillway was dry:

Usually it looks like this:

I don't know if this is normal for this time of year, and it sure seems like we've had plenty of rain, so I can only assume it's been so hot we've drunk the water supply down to below the rim.

After admiring the view for a bit I dropped into the nearest town for some lunch, and because it was so damn hot I said "Fuck it" and caught a train back to the Bronx instead of riding because I no longer have anything to prove and trains have air conditioning.

My multimodalism continued into Saturday morning, when my eldest son and heir to all my vast landholdings according to the rules of primogeniture and I took our bikes onto the subway and headed downtown for Summer Streets, which is this thing where they close Park Avenue and you can ride (or walk, or run, or unicycle, or skateboard, or Rollerblade, I saw them all) up and down Manhattan unmolested by drivers:

My son acquitted himself very well, and he spent most of the ride making fun of my tiny wheels:

This was our first Summer Streets and we quite enjoyed it:

Even though we couldn't ride the gigantic water slide because we hadn't pre-registered:

"Pre-register?!?  What is this, a friggin' cyclocross race?," I wanted to shout at the VitaCoco representative guarding to the entrance to this gigantic inflatable product placement.  I then tried to get my son to work up some tears so I could explain to the representative that she'd just ruined his whole day, but he didn't really give a shit, and frankly neither did I because I'm sure the thing is rife with waterborne diseases which is why they make you sign a waiver first.

So we remounted and headed back uptown.  By this time it was like a billion degrees American, and so at Union Square we said "Fuck it" and ducked into the subway.

In all it was a very pleasant (if uncomfortably hot) morning.  It's also worth noting that New York City cyclists get a lot of crap for salmoning and all the rest of it, but as it it turns out we're all quite civil when we're not under constant attack by drivers.

Go figure.

Indeed, it's hard not to leave Summer Streets without thinking that allowing cars into Manhattan at all is fucking crazy.

Then there was the well-meaning volunteer who took a look at my sweaty, balding, helmetless pate and informed me that the DOT was giving out free helmets.  The idea that I needed safety gear to ride a Brompton at 6mph on a street completely free of motor vehicles was of course patently absurd, but she was so earnest I simply couldn't muster up much in the way of indignity.  I wonder if she also solicited this rider, who was wearing full Lycra on a Linus:

Anyway, in addition to Summer Streets, the DOT is now also doing something they optimistically call "Shared Streets:"

NYC DOT is excited to launch this new public space initiative! Pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicles will share the historic streets of Lower Manhattan and motorists are encouraged to drive 5 mph.

Though I bet you'll never guess which road users don't understand the concept of sharing:

The Department of Transportation tested out its Shared Streets program yesterday, designating a 60-block area of the Financial District to be a 5 MPH zone for all vehicles, with pedestrians and cyclists encouraged to join them on the asphalt. And while there were certainly some pleasant moments throughout the afternoon, it was unsurprising that for the most part drivers refused to play along.

On busy Maiden Lane, for example, despite having just passed through the NYPD-manned barricades with big speed limit signs, most cars cruised by at regular speed, forcing pedestrians to stick to the sidewalk. For the most part drivers seemed frustrated (one yelling "get the hell outta the street"), confused, or simply annoyed.

Sounds about right.  In fact, if you read the comments on the above-linked article, the photographer had this to say about the driver in the picture:

He instantly went into full rage after I told him why I was in the street! Screaming GO FUCK YOUR MOTHER!!

Of course he did.

Alas, it's clear we need to ban all cars from Manhattan and force anybody who insists on driving to ride a suitcase instead:

Next time you’re trudging through an airport dragging a suitcase, just imagine you could pull some handlebars out of that bag, sit on it and zoom to your gate at 5 miles an hour.

That is the plan for Modobag, a Chicago startup that has spent two years developing a $1,500 rideable suitcase, even though some airports say they won’t be allowed. Three weeks into an Indiegogo online campaign that offers the bags at a discounted price of $995, the company has found nearly 300 backers who have committed more than $280,000, nearly six times Modobag’s original goal.

What?  No helmets???

Now that's more like it.

Friday, August 12, 2016

BSNYC Friday No Quiz AGAIN Instead Let's Citi Bike!!!

In my efforts to scour every inch of this great metropolis by bike share (well, at least the gentrified parts, since that's where all the bike share stations are) so far I have been attacked by zombies wearing underpants:

By the way, here are the stats on this leg for all my fellow Cat 6-es out there:

I'm talking to Citi Bike about adding power output information to the account summary section of their website and I'll let you know how all that goes.

Oh, and if you're wondering #whatpressureyourunning, if you've ever ridden a Citi Bike you know the answer to that is ROCK FUCKIN' HARD.

Anyway, enjoy, ride safe this weekend, and I'll see you all back here next week for more truly transcendent bicycle-themed web-logging.

Your's ect.,

--Wildcat Rock Machine