Friday, May 15, 2015

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz And Hiatus Announcement!

Before anything else, we've got some scheduling business to attend to, so everybody take out your calendars and your crayons:


Please note that after today I'll be gone (from this blog, anyway) until Tuesday, May 26th, at which point I will resume regular updates.

Oh, relax.  You'll manage.

By the way, while all the letters on that Hello Kitty calendar look somewhat obscene (I think it's the little hairs), I probably should have censored that "A" because it's particularly suggestive:


Then again, I may just be particularly suggestible.

Anyway, when I decided to become a semi-professional bike blogger I clearly went into the wrong business.  Sure, I've got a cushy contract with myself that allows me to take time off whenever I need it, but I've got nothing on this guy who takes Freds riding around New York City for money:


This is a lucrative niche, because everybody knows Freds get incredibly antsy when they don't have ready access to plastic bikes, electronic gadgetry, and sickly-sweet boutique energy fuel:

He found early success by making riding easy for visitors. Customers can go to his website and choose from six routes based on their fitness and available time. After they add their frame measurements and book a time, Phillips shows up at their hotel lobby with a bike and leads them on their selected rides so they don't have to worry about missing a turn or getting lost. 

Phillips uses a fleet of BMC bikes and provides helmets from Giro. Customers also can choose Look Keo, Shimano Dura Ace, or Speedplay pedals; recieve a Garmin 800 to use; and the bikes even come with bottles filled with Skratch labs.

This is a great service for people who would rather dork out on a loaner bike in New Jersey than spend time experiencing one of the greatest cities in the world with the person to whom they made a lifelong vow:

Last August he launched The Domestique and has been catering to a variety of New York City visitors. “I work with a lot of executives in the city on business, people on vacation, and husbands attempting to get out of carrying their wives’ shopping bags,” Phillips said.

Assholes, in other words.

If this guy adds a divorce attorney component to his business I predict it will go public by the end of the year.

Still, if he can get upwards of $250 just to take people out on River Road then he's doing something right:

The 40-mile River Road option is the most popular, but Phillips’ favorite ride is the hilly 90-mile Bear Mountain option. The service costs between $250 and $450, depending on the route.

Either that, or he's simply a prostitute, which would explain why these guys can't wait to ditch their wives.

Anyway, I headed over to his website, where I watched this video:



Which seems to be an advertisement for both his services and this $250 jacket:


Sure enough, his routes include all the standard-issue New York City area Fred rides, including three (3) laps of Central Park:


If this guy is getting paid to take people for rides around Central Park then that's just fucking incredible.

Meanwhile, schmuck that I am, I'll be "curating" a ride for free at the BSNYC Gran Fondon't this weekend, and yesterday afternoon I headed out to "preview" the route:


The course is lovely, but I don't have much confidence in the ride leader.

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're better than everybody, and if you're wrong you'll see helme(n)ts.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and I'll see you back here on Tuesday, May 26th.



--Wildcat Rock Machine








(Race organizers generally spread sawdust out on the course after Cipollini comes through.)

1) Giro d'Italia maglia rosa Alberto Contador was injured in a crash caused by:

--An overenthusiastic fixie rider
--An amateur photographer with a long zoom lens
--A triathlete
--A grease slick left by the preternaturally unctuous Mario Cipollini






(Ask your soigneur for smooth, crisp, refreshing AmgenⓇ brand Erythropoietin.  Because if it ain't AmgenⓇ it ain't EPO.)

2) Tour of California organizers have relocated the time trial due to:

--Snow
--Rain
--Drought
--Tech company employee luxury coaches






3) Which is not one of the ways you're completely destroying your bike according to the alarmists at Bicycling?

--Failing to wash it, which will result in sugar from your energy drinks eating away at your bottom bracket
--Using too much chain lube, because lube is the silent killer
--Not changing your handlebar tape, which will cause your bars to disintegrate
--Riding the bicycle, which will cause excessive wear and tear






4) Not to be outdone, Lennard Zinn says flatulence can cause your saddle to deteriorate.

--True
--False






5) In addition to National Bike Month, May is also:

--National Electrical Safety Month
--National Golf Month
--National Masturbation Month
--All of the above





6) Who'd-a thunk it?  Time still exists--though they're really scraping the bottom of the barrel for contributors.

--True
--False





7) New York City's next batch of Citi Bikes will be designed by:

--Ben Serotta
--Dario Pegoretti
--David Byrne
--Paul Budnitz



***Special "When Scooterists Attack!"-Themed Bonus Video***

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The More Things Change The More I Don't Care

First of all, as of this very moment, consider "registration" for the BSNYC Gran Fondon't "officially" closed:
You're probably wondering how I can close the registration to a ride that is not organized or sanctioned in any way, and for which there was no registration in the first place.  Well, "leading" a group of this size into the suburban wilderness is uncharted territory for me, so I want to make sure we can pull it off.  Therefore, I will not be responding to any RSVPs I receive after this post:


If you did RSVP before this post then you should have received details.

And don't worry, if it's not a total disaster we can try to put another ride together at a later date.


Secondly, regardless of where you ride this weekend, make sure you do so while wearing a proper pair of flatulence-filtering shorts, as forwarded by a reader:


I'm assuming these filter the odor out of your gaseous expulsions so you don't render the rider behind you unconscious, though I don't know why they're inside out.  Also, while I've heard of "shooting from the hip," I've never heard of "farting from the hip:"


It must happen though, otherwise they wouldn't make special shorts for it, now would they?




This one's called "Vélosophy," and it's a bike, and smartphones, and apps, and who the fuck cares?


"It's no wonder that cycling has been virtually the same since its invention about 200 years ago."

Exactly.  I love how the first 30 seconds of most Kickstarter videos explain exactly why their product is completely unnecessary.  Except...200 years ago?!?

Now, I was never too good at the maths, but if I'm not mistaken 200 years ago it was the year 1815, which is two years before the Laufmaschine, or dandy horse, or crotch crutch, or whatever you want to call it:

The pennyfarthing didn't even come along until the 1870s:


So yeah, I'd say cycling has changed a fuckload over the past 200 years.

Nevertheless, despite solidly establishing the utter futility of their endeavors, these Kickstarter inventors persist in foisting their unfiltered brainfarts upon us:


"Vélosophy is about urban pedaling, technology, and social footprint."

First of all, why is he in a kitchen?  Second of all, what is a "social footprint?"  Are we just putting "footprint" after everything now?  Given the excessive use of words like "footprint," "curate," and "hack," 21st century English is beginning to make Orwellian doublespeak seem like poetry in comparison.  It's infuriating.  I'm about to curate my angry "emotional footprint" right on somebody's ass.

So what makes the Vélosophy so technologically advanced anyway?  Well, it tells you when it needs to be serviced:


I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "How fucking hard is it to glance at your tire tread occasionally?"  Well, sure, but why do that when you can visualize your "pneumatic footprint" in pie chart form?


Then you can make an appointment at the bike shop:


And after you're walking away you can decide, "You know what?  I'd really like to change my bike's 'aesthetic footprint' too:"


"Oooh, yeah, my 'coolness footprint' is really going to increase with these red accents!"


Et voilà!  When you pick up the bike your whims have become come reality:


Or, you know, you could have just called the bike shop, but presumably when you do it this way it posts photos of your stupid bike to Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and Tinder, and Grindr, and Hoagie, and all the rest of them, ensuring your "social footprint" remains robust and engorged.

At this point however my "indifference footprint" is big enough to stomp out the sun.

Oh, the other revolutionary thing about it is that it has a basket:


Oh, sorry, it's not a basket.  It's a "scalable system that allows you to carry your things."

I guess I'm revealing my "ignorance footprint."

And yes, good for them that they're giving bikes to UNICEF, even if that part seems a bit tacked on:


Why not just cut out the middleman and the goofy bike business and just send them a check?

Back in the olden days when we were free-range kids with no smartphones they gave us cardboard UNICEF boxes for Halloween, we took them with us when we went trick-or-treating, and people filled them up with money.  That's HARD CURRENCY, baby!

What the hell was wrong with that!?!

Speaking of our shared wank-tastic future, Strava has launched "Strava Local," which presumably lets area Freds CURATE their own ride guides:


Strava has launched Strava Local, a new data-powered and athlete-curated travel guide for cyclists available in 12 cities worldwide.

Over 38 million Stava activities and billions of GPS data points from London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York, Milan, Denver, Melbourne, Sao Paulo, Barcelona and Sydney have been used to provide locals and visitors with the best cycling (and running) routes in each city along with top coffee stops, places to buy gear and great photo spots.

Amazing.  That's a lot of "data points."  Can you imagine if the Freds of the world actually channelled their energy into something useful?  If just a fraction of them strapped cardboard boxes to their handlebars and collected some scratch for UNICEF then world poverty would be a thing of the past.

Strava product manager, Andrew Valko, said: “City guides have long been a valuable tool for travellers and locals alike, but ours are based on actual data. We have been able to work out where, when and why athletes tend to stop, which we have used to curate a selection of Top Stops and photo spots for each of the 12 cities.”

Really?  You need 38 million "Strava activities" and "billions of GPS data points" to tell you why "athletes" (read: Freds) stop?  Everybody knows they stop for two (2) reasons:

1) To drink coffee;
2) To pee.

Wow.

Perhaps next they can explore the causal relationship between these two activities.

Then again, "Strava Local" could be the think that finally gets me to join.  I figure if I "curate" a one-way ride over the George Washington Bridge, across the Delaware Water Gap, and into the wilderness I can rid New York City of its Fred population once and for all.

Just call me the Fred Piper.

Lastly, a Twitterer tells me that Mario Cipollini was on RAI talking about motors in bikes.  Unfortunately I don't understand Italian, but I did appreciate the Italian bike rap intro:


Also, a group of people gathered around Cipollini to soak in his wisdom (and assorted other bodily fluids) is an image that transcends language:


It's like Caravaggio painted "The Last Supper" on velvet.

And here's Cipo himself:


Again, I don't understand Italian, but I can make a pretty good guess as to what he's saying:


("My glandular footprint is huge!  I don't know about the bikes, but 'Li'l Cipo' has a motor that keeps him running all night long!")

You can't spell Cipollini without "pol(e) in," and you can't cure Cipollini without Cipro.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Wednesday" Is A Bit Unwieldy, But The New Foldable Version Lets You Break It Down To "Way" For Easier Portaging

Well wouldja you look at who made the pages of Time, or at least its blogular Internet presence:


No, it’s just that in much of America, spring is when all the fair-weather cyclists emerge from their hidey-holes after cowering inside all winter. This means that before Bike to Work Week even begins, the bike paths and greenways are already clogged with overzealous, wobbly-legged cyclists splayed out over their aerobars like baby giraffes. In order for cycling to “take,” it’s most important that these Bike to Work Week commuters enjoy themselves, and injecting them into this frothy mix of wonky speed weenies is a recipe for frustration.

Oh, that Biek Snub...he's so gosh-darn irreverent!

It's true though, the bike path situation is decidedly "flambullient" at this time of year.  In fact, on the way home from this ride I used the Hudson River Greenway:


Where the competition was fierce:


And where I was assailed by all manner of riders, some of whom were armed with "butt rockets:"


("And butt rockets' Fred glare, the Gu bursting in air...")

Of course, I realize I made an attractive target of opportunity, given I was riding a Brompton--shown here between my legs on the Long Island Rail Road just a few hours before:


(Yes, I'm wearing cutoffs.  The Brompton was so disgusted it folded itself in shame.)

I've had the Brompton on loan for a few weeks now, and I readily admit to loving it.  As I've mentioned before, I already have a non-Brompton clown bike, and it never quite succeeded in making me want to "join the circus" and use it regularly, mostly because it's a bit of a hassle to schlep on and off trains.

The Brompton on the other hand folds up into a tidy little bundle, tight and compact as the ball of stress in a London stockbroker's gut.  This makes it far more convenient--plus you can put it in hand truck mode and wheel it around if you've got a longer way to go:


Also, it may surprise you to learn that I keep no bicycles inside my actual home, which is no small feat given I have a lot of bikes and I live in New York City.  I prefer it this way, given that my living space is precious and I need plenty of room for yoga, tai chi, and meditation.  Plus, if my bikes are within reach at all times I'm liable to start tinkering with them.  This really cuts into my TV time.

The Brompton, however, is so unobtrusively small that I just keep it by the coat rack next to the stroller.

Nevertheless, as easy as the Brompton is to fold and portage, I admit that when I stopped at the Harlem Fairway on the aforementioned greenway jaunt I simply locked it to the bike rack out of sheer laziness:


Had I stumbled upon this scene I'd have taken photos and Tweeted gleefully about the irony.

Of course, what the truly seasoned Bromptonauts do (I prefer "Bromptonauts" to "Bromptoneers") is fold the bike and stick it in the shopping cart like a toddler, which is just what this person was doing as I was locking up my own:


I only needed a few things though (sushi rolls for the cat), and I was afraid that if I brought a shopping cart in with me I'd end up filling it up just because it was there, and then I'd find myself emerging with eight bags of groceries I'd have to figure out how to carry home on a fucking Brompton.

By the way, at the Harlem Fairway at any given time at least 75% of the customers are either wearing or carrying helme(n)ts:


For a minute I thought the above shopper was Elden "Fat Cyclist" Nelson:


But after he autographed my receipt I realized it was just Stanley Tucci so I crumpled it up and threw it in the trash.

Speaking of multi-modal transport, Citi Bike is expanding--and this time around, instead of screaming about how bike share stations are a sure sign of the End of Days, people actually seem happy about it:


When DOT reps last night unveiled the proposed locations of 39 new racks to be installed on the Upper West Side, residents reacted not with rage or fury, but with something else completely. Something that looked a lot like...enthusiasm.

Wow.  Where's Dorothy Rabinowitz when you need her?


(Pulitzer prize-winning conservative journalist and bike-bashing enthusiast Dorothy Rabinowitz)

At the embalmer's for a top-up most likely.

In other exciting bike share news (especially for dentists), Klaus from Alps and Andes informs me that, as part of Citi Bike's new ownership and expansion, the fleet's getting upgraded to Serottas!


Though sadly they'll be more like this one:


Here's the story:


When the current Motivate management team took over last fall, they inherited two big problems. Most of their systems ran on flawed software that crippled reliability and frustrated riders, and the manufacturer of their bikes had gone bankrupt.

Now both issues have been addressed: Replacement software from 8D Technologies installed this spring has a proven track record in other cities, and the new bikes — designed by Ben Serotta — clear up how the company’s fleets will be expanded and replenished.

So there you go--though it seems to me if they're going with a green and yellow color scheme they could at least use some old Sierra Nevada team bikes:


All we need now is a Brompton vending machine that takes MetroCards and we'll really be in business.