Tuesday, January 20, 2015

This Just In: I'm Going On Maternity Leave!


(The stork preparing to deliver a bundle of both joy and racism in Disney's dated and off-putting 1941 classic, "Dumbo.")

I am very pleased to report that over the holiday weekend our family welcomed a brand-new human child.  This means we now have eighteen (18) children, or two (2), depending on how you count.  This also means that I'll be exercising my contractually guaranteed right to maternity leave (the Blogger's Union fought long and hard for this), and will hereby be extending my absence to Monday, January 26th, at which point I'll resume regular updates.

That should be enough time to trade in the Big Dummy for a bakfiets:



Or else just a Canyonero.

In the meantime, thanks for indulging my absence (or, if you choose not to grant me indulgence, you know where you can stick your lack thereof), and I look forward to seeing you back here on the 26th.

Sincerently,


--Wildcat Rock Machine



Friday, January 16, 2015

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

***Apologies!  I totally forgot to mention this blog will be closed on Monday, January 19th, 2015 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Well, I shouldn't say the blog is closed, because you're still free to come here and read it.  What I mean is that I won't be updating it.  I will, however, return on Tuesday, January 20th with regular updates.  Thank you very much for understanding, and if you don't like it may Dr. King come back and smite you.  Amen.***

You know how the second it starts snowing anyplace in America all the drivers lose what remains of their minds and crash into each other immediately, and how all the cyclists won't dare venture outside without first spending a few thousand dollars on an industry-approved fat bike they'll never actually ride?

Well here's what happens in the Netherlands:



It's worth noting that the typical middle-aged Dutch person on a city bike seems to have better bike-handling skills than most of the field at a typical American cyclocross race.  It's also amazing to see drivers who are considerate towards cyclists even when the weather is foul, because here it's the opposite, and the shittier the weather the more inconsiderate the drivers are towards pedestrians and cyclists.  This is because we're a nation of assholes who resent weakness and disadvantage, and therefore we enjoy punishing the unfortunate losers who are forced make their way through snow and rain without being hermetically sealed inside of automobiles.

In fact, we love seeing people suffer in the elements so much that our car dealerships use it for self-promotion:



And hey, I'm no better, because I too can't help enjoying the misfortune of others.  For example, I should feel really bad for this person, but instead I find it hilarious:


A picture is worth a thousand words, and that bike must have cost at least ten thousand dollars.

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 good, and if you're wrong then you'll see some Fred bike freestyle.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and check those clearances.


--Wildcat Rock Machine





(His handwriting is sloppy because he's wasted.)

1) Which is not a form of annoying cyclist behavior according to Australian "Family Feud?"

--"Ring Bell"
--"Taking Driving Lane"
--"Salmoning"
--"Everything"





2) Why is this Fred smiling?

--He is enjoying a mid-ride coffee
--He is safe, thanks to his seatpost-mounted radar system
--He looks like a deranged Ewan McGregor
--All of the above






3) The latest must-have triathlon accessory is:

--A pair of smart goggles
--A submersible drone
--A pair of smart water wings
--A personal lifeboat






4) A saboteur in Portland is using _____ to booby-trap cyclists.

--Staples
--Tacks
--Broken glass
--Velcro





5) Finally!  It's a superfluous roof rack stabilizer bar for neurotics, because the gentle rocking of a bicycle on a roof rack is totally going to crack your crabon fork!

--True
--False






6) Volvo is working on a:

--Crash-sensing bicycle helment
--Connected e-bike
--Self-lowering roof rack to avoid damage to bicycles due to insufficient clearance
--Superbowl ad in which Swedish pop group Abba reunites to perform a new original song entitled "Fuck Subaru"






("Any y'all squirrels try to get at my nuts and yer dead!")

7) If guns are outlawed only invasive tree species will have guns.

--True
--False



***Special "This Is Why You Pass The Lock Through The Frame"--Themed Bonus Video***






Thursday, January 15, 2015

Survey Says: There Is No Tri; There Is Only Duh.

Did you know the TV show "Family Feud" still exists?  Well, incredibly, it does, though presumably only so they can continue to use it as the premise for "Saturday Night Live" skits.  Even more surprisingly, it turns out they also have "Family Feud" in Australia--though unsurprisingly they use it to bait cyclists, since Australia is arguably the least bike-friendly country on the planet:


But Australian cyclist community were less than amicable when their national Family Feud broadcast chose the category "What is something annoying that a cyclist might do?" for its game show question, with horrific offenses like “ring a bell,” “wear Lycra,” and even more discouragingly, “everything,” appearing as answers.

You can watch the actual video here:


And cyclists aren't the only group Australian "Family Feud" has it in for either:

In October last year the show faced fierce criticism after it suggested jobs for women commonly include hairdressing, reception work and domestic duties such as washing clothes and doing the dishes.

All of this is certainly irritating, but at the same time it's difficult to get too upset.  After all, we're talking about "Family Feud" here, which is arguably the least culturally relevant TV show still broadcasting.  It's like when a nonagenarian makes a racist comment: sure, you're tempted to call them out on it, but ultimately it's not worth the energy since they've got one foot in the grave anyway and it's a lot easier to just let them die.*

*[I apologize to any and all non-racist nonagenarians reading this blog.  May you live to see 100, and may you remain spry enough to beat the crap out of your brittle-boned racist peers.  By the way, for your convenience, there's a special large print version of the blog available here.]

Anyway, let's turn our attention to a group that really deserves ridicule: triathletes.  Just as technology is revolutionizing the sport of cycling (and by "revolutionizing" I mean keeping it exactly the same, only you need to charge all your accessories now), it's also helping triathletes continue to be as mediocre at three disciplines as they can be.  To this end, a reader informs me that the latest advancement is GPS for your goggles so you don't get lost at sea:


IOLITE is a high-precision tracking device that is worn on the back of your swim goggles. IOLITE will send real time feedback during a swim directly to your goggles through a small LED array to give you the most efficient swim possible. IOLITE will analyze the direction you are swimming and as you veer off course, the LEDs will notify you what direction you need to swim to stay on course with significantly reduced sighting throughout the process.

Yes, it's so simple even a triathlete can use it!  You've got your green light which means you're going in the right direction:


You've got your yellow light which means you're not:



You've got your red light which means you're wildly adrift and about to go full Tom Hanks in "Castaway:"


And then of course you've got the all-important "You're about to become chum!" warning:


Then if by some miracle the triathlete manages to successfully complete the swim, he or she will attempt to mount a bicycle with varying levels of "success:"


I never get tired of that video.

The developer who invents an app to help triathletes get on their bicycles will become very rich indeed.

Speaking of triathletes, here's a gripping psychodrama about a tridork disappearing down the emotional rabbit hole of swimming, biking, and running:


Run is a psychodrama set in the world of Elite Triathlon.

Tristan Selina is a top Triathlete preparing for a crucial late-season championship race. After life-changing revelations are made by his lover, he's forced to confront a traumatic past whilst he and his coach struggle to remain focused on the race ahead.

As you can imagine, making a Bergmanesque film set in the world of elite-level triathlon is fraught with challenges:

Cinematographers note: The challenge with Run is to tell a story that finds stillness in the whirlwind of professional triathlon and chaos in the eyes of an elite athlete. 

That's interesting, because I thought the biggest challenge would be telling a serious story about something as goofy looking as triathlon, which at every moment attempts to undermine the drama of the narrative with excess spacers above the stem:


And excessively low saddle height resulting in a bowlegged pedal stroke:


(Is this guy out for a training ride, or is he just air-drying his crotch?)

And of course the aero helment with extra-long straps fluttering in the breeze:


The most endearing quality of triathletes is that they need thousands of dollars of aerodynamic equipment just to attain the same level of efficiency as an average Cat 4 with a halfway decent bike fit.

Maybe this is just the sort of pathos the filmmakers were looking to achieve.

Moving on to more serious matters, you've probably read Matthew Beaudin's infuriating story about getting ticketed by the Colorado Highway Patrol for being rear-ended by a driver:


Walking toward me as I sat on the side of the road shivering under a heavy coat, one of them asked, without any precursor, if we were riding two across. If we were riding in the middle of the road.

Imagine for a moment what agenda it must take to approach a man, who has just seen his very short 32 years roll before him on old movie film, a question like that.

No, and no. Maybe if we were two across in the middle of the road, someone would have seen me and not ran into me square from behind. And even if I was, I have a right to be on the road — as a rider, driver, runner — and not be struck from behind, ever.

I was given a ticket for something amounting to failing to move over when being overtaken. I asked the officer to tell me why it was he though I was riding in the middle of the road. He responded that he wasn’t going to explain himself. That I could hire a re-creationist if I wanted. That he wasn’t going to explain himself, again. And for a second time that I could hire a re-creationist if I wanted.

Wow.  Maybe the officer moonlights as a "re-creationist" in his spare time and was looking to drum up some business.  Then if you pay up he runs to his cruiser, changes his clothes, and returns as "Crash" McGinty: Accident Scene Re-Creationist!!!

This week on "The Adventures of 'Crash' McGinty: Accident Scene Re-Creationist," 'Crash' tries to get to the bottom of a group ride tumble:



Holy freaking crap.

What I want to know is if the Fred with the Fly6 pointed out the offending obstacle:


I'm sure this will be a key component in 'Crash' McGinty's investigation.

Lastly, speaking of what's going on behind you, a reader has alerted me to the "Backtracker," which is basically a rear-facing radar to let you know what's going on behind you:



So basically just a helment mirror, only more complicated:


I'm not sure why the guy in the video doesn't just suck it up and use a mirror like the one above.  After all, he's already got the beard:


Which, in the café scene, has been rakishly fluffed by the wind:



Anyway, as the video says, with the Backtracker you always know what's behind you:


And what's behind you is Bearded Guy.

You know what they say: behind every good Fred is a wheelsucker.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's Wednesday! Cheer Up, We're All Doomed!

Subsequent to the cancelled-and-then-postponed 2015 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships in Austin, TX earlier this week, the cycling world remains plunged in debate, analysis, and recrimination with regard to just what went wrong.

Just kidding.

The racing is over, the trees are still standing, and nobody cares anymore.

That's why I'm putting in a bid with USA Cycling to host the race on behalf of the New York Botanical Garden:


This great New York City attraction and national landmark will make a thrilling venue, and I've scoped out an "epic" course that will take riders through a section of old-growth New York forest, through the pristine conifer arboretum, and then into the iconic Haupt Conservatory which is filled with thousands of delicate plant specimens from around the globe:


(The run-up to the Conservatory.  Riders should have their tickets ready.)

Expect the course to be closed by the horrified staff within seconds of the first pedal stroke, after which riders from each category will instead complete a grueling tram tour of this verdant venue:


Then champions in each field will receive a whimsical National Champion's Gardening Apron:



And you can expect the usual beards and forced irreverence from the singlespeeders:



Speaking of cyclocross, they love it in Portland.  But America's 4th-Most-Bike-Friendly City According To The Ad Sales Department At Bicycling Magazine isn't just about the bikes, and this is what happens when you have an entire town full of white people:



Assholes.

By the way, did I hear right that it only costs $125 to rent a billboard in Portland?  They really need to raise those prices, because as it is it would be all to easy for someone to launch an ad campaign designed to crush the self-esteem of every Portlander and send them all into a tailspin of depression.  Just look at that soul-crushing gray sky behind those ebullient billboards!  Having spent time in Portland myself, I know all this artisanal "put a bird on it" crap is the only thing keeping from them from total despair, and a few well-placed bits of negativity would be more than enough bring the entire city to its knees.  Really, all you'd need is a few strategically-placed billboards bearing slogans like these:

Everybody's Really Disappointed In You

Narcotics: They're Readily Available, You Know

And of course the ever-popular and always effective:

Go Fuck Yourself.

Sure, here in America we're always looking out for terrorists with bombs, but we're still all too vulnerable to emotional terrorism--especially in those wet, cloudy pits of despair in the Pacific Northwest.  It only takes one maniac with a twisted political agenda an a college-level psychology course--or, worse yet, some hyper-critical relative--to plunge this country into a state of crippling introspection.

Couple that with all those dead malls and we're truly screwed.

Speaking of Portland, someone's sabotaging cyclists by placing tacks on the Hawthorne Bridge:



On Saturday, Pedal Bike Tours employee Sarah Gilbert was riding downtown to lead a tour when she picked up two flats. We also heard from a victim who flatted from tacks on Monday. Then just yesterday, an employee from West End Bikes called to tell us they had three people roll into the shop with flats — all of them from the same, golden tacks we’ve now seen on many tires in the past week. The main location of the flats appears to be near the bus stop where the westbound bike lane merges up onto the sidewalk/path (above SE Water Ave).

I'm sure those naive Portlanders think this is the work of someone who hates bikes, but if I were them I'd start asking questions over at West End Bikes.  Ask yourself this: who benefits most when a bunch of cyclists suddenly get flats?  The closest bike shop, that's who!  Come on, follow the money, people! Has anybody looked into their recent charges at Staples?

Amateurs.

Of course, instead the Portlanders will remain fixated on the fact that this happened near the bus stop, since Portland is a city of white people and so they're naturally suspicious of people who use public transportation.

Speaking of conspiracies, a reader informs me Volvo continues to move forward with its plans to make us all wear smart helments:



This is extremely bad news, for it's a clear sign that society is moving towards 100% driver blamelessness.  (We're at about 98% as it is.)  Smart helments, driverless cars...it will soon be entirely your responsibility to be electronically visible to all those onboard computers, and it won't be long before you have to walk around wearing one of those motion capture suits at all times:


Meanwhile, for your recreational endeavors, you'll wear a "smart shirt:"


French company Cityzen Sciences has developed a smart t-shirt, that measures statistics including your heart rate.

The first thing I thought when I saw this was that the Freds will be all over it, and sure enough they've got that covered:


I can't wait until all the Freds have smart jerseys which measure their girth and then communicate with their tire pressure apps in order to calculate their optimal tire pressure:


Alas, shirtlessness will be the only way to free yourself from the conspiracy:


The future's so awful she's got to wear shades.

(And Birkenstocks.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The future is bright, but it's always brightest before the burnout.

Good news!  The things that are specifically designed to kill people may finally start killing more people than cars!
Well done, America!  Way to re-focus your murderous efforts.  If we stay the course, one day we will finally live in a country where getting shot by your toddler while shopping at Walmart is more likely than getting run down by an SUV in the parking lot.

Nevertheless, here in New York we're not about to let that happen.  See, our draconian gun laws prevent most of us from arming ourselves like God, Jesus, and the Second Amendment (drafted by Jesus) intended.  Therefore, to make up for it, our legislators allow us kill whoever we want whenever we want--just as long as we do it with our cars.

This is a great deal if you're a sociopath, but incredibly not everybody's happy with it:


Data tracked by Streetsblog revealed last week that while there have been 400 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in three years, only two cases led to a DA filing any homicide charges against drivers—motorists are rarely criminally charged if they fatally strike or injure someone and there's not one or more aggravating factors involved (such as a hit-and-run, intentional hit, or intoxication.) 

Two deadly drivers charged out of 400 over a three-year period?  Sounds about right.  Pretty much the only way to get into trouble for killing someone with your car without sending a certified letter to the police announcing your intentions beforehand is to ram a police car six times and then flee:


The cab driver backed into the squad car and rammed it about six times while the officer was still inside, and took off, police said.

A half block away at 45th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, the cab driver got into an accident with another yellow cab while fleeing, police said.

Amazingly, fleeing the scene after ramming a police car and then smashing into another car in the process still counts as an "accident" to the local news.

If you're not from America, please note that the film "Anchorman" was a documentary.

Speaking of America going to hand in a hellbasket, our shopping malls--once the very pinnacle of our great consumerist society--are now little more than pyramids, lifeless monuments to a moribund way of life:


The upbeat music of “Jingle Bell Rock” bounced off the tiles, and the smell of teriyaki chicken drifted from the food court, but only a handful of stores were open at the sprawling enclosed shopping center. A few visitors walked down the long hallways and peered through locked metal gates into vacant spaces once home to retailers like H&M, Wet Seal and Kay Jewelers.

“It’s depressing,” Jill Kalata, 46, said as she tried on a few of the last sneakers for sale at the Athlete’s Foot, scheduled to close in a few weeks. “This place used to be packed. And Christmas, the lines were out the door. Now I’m surprised anything is still open.”

Somewhere, anti-suburbanist David Byrne is gloating:


(Byrne's concept album, "The Empty Parking Lots of America's Ghost Malls Are Filled With The Cars I Don't Own" will be out later this year.)

Indeed, like determined little sprouts emerging from the cracks in the sidewalk, people are even using these materialist mausoleums for riding bicycles:


In some cases, local residents have come up with their own uses for dead or dying malls.  Marcus Ragsdale and his wife take their son and daughter to an empty parking lot at Owings Mills so they can ride their bikes.  “It’s a dead mall, but it’s free space,” Mr. Ragsdale said.  “We live in a townhouse nearby, so it’s good for the kids to ride around here.”

The positive way to look at all of this is that, after decades of car-specific suburban planning, Americans are rejecting this spiritually disengaged lifestyle, repurposing the detritus, and returning to existence on a more human scale.

On the other hand, the negative view is that these crumbling malls represent the erosion of the middle class, and that suburban banality has merely been supplanted by a more insidious form of urban banality for those who can afford it.  The soul (or lack thereof) of the mall has merely shifted downtown and gotten more expensive.  It's a shell game of vapidity, and the banks and chain stores always win.

It's enough to make you give up in disgust and move off the grid, and I'd do so myself if only the grid weren't so full of movies and TV shows:


I can't quit you, grid.

Moving from grid to gravel, it had to happen--that's right, it's the word's first gravel-specific shifting system:


--Compatible with Shimano’s most current 10 speed Dyna-sis and Shadow Plus MTB derailleurs.
--GX Shifters are compatible with most if not all cable braking systems.
--Provides both long and short pull brake leverage to work with any cable fed system.
--New aesthetics and cable angle dropped 10 degrees for a sleeker cockpit.
--GX are sold as a complete pair. Left mount and shift lever removable for use in a 1X set up.
--Gevenalle Crash Warranty: No Questions asked, Rebuild/Replace as needed for $34 a unit including shipping in USA
--GX shift levers not backwards compatible with CX mounts due to their larger size.

Okay, that's actually pretty cool.  

The long-or-short pull option seems particularly nifty.

Still, if I read the word gravel again, or see another orange-and-camo bike--or, worst of all, encounter both of these things together--I'm going to puke.

By the way, you may remember Gevenalle as Retroshift, who first began garnering attention with their clever cyclocross shifter:



In other words, it's basically a Campagnolo shifter by way of Portland.

Even so, I still find it about a thousand times more interesting than electronic shifting.

Lastly, some roadies have invented a new Fred wheel, which as far as I can tell is no different than any other Fred wheel that has come before it:


"The design and concept has been proved out in a matter of a half an hour."

Yep.  Round things roll.  What a concept.

Spoken like a true pro cyclist.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Today's post shortened owing to mud.

As everybody certainly knows by now, the 2015 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships in Austin, TX was cancelled yesterday due to mud.

That's right.  The National Championships...of cyclocross...were cancelled due to mud:



Ultimately the racing was rescheduled for today, but American cyclocross may never live down the irony inasmuch as mud is arguably the discipline's defining natural element.  After all, isn't mud the whole reason the bike companies are telling us we need disc brakes on our cross bikes?  (Sure, they don't work, but still.)  Mud to cyclocross is like snow to skiing, or water to surfing, or weed to ultimate Frisbee.  Many jokes were made on Twitter to this effect (mine in particular were especially hilarious), but some people with actual credibility who were invested in the event summed up the situation thusly:
A fair and excellent point.

Responding to this sort of criticism, USA Cycling issued the sort of bullshit apology for which they are famous:


But of what use was this to the competitors and families who had traveled all the way to Austin from all over Canada's scranus and beyond, and who either had to leave without competing or else expend the time and resources to stay another day?

Hey, Austin's a great place to visit for a day or two, but once you've waited 45 minutes to eat a pulled pork sandwich off a food truck and watched those stupid bats on the Congress Street Bridge the city has nothing left to offer you.  Believe me, I know.  I've been there on multiple occasions, and I can assure you that despite its quirky tie-dyed veneer Austin is still very much in Texas:


I'm sure if you're a refugee from some other part of Texas it's quite the cultural oasis.  However, if you're from an actual city then Austin is basically just a slightly artsier White Plains.  If they want to "Keep Austin Weird" they better try harder, because even in today's sanitized New York City there's more weirdness in a typical Midtown Starbuck's.

But this isn't about culture, this is about competition.  I take competitive cycling less seriously than just about anybody, but if you're the governing body of a sport and you can't provide your elite membership with a National Championships at approximately the time you promised it then you're failing at a pretty basic level.  Sure, natural disasters and other acts of "god" were the exception, but this was simply an astounding lack of foresight on pretty much everybody's part:

The cycling event is an “intense” use of a park, even compared to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin Parks and Recreation Department director Sara Hensley said Sunday at a news conference.

“We just have to protect our park and particularly our trees, which we value so much in the city,” Hensley said. “None of us anticipated this kind of precipitation.”

So what kind of trees were these, anyway?  Well, apparently these were "heritage" trees:

Zilker Park is no stranger to large events and the damage they sometimes leave behind. Park lovers and environmentalists have raised concerns the five-day Cyclo-cross Championships with about 1600 registered participants could have long-term repercussions on the root systems of heritage trees at the park.

If you're not familiar with arborist jargon, a "heritage" tree in Texas means it's white and comes from an Anglo-Saxon background.  This means the tree is not only afforded special protection from bike racers, but it's also allowed to "open carry:"


If guns are outlawed, only invasive tree species will have guns.

Anyway, let's take a look at that ever-so-benign Austin City Limits Music music festival, shall we?



You're telling me a bunch of weenies riding around in circles is worse for the park than this?

Well, I guess they have to Keep Austin Fratty.

By the way, Austin City Limits is, in a circuitous way, sort of a Lance Armstrong production (or at least a Bros of Lance Armstrong production), and the former two-time Critérium du Dauphiné winner did offer some wayward cyclocross racers succor for the night:
I don't know who those riders were, but I suspect they'll be summoned to doping control immediately upon arriving at the venue.

In other news, here's the smartphone-controlled e-bike conversion kit of your dreams:



Looks great.  You'll be dominating the sidewalk in no time.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Indignity of Freezing Your Pants Yabbies Off: Afternoon Rides

First of all, there will be no quiz today.

It's only the ninth day of 2015 after all, and that's hardly enough time to build up a knowledge base sufficient to warrant quizzing.

Second of all, I've received the latest version of the Fly6 integrated tail light video camera, so let's talk about that instead:


The one on the left is the old one, and the one on the right is the new one.  As you can see, the new one is smaller.  Also, they've changed the location of the card slot and cable connection:


On the old one, all this stuff was located on the bottom where crap could fly into it, especially since that rubber plug never seemed to want to stay in place.  Also, on more than one occasion I'd go to turn off the camera, only to find that the card had ejected itself.  This may have had to do with gravity, or else maybe it was because the rubber plug was too close to the card.  So presumably that's why they've relocated all the orifices to the side, and it certainly seems like a better arrangement.

Anyway, I've had the new Fly6 for a couple months or so now, but to be perfectly honest I lost it immediately upon receipt.  (And when I say immediately, I mean immediately--like, I hadn't even opened the box yet.)  Then, a few days ago, I miraculously found it again.

Also, as you may know, here in New York City we're in sort of a complicated situation with the police.  The latest chapter in this saga is that they're now very angry at our mayor, Bill de Blasio.  Therefore, as a form of protest, they haven't been busting people for minor offenses--which, ironically, is backfiring on them because the city is arguably better off for it.  Not only is the overburdened court system experiencing some much-needed relief, but serious crimes remain down, which basically disproves this whole "broken windows" thing.

In fact, among the offenses the police allegedly have been ignoring is riding bicycles on the sidewalk, which until now would get you into more trouble than driving your car on the sidewalk and killing somebody.  (I wish I was kidding.)  This raises the fascinating question:

Does the NYPD hate de Blasio even more than they hate cyclists?

Given this, yesterday afternoon I figured maybe it was finally safe to ride my bike through Central Park, which I've been assiduously avoiding since a Fred on a time trial bike killed a pedestrian there back in September, prompting yet another in a series of police crackdowns.  What's more, I had this new Fly6 to try out, and a spin through park seemed like just the thing.  Unfortunately, it was only 17 degrees American, according to my dork-tacular wristwatch:


Nevertheless, I figured I might as well squeeze in a ride before the snow showed up the next day--which, according to my watch, was "FRU:"


After which the cold would apparently continue through SAI, and relent only slightly by SUT.

Plus, it's always warmer downtown anyway.

Of course, this is where all the people who live in Minnesota and ride fat bikes go on about how 17 degrees American ain't nothing and they don't even bother putting on knee warmers for that:


To which I say, "Hey, in New York City, 17 degrees passes as 'cold,' just like in Minnesota Garrison Keillor passes for 'culture.'"

It's all relative, you frostbitten rubes.

So I rolled out the old bicycle cycle and strapped on the old ass camera:


Owing to the voluminous saddle bag I didn't have enough seatpost real estate, so instead put it on the seat tube where it nestled in the seatstay crotch:


Not the optimal placement for affording a panoramic view, but better than nothing.

Here I am activating the Fly6 in perhaps the most disturbing image you'll see all month:


And here I am testing the NYPD's resolve:


"You see, the traffic light was not, strictly speaking, in my favor," the bike blogger admitted sheepishly.

Nevertheless, 14 police officers did not leap out of that van and arrest me.

Incredible.

Shortly after that I crossed the bridge onto the island of Manhattan:


Technically you're supposed to dismount your bike and walk over this bridge, which I'll do just as soon as they make drivers get out of their cars and push them across.  I can only assume the reason for this rule is that this is a lift bridge, and if you're palping skinny tires you're liable to get caught in the Maw of Death where the roadway opens:


Clearly though the Department of Transportation have not accounted for my awesome bike-handling skills.

Here's the intersection of Seaman and Cumming:


Here's a car with a dead battery, which is how you know it's cold:


Here I am passing the car with the dead battery:


And here's another car with what I'm assuming is also a dead battery:


Either that, or GM cars have reached the next level of killing their operators, and they've moved past the faulty ignition thing and are now simply eating their drivers:


(The dashboard displays a "check engine" light, tricking the driver into doing so, at which point the hood closes and the driver is consumed.)

Next, I dismounted and "portaged" my bicycle up the steps to the Hudson River Greenway:


The rule of thumb in New York City is that you should always avoid the greenway if there's been so much as a hint of snow or ice in the last week, because you've got a better chance of finding a salted margarita in a mosque than a salted bike lane in New York City.  For example, you may recall that last year I very nearly froze to death on a vast tundra of brie:


(The ill-fated Fred sled of Sir Ernest Schmuckington)

Furthermore, the other rule of thumb is that you should avoid the Hudson River Greenway when it's cold, unless you like headwinds and river-chilled blasts of air to the face.

Nevertheless, I disregarded both those rules, and instead pressed on in the spirit of journalism:


And sure enough there wasn't a grain of salt to be found:


Though there were some dogs wearing jackets:


As you approach the George Washington Bridge there's a steep section of path, and as I descended I worried I might hit a patch of ice:


Fortunately, despite the complete absence of salt I did not, and then I successfully passed through the tunnel:


And emerged to contemplate the awe-inspiring view that would make this scranus-freezing ride worth it:


Just kidding, I've seen this view a million times, big fucking deal.

Of course, as soon as I got south of the George Washington Bridge, guess what I found?


Salt!  Piles and piles of salt.  In fact, the further south I went the more salt there was:


Proving, I suppose, that the further uptown you get the less relevant you are, until you get north of the GW and vanish into total obscurity.

This is also the part of the bike path where the wind coming off the river makes you feel like you're getting smacked across the face with a frozen salmon:


Note that the path is completely white now:


There's an absolute shitload of salt at this point, so much that I would not advise attempting to ride over it without an $8,500 dedicated gravel bike, complete with dropper post:


("The Specialized Divest lives up to its name when it comes to divesting you of your savings, and the dropper post is ideal for riders who haven't yet mastered the principle of basic saddle height adjustment."--Bicycling)

Incredibly, even with my non-gravel-specific bicycle and primitive rigid seatpost, I managed to negotiate the salt, and soon emerged onto the surface roads, where I circumvented quite an impressive example of tractor-trailer double-parking by the Trader Joe's:


And where, contrary to the latest news reports, traffic enforcement agents were in fact writing parking tickets:


Yet another dead car battery:


Finally, I made it to Central Park:


See that?  I told you it's always warmer downtown!

Here are the great big pedestrian crossing signs they've erected since that tragic collision back in September, and they appear purpose-built to be crashed into by unwitting Freds and tridorks:


Races in Central Park should be interesting this spring--assuming bike racing in the park hasn't been banned by then.

Quite a few years ago now, when I was but a twenty-something, I worked briefly as the assistant to a filmmaker of some renown.  I hated it, mostly because I was not cut out for the world of film, which involves being yelled at 24 hours a day by everybody.  The filmmaker's office was near the bottom of Central Park, and sometimes at lunch I used to sneak off and eat lunch by the park loop, where I'd gaze longingly at the Freds who were lucky enough to take leisurely lunchtime spins through this urban landscaping masterpiece.  Now, I was one of those Freds on my own leisurely afternoon ride, and as always I thought about this as I passed the very spot where I used to pine:


Sadly, I couldn't appreciate any of it, because I was freezing my gonads off.

In fact, I contemplated another loop of the park, but by the time I reached the bottom of the downhill I was pretty much frozen solid:


So at the top of the park I left it and headed back home via the streets.  Here I am getting smoked by a guy on an e-bike:


It turns out you can go home again, though it may take you an hour or so to thaw.