Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Big Box of Smugness

Yesterday I took delivery of a Great Big Box from WorkCycles:

I'm pretty sure "Zorg Voor Je Fiets" is Dutch for "Zorg For Your Feets."

As for "Zorg," I assume that's a popular brand of anti-fungal powder.

Anyway, in addition to exotic low country footcare products, the box also contained a bike that I am currently in the process of assembling.  (By "assembling" I basically mean putting on the front wheel because the bike was 90% together already.)  I will of course share more details once the bike is up and running, but in the meantime bike nerds will be interested to note that it is equipped with "hydrolic rim breaks," hence the block of wood:

And yes, I am aware the fork is backwards, which makes me only a slightly more competent bike mechanic than a typical Target employee:

Indeed, I have now reached the point in life where my idea of a city bike is one that weighs like 45 lbs and can carry two (2) human children, though this could be enough to convince me to get back on a fixie, because intentionally confusing Google cars while trackstanding sounds like great fun:

The issue is that, during such a trackstand, the rider does usually move slightly forward or backward — at least enough to alert the conscientious Google car that some human might be blasting through the stop sign.

“It apparently detected my presence,” the cyclist writes. “And stayed stationary for several seconds. It finally began to proceed, but as it did, I rolled forward an inch while still standing. The car immediately stopped … I continued to stand, it continued to stay stopped. Then as it began to move again, I had to rock the bike to maintain balance. It stopped abruptly.”

As someone who rejects new things Just Because, I've always been skeptical about self-driving cars, but this really worries me because if the damn things are really that polite then it won't be long before cyclists truly are the biggest assholes on the road.

As it is, the fact that cars can squash us lends us a certain amount of pathos, but if we lose that it will be a PR disaster.

In the meantime, Google should probably tweak the system by adding some presets like you find in those cars that have a button for "sport" mode.  Ideally the driver could select one of three settings:

(Car does the "courtesy dance" with the fixie rider)

(Car honks and proceeds)

No Criminality Suspected

(Car runs rider over and sends a text to local law enforcement with location of body and an HTTP 404 Not Found Error message)

Speaking of fixies, recently the New Yorker took a look at the Kissena Velodrome in Queens:

Designed by Robert Moses, in the nineteen-sixties, the track has been poorly maintained, leaving the racing surface uneven and somewhat dangerous. But, as the neon skinsuit-clad cyclists and race officials explain in this video, competing on the bumpy track has become a badge of honor for the city’s fixed-gear riders.

Here's the video, assuming the embedimentation code works:

I enjoyed the video, though if nothing else it's proof that we don't need any more velodromes:

Because if you can barely fill Kissena then there's no way you need a facility as big as the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx or any of the other places people have floated as potential venues:

(Velodrome = Hot Dog In Hallway)

Though "back in the day" there was a velodrome not too far from there:

The rabid fans were out in force to witness a no holes barred cycling competition featuring international star athletes. Competitive cycling first gained popularity in the 1880’s and by the 1920’s the Velodrome was the hottest ticket in town.

"No holes barred," eh?  Sounds like a date with Mario Cipollini:

(Cipollini travels with this bird just so he can set up his favorite pickup line: "Hi, you want to see a cock-or-two?")

Though ultimately the velodrome fell victim to a "friction fire:"

For eight glorious years the Velodrome was the scene of awe and excitement, before a suspicious fire burned the fabled venue to the ground.

They never did figure out who was behind the fire, but I have my own ideas:

Of course, we all know what happened next: Americans lost interest in track racing, and then road racing became more popular, except in America, where nobody gave a shit about that either--even though it involves something Americans love, which is cyclists getting hit by motor vehicles:

Before the stage started and before Paulinho suffered his accident, Tinkoff-Saxo penned an open letter to Unipublic, the Vuelta organisers, and the UCI, cycling's governing body, demanding that measures be taken to increase rider safety in relation to race vehicles. It is an issue that has come to the boil recently with a number of unfortunate incidents, and Tinkoff-Saxo's letter followed a similar one from BMC general manager Jim Ochowicz addressed to the UCI. 

What's especially ironic about this is that there are so many TV motorcycles covering a race that nobody watches.  I mean come on, it's September already, who the hell is still interested in road racing?  This is like sitting in the movie theater and watching the credits so you can see who was the second assistant cinematographer's second assistant.

Then again, I suppose the clusterfucktacular nature of the race does qualify it as an amusing blooper reel, like at the end of "Cannonball Run."

Still, it seems to me they can just strap a GoPro on the bike of every one of these Pro Fred and ban the TV motos once and for all.

Adjusting the rear derailleur on your bicycle is not simple. Every bike requires regular maintenance for a great riding experience. Whether sloppy shifting comes from stretched cables, switching wheels or even a crash, you may not have the time or confidence to make the needed adjustments. The OTTO Tuning System is a vision App and hardware kit that enables you to conveniently check and adjust your bicycle with professional precision.

Not simple, really?  It's certainly no harder than installing an iPhone app.  Indeed, inasmuch as derailleur adjustment is basically a matter of turning a barrel adjuster one way or the other, this strikes me as about as useful as an iPhone app that talks you through the process of combing your hair--and the video does little to dissuade me from this impression:

Though they want to send me a sample, so if they're crazy enough to do it then I'm crazy enough to try it.

Now back to the WorkCycles.  Too bad I don't have the OTTO to talk me through it.  Then again, the WorkCycles doesn't have a derailleur.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Urban Newspapers Aren't Meant For Idiots

So some yutz at the Boston Globe has expectorated your typical, standard issue piece of anti-bike clickbait, and here's a fake link to it because fuck him:

(Boston was settled in 1630, dickbag.  They ain't meant for cars either.)

You know the drill by now:

Busy thoroughfares aren’t meant for cyclists. They are meant for the cars, trucks, and buses that transport the vast majority of people moving through the nation’s cities. Those vehicles weigh thousands of pounds, operate at 300-plus horsepower, and are indispensable to the economic and social well-being of virtually every American community. Bicycles can be an enjoyable, even exhilarating, way to get around. So can horses, skis, and roller skates. Adding any of them to the flow of motorized traffic on roads that already tend to be too clogged, however, is irresponsible and dangerous.

It's true, bicycles are the embolisms in the bloodstream of American commerce, and we're destroying our country's great cities (as well as the lesser ones like Boston) one pedal stroke at a time.

(Don't believe that stuff about bike lanes making streets safer and increasing business for local merchants, it's all lies.  And let's not forget real estate values.  Go price some apartments near bike lanes and get back to me, moneybags.)

Anyway, here's the guy who wrote it:

(This Just In: Moron Discovers Bikes Aren't The Same As Cars)

I wanted to learn more about how a creature this stupid managed to survive into adulthood, so I consulted a popular Internet search engine, from which I learned two (2) things:

Firstly, Boston's "Big Dig" was in fact a failed decades-long attempt to find Jacoby's brain:

The reasons for Caleb Jacoby's disappearance remain unknown, though police have said the teen ran away from home, and have closed their investigation, The Forward reported.

It's hard to imagine anyone would want to run away from someone with the obvious charms of Jeff Jacoby, so I suspect the truth is young Caleb, stifled by his repressive religious environment, simply wanted to ogle the controversial Desnudas of Times Square:

Of course, it's these same titillating Desnudas who have aroused our mayor's recent interest in tearing out Times Square's pedestrian plazas:

When New York City installed pedestrian plazas in Times Square six years ago, replacing traffic-choked streets with beach chairs and picnic tables, the move prompted civic controversy, late-night monologue jokes and, eventually, widespread praise as an influential innovation in urban design.

But as the city grapples with an influx of topless tip-seekers, the de Blasio administration has suggested an unexpected remedy: Remove the islands altogether.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday that he would consider removing the plazas from the area in a bid to restore order to the crowded streets of the renowned Manhattan crossroads.

These are the same plazas that reduced pedestrian injuries by 40 percent.

In other words, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William J. Bratton (both originally from the Boston area, go figure) would rather subject the public to physical injury than human breasts.

The upshot of all of this is clear: given Jacoby and de Blasio and Bratton's retrograde attitude towards the streets, there's clearly a direct line from people with stupid bullshit religious morals to moronic ideas about urban planning.

Speaking of the titillating and offensive, a commenter yesterday mentioned the Velo-whatever review of the $4,895 (!) "Speedvagen Urban Racer:"

The Speedvagen Urban Racer is a bike-path beauty, and it’s probably not something you want to leave locked outside your apartment overnight. It’s got all the goodies, from an integrated seatmast likely to tank the resale value — though this bike wasn’t built for resale — to an integrated chain-guard and distressed paint job (which adds $400 to the overall cost of the bike). This bike is all about fun, but it’s got some performance chops, too.

Okay, so it's a city bike too expensive to leave outside that handles like a race bike, yet it's also completely useless as an actual race bike.  And if that wasn't stupid enough, it's also got a $400 "distressed paint job:"

Though if you want to save some money you can skip the distressed paint, because if I ever see one of these things locked to a bike rack I plan to take a few swings at it with my chain lock.

You're welcome.

And how about that chain guard?

Looks very effective.  Just don't ever change chainrings, or expect it to be effective in any way.

And no, silly, of course you can't put racks on it:

Before plunking down cash on a pricey commuter like this, it’s important to think about what it’s great for, and what it’s not so great for. If you’re hauling groceries with bags and panniers, the Urban Racer is not up your alley. But if you’re looking to turn heads on the way to the bar or coffee shop, with the occasional huck off a curb or skid in the parking lot thrown in, throw a leg on this steel showman.

Please.  If you're looking to turn heads on the way to the bar or coffee shop, why not just ride there pantsless on a unicycle?  And if you want to commute on a race bike that's too nice to leave outside, why not just spend the $5,000 on an actual race bike and use that?

Sure, it won't have the stupid chain guard that looks like a mistake, but at least you'll get some derailleurs.

But of course no visit to Velo-whatever would be complete without checking in with Lennard Zinn and taking the pulse of Fredly anxieties--which are now increasingly centered around dick breaks:

Dear Lennard,
I have a 2009 Motobecane Cross Ti bike that my local bike shop converted from cantilevers to TRP Hy/RD brakes a few months ago. We also installed Stan’s NoTubes Grail wheels with a Spot Brand fork up front; the rear stays already had disc tabs. I ran through the recommended brake wear-in procedure, but after 5-10 miles I started feeling vibrations, most noticeably in the front, but also in the rear. Light braking doesn’t produce any vibes, but with medium or hard pressure I start feeling vibes front and rear at about 12 mph (high frequency, like the rotor cutouts hitting the pads) and getting progressively stronger and lower frequency until I can see the fork vibrating front-to-rear (~approximately 3mm) when the speed is down to 3-5 mph. At low speed it also produces a solid thunk-thunk sound that riders next to me have noticed.

Step aside Lennard, let me field this one.

Dear Delirium Tremens,

It sounds like you have spent a huge amount of money "upgrading" a mail order bike, with predicably disastrous results.  Fortunately there is a simple solution to your vibration problem, which is to put all your old parts back on.  You're welcome.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

As for "SRAM eTap," I didn't read that part, but it sounds like an Israeli name:

Lastly, Portland used to be the most awesome-tastic bike city in America, but lately they've fallen off the back--so much so that it's now news when the mayor rides a bicycle:

The headline certainly grabbed my attention, because I was hoping to see this:

But instead I saw this:

Oh, Portland.  How the mighty (smug) have fallen.  A Trek with no fenders?!?  This guy should be impeached!

Still, it's good to see that at least Portland's cyclists are maintaining their signature self-righteousness:

The ride to the bridge was mostly smooth and uneventful. Then, about three-fourths of the way over the bridge span, our group — which was riding at a social pace — was passed by a man riding very fast. He yelled something at us as he went by and was clearly angry that we slowed him down. He also spit on the ground in front us after he passed.

Once, while riding over the Hawthorne Bridge, a woman on a bike yelled at me for not signaling a turn.  If you're that woman, I will gladly pay for your travel and accommodation to visit New York City and ride here for one week.  That should give you some perspective.

Anyway, apparently the mayor's ride was quite an eye-opener:

Hales didn’t need an explanation. He could feel how uncomfortable and stressful his cycling environment had suddenly become. “What can we do about this!?” he asked.

He is referring, of course, to the footwear choice of Captain Mandals behind him:

What the hell are those things?!?

Seriously, you're going on a big PR ride with the mayor and you opt for shorts and the weird toe thongs?

But you know, at least he's wearing a helme(n)t.

Perspective indeed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Let's Get This Show On The Road--Once We Finish Agonizing Over Tire Pressure, Of Course

I'm now back from my High Ate Us, and if you want to know how I spent it this short video should answer all your questions:

I changed "bike blogger" to "air traffic controller" because it's more relatable that way but otherwise that's pretty much exactly how it all went down.

Of course, when embarking on a High Ate Us the most difficult decision one faces is which bike to bring, and after some deliberation I opted for the versatility of my Milwaukee:

I had a notion that I'd try some of the "gravel road adventure cycling" that's so hot with the millennials nowadays, and at first it worked out very well:

Though I was completely unfamiliar with the area and conditions deteriorated quickly:

So I retreated to more forgiving terrain:

By the way, I also brought some tandem porn back for you:

No, this is not my tandem, I was simply admiring it on the ferry while leaning jauntily against THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK.


When David Byrne takes a ferry he has to mime driving onto it because he doesn't own a car.  Similarly, I have a Byrnian relationship with tandem bicycles.  In fact, not only don't I own a tandem, but also I've never even ridden one--but that's only because I want my first time to be with David Byrne.  Ideally this would involve our riding cross country together, though I suspect we'd clash over the creative direction of the Kickstarter video.  

Speaking of riding cross country, one rider is doing just that--on a Citi Bike:

Tanenhaus, who has already been slapped with the maximum $1,200 late fee by Citi Bike, quit his job as an event planner and checked the bike out from a dock at East 20th Street and Second Avenue on Aug. 6.

One can only imagine the heady sense of freedom Tanenhaus must have felt as he pedaled away and watched all those Bar Mitzvahs disappearing into his helme(n)t mirror, his ears ringing with perfunctorily recited haftarot.

Still, lighting out for the coast does come with its own set of problems, especially when you're doing it on a bike share bike:

The tires are wider than a typical touring bike and, because the wheels are bolted onto the bike with special anti-theft technology, changing flats are beyond his skill level.

Missing "apostrophe + s" after "touring bike" aside (this is the newspaper that usually spells "pedal" as "peddle" after all), is a Citi Bike tire really wider than a typical touring bike tire?  I don't think that's true.  Then again, as a homebody with 17 children my idea of a bike tour is any ride over three hours, so I'm not exactly an authority on what the beard-and-pannier set is running these days.

As for not being able to fix the flats, he shouldn't feel too bad about himself, especially when you consider that even quick releases are beyond the skill level of most triathletes.

Still, you'd think Citi Bike would be a bit more supportive:

On top of all that, he could face prosecution if Citi Bike presses charges.

He said he tried to let the company know about his plans, but “the conversation didn’t go anywhere.”

Yeah, I'm sure it didn't:

TANENHAUS: So I'm planning to check out one of your bikes and ride it to Los Angeles.

CITI BIKE: You do know the saddles are specially designed to induce permanent genital paralysis after two hours of riding, right?  It's a theft prevention measure.

TANENHAUS: I'm really just looking for a discount.

CITI BIKE: Look, they're your nuts, kid.  Just don't try to sue us when you pedal into California with Shermer's Neck and Bobbitt's Penis.

Meanwhile, in other hydraulic news, Rotor is betting that when it comes to drivetrains fluid will be the new electronic:

The company expanded into cranks in hopes of allaying some of this pressure. But Carrasco said it became clear that the only way for Rotor to retain a foothold in pro sponsorships was to develop its own drivetrain. The company experimented with different mechanical solutions but ran into intellectual-property issues. “In the end, some patent or the other was stopping us at every step,” he said. “Then it became clear that electric was here to stay. So we had to do something that would let us offer something different and that would be one step ahead.”

It's refreshing that they admit they're only putting this stuff out because all the good ideas were already taken--though of course I already came up with the idea of a hydraulic drivetrain way back in 2008, so it's pretty obvious they stole this from me:


I don't know if you can call it "intellectual property theft" when the cheap subject matter is the very antithesis of intellectual, but either way they're lucky I'm way too lazy to sue:

Here's hoping Shimano attempts to bring back compressed air and the drivetrain arms race explodes like a can of Aqua Net on a barbecue grill:

As it happens, swapping the air canister with a can of Aqua Net was the hop-up kit of choice for the Airlines system.

Speaking of air, watch out for Hurricane Fred:
Indeed.  Here's Hurricane Fred making landfall:

This crash resulted in a fractured skull even though I did have my helmet on, I would have been much worse off without it.

Would you though?  Or did the helme(n)t just not do anything?

Regardless, apparently Hurricane Fred is no ordinary storm:

Hurricane Fred, which formed over the weekend in the far eastern Atlantic, is truly one of a kind. Not only has Fred set the record for easternmost hurricane in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, it prompted the very first hurricane warning for the Cape Verde Islands and has provided the first satellite view of a hurricane in the region since weather satellites were launched into space in the early 1960s.

Another first--it's currently the only weather system using Strava's new storm tracker app:

Not only that, but it's also the first hurricane to take part in the time-honored tradition of making Strava penises--to wit:

Heavy rain indeed.

In any case, I imagine getting caught in Hurricane Fred would be pretty much exactly like this:

And of course Run–D.M.C. would be in the eye of the storm:

Now that's what you call scratching your cockpit.

Monday, August 17, 2015

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz on Monday and I'm Outta Here, Suckers!

All right, that's it I'm cashing in my chips:

(Disembodied hands pushing plastic discs to which are assigned monetary value across a green felt surface.)

So what's that mean?  Well, it means that after today this blog is going on High Ate Us until TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1st, 2025!

Sorry, I meant TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1st, 2015!

See, by faking you out like that I make the High Ate Us seem shorter than it actually is.

Don't worry, you'll manage.

In the meantime, you can rest assured that bicycles are destroying the very fabric of society, and the latest indication of this is that adorable pugs are now dying because of them:

After they had finally pulled the ferocious pit off of Sidney, the pug was left with a huge flap of skin hanging gruesomely from her ravaged neck. A man volunteered to drive Bayley and the wounded pooch up to the vet, Blue Pearl, at W. 15th St. and Fifth Ave.; but he couldn’t go crosstown due to the Summer Streets program, which had closed Fourth and Lafayette Aves. to traffic, so cyclists and pedestrians could enjoy car-free streets.

“The guy was screaming, ‘It’s an emergency! The dog’s dying!’ ” she said.

Look at them all enjoying themselves while a pug's life hangs in the balance, it's disgusting:

By the way, cycling with a helme(n)t but without a shir(n)t should be at least a criminal misdemeanor.  It's like wearing a condom while performing unprotected oral sex.

In happier news, Brooks is working on a new version of the Cambium saddle, and if you--yes, YOU!--would like a chance to become a tester then click here (or else on the picture below):

(They misspelled "Bacon The Rivet.")

Of course keep in mind that saddle testing is a risky business, so I assume Brooks will make you sign a waiver that says you can't sue them if you become impotent:

("So far it hasn't been a problem.")

I must say that I'm a tremendous fan of the Cambium (I use the C17):

Which is why I use one on each of my bicycles that has curved-type handlebars like they use in the Tour de France:

I know my equipment choices mean a lot to you, because of you read this blog for my incredible cycling prowess and not for the silly words and pictures.

Just kidding!

I suck at bikes and we all know it.

But I suck comfortably and stylishly, because I use a Cambium.

Speaking of bikes with curved-type handlebars like they use in the Tour de France, yesterday morning I was riding the Milwaukee one that you see above (which I still love, by the way) when I noticed this as I passed through Yonkers:

I'm not sure what happened, but I'd guess that the driver who caused this damage sideswiped this truck:

Veered across the street (note the tire tracks):

Mounted the sidewalk:

And then who knows.

Must have been one of those pesky stuck accelerator pedals you're always reading about.

Nicely done.

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 know it, and if you're wrong you'll see when trees attack.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and be sure to fritter away the remainder of August as frivolously as possible.

See you back here on Tuesday, September 1st.

I Love You,

--Wildcat Rock Machine

PS: Remember, as per my NYC Century preview last Friday, today's the last day to register for the ride before the price increase on the 18th!  I may even try to do the ride myself, pending the results of my B sample.

1) Mountain Goat Freds--it had to happen.


2) What is this symbol called?

--The Unisphere
--The Uniball
--The Globe-O-Tron
--The Hairy Hand of Fred-dom


3) How many motor vehicle deaths are there annually in the United States?

--Over 3,000
--Over 30,000
--Over 300,000
--None, driving is the only safe and sensible mode of transport

4) "Griller le feu" is a French colloquialism meaning:

--To run a red light
--To win a Cat 6 sprint
--To salmon
--To get your pant leg caught in your chain

(To access bicycle, raise lock to your lips and blow.)

5) According to some tech blogger, drunk cyclists are just as dangerous as drunk drivers.


6) The World Speed Record by bike is approximately:

--223 kph
--138 mph
--Fred "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" speed times three
--All of the above

7) Giuliano Calore is the king of no-handed riding.


8) Rodney Hines is the king of no-handed riding.


***Special Helme(n)t-Themed Bonus Video***

(Contains some NSFW language)


Those helme(n)t laws sure come in handy, don't they?